Desert Companion

The fall culture guide

Jugs

Clear your calendar for the next few months — because we’re about to fill it with our top picks for the can’t-miss cultural events this season. Whether you love big musical theater, provocative art exhibits or festivals to thrill the whole family, you’ll find them here.

Want a taste of locally grown talent? Read up on our “Ones 2 Watch” in the arts scene; they’re just a few of the people who make Southern Nevada a vibrant place well away from the lights of the Strip.

Hold on to this issue as your trusty guide this fall — there’s a lot of culture out there.

September 

There’s no place like downtown

“Wicked”
Sept. 1-Oct. 7

Holy munchkin, Toto: I’ve got a feeling we’re not on Broadway anymore! It’s the much-anticipated Vegas unveiling of the megahit musical that offers a parallel take on “The Wizard of Oz” from the perspective of the witches. We hear in this version Dorothy abandons the idea of home and heads to Mundo for skirt steak skewers. LC

Support comes from

2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., $42-$197, The Smith Center, thesmithcenter.com

Da doo ron ron to this show

“Leader of the Pack”
Sept. 6-22

Brill Building songsmith Ellie Greenwich is the phenom who penned classics such as “River Deep, Mountain High” and “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home).” “Leader of the Pack” takes us back to those halcyon Brill Building days of the '60s — and the love/hate relationship of Greenwich and Jeff Barry, which birthed “And Then He Kissed Me” and “Da Doo Ron Ron.” Check out this opera-sized tribute to the best songwriter you’ve never heard of. DM

Thurs.-Sat., 7 p.m., $12-$20, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, supersummertheatre.org

Clean lines (that make dirty pictures)

“The Beautiful Accident” exhibition
Sept. 6-Oct. 20

French artist François Dubeau presents an exhibit that’s sure to whet the appetite of an erotic palate. Bursts of bright, bold colors are sectioned apart with smooth, black calligraphic strokes. The resulting images, while abstract, are often sensual — even sexual. DLM

Sin City Gallery, 107 E. Charleston #100, sincitygallery.com

Downtown becomes LOUDTOWN!

Neon Reverb
Sept. 11-16

Here’s the best way to enjoy Neon Reverb, Las Vegas’ most eclectic and ambitious music festival: Pick from the schedule a band name that sounds crazy — and they all do — like maybe Superhumanoids or Moonface or Hunx & His Punx or Shannon and The Clams (I’m not making these up, I swear) — show up at the gig, and surrender to that delighted smile of wondrous surprise crawling over your face as the first waves of guitar slush around your thirsty ears. Happens to me every time. AK

Ticket prices vary, various venues downtown, neonreverb.com

When you get this feeling, you need musical healing

Las Vegas Jazz Festival
Sept. 14-16

This inaugural event features 30 national jazz and R&B vocalists and musicians. Kicking things off will be Lalah Hathaway, daughter of legendary soul singer Donny Hathaway. Another highlight: Sunday night’s performance by Grammy-nominated neo-soul artist Will Downing, whose sexy slow-jam ballads make Barry White sound like Big Bird. JK

Noon daily, $45, JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa, lvjazzfestival.com

She just wants you to feel everything

Fiona Apple
Sept. 15

Apple is touring in support of her critically acclaimed new album, whose full title would fill this entire blurb. Suffice it to say the eccentric Grammy-winner’s new work — seven or so years in the making — is a jazzy, rock-y, lyrically penetrating and vaguely unsettling sojourn into her insomniac psyche. So just the right amount of weird. LC

8 p.m., $25.50-$91, The Joint, thejointlasvegas.com

Roller Guide

Beware of puddles of blood when crossing the roller rink

Sin City Roller Girls: competitive roller derby
Sept. 15 and Oct. 27

Vegas girls aren’t exactly known for being demure or coy. You can find these Vegas girls at home in the roller rink — kicking butt on skates and being all-around bad babes. DLM

6 p.m., $15 ($10 presale), Riviera Royale Pavilion inside the Riviera hotel-casino, sincityrollergirls.com

Pound some poi

Ho’olaule’a Pacific Islands Festival
Sept. 15-16

An hour at this mellow outdoor party and you’ll forget your worries over how to pronounce it. The 22nd annual celebration — in honor of Prince Kuhio, known for his Hawaiian advocacy and handlebar mustache — features a cultural village, hula dancing, and music by Holunape. You’ll feel like “ohana.” That’s “family” to us mainlanders. LC

9 a.m.-6 p.m., free, Henderson Events Plaza, lvhcc.org

Vaults and cartwheels and handstands and cartstands and handwheels

Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions
Sept. 20

The only handsprings at which we personally excel involve springing this handful of Funyuns into our foodholes. That’s why this tour, featuring members of the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympic teams, is so magical. They make the seemingly impossible appear effortless. We’re exhausted just from the effort of anticipating their arrival. LC

7:30 p.m., $30-$205, Thomas & Mack Center, unlvtickets.com

Henderson? You mean HOT ROD CITY

Super Run car show
Sept. 20-23

Fast cars, pretty cars, kept-in-stunning-condition-but-older-than-you-are cars.  The 13th annual Super
 


Run, the biggest car show in Southern Nevada, features more than 1,000 hot rods, muscle cars and a dazzling spectacle of vintage vehicles. There’ll also be car competitions and concerts with country music star Jerrod Niemann headlining. If this were any more American, they’d hand out free eagles. DLM

Hours and ticket prices vary, Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water St., superrun.com

A face only a jug could love

Thomas Bumblauskas in “What Goes Bump in the Night”
Sept. 29-Oct. 31

Face jugs — jugs with nasty ol’ faces carved into them — originated from South Carolina slave potters. Since slaves were forbidden traditional graves, face jugs served as their headstones. Why the ugly faces? To scare the devil long enough for the deceased’s soul to high-tail it to heaven unscathed, of course. Thomas Bumblauskas, an instructor at Clay Arts Vegas, shows off his face jugs as part of its “What Goes Bump in the Night” exhibit. Don’t be scared (unless you’re the devil). AK

Free, Clay Arts Vegas, 1511 S. Main St.,
clayartsvegas.com

Aural delights to freak out your soul

Prelude to the Allegro International Guitar Competition
Sept. 21

UNLV’s Classical Guitar Series brings together Latin Grammy-winner Sergio Assad, French improv-isario Roland Dyens and American guitarist Christopher McGuire for a night of music destined to haunt your soul — and not in a scary clown kind of way. They’re also judging an upcoming guitar competition to be held at UNLV and in Fort Worth, Texas. LC

8 p.m., $35-$75, UNLV’s Ham Hall, 895-ARTS





Would you see it with a goat?

“Seussical”
Sept. 21-30

Whether you watch it in a box or with a fox, you will like RagTag Entertainment’s revival of “Seussical.” It’s a crazy, all-star mashup of the Theodore Geisel canon, hosted by The Cat in the Hat. At its heart is “Horton Hears a Who,” but don’t worry: The Grinch gets a look-in and the grand finale is — what else — “Green Eggs and Ham.” Sounds like fun, Sam I Am! DM

Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m., $10, Henderson Pavilion, ragtagentertainment.com

“Evil Jazz Guitar Clone Army” was taken

Emanuel Schmidt Group
Sept. 24

“Emanuel Schmidt Group” makes it sound like Emanuel Schmidt cloned himself to create an evil jazz guitar zombie army. Never fear. This hard-grooving guitarist simply fronts a group of brilliant players who’ll back Schmidt as he interprets and celebrates some of his favorite jazz guitarists. Join the army. AK

7 p.m. $10, E-String bar, 2031 W. Sunset Road, 485-2835

Swords, ray guns and nuclear powers

Las Vegas Comic Expo
Sept. 29

I always thought Vegas would be the perfect place for superheroes to party (we do have the most fictionally fun skyline of all time) or, at the very least, for comic aficionados to nerd out. Sometimes, dreams do come true: Here comes Las Vegas’ first ever comic book expo. Look out Comic Con, we’re coming to get you — and we’re bringing our laser guns. DLM

10 a.m.-7 p.m., $20-$35, Alexis Park All Suite Resort, lasvegascomicexpo.com

You had us at moon cake

Asian Harvest Moon Festival
Sept. 29

Plenty of traditional Chinese delicacies called moon cakes await their launch into your face-crater at this lunar-lauding annual event that parallels the solar calendar’s autumnal equinox. It also offers a colorful feast for your ears and eyes with music, dancing, martial arts demonstrations and an adorable children’s lantern parade. LC

Noon-6 p.m., $3-$5, Springs Preserve, springspreserve.org

Shoot down that flying pig with a laser light and throw it on the barbie

Australian Pink Floyd Show
Sept. 29

WARNING: Laser lights might blow your mind into little bits, with music filling the extra space with brain-melting riffs. Nick Mason, Pink Floyd’s drummer, says these guys are better than the original. These Outback hunks have been charming the sanity off international crowds for two decades plus. DLM

8 p.m., $34-$74, Palms hotel-casino, palms.com

 

October 

Southern Utah’s a stage

Utah Shakespeare Festival
Through Oct. 20

What’s that thou sayest? Thine tears augment the morning dew because midsummer’s gone and thou missed the festival? No worries! There are a few more weeks to gobble up some Shakespeare. His festival, anyway, with a limited menu — including Les Misérables — in Cedar City. Be swift: it shan’t return for like twelve moonshines. LC

$28-$73, Southern Utah University in Cedar City, bard.org

Bring a bottle and a blanket

Friday Night Rock Concert Series
Through Nov. 16

Fridays, Montelago Village, the picturesque, picnicky retail spot, offers lakeside entertainment beyond just angry honking geese. The sounds: classic rock tribute bands serving up tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. DLM

7 p.m., free, Montelago Village at Lake
Las Vegas, montelagovillage.com

Kerr-pow, indeed!

Batman Live
Oct. 3-7

The Caped Crusader relocates to Sin City for what may be the coolest crime-fighting arena show ever. It’s got acrobats, pyrotechnics, a 3-D Gotham City set and oh did we mention a 100-FOOT BAT-SHAPED LED VIDEO WALL? BAM! The original storyline isn’t nearly as dark as Batman movies you’ve seen lately. Think “The Dark Knight” after therapy. LC

Show times vary by date, $29.50-$79.50, Thomas & Mack Center, unlvtickets.com

We will/we will/rock kids

Imagination Movers
Oct. 5

At age 2, children start to display intermediate to advanced motor skills. At age 4, they begin to grasp abstract concepts such as time. At age 6, they’re ready for the XTREME TODDLER MOSH PIT inspired by the Imagination Movers’ humorous, infectiously upbeat tunes about cookie ninjas, healthy snacks and playing catch. Kidcore’s not dead! AK

7 p.m., $5,
Henderson Pavilion, hendersonlive.com

Uncork some dinner

Grapes & Hops Festival
Oct. 6

Ah, the age-old dilemma: wine or beer? We say, why limit yourself? Admission to this boozy extravaganza for the 21-and-older crowd buys all you can drink of both, with proceeds benefitting an organization that raises funds for breast cancer research. Food from some fine restaurants is also included if you feel like saving room. LC

5-9 p.m., $35, Springs Preserve, springspreserve.org

These guys make sure the kids are alright

CASA gala
Oct. 6

Placing foster kids in loving homes is great — but who represents them when they have to navigate the complexities of Crazy Scary Bewildering Adultland — i.e., the court system? To the rescue: Volunteers known as court-appointed special advocates (CASAs). At this gala, you'll be able to support the CASAs in an evening of dining and dancing, plus a silent auction. AK

5:30 p.m., $200-$1,800, Venetian hotel-casino, casafoundationlv.org

The future was here a minute ago

“Sci-fi in the Desert: The Life and Works of George R. Stewart”
Oct. 11

Ecological science fiction novelist George R. Stewart (1895-1980) got a bit of a bum rap. Despite his many important contributions — for instance, his book, "Storm," is the reason we name our hurricanes — most of us (sci-fi buffs aside) have never heard of him. But Professor Donald M. Scott is a major fan. He'll discuss the literary legacy of this little-known sci-fi author. By night’s end, you may be a major fan. CC

7:30 p.m., free, UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

They make the music, you bring the Stoli

Henderson Symphony Orchestra presents “From Russia with Love”
Oct. 12

Before Russia turned into a corrupt secretive kleptocracy with a president who shoots and eats bears for breakfast, the country was a gentle, snow-dusted giant that produced some of the greatest musical composers in history. Remember the Russia that was at this concert, featuring Mussorgsky’s “Dawn on the Moscow River,” Tchaikovsky’s “Rocco Variations,” Illya Finkelstein on cello and “Symphony #5” by Prokofiev. AK

8 p.m., free, Henderson Pavilion, hendersonlive.com

 George Ballanchines Jewels

Shiny happy dancing people

George Balanchine’s “Jewels”
Oct. 13-14

Emerald, rubies, diamonds — famed choreographer George Balanchine loved him some jewels. Their only shortcoming: They can’t dance. That’s why he used dancers for his celebrated ballet, “Jewels.” In this production, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet West join forces to celebrate the sparkly buried rocks that make our world more pretty and expensive. AK

Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 14, 1 p.m., The Smith Center, thesmithcenter.com

Bust out the beret

Summerlin Art Festival
Oct. 13-14

Remember when chalk was for blackboards and eating? You can now watch artists create serious masterpieces with it at this outdoor art explosion. Also enjoy live entertainment while browsing the work of scores of artists and crafters. Or create your own chalk artwork that we promise not to compare to that of the pros. LC

9 a.m.-5 p.m., free, Summerlin Centre Community Park, summerlinartfestival.com

Hide your kids and check under the bed

The Pillowman
Oct. 19-Nov. 4

Scotland Yard’s finest show up on the front door of Katurian, author of gory fiction, when his fictive crimes are re-enacted in the form of brutal child murders. In best “Law & Order” style, Katurian gets the good-cop/bad-cop treatment plus an apparent manifestation of Jesus, in the form of a little girl. You probably won’t sleep for a week. DM

Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m., $10-$15; Las Vegas Little Theatre, lvlt.org

Modern Matsuri

Las Vegas Aki Matsuri Japanese Festival
Oct. 20

For thousands of years, Japanese villagers celebrated autumn harvests with music, dancing and food in the center of town. The tradition lives on locally with a few contemporary twists — including karaoke and a costume contest that draws plenty of anime characters. Note to wannabe participants: Pikachu’s played out. LC

11-9 p.m., $5, Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza, lvakimatsuri.com

Can you beer me now?

The 2012 Downtown Brew Festival
Oct. 20

Whether you love a simple lager or you’re a fan of organic, barrel-aged cream stout made by fauxhawked hipster monks squatting in an abandoned silo in Eugene, Ore., the Downtown Brew Festival will likely have it among the 125 suds on offer. Plenty of live music also guarantees lots of that curious beerfest pastime known as “stumbledancing.” AK

2-6 p.m., $32-$52, Clark County Amphitheater, motleybrews.com

The child prodigy grows up

Jonny Lang
Oct. 26

The Grammy-winning blues singer/guitarist, who first grabbed everyone’s attention as a teenage wunderkind 15 years ago, is now in his 30s and certainly living up to his early promise. Lang has earned raves from and played onstage with rock icons from Buddy Guy to the Rolling Stones, and he’s the obvious torchbearer for American roots music. JK

8 p.m., $48-$70, Ovation at Green Valley Ranch, greenvalleyranch.sclv.com

They’re more graceful than this blurb

Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater Anniversary Fall Concert
Oct. 26-28

Frankly, the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater could put on a show called “We Fling Ourselves About the Stage Randomly,” and I’d be there — every production I’ve seen brims with this taut, electrified energy that comes only from crazy dedicated artists who eat, sleep and dream their craft. This concert features “Variations I & II” by Milton Myers and “Solstice” by LVCDT’s body-flinger-in-chief Bernard Gaddis. AK

Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 27, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 28, 1:30 p.m. Tickets TBA, UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre

That art looks like child’s play! What? Oh.

Children’s Art Exhibit
Through Oct. 27

Ever go to a museum and stare quizzically at paintings of colorful barf and whisper to your friend in a discerning voice while adjusting your monocle, “I do declare a child could have painted that!” Well, this time the art is created by children. Henderson schoolkids present oil, watercolor and pastel paintings. DLM

9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, Gallery at the Garden inside Hilton Garden Inn, 7830 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 453-7830

Look out! Eddie’s got a ukulele!

Eddie Vedder
Oct. 31 & Nov.1

The sometimes overwrought Pearl Jam rocker has always possessed a softer, acoustic side, and it’ll be on display at The Pearl. Armed with a stage full of ukuleles, acoustic guitars and loop pedals, Vedder dazzled audiences this summer and will likely treat us to his haunting, Halloween-appropriate version of Springsteen’s “Open All Night.” The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard opens. JK

9 p.m., $79, The Pearl at The Palms, palms.com

 

November 

The chicken-or-the-egg thing for the high-minded

“Life Experiences and Experiences of Art: Which Come First?”
Nov. 1

Professor Kendall Walton from the University of Michigan will discuss life mimicking art mimicking life mimicking art mimicking … well, you get the idea. Check this lecture out to learn what kind of art expert your tragic life makes you. CC

7:30 p.m., free, UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Bookworm bonanza

Vegas Valley Book Festival
Nov. 1-3

If we were to write a book about this book festival, not only would it be mind-bendingly meta, its table of contents alone would be enough to make any bibliophile swoon. Panel discussions, workshops, book signings, art exhibits, spoken word performances and keynote addresses by Charlaine Harris and Jennifer Egan — why, it’s a cover-to-cover cornucopia of mind candy! LC

Various times and locations, free, vegasvalleybookfestival.org

A perfect pairing

Las Vegas Philharmonic: Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights”
Nov. 3

As the movie plays, the Philharmonic will perform the original orchestral score Chaplin composed for this sweet 1931 rom-com. In the film, a tramp falls in love with a blind flower-seller and undergoes a series of misadventures, leading to one of the most touching and tear-jerking endings in cinematic history. Maybe bring a tissue. LC

8 p.m., $46-$94, The Smith Center

You think you’re slick?

“The BP Gulf Oil Spill: What Happened?”
Nov. 8

Meet UNLV Michael Pravica. The physics professor will spill on the spill, discussing what went down — rather, what came up — from a physicist’s perspective during the BP oil spill. Also on the agenda: How corporate spin and science are like oil and water. This lecture on the dangers of deep-well drilling is one science talk not likely to bore you. Okay, I’m done now. CC

7:30 p.m., free, UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Embrace the season (but not the cactus)

Ethel M’s Holiday Cactus Garden
Nov. 14-Jan. 1

Once a year, the lonely, prickly, spiky cacti of Ethel M’s xeriscaped garden get an extreme makeover with beautiful, twinkling, soft, inviting, happy Christmas lights that just make you want to throw your arms around one of these beautiful desert plaOOOUCH! AK

5-10 p.m. nightly, free, 2 Cactus Garden Drive, ethelm.com

That’s obscene!
(and you just might like it)   

“Defending Pornography as Art and Popular Culture: The Expert Witness in the Court Case United States v. John Stagliano”
Nov. 15

Keep your clothes on — but come ready for some mental stimulation. In this talk, University of California film and media scholar, feminist and defender of porn (high five!) Constance Penley will discuss why pornography isn’t just free speech, but a form of feminist art practice. We’re not sure what she’ll be wearing, but we hope it’s a cape. CC

7:30 p.m., free, UNLV’s Barrick Museum Auditorium

Dressed for sex-cess (see what we did there?)

“Vegas Style: Spectacle and Spectator”
Nov. 15-May 15

Long before the Strip was hijacked by an army of untucked Ed Hardy shirts on Axe cologne-doused man-clowns, Strip couture was sophisticated and sexy — whether it was tourists, cocktail servers or showgirls doing the wearing. Explore the styles of the Strip at this in-depth exhibit that features more feathers, Spandex, chinchilla and polyester than you can shake a Guam sweatshop worker at. Plus, it’s a collaboration between UNLV and the Nevada State Museum, so [insert smart joke that ties it all in here]. AK

Nov. 15-May 15, Nevada State Museum at The Springs Preserve

It’s a woman’s world

Betty Buckley’s “Ah, Men! The Boys of Broadway”
Nov. 15-18

Some of Tony Award-winner Betty Buckley’s favorite Broadway tunes were written for men, but she makes them her own in this spirited show that’s also an album. She includes numbers from various Broadway classics, sprinkling bits of Broadway lore and personal anecdotes in between. LC

7 p.m. Nov. 15-17, 3 p.m. Nov. 18, $43-$76, The Smith Center, thesmithcenter.com

You just can’t kill the beast

The Eagles
Nov. 17

Fresh from the heavenly garden, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt bring their “Long Road Out of Eden” tour to town. Expect the classics — “Hotel California,” “Desperado,” “Take it Easy” — and unexpectedly high volumes of energy from the chart-topping band with 30 years of experience rocking it like they’re God’s first creatures. DLM

8 p.m., $71.25-$213, MGM Grand Garden Arena, mgmgrand.com

Even comedians get the blues

The Laughter Foundation Benefit
Nov. 18

Laughter’s the best medicine, unless you’re constantly being laughed at for not having health insurance. Comedians get serious at this event when The Laughter Foundation (“Comedians helping comedians”) puts on a spectacle to raise awareness for Health Care for Comedians and raise bucks for the Heckler Fund, the foundation’s emergency grant program for comedians in trouble. Break a leg, guys. Too soon? DLM

Time TBA, ticket prices TBA, The Smith Center, thesmithcenter.com

Fester and plot

The Addams Family Musical
Nov. 20-25

Wednesday’s worst nightmare: her family randomly breaking out in song. Creators of “Jersey Boys” Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice step into the role of dry, dark and deadpan — with some upbeat singing. DLM

7 p.m., ticket prices TBA, The Smith Center

Call it chorus-core

Andrea Bocelli and the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Chorus
Nov. 24

In what’s becoming a happy annual tradition, famed tenor Andrea Bocelli and the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Chorus team up to wring your heart and soul into a state of transcendent bliss so powerful they’ll have EMTs on hand to stuff people’s ecstatically heaven-bound souls back into their bodies. AK

8 p.m., $78-$403, MGM Grand Garden Arena, mgmgrand.com

The Beatles, new and improved

Classical Mystery Tour,
Nov. 30

If only The Beatles had performed all along as a full symphony orchestra rather than four quirky, mop-topped Brits, Yoko Ono would have had a tougher time breaking up the band. Zing! In this show, Beatles tribute band Classical Mystery Tour is backed by a symphonic band to give new power and dimension to everything from “Penny Lane” to “I Am the Walrus.” AK

7:30 p.m., ticket prices TBA, The Smith Center

Call it “the 180-Year Itch”

“Arcadia,” Nevada Conservatory Theatre
Nov. 30-Dec. 9

That’s what the New York Times dubbed Tom Stoppard’s two-level comedy, in which the 19th-century conflict between the imperatives of groin vs. brain is replayed by contemporary boffins — who consistently misinterpret their findings as they research Sidley Park mansion. (Lord Byron slept there.) Both storylines are played out simultaneously, as Stoppard cleverly undermines the certainties known as “history.” “Arcadia” is both a treasure trove of ideas and a classic Stoppard mind game. DM

8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; $20-$25; Nevada Conservatory Theatre, unlv.edu/nct

 

December 

Namaste

His souvenirs: The soul of a nation!

Namaste: Faces of India and Nepal
Oct. 20-Jan. 5

After Nevada Public Radio founder and General Manager Lamar Marchese retired from the organization in 2007, he didn’t drift off into a placid suburban purgatory of golf courses and senior rec centers. He and his wife Pat traveled the world — and he took some amazing photos, too. This exhibit showcases the beautiful people he encountered on his trek through India and Nepal. AK

Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art, 450 Fremont St. #280, snmfa.com

Wreath of lunacy, holiday sneer

A John Waters Christmas
Dec. 5

John Waters, filmmaker of such cult classics as “Hairspray” and “A Dirty Shame,” delivers a show of strangeness — holiday style. Festivities include perverted gift-giving, Santa Claus-worshipping and the telling of Christmas-time true-crime and horror stories. DLM

$35-$100, House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay, houseofblues.com

If you can tear yourself away from your screen, you might want to check this out

“Is the Internet Alive? And Why Does it Matter?”
Dec. 6

In this UNLV lecture, technology guy Michael J. Savoie of the University of Texas will explain why it’s important to know whether the internet is alive — in case “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “The Matrix” didn’t already convince you it is. Just make sure you take the blue pill. CC

7:30 p.m., free, UNLV's Barrick Museum Auditorium

Eat meat like an American

Smokin’ for the Troops cook-off
Dec. 7

If there’s a zombie apocalypse on Dec. 7, then I have no doubt in my mind that Bass Pro Shops would be the safest place to be. It’ll be full of weapons, survival gear, trained soldiers, delicious barbecued meat — and assuredly zombie-free. Forty barbecue teams battle for glory and $10,000 in cash prizes amid the scenic confines of a gigantic outdoors store, all while supporting the troops. DLM

10 a.m., Bass Pro Shops, 8200 Dean Martin Drive, basspro.com

Back to high school

“Tape,” Las Vegas Little Theatre
Dec. 7-23

We think we knew how cool we were and how well we dressed in high school. Then you open the old yearbook and there’s some geek in a polyester leisure suit — with your name. A similar disconnect happens at a school reunion, and not so amusingly, in Stephen Belber’s “Tape.” One might propose its central question as, “Is it real life or is it Memorex?” We’re taking Memorex for the win. Definitely not your usual Christmas pudding. DM

8 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m., Sundays, $10-$15; Las Vegas Little Theatre, lvlt.org

The only thing missing is naughty stripper elves

Las Vegas Philharmonic presents “A Very Vegas Holiday”
Dec. 8

Vegas holiday? You mean the kind with stripper twins dressed as naughty Mrs. Santas and a pallet of stolen Ecstasy? Oh, you mean the kind with former Mayor Oscar Goodman reading “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” holiday tunes belted out by the likes of Travis Cloer and Niki Scalera, and some roaring beats courtesy of the Foothill High School Drumline? Even better! AK

2 and 8 p.m., ticket prices TBA, The Smith Center

Baby, it’s cold-ish outside

The Deana Martin Christmas Show
Dec. 14-16

Martin channels her legendary Rat Pack father in this yuletide concert stuffed like a bulging Christmas stocking with classic holiday favorites. If your heart’s in the mood for warming, it’s time to pull on a sweater, brave the slight desert chill and point your toboggan toward downtown. LC

7 p.m. Dec. 14-15, 2 p.m. Dec. 16, $40-$65, The Smith Center

What are they, crazy? IN FACT, YES

Meshugginah Klezmorim
Dec. 16

How to describe the zany, frenetic, festive energy of klezmer? Well, if there were ever a style of music that captured the sound of people turning into rubbery dancing freaky cartoons, the sound often called “Jewish jazz” would be it. And the band called Meshugginah Klezmorim (“crazy musicians”) promise to animate you. AK

2 p.m., $10-$12, Winchester Cultural Center Theater,  455-7340

Ballet — on a budget

The Nutcracker
Dec. 20-23

Las Vegas Ballet Company puts on an affordable version of this charm-fest with students from the Kwak Ballet Academy, founder Kyudong Kwak and executive director Yoomi Lee. Both were principal dancers at Nevada Ballet Theatre, which presents its lavish version this month at The Smith Center. LC

7 p.m. Dec. 20, 2 p.m. Dec. 21-23, $20-$25, Summerlin Library, lasvegasballet.org


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