Commentary: Oscar winner Mo'Nique is the star of the Saturday night show in Kleinhans, where the comic - known for her positive material with "spicy notes" - is joined by Nephew Tommy, the co-host of the "Steve Harvey Morning Show."
Read News contributor Mark Ciemcioch's interview with Mo'Nique, which touches on troubling trends like sexual abuse and racism, as well as figures the comedian applauds for their outspokenness on those issues.
2) Rock Autism, 7 p.m. Jan. 5 in Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.). Tickets are $10 at the door.
Commentary: Max Muscato continues his push toward the 2018 Rock Autism Music Festival this summer with a benefit show Friday in Iron Works, where he'll both perform and explain his support for his musician brother, Sonny, who battles autism spectrum disorder.
Muscato will be joined on the bill by The Spin Wires and Handsome Jack, and a 50-50 raffle, silent auction and drink specials round out the evening in the Cobblestone District.
Commentary: The News' Colin Dabkowski lauds the career of Lynne Kurziel-Formato, a former University at Buffalo theater professor who's also shined on the stage, both locally and in North Carolina.
Kurziel-Formato is back with "Mamma Mia," the musical where a daughter's search for her father is set to the music of ABBA. A perk? The new LED curtains at Kavinoky, which should add warmth and modernness to the production.
4) First Friday at the Albright-Knox, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 5 at 1285 Elmwood Ave. Free to attend, although some small events require admission.
Commentary: Free admission to the Albright-Knox is coupled with a slew of smaller events, including a gallery talk on the exhibit "Out of Sight! Art of the Senses," from which many will be familiar with Lucas Samaras' Mirrored Room.
The Art of Drink focus will be on Lancaster's Lilly Belle Meads, a New York State Farm Winery - or farm meadery (may or may not be a word), as the owners say - that takes the honeybee crisis and related ecological concerns seriously.
For First Friday, a jazz happy hour, a performance by the Donny Frauenhofer Trio and some hands-on activities are also included.
5) Queen City Roller Girls' opening day: Alley Kats vs. Dollies, 7 p.m. Jan. 5 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Tickets are $15 general admission, $20 for front-row seats. Various VIP packages and special rates also available. More ticket info here.
Commentary: Roller derby season is upon us! Watch as two house teams, the Alley Kats and the Dollies, tangle in RiverWorks for a rematch of the 2017 Champions Cup, which the Kats won, 165-131, in June.
The action is fast and physical, and the venue has plenty of amenities - bars, games and TVs - for breaks in the action.
Commentary: If you're tired of hearing "Blurred Lines," which is totally believable given the amount of airplay Thicke's track has received since 2013, that's OK - the R&B/pop artist is still a marketable name with talent.
He's been surrounded by stars his entire life - from having Wayne Gretzky as his babysitter to performing at Michael Jordan's wedding to producing for Michael Jackson - and he hasn't stopped by the area too often. To our knowledge, his last local show was in 2012 in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts.
7) Lewiston's Largest '80s Bash, 8:18 p.m. Jan. 6 in Lewiston Event Center (845 Cayuga St., Lewiston). Admission is $5 at the door.
Commentary: It seems like we have a crush on Nerds Gone Wild, the colorful, quirky, intellectual cover band that specializes in '80s New Wave and classic rock. It's a fitting group to lead the charge of Lewiston's Largest '80s Bash, which also features prizes for "Best '80s Costume" for both guys and girls, as well as drink specials.
Commentary: If you have a hankering for local music at a cool suburban venue, Folkfaces at 189 Public House (not to be confused with Public House on Hertel or Public House on the Lake, which are projects by different owners) fits the bill. Michael Farrell's 2016 piece on 189 explains the Sportsmen's Tavern-like setup of the bar-restaurant's live music.
As an added venue bonus, Folkfaces lead singer Tyler Westcott will perform a solo acoustic show Saturday at Nickel City Frets in Clarence (10255 Main St.), an intimate listening room close to the Akron border.
9) 67 West customer appreciation/holiday party, 6 p.m. Jan. 5 at 67 W. Chippewa St. Free to attend.
Commentary: While Chippewa bars like Local Kitchen and Soho held their holiday parties before Christmas, 67 West throws theirs just a few days after the New Year. Complimentary food, as well as drink specials, should entice the bar's regulars for the celebration.
10) Buffalo Bills' playoff party round-up; the game begins at 1 p.m. Jan. 7 in Jacksonville, Fla., but many Buffalo bars will host parties, too.