1. Special guest for Buffalo's celebration of the fifth night of Kwanzaa, celebrating Nia, or Purpose, is Charles Barron, who ran for governor this year on the Freedom Party ticket. Barron, a New York City councilman from Brooklyn, offered some of the sharpest social criticism in the televised debate. He appears on a panel on holistic health in the Pratt Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt St., off Genesee Street. The program starts at 7 p.m.
2. Declaring that the 33 culturals organizations cut from the Erie County budget are like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," in that they have given much joy without asking for much in return, a group called Empower Arts Buffalo is holding an It's a Wonderful Life With the Arts mixer and fundraiser for the dispossessed culturals from 4 to 9 p.m. in 464 Gallery, 464 Amherst St. There will be prizes, food, refreshments and raffles, including a drawing for four 100-level Sabres tickets.
3. Team USA returns to the ice in HSBC Arena against Team Germany at 7 p.m. in today's round of the IIHF World Championship hockey tournament. Earlier, Sweden takes on the Czech Republic at 3 p.m. Both games will be televised on the NHL Network. Discounted tickets, if any are left, have been made available for the USA-Germany game through the Tim Hortons Youth Days program. Tickets can be purchased at www.buffaloworldjuniors.com, by calling (888) 467-2273 or at the arena box office. Use coupon code TIM to get the discount. Meanwhile, the Peace Bridge will be lit in black, red and gold tonight in honor of Team Germany.
4. A college basketball superstar comes to the University at Buffalo Alumni Arena tonight in the person of Glens Falls native Jimmer Fredette, the All-American candidate from Brigham Young University widely regarded as the best guard in the country. Many consider this to be the premier game of the entire Big Four basketball schedule this season. Tip-off is at 7. Listen on WECK 1230 AM. Watch on tape delay via Lockport Cable.
5. Syracuse University football fans will be glued to ESPN at 3:30 p.m. for the first-ever New Era Pinstripe Bowl from the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The Orange faces a team with an identical 7-5 record -- Kansas. It's one of four bowl games on ESPN today. The others? SMU vs. Army in the Armed Forces Bowl at noon. North Carolina vs. Tennessee in the Music City Bowl at 6:30 p.m. And Nebraska vs. Washington in the Holiday Bowl at 10 p.m.
6. Time is running out for 2010. It's also running out for a pair of favorite only-in-Western New York attractions. In North Tonawanda, the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum at 180 Thompson St. is open noon to 4 p.m. today, then will be closed until April 1. Meanwhile, in Derby, today was supposed to be the last day for holiday tours of Graycliff, the lakeside estate designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but they have proven so popular -- maybe because of that hot mulled cider they serve -- that a morning tour has been added Friday. Reservations are required. Call 947-9217.
7. Canadian comic Darren Frost reprints a review on his website that calls him "rude, crude and marvelously maniacal." His entry in Wikipedia describes him as "incredibly offensive." So expect no holds to be barred when he opens a three-night stand at 9 tonight in Yuk Yuk's in Casino Niagara, Niagara Falls, Ont. Opening are comics Patrick Haye and Kyle Radke. Radke, on his website, advises fans to avoid the two New Year's Eve shows, which he expects to be sold out.
Don't miss on buffalonews.com
Go to The News' online editorial page to browse a collection of Adam Zyglis' political cartoons at buffalonews.com/editorial-page.