1. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, may be the biggest single holiday shopping day of the year, but the week before Christmas is one long sustained buying spree. It accounts for one-third of all holiday sales. The second and third biggest shopping days of the season -- the two days right before Christmas -- are upon us. Expect to run into big crowds and long check-out lines everywhere.
2. Today is the deadline for applications to become Erie County Clerk-elect Chris Jacobs' right-hand man or woman. Jacobs is looking for a first deputy clerk to oversee day-to-day operations of the office. The current first deputy clerk is John Crangle, who served as acting county clerk after Kathy Hochul was elected to Congress. Crangle, who also is Town of Tonawanda Democratic chairman, plans to retire from the clerk's job on Dec. 31. A full job description is available online at www.erie.gov/clerk. Resumes should be emailed to Eriecountyclerkrecruitment@gmail.com.
3. Applications also are due today for another big position in Erie County government -- county comptroller. The current comptroller, Mark Poloncarz, will be sworn in as county executive on Jan. 1. The search committee will make a recommendation to the County Legislature in January. Resumes should be sent with a cover letter to Jeremy Zellner, executive director of the Erie County Democratic Committee, by email at Jeremy@ecdems.com.
4. New Age pianist Jim Brickman has inherited the holiday tradition of the late Roger Williams, who died in October, and added to it with a gorgeous Christmas song of his own, "The Gift." His annual yuletide show, which played Shea's Performing Arts Center in 2006 and 2009, comes tonight to the Mainstage Theatre in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts on the North Campus in Amherst. Music starts at 7:30. Tickets are $30 to $50, with a VIP ticket available for $65 that includes a meet and greet session after the concert.
5. The artists of the Trimain Center will be holding their "Fourth Fridays" open studio and gallery event from 5 to 8 p.m. at the always interesting complex at 2495 Main St. It's all happening on the fifth floor of the former Trico windshield wiper factory. Included will be the Impact Artists Gallery's exhibition "Art for the Holidays" and a mural-making workshop hosted by Studio 547 and led by Dot Keller. Other artists' studios also will be open for business.
6. After a heart-breaking 67-65 loss to North Carolina State on Tuesday night, the St. Bonaventure men's basketball team hosts St. Francis (Pa.) at 7 tonight at the Reilly Center. Bona has a 5-5 record this season.
7. Movie openings are scattered throughout the week as Christmas approaches. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and the latest installment of "Mission Impossible" hit the screens on Tuesday, followed by Steven Spielberg's "Tintin" on Wednesday. Spielberg will be back with a second film, the World War I epic "War Horse" on Christmas Day, the same day that the sci-fi thriller "The Darkest Hour" arrives. What's left for today? Two offerings -- director Cameron Crowe's family comedy "We Bought a Zoo," with Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Elle Fanning; and the Indian-made gangster movie, "Don 2."
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