The two prime events sold out for this weekend could not be more different: Every Time I Die's holiday show at Buffalo RiverWorks, which The News just highlighted as a surging multi-purpose venue, and the commissioning of the U.S.S. Little Rock LCS 9 on Saturday at Canalside.
Fortunately, there's still plenty on Buffalo's event agenda.
Commentary: Nights one and two of the Alternative Buffalo 107.7's three-pronged Kerfuffle Before Christmas are already in the books, with the finale rolling Sunday night after a Bills win (like Takeo Spikes, we're calling it now).
Cold War Kids, AJR and Lovelytheband are the slated to entertain fans in the riverfront venue, which has nicely accommodated the previous two KBC gigs. Look back at Smiles and shots of the performers from Night One, then galleries of Smiles and musicians from Night Two.
Commentary: It might not quite reach the legendary status of Warren G.'s "Regulators" in terms of early 2000s hip-hop, but Cam'ron's "Hey Ma" - off platinum-selling "Come Home With Me" - remains one of the Harlem emcee's most recognizable tracks. (We're thrilled the rapper changed his brand from "Killa Cam" to "Cam'ron," because the former seemed to suggest a less-than-wholesome agenda).
A crew of openers - Dolo Chillin', Skillie Vanillie and Ray Williams - support the leader of the Diplomats (also known as Dipset, for which Complex compiled a list of the top 50 tracks). Cam'ron is supposed to release "Killa Pink" soon, but it's tough to find details. You may want to ask him Friday.
3) Sonny Baker EP release, 8 p.m. Dec. 15 in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.). Admission is $10 and includes a copy of Baker's EP.
Commentary: The 10 has included Sonny Baker several times in the past, particularly his role in Lazlo Hollyfeld and the local band's cover shows of Radiohead, Talking Heads, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and so forth.
Friday, Baker releases an extended play as a solo artist, titled "Steady Hands Dead Tired," in a show in Mohawk Place that also features RADARADA, Passed Out and Hundred Plus Club.
4) East Aurora Carolcade, 7 p.m. Dec. 16 on Main Street in East Aurora, outside Vidler's 5 & 10. Free to participate.
Commentary: Decorated for the season, Main Street in East Aurora is an ideal location for an hour of caroling with friends and family, and there's absolutely no doubt the weather will be better this year than last.
Some auxiliary events, like Elm Street Holiday Market (5 to 9 p.m.) in MUSEjar (17 Elm St., East Aurora), further enliven the festivities. To steal a timely quote, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear." You'll never guess what movie that's from.
5) Deluxe: A Winter Market, noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 15 in Cass Project (500 Seneca St.). Free to attend.
Commentary: Team Razor Wire's exhibition opening put the Cass Project, a new-ish art venue inside 500 Seneca, on our radar, and the same space is hosting a winter market all day on Friday.
Twenty-five local artists will showcase their work inside the atrium on Friday, with live music from ABCDJ and snacks and beverages available after 5 p.m.
6) "The Lion King," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 8 p.m. Dec. 15, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 16, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 in Shea's Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.). Tickets range from $69 to $89 and may be purchased here.
Commentary: It took 32 years of life to accept the beginning of "Circle of Life" was not "nah see venn yahh" but rather the Zulu phrase "nants ingonyama," which means "here comes a lion." Trust me, that realization was landscape-altering (I also did not know Pumbaa was spelled with two As, and I also thought Timon attended Bishop Timon St. Jude).
The touring Broadway musical pounces on Shea's and runs through Jan. 7. The News' Colin Dabkowski penned a thorough preview of what to expect, which you can read below.
7) Festival of Lights, 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 15 through 23 at the Hamburg Fairgrounds (5820 South Park Ave., Hamburg). Admission for a car-load is $25 in cash, although a drive-through gate accepts credit and debit.
Commentary: Friday begins the longest seasonal run of the Fairgrounds' Festival of Lights, and the frigid temperatures and snow-covered ground make for a suitable setting.
Pack the family into a vehicle and marvel at the drive-through light display, then get out and meander through the Christmas Tree Forest. Find a full list of activities here.
8) Last-minute Panic Holiday Marketplace, 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 15 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 16 in WNY Book Arts Center (468 Washington St.). Free to attend.
Commentary: If there's such thing as a "thoughtful last-minute gift," you'll probably find it at the WNY Book Arts Center's two-day panic sale. (If the term "panic sale" briefly flares your anxiety, maybe it should!)
Housewares, jewelry, knitted apparel and the specialty cards and posters are among the types of items featured, while a letterpress holiday workshop will take place, too. More than 40 vendors will span both floors of the downtown business.
9) Buffalo Foosball's anniversary tournament, 4 to 10 p.m. Dec. 16 in EXPO Market (617 Main St.). $15 per person for one event or $25 per person for all eligible events.
Commentary: Other than ping pong, foosball is probably one of the least appreciated recreational sports in Buffalo. Local organization Buffalo Foosball seeks to reverse that, however, with its anniversary tournament on Saturday in EXPO. Limited spots remain, and RSVPs can be done here.
There's a tournament for all skill levels throughout the afternoon and evening, while members of the Canadian National Team and U.S. junior National Team will be in attendance, too. (No, I didn't know there were foosball national teams either, but they're likely more successful than the U.S. men's soccer team.)
Commentary: Know what's hard to find? Buy one, get one cocktails. The deal is like an elusive unicorn, unless you're Applebee's and can somehow sell $1 Long Islands.
Larkinville distillers Buffalo Distilling will host a holiday party - ugly sweaters encouraged! - with the aforementioned cocktail deal. Those who bring more than five non-perishable goods for the Food Bank of WNY will receive a wristband for unlimited buy-one, get-one cocktails. (Don't let your charity get in the way of your safety, though).
BONUS) See a local Christmas play, various prices and locations, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Lancaster Opera House and more.
Commentary: Dabkowski has a firm grip on the area's Christmas plays, trotting out this glorious "Buffalo Theater Schedule" - replete with links to reviews, star ratings and logistical details.
One playing opening Friday, Lancaster Opera House's "The Night Before Christmas" is a family-friendly melange of fairy tales and holiday legends. There will, in fact, be reindeer games. More details on that particular play here.