This weekend is the final rush before Christmas - which is Tuesday - so flying through late holiday shopping is high on the lists of many Buffalonians. But for those looking for a little release before the family parties, here are some strong suggestions.
Among the events that have sold out: Strictly Hip at Hamburg Brewing, the "Nutcracker" at Shea's and "A Christmas Carol" at Alleyway Theatre.
1. CPXmas, doors at 5, show from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23 at Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.). Cost is $10 at the door.
Short for Country-Punk Extravaganza, the CPX and frontman Andrew J. Reimers have built a following for their holiday show, held Christmas Eve eve in a downtown local music hub. Listen to the CPX here, and check out Smiles from the 2017 CPX-mas.
The Innocent Bystanders and the Last Conservatives are back in the fold this year, with Ryan Kaminski joining the bill.
2. Home Alone Bash, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21 at 1503 Hertel Ave. and Williamsville (5933 Main St.) locations of Lloyd Taco Factory. Free to attend.
Lloyd Taco is careful to confirm that "Home Alone" - not "Lost in New York" or "Home Alone 3" - will play on loop at both taco factories on Friday night, with Lockhouse Distillery handling themed cocktails - we're still holding out for Buzz's Buzz. The food options are fitting, too, with Kevin's Mac and Cheese, Little Nero's Pizza and a Garbage Sundae slated for the menu.
An ugly sweater contest is another perk, with a mysterious-yet-desirable taco package the prize. The event preview written by Lloyd Taco's Pat Fisher is always worth the read.
3. Buffalo New Generations' fashion and talent show, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 at 500 Seneca. Cost is $20 with a wrapped gift for the Buffalo City Mission/Cornerstone Manor, or $25 at the door or without a gift.
Zoom down to the Hydraulic District for a night of fashion and talent, presented by Buffalo New Generations, that will benefit Buffalo City Mission and its Cornerstone Manor.
The Facebook event page notes that poets, singers and rappers will showcase their talents, with a few fashion designers rolling out their wares on a catwalk.
This Saturday show on Allen is a homecoming for two bands born in Buffalo. M.A.G.S., who broke out as a solo artist in 2015 after a fast rise with the now-defunct Malones, is back from Los Angeles, his new home, and will play on a bill with Feverbox, once Buffalo club regulars who've taken their talents to Brooklyn.
Rochester's the Demos and Too Real are further support for M.A.G.S. return.
6. JazzBuffalo's Jazzy Christmas, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21 in Hotel Henry (Rockwell Road and Cleveland Circle, in Richardson-Olmsted Complex). Tickets are $17 in advance here; prospective attendees are encouraged to buy early as the first edition sold out.
Given the warm reception to the sold-out first running of Jazzy Christmas, JazzBuffalo is back with a second installment Friday night.
The Ladies First Jazz Big Band and the Buffalo Dolls deliver lively performances in the grandeur of Hotel Henry; roughly 15 tickets remain as of 10 a.m. Dec. 20, so this will sell out shortly.
7. Festivus 5.0 at Hydraulic Hearth, 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23 at 716 Swan St. Free to attend.
Just like how Lloyd will embrace several aspects of "Home Alone," Hydraulic Hearth hasn't cut corners with its fifth presentation of Festivus, the "Seinfeld"-fueled, alt-Christmas party that features an airing of grievances, a stein-hoisting competition for feats of strength, a sold-out trivia contest based on the classic TV show, a contest to dress like "Seinfeld" characters and the ever-inspirational Elaine dance-off.
Community Beer Works will unveil two "Seinfeld"-themed beers at the party, to boot. (Don't actually kick the beers).
Steve-O's nutty, daredevil stunts have ingrained him (for better or worse) in the minds of comedy fans. The former circus clown's stand-up set is well-refined in the performance sense, but it's still raunchy and absurd in its content.
Don't believe me? Check out the cell phone, camera and smart watch (!) policy for the shows.
9. Last-minute holiday markets:
*Lockhouse Distillery, 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 at 41 Columbia St. Free to attend. Perks: Alpacas with Santa hats, local vendors. The News' Francesca Bond tells you everything you need to know about Thistle Creek Alpacas here.
*Totally Buffalo, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 at Buffalo Niagara Marriott (1340 Millersport Highway, Amherst). Free to attend. Perk: More than 50 vendors and free parking.
*Broadway Market, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 24 at 999 Broadway. Free to attend. Perks: Santa and Mrs. Claus on Saturday, holiday foods and gifts for purchase, Christmas Eve hours.
10. Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at Woodcock Brothers Brewing, 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 at 638 Lake St., Wilson. Free to attend, and those wearing Christmas sweaters receive $1 off beers.
Hop heads, take note: Wilson brewery Woodcock will release the 16th version of its XPA, which unites four different hop varieties and then is double dry-hopped. As you might suspect, this leads to quite the hoppy brew, beloved among a large portion of the craft-beer community.
Local Irish folk-rockers Pour Ould Goat will perform from 7 to 10 p.m., and ugly sweaters are encouraged.
BONUS: Soho Christmas Party, 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23 at 64 W. Chippewa St. Free to attend.
The Chippewa bar-restaurant isn't exclusive: it claims to welcome both naughty and nice for a Sunday holiday party. DJ Rich Variety (an elite DJ name), drink and shot specials, and complimentary hors d'oeuvres are the highlights at the established nightlife spot that's well adorned for the season.
[Photos: Smiles at Martinis and Mistletoe at Soho in 2017]
5 events to look forward to next week
MNM Presents' Christmas Party at Pearl Street
Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar Christmas
Remington Tavern Christmas Party
The Sweat Before Christmas at KeyBank Center
Christmas Eve services at churches around Buffalo