Top Tickets: Dec. 19-Jan. 1
Diablo’s can’t-miss events until the end of 2012: Rufus Wainwright and Emmylou Harris in Oakland, a rising music star from Lafayette, and lots and lots of balloons.
One of the things that makes me happy about the research mojo of the Internet is that I can look for quotes from people who can probably say things better than me. In trying to come up with something profound to say about why this time of year holds so much power over our spirits and imaginations, I came across this quote from none other than Mr. Christmas Carol himself, Charles Dickens.
“Happy, happy Christmas, than can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!”
The quote speaks to the power of the holidays to evoke nostalgia and to get us thinking about what has changed and what has remained the same, the good times in the past, the good people in our lives, and our hopes for the future.
Happy, happy holidays to you, and here are some wonderful events to help you and loved ones celebrate through the end of 2012.
December 19: Rufus and Martha Wainwright’s Christmas 101
The brother and sister performers bring their family’s legendary holiday concert tradition to the West Coast for the first time, with special guests Emmylou Harris and Maria Muldaur. The Wainwright’s late mother, Canandian singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, started the concert tradition in 2005. By purchasing gala tickets, you can also join a post-concert reception and contribute to the Kate McGarrigle Foundation, which helps fund cancer research. Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 8 p.m., $45–$166, (510) 302-2250, thefoxoakland.com.
December 20, 23: Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers
Rising Bay Area singer Nicki Bluhm, whose crystal clear voice recalls Linda Rondstadt, returns to her hometown of Lafayette with her band The Gramblers to perform two special holiday concerts. Bluhm is a graduate of Acalanes High, along with bandmate and guitar player Deren Ney. Check out their cover of Hall and Oates' “I Can’t Go for That,” which has gained 1.8 million views since they posted it in March, here. Lafayette Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School St., Lafayette, $22.50, (925) 283-1557, townhalltheatre.com.
December 21: Christmas in New York
The longest-running phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Franc D’Ambrosio, joins forces with Peter Pan Foundation (founder Leslie Noel was a 2008 Diablo Threads of Hope honoree) for a night of carols and memorable music from stage and screen. Proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland. New Rheem Theatre, 350 Park St., Moraga, 6:30 p.m., $50–$500, peterpanfoundation.org/franc/.
December 23: A Toast to the Holidays
The California Symphony, with soprano Sarah Jane McMahon and the Walnut Creek–based Voices of Musica Sacra choir, present this joyous selection of seasonal favorites, from “Deck the Halls” to “O Holy Night” to works by Rimsky-Korsakov and Bizet. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, 7:30 p.m., $35–$65, (925) 943-7469, lesherartscenter.org.
December 26–28: Big Fat Year End Kiss Off XX
If you want to laugh off some of the most satire-worthy events of 2012, join Will Durst and friends in a comedy extravaganza to be staged in Berkeley, Livermore, and Walnut Creek. You know the presidential election will play a starring role in the show’s sketches and stand-up routines. December 26 at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 644-2020, freightandsalvage.org. December 28 at Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, (925) 373-6800, bankheadtheatre.org. December 29 at Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek (925), 943-7469, lesherartscenter.org.
December 31: New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop
If you’re a parent with energetic young kids, staying up until midnight, even on New Year’s Eve, can be a challenge. Besides, wouldn’t ringing in 2013 with the tradition of hundreds of balloons dropping all around you be much more fun with your kids? Chabot Space and Science Center presents five balloon drops for two different age groups (under 5, and 6 and older) throughout the day. Chabot Space and Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd. Oakland, 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m., $4, (510) 336-7373, chabotspace.org.
For more NEW YEAR'S EVE EVENTS, check out our complete round-up here.
For more events happening this week, or to submit an event for consideration, visit Diablo’s Community Calendar. Follow Diablo on Twitter or Facebook (links below), and you'll be notified as soon as Top Tickets posts each Wednesday morning.