Arts, community and music in the area: Pre-holiday recreation

As the holidays approach, venues for entertainment and cultural events come to peak when shoppers search for a break from the “madding crowds.” Here are a few things going on around the area to provide some personal recreation for the entertainment-starved.

Parents, keep your kids at home when Steve-O Video Volume II: The Tour comes to the Coronado Theatre. In conjunction with their “Don’t Try This At Home Tour,” cast members of cult TV show Jackass host the new video featuring all-new pranks, outrageous acts and detrimental self-damage. Steve-O, Ryan Dunn and Preston Lacey will be on hand to meet and perform live stunts in the newly renovated theater. The evening should be entertaining, if violent and somewhat unorthodox. This is an R-rated show for violence, profanity and nudity; only those 18 and older are allowed admittance. Remember, these are the guys who put a cast member into a Portable Washroom, and upturned it with a crane, just to see what it would be like. The show will be held on Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.50. For information, call 968-5222.

Holiday Expo, an exhibit of buyable furniture, sculptural works and gift art by local and area artists, is being held at Rockford Creations on West State Street, right across from the Irish Rose, during the whole month of December. It would be a good stop for shoppers who have that creatively inclined relative or friend on their Christmas list. Rockford Creations is the new gallery where the wonderful Artery used to be.

Owned and run by Jason Gough, this place carries on the tradition of The Artery. Musical performances are held there every so often, and a wide array of diverse local artists are given the chance to display and sell their work. The exhibit will be up through the New Year. For gallery hours and event updates, call 969-7906.

Rock River Friends of Folk Music’s Annual Holiday Party will also be Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the Royal Oak Pub, 6280 Vicksburg Rd. There will be open stage entertainment featuring Christmas, Hanukkah and other cultural songs celebrating the winter season. There is no cover charge, and no advance reservations are required. All that is asked for is a holiday treat to share—hot cider and other drinks will be furnished. The festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. For information and directions, call Tom Lindem at 815/399-7334.

On Thursday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Booker T. Washington Center hosts a Kwanzaa celebration. Kwanzaa is an African-American traditional festival that was created by Dr. Mulana Karenga in 1966. The word “kwanzaa” means “first fruits of the harvest,” and the intended goal of the celebration is to provide renewed cultural interest, and to restate the importance of productivity, family, community, giving thanks to God and preparing for the New Year.

Artists featured on Saturday’s celebration are Carl Cole, Richard Meeks, David Stocker and the Ngoma Dance Troupe. There will be a diverse market of vendors and a “soul food” court. Booker T. Washington Center is at 524 Kent St. There is no charge, and all are welcome to attend. For information, call 968-8861.

The Coronado Theatre gets into the Christmas spirit with Sing Along Santa ™ on Monday, Dec. 23. This theatrical music show features Santa in a wide array of various Yuletide costumes other than the traditional red and white, singing seasonal tunes with some of his friends. This is a show for all ages. For ticket pricing and information, call Centre Events at 968-5222.

For M-POW (Metro Picks of the Week), check out guitarist Scott DuBois at Trattoria Fantini on Friday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. Originally from Rockford, this jazz picker has been living in New York City for the last few years and plays eloquent rolls up and down the fret-board. There is no cover. For information, call 227-1053. On Saturday, Dec. 21, Kryptonite will host Red Super Giant, Rockford’s unique rock ’n‘ roll act. Only one year together, this band melds some great aspects of country, pop, intense jazz and melodic rock to appeal to most music lovers. Openers are Mark Willer and Stank Willie. The show starts at 9 p.m. with a $5 cover. For information, call 965-0931. Also on the 21st, Skeleton Key, a “Dylan and Dead Tribute Band,” will play Mary’s Place Tavern. If classic folk/rock ’n‘ roll is what lifts your spirits, then Skeleton Key is perfect for pre-holiday recreation. For times, prices and information, call 962-7944. Kryptonite once again monopolizes the out-of-town acts with Sunset Black on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24, at 9 p.m. Originally formed in Kansas City, Mo., this heavy EMO band has been playing Minneapolis since 1999. Having shared the stage with the likes of Linkin Park, Staind, Fear Factory, System Of A Down, Fuel and more, Sunset Black has been called the “heaviest EMO band in the world.” For cover charge and information, call 965-0931.

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