Kick off the holiday season


Most Lansing-area residents will probably spend their Friday evening at the beloved Silver Bells in the City celebration, but there are plenty of other events to enjoy this weekend, including a host of live music performances and theater productions, an Alternative Holiday Sale, poetry readings by both Michigan’s and Lansing’s poet laureate and more.

For Friday evening’s live music, we have Michigan State University College of Music students and alumni playing a variety of chamber music works at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at 5:30; solo musician Seth Austin at Harrison Roadhouse at 6; funk/R&B/soul group Tony Thompson & Friends at East Lansing’s Red Cedar Spirits at 7; Oregon-based solo musician Brian Byrnes at The Peanut Barrel and Mr. Midnight with gospel and blues singer Twyla Birdsong covering music by the late composer Burt Bacharach at UrbanBeat, both at 8; funk group Sloan & the Filthy Animals at The Green Door at 8:30; and a benefit show for Travis Dopp of indie-rock band Small Brown Bike, featuring punk and alternative groups Cold Joys, Suburban Delinquents, Touch the Clouds and Shindig Machine, at The Avenue at 9. Saturday evening, we have A 25th-anniversary concert by current and former members of MSU a cappella group Capital Green at Grewal Hall at 224 at 7; the Black Rock Sextet performing its “Black Rock 101” show, which explores the contributions Black musicians have made to rock ‘n’ roll, at The Green Door at 8; and Punks with Lunch’s Birthday Bash, featuring punk and indie groups Get Tuff, Former Critics and Crawl Spaces, at The Avenue at 9. Ending the weekend on Sunday is Woldumar Nature Center’s Folk & Bluegrass Jamboree from 2 to 5 p.m.; Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s flute, viola and harp trio at the First Presbyterian Church of Lansing’s Molly Grove Chapel at 3 p.m.; a fundraiser concert for the Greater Lansing Food Bank, featuring performances by many local blues bands, from 4 to 8 p.m.; Red Cedar Spirits’ weekly Sunday Jazz show at 6 p.m.; and singer-songwriters Mary Gauthier and Jaimee Harris at the Orchard Street Pump House at 7 p.m.

For even more live music, All Saints Episcopal Church is hosting its monthly Coffeehouse at All Saints 7:30 p.m. Friday, featuring music and spoken-word performances. Admission is free, and attendees are encouraged to bring snacks or drinks to share.

Michigan Poet Laureate Nandi Comer and Lansing Poet Laureate Masaki Takahashi will perform readings at the Charlotte Community Library 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a Q&A session with both poets.

The Art Williamston gallery inside the Williamston Library is celebrating the opening of its new exhibition, “Colors of Celebration: An Artistic Tribute to Global Holidays,” as well as its first anniversary 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday with free refreshments, a public painting opportunity and cartooning by Lansing artist Dennis Preston. Additionally, the MSU Broad Art Museum is hosting a tour 1 p.m. Sunday in which an applied ethnobotanist and education program director for the school’s Beal Botanical Garden will discuss “the historical, social and political narratives growing within works of art” from the museum’s collection. Pre-registration is encouraged. While you’re at the Broad, make sure to check out the other exhibitions on display, including “Shouldn’t You Be Working? 100 Years of Working from Home,” “As we dwell in the fold,” “Resistance Training: Arts, Sports, and Civil Rights,” “Seeing in 360 Degrees: The Zaha Hadid Design Collection” and “Beal Botanical Garden: Celebrating 150 Years of People, Plants, and Place.”

Other art displays on view this weekend include the Michigan Made Holiday Art Exhibition at the Lansing Art Gallery, which is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; the Mid-Michigan Art Guild’s Fall Member Art Show at the Neighborhood Empowerment Center, which is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; Chance Liscomb’s “Where ART Thou?? Playful Reflections on Religion and Scripture” at The Peoples Church of East Lansing, which is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday; and local artist Bobbie Margolis’ “Mixed Media Medley” exhibition at the Okemos Library, which is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Call the library at 517-347-2021 before visiting to make sure the gallery space is open.

If you’d like to make some art of your own, REACH Studio Art Center is hosting a life drawing class 6 p.m. Friday, and the Lansing Art Gallery is holding an open studio with a range of art-making opportunities for families 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

“Sense and Sensibility” at Lansing Community College’s Black Box Theatre and “The Trail to Oregon” at the Riverwalk Theatre both wrap up this weekend, with final performances 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. “Much Ado About Nothing” at MSU’s Arena Theatre also wraps up this weekend, with final performances 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. In addition, Williamston Theatre’s “Murder for Two: Holiday Edition” opens this weekend, with preview performances 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, and MSU Opera Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” runs 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the school’s Fairchild Theatre.

The Peace Education Center’s annual Alternative Holiday Sale runs 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Edgewood United Church in East Lansing, offering a variety of local vendors selling everything from art to home goods and beyond. Meals and snacks will also be available for purchase, and Chicago-based singer-songwriter Joe Jencks will perform 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets for the concert are available on the Ten Pound Fiddle website.

The annual Silver Bells in the City celebration runs 5 to 9 p.m. Friday in downtown Lansing, featuring a vendor village, an Electric Light Parade, the lighting of the State Christmas Tree, a Community Sing with “The Voice” season 23 runner-up Grace West, a drone light show and fireworks. For a full schedule of events, visit the website.

Pet parents and their furry friends can visit Harris Nature Center 7 p.m. Friday for a 3-mile dog walk through the nighttime woods. Dogs need to be on a 6-foot, non-retractable leash.

The Lansing Liederkranz Club is hosting a dinner and dance Saturday evening. Dinner runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m., followed by live music and dancing from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

Visit Keys to Manifestation for its monthly Game Night 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday. All table games are welcome, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own drinks and food.

Finally, the Salus Center is hosting a Vaccine Clinic noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, where attendees can get vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu, get tested for HIV and other STIs, get help accessing vaccine records and enrolling in health insurance and more. It’s also hosting an event 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday that aims to connect LGBTQ+ people of different generations through conversation. Attendees are encouraged to come prepared with questions for members of different generations, and coffee and treats will be provided.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the best of weekends.

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