Monday, Dec. 5 — XLO’s Almost Acoustic Christmas, 7:30 p.m. (doors), Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St. Hold up, there, chief — did anyone ask Mayor Petty about this? We’re trying to get everyone calmed down amid all the post-election tension, and WXLO’s gonna bring in some rich girl from Newton whose most popular song is about fighting? That doesn’t seem like a great holiday message. Of course, then the tragically unhip middle-aged white guy reads a few lyrics — and the song’s actually rather uplifting (except for the whole, being Hillary Clinton’s campaign theme song thing … ouch!).
Watch and listen: Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song”
Anyway, with the opus approaching 240 million YouTube views, clearly Platten is ascending to the rarified air usually reserved for juggernauts like the Worcester Sun. And Donald Trump. Which all makes her a solid headliner for our fair hometown rock station’s annual holiday shindig. She’s joined by opening acts you’ve never heard of, who will play a lot more than her. Tickets are $49.50-$59.50 and strikingly plentiful.
Wednesday, Dec. 7 — “Branded: How Italian Immigrants Became Enemies During WWII,” lecture, 6:30-8 p.m., Gene J. DeFeudis Italian American Cultural Center, 28 Mulberry St. Obviously, the folks over at Mount Carmel forgot about the part in “The Godfather” — you’d think they’d mostly have it memorized — where Michael Corleone was a war hero. And then a whole bunch of senators really want to talk to him about the olive oil business, how he liked his trip to Vegas, all that good stuff. They don’t sound like enemies to me.
Well, you better ask Lawrence DiStasi about all that. The author and historian has an entirely different story — “Una Storia Segreta,” actually. “Branded” is his second book on the subject and takes readers deeper into the origins of Italian-Americans being targeted, and many shuffled off to internment camps.
Thursday, Dec. 8 — Holiday Paint Night Fundraiser, 7-9:30 p.m., Art Reach, 322 W. Boylston St. I thought the Junior League went out with Betty Draper and “Mad Men,” but I guess it’s still a thing. Which is probably good for all of us. These organizations, including the Worcester chapter, which has been around since 1925, focus on creating a place for young women and families to learn and grow by volunteering and otherwise supporting the community through social-service programs and scholarships.
And tonight, they’re raising money for all these missions with a fun evening of painting snowmen. Cost is $25, and $20 goes straight back to the Junior League of Worcester.
Friday, Dec. 9 — “The 1940s Radio Hour” Musical, 7:30 p.m., Calliope Theatre, 150 Main St., Boylston These are the types of shows community theater was made for — or is it the other way around? Either way, the audience is likely to come away entertained by this peek into a New York radio station’s final holiday broadcast, to be recorded for WWII troops overseas, replete with over-the-top characters who all seem to have something else on their mind. Merissa Murtha, Jon Dano and Tom Miller are the leads. The play is directed by Linda Oroszko, whose son Pat — an inimitable presence in the Clark University community — died of cancer this summer.
Tickets are $20, $17 for students and seniors. There are three more performances at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Saturday, Dec. 10 — Worcester State men’s basketball vs. Salve Regina, 1 p.m., Lancers Gymnasium, Worcester State University, 486 Chandler St. Mom used to say, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” So, I guess a) she’ll never be president; and b) she’ll be more focused on Worcester State’s shiny new gym than the basketball that’s being played in it this afternoon. The Lancers were off to an 0-5 start as deadline approached. Maybe the bright lights and new-court smell aren’t all they’re cracked up to be?
Anyway, led by top-scoring junior guard Jamal Mustapha, a former Doherty standout, and senior center Paul Brooks, the Lancers will look to get off the schneid against the Seahawks, who lean on the dangerous tandem of Nicholas Bates (22.8 points per game) and Rodney Morton (19.3).
Mustapha and Brooks were key cogs on last year’s Lancers squad that was featured in the Sun and brought coach Dave Lindberg his first winning season in a decade.
Saturday, Dec. 10 — Denholms for the Holidays, 7:30-11 p.m., Denholm Building, 484 Main St. In a couple of years you’ll probably just have to actually “stay home for the holidays,” because the Denholm Building will have likely succumbed to the city’s “downtown revitalization” program and turned into — who knows — a retail marijuana superstore or a safe space for Clark students, maybe even a sprawling, modern department store! What it probably won’t be anymore is a dingy-yet-charming place to hold a pricey party packed with hors d’oeuvres and nostalgia.
But, yeah, experience downtown Worcester like it used to be — when people were there after 5 p.m. and on the weekends — with the folks at Preservation Worcester. Tickets are $65 for members, $75 for everyone else, and $90 at the door.