“I look at the Confederate flag,” goes one of Dave Stone’s stand-up bits, “and I see two things: crystal meth and sloppy Joes.” Given the Confederate naval jack still flies on the north side of the State House grounds, you might hear Stone, a semifinalist in 2012’s Next Big Comic comedy competition on CMT, riff on it tonight at Conundrum Music Hall; he headlines a stand-up bill that also features Caleb Synan, Jenn Snyder and Wayne Cousins. (You might recognize Stone’s voice if you’ve ever watched Adult Swim’s Squidbillies; Stone voices Brock Bell.) The laughs start at 8 p.m.; admission is $7. Call 250-1295 or visit conundrum.us for more information.
Local multidisciplinary artist Michaela Pilar Brown’s work is featured in the 701 Center for Contemporary Art Biennial, which hangs at the Olympia art space through Sunday. As a companion to her work in the exhibition, Brown performs bittersalt bittersweet at 7 p.m.; Brown will be using her body as a vehicle, pushing beyond physical and mental limits and trust and exploring the relationship of black women’s bodies to American culture.
Christmas, country-style: Wynnona Judd and her Big Noise backing band sing country hits and Christmas classics at 8 p.m. at the Newberry Opera House. Tickets are $125. Visit newberryoperahouse.com for more information.
Bruce Dern is receiving rave reviews for his performance in Nebraska, which opens today at the Nickelodeon Theatre; in the film, Dern plays an aging, booze-addled retiree who wrangles his estranged sad-sack son, played by Will Forte, into a road trip from Montana to Nebraska to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize — a prize he of course hasn’t really won. Dern received Best Actor awards from the Cannes Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review, and nominations from the Golden Globes, the Independent Spirit Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Dern “is so convincing as an addled, drunken, embittered and probably dying man that he doesn’t appear to be acting,” writes Salon’s Andrew O’Hehr, “but Forte is just as good playing a preoccupied, emotionally constricted man-child.” The Nick screens the film at 3, 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.; it also screens modern-day Christmas classic Elf at 11 p.m. Call 254-3433 or visit nickelodeon.org for more information.
As the Christmas holiday approaches, your menu of available events narrows. Sure, there are some spectacular holiday light shows and plenty of seasonal concerts, but beyond that the calendar at this time of year gets just about as bare as the trees. Enter the South Carolina State Museum’s annual WinterFest, which opens today; WinterFest features movies, board games, scavenger hunts, crafts and more, and today features a special opening-day performance of Santa’s Christmas Party by the Columbia Marionette Theatre. Admission to all WinterFest activities — except for Monday’s Polar Express Party — is free with museum admission or membership. Call 898-4952 or visit scmuseum.org for more information.
It’s the Sunday before Christmas, and if you’re feeling like a humbug these holidays, know that there’s still plenty of time to turn that Yuletide frown upside down. Hey, it worked for Ebenezer Scrooge. It worked for George Bailey, too: The Nickelodeon Theatre screens Frank Capra’s Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life at 8 p.m. Eight Days has heard that every time you go see a movie at the Nick, an angel gets its wings. Or maybe Andy Smith gets some wings. I don’t know. Something like that. Tickets are $10. Remember no man is a failure who has friends: Call 254-3433 or visit nickelodeon.org for more information.
Today, reader, is Eight Days’ favorite non-denominational holiday celebrated by those frustrated and jaded by the commercialism and pressure surrounding the Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa season. Today is Festivus, which means feats of strength, the airing of grievances and plenty of festivus miracles. Remember: The Festivus Pole should be made from aluminum — due to its very high strength-to-weight ratio — and requires no decoration, as tinsel is distracting.
Then again, it is the Christmas season, and there’s no better way to get that final dose of pre-Christmas cheer than by tripping the light(s) fantastic! Columbia’s two premier holiday light shows are open today before shutting down for Christmas: The Riverbanks Zoo’s Lights Before Christmas walk-through display is open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m.; adult admission is $8, with kids’ admission running $6. Should you prefer to stay in your heated, comfortable car, Saluda Shoals Park’s Holiday Lights on the River is on display from 6 to 10 p.m.; admission is $10 per car. Call 779-8717 or 772-1228, respectively, for more information.
Today’s Christmas Eve, the last possible day to cram as much ho-ho-holiday spirit down your gullet as possible. Maybe some outdoor ice skating will boost your holiday spirits? Main Street Ice is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.; admission is $8, which includes skate rental. We bet you’ll hear Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” at least once. Hey, that always cheers Eight Days up. Call 545-3100 for more information.
A Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Carnival
From 5-11 PM on December 31st on Main Street, enjoy rides, games, karaoke, food, drinks and more! More information here.
Ice Skate on Main Street
Columbia’s famously hot skating rink opens Thanksgiving Day! Additional information and discounts can be found here.
Surreal Innovation Salon Now Open
Columbia’s newest total care spa is now taking appointments and offering $10 off services $25 or more for first time clients. Location, hours, and more info here.
Going someplace cool this weekend?
Let The Backpacker help you go lightweight, comfortable and in style! Patagonia, Prana, Merrell, The North Face and more! Click for location, hours and more info.
Now Hiring in the Vista!
Hickory Tavern is opening mid-December and looking for bartenders, servers, hosts and kitchen staff. Apply in person: Click for details!
A Re-Imagined Christmas Carol at Trustus
Watch as five actors perform all the characters of Charles Dickens’ classic story and create a live musical score in a production that had audiences and critics raving last year. Get your tickets here!
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Holiday Wish ListWhere to shop for gift ideas in Columbia this season: