Despite the cold and the dark, mid-December's a great time of year to go out. In addition to the usual fun, festivities around this time tend to glow a little brighter. Something about all the giving, the traditions, the friends and family, the love, causes people to radiate that certain holiday joy. Unless you're in the Bayshore Mall parking lot, in which case, total bloodbath.
So what to do this week? First, let's give a mention to the obvious. You've got a couple Center Arts shows at the Van Duzer, namely, Mr. Willie Nelson on Saturday and Blind Boys of Alabama on Sunday. Willie Nelson'll run you a whopping $86 ($76 for HSU students). The Blind Boys of Alabama are relatively affordable at $35 general (or a mere $10 for HSU students) and will be a special holiday spectacular featuring bluesy, gospelized versions of seasonal favorites old and new. Both shows start at 8 p.m. Advance tickets recommended and are available through the Center Arts website or by calling the box office at 826-3928.
Thursday's formerly-of-Traffic gig
Moving on, the slightly-lesser-known-but-still-Hall-of-Famer Dave Mason, co-founder of seminal rock group Traffic, appears with his band at the Garberville Theater on Thursday. After two albums with Traffic, Mason struck out on a solo career, recording the rock classic Alone Together and going platinum with 1977's Let It Flow — you may know the hit single "We Just Disagree." The show benefits the Southern Humboldt Schools Foundation. Tickets are $35 advance, $38 at the door. The theater opens at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.
Thursday's funky and uplifting gig
Back up in NoHum, World Famous Productions presents Fort Knox Five, Love and Light, and JPOD the Beat Chef at the Arcata Theatre Lounge.
Fort Knox Five interweaves live instrumentation with funky electronic breakbeats.
Love and Light seeks to elevate people through melodic synth lines, complex chord structure, intricate rhythms and funky, chunky bass lines. JPOD the Beat Chef's trademark sound is a tasteful fusion of soulful sounds with crispy rhythms and bold basslines. He is also funky and into the lifting of spirits. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. with happy hour food and beverage prices until 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 limited advanced and $15 advance, and available at People's Records, DTA, Wildberries and the Works. This show is 21-and-over.
A historical note re: Friday the 13th
According to National Geographic, Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. Take, for example, the Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki tricked Hoder, the blind god of darkness, into shooting Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow, thus casting the world into darkness and sorrow.
Similarly, Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper. The theme of 12 as a "complete" number continues in numerology — 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, etc. Add one more and suddenly completeness has been exceeded, throwing things out of whack. And when things are out of whack, getting them back into place usually requires some sort of sacrifice.
As for Friday, Christians know it as the day Jesus was crucified — again, according to Nat Geo — and some biblical scholars believe Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on Friday. Perhaps most significant is a belief that Abel was slain by Cain on Friday the 13th. So, there you go. Now that you have the background, check out your quasi-holiday choices, all of which are, surprisingly, all ages.
Friday's sizzling metal action
You can indulge the dark side with Embryonic Devourment, IGNit and Sadistic Hallucinations, all of whom describe their sound using the words "death" or "grind" or "weird" in varying combinations. Hey, hey — it's all ages! Happens at the Ink Annex at 7 p.m.
Friday's sizzling barn dance action
The Humboldt Folklife Society will host a Lucky Friday the 13th Barn Dance at Redwood Raks on Friday from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Blake Ritter and Sam McNeill will play sizzling tunes and Sue Moon will call the dances, a mix of contras, squares, English and Irish ceilidh dances. As always, dances will be taught with no partner or experience needed, everyone welcome. Admission is $7 general, $6 Humboldt Folklife Society members, students and seniors. Free for kids under 12.
Friday's pop punk chronicles
On another note, the ATL hosts a very cool showing of Filmage: The Story of the Descendents/ALL. Here's the gist: "Long before Green Day and Blink-182 inflicted punk rock's puncture wound on the map of mainstream music, the Descendents were in a garage concocting the perfect mix of pop, angst, love and coffee. Filmage: The Story of the Descendents/ALL follows band leader/drummer/square-peg Bill Stevenson as he pushes his rotating door of bandmates to 'achieve ALL,' his philosophy of going for greatness at all costs. Stevenson is a force to be reckoned with, proving that not even a grapefruit-sized brain tumor can keep him down." Interviews with the band, plus Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Mike Watt (Minutemen), Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion) and many more reveal the story of a band largely responsible for pop-punk as we know it. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5. All ages!
Friday's fun with centaurs option
Zipping back down to SoHum, specifically to Beginnings, it's a Sagittarius Dance Party with The Funnicators and Crossroads from 7 p.m. 'til midnight. Cost is $15 general, $5 teens, free for those under 12. For more info, call 923-3617.
Whew, finally it's Saturday!
Here's a way cool show: The Monster Women play with PDX's Dubais and Mattress at the Palm Lounge. Dubais is the multimedia lo-fi dark disco music project of visual artist and musician Nadia Buyse, a woman who has been in a gazillion bands and is known to be a "powerhouse of a performer." She has spent much of the last year being a feminist political activist in both Berlin and the country of Georgia near Russia and Turkey. Note: Saturday is her birthday. Free gig, with doors at 9 p.m. and music at 10 p.m. This show is 21-and-over.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Send your show info and high-res photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.