With the holiday season entering the home stretch as Christmas approaches, you might think your entertainment options between now and New Years Eve would be nothing but highly solemn Yuletide rituals. Not that theres anything wrong with seasonal solemnity, but why not try marking the holidays with something a bit less conventional? Like these:
A Trailer Park Christmas (through Dec. 23 at Common Ground Theatre, Durham; cgtheatre.com; $15-$17)
Equal parts Greater Tuna and Robert Earl Keens bawdy Merry Christmas From the Family, A Trailer Park Christmas offers a blue-collar take on holiday mayhem. Calamities include tornadoes, ghosts, fruitcake and, of course, families. This is the fifth year its been offered at Common Ground.
Joy An Irish Christmas (7 p.m. Tuesday, Durham Performing Arts Center; dpacnc.com; $35.25-$66.75)
Heres a somewhat different spin on holiday music from Keith and Kristyn Getty, best-known as the writing pen and performers behind In Christ Alone and other modern hymns. The show will have hymns as well as traditional carols, but also new Irish holiday songs.
Buy Local Bazaar (6 p.m. Thursday, Kings Barcade, Raleigh; kingsbarcade.com; free)
Spending your gift-giving dollars locally is always an excellent idea, and heres the perfect opportunity to do just that. House of Swank, Jade Owl Jewelry and Woodcrafty will be among the area artisans showing and selling their wares.
The Evil Wiener Christmas Show (9 p.m. Thursday, The Cave, Chapel Hill; caverntavern.com; free, donations accepted)
Even if youre terminally jaundiced toward the holidays, the Evil Wiener Christmas Show is an irresistibly charming indie-rock spectacle. For more than a decade, Billy Sugarfix has been dressing as an elf to preside over a holiday extravaganza with his band Evil Wiener. This years model includes appearances by Le Pere Fouettard (the French anti-Santa who punishes naughty kids) and Krampus the Christmas Devil. But its not all lumps of coal. There will also be abundant quantities of candy, carols played on theremin and singing along.
Chatham County Line Electric Holiday Tour (8 p.m. Friday, Haw River Ballroom, Saxapahaw; hawriverballroom.com; $15-$18)
In recent years, Chatham County Lines annual bluegrass-Christmas show has gotten big enough to outgrow several club venues across the Triangle. This years edition moves west to Saxapahaws Haw River Ballroom, and it features some good ringers and associates sitting in: Johnny Irion, plus Jay Brown and Zeke Hutchins from Tift Merritts band.
Nnenna Freelon/John Brown Christmas (8 p.m. Friday, Carolina Theatre, Durham; carolinatheatre.org; $24-$44)
In the mood to sing along on some Christmas carols? Well ... this wont be the show for that, because jazz really isnt sing-along music (just try it sometime in the privacy of your own home, preferably when no one else is around). But it should be mighty fine nevertheless, a live-show version of Brown and Grammy nominee Freelons new big-band album, Christmas.
Here, however, is where you can get your sing-along ya-yas out. This will be the 27th straight year that original Red Clay Rambler Watson plays his Christmas shindig at The Cave, which makes it one of the Triangles longest-running annual holiday events. In recent years, Watson has added a satellite version at Hillsboroughs Depot. At both, expect sheet music to get passed around and to do some singin.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The first day mentioned for Jim Watson's show has been corrected to Friday.
A Pink Martini Christmas, Pink Martini with the N.C. Symphony, Von Trapp Family Singers and Ari Shapiro (Friday-Saturday, Meymandi Hall, Raleigh; ncsymphony.org; $35.25-$88.75)
Pink Martini is a mini-orchestra that plays a highly idiosyncratic style of music drawing from jazz, classical and pop. This show teams the Portland, Or., ensemble with the N.C. Symphony for a holiday show based on Joy to the World Pink Martinis hyper-eclectic 2010 album featuring oddities such as a Japanese version of White Christmas, and Silent Night sung partially in Arabic. With the Von Trapp Family Singers (of The Sound of Music fame) and Ari Shapiro also on the bill, this is sure to be one of the most unusual holiday-music shows of the season.
Terry Andersons OAK Team (9 p.m. Dec. 25, Pour House, Raleigh; thepourhousemusichall.com; $5)
As it happens, Dec. 25 is the birthday of both Terry Anderson drummer in a series of iconic local bands including the Woods and his late bandmate, guitarist David Enloe. So every year, Anderson marks the occasion with a show that is equal parts birthday blowout, wake and wind-down to the days festivities. Its the perfect Christmas nightcap, and it always draws a good crowd since its pretty much the only game in town that night.
Menconi: 919-829-4759 or blogs.newsobserver.com/beat