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5 things to do this week

Monday music: Caspian @ Jackpot

The instrumental alt-rock band from Massachusetts will play at the Jackpot, 943 Massachusetts St., along with Sundiver and Native, starting at 9 p.m. $7 for 18+, $5 for 21+.

Tuesday art: The art of Medieval theater @ the Spencer

Rutgers University art history professor Laura Weigert will give the talk, about a French historical and miniature painter from the 16th century, called "The Devil’s Stage: Hubert Cailleau’s Illuminated Manuscripts and the Illusion of a Medieval Theater," at 5:30 p.m. at the Spencer Museum of Art on KU's campus. It's free.

Tuesday talk: NPR White House correspondent @ the Dole Institute of Politics

Scott Horsley will speak at 7:30 p.m. at the Dole Institute of Politics on KU's West Campus as part of Kansas Public Radio's 60th anniversary celebration. Horsley, NPR's White House correspondent, will give his take on the 2012 presidential campaign. It's free.

Tuesday geekery: Climate change Science on Tap @ Free State Brewing Company

Sharon Billings, Kansas University associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, will present "Global Shift — a Challenging Twist on Climate Change" and talk about climate change science over some brews, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the restaurant, 636 Massachusetts St. It's free to attend. The beer's not, unfortunately.

Weekday music: STS9 @ Liberty Hall

Post-rock dance music-makers Sound Tribe Sector 9 — a big, instrumental, jazzy new-wave group — will play Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St., for $25.50 a night or $45.50 for both. The show starts at 8 p.m. both nights.

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3 things to do this week

Monday arts: Stan Herd @ the Arts Center

The Lawrence Arts Center is hosting an evening with Lawrence earthworks artist Stan Herd, including clips and photos from an upcoming film about his work. 7 p.m.; $10.

Tuesday talk: Sporting KC’s CEO @ the Dole Institute

Sporting KC's CEO and co-owner Robb Heineman will talk about the rise of Kansas City's pro soccer team — how "combined innovative marketing, technology and fan kinship to propel Sporting KC into a Major League Soccer powerhouse in America" according to a media release — at 7:30 p.m. at the Dole Institute on KU's campus. It's free.

Wednesday talk: Jim Steele @ the Kansas Union

Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist Jim Steele will discuss his latest book, "The Betrayal of the American Dream," starting at 7 p.m. in Woodruff Auditorium, on the fourth floor of the union, on KU's campus. Entry is free for students, $5 for the public.

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4 things to do this week

Monday classical music: "Playing card" Baroque @ Swarthout Recital Hall

KU School of Music Instrumental Collegium Musicum is hosting a night of rare 16th-century German works, starting at 7:30 p.m. on the KU campus. The concert is free.

Tuesday talks: "The Buried Life" @ Budig Hall

This week's Student Union Activities big event is a presentation from folks with the MTV "bucket list" show of the same name. They will present an interactive video lecture talking about their show and how they help people accomplish goals, asking, "What do you want to do before you die?" It starts at 7 p.m. in Room 120 of Budig Hall and is $5 for the general public.

Wednesday talk: Saving college sports @ the ECM

In a University-Community Forum held by Ecumenical Christian Ministries, professor of health, sport and exercise science Angela Lumpkin will discuss a 14-point plan to emphasize academics and student-athlete welfare. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1204 Oread Ave.

Wednesday film: "Journey of the Universe" @ Liberty Hall

The award-winning, PBS-featured documentary on the connections between humanity and the cosmos will be shown at 6:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion with writer Mary Evelyn Tucker and several KU professors.

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4 things to do this weekend

On the other side of this Blizzard of Oz, many Final Friday events are postponed as Lawrence continues the snow dig-out. (Check out Sara Shepherd's story for the full details.) But if two days of being stuck inside has gotten you a bit stir-crazy, here's some events to enjoy consider bundling up for.

Weekend music: SXSW Fest @ the Jackpot

Local music news site I Heart Local Music is hosting a two-night showcase to help pay the way to SXSW. Friday features local acts Radkey, Approach, The Hips and Y[our] Fri[end]. Saturday is The Sluts, Up The Academy and Winner's Circle. $5 gets you access to both nights, starting at 9 p.m.

Saturday music: UUVVWWZ and Pale Hearts @ the Bottleneck

Nebraskan nice guys making weirdo blues UUVVWWZ just released a sophomore album a few weeks ago. They'll be playing with locals Pale Hearts at 8 p.m. for $8; 18+.

Sunday community: Purim celebration @ Lawrence Visitor Center

KU Chabad is an open-to-the-public celebration of the Jewish holiday with meals, masks and a reading of traditional stories. It's from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 402 N. Second. RSVP to Purim@JewishKU.com.

Sunday movies: Oscar watch party @ Liberty Hall

Think you know who'll be crowned by Hollywood this year? Want to see if Seth MacFarlane will continue the recent string of Oscar hosts who've bombed? Even if you've seen none of the best pic noms, or if you've seen them all, watch all the red carpet action for free on Liberty Hall's big screen starting at 5:30 p.m.

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What to do this weekend

Friday local music: Hidden Pictures @ the Jackpot

Hidden Pictures is a loveable indie-pop band from KC (with deep Lawrence ties). They'll be playing with Heidi and the Kicking Heels and Electro Foam, starting at 9 p.m. at the Jackpot, 943 Massachusetts St. $5 for 21+, $8 for 18+.

Saturday geekery: Take Flight @ the Museum of Natural History

The museum, on KU's campus, is having another Saturday open house, this time with activities and talks about birds. If you don't want to understand how flight works, you're just bird-brained. (Sorry.) It's from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is free.

Sunday classical music: Baroque @ the Unitarian Fellowship

The Lawrence Chamber Orchestra will be putting on a choral concert of Bach and others, accompanied by violin, cello and harpsichord, starting at 2:30 p.m. at 1263 N. 1100 Road, for $8.

Sunday local music: Tyler Gregory, et al, @ the Jackpot

Local bluegrass singer-songwriter Tyler Gregory is playing with like-minded muscians Tom Skora and The Sharrows, starting at 9 p.m. at the Jackpot for $5.

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5 things to do this weekend

Thursday local music: Sam Billen, ACBs, Jordan Gieger & Shy Boys @ Replay

This Thursday evening is jam-packed with solid, local indie pop from Lawrence and K.C. Starts at 10 p.m.; $3 cover; 21+.

Friday art: Final Friday Downtown

It's the final Final Friday of the year, though, with the holidays, it's toned down in its number of events (the Arts Center is closed). For a full listing of the showings available, check out the event's blog.

Friday local music: Mouthbreathers & Rooftop Vigilantes @ Replay

It's a tour kickoff for the aggressive Lawrence punk-rockers. No apologies for noise expected. 10 p.m.; $3; 21+.

Saturday Latin music: Son Venezuela @ Granada

Warm up the blustery winter night with spicy world music from this local band. Starts at 8:30 p.m.; $6; 18+.

Saturday film: "Open-Mic Night" premiere @ Liberty Hall

Lawrence-native Matthew Toplikar's 35-minute film was shot in Lawrence and features some great local musicians. Fourth of July, Hospital Ships and Laurel Woodhouse will perform after the screening, which begins at 9:30 p.m. and is $5. Check out Scene Stealers for more info, plus a Q&A with Toplikar.

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14 things to do this weekend

With just one more weekend after this before naughty and nice lists are revealed, this will be a few days jam-packed with holiday parties. Think I missed a good happening? Got something good coming up? Lemme know at alexcgarrison@gmail.com or @alex_garrison.

Weekend theater: “A Kansas Nutcracker” @ the Lawrence Arts Center

Looking for an event that mixes holiday cheer with history? This creative Civil War-era spin on the Christmas ballet classic features a blending of historical characters and traditions, with historical galleries in support of the performance. It runs at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St. Tickets range from $13 to $19. Note: The 2 p.m. Sunday performance is sold out.

Friday art: Snowy Wintertime Showcase @ Wonder Fair

OK, so it's yet to snow in Lawrence (unless I missed something?!) but this wintertime show is a celebration of Kansas City collective Field Trip Publishing's collection of handmade goods (led by Eric Dobbins and Kelly John Clark, former directors of Wonder Fair). The collection includes a candy sculpture set, wooden puzzle, lithograph print, costume kit prize bag and anamorphic print with viewing tube. The festivities run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the shop, 803 Mass. The event is free, but the art and gifts will be for sale.

Friday country: Reckless Kelly @ the Granada

The Austin-based Americana band's music may be a bit more apt for another winter holiday (I'm thinking of the February one, you know, Singles Awareness Day), but with inspiration from Austrialian bank robbers, it's likely to still be a good time. It begins at 8 p.m. and costs $15.

Friday hip-hop: Winner's Circle @ the Bottleneck

Winner's Circle may be a good bet if you like your hip-hop local -- they advertise themselves as proudly straight from ... North Lawrence. Show starts at 8 p.m. and is 18+.

Friday rock: The Eastern Sea @ the Replay

I'm a humbug about most holidays, but I do love Christmas (just don't tell anybody), and an indie band performing their entire holiday album, as this event promises to be, may be enough to sway even my hardened heart. Starts at 10 p.m.; 21+; $3 cover.

Friday comedy: The Prodigal Son Returns @ Liberty Hall

December is somewhat stressful for most folks, right? Why not get in some laughs with some New York comedians in a night of stand-up, improv and sketch comedy. Starts at 10:30 p.m.; $22.50 for a table or $10.50 for GA.

Weekend crafts: Holiday pottery sale @ Muddy Waters Studio

There's a ton of opportunities to buy local and handmade in Lawrence (especially this time of year), but this may be the only one devoted to pottery and ceremics. Check out the studio at 925 Iowa St. Suite J from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday or 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Saturday art: SeedCo art market

The SeedCo artist space at 826 Penn. St. is having an invitational showing of local art, crafts, jewelry and the like, from noon to 5 p.m.

Saturday geekery: Body science @ KU Natural History Museum

Learn all about your insides in a family-friendly event featuring a life-size Operation game from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on campus.

Saturday holidays: SantaCon downtown

Call it a jolly, bearded beer crawl. It traditionally starts (at 1 p.m.) at the Sandbar and has rules like giving to charity and walking a fine line between naughty and nice. But, yes, it's basically a flash mob of Santas.

Saturday holidays: Tacky Xmas Party @ the Granada

In a similar vein to SantaCon, this party, starting at 8 p.m., aims to raise money for Just Food. It's $5 and includes a performance by local band Midday Ramblers.

Saturday music: La Guerre & Hospital Ships @ the Replay

Come see these lovely, lovely locals (I'll be there for sure), plus St. Louis band Palace, starting at 10 p.m. Palace's social media love for Lawrence and vise versa has been a cup that runth over. Check out this FB photo. 21+; $3 cover.

Sunday music: Ragtime piano by Brian Hawkins @ Gaslight Gardens

This is a quirky bet, but, if you've got some free time on a Sunday evening, sometimes those can be the most fun. This celebration of the ragtime musical genre runs 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Gaslight Gardens, 317 N. Second St., and is free.

Sunday music: The Pharmacy and Dry Bonnet @ the Jackpot

With well-reviewed garage-band-style pop group The Pharmacy and up-and-coming locals Dry Bonnet, it'll be a Sunday Funday. (Quite possibly.) Starts at 10 p.m.; 18+; $5.

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12 things to do this weekend

The big event: Final Fridays downtown

The big event(s) this weekend around town is this month's Final Friday showings, which, with some expected decent weather, should be a nice kickoff to the holiday season for downtown venues and artists.

Here's a full listing of Final Fridays events and Margie Carr has a detailed preview story, too.

Friday hip-hop: Indyground showcase @ the Granada

Local acts Blueprint, Steddy P and Approach are playing, along with DJ Mahf and more. It starts at 8 p.m. and cover is $10.

Friday national act: New Found Glory @ the Bottleneck

The pop-punk heyday is far enough gone (in the "alternative mainstream") that I don't know if any glory at all could rightly be called new-found. But a lot of folks must be into it, because the show's sold out. If you've got tickets, NFG is playing at 8 p.m. with tourmates The Story So Far.

Friday local rock: Heartscape Landbreak @ the Replay

Heartscape Landbreak's shows lately have been sights and sounds to be had and the chance to see them with Dan Ryan, having a tape release, and frequent Lawrence visitors Netherfriends (they're from Chicago) should be a treat. It's at 10 p.m. and cover is $3.

Weekend musical theater: "The Sound of Music" at Theatre Lawrence

Lawrence's community theater is putting on the beloved World-War-II-era musical. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at 1501 New Hampshire, and tickets range from $14.99 to $20.99.

Weekend student theater: "If the Whole Body Dies" on campus

"If the Whole Body Dies" is an original one-act play exploring the life of Raphael Lemkin, an advocate against genocide. It runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. in the Inge Theater of Murphy Hall on KU's campus. Tickets are $10 for students and $18 general admission.

Saturday holiday stuff: Various traditional events

Lawrence is gonna get all Christmas-y, guys. Saturday's events include:

• The downtown old-fashioned parade, starting at 11 a.m. near 11th and Mass.

• The Ugly Sweater Run (!), which is supposed to start around the same time and location

Holiday art fair at the Arts Center, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday local music: OILS & Y(our) Fri(end) @ the Replay

Two up-and-coming (and oft-busy) local acts play with Lincoln, Neb.'s Great American Desert (an awesome band name). 8 p.m. $3 cover.

Sunday holiday music: School of Music Vespers @ the Lied Center

The traditional KU School of Music holiday concert extravaganza will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive, on KU's West Campus. Tickets are between $10 and $12.50. There's also a free "pre-concert" organ performance from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Bales Organ Recital Hall, within the Lied Center.

Sunday benefit: "Homegrass Hootenanny" @ the Granada

A number of bluegrass-inspired local bands, including Truckstop Honeymoon, Tyler Gregory and Ashes to Immortality, will perform in a benefit for Independence Inc. starting at 4 p.m. at 1020 Mass.

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5 things to do this week

As always, leave comments here, tweet @alex_garrison or email alexcgarrison@gmail.com with anything I might have missed.

Weeknight local history: Lawrence during the Depression @ Watkins Community Museum of History

This new exhibit features artifacts showing the self-reliance and community spirits present in Douglas County, including reminders of Works Progress Administration projects.

It opened this weekend, runs until January and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the community building, 1047 Mass. Entrance is free.

Weeknight benefit: Festival of Trees @ Liberty Hall

The Festival of Trees is an annual benefit for the Shelter, Inc. Volunteers put decorated Christmas trees (and some wreaths) on display around the Liberty Hall stage, gathering donations to view them and then auctioning them off on Tuesday. It runs from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every night but Tuesday, when the auction party begins at 5 p.m.

Tuesday local history: Quantrill's Raid talk @ the Arts Center

Panelists Steve Nowak (Watkins Community Museum of History), Fred Conboy (Freedom’s Frontier) and Jeremy Neely (Missouri State University) will give a talk about the lead-up to the raid, carried out Aug. 21, 1863. The talk starts at 6 p.m. at the center, 940 N.H. Entrance is free.

Tuesday music: KU School of Music's Symphonic and University bands @ the Lied Center

The bands will perform an end-of-the-year concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive. Tickets are between $5 and $7. A news release from the university describes the performances:

"University Band will begin the evening with performances of “Fate of the Gods” by Steven Reineke; “The Seal Lullaby” by Eric Whitacre; “A Grand, Grand Festival Overture” by Malcolm Arnold (arr. Keith Wilson); and “March Intercollegiate” by Charles E. Ives (arr. Keith Brion). ...

The Symphonic Band will then take the stage and perform “Nocturne” by David Dzubay and “Carmina Burana (Cantiones profanae) Suite” by Carl Orff (arr. John Krance)."

Wednesday books: Inside E-Publishing @ the library

The Public Library is wrapping up its national novel-writing month programming with a seminar from Kansas City's Write Brain Trust writing collective. It's aimed to help you sell that novel you've come up with and fruns from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the library, 707 Vermont. It's free.

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17 things to do this weekend

I'm back to contributing to the good ol' Best Bets Blog, and, as my English grandmother used to say, I don't do things by halves.

So, to celebrate, here's a MASSIVE LIST of things to do in Lawrence this weekend. If you're bored at all, don't blame it on me, folks.

Weekend theater: "Into the Woods" @ Crafton-Preyer Theatre

The Stephen Sondheim extravaganza runs its final weekend with shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, plus a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday. I have seen no word on whether the audience is discouraged from singing along to "Agony". (I would.)

Tickets range from $10 to $18. For more info, John Phythyon has a full review of the "Into the Woods" performance.

Thursday lecture: Gary Mark Smith @ the Oread

Smith is a 1984 KU J-school grad and well-known street photographer. He'll be talking about his art from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in a free event. Bonus: Reportedly, anyone showing up to the event in a KJHK, Megga Keggar or Omega T-shirt gets a free drink after Smith talks.

Thursday books: Mark Bouton, special agent, @ the Raven

The author of How to Spot Lies Like the FBI will be discussing his spooky new crime thriller from 7 p.m. Come for your fill of discussion of Palo Mayombe cults.

Thurdsday frat-hop: Asher Roth @ Granada

Asher Roth & co. will be partying it up starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. If you're curious, I interviewed Roth, a big KU basketball fan, the last time he came through Lawrence, in March.

Thursday local music: Up the Academy @ the Taproom

Never a bad time to get some good, old-fashioned punk into your life. Chance Dibben has more about Up the Academy.

Friday dance: University Dance Company @ the Lied Center

The yearly performance by students of dance, the event begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets run from $8.50 to $15.

Friday comedy: "Rocket to Awesomeness" @ the Arts Center

The folks at Card Table Productions (those who bring you Victor Continental) have another two-hour live comedy show running at 9 p.m. It's the third in a "Loaded for Bear" trilogy and is (probably quite rightly) an 18+ show. Tickets are $9.

Friday local music: Record releases for Stiff Middle Fingers @ Love Garden

It's a 5 p.m. Love Garden show — promising to be loud and inviting. Check out Jessica Sain-Baird's preview.

Friday local music: The Heavy Figs and The Mad Kings @ Frank's North Star

From what I gather, these Figs are somewhat psychedelic rock (and the kind of guys who appreciate surfing cow visuals) and the Kings are bluesy rock. Cover is $10.

Saturday geekery: Learn about insects @ the KU Natural History Museum

The family friendly (or really-big-kid-friendly, if you're like me) event runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on campus and — if you're daring — you can even eat a bug! Fun.

Saturday dance: "The Red Ribbon" @ the Arts Center

The youth theater is putting on the show, based on a story of community coming together by John Lasne. It runs at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and tickets range from $6.50 to $9.50.

Saturday art/music/community: Pass the Hat @ the Percolator

Craig Comstock's occasional pay-what-you-can-and-bring-a-potluck-dish series continues with a screening of experimental film Liquid Land, plus performances by Simon Berz, Helen Gillet and locals Horse Head. It starts at 6 p.m.

Saturday poetry: Ardys Ramberg salon @ Sixth & Tenn.

Kansas(ish) poets Julianne Buchsbaum, Xanath Caraza, Brian Daldorph, Denise Low, Silvia Kofler, James Benger, Allison Serina Hearn, and Kevin Cummings will give readings starting at 7 p.m. at Runaway Pony Bed & Breakfast, 603 Tenn.

Saturday local music: The Dead Girls @ the Jackpot

The super fun (and loud) Dead Girls will be playing with North of Grand and Shy Boys, starting at 10 p.m. Cover is $5 for 21+ and $8 for 18-21.

Sunday crafts: Holiday Bazaar @ the Community Building

The annual Parks & Rec event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 115 West 11th St.

Sunday benefit: Pickney Tunnel project concert in North Lawrence

Local music institution Truckstop Honeymoon is joining up with fellow acts L.A. Fahy and The Skirts in a benefit show for Van Go, which aims to paint the tunnel beneath Sixth Street that connects to Pickney School. The event runs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the historic White School House, 1510 N. Third St. and entrance is $15.

Sunday poetry: Chandra Dickson and Brenda Sieczkowski @ the Taproom

The monthly open-mic and professional reading series has had some weird dates because of end-of-the-month holidays lately, but never fear — it's back. It begins with reader sign-up at 5 p.m.

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