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Hot 5 for December

An opinionated to-do list

From left clockwise: Sleater-Kinney, Molly Ringwald, Digital Poetics, and Ann Hood


You’ve got enough to do this month. Most of these December picks require very little energy expenditure and many serve up a heaping portion of nostalgia. Even better, you can enjoy them alone. Just leave the holiday prep and hassle and sneak off from your friends and loved ones to enjoy an hour or two by yourself. (Except for Sleater-Kinney; you’ll want a gaggle of high-energy pals to jump around and lose their heads with you.)


Carnegie Art Center’s Art Off the Wall Exhibition & Fundraiser

You know the impulse:  A piece of art so captures your eye and attention that you just want to snatch it off the wall, hide it under your coat, and dash out the door. While it’s not technically larceny, at $20 each, these five-by-seven paintings really are a steal. Each work is original and has been generously donated by local artists supporting the Carnegie Art Center. Admission at 6:30 p.m. is free but for a ten-dollar donation, you can enter at 5 p.m. to get a sneak peek and call dibs on your favorites, plus enjoy complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres. There’s a cash bar for artless latecomers.

December 3 at 5 and 6:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Art Center (240 Goundry St., N. Tonawanda; carnegieartcenter.org or 694-4400)


Digital Poetics: An Evening with Alan Bigelow and Tammy McGovern

Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Center presents this special performance as part of a series of events commemorating the organization’s thirtieth anniversary. Bigelow, an award-winning artist and professor of humanities at Medaille College and McGovern, a new media artist and former director of Squeaky Wheel, are longtime collaborators who work to explore digital poetics using text, image, and sound combined with interactive and playful digital narratives.

December 5 at 7 p.m. at Squeaky Wheel (617 Main St.; squeaky.org or jax@squeaky.org)



The defining riot grrl act of the 1990s released seven studio albums between 1994 and 2005 before announcing hiatus in 2006, surprising and saddening legions of fans. Members Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss got back together in 2014 and released No Cities to Love in January 2015. If you weren’t into indie music in the early to mid-1990s (or weren’t born yet) you may have missed out on the whole riot grrl phenomenon. I am familiar with Brownstein mostly from her characters on Portlandia, which I love, but am grateful for the opportunity to soak in the smart music from this trio of badass feminist musicians. With special guest Waxahatchee.

December 10 at 7 p.m. at Asbury Hall (341 Delaware Ave.; babevillebuffalo.com or 777-8932)


Molly Ringwald Revisits The Breakfast Club

Oh, Claire. It’s so typical of you to sit up there on stage talking on and on about yourself. What a princess. Seriously, though, Ringwald, who’s forty-seven now and an accomplished author, was the top teen actress in the eighties and went on to star in John Hughes’s iconic high school dramedies Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles. Whether you’re a brain, athlete, basket case, criminal, or princess, longtime fans and newbies alike can celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of this film and get the inside scoop from Ms. Standish herself. Free lipstick application tutorial included with viewing.

December 12 at 7 p.m. at Mainstage Theatre (Center for the Arts, UB North Campus, Amherst; ubcfa.org or 645-6915)


Larkin Square Author Series w/Ann Hood

Ann Hood is author of more than a dozen books including Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, The Obituary Writer, and her latest, An Italian Wife. Much of her work deals with a topic we don’t like acknowledge–the death of a child. Hood’s daughter Grace died from a virulent form of strep at the age of five. Unable to write for several years after the tragedy, she eventually made her way back to her work and has since poignantly explored her own grief and the process of struggling with loss. She will give a reading with a talk afterward. Hood lives in Providence with her husband and their children and is a faculty member in the MFA in creative writing program at The New School in New York City.

December 16 at 5:30–6:45 p.m. at Larkin Square (745 Seneca St.; larkinsquare.com or 362-2665)            


Wendy Guild Swearingen is senior editor of Spree.

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