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Hot 5

An opinionated to-do list for December

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens creates a winter wonderland with hundreds of beautiful poinsettias and decorations.


Here’s a mix of relaxing and raucous, thought-provoking and just plain pretty, free and fairly cheap. You’ll spend plenty of time and money on others this season, so practice some self-care this month and get out of the house and do something just for you.



My Pick:

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens’ annual Poinsettia and Railway Exhibit

Bring the whole family or soak up the warmth and color solo. On view are 1,000 beautiful poinsettias, woodland holiday decorations, and some playful surprises. A Garden Railway display, made possible by the Western New York Garden Railway Society, complements the surrounding poinsettias. 

November 23 through January 6 with a Dollar Admission Day December 27, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily at The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 S. Park Ave.; buffalogardens.com or 827-1584)




Rubblebucket’s Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth were in a long romantic partnership, moved in, broke up, but kept the band together. The American art-pop and indie-rock band from Brooklyn explores love, sexuality, grief, and healing with bursts of collage-like experimentation with a fun mix of brass and brash. Accomplished jazz musicians, they tap into that improvisation and spontaneity. I bet if you invited these two to a dinner party, you’d end up creating a collaborative poem, then performing it using kitchen implements as instruments. Just a hunch.

December 5, 8 p.m. at Asbury Hall (Babeville, 341 Delaware Ave.; babevillebuffalo.com or 852-3835)


Buffalo Nordic Ski Club Open House

For real, this is your opportunity to get motivated about getting outside in the snow and getting some exercise. We’ve discussed this: no more sitting on the couch all weekend in a Pringles-crumb-covered Slanket watching Hulu. No reservations are needed to attend this informative and entertaining event, which includes a video covering cross-country skiing for beginning to advanced skiers, waxing clinics, displays of equipment and clothing from area ski shops, door prizes, and much more.

December 12, 7:30–10 p.m. At Wick Center (Daemen College, 4380 Main St., buffalonordic.org)


M&T Second Friday

If it’s been a while since you availed yourself of Free Fridays at the Burchfield, it’s time to get reacquainted. New works and beloved classics by local artists are cycled through for a new experience each visit. From openings and happy hours, programs, concerts, screenings, or other special events, visitors experience the best of the Burchfield Penney for free the second Friday each month. (There is seriously good snackage at the Café, btw.)

December 14, all day at Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.; burchfieldpenney.org or 878-6011)


Free Beer, Free Press December Social

In case you haven’t heard—and you may not have, depending on your preferred news sources—the independent press is under literal and figurative attack. And that’s a danger to our society and democracy. In an effort to promote and encourage real, live journalism Investigative Post holds a monthly social the third Tuesday of each month at CBW’s brewery on 7th Street where editor Jim Heaney and his reporters discuss their recent work. It’s free for Investigative Post donors, including those who purchase a minimum $5 monthly membership, and $10 for general public. Plus, the first beer is on them. Just show up; no registration required. Not a member? Sign up at  the door or online.

December 18, 5:30–7 p.m. at Community Beer Works (520 Seventh St.; investigativepost.org or 831-2626)


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