Panto: Dick Whittington, Opera House, Opens Fri 6 Dec
A much cherished festive tradition, Pantomine has, somehow, stood the test of time. Mostly ignored and reluctantly rolled out at Christmas to earn a few quid before sloping off back whence it came, much like Cliff Richard in a way. We Brits have been lapping up Pantomine since it was introduced in the early eighteenth century. Again, like Cliff.
Manchester’s flagship pantomime, Dick Whittington, the tale of a poor servant boy who heads to London to earn his fortune and eventually earns a great fortune by selling his cat will be played by a young girl and a dog. Hold on? Boy and cat. Girl and dog? Sod it, they won Britain's Got Talent. Beating 42 dance troupes in the final.
The only question really is where are the Chuckle Brothers? Barry did what? OK The Krankies at least... they're swingers? Is nothing sacred.
Film: Nebraska, Cornerhouse, Various Times, Opens Fri 6 Dec
There have been Oscar whispers surrounding The Descendants director Alexander Payne’s latest film, Nebraska. The film opens with Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) waddling down the side of a cold, busy, grey (actually everything is grey, it’s black and white) highway on his merry old way to Nebraska. He's walking there. Woody has dementia you see. Nebraska can’t be that far.
Having received a million dollar sweepstake through the mail (a common postal scam in America), Woody sets off to collect his fortune. His despairing son picks him up and finds himself along for the ride, aware there’s no gold at the end of the grey rainbow, the son is dragged through Woody’s old and backward hometown, meeting clutching friends and relatives along the way.
A tale of dubious family ties, a western sense of entitlement and the American appetite for unwarranted wealth.
DJ: Will Tramp at Kosmonaut and Haim DJ set at Deaf Institute, Sat 7 Dec, 8pm-1am and 10pm-4am
Tramp secured the prestigious MEN DJ of the Year last year, they, like us, being renowned for their intricate knowledge of the world of dance music. Will has been a resident at Warehouse Project and Parklife and has also played international festivals like Austria’s Snowbombing and Electric Elephant in Croatia. An all-encompassing DJ, he will be playing everything from boogie, disco, house, techno, balearic, garage, hip hop, electro funk and basement. FREE. The drink’s not.
Hipster favourite Haim have come from nowhere this year. The Californian sibling trio topped the BBC Sound of 2013 poll in January, taking their own very good time to release debut album Days Are Gone in September. It went straight to number one. The girls appeal is hard to pinpoint, there’s certainly a touch of Fleetwood Mac in there, a sprinkle of The Strokes (one of the sisters toured with Julian Casablancas) a hint of eighties hair rock and even a bit of Shania Twain. Different. But all these comparisons are terribly tired, I don’t even know why we bother. They sound like Haim, there you go.
Currently in the swings of a UK Tour, Haim will play Deaf the night before their Manchester gig at The Ritz on Sunday. £8 adv. £10 door.
Swim: Big Chill Swim Salford, Dock 9, Salford Quays, Sat 7 Dec, 10.30am-4pm
‘Ever wanted to swim the icy waters of Salford Quays?’ No me neither. But it’s ‘the only wetsuit-free winter open water swimming event in the region.’ Good.
Still, some of you probably like this kind of stuff. You also probably like eating ice, collecting whips and don’t think Louis Walsh ‘is really that bad a bloke’. He is.
Swimmers can enter on their own or as part of a team for charity, or even ‘for fun’. Word of warning though. I dived headfirst into 6°C waters at Salford Quays back in May, wearing a wetsuit, and didn’t see my penis again until July. Saturday shall be 5°C. Wetsuits are banned. Good luck.
(Update: Turns out entry is now closed. Oh well ay. You're still allowed to go down and watch. Take a flask, and a scarf. Have a right old chuckle. Ho ho ho)
More information on the Chill Swim Salford here.
Food&Drink: The Christmas Extravaganza, Oddest Bar, Chorlton, Sat 7 Dec, 1pm onwards
The youngest of the Odd triplets, we like the Odds. We like the owner. With the original Odd in NQ, Odder on Oxford Road, and presumably the weirdest of the three, Oddest, all the way out in Chorlton, the Odds have a good spread. But where to put Oddererest? Probably nowhere, too much spend on signage.
This Christmas out in Chorlton, Oddest bar is going to go the whole hog, with, well, a whole hog. A slow roasted one.
That pig will be roasting all day out on the terrace and served up with rum plum chutney, cider sage & apple sauce (Veggies will be looked after too, you kinda have to in Chorlton or you'd lose half your business). Wash the feast down with mugs of homemade mulled wine, spiced cider, hot toddies, dark wintery ales or the new Bailey’s bauble and delicious Apple Pie Xmas cocktail.
There'll also be live music from local bands. Music, booze, laughter and pig. All one needs really. Well, fornication too but it is the season of generosity, so who knows?
Event: The Sunday Assembly, Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Sunday 8 Dec, 11am
Back in October we announced the arrival in Manchester of an atheist ‘church’, of sorts (they don’t like that word). Their charter: Live better, help often, wonder more. Seems fair.
Response to this joyous secular movement has been so great that it’s been estimated that within a decade, there could be as many as 1,000 worldwide assemblies. Seems optimistic, but once they do the great march on Vatican city begins. I've rumbled 'em.
Said to include ‘all the best bits of church’ without the dogma and guilt, gatherings usually include: singing, dancing, informed debate, discussion, reflection, charity, tea, cake and a sense of community. Community? Never heard of it.
This month’s guest speaker is the BBC's technology expert, Tom Cheesewright and music from the She Choir. The assembly are also asking attendees to donate presents for the Wood Street Mission's Christmas Toy Appeal. Must be unwrapped and suitable for children aged 0-13. A fairly broad sepctrum that. Safe option: cardboard box.
Follow the Manchester assembly on twitter here @SunAssemblyMCR
Kids: Peppa Pig at Selfridge’s Ice Rink, Trafford Centre, Sun 8 Dec, 11am-4pm
The second pig to feature on this weeks list. Although, if you were to hog roast this one there'd be a whole shit storm to deal with. And tantrums.
Selfridge's have gone all out on this one. The rink looks as though it's been plucked from one of Katie Price's seventeen weddings. Oh eighteen is it? Visitors to the 120 capacity rink (with a roof too) get the chance to have a photo taken with Peppa at intervals between 11am-4pm. The kids should love it.
That's if you take them. No one really wants to take their kids to the Trafford Centre. Be like taking Best, Reid and Moon on a tour through the Guiness factory. Bedlam.
West Side Story, The Palace Theatre, Tues 10 Dec-Sat 4 Jan
Arguably one of the most significant and best-loved musicals ever created, West Side Story transports Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet back to 1950s New York City, as two young idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. With choreography by the renowned Jerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents, score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Joey McKneely’s production of West Side Story is sure to be cool, real cool Daddy-O.
Tickets £18 - £60. Book here.
Art: Art Battle Manchester, Band On The Wall, Thurs 12 Dec, 7pm
This has been billed as a fight club for artists. Punchings out. Paintings in.
Following the sell-out success of the first event at 2022NQ, the next event will be taking place at BotW where ten arty challengers will cross brush with brush, and maybe a pencil, probs a spray-can or two (graffiti art is in isn't it, you even been to Kosmonaut? The whole of NQ for that matter) to slug it out.
Given 30 minutes in which to create a masterpiece, up to 300 spectators shall circulate around the venue and pick which of the artists should make it through to the final.
Audience members may even walk away with a masterpiece at the end of the night with all work created to be auctioned off. Proceeds shall be split between the artists and the Band on the Wall Foundation, a charity that gives a musical voice to local disadvantaged children.
Follow @David8Blake on twitter
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