BEST BETS: Dec. 6 to 12, 2013
A Rochester holiday tradition
Join Santa Claus and Rudolph at the Sibley Building and the Liberty Pole at 4:30 Saturday afternoon. Vocal Point, the University of Rochester's female a cappella group, will perform as Mayor Thomas Richards switches on the lights of the Liberty Pole outside the Sibley Building around 5 p.m. Children can visit with Santa. There also will be face painting, arts, crafts and costumed characters. After the lighting ceremony, it will be time to head to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park Ice Rink for the official start of Rochester's outdoor ice-skating season. Prime Time Brass will lead the procession. Parking is available in the East End Garage and on area streets. Visit cityofrochester.gov/downtownholidays.
UR group stages Kushner play
The International Theatre Program at the University of Rochester is staging Tony Kushner's "A Bright Room Called Day" at UR's Todd Theatre this month. Kushner, who won a Pulitzer Prize for "Angels in America," wrote the play during a period of personal grief and political disappointment. "A Bright Room Called Day" is about struggling actor Agnes Eggling and her circle of bohemian friends during World War II-era Germany. They celebrate, drink and argue as the political climate shifts around them. The play runs today through Saturday and Dec. 11 to 14. Guest artist Lila Neugebauer directs. This year Neugebauer received a Princess Grace Award and directed the world premiere of Lucas Hnath's "Red Speedo" at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. Go to rochester.edu.
Brian Regan does stand-up
Comedian Brian Regan performs Dec. 7 at the Auditorium Theatre. Regan has been performing his own brand of observational comedy since his first appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman" in 1995. Regan, 56, is known for his clean approach to comedy. Visit ticketmaster.com or brianregan.com.
Lovin' Spoonful founder to play
John Sebastian, founder of the Lovin' Spoonful and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member since 2000, will perform at Cafe Veritas Saturday. Sebastian is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, autoharpist and harmonica player. His single, "Welcome Back," the theme song from the sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter," made it to No. 1, and he had top 10 hits in "Do You Believe in Magic," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice" and "Daydream." The 7:30 p.m. evening of music and conversation is co-presented by Golden Link Folk Singing Society and the cafe, which is located at the First Unitarian Church. Visit cafeveritas.org.
On the big screen
Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Zoe Saldana star in "Out of the Furnace." It's about a man who mysteriously disappears. When law enforcement fails to follow through, his older brother takes matters into his own hands to find justice. "Twice Born" stars Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch. It's about a single mother brings her teenage son to Sarajevo, where his father died in the Bosnian conflict years ago. Find movie times.
'Relatively Speaking' at JCC
"Relatively Speaking" is a trio of plays that opens Dec. 7 at JCC's Hart Theatre. It runs through Dec. 22. The 2012 Broadway hit features works by Ethan Coen, Elaine May and Woody Allen. Each play is unique in its own style as they bring together 19 characters with a host of issues. Visit jccrochester.org.
Garth Fagan Dance
Coming off critically acclaimed performances at the Joyce in New York City, Garth Fagan Dance opened its 43rd home season this week at Nazareth College Arts Center. Performances are through Sunday. New works include "Evidence of Failure," choreographed by Fagan and featuring Natalie Rogers and Vitolio Jeune, and "Gin," an eight-dancer piece by long-timer Norwood Pennewell, principal dancer and rehearsal director. Revivals include "Easter Freeway Processional" and "Senku," which Fagan has called "a meditation on youth and maturity." Fagan recently was selected as one of "100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures" by the Dance Heritage Coalition, along with his mentors Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Jose Limon and George Balanchine. Go to garthfagandance.org. To check out other dance groups in our area, go to the digital edition of Explore or check out the dance troupes page on the Explore website.