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Tue10272020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

It’s that wonderful and crazy time of the year again: The holiday season is upon us, and you’re probably looking to celebrate with some fun events. With that in mind, here’s your final Blueskye Report for 2017.

The McCallum Theatre always brings great holiday cheer in December. At 3 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, the mostly instrumental prog-rock-meets-pop-meets-synth-meets-classical project known as Mannheim Steamroller will be returning with its holiday show. Mannheim Steamroller has selling out venues doing this for 30 years, so don’t miss it if you’ve never seen it before. Tickets are $47 to $87. At 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, don’t miss All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914. This is one of the best-known true holiday tales in history, about the Christmas when Allied and German soldiers decided to call for a temporary truce during World War I. Tickets are $27 to $67. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, comedian Tom Dreesen will be performing his show An Evening of Laughter and Memories of Sinatra. As Frank Sinatra’s opening act for 14 years, Dreesen has stories that will be great to hear. Tickets are $27 to $67. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is definitely in the holiday spirit. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, Alaskan folk-singer Jewel will be performing as part of her Handmade Holiday Tour. She’s put out two albums’ worth of Christmas music that have been well-received. Tickets are $39 to $69. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, jazz-legend Tony Bennett will return to Fantasy Springs. What can be said about Tony Bennett that hasn’t been said already? This show will most likely come with Christmas tunes as well! Tickets are $49 to $99. If you want a little more swing in your Christmas step, you’re covered: At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, the Brian Setzer Orchestra will be performing. This is the 14th year that Brian Setzer has set out on his famous Christmas tour. I caught his Christmas show a couple of years ago, and I can tell you that it’s a lot of fun, featuring Christmas music as well as the Brian Setzer classics that you love. Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a solid schedule during the month. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, Australian comedian Jim Jefferies (upper right) will take the stage. Expect the outspoken Jefferies’ career to continue to rise while Trump is president; his Comedy Central talk show was recently renewed for a second season. Tickets are $45 to $65. At 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, Dance to the Holidays will take place, featuring Dancing With the Stars Mirrorball champions Tony Dovolani and Karina Smirnoff. The event will also include finalists from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. This is one big mess of holiday awesomeness! Tickets are $45 to $75. If you’re looking for a festive way to bring in 2018, look no further, because at 10:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 31, KC and the Sunshine Band will be performing. With disco hits you know and love such as “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s The Way (I Like It),” you’re guaranteed a great time. Tickets are $75 to $95. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has some fine shows on the schedule. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1,’70s rock band Ambrosia will be performing. The group has been nominated for five Grammy awards and is responsible for hit songs “How Much I Feel” and “Biggest Part of Me.” Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, country music superstar Clint Black will take the stage. He’s had more than 30 country-music hits—ְand performs some Christmas music as well, so expect to hear some of that country Christmas twang. Tickets are $35 to $55. Do you like to party? Of course you do, so you won’t want to miss the New Year’s Eve celebration at 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 31 when Gap X—The Band performs. The group includes six original members of the Gap Band, famous for songs such as “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and “Outstanding.” Tickets are $35 to $55. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a couple of holiday offerings for December that aren’t yet sold out (at least as of our press deadline). At 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, enjoy a holiday “sleigh ride toy run” with ’80s metal bands Slaughter and Great White. Tickets are $17.50 to $20. At midnight, Sunday, Dec. 10, the “sleigh ride toy run” continues with Vixen and Autograph, both from the ’80s metal world. Vixen is an all-female band that proved they could play metal just as good as men. You might remember Autograph for the song “Turn Up the Radio,” which was featured on the Hot Tub Time Machine soundtrack. Tickets are $17.50 to $20. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some good events to consider. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, singer-songwriter Terry Reid will be performing. When I interviewed Terry a couple of years ago, he told me a variety of hilarious stories, including one about the time when Chuck Berry stole his amplifier while he was on tour with the Rolling Stones. Yes, Terry is a legend—and tickets are just $15. At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, stoner-rock band Fu Manchu will take the stage. If you’re a fan of desert rock and love fuzzy guitars, sweet riffs and that funny stuff kids are smoking, you’ll love Fu Manchu. Advice: Don’t forget your ear plugs. Tickets are $15 to $18. At 8:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, the Supersuckers (below) will be returning to Pappy and Harriet’s. Eddie Spaghetti seems to have won his battle with cancer, so the band is still kicking ass and taking names. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room Palm Springs will have a fun month full of holiday events. At 7 p.m., every Sunday in December, Michael Holmes will be doing his holiday themed Judy Show. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, enjoy a holiday show by Kate Campbell and the Martini Kings. I chatted with Martini Kings frontman Anthony Marsico last year on the patio at the Paul McCartney show at Pappy and Harriet’s, and enjoyed his stories about playing with Bob Dylan. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, get out your blue suede shoes when Scot Bruce performs his Elvis-themed Blue Suede Christmas! show. Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Copa Nightclub has some fun shows slated for the month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, Steve Grand will take the stage. He’s the young gay singer who rocketed to stardom when his song “All-American Boy” went viral on YouTube. Tickets are $35 to $55. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, Ty Herndon will perform. The country star enjoyed big success with a couple of gold records in the 1990s, and came out of the closet in 2014. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 23, Frenchie Davis will return to the Coachella Valley. Fun fact: The alumnus of both American Idol and The Voice has had several successful singles, but has not yet released a full album. Tickets are $25 to $45. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews

In 2007, Australian standup comedian Jim Jefferies was attacked while performing at the Manchester Comedy Store. However, he turned something horrifying into a blessing: Ever since the incident, his career has taken off, as he’s won over audiences with comedy that covers topics such as alcoholism, religion and sex.

Jefferies will be performing at Spotlight 29 on Saturday, Nov. 29.

During a recent phone interview, Jefferies discussed what inspired him to go into comedy.

“I’ve been a fan of standup comedy since I was a little kid,” Jefferies said. “My favorite TV show was a show called The Big Gig. It used to be on every Saturday night, and it was just standup comedians and one band, or something like that. My biggest inspiration for being a comic was this guy named Anthony Morgan in Australia, who was like Lenny Bruce to me. He never really got big overseas, and he’s become a bit of a recluse now, but I thought he was awesome.”

Jefferies said that his first time onstage was rather unusual.

“I did very good on my first gig, but I didn’t do too good on my second one. It would have been better if I didn’t do quite as good on the first one, because then I wouldn’t have been so cocky on the second one,” Jefferies said with a laugh. “I did three open spots when I was 17, and I didn’t do it again until I was about 23. That second one went so badly that I didn’t have the confidence to get up and do it again for a few years.”

Jefferies now takes poor performances in stride.

“I’ve been through enough of them. It’s happened several times. I’ve been punched in the head; I’ve been booed off a few times—and worse than that is when there are no laughs. With being booed off stage, at least (the crowd is) in some emotional state where you could argue that they’re enjoying themselves. At least they’re working as a team and have had a better night than you have.”

Jefferies is also doing more acting as of late, and he said he hopes there will be more roles in his future.

“I just did a spot on a Christmas episode for a show on TNT where I play Santa Claus, and then I did a guest spot on Bad Judge on NBC  … and I’ve got a movie coming out with David Hasselhoff,” he said.

He told an amusing story about when he first met David Hasselhoff: “He was standing next to the Knight Rider car. So that’s all you can ask for, really.”

Jefferies often covers atheism and guns in his act.

“In my experience, when it comes to overseas, atheism is a norm. It’s always weird when you meet a religious person, and it’s like, ‘Wow, you believe in God? OK,’ he said. “When it comes to over here, it’s a lot more common to meet a religious person than a nonreligious person. … I think the atheist angle works better over here in standup than it does in the other countries, because now you’re dealing with a counterculture. I didn’t really have religion shoved down my throat, but most atheists in America had religion shoved down their throats when they were kids, and their atheism has probably been more of a struggle for them than it has for me.”

Jefferies also discussed his point of view on assault weapons in the U.S.

“I think most people agree on assault weapons—not that they should be banned, but that there should be some control,” he said. “There’s no reason anyone needs a fully automatic (gun). … Who needs protection like that? They’re called ‘assault rifles,’ not ‘protection rifles.’”

Jefferies is best known in some circles for his FX sitcom Legit, which was cancelled earlier this year after two seasons. He’s still a little bitter about it.

“I would maybe like to make a movie just so I can wrap it all up. All I need is an hour and a half,” he said. “The way it ended was very unsatisfactory for me. I wake up some mornings like, ‘Oh, it ran for two seasons,’ and then I wake up some mornings angry about it.

“It’s been six months, and I’ve never had anything upset me more. A girl can dump me, throw me out of my house, and I can be over it in six months. But with a show like this, I have good days and bad, and I don’t think it should have been cancelled. It wasn’t shit, and the reviews were good—but it just didn’t get the right push for people to see it.”

Jim Jefferies performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 29, at Spotlight 29, 46200 Harrison Place, in Coachella. Tickets are $25 to $35. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-5566, or visit www.spotlight29.com.

Published in Comedy

Private Lives of Nashville Wives (Monday, Feb. 24, TNT), series debut: We’re going to need a ruling on the definition of “Private,” here—does it mean, “Followed around by a camera crew capturing every calculated second of our scripted ‘lives’”? Don’t expect an answer from TNT anytime soon, because they’re floating in an alternate timeline when this catty Housewives crap is still viable, and not realizing that just injecting “Nashville” collagen doesn’t instantly make them Bravo circa 2008. Of all the cable nets chasing a quick buck with reality-TV filler, none get it more consistently wrong than TNT. Can’t they just be happy with Rizzoli and Isles?

Game of Arms (Tuesday, Feb. 25, AMC), series debut: AMC hasn’t had much luck with reality outreach, either—but at least their offerings have been original and interesting. (C’mon, who wasn’t simultaneously intrigued and horrified by Small Town Security?) Game of Arms, about the sleeveless lives and sweaty struggles of competitive arm-wrestlers, strikes a winning balance of colorful characters and semi-genuine drama that at least feels worth rooting for, in the same weird fashion you may have cheered on IFC’s Whisker War-riors, or Olympic curlers. Problem is, AMC should have slotted GoA on Sundays after The Walking Dead/Talking Dead block, instead of attempting to launch a whole new night with it on Tuesdays. Kevin Smith must have some serious extortion goods to keep Comic Book Men alive.

About a Boy, Growing Up Fisher (Tuesday, Feb. 25, NBC), series debuts: Just as in the 1988 novel and the 2002 movie of the same name, an uptight Brit (Minnie Driver) and her oddball son (Benjamin Stockham) move next door to a free-spirited playa (David Walton); laughs and Valuable Life Lessons ensue. NBC’s About a Boy is no letdown from either of its previous iterations, but, even with a post-Olympics preview and a Voice lead-in, Tuesday is tough for comedy (unless you’re Zooey Deschanel or Andy Samberg). And don’t even bother to learn the names on Growing Up Fisher; just move along …

Mind Games (Tuesday, Feb. 25, ABC), series debut: Speaking of heartwarming, how about a Christian Slater/Steve Zahn dramedy about a human-behavior expert (Zahn) and his ex-con brother (Slater) who form a team that uses trickery and “Jedi mind tricks” to bend the will of Big Bads (like, say, insurance-company heads) to the benefit of their downtrodden, salt-of-the-earth clients? Sure, Leverage did it with more style and less warm-fuzzies for years, but that’s canceled—so this is where we are now. Slater and Zahn make an effortless, charming duo (and the rest of the cast mostly keeps up), but Mind Games is either going to have to go edgier or sweeter to stick. ABC already has a show called The Middle.

The Americans (Wednesday, Feb. 26, FX), season premiere: The cultural touchstone in 2013’s debut episode of The Americans was Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”; in the Season 2 opener, it’s the Meryl Streep tear-jerker The French Lieutenant’s Woman—we get it: It’s still 1981. With Elizabeth (Keri Russell), her gunshot wound and her marriage on the mend, it’s time for her and Philip (Matthew Rhys) to return to the field and the business of bringing down America for Mother Russia—but is she off her game? A terribly-botched first mission back says da. Meanwhile, Stan (Noah Emmerich) continues to be played by now-double-agent Nina (Annet Mahendru), who doesn’t appreciate the sentiment of The French Lieutenant’s Woman at all. By the end of Season 1, The Americans proved it was more than a retro Homeland, and Season 2 looks to go even deeper—Brody who?


DVD ROUNDUP FOR FEB. 25!

Gravity

A doctor (Sandra Bullock) and an astronaut (George Clooney) are set adrift in space when their shuttle is destroyed; now it’s a race against time before the oxygen runs out and/or someone asks, “Why’s it called Gravity when there is none?” (Warner Bros.)

Hollywood and Wine

An nobody actress (Nicky Whelan) impersonates a famous movie star to help her boyfriend (Chris Kattan) get out of debt from a mobster (Chazz Palminteri). Also starring Pamela Anderson and other movie-star impersonators. (Green Apple)

L.A. Law: Season 1

The 1986 debut season, finally on ’Merican DVD! The groundbreaking drama about Los Angeles attorneys with great suits inspired a generation to pursue legal careers, which in turn brought about the demise of the country. So, yay? (Shout! Factory)

Legit: Season 1

The first season of Australian comic Jim Jefferies’ Legit starts off shaky, but gets better over the course of 13 episodes—hell, even DJ Qualls in a wheelchair couldn’t ruin it. Season 2 starts Feb. 26 on FXX; start looking for that channel now. (20th Century Fox)

Thor: The Dark World

The Marvel sequel that made more than $200 million—almost enough to cover the cost of maintaining Natalie Portman’s hair, which looks spectacular. Chris Hemsworth’s locks, however, suffered due to the budget drain. Still, decent flick. (Marvel/Disney)

More New DVD Releases (Feb. 25)

Amber Alert, Blue Is the Warmest Color, Curse of the Dragon, The Guide, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: Season 1, Holla II, Ice Soldiers, Mr. Nobody, Muscle Shoals, Nebraska, Pulling Strings, Scarecrow, Surviving Evil, Twice Born, The Wait.

Published in TV