Grand Buffet/Whole Wheat Bread, New Lows, Appetite for Destruction and more 

Thursday • 16

HOLIDAY TRIPLE TREAT Attend the seasonal variety show that the Orlando Ballet has christened "Holiday Triple Treat," and you'll be getting in on the ground floor of the company's drive to find a viable alternative to its traditional staging of The Nutcracker. In 2005, the arrival of the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes at Carr Performing Arts Centre will force the ballet to forfeit one week's worth of cash-cow Nutcracker 54performances; a year later, the latter dance perennial will be displaced entirely by a production of The Lion King. The hunt is thus on for the ballet to find a smaller, more portable year-end show that can be ferried from venue to venue as changing circumstances require. That flexibility and a general yen for collaboration are the guiding ideas behind "Treat," a cross-company Christmas tribute in three acts. In the first, the Orlando Chorale will sing seasonal melodies, both solo and with ballet accompaniment. The second act, The Mad Cow Theatre Company's Letters From Father Christmas, will delve into the mailbag of a 1930s-era Santa (Christopher Lee Gibson), who will share the stage with five children. After a second and final intermission, the ballet will perform Skating at the Ballet, a 17-minute marathon that will have male and female dancers taking to the simulated ice. And where did the ballet's school director, Peter Stark, get the idea for this entire variety special? Why, by witnessing the Rockettes' own holiday extravaganza in person. And that, dear friends, is justice. (7:30 p.m. at Carr Performing Arts Centre; 407-839-3900 or; $10-$45; also 2 p.m. Saturday)

Friday • 17

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GRAND BUFFET/WHOLE WHEAT BREAD Two white guys rapping (Grand Buffet), three black guys playing punk rock (Whole Wheat Bread). The most obvious irony in the world wasn't lost on us either. This show amounts to a Fighting Records showcase, as the Orlando-based label is releasing WWB's debut disc in January and a greatest-hits CD/DVD set from Grand Buffet sometime in 2005. (Fighting will also be reissuing You and Yer Good Ideas by Jacksonville's progressive, post-rap nutjob Astronautalis.) Everyone around here already knows how much irreverent fun Grand Buffet shows can be, but Whole Wheat Bread are probably the band to watch here: Their high-octane/high-sugar pop-punk is aggressive and infectious, and lots of roadwork has gotten them a lot tighter over the past six months. It's also gotten them a hell of a lot of attention, so go and see the show so you can say you were there when. (with Astronautalis; 9 p.m. at The Social, 407-246-1419; $8)

Saturday • 18

MERRY TUBACHRISTMAS ORLANDO CONCERT "Wear bright holiday colors and decorate your horn" are the guiding words on the open call for tuba, euphonium, sousaphone and baritone players to participate in the ninth annual outdoor concert in Winter Park. The mishmash of responding musicians signs up at 10 a.m., rehearses, has lunch and then blows some joy to the world in a quirky display of community cheer. The $7 registration fee for participants benefits the Harvey Phillips Foundation in New York, a not-for-profit organization that employs this same concept around the world to continue its mission of developing, expanding and preserving the music arts. According to the national website (, "the Foundation focuses special attention on musical instruments not ordinarily the object of other support." So carve out some time in that busy holiday schedule for some spirited tuba appreciation. (concert 1 p.m. at the Band Stage, Central Park, Winter Park; 407-647-7238 or 407-296-5560; free to spectators)

Sunday • 19

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BUTCH WALKER Wow. Another look/sound/album/label for Butch Walker. We can't help but be awed by his eternal flexibility and the way he always acts like what he's doing right now is the real deal. We also adore his insistence on acting like he's the lifetime king of Rock & Roll Land, mainly because even if he's not, he should be. Despite having worked with Avril Lavigne. (with American Hi-Fi; 8 p.m. at The Social, 407-246-1419; $13, $15)

ARS ANTIQUA Christmas Concert Things have been relatively quiet at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum this fall, except for the construction on the new multimillion-dollar facility (opening fall 2005), which is why the old building hasn't been open except for special events. And nothing is more special there than the annual concert by Ars Antiqua, a group of local musicians who don Renaissance dress and break out the krummhorns, cornettino and other instruments authentic to the 15th and 16th centuries to make mirthful music. Started 16 years ago by museum director Arthur Blumenthal, this family-friendly tradition beats in time with the heart of the museum itself – educational, uplifting and timeless. Because the galleries are closed, the always sold-out affair will take place this year in the Annie Russell Theatre, so there are more (plushy) seats to fill than are usually available. That means, unbelievably, tickets are still for sale. Ars Antiqua performs a fresh program of music every year, so this is a custom that's well-worn but far from worn-out. (3 p.m. at Annie Russell Theatre, Rollins College; 407-646-2526; $15)

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THE NEW LOWS It was a little over two years ago that two-thirds of local indie trio New Lows (Mike Levin and Tyler Gray) packed it up for the Big Apple ... . Before we go any further, let's just get it out in the open: Tyler Gray, current bassist for the New Lows, has freelanced a few stories for us (he also quit a steady career at the Orlando Sentinel and wagered his savings and fiancee on a move from Florida to Brooklyn ... maybe you've heard this story), but stick your conflict of interest up your ass – it's Christmas, fuckers. If we may continue, it was after Gray and Levin dumped former drummer Micky Michalec (also an OW employee) and moved to New York City that their music took a turn for the better: They scored a new drummer (Taro) who smoothed out their sound in a way Michalec never could. Two years in NYC hasn't gotten them lunch with David Geffen or anything, but it did get them enough exposure to have a song on an upcoming Deep Elm This Is Indie Rock compilation. The band's return to O-Town, however, is bittersweet because it also marks the last show with current drummer Taro. And with Levin recently graduating with a master's from NYU and ready to pursue endeavors out West, who knows, this could be the last New Lows show ever. Again. (with Megaphone; 9 p.m. at Will's Pub, 407-898-5070; $5)

Monday • 20

THE VIRGINIA HEIGHTS PROJECT "I'm tired of the fear in this town," grumbles local icon Pat Greene as we quiz him on his upcoming installation, The Virginia Heights Project. A couple of years ago Greene and Tyler Gray (yes, the guy from the last Selection) attempted to "define in clear terms a neighborhood that had started to develop an identity on its own," as Gray says via e-mail. "We had meetings, talked about plans, formed an online community board, etc. I actually went around to almost every house between the railroad tracks at Virginia Drive and Mills Ave., between Lake Formosa and Virginia Drive, and handed out demographic surveys that asked such benign questions as 'Do you have a sense of humor? If yes, please explain.'" Once the Lake Formosa Neighbor-hood Association (the official name of the area's homeowners association) got wind of the project, they promptly dispatched an OPD officer to check into Gray. "He tells me it's not a good idea to be handing out surveys in the neighborhood and that I shouldn't do it. I say, with all due respect, it's done, and I broke no laws in the process .... And I would not stop doing something that was perfectly legal and actually a pretty strong community building effort. I remember him saying something like, 'OK, but if we have any break-ins in the neighborhood, we're going to come knocking on your door.'" So with this outpouring of community involvement, what are Gray and Greene left to do to complete their project? Make up stuff, of course. In that spirit, VHP has become a fake museum exhibit with memorabilia that follows a history of the area from the days of early settlers to its time as a haven for Civil War deserters, hippies and beatniks up to the present time. Enjoy at your own risk, though, because if there are any break-ins, Peacock will surely get raided. (8 p.m. at The Peacock Room, 407-228-0048; free)

Wednesday • 22

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APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION We can't vouch for the live experience offered by this Guns ' Roses tribute band, but we've seen pictures and we've heard clips and, so far, we like these guys a lot better than we like Velvet Revolver. (Shit, has Weiland left town yet?) We still don't understand the problem that some folks have with tribute bands. We're not concerned a bit with their creative souls ... we just wanna get wasted and see a sorta-Guns ' Roses in a bar. (9 p.m. at The Social, 407-246-1419; $10)


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