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Holiday Havoc, Viva Ska Vegas, Downtown barbecue and more stuff you need to know about

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Jimmy Eat World plays the first night of Holiday Havoc.
Ian Racoma
    • ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR AT LAS VEGAS LITTLE THEATRE

      Maybe it was the unrelenting Christmas music as my dentist gouged my teeth, or maybe it was the fake snow flying through the air and stinging my eyes at the mall. Whatever it was for me—and whatever it is for you— LVLT’s Absurd Person Singular is the bitter comedic chaser to cleanse your palate this holiday season. “It’s a very dark comedy,” says director Rob Kastil. “The entire second act takes place while one character is trying to commit suicide.” Ah yes, existential despair during the holidays. Music to my ears.

      The show follows three couples through three Christmases during the 1970s. As one couple rises in status, the other two find their lives destroyed—though it’s not clear those coming out on top are particularly noble, either. The play skewers the ideas of blind commercialism and greed, but has more than a little farce to it. And any show determined to find comedy in failed suicide attempts gets a nod of approval from me. So this holiday season, take a break from the saccharine treacle with a nice shot of strychnine, and let a dark comedy put you to rights. December 8-18, Thursday-Sunday, times vary, $21-$24. –Jacob Coakley

    • HOLIDAY HAVOC AT THE PEARL

      There’s something about radio station-sponsored holiday concerts that makes one nostalgic. After all, in the pre-festival days, they were the only package shows Las Vegas had. Holiday Havoc recalls those halcyon days of yesteryear with two nights of radio-friendly alternative rawk: Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World, Pierce the Veil, Weathers and The Hunna on Thursday; Weezer, Grouplove, Saint Motel, The Moth & The Flame, 888 and Catfish and the Bottlemen on Friday. To be honest, the last time Weezer caught my attention was with that video filled with YouTube stars; the last time Blink-182 interested me was never. But it’s not about the freshness of the headliners; it’s about remembering a simpler time. In this particularly beleaguered holiday season, we need all the nostalgia we can get. Besides, some of the bands in the support slots are pretty decent. December 8 and 9, 6 p.m., $70-$143. –Geoff Carter

    • DOWNTOWN THROWDOWN BARBECUE CHAMPIONSHIPS AT FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE

      Want to sample the work of 30 of the best barbecue masters in the region? Come down Saturday after 10 a.m., support old and new favorites and enjoy tangy tastings. Also on the menu: a Friday chili competition (beginning at 4 p.m.). December 9 and 10, 3rd Street Stage. –Mike Prevatt

    • UNLV MFA OPEN STUDIOS AT GRS GRADUATE STUDIOS

      Las Vegas isn’t known for repurposing buildings into useful spaces; we’re more the tear-it-down, blow-it-up type. But when the Carl’s Jr. across from UNLV shuttered years ago, instead of starting from scratch, the university turned the fast-food structure into something beneficial for students and the community: artist studios. For one night only, the public is invited to see these studios and explore the way artists create their works before displaying them to the masses. Participants include Ali Fathollahi, whose September exhibit Adolescence focused on growing up in war-torn Iran; Paint This Desert blogger Ed Fuentes, who recently curated Bunko: The Lost Archives; and Jennifer Henry, the designer behind the alternative material fashion project FlockFlockFlock. Together, the 10 MFA Studio Arts Program candidates—photographers, mixed-media innovators and video artists—will provide a behind-the-scenes look at often private and unseen creative processes. The event will also feature an interactive live performance. December 9, 5 p.m., 4570 S. Maryland Parkway, free. –Leslie Ventura

    • VIVA SKA VEGAS AT 601 FREMONT STREET

      Viva Ska Vegas hits Downtown for a fifth year, with two nights of (mostly) third-wave ska split between Backstage Bar & Billiards and Fremont Country Club. Scheduled acts include Reel Big Fish, The Toasters, Suburban Legends, La Banda Skalavera and The Skeltones. December 9 and 10, 7 p.m., $10-$50, vivaskavegas.com. –Geoff Carter

    • WESTLAND WHISKEY DINNER AT RX BOILER ROOM

      Rick Moonen’s charismatic gastropub plays host to American single-malt distiller Westland Whiskey for a four-course dinner pairing dishes like crispy duck confit and frisée salad with cocktails crafted from the bold spirit you usually consider as Scotch. December 10, 6 p.m., $75, Shoppes at Mandalay Place, eventbrite.com. –Brock Radke

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