15 Things to Do in Metro Phoenix, December 26 to January 1

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Cedric the Entertainer
It’s a bold move to include your alleged skills in your stage name. Good thing Cedric the Entertainer knows how to consistently deliver the laughs.

And by “consistently,” we mean over the course of a few decades. The Missouri-born comedian’s popularity has steadily risen since he started performing in the late 1980s, appearing as himself on such programs as Showtime at the Apollo. Since then, he has moved fluidly between stand-up performances and numerous roles on television shows and in movies. The feisty, no-holds-barred barber Eddie from the popular Barbershop movie franchise is just one of his quotable, unforgettable characters. Let Cedric entertain you at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 29, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Admission is $42.50 for the 18-and-older show, where seating is first-come, first-served. All tickets require a two-drink minimum. Shows run through December 30. Call 480-719- 6100 or visit Amy Young

Night Bird Song
Musician and bandleader Thomas Chapin had a lifelong heart condition he knew might drop him at any time. Life is fragile and unpredictable for all of us, but Chapin’s fortune made that truth impossible to ignore, so he made the music he loved, made it like a freight train, made it every day until leukemia slipped in and took him in 1998.

Chapin played alto sax to maximum effect. He destroyed flutes equally well. He wrote scads of fresh compositions and led numerous ensembles, including the venerable Thomas Chapin Trio.

Chapin’s sister-in-law, Emmy-winning Hawaii documentarian Stephanie J. Castillo, released Night Bird Song, a film about the jazz great’s life and career, earlier this year, and the noms and awards are rolling in. New Carpa Theater Company presents a screening at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 29, at the Nash, 110 East Roosevelt Street. For tickets ($7), call 602-795-0464 or visit Julie Peterson

UFC 207
What goes better with a basket of wings and some beer than a couple of UFC fighters beating the shit out of each other? If your answer is “nothing,” you are in for one exciting night.

Watch UFC 207 with fellow fight fans to see how “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey fares in her first battle since losing her championship belt to Holly Holm back in November 2015. This time, Rousey challenges Brazil’s Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes for the UFC women’s bantamweight title. Both fighters are known for their aggressive styles and honed wrestling skills. Get your mixed martial arts fix from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 30, at Half Moon Sports Grill, 288 East Greenway Parkway #103. Admission is free. Call 602-993-6600 or visit Amy Young

Big Top Street Fair
There’s still time to cross “learn some basic circus tricks” off your list of New Year’s resolutions. Get to the Big Top Street Fair at the Phoenician, 6000 East Camelback Road in Scottsdale, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 30. It’s your chance to learn juggling and hula hoop, and to watch a holiday-themed aerial and trapeze performance by the actual professionals, which kicks off at 7 p.m.

The free event — which also features balloon artists, face painting, crafts, and street performers — is open to all. But bring cash if you want to indulge in cotton candy, licorice whips, salted pretzels, spiced pecans, sliders, or candy apples — or cocktails, beer, and wine. Because, hey, that weight-loss resolution can wait. Visit Lynn Trimble

Fiesta Bowl
If you’re just now learning that the Fiesta Bowl’s official sponsor is no longer a corn chip but rather a gaming console, then we’re guessing you don’t follow college football too closely. Grab some Tostitos anyway; here’s all you need to know about the game. This year’s Fiesta Bowl will take place on New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31, at Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium, One Cardinals Drive, and will feature the nation’s second- and third-ranked teams, Clemson and Ohio State. The matchup features two standout quarterbacks in Ohio’s J.T. Barrett and Clemson’s DeShaun Watson — in addition to Clemson’s dynamic wide receiver Mike Williams. The winner of Saturday’s game will head to Tulsa to get smoked by Alabama in the National Championship game. Probably. Kickoff is at 5 p.m., and tickets are $100 and up. Visit or call 480-350-0911 for details. Rob Kroehler

Cooking with the Calamari Sisters
This week offers numerous options for Saturday night. Whatever you might have to say about Cooking with the Calamari Sisters, you can’t say it’s the typical choice. An Italian-American-centric comedy with music, the popular touring show brings you a pair of cross-dressing men as middle-aged sisters with a TV cooking program that includes real food flying around. Some of the audience will be participating, so wear clean underwear.

It’s the “civilians jump into a song and dance” kind of musical, not the “production numbers that mesh with the plot with mixed results” variety. Delphine and Carmela lend their pipes to “That’s Amore,” “Come On-a My House,” “Volare,” and “Botcha-Me,” whatever the hell that is.

We cannoli hope you snag seats, $53 to $59, for Saturday, December 31, at 8 p.m. The engagement continues through Sunday, January 29, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Visit or call 602-252-8497. Julie Peterson

Midnight Madness 5K
If nothing says celebratory fun quite like a nighttime run, then the 27th Annual Midnight Madness 5K race is a great way to kiss 2016 goodbye and usher in the new year. This after-dark run offers pre- and post-midnight start times with a sparkling cider toast to 2017 in between. Take-home goodies include a medal and a long-sleeved shirt. The first run kicks off at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 31, and the second is at 12:10 a.m. Sunday, January 1, at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex, 9833 North 25th Avenue. Entry fee is $40 through December 29, and goes up to $45 on race day. Add $5 to run both. Visit Amy Young

The Detoxx Day Party
The turn of the New Year is a time for resolving to do better. Maybe, for 2017, the resolution will be to hit the gym more or cut back on the drinks when going out. But maybe those resolutions can wait until January 2 because on Sunday, January 1, Urban Splash Music Fest returns with The Detoxx Day party. This time, the bash takes over Clarendon Hotel, 401 West Clarendon Avenue, and will be decking it out for the “Black and Gold” edition. DJs will spin from 4 to 10 p.m. at this ultimate Sunday Funday. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door, and there will be a VIP mimosa bar ($30) until 6:30. For tickets and more information, visit Evie Carpenter
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski
Evie Carpenter is a visual journalist. Using photography, videography, design, and sometimes words, she tells stories she hopes make a bit of difference in the world, even if those stories are in list form and include GIFs.
Contact: Evie Carpenter
Janessa is a native Phoenician. She joined New Times as a contributor in 2013. You can connect with her on social media at @janessahilliard, and she promises you'll find no pictures of cats on her Instagram — but plenty of cocktails.
Contact: Janessa Hilliard
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young