Dancing doesn’t always have to be a waltz. If you’ve ever wanted to break out of the mold and try on a new routine for size, Petaluma’s international folk dance class kicks off this New Year with instructor Carol Friedman. The classes include folk dances from all over the world, including Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and Israel. The evening starts with a beginner lesson so all skill levels can participate and each class promises fun and exercise while you experience an assortment of world music. Classes run every Monday through April, starting on Jan. 2, at Hermann Son’s Hall, 860 Western Ave., Petaluma. 7pm. $65 for all classes, $7 drop-in. carolfriedmanfolkdance.blogspot.com.
Playwright Harold Pinter’s dramas are marked by his often understated tension, examining characters on the fringe with provocative and intricate dialogue that reveals deeper motivations than what’s on display. Such is the case with ‘The Lover’, a one-act look at modern marriage seen through the eyes of a married couple openly dealing with extramarital affairs. The Lover gets a limited run from the Valley Players in an intimate theater setting that’s sure to produce laughs and tears on Tuesday, Jan. 3, through Thursday, Jan. 5, at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater, 100 California Drive, Yountville. 7pm. $20. 707.944.9900.
Sebastopol-based songwriter and educator Buzzy Martin is staying busy this year. His book Don't Shoot! I'm the Guitar Man, about his experiences teaching music to inmates at San Quentin prison, is being turned into a feature film that just wrapped shooting this month. Amid the excitement of that project, Martin continues to write inspiring songs dedicated to those in the prison system and their families, including the new holiday-themed tune, “I’ll Be Coming Home for Christmas, Mama.” This week, Martin performs a special holiday show on Thursday, Dec. 22, at the Redwood Cafe, 8240 Old Redwood Hwy., Cotati. 8pm. Free. 707.795.7868.
Narada Michael Walden’s Love, Gospel and Christmas Concert spreads joy and cheer for the 20th year this week with a great lineup of performers sharing the stage. Walden headlines the show with his Great Gospel Band, and special guests include Maria Muldaur, Dan Ashley, Jeanie Tracy and even Santa Claus. Proceeds from the concert will go to Walden’s nonprofit foundation, which encourages and inspires North Bay students through engaging music programs and productions. Christmas comes early on Friday, Dec. 23, at Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 8pm. $100 and up. 415.383.9600.
With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, it’s likely that-last minute shopping will run rampant over the weekend. In the heart of downtown Napa, the fine folks at Back Room Wines are offering a respite from the rush in the form of their Christmas Eve Afternoon Social. This casual gathering boasts spirited company and Back Room’s selection of hard-to-get and limited-production wines for a mere $1 tasting fee. Everyone is invited to bring a seasonal finger-food appetizer to share. Catch your breath and meet some new wine-loving friends on Saturday, Dec. 24, at Back Room Wines, 1000 Main St., Napa. 2–5pm. 707.226.1378.
After 14 years, Point Reyes Books owners Steve Costa and Kate Levinson are passing the torch of the town’s long-standing cultural institution to new owners on Jan. 1. Before they ride off into retirement, Costa and Levinson offer ‘The Last Words,’ an evening of conversation, music and more. The outgoing owners speak to Malcolm Margolin, founder of Berkeley-based independent publisher Heyday Books, and share their favorite memories and thoughts on the role of the bookstore in the community. Hear the last words on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at the Dance Palace, 503 B St., Pt. Reyes Station, 7pm. Free; reservations required. ptreyesbooks.com.
North Bay community nonprofit organization Becoming Independent offers many life-skill services to people with developmental disabilities, including a professional art program that provides classes and studio space. Last October, Becoming Independent acquired one of the working studio spaces at Sonoma County gallery and art center Fulton Crossing, and this week, the organization’s annual ‘Holiday Lights’ art show displays one-of-a-kind works and gifts in several mediums. Meet the artists and enjoy wine and appetizers while you view the art on Friday, Dec. 16, at Fulton Crossing, 1200 River Road, Fulton. 5pm. Free admission. becomingindependent.org.
The self-described kings of acoustic folk hijinks, the Christmas Jug Band is one of the North Bay’s more beloved holiday traditions. This year, the irreverently merry music-makers celebrate four decades of turning Christmas classics into tongue-in-cheek Americana parodies, and sharing their fun take on the season with audiences of all ages. This week, the Christmas Jug Band’s 40th annual tour stops in the North Bay on Friday, Dec. 16, at the Big Easy (128 American Alley, Petaluma; 6:30; $15; 707.776.4631) and on Sunday and Monday, Dec. 18–19, at Sweetwater Music Hall (19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley; Sunday at 7pm ($17–$27); Monday at 8pm ($24–$27) 415.388.3850.)
Looking to shop local this holiday season? It doesn’t get more local than the Santa Rosa Junior College’s outdoor agriculture complex Shone Farm, where everything grown goes to local restaurants like John Ash & Co. and local purveyors. This weekend’s Holiday on the Farm event offers up a bounty of the farm’s output, including fresh-pressed olive oil, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wines, olive oil soap and salve and lip balm made from lavender. This second annual artisan showcase happens on Saturday, Dec. 17 at Shone Farm, 7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville. 11am. Free admission. 707.535.3707.
Last February, the North Bay lost one of its finest folk figures when country-swing songwriter Dan Hicks passed away at his home in Mill Valley after battling cancer. The man behind Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks was always a funny and gracious party host, and his memory lives on in this weekend’s Holidaze in Hicksville tribute concert. Featuring a lineup of members from the Hot Licks, Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob Band and other special guests and friends, this celebratory remembrance promises all the uplifting energy that Hicks was famous for. Travel to Hicksville on Sunday, Dec. 18, at Fenix, 919 Fourth St., San Rafael. 6:30pm. $15–$18. 415.813.5600.