Pulse: Pursuits: Hot Tickets: December 2010

Stuff you can’t miss this month.

The Vienna Boys Choir (12/3), the Orchestra doing Messiah (12/19), and Peter Nero Christmas-popping (12/4-22) at the Kimmel we get, but Michael McDonald, Donald Fagen and Boz Scaggs in a Christmas spectacular at the Tower (12/4)? Really?

A four-generation Philly klezmer family is profiled in new documentary Eatala: A Life in Klezmer, which premieres at the Calvary Center for Culture and Community, followed by a performance with 80-year-old matriarch Elaine Hoffman Watts (a drumming great-grandma!) and her trumpet-playing daughter Susan (12/4). And the West Philadelphia Orchestra brings its klezmer-injected Balkan Dance Party to Tritone (12/9).

The world’s largest organ may be at 13th and Market streets, but the swingin’est is sure to be at Chris’ Jazz Café on December 10th and 11th, when homegrown prodigy Joey DeFrancesco — now an Arizona resident — returns with his Hammond B3 to play tunes from his latest CD, Never Can Say Goodbye (HighNote, $16.98), a tribute to the late Michael Jackson. It’s a rare chance to see the Miles Davis- and Jimmy Smith-mentored player live, and one that shouldn’t be missed.

If you’ve got an impossible person on your gift list, one of these should do the trick: Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion at Liacouras(12/21-1/2), the Blue Man Group at the Merriam (12/22-1/2), or “Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3” at Wells Fargo (12/23-1/2).

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
is offering family-friendly holiday craft workshops where you can make fancy greeting cards (12/5), gift journals (12/12) and sea-glass tree ornaments (12/19). Free if you live in the Philadelphia School District.

The ’80s return with Cyndi Lauper (right) at the Trop (12/10), while the Paleozoic era roars to a comeback with loudmouth Joan Rivers at Harrah’s Chester (12/11). And the Free Library hosts a lady who’d bloody both of them in a street fight: punk poetess Patti Smith (12/8).