Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - December 17, 2010

Ringing in the new

'Striking 12' and other concerts, parties and dinners celebrate 2011

by Rebecca Wallace

Six years ago, the indie-pop trio GrooveLily brought a new kind of holiday show to Palo Alto.

Developed at TheatreWorks, "Striking 12" was part musical theater, part alternative-rock concert, telling the old chestnut "The Little Match Girl" in a new key. The band gave the tale a modern take by turning the girl into a seller of holiday lights billed as mood-boosters. Then there was this cranky office guy who just wanted to spend New Year's alone.

In a 2004 review, Weekly theater critic Jeanie K. Smith called the show "almost unclassifiable — a new breed of performance unto itself." She wrote, "Original songs combined with a dash of role-playing and at least three intertwined story levels all add up to something quite wonderful and new."

Now GrooveLily is bringing "Striking 12" back to the Lucie Stern Theatre at 1305 Middlefield Road, with five performances on Dec. 28 through Dec. 31. The closing show starts at 10 p.m., timed to conclude with a New Year's champagne toast. Tickets are $56-$75; go to theatreworks.org or call 650-463-1960.

"Striking 12" is one of several New Year's Eve events happening in the Palo Alto area this year. In case alternative rock isn't your cup of joe, here's a selection of the other New Year's options around:

A ballroom-dancing party is planned at the Cubberley Community Center Pavilion, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. The evening starts with beginning and intermediate waltz lessons at 8 p.m., followed by a dance party from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. No partner or dance experience is needed, and admission is $20. Midnight toast and dance demos included. Go to readybyte.com/fridaynightdance or call 650-856-9930.

The Zen Lounge at 251 Castro St. in Mountain View is hosting NYE Bash 2011 starting at 7 p.m. Hip-hop, dance, rap, house and mash-ups with Dynamic D, hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast are planned. Admission is $35 (ages 21 and up only). Go to zenmv.com or call 650-969-4847.

Local pipe organist James Welch presents his annual New Year's Eve concert at 8 p.m. on the 4,568-pipe organ at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave. Titled "Big Bach" this year, the program features J.S. classics including Fantasie in G and Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, with works by French Baroque and Romantic composers. Admission is $10. Go to welchorganist.com or call 650-856-9700.

Palo Alto's Club Illusions hosts a singles' party put on by groups including Your Asian Connection, from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. The party features live music from the '60s through the '90s, a buffet dinner and singles' game, a raffle and champagne. Dressy attire is required. Tickets are $25-$60. The club is at 260 S. California Ave. in Palo Alto. Go to yourasianconnection.com or call 650-321-6464.

The city of Palo Alto presents a seniors' party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Tickets are $13 in advance and $18 at the door, and include lunch, live music, dancing and champagne. Call 650-463-4953.

Dancing in two ballrooms is the focus of the singles' dance party at the Palo Alto Sheraton at 625 El Camino Real from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. One ballroom will be playing music "preferred by young single professionals," with the other aimed at baby boomers (but anyone can dance anywhere). Admission is $20 in advance and $30 at the door. The event is organized by The Society of Single Professionals and Singles Supper Club. Go to thepartyhotline.com or call 415-507-9962.

Various local restaurants also have special New Year's Eve menus, including Quattro at the Four Seasons at 2050 University Ave. in East Palo Alto (four courses or seven courses; call 650-566-1200). In Palo Alto, Shokolaat at 516 University Ave. has a prix fixe tasting menu with four courses, wine flights and a sparkling-wine toast; call 650-289-0719.

On New Year's Day, cellist Nathan Chan, bassist Michel Taddei and soprano Anja Strauss will be featured at the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra's free Jan. 1 concert. Held from 3 to 5 p.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church at 600 Colorado Ave. in Palo Alto, the performance includes Mozart's Symphony No. 1 and Jon Deak's "Ugly Duckling." Go to sfchamberorchestra.org or call 415-692-5297.

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