Hot Picks Dec. 19-25: A Winter Solstice Indigenous Acoustic Revue, Sad Dance Party, Jolabokaflod

Hot Picks Dec. 19-25: A Winter Solstice Indigenous Acoustic Revue, Sad Dance Party, Jolabokaflod

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FRIDAY | 12.20


Diné activist, filmmaker and musician Klee Benally will play a CD release show for his newest album, The Unsustainable Sessions Friday. The event, A Winter Solstice Indigenous Acoustic Revue, will also feature indigenous musicians Radmilla Cody, Sage Bond and Sunburnt Stone and will double as a winter clothing drive for unsheltered indigenous relatives. The Unsustainable Sessions is Benally's second acoustic album and features 12 songs that dig deep into contemporary indigenous conflicts as with his first acoustic release, Respect Existence or Expect Resistance from 2013. “I took a break from making music in 2012 when my guitar wasn’t enough to stop bulldozers from desecrating sacred sites. I was focused on organizing and coordinating actions, then one day I woke up and said, ‘Oh yeah, I’m an artist too,’” Benally says. His next projects include two books and a board game. You can sign up to support him on Patreon at A Winter Solstice Indigenous Acoustic Revue takes place Friday, Dec. 20, at 6 p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Road. Don’t forget to bring warm clothing and/or sleeping bags, plus a suggested donation of $10. For more info, call CCA at 779-2300. For another fundraising event, head over to the Museum of Contemporary Art Flagstaff, 555 Blackbird Roost, for the MOCAF market and warehouse rock & roll show after Bennally’s show and listen to local bands Egg Princess (back for one night only), space men Sci-Fi Country and Heebie Jeebies—plus shop tons of local vendors. All profits benefit MOCAF. For more info on the latter event, visit

SATURDAY | 12.21


Every year the Downtown Business Alliance and the Orpheum Theater present their Winter Movie Series featuring holiday classics for adults and children alike. Catch the final installment of the series at the Orpheum Theater, 15 W. Aspen Ave., this Saturday, featuring a screening of Elf.Will Ferrell stars in this modern holiday classic about a human—a really big human—raised as an elf. When Buddy (Ferrell) is accidentally transported to the North Pole as a child, he is raised among Santa’s elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn't fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. Fun fact: Since its release, the film has been adapted into a Broadway musical and a stop-motion animated television special. Event is free and begins at 10 a.m.

SATURDAY | 12.21


The Flagstaff music scene is at its best when not only giving a platform to local musicians but also to those from Cottonwood, Phoenix Tucson and beyond. This Saturday, The Hive, 2 S. Beaver St., welcomes Phoenix folk-punk crooners Sad Dance Party. The band recently released a four-song EP, No One Like(s) You to much anticipation, with all of its digital sales benefiting the Immigrant Defense Project. A little bit AJJ, a little bit Neutral Milk Hotel, Sad Dance Party is all feeling wrapped up in acoustic guitars and dreamy synths/keys. Currently on their Tiny Tour, Sad Dance Party will be stopping by The Hive with Winter Haven, Minivan and Second Take. The all-ages show begins at 7 p.m. $5.

SUNDAY | 12.22


Come eat and drink while the band The Morning Embers serenades you with some folky bluegrass. The Flagstaff folk ensemble recently finished recording a new album, in part at Visconti Studios in London and Mudshark Recording Studio here in Flagstaff. The band, whose music is rife with velvety harmonies and saccharine lyrics, has three pillars by which it goes. The first is friendship: “We started playing music together to cheer up a friend after heart surgery and just kept playing. We love jamming, home-cooked band dinners and exploring new song ideas together,” they write on their website. The second pillar is to be “Inspired by nature.” Each band member lives in Flagstaff and loves Southwestern adventures like hiking, climbing, rafting and snowboarding. The third pillar? Love nature. “Expect grounded, acoustic music and warm harmonies. You’ll find plenty of nature-inspired lyrics in our songs, reflecting our love for this incredible place we live in,” their website states. In other words, The Morning Embers is a Flagstaff band through and through. Don’t miss them this weekend. They play Sunday at 5 p.m. at Flagstaff Brewing Company, 22 E. Route 66. For more, visit Flag Brew on Facebook.

MON-TUES | 12.23-24


Jolabokaflod may sound like Simlish being shouted desperately by the Sim you just put in the pool without building it a ladder to get out, but it’s actually an Icelandic word. Jolabokaflod, literally translated to Christmas book flood, is a wintertime tradition loved by Icelanders across the world, and it is something Flagstaff book lovers should get behind. So how does it work exactly? In Iceland most new books are published right before Christmas, creating a flood of books for readers. On Christmas Eve, you'll find most Icelanders snuggled in with a cup of something warm all doing the same thing: reading a book and eating chocolate. It’s something Flag Live! is definitely going to adopt this holiday season, starting with the Jolabokaflod event at Bright Side Bookshop, 18 N. San Francisco St. Dec. 23 and 24, give someone the gift of Jolabokaflod. All chocolate at Bright Side during the two-day event will be 50 percent off with the purchase of a book (while supplies last). If you're planning on going to the store on Dec. 24 make sure you get there early as Bright Side will only be open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information on the event, visit Bright Side Bookshop on Facebook.


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