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The To-Do List: Christmas comes early, Adam Sandler comes to Memphis

Welcome back to The To-Do List, where Daily Memphian staffers suggest their favorite events and activities for the coming week.

This week, “Lil Buck” stars in “NutReMix,” trees are blue in Germantown and that Anita Baker show we’ve been hearing about on Bally Sports all year is finally happening. 

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Graceland Holiday Lighting Weekend at Graceland Mansion, opening Thursday:

Graceland will flip the switch on its holiday lights on Thursday, Nov. 16. (Courtesy Graceland)


Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” comes to life every year as the grounds of Graceland are lit in the same way Presley decorated his house back in the day — with hundreds of blue lights lining the driveway, a life-size nativity scene, Santa and his sleigh and more. Watch as the switch is flipped in person, or catch the kick-off on Graceland’s livestream. New this year is the grand opening of an Enesco gift shop and Department 56 gallery at Graceland Crossing. Not familiar with Department 56? They make those tiny holiday village homes, and the opening promises to feature the “world’s largest display” of them. Graceland has holiday events planned straight through Elvis’ Jan. 8 birthday. See more events here. Lighting event starts at 6 p.m., gift shop opens at 6:30 p.m. Free. 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard. — Bianca Phillips

Ghalia Volt at Lafayette’s Music Room, Thursday:

Ghalia Volt

The blues may not be Belgian singer-songwriter Ghalia Volt’s first musical language, but when you hear her guitar twang and raspy voice, you’d never know she didn’t grow up in the Mississippi Delta. Volt came to the blues through punk and psychobilly. She told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that she just kept digging further and further to find “the real roots of the music I used to listen to,” and that’s how she discovered the blues. Her new album, “Sister Shout Out!” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard blues chart, and she’ll be stopping through Memphis on Thursday. 6 p.m. 2119 Madison Ave. Click here for more information. — Phillips

Adam Sandler at FedExForum, Thursday: 

Adam Sandler will bring his 25-city comedy tour to FedExForum on Thursday, Nov. 16. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP file)

Funny man Adam Sandler will make his first stop in Memphis in 28 years as part of his 25-city “The I Missed You Tour,” so named because Sandler’s career has focused more on movies than live stand-up for many years. (Interestingly, Sandler’s last local show — back in 1995 — was at the University of Memphis' Elma Roane Fieldhouse, and tickets were just $7, as reported by Bob Mehr of The Commercial Appeal). Sandler’s live shows often feature guest appearances by other comedy legends (think Chris Rock and Judd Apatow), so who knows? Maybe Memphis will get a surprise guest. And since the show is scheduled so close to Thanksgiving, here’s hoping for a little “Turkey for me, turkey for you/Let’s eat the turkey in my big brown shoe.” 7:30 p.m. $52 to $174. 191 Beale St. Click here for more information. — Phillips


Spillit Grand Slam: The Moment at Black Lodge, Friday:

If you’ve never been to a Spillit Memphis event, the Grand Slam this Friday is a good one to start with. Spillit events are storytelling competitions held monthly, when storytellers weave personal, mostly true seven-minute tales based on the evening’s theme. Judges vote on their favorites, and the winners for each event come together for a final championship. Friday’s theme is “The Moment,” and it’s up to the contestants to interpret that as they wish. 7 p.m. $20. 18 and up. 405 N. Cleveland St. Click here for tickets and more information. — Holly Whitfield

Orpheum Soiree at the Orpheum Theatre, Friday:

The Orpheum will transform into Oz for the most “Popular” night out. The Orpheum will host its “Wicked”-themed soiree Friday night, with food and themed cocktails from 117 Prime, Soul & Spirits Brewery, Stix Express, Old Dominick Distillery, Donelson’s Catering, Nothing Bundt Cake, Barware and more. With Lucky 7 Brass Band, the Side Street Steppers and Ensemble X in charge of music, there is sure to be dancing. Plus, proceeds from the event will go toward Orpheum Theatre Group, which works to provide local and accessible arts and education opportunities. It’s certainly gonna be wicked! 7-11 p.m. $125. 203 S. Main St. Click here for more information. — Kelsey Bowen

‘NutReMix’ at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, Friday-Sunday:

New Ballet Ensemble’s annual “NutReMix” with Charles “Lil Buck” Riley plays at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts Friday-Sunday, Nov. 17-19. (Andrea Zucker)

New Ballet Ensemble and School’s classic, Memphis-centric take on “The Nutcracker” is back for the 2023 holiday season. Internationally famous alumnus Charles “Lil Buck” Riley reprises his originating role as the Memphis Angel. And alumnus Maxx Reed, fresh off a stint on Broadway, serves as creative director. The score features a remixed classical Tchaikovsky score, as well as songs from artists including Duke Ellington and Booker T. and the M.G.’s. The production features Memphis jookin’, hip-hop dance and Spanish and West African dance set to musical performances from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Big Band. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $29-$52. 255 N. Main St. Click here for tickets. — Elle Perry

Whitehaven Christmas parade, Saturday:

The Whitehaven Christmas Parade in 2022 featured performances from the Woodstock Middle School Band, Cordova High School Band and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Band. (Ziggy Mack/Special to The Daily Memphian file)


Whitehaven’s annual Christmas parade has been a fixture in the community since 1998, and it’s set to coincide with Graceland’s holiday kick-off weekend. Stop by to see marching bands, floats, motorcades, and yes, Santa in what may be the first neighborhood holiday parade of the season. 10 a.m. Free. Route begins at Southland Mall. Click here for more information. — Phillips

‘The Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees’ at the Museum of Science and History, opening Saturday:

“The Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees” opens at the Museum of Science and History on Saturday, Nov. 18. (Courtesy MoSH)

The staying power of the Enchanted Forest Christmas display is a tribute to the power of Memphis nostalgia, and maybe also to the endless charm of fuzzy winter critters. The original Enchanted Forest was famously at Goldsmith’s Downtown, but now the Museum of Science and History hosts it each year, along with the “Festival of Trees” on the mezzanine, a village of gingerbread houses and a photos with Santa. Times vary. $7 adults, $6 seniors, $6 children ages 3-12. 3050 Central Ave. Click here for tickets and more information. — Whitfield

Downtown holiday tree lighting, Saturday:

Downtown’s doing Christmas before Thanksgiving, and that’s not for everyone. But if it’s for you, here are the details: The party starts at 4:30 p.m. at the corner of Peabody Avenue and Main Street. There will be free candy, hot chocolate from Margie’s 901 and photos with Santa. The giant, official Downtown tree will be lit at 4:50 p.m. — Phillips

Soulsville holiday tree lighting, Saturday:

Here’s another one for you early Christmas folks. Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and the Soulsville USA Neighborhoods Development District will host the lighting of Soulsville’s new 42-foot holiday tree. The event will feature live music by Larry Springfield, Carla Thomas and Melvia “Chick” Rogers, as well as spoken word by Jesse Dunlap and performances by the MBAA Youth Ensemble and someone who goes by “Saxy Santa.” 4:30 to 6 p.m. Free. Corner of Bellevue Boulevard and Beechwood Avenue. See here for more info. — Phillips


Marcia Ball at the Halloran Centre, Saturday:

Marcia Ball will play the Halloran Centre on Saturday, Nov. 18. (Amy Harris/Invision/AP file)

Texas and Louisiana share a border, and they also share Marcia Ball, at 74 now firmly an institution in both venerable states. She’s an “Austin City Limits” hall of famer who’s also the barrelhouse-piano-bopping and blues-belting progeny of such New Orleans greats as Professor Longhair and James Booker. Ball’s no stranger to Memphis either, not as a multiple winner at the Memphis-based Blues Music Awards. All that Southern musical goodness comes together this week at the Halloran Centre. 7:30 p.m. $39.50. See here for more info. — Chris Herrington

‘Shelby Canopy: Our Shared Connection’ at the Wolf River Greenway, opening Sunday:

Volunteer Sarah Crawford helped color trees at the Wolf River Greenway on Nov. 13, for “Shelby Canopy,” which opens on Sunday, Nov. 19. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Artist Konstantin Dimopoulos’ blue tree art installation, which has popped up in 35 cities so far, opens in Germantown on the Wolf River Greenway this week. The immersive exhibition features trees tinted with a bright blue, temporary liquid chalk that should last about six months, depending on the weather, and there’s also an audio experience with wind chimes hung along the trail. Read more about “Shelby Canopy” and how it came to be in this story by Abigail Warren. Runs through April 19, 2024. Free. Click here for more information. — Phillips

‘Six’ at the Orpheum Theatre, opening Tuesday:

“Six” opens at the Orpheum Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 21. (Joan Marcus/Courtesy Orpheum Theatre)

What if King Henry VIII’s six wives got together to form a pop supergroup? That’s the question the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Six” wants to answer. Dressed in structured, metal-studded and bejeweled leather costumes, each of the characters belt out their tragic stories in true Beyonce/Britney/Miley fashion. The boppy, radio-friendly tunes sound fun despite their dark subject matter — “Don’t Lose Ur Head” is giving 2000s British pop star Lily Allen; “I Don’t Need Your Love” is a classic R&B ballad. The Orpheum will offer matinee and evening performances of the touring production. Times vary. $35-$150. No show on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23.) No children under age four. 203 S. Main St. Click here for tickets and more information. — Whitfield

‘Writers in the Round’ at the Lamplighter Lounge, Tuesday:

Singer-songwriters Jeff Hulett, Brad Postlethwaite and Toby Vest will take turns performing their own original works. But expect them to also play a few songs from Memphis indie-rock band Snowglobe, of which all three are members, in this special Thanksgiving week installment of the Lamplighter’s weekly songwriters’ event. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. $7. 1702 Madison Ave. — Phillips

Anita Baker at FedExForum, Wednesday:

Anita Baker will perform at FedExForum on Wednesday, Nov. 22. (Erik Kabik Photography/ MediaPunch/ AP file)

If you’re a regular watcher of Memphis Grizzlies broadcasts, you know that this week’s Anita Baker concert is a long time coming. I’m pretty sure we’ve been seeing promos for it for more than a year. In that way, Baker is the new Foo Fighters, about the only thing they have in common. They crunch. She croons. And now, finally, the quiet storm queen is coming to Memphis. Baker is still best known for her quintuple-platinum 1986 second album, “Rapture.” Blockbusters like that have a way of being inescapable. But that was only the first of four platinum-selling albums, leading to eight Grammys. Baker’s on a kind of valedictory tour at the moment, dubbed “The Songstress” after her before (the) “Rapture” debut. She’s earned it. 8 p.m. Tickets starting at $75. See here for more info. — Herrington 

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