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Yup, it's DVD, CD, and fireplace weather for the next few months. But if you live alone, you might get a little lonely. If you live with someone, you might wind up killing each other. And it's hard to dig a grave when the ground's frozen.

There isn't a ton of shows blowing through town, but there are definitely a few that've got me jazzed. Check the weekly music listings in City for the specifics on these and other shows.

Part songwriting genius, part crusty curmudgeon, Loudon Wainwright III returns to the Montage on January 12. Again at the Montage, on January 18, is the return of Sophie B Hawkins, who sold out the joint a couple of years back. She puts on a fantastic show. She's engaging and endearing --- damn, I wish she were my lover.

On January 15 our recently acquired Italian Baroque organ gets to flex its pipes with Hans Davisson at the wheel at the MemorialArtGallery.

Boston's Tarbox Ramblers hit Milestones with their menacing Delta boogie and their rusty roots rock on January 26.

Puccini's Madama Butterfly will be Mercury Opera's first production of 2006. The grandiose two-night stand is January 27 and 29 at the Eastman Theatre.

Nouveau punk rock for the kids complete with electric violin makes it to town when the Warped Tour staple Yellowcardhits WaterStreetMusic Hall on January 29.

Jazz piano legend Marian McPartland tickles the ivories with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble February 1 at Kilbourn Hall.

In what will hopefully be the beginning of many shows this year at the long-vacant Main Street Armory, O.A.R plays February 4.

And in the spirit of all that cool space-age-bachelor-pad-lounge-exotica, the Northwest's Pink Martini plays two luxurious nights with the RPO February 10 and 11.

Prong is one of those bandnames that make people ask, "They're still around?" These hard and heavy downstaters have been around forever --- still are for that matter --- and will prove it February 21 at the Penny Arcade.

Hear some Delta blues goosed with some good-lookin' hip-hop with Philly's G Love and Special Sauce February 23 at WaterStreetMusic Hall. His last album, The Hustle,was killer and the band puts on a terrific, no-frills show. Gonna be lots of cuties at this one for sure.

He's a crooner. He's a panty magnet. And, for some, he's a pop culture guilty pleasure. (Hell, it's not that unusual.) Well it'll be raining T-backs when the legendary Tom Jones plays the Auditorium Theatre on February 26.

Jazz trumpet and spacey loops will fill the Bop Shop Atrium when The Cuong Vu Trio returns February 27.

Not sounding nearly as industrial as I remember, Nine Inch Nails has a new album out and will be touring with a stop at Blue Cross Arena March 9. On the same night you can catch the big rock of Canada's GreatBigSeaover at WaterStreetMusic Hall.

And if you got chains on the tires and want to head west a spell, the Center for the Arts at UB has two shows worth the schlep. The Lyle Lovett Acoustic Trio plays January 29, and Magnolia songstress Aimee Mann plays February 2.

Or you could always just rent End of the Century.

In This Guide...

    Winter Guide 2006

    City Newspaper breaks it down for you
    In this year's guide to the winter season, we've focused on things to do. Much like the government's odd, grammatical anti-obesity campaign ("VERB: It's what you do"), City wants you to get out and get moving.

    Celebrate

    The heartiest and most enterprising souls among us realize winter can be not only a time of fun, but a time of tourism! Why not get the people out of their huts and into the open, they reason, if only for a brief while?

    Look

    After some brief holiday downtime, local galleries and museums are back in full force. So you have an array of culture to choose from, if you're into that kind of thing.

    Play

    Spanking new year, same old story: we all peer outside from the warmth of our homes for a couple weeks and then, realizing that winter ain't going anywhere anytime soon, concede that if we want to stave off cabin fever, we're going to have to make with the bulky coats and really unattractive boots. So when you finally achieve acceptance (the final stage of grief), there are a number of activities you can participate in to make the cold-weather months tolerable, and possibly even enjoyable.

    Listen

    Hear that? Because so many local organizations and institutions go all out planning them for this slow time of year, winter is a great time to attend lectures.

    Applaud

    Here's an outline to plan your ticket-foraging with. Scatter a few of these evenings through the season like little culture outposts and absorb some of the talent --- both local and bussed in --- at hand this season.

    Shelter from the storm

    Winter skills
    If you've lived in Rochester for any length of time, you've probably muttered nasty words under your breath about the weather. And during the five months we call "winter," one of those words was probably "arctic."

    City's winter choices

    City's winter choice: dancing There are plenty of ways to raise your body temperature this winter and have some fun doing it (i.e. you don't have to use words like "cardio," "reps," or "ow") That's right, you should be dancing. Many local groups and venues offer dance nights in their genre of choice, often at low cost and with some sort of basic instruction.

    Frozen in pictures

    Winter Guide photo contest
    Our inaugural Winter Guide photo contest has been a success. We had great response to our call for photos of winter in the Rochester area.

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