1) San Francisco rockers Third Eye Blind headline The X’s Kickass Christmas Show at Stage AE. Since the band burst onto the scene in 1997 with their six-times platinum eponymous debut—featuring the hit “Semi-Charmed Life”—there have been no shortage of musicians adding “former Third Eye Blind member” to their resumés. But vocalist Stephen Jenkins, the remaining founding member, has been the common factor through the years. They’ve never repeated the commercial success of that debut, which sold 6 million copies in the US (but then, it’s hard for anyone to sell 6 million albums anymore), but they’ve hardly been sitting around collecting royalties. The band—in various iterations—has continued to record and tour, and they have been growing a new fan base, particularly with the release of 2009’s Ursa Major, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. They followed up last year’s LP, Dopamine, with an EP, We Are Drugs, this year. The Struts, Holy White Hounds, and Daily Grind open. Doors open 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore. (HM/CM)
2) Family gatherings light up the holidays, especially when they mix clashing personalities and contentious politics. To honor this fine old tradition, PICT Classic Theatre is staging The Lion in Winter, a seriocomedy that depicts the family of King Henry II of England spontaneously combusting at Christmastime in 1183. The scenes and dialogue are fictional, but the play’s backstory is true. Henry was a hard-driving monarch married to a formidable woman, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Their union produced five sons, three daughters, and a war in which some of the sons—aided by Eleanor—rebelled against their dad. Henry crushed the revolt and pardoned the boys, but locked up his queen. She spent years in the medieval version of white-collar prison, let out only on special occasions.
The play imagines Eleanor released to join a sexually and politically charged Christmas celebration that includes the still-unruly sons and a young femme fatale. The Lion in Winter was made into a popular 1968 film. 7 p.m. Performances through December 17. PICT is doing it live at the Union Project, 801 N. Negley Ave., Highland Park. (MV)
3) The Steel Cactus on Walnut Street is open for Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—perfectly timed to get you filled up and out before your Sunday activities. The brunch menu includes Huevos Rancheros, Spicy Southwest Omelet, Fajita Breakfast Burrito, Breakfast Nachos, Steak and Eggs, Pancake of the Week, and French Toast served with eggs and bacon or sausage. “Salud!” with a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. There’s also a Steel Cactus on the South Side at 19th and E. Carson Street that also serves brunch. 5505 Walnut St., Shadyside.