Santa raids the Mistletoe brunch. Image: Mistletoe Marketplace

by Sherry Lucas

We’ve turned the corner, just past Halloween and now it’s a straight-on, full-fledged seasonal slide toward Christmas with a brief stopover to fuel up at Thanksgiving.

Nothing quite flips the switch on those shopping genes like Mistletoe Marketplace. Starting with Wednesday night’s Preview Gala and going strong through Saturday at dusk, the event turns the Mississippi Trade Mart into a colossal Christmas wonderland of enticing gifts, decor and more.

My first time at Mistletoe Marketplace was a delight, an education and a recipe for exhaustion. I’ve learned a thing or two since then.

Here are my tips for a breezy shopping experience that minimizes stress and maximizes sanity: comfortable shoes, because that floor’s concrete and that alone will wear you out faster than a hunt for the perfect present; small, close-to-the-body purse, since a big bag will knock into other patrons in those close booths or, worse, knock over some merchandise; if you can get away with just some cash and a credit card in your back pocket, all the better; remember to collect your credit card after each purchase. My goal: never be that woman who has to backtrack to pick up her plastic money.

Christmas is on the horizon, folks! It’s full shopping speed ahead. But, be sure to take full advantage to the novelties of November, first. I’ve got a list for you.

’Tis the Season and Mistletoe Marketplace is your most vivid entry to it. The annual Christmas market hosted by the Junior League of Jackson takes over the Mississippi Trade Mart, from Wednesday night’s Preview Gala & Auction to the Saturday’s 5 p.m. close. General shopping hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. It’s more shopping than you can shake a credit card at. Find details on special events and find links for tickets for general entry and special events (if there’s still room) at mistletoemarketplace.com.

“Baby Doll” continues through Sunday at New Stage Theatre, so get your Tennessee Williams fix with this saucy story of desire, desperation, dark comedy and revenge, set in the 1950s Mississippi Delta. Shows are 7:30 p.m. through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. For tickets, $30 adults and $25 seniors/students/military, visit newstagetheatre.com or call 601-948-3533.

“Baby Doll” continues through Sunday at New Stage Theatre. Image: James Patterson

Kick back with some great local music at Hal & Mal’s, with Barry Leach Wednesday night, Taylor Hildebrand on Thursday, Swing de Paris Friday night and Madeline on Saturday evening. It’s free.

At Underground 119, it’s Fred T & the Band Thursday, Stevie J Friday night and Magnolia Bayou on Saturday.

An early start on Thursday means Trappy Hour at the Flamingo, 3011 N. State St, for beer deals and a cool playlist, 4 p.m.

Fondren After 5 Thursday in the Downtown Fondren Historic District, presented by Jackson Indie Music Week, concentrates first fun at Sneaky Beans, 5-8 p.m., featuring performances by  Vitamin Cea, Timaal Bradford, Krystal Gem and Empty Atlas. After that, the musical activity moves to Duling Hall (more on that below). Also around the neighborhood, check out Duling Avenue, rocking with Seth Power and Kerry Thomas acoustic + art, beer, kids’ fun and more, and Bill Lester’s art show at Brown’s. As always, take advantage of the many cool bars, restaurants and more to slake your hunger and thirst. At 7:30 p.m., see a showing of the Mississippi-made Western, “Blood Country,” at the Capri Theater; tickets are $10 advance, $15 at the door. And at Pig & Pint, there’s the WAITR Jackson Launch Party, welcoming WaitrApp to Jackson along with the promise of restaurant food delivered straight to your door (check out the party’s Facebook post to get freebies).

Empty Atlas. Image: Empty Atlas

At Duling Hall Thursday, Dayton, Ohio, emo-punk band Hawthorne Heights headlines a concert that continues Fondren After 5 fun, beginning at 9 p.m. The show also features Dream Cult and Bark ( the duo of Tim Lee and Susan Bauer Lee). It’s $10 on ardenland.net.

Hawthorne Heights performs Thursday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

Also on Thursday, Thick and Proud Sisters (TAPS) presents its 2017 Showcase — Boss’D Up, 6-9 p.m. at Xcluzively Yours Event Hall, 4085 Northview Drive in Jackson with runway rippers, Merc B. Williams hosting and DJ Java on tunes duty. Revel in the Curves and Cocktails VIP Lounge, 6-7 p.m. ($30 advance) or just stick with the 7 p.m. show ($20 advance); find tickets at eventbrite.com.

A Family Affair — Tribute to the Dungeon Family, one of hip hop’s greatest groups, marks a return to Tribute Thursday with an 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. celebration at Offbeat, with DJ Young Venom, DJ Breakem Off and special guest DJs Icon and DJ Jonasty. Outkast, Organized Noize, Killer Mike, Goodie Mob, Cool Breeze, Konkrete, Janelle Monae, Mista and Bubba Sparxx are among the artists played. Cover is $5.

Gear up for Jackson State University’s Homecoming with Friday night’s House on the Patio at Wasabi Sushi & Bar, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. with DJ Scrap and 97.7FM’s True Soul Cafe presenting DJ  Scrap Dirty, Dee Jay Shellz, plus Jay Clipp, Carlos Sketch Moore and Mark Fullaflava doing a guest set. Good, old-fashioned House and disco set the tone.

Willing to lend a hand? Fondren Renaissance partner school, Boyd Elementary, is in need of a spruce up of their Northside Drive campus. Show up Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon to deal with vines rotten wood, bush and tree trimming and a community garden rework.  If you have tools – shovels, trimmers, clippers and such – bring them.

BlocktoberFeast, with live music from the ZZQs, Bill Ellison, Temperance Babcock and Jeff Perkins, barbecue, Lucky Town brews and host of community resources such as the Jackson Zoo Mobile, MDOT, Mississippi Urban Forest and Keep Jackson Beautiful, is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at St. Richard Catholic Church. Come ready to spend a good time and more. Food plates are priced $5-$10 and souvenir cups are $10. Proceeds benefit the Broadmeadow Neighborhood Association.

Pulled pork plates, plus burgers and brews are part of the annual Blocktoberfeast. Image: Joe Gough

Get ready for a blues bash-plus at the 12th annual Tommy Johnson Blues Festival, 5 p.m. Saturday at the Jackson Medical Mall with a lineup that includes Edie Cotton, Lacee, Miss Ora and the SOS Band, Raul Valintin and Blues Man. Vendors, art exhibits and more add to the fun. It’s $20 (tickets at ticketmaster.com) with a 5 p.m. door and 6 p.m. showtime.

The Official JSU Homecoming Jam, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center on the JSU campus has Lil Wayne, Yo Gotti, Cardi B, Moneybagg Yo and Rich Homie Quan. For tickets, $40-$45, visit ticketmaster.com.

“Mayor Boyd on Stage,” 3-4 p.m. Sunday at the Oaks House Museum, stars actor James Anderson in period attire as Mayor James H. Boyd, in a dramatic reading from a play about the Oaks House, with a special guest appearance by mezzo-soprano Lester Senter Wilson as Eliza Boyd, who built the Oaks with her husband around 1853. The living history program is the fourth in a series celebrating Mississippi’s bicentennial and it’s free and open to the public.

James Anderson stars in “Mayor Boyd on Stage” Sunday at The Oaks. Image: The Oaks

Relax and groove to Sunday Night Slow Jams with DJ Young Venom, 6-9 p.m. at Hops and Habanas, and his vinyl set of nothing-but, from artists both fave and obscure, past and present.

Singer/songwriter/pianist Ben Folds’ Paper Airplane Request Tour takes top billing in a Tuesday night show, 7:30 p.m. at Jackson Prep’s Fortenberry Theatre in Flowood. Folds’ genre-bending music includes pop and solo and collaborative records, and his most recent album is a blend of pop and classical original works that topped Billboard classical and classical crossover charts. Boston progressive duo Tall Heights opens. Tickets start at $40.50 on ardenland.net. A Ben Folds master class is $249.

Folds. Image: Allan Amato for New West Records

Fondrenite Sherry Lucas, a feature writer in Jackson for the last 34 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a sampling of creativity and culture from Fondren and beyond. For additional Fondren-centric events, see our Fondren events calendar. Reach Sherry at sherry@finditinfondren.com.