Saxophonist Stan Killian might be one of the brightest stars on the Texas jazz scene, but that doesn't mean he's got a 'tude. As a matter of fact, he just can't stop talking about how great his singer is. "She's pretty instrumental in my life," he chuckles. "I can't afford to lose her. The whole enterprise would just come crumbling down." It's no wonder that Killian holds vocalist Maggie Grebowicz in such high esteem. After all, she's his girlfriend. When Grebowicz moved to Houston to teach philosophy at the University of Houston-Downtown, Killian up and moved here from Austin. "I followed her, and just a little while after that we formed a band, and she started singing," he says. "She had never sung in public before, but a lot of great jazz players in Houston who have been on the scene for years are astounded by her development."
The sweet music they make together has a lot of Brazilian influences. "Everyone knows 'The Girl from Ipanema,' but we try to tend towards the more obscure bossa novas," he says. "We also do some of my originals." 7 p.m. Monday, December 29. Sambuca Jazz Cafe, 909 Texas. For information, call 713-224-5299 or visit www.sambucajazzcafe.com. Free. -- Keith Plocek
Mo’ Better New Year
It's the beginning of the world. Two whimsical Supreme Beings collaborate on creation. Man and woman are giddily assigned biological functions. Later, the two deities admit that mistakes were made. Such is the world of The Kathy & Mo Show: Parallel Lives. In between those two heavenly scenes come a number of hysterical, well-paced sketches featuring over a dozen characters -- male and female -- played by actresses Shannon Woelk and Leigh Anne Patterson. Two sweetly dim Italian-American teenagers ponder the morality lessons to be gleaned from West Side Story. A ditsy girl and her frat-boy beau dine at a restaurant frequented by gays and trannies. Two womynists exalt the might of their female genitalia. A drunken cowboy relentlessly hits on a countrified barmaiden. The New Year's Eve performance adds a full buffet, hors d'oeuvres, music and good ol' champagne and noisemakers for that stroke-of-midnight toast. 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 31. Theatre Southwest, 8944-A Clarkcrest. For information, call 713-661-9505 or visit www.theatresouthwest.org. $45; $85 per couple. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman
Jim Gaffigan is a consummate comedy professional. He's already hit most of the stand-up milestones -- appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman, a sitcom deal, tons of commercials, a guest spot on Sex and the City -- yet he remains open, friendly and a bit aw-shucks about the demand for his talents. Seriously. For instance, on New Year's Eve he won't be sipping Cristal at Jen and Ben's superstar blowout -- he'll be performing in Houston instead. "I'm excited to spend New Year's in Houston," says the affable Gaffigan. "This is one of my favorite cities, and the crowds are always great at the Laff Stop." 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 31. 1952 West Gray. For information, call 713-524-2333 or visit www.laffstop.com. $25 to $35. -- Lisa Simon
Resistance Is Fertle
For the 19th holiday season in a row, Radio Music Theatre is presenting A Fertle Holiday. The show features RMT's very fertile creation, the Fertle family, having a funny family reunion. "At one point I would've thought we'd have stopped by now," says RMT writer Steve Farrell, "but it still feels comfortable and fun -- we might do it forever." 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, December 26 and 27. Through January 17. 2623 Colquitt. For information, call 713-522-7722 or visit www.radiomusictheatre.com. $18. -- Lisa Simon