By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Britney Spears owned 2008. With a camera there each time Brit flashed her biscuit, why would anyone focus instead on the climate crisis, presidential politics, or, you know, the war? (America's favorite Mean Girl Perez Hilton agrees; see page 77.) Celebrate your excellent decision-making skillsrelatively speakingwith one of the events we've listed for you here, separated in categories of parties (DJs, clubs), performances (bands, burlesque), and pursuits (cruises, various sober options where you won't find us). And remember, just because you snorted coke and blew some guy in the first stall of KGB's bathroom in 2007 doesn't mean you have to be that girl in 2008. Right? Wait, seriously . . . right?
Just because New Year's Eve falls at the beginning of the week this year doesn't mean the mic masters have to stay home. Belt out "Auld Lang Syne" to your heart's content at the Monday-night karaoke custom at Arlene's Grocery-and feel free to bring the holiday's trademark noisemakers to signal applause for your fellow lovers of the spotlight. Real-life singer Katyusha will be on hand to make the rest of us look bad; admission is free.
9 p.m., free; 95 Stanton Street, 212-995-1652
Jam band Gov't Mule started as an Allman Brothers side project more than 10 years ago, but these days they have a following all their own-not to mention a popular tradition of New Year's performances at the Beacon. Superfans can purchase packages that allow them to sit in the same seats all three nights; the less committed can catch just the "Winter of Love" show on the last night of the year.
9 p.m., $55-$79.50; 2124 Broadway, 212-465-6500
The Bowery's annual New Year's tradition continues apace with a show by Patti Smith and Her Band, which earlier this year included her crushworthy son at an amazing performance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. (Alejandro Escovedo opens.) Later the doors open for Les Savy Fav, still riding high on this fall's excellent and unexpected release, Let's Stay Friends.
Patti Smith and Her Band, 9 p.m., $55; Les Savy Fav, 2 a.m., $30 (18 and over show); 6 Delancey Street, 212-260-4700
Broadway Comedy Club
The old two-drink minimum-a comedy- club convention for years-is in effect even on New Year's Eve, but at least there's a festive flute of champagne to be had at Times Square's Broadway Comedy Club. There are two shows scheduled for the night; we recommend the second half with Chips Cooney, Frank Vignola, and Nicole Korkolis.
8 p.m., $15; 10:30 p.m., $35; 318 West 53rd Street, 212-757-2323
Highline kicks off the night with a performance by the Join, featuring Jamie Shields and Darren Shearer of the New Deal, and Marco Benevento and Joe Russo of the Duo. Just before 2 a.m., though, the club changes its tune with an after-party for Moe (playing that night at Radio City Music Hall), featuring U-Melt.
The Join, 7 p.m., $45 in advance, $50 at the door; U-Melt, 1:30 a.m., $20 in advance, $25 at the door; 431 West 16th Street, 212-414-5994
Legendary 92-year-old Les Paul and his merry band of music-makers take the stage at Iridium for two shows tonight; both performances include a fancy-pants four-course dinner with selections such as tuna tartare and a grilled veal chop.
7:30 p.m., $99; 10:30 p.m., $149; 1650 Broadway, 212-582-2121
The Lion's Den-which, following major renovations and an acoustic overhaul, ushers in 2008 with the new name Sullivan Hall-channels New Orleans with a Mardi Gras-themed party featuring Big Sam's Funky Nation. The former trombonist for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band second-lines (a New Orleans style of street dance) three sets throughout the night.
9 p.m., $30 in advance, $35 at the door; 214 Sullivan Street, 212-477-2782
Luna Lounge fetes the end of Year One in the club's new Williamsburg location-the storied Ludlow spot was forced to close in 2005 after 10 years-with Cirque du Sogay's Electric Queer Rock-n-Roll Circus. Ringmaster Dee Finley and host Glenn Marla welcome you under their Big Tops for performances by Triple Cr'eme, Hooray for Goodbye, Dirty Excuse, and Jen Urban and the Box. Don't miss the champagne toast at midnight; 10 percent of the door proceeds will be donated to Circus Amok.
8 p.m., $15 through ticketweb.com; 361 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn
The Fleshtones continue their streak as the only band from New York's mid-'70s punk/new wave scene that's still playing without ever having stopped; the party-music professionals haven't had an inactive year since 1976. They ring in 2008 at Atlantic Avenue's Magnetic Field-just a few weeks after the lounge celebrates its five-year anniversary-with the Black Hollies and DJ Phast Phreddie.
9 p.m., $20 (includes champagne toast); 97 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-834-0069
Singletons would do well to stay away from Maxwell's tonight. As if New Year's Eve isn't already lonely enough, the Hoboken rock club welcomes lovebirds/songbirds Dean and Britta as the featured attraction. By the same token, of course, happy couples will feel right at home sharing oxygen and releasing pheromones alongside the former, now-married members of Luna.
10 p.m., $20; 1039 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ, 201-653-1703
Earl Greyhound with the Big Sleep, London Souls, and Larune, 8 p.m., $25; the Virgins (see interview, page XX) and A.R.E. Weapons, 2 a.m., $15 in advance, $20 at the door; 217 East Houston Street, 212-260-4700
Music Hall of Williamsburg
A Guns N' Roses tribute band playing the Music Hall of Williamsburg seems strange only to those who don't know that Axl is played by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah drummer Sean Greenhalgh. In true form, the imitators-named Mr. Brownstone-have called it quits and subsequently reunited on more than one occasion; as indie darling Greenhalgh once told Pitchfork, "We've claimed to be playing our 'final shows' more often than Axl has claimed that Chinese Democracy is coming out." The latest reunion results in a New Year's Eve gig at Bowery Presents's second-newest space, former hallowed home of Northsix.
8 p.m., $30; 66 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, 212-260-4700
Radio City Music Hall
Following a night at the Fillmore, American jam band Moe offer up another all-ages show on New Year's Eve at the home of the Rockettes. Despite the obvious name recognition, we were surprised to realize we weren't familiar with the melodies of any of Moe's top five songs on iTunes, but we're obviously in the minority. Because they're playing Radio City Music Hall. On New Year's Eve.
9 p.m., $52.50; 1260 Avenue of the Americas, 212-307-7171
If your New Year's plans involve dirt-cheap drinks and blacking out, look no further than Brooklyn's Trash Bar. Free drinks, shots, and-bizarrely-champagne toasts round out a night with local hardcore bands the Gulf of Michigan and Fixer; a low cover ensures that the place will be packed, like it or not.
10 p.m., $7; 256 Grand Street, Brooklyn, 718-599-1000