A Best of Boston December 2015 Advent Calendar
Featuring contributions by Shaula Clark, Olga Khvan, Summer Lin, Kyle Grace Mills, and Vanessa Nason.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
The stage version of the beloved 1964 stop-motion animated TV classic returns by popular demand. Featuring a colorful cast of favorite characters, the holiday classic takes the audience on an adventure, including a visit to the Island of Misfit Toys, to help Santa save Christmas.
$38+, Tuesday, December 1, through Sunday, December 6, times vary, Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St., Boston, citicenter.org.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2
Celebrating 20 years with the Boston Pops this year, conductor Keith Lockhart returns for the orchestra’s beloved Holiday Pops tradition. Performances at Symphony Hall will feature holiday favorites, sing-alongs, and visits from Santa during all pre-Christmas concerts.
$31+, December 2-December 31, times vary, Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, bso.org.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3
Frog Pond Skating Spectacular & Boston Common Tree Lighting
National and international figure skaters will take over the Frog Pond for a skating spectacular before Mayor Marty Walsh oversees the annual tree lighting on the Boston Common.
Free, Thursday, December 3, skating show from 5-6 p.m., tree lighting from 6-8 p.m., Boston Common, bostonfrogpond.com.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4
Chrismukkah at SoWa
Ninety artist studios, 60 boutiques and galleries, and 50 local artisans will set up inside a 6,500-square-foot tent for a three-day holiday shopping extravaganza.
Free to attend, December 4, 5-8 p.m., December 6-7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 450 Harrison Ave., Boston, chrismukkahatsowa.com.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5
SantaCon Boston 2015
Celebrate National Repeal Day by donning your finest red suit and joining fellow Santa impersonators on a holiday-themed bar crawl, with stops at multiple bars in Fenway, on Boylston Street, and near Faneuil Hall. When planning your outfit, don’t get lazy—according to the official guidelines, “a Santa hat alone is not enough.”
December 5, starts at 12 p.m. at Game On!, 82 Lansdowne St., Boston, facebook.com.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6
The twerkmaster herself will be taking over the stage at the House of Blues in support of psychedelic-pop album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 7
Fans won’t have to walk a thousand miles to see Carlton show off her impressive pipes—she’s coming to the Brighton Music Hall this December.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8
This fanciful Dublin romance combines the dual talents of its actor-musicians, telling the story of a guitarist who falls in love with a singer through their shared love of music.
Runs December 8-27, Shubert Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston, 617-482-9393, citicenter.org.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9
Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights at the MFA
After a successful inaugural event, an evening of art and activities celebrating Hanukkah returns to the MFA for the second year in a row. Visitors can tour the galleries to learn about the museum’s Judaica collection, enjoy musical performances, check out the virtual-reality art installation 8 Nights, 8 Windows, and join the candle-lighting ceremony in the Shapiro Family Courtyard.
Free, Wednesday, December 9, 5-9:45 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, mfa.org.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10
A Little Orphan Tranny Christmas
Dreaming of a drag Christmas? For their annual deranged holiday extravaganza, comedy troupe the Gold Dust Orphans bring you the tale of yet another orphan who roams the streets while dancing, singing and evading the evil Hermione P. Grinchley.
Runs December 3-20, Machine Nightclub, 1254 Boylston St., Boston, 617-266-2986, facebook.com/golddustorphans.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11
ARTS & CRAFTS
CraftBoston Holiday 2015
In addition to being an actor, Parks and Rec star Nick Offerman—currently starring in Huntington Theatre’s Confederacy of Dunces until December 20—is also a seasoned wood craftsman. In his “Sawdust and Mirth” talk at this year’s CraftBoston Holiday, he’ll discuss the importance of handmade objects. The three-day event will offer ample opportunities to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts and meet with experts in the field of fine contemporary art.
$15 general admission, December 11-12, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., December 13, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., Boston, societyofcrafts.org.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12
FEATS OF ENDURANCE
Santa Speedo Run + Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl
Scantily clad runners—we’re talking only Santa hats, Santa beards, and Speedos—will once again spread holiday cheer (and, uh, other things) down Boylston and Newbury streets…all for a good cause, of course. In other sartorially questionable news, this happens to be on the same day as the Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl, in which people clad in hideous red-and-green outfits stumble their way through Faneuil Hall, presumably blinding everyone in their path. Proceed at your own risk.
Santa Speedo Run: $30 to register (must raise at least $400 in donations), December 12, check-in begins at 10 a.m. at Lir Tavern and Whiskey’s at the corner of Gloucester and Boylston streets, run commences at 1 p.m., ssrunners.org. Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl: $20, December 12, 12-3 p.m., 61 Chatham St., Boston, buy tickets at Eventbrite.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13
SoWa Holiday Market
With two weeks left until Christmas, head to the South End to find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list, courtesy of the SoWa Holiday Market. Lines are known to wrap around the building, but the array of handbags, jewelry, pottery, letterpress stationery, silk-screened T-shirts, and other handmade goods by New England’s top independent designers, artists, and crafters is well worth the wait.
$5, December 12, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., December 13, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Benjamin Franklin Institute, 41 Berkeley St., Boston, sowaholidaymarket.net.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 14
National Theatre Live: Hamlet
One of nerddom’s greatest heartthrobs takes on one of literature’s greatest tragic heroes, as Benedict Cumberbatch transforms into the role of Hamlet for National Theatre Live’s staging of the Shakespeare play—a performance that has been racking up raves from all corners of the globe. To Benedict or not to Benedict? Well, that shouldn’t really be a question at all.
$20, screens December 3, 14, and 21, Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-734-2500, coolidge.org. For more information about the play and additional screening locations, see ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15
RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny
The former Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew—Mike Nelson, Bill “Crow” Corbett and Kevin “Tom Servo” Murphy—train their riffage on Santa and The Ice Cream Bunny, a 1972 yuletide peyote trip starring “a pig, a sweltering man in a gorilla suit, magic beans and soiled Santa costumes.” Good times.
December 3, 8 p.m., December 15, 7:30 p.m., see list of participating theaters at Fathom Events.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16
“Diane Simpson” and “The Birthday Party” Open at the ICA
If it’s optical illusions you’re after, you’ll find them in the textile acrobatics of Diane Simpson, who makes metal, mahogany, wool, and polyester seem to defy the laws of physics. Her show opens December 16. You can explore that, along with the surreal wonderland of Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian, three Iranian artists who create the “consuming total environments” featured in exhibit “The Birthday Party.”
Exhibits run through December 16-March 27, Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-478-3100, icaboston.org.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17
An Evening with the Boston Yeti
Guess who’s coming out of hibernation? The Boston Yeti, who makes an appearance following the Brattle’s screening of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. “We’re thrilled to sit down with the big, white guy to discuss his plans for the upcoming snow season as well as his lifestyle in general,” the Brattle reports.
December 17, 7 p.m., Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617 876-6838, brattlefilm.org.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18
ICA After 5: All Wrapped Up
Get some last-minute holiday shopping done at the ICA Store, which will offer one-night-only discounts. Then, learn some pro gift wrapping tips while enjoying a free mug of cider.
Free with museum admission, Friday, December 18, 5-8 p.m., Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, ica.org.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19
Somerville Arts Council Illuminations Tour
Head to Somerville City Hall, where you can enjoy coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies before embarking on a tour of houses in the neighborhood that have been decked out for the holiday season. Hop on a trolley or grab a map for a self-guided adventure.
$5 for children and seniors, $10 for adults, Saturday, December 19, 4:30-10 p.m., tours start at Somerville City Hall, 81 Highland Ave., Somerville, somervilleartscouncil.org.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20
Row 34 Holiday Popup
For three Sundays this December, Fort Point artists are setting up shop in Row 34’s Cooler Room. Underneath the restaurant’s towering art installation made from 36 galvanized steel oyster sorters, you can sip on drinks, enjoy fresh seafood, and peruse local artists’ work.
December 20, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Row 34, 383 Congress St., Boston, 617-553-5900, row34.com.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 21
The Slutcracker adds an eye-popping, pastie-twirling burlesque twist to the Tchaikovsky classic. Presiding over opening night is the ultimate Uncle Drosselmeyer of filth, John Waters himself—so you should have an idea of the kind of debauchery you’re in for. See it before it closes its run at the end of the month.
Runs December 4-31, Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, theslutcracker.com.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22
Die Hard and Die Hard 2
It’s sometimes easy to forget that one of the most classic action movies in modern cinema history is also, at heart, a Christmas film. Watch John McClane (Bruce Willis) try to wrest control of the company holiday party back from Hans Gruber (a pre-Snape Alan Rickman) and his terrorist henchmen in this double feature of Die Hard and Die Hard 2. It’s part of the Brattle’s “Alt-Xmas” series, running December 17-23, which also includes Edward Scissorhands, Gremlins, and Home Alone. If you need something a little more tart to cut all the sweetness from the Brattle’s screening of It’s a Wonderful Life (December 16), this would be it.
$11 ($13 double feature), December 22, 7 p.m. (Die Hard), 9:30 p.m. (Die Hard 2), Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-876-6837, brattlefilm.org.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23
Free Evenings at the MFA
On Wednesday nights after 4 p.m., admission to the MFA is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). Whether you choose to shell out the donation or get the gratis entry, few things soothe jangled holiday nerves like a meditative trip to our favorite museum. And it might be the perfect opportunity to scope out two new shows: “Kenneth Paul Block Illustrations,” a survey of the fashion designer’s work, and “Hiro Photographs,” works by the mononymous photographer with a singularly striking aesthetic vision. Both shows open December 12, and run through August 14.
Open 10 a.m.-9:45 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300, mfa.org.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 24
White Christmas at the BPL
View a free holiday film on Christmas Eve at the Boston Public Library. White Christmas, a classic of singing, dancing, and all things merry, stars Danny Kaye and crooner king Bing Crosby. Introduce the kids to this musical or relive the merriment for yourself.
Free, Thursday, December 24, 2-4 p.m., Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston, bpl.org.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25
IN CASE OF BOREDOM
Go See A Movie
Had enough tinsel and candy canes and holly jolly nonsense? Just check out the roster of films opening in theaters on December 25—the Christmas Day box office stocking happens to be stuffed with some of the bleakest flicks imaginable. The schedule includes The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a fur trapper who survives a bear mauling by performing frontier surgery and drags himself across 200 miles of wildnerness; The Hateful Eight, Tarantino’s latest bloodbath, featuring Samuel L. Jackson as a bounty hunter; and Joy, which seems to be a meditation on the unending misery of Boston winters. Or something.
Consult your local movie listings.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 26
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Hometown Throwdown
As local Boston holiday traditions go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Christmas party more raucous than the one Dicky Barrett and pals put together. It’s the only time of year when it’s good fashion sense to pair brothel creepers with Santa hats.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27
In its 15th year, the Urban Nutcracker show boasts a few new flourishes: sets, costumes, and the recently launched Tony Williams Ballet Company. The modern spin on a holiday classic brings 130 dancers from Boston’s diverse backgrounds to the stage. See it before it pirouettes offstage for good—at least until 2016, that is.
$25+, runs December 11-27, times vary, Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley St., Boston, urbannutcracker.com.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 28
All December long, Brass Union’s “Movie Mondays”—an evening of cult films projected on a 70-inch screen—is screening holiday favorites, including Elf (December 7), Scrooged (December 14), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (December 21). On December 28, the series wraps up its 2015 run with the 1983 Dan Aykroyd/Eddie Murphy classic, Trading Places. And they’re even throwing in free popcorn.
Mondays, 8 p.m., Brass Union, 70 Union Square, Somerville, 617-623-9211, brassunion.com.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Based on 70 pages from War and Peace, this scandalous electropop opera is all about romance and glamour—and it’s definitely not the Tolstoy you remember from English class. Catch this falling star before it blazes out of theaters in January.
December 6-January 3, Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-547-8300, americanrepertorytheater.org.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30
Boston Ballet: The Nutcracker
Christmas comes but once a year—and so does The Nutcracker. So don’t miss your chance to take a trip to Land of Sweets with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. One of Boston’s annual holiday highlights for decades, the Boston Ballet’s rendition of the Tchaikovsky classic is one of the most renowned in the world. See it before it leaves the the Boston Opera House on December 30.
$35+, runs through December 31, times vary, Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., bostonballet.org.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Just when we thought the plug had been pulled on a long-running annual tradition, the City of Boston Credit Union recently donated $30,000 to fund the First Night fireworks display. In addition to the pyrotechnics, enjoy a family festival of arts performances at Copley Square, complete with ice sculptures and skating on the Frog Pond. Best of all, it’s free.
Free, Thursday, December 31, Copley Square and the Boston Common, firstnightboston.org.
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