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for Fri., Dec. 20
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  • Arts

    Theatre

    La Pastorela

    La Pastorela – a tradition since the 16th century, the annual yuletide play that's been performed all over Mexico and Latinoamerica – is adapted and directed by Teatro Vivo founder Rupert Reyes. This year, Clemencia Zapata returns as music director of the story of shepherds on a pilgrimage that pits them against angels and demons who test their strength and faith along the way.
    Through Dec. 22. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2pm. $6-21.  
  • Arts

    Theatre

    A Christmas Memory

    The Alchemy Theatre, with permission from the Truman Capote Literary Trust, presents that author's beloved 1956 short story, featuring Luke Hill as the narrator, "capturing Mr. Capote’s richly detailed memories of his Depression-era, rural Alabama boyhood with his best friend – an eccentric, 60-something distant cousin with whom he baked fruitcakes each Christmas." Directed by Michael Cooper, who previously helmed Alchemy's excellent Waverly Gallery production.
    Through Dec. 22. Fri.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2pm. $25-35.  
  • Arts

    Classical Music

    Ensemble VII: A 17th-Century Venetian Christmas

    Experience the glory of Baroque Venice right here in Austin – in the soaring acoustics of the Chapel of St. Louis Catholic Church – as the sound of voices, organ, cornetto, sackbuts, dulcian, and theorbo resound in splendor.
    Thu.-Fri., Dec. 19-20, 7:30pm. $10-45.  
  • Arts

    Theatre

    Five Lesbians Eating A Quiche

    An award-winning, off-Broadway laugh-fest that'll take you back to 1956 and the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein's annual holiday quiche breakfast. Delicious discoveries and cheeky innuendoes ensue, as presented by City Theatre Company.
    Through Dec. 29. Fri.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 3pm. $10-25.
  • Arts

    Comedy

    Fuck, It's Christmas!

    Oh, the glorious goofballs at the Institution looooooove Austin – and they love the people of Austin! But they also love to stage shows that make fun of the people of Austin, and this is one of them. "We think that every Austinite (whether you’re a native or a transplant) can agree that the city's changed a lot over the past year," say these honchos of hilarity, "and that makes it ripe material for the Fuck, It’s Christmas! cast to skewer." So, yes, join the crowd as the Institution's annual roasty-toasty run-amuck takes on the sacred cows – ripe and ready for skewering – of Austin, Texas, for your locally sourced and globally guffawing pleasure.
    Fri.-Sat., Dec. 20-21, 8pm. $10.  
  • Arts

    Theatre

    It's A Wonderful Life: Classic Radiocast

    This show from the Penfold Theatre gang up in Round Rock draws audience members back in time to 1946, as members of the KPNF radio station are assembling for a live radio performance of, well, you know: George Bailey, that angel Clarence, Bedford Falls, and where the band Zuzu's Petals got its name from? Yes.
    Through Dec. 21. Thu.-Sat., 8pm. $15-31.  
  • Arts

    Comedy

    JR Brow

    Hi, Brow! Good to see you on the Cap City stage again, local boy – rocking the mic, waxing all acerbic on the habits of the great unwashed, skewering the legends of rock & roll with your guitar in hand. No wonder they love you on Comedy Central, at HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and here in Austin where you'll be wielding a big can of comedy whupass and anti-Grinch spray as this year's pinnacular holiday approaches.
    Dec. 18, 20, 21. Wed., 8pm; Fri.-Sat., 8 & 10:30pm. $12-23.  
  • Arts

    Theatre

    Next to Normal

    Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s Pulitzer-winning musical explores how one suburban household copes with crisis and mental illness, taking audiences "into the minds and hearts of each character, presenting their family's story with love, sympathy, and heart." Directed by Lisa Scheps and Brian Cheslik for Ground Floor Theatre and Deaf Austin Theatre. Note: This production will be fully deaf-inclusive, with each character played by two cast members – one deaf, one hearing. And, look, here's what Trey Gutierrez thought of the show.
    Through Dec. 21. Wed.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 5pm. $5-45.  
  • Arts

    Dance

    Of Mice & Music: A Jazz Tap Nutcracker

    Tapestry Dance Company's Acia Gray starts it all off as Ms. Bon Marche, a dance diva who introduces little Clara to a world of dance by giving her a pair of tap shoes – and the journey begins with the Mouse King and his powerful style of contemporary rhythm tap leading an army of tapping mice in their battle against the Nutcracker. Performed to a jazzed-up version of the original Tchaikovsky score and beloved jazz classics, all played live by a group that includes Masumi Jones on drums, Eddy Hobizal on piano, and Michael Stevens on bass.
    Through Dec. 22. Thu.-Fri., 7:30pm; Sat., 2 & 7:30pm; Sun., 2pm. $34 and up.  
  • Arts

    Theatre

    The Butcher of Baraboo

    Valerie is the town butcher with an axe to grind; her daughter is a pharmacist whose clientele extends beyond the drug store. Over one cold February week, the town cop – who just happens to be Valerie’s sister-in-law – will try to sniff out this family’s secrets and lies in the Wisconsin city where the ground is white with snow and the air is black with comedy. Carlo Lorenzo Garcia directs Marisa Wegrzyn's play for Street Corner Arts. But – did the Chron's Elizabeth Cobbe find the show to be as funny as it's supposed to be? And what does she think of that Amber Quick? See here for the full review.
    Through Dec. 21. Thu.-Sat., 8pm. $17-22.  
  • Arts

    Theatre

    The Mutt-Cracker (Sweet!)

    Darren Peterson's Circus Chickendog returns to The Vortex for the ninth year, his company of five talented rescue dogs and a talking scarlet macaw unleashing a fun show for all ages to enjoy. Also featuring humans Patricia Wappner, Monica Kurtz, and Sandie Donzica, this year's live-music-enhanced spectacle of juggling and unicycling madness includes a special performance by the Famiglia Gentile.
    Through Jan 5. Fri.-Sat., 4:30 & 6:30pm; Sun, 6:30pm. $15-37.  
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Wally Workman Gallery: Ashley Benton and Christopher Lee Gilmer

    "Inspired by datamoshing, quantum mechanics, and the hyper saturation of imagery found in daily life, Gilmer creates oil paintings that explore the psychological effects of the figure through physical mutations that distort and merge various realities. Benton's figurative ceramics also portray a dialogue of the human condition, using symbolism as well as physical mutations to explore the depths of the subconscious. Less than reality and more than a dream, Benton and Gilmer’s work strives to give the viewer an alternative connection to the self." Note: This stuff will burrow into your optic nerves and make you feel a little weird, maybe, about the odd beauty it contains. So, yes: recommended.
    Through Jan. 5
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  • Arts

    Theatre

    A Christmas Carol

    ZACH’s adaptation of the Dickens classic is a family-friendly spectacular, a musical sleigh ride through rhythm and time, infusing the traditional Victorian story with a score that spans all genres and eras. Directed by Dave Steakley, with musical direction by Allen Robertson.
    Through Dec. 29. Wed.-Fri., 7:30pm; Sat.-Sun., 2:30 & 7:30pm. $35 and up.  
  • Arts

    Theatre

    A Tuna Christmas

    City Theatre presents Scot Friedman and Rick Smith in the local classic brought to such sassy fame by Joe Sears and Jaston Williams back in the day. See what hilarity ensues in the lead-up to Christmas among the many zany characters (all of them played by just those two actors) in the tiny Texas town of Tuna, "where the Lion's Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies."
    Through Jan. 5. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 3pm. $10-20.
  • Arts

    Dance

    Ballet Austin: The Nutcracker

    From its vibrant sets and costumes to the impressive cast of more than 200 dancers, this colorful winter classic brings families and friends together every year to enjoy the world’s best-known ballet. Featuring choreography by Stephen Mills, with Tchaikovsky's score performed live by the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
    Through Dec. 22. Thu.-Fri., 7:30pm; Sat., 2 & 7:30pm; Sun., 2pm. $29 and up.  
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Co-Lab Projects: Texas Toast

    This is a food-themed group exhibition featuring the work of so many artists that it's like a smorgasbord, it's like a cornucopiac Golden Corral salad bar of visuals, it's, listen: Valerie Chaussonnet. Alexis Mabry. Drew Liverman and Veronica Giavedoni. Olwyn Moxhay. Sandy Carson. Stephen Fishman. Suzanne Wyss. Stephanie Reid. And more, more, more. And it's reviewed by Robert Faires right here.
    Through Dec. 21
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Davis Gallery: Looking Out, Looking In

    This is an extensive group exhibit focused on the personal philosophies of premiere Austin and Central Texas artists. Sacred geometry, the importance of family, life and death, our connection to nature, and spirituality are among the perspectives that the artists (Randall Reid, Sam Yeates, Jan Heaton, Faustinus Deraet, David Leonard, Denise Fulton, and John Sager, among others) have focused on. What a fine follow-up to that excellent "Lone Star Wild" show, and what a glorious way to bid 2019 farewell!
    Through Jan. 11
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Dimension Gallery: Example Geometry

    Tom Bandage, inspired by the machinist’s craft and the volumetric simplicity of Bauhaus, attempts to capture the shape of thought through geometric contortions of material, removing traditional construction materials such as concrete, metal, and acrylic from their urban contexts and applying them to abstract conceptions of form and space.
    Through Jan. 18
  • Arts

    Theatre

    Fumbling For the Knob

    Salvage Vanguard Theater announces the Works Progress Austin development of Jay Byrd’s theatricalized experimental memoir about closets, an (almost) solo performance that features object puppetry, original music, irreverent humor, and heart-wrenching honesty. Directed by Jenny Larson.
    Fri., Dec. 20, 7pm. Free.  
  • Arts

    Theatre

    Holiday at Hogwarts

    This immersive touring production pays tribute to some of your favorite characters and scenes from Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts with a star-studded evening of burlesque, comedy, drag, live singing, and interactive routines.
    Fri., Dec. 20, 9pm. $10 and up.
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    ICOSA: The New Flesh

    Is it too obvious to say "all hail" to this new exhibition of work by that storied creator of graphic psychedelia Matt Rebholz and the modern Magellan of sculptural form and texture Terra Goolsby? In any case, we recommend this "array of intimate pieces that meditates on notions of transfiguration, intracorporeal transit, and planetary departure, offering encounters with bodily and terrestrial alternatives for an uncertain future." It's this sort of thing.
    Through Jan. 4  
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    J Gallery: Abstract Visions

    The Visual Arts League of Shalom Austin JCC presents four artists whose works display different techniques of abstraction: Patti Troth Black, Diane Sandlin, Jane Fier, and Ashley Mayel.
    Through Jan. 5
  • Arts

    Classical Music

    Joseph Fuller: Christmas In the City

    Acclaimed pianist Fuller will be playing selections from his new album Christmas In the City.
    Fri., Dec. 20, 7:30pm. Free, but RSVP.  
    Steinway Gallery, 12980 N. 183
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Landmarks Video: Animation I

    Keith Sonnier’s videowork from 1973 is the latest to get the big-screen treatment in this ongoing series from your friends at UT's Landmarks program.
    Through Dec. 31. Daily, 7-10pm  
    ART Building, 2301 San Jacinto
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Lora Reynolds Gallery: Drawing Tense

    The Brazilian artist Lucas Simões "thinks of his new works as drawings, even though they carry no graphite and have some dimensionality. He draws with an industrial laser, cutting angular or curved shapes into blackened steel plates, essentially turning them into elaborate paperclips that pinch, pull, and compress his trademark stacks of tracing paper." It's like … a little metal shibari for sheets of pulp? Ingenious, to be sure, and visually intriguing.
    Through Feb. 1
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Old Bakery Gallery: Small Art by Austin

    Let's get small, with works by 53 local artists.
    Through Jan. 2  
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Prizer Arts & Letters: Transient

    The artist Rehab El Sadek continues her exploration into issues related to immigration, belonging, communication, and language, using sound installation, photography, and the written word to inspire consideration of residential spaces and our relationship to them and to each other. Visitors to this intimate Eastside gallery are invited to add their own reflections on where they live and where they have felt most at home. Note: The closing celebration features a reading by Naomi Shihab Nye and friends.
    Closing celebration: Sat., Jan. 4, 1-4pm
  • Arts

    Theatre

    She Loves Me

    Austin Playhouse celebrates the holiday season with the romantic musical comedy, set in the 1930s, about two feuding shop clerks who can’t seem to find common ground, but by night write beautiful love letters to their "secret admirers." And who do you suppose those turn out to be? (Note: Not Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan, although this play was made into the movie You've Got Mail.) Starring Joey Banks and Sarah Zeringue, directed by Scott Shipman with musical direction by Lyn Koenning.
    Through Dec. 21. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 5pm. $38-46.  
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    The Blanton Museum: Medieval Monsters

    From griffins and giants to demons and dragons, monsters have enthralled people throughout time. In medieval art and literature, these fanciful creatures give form to fears, curiosities, and fantasies of the unfamiliar and the unknown. This new exhibition, organized by the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, presents a lively array of monsters that appear in more than 50 illuminated manuscripts from the European Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Each of the three sections of the exhibition – "Terrors, Aliens, and Wonders" – will explore the ways monsters functioned as the embodiment of power, the representation of marginalized groups in society, or the inspiration for awe.
    Through Jan. 12  
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    The Blanton Museum: She-Wolf + Lower Figs

    This installation presents new work that expands Lily Cox-Richard’s research into the contextual history of materials, making visible unseen systems that dictate materials’ production, value, and use, and engages larger questions of natural resources, labor, the specifics of place, and the politics of viewership.
    Through Dec. 29  
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    The Contemporary Austin: The Sorcerer's Burden

    The complex relationship between contemporary art and anthropology shapes the subject of "The Sorcerer’s Burden: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn," an 11-artist exhibition representing a wide range of media – including painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance. And here's our own Robert Faires with a full review of the show.
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    The People's Gallery: Exhibition 2019

    Here's the 15th annual exhibition at Austin City Hall, presenting a wide array of painting, sculpture, drawing, and other media by 113 local artists. This year, the exhibition includes a special selection of photographs: The Bold Beauty Project of Texas, featuring images of Texas women with disabilities taken by photographers from across the state.
  • Arts

    Theatre

    The Preacher's Wife

    In Robert King Jr.'s new stage adaptation based on Robert Nathan's 1930s novel The Bishop’s Wife, an angel comes to earth to help a troubled preacher over his midlife crisis, but is distracted by the cleric’s lovely young wife.
    Through Dec. 21. Fri., 7:30pm; Sat., 2:30pm. $15-20.  
    Mosaic Theatre, 11530 Manchaca Rd
  • Arts

    Theatre

    The Santaland Diaries

    David Sedaris’ irreverent and cynical Crumpet returns! The outlandish tale of a Macy’s elf merrily jingles to life in this holiday classic. With 75 minutes of rollicking (and not so politically correct) fun, this evening will delight adult elves who like things more naughty than nice. Directed by Nat Miller and reviewed here by Paul Beutel.
    Through Dec. 29. Wed.-Thu., 8pm; Fri.-Sat., 6:30 & 9pm; Sun., 7:30pm. $40 and up.  
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    The Umlauf: Michael Ray Charles

    Yeah, no, this is a monumental showing of work – including a series of paintings commissioned for the exhibition – by one of the best, most provocative artists working on this planet. The former Austinite (he taught at UT for 20 years) Michael Ray Charles "is known for art that investigates the legacy of historic racial stereotypes of African Americans. Since the 1990s, he's created complex, layered paintings that challenge stereotypes, power dynamics, and social and cultural hierarchies." Ah, words can't even – but our Arts Editor Robert Faires offers a fine preview right here.
    Through Jan. 3  
  • Arts

    Dance

    The Watchmaker's Song

    It's winter-holiday time again, right? And so Austin's newest ballet company, Ventana Ballet, presents their "jazzy and interactive re-imagination" of The Nutcracker at a series of cocktail-enhanced soirées in the courtyard of the Neill-Cochran House.
    Through Dec. 21. Thu.-Sat., 7:30pm. $30-50.  
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Women & Their Work: The Meaning Wavers

    Stephanie Concepcion Ramirez and Betelhem Makonnen explore immigration and transnational identity, political repression, and the impact of silence in family narratives.
    Through Jan. 9
  • Arts

    Visual Arts

    Yard Dog: Creak, Crack, Creep

    This excellent venue of outsider art presents a show by Portland's Jesse Narens, featuring dark mixed-media depictions of mysterious animals, birds, and insects, all intertwined with branches, leaves, and raindrops, evoking the forests and coastlines of the Pacific Northwest.
    Through Dec. 31

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