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Wednesday, December 06

Ever catch yourself daydreaming around Christmastime about what Santa Claus might look like under that unflattering robe -- say in a little red Speedo? Well, dream no more. Nick will be taking a dip at Ray's Splash Planet, 215 N. Sycamore St., between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Swim with Santa or catch him in between strokes to tell him your present wish list. The $10 fee covers the swim pass and a photo with Santa. Call 704-432-4296. This is an event for the children. ­­­-- Jared Neumark

Brazilian death metal rockers, Sepultura will thrash their way through Charlotte to play Tremont Music Hall. The growling hardcore band, which now consists of vocalist and guitarist Derrick Green, guitarist Andreas Kisser, bassist Paulo Jr,, and drummer Igor Cavalera, is still standing strong despite the absence of former frontman Max Cavaler, now of Soulfly. Starting out in the '80s in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Sepultura has crossed the borders not just geographically but also with its intense speed metal strategy. Sepultura will play with Sworn Enemy, Diecast, and Suicide Silence. Tickets are $18-$20. Showtime: 7:30 p.m. Details: 704-343-9494 or click ­-- Anita Overcash

Thursday, December 07

For those who are passionate about running (or maybe just like to watch people who are passionate about running), it's time to hit the road again. The Thunder Road Marathon that is. This year's marathon benefits Hands on Charlotte, Crisis Assistance Ministries, Leukemia Lymphoma Society, American Lung Association, and local troops of the Boy Scouts of America. Hit Tryon Street near 6th by 8:15 a.m. to see the beginning. For more information, log on to -- Kimberly Lawson

Does It's a Wonderful Life make you gag? Do you yearn for a less saccharine take on the Christmas spirit? If so, check out The Santaland Diaries. David Sedaris' NPR essays formed the basis for this Joe Mantello adaptation, which describes the absurdity of the season through the eyes of a Macy's Christmas elf. Not recommended for the kiddies, by the way. First show is 7 p.m. Actor's Theatre, 650 East Stonewall St. Check or call 704-342-2251 for tickets and showtimes. -- Karen Shugart

Friday, December 08

For the 2006 Simply Jazzy Luncheon, the good folks from the Afro-American Cultural Center present six-time Grammy Award-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon live in concert. But don't just come out to hear the amazing vocal styles of Freelon -- come to take part in a great cause. Held at the new CPCC Halton Theater, proceeds from the event will help the center carry out its ongoing mission of presenting, preserving and promoting African-American art, culture and history. Tickets are $25-$60. Tonight at 8 p.m. in CPCC's Halton Theatre. 704-330-6534. -- Carlton Hargro

Hey, it's not just magic -- it's popular! Charlotte Symphony Orchestra's festive Magic of Christmas is so popular, they're giving three encore performances after Friday's return of CSO's beloved Pops phenomenon. Maybe it's the season, maybe it's the community sing-alongs, and maybe it's the singing of the community choirs herded together by choral ace Scott Allen Jarrett. Then again, there's something to be said for the charming presence of Lollipops emcee, resident conductor Alan Yamamoto. It's a great time, that's for sure, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. in Belk Theater, with family-friendly matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Just don't forget to take the kiddies to the Founders Hall wonderland while you're at the PAC. Evening tickets are $26-$73, matinees $21-$54. Call 704-972-2000 or click -- Perry Tannenbaum

During her 40 years in the spotlight, Patti LaBelle has explored sounds from girl group doo-wop to glam rock to country and soul balladry. Now, pop diva and HSN maven Patti Patti has dropped her debut gospel outing, The Gospel According to Patti Labelle. Discover what a friend LaBelle has in Jesus when her tour comes to University Park Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Tix $35-$40. Call 1-800-594-TIXX (8499). -- Kandia Crazy Horse

Saturday, December 09

Can't make it to Cali to do some last minute Christmas shopping at Crenshaw Boulevard's swap-meet? EcleFest is the next best thing. Charlotte's first festival and flea market combined is the perfect place to find that certain something special for all the people on your gift list. Located behind the Neighborhood Theatre, this mini expo is held every second Saturday. For more info contact RealEyes Bookstore at 704.377.8989 or e-mail -- Branna Calloway

Tuesday, December 12

La Virgen de Guadalupe is revered as the patron saint and Queen of all México and her Saint Day, Dec. 12, is the most important holiday in Mexico where millions of pilgrims converge on the Mexico City Basilica to honor her. Today, with our growing Hispanic population, the Virgin has made her way into the New South. Magdalena Maiz-Peña, Professor of Spanish at Davidson College leads a discussion, La Virgen De Guadalupe: The Icon & Her Presence in the New South. This event will be at 7 p.m. at the Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. 7th St. Free for museum members; $4 for non-members. Call 704.333.1887 ext. 501 for reservations. -- Calloway

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