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See & Do 

DECEMBER 17 - WEDNESDAY
The Charlotte Symphony's annual performance of Handel's Messiah will be performed at First United Methodist Church at 501 N. Tryon even if you missed the Charlotte Civic Orchestra's performance at the same address this past Sunday. David Tang leads the CSO and his Oratorio Singers of Charlotte with added vocal artillery from a battery of guest artists: soprano Maria Jette, tenor Jeffrey Price, mezzo-soprano Margaret Bragle, and a yet-to-be-announced bass baritone. Your $20 ticket gets you general admission seating, so be there well before the 7:30pm starting time. Call 704-972-2000. (Tannenbaum)

Charlotte Rep's ever-popular production of A Tuna Christmas continues today through December 21. Michael Edwards brings the hilarious grab-bag of Texas crazies to Booth Playhouse for a fifth holiday go-round, and Duke Ernsberger plays the other half of Tuna's townfolk for the second consecutive year. The whole show's a crazy affirmation of the amazing fact that we still do have Christmas in America despite vulgar ex-convicts, Southern-fried bigots, animal preservationist radicals, and UFO nutballs. Prime family fun and a surefire way to please your seasonal guests. Showtimes: Wednesdays and Thurdays 7:30pm; Fridays 8pm; Saturdays 2pm and 8pm; Sundays 2pm and 7:30pm. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

The Nutcracker just keeps on going. . .For the zillionth time, Mia Cunningham plays the pre-adolescent Clara, the role created for her by the late Salvatore Aiello in the glorious North Carolina Dance Theatre version of the Tchaikovsky ballet. Aiello's Yuletide ballet is a subtle masterpiece of choreography. The production is being presented through December 21 at Belk Theatre in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Truly for children of all ages. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

If you haven't caught a glimmer of the glass sculpture exhibit at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design since its opening on December 6, well, don't worry, you've still got time. Spectrum: The Sculpture of Jon Kuhn will be on display through March 21, but it's worth more than one viewing so you might want to go ahead and dive in. Kuhn, a world renowned artist currently living in Winston-Salem, has created glass works that can be found in such humble collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the White House Permanent Collection. The exhibit includes nine pieces that Kuhn created exclusively for this collection. The museum is at 220 N. Tryon St. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am-5pm and Sundays from 12-5pm. Admission is $6 adults, $5 seniors and $3 students. Call 704-337-2000 or visit www.mintmuseum.org for details. (Herman)

DECEMBER 19 - FRIDAY
Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers know the blues. One of the hardest working blues guitarists around, Thackery begins the first of a two-night stand tonight with his band, the Drivers, at the Double Door Inn, as the club begins its 30th Anniversary celebration. Known for his blue collar approach and mammoth sets that tap into everything from Delta blues to Hendrix-like jams, Thackery is an accomplished songwriter within the genre, too. He's sure to feature cuts from his latest, True Stories, as well as digging deep into a catalogue that includes everything from jazz- to surf-guitar-inflected blues. The performance starts at 10pm both nights and tickets cost $12. (Schacht)

Complex Radio is a doubleheader of sorts, offering the chance to see a lot of cool local and regional bands at two clubs located practically across the street from each other. It's all the brainchild of Charlotte music lover Andrew Webster who spins records, books shows and is an all-around catalyst for the rock music scene. The admission, $15, gets you a pass to stroll back and forth between the two clubs and -- and this is unbelievable - you get an 8-CD box set of Charlotte area music! Neighborhood Theatre Lineup: Baleen, Poprocket, Lenny Federal, Jeronimo Punx, The Virginia Reel, Les Dirt Clods, The Others, and Satellite Union. Evening Muse Lineup: Mons Venera, Gold Coast Acoustic, Volatile Baby, David Childers, Clare Burson, Malcolm Holcombe, and Ashley Robinson. More details at www.complexradio.com or call 704-358-9298. (Shukla)

DECEMBER 20 - SATURDAY
Back from California, the Charlotte Checkers hope to keep the momentum going from their West Coast winning streak with their first home game in almost three weeks as they take on the Gwinnett Gladiators at 7:30pm at Cricket Arena. Tickets cost $7-$20 and may be purchased at the Cricket Arena Box Office or by calling 704-522-6500. (Herman)

DECEMBER 21 - SUNDAY
The guiding spirit behind CPCC Opera Theatre, Rebecca Cook-Carter, takes to the stage in the last of three benefit concerts for the company this coming week. Bryant Recital Hall in the Sloan Morgan Building will be ground zero for Cook-Carter's vocal explosion, Holiday Songs You'd Pay to Hear. If you saw the diva's previous stage appearance on campus last January as Floria Tosca, you'll have no hesitation about spending an evening with this superb singing actress. Call 704-330-6571 for reservations and for more information on the full concert lineup this week at CP. (Tannenbaum)

DECEMBER 22 - MONDAY
The Black Cinema Cafe, a film series described as featuring works "that depict black life in non-stereotypical roles," continues with The Heineken Urban Short Filmmaker Competition, a screening of four short movies (no, not short filmmakers) that will be held at 8pm tonight (doors open at 6:45pm) in the McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square. The first place winner will be selected by an audience vote; the contenders are A-Alike, about a reunion between an executive and his ex-con brother; Let's Get Personal, a comic tale about a man and his dog; Stone Mansion, centering on a doctor and his wife on the eve of the 1921 race riot; and Unjust Cause, which focuses on the issue of police brutality. Admission is free but by invitation only. For an invitation, e-mail charlotte@blackcinemacafe.com. (Brunson)

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