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See & Do 

DECEMBER 08 - WEDNESDAY
Christmas gets curiouser and curiouser as the members of Moving Poets Theater of Dance train their satirical eye - and assorted multimedia lenses - on the Yuletide season with Holiday 6/15. The Poets are never more pleasing than when they open up their Theatre 36 stage to the screwiest 15-minute pronouncements our city's choreographers, musicians, videographers, and actors can create. This year's X-treme six-pack will include a radically reduced version of The Nutcracker and "Merry Mary," an intriguing collaboration between singer/actress/composer Gina Stewart, writer Melissa Matthews, and actress Katherine Harrison. As opposed to ordinary two-dimensional performance art, Poets will be offering a special 3D presentation as a holiday gift. Yes, 3D glasses will be provided for the unveiling of Karola Luttringhaus' The Sixth Sock. Tickets for tonight's preview at the Hart-Witzen, 136 E. 36th Street, are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Prices go to $15.50-$20 for the remainder of the run through December 19. Call 704-527-6683. (Tannenbaum)

And don't forget Actor's Theatre, as they finish their banner year with two fun, edgy and popular holiday faves which premiered a year ago. First, Mark Scarboro reprises his one-man sparkler, The Santaland Diaries, recreating David Sedaris' mordant reminiscences on his servitude as a Yuletide elf at Macy's. The company is also presenting A Mad Mad Madrigal, a truly zany solstice celebration presented by Epic Arts Repertory Company that mixes festive dancing, New Age mysticism and rampant drumming with a motherlode of pure Monty Python silliness. Santaland lingers on at 650 East Stonewall Street through December 23 with tickets priced at $20. Madrigal remains through December 21 with adult tickets at $20 and children 12 and under admitted for $10. Fridays and Saturdays, you can get tickets for both shows in a $35 combo, with Santaland starting at 7:30 and Madrigal following at 9:30pm. Call 704-342-2251 for Santa and 704-347-2817 for Madrigal. (Tannenbaum)

DECEMBER 09 - THURSDAY
DJ Tiesto, a two-time DJ Magazine "DJ of the Year" award-winner -- and, incidentally, the fellow who composed the opening ceremonies music for this summer's Olympic games in Athens -- will play Velocity tonight at midnight. Scott Modie and DJ Swirl will spin beforehand. Doors open at 9pm, and tickets are $20. For more information, call 704-333-0060 or click on to www.velocitync.com. (Davis)

DECEMBER 10 - FRIDAY
We stoutly maintain that there's no better version of The Nutcracker than the one choreographed by the late Salvatore Aiello for North Carolina Dance Theatre. But this year, our dogmatic idolatry of the NCDT is severely tested in a once-in-a-lifetime "crack-off" between Charlotte's preeminent performing arts troupe and the Moscow Ballet. Yes, Mia Cunningham reprises her role of Clara on opening night at Belk Theater, before yielding that sugarplum of a role to other NCDT lovelies as the holiday fave continues through December 19, with special "Matinee Magic" performances on December 11-12. But while all the prancing continues in the Center City, Moscow Ballet will bring The Great Russian Nutcracker to Ovens Auditorium on December 15-16. Tickets for the home team's show at the PAC are $10-$55, and you call 704-372-1000. Seats for Ovens' Moscow treat are $25-$49. Call 704-522-6500. (Tannenbaum)

Our favorite example of surrealistic holiday kitsch, The Singing Christmas Tree, celebrates its 50th anniversary with performances today, Saturday and Sunday at Ovens Auditorium. More than 100 volunteer singers wear lots of green, arrange themselves in a huge cone shape, and voila! -- a Singing Christmas Tree! This year's "Golden Anniversary Holiday Spectacular" will feature soloist Brenda Wimberly, as well as performances by the Grey Seal Puppets, the jazz vocal ensemble Impromptu!, and Charlotte City Ballet. The tree starts singing tonight at 8pm, Saturday at 3 and 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $12-$25 with group and senior discounts available, and may be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or the Cricket Arena and Coliseum box offices. For details, 704-377-9124 or www.carolinavoices.org. (Callahan)

The 10th annual American Craft Council's Charlotte Craft Show, always a real spectacle, moves into the Convention Center for the weekend. For all of you crafters, this huge show features more than 225 artists who'll be more than eager to show off their handcrafted jewelry, quilts, furniture, ceramics, or whatever else may tickle your fancy. Tickets are $8 for one day, $14 for both and children 12 and under get in free. For details call 800-724-0859 or visit www.craftcouncil.org. (Callahan)

The whiskey-gulping, "Dirty South"-mythologizing Drive-By Truckers play the Visulite Theatre today and tomorrow at 10pm. Now certified critical darlings for their three-guitar take on the Southern experience (See Decoration Day and Southern Rock Opera for a nice primer), the band has slowly begun to break into the mainstream, much like their heroes Lynyrd Skynyrd did some 30 years prior. Expect each night's show to run around three hours, if their last visit is any indication -- as truckers go, these guys are always in it for the long haul. Tickets are $15 each night. For more information, log onto www.visulite.com, or call 704-358-9200. (Davis)

DECEMBER 11 - SATURDAY
Amid the comforts of their baroque bailiwick, Carolina Pro Musica offers their perennial holiday favorite, Christmas at St. Mary's. Tom Larrazin joins the instrumental/vocal quartet as narrator, so the Christmas story can be told through scripture, poetry, and the melodic delights of Bach, Handel, and Telemann. You can also rely on generous helpings of carol sing-alongs at both the 7pm and 8:30pm showings. What's more iffy is the availability of seats at the historic nook at 1129 E. 3rd Street. They do sell out, so call 704-334-3468 early to make sure. Tix are $15 for both shows, $7.50 for students and seniors. (Tannenbaum)

DECEMBER 14 - TUESDAY
The Charlotte Bobcats might not have the greatest record in the NBA, but it could be worse -- they could be the New Orleans Hornets! Mired with the league's worst record as of press time, the formerly Charlotte-based team looks to be fading faster than the value of a diploma from owner George Shinn's old Rutledge College. Our 'Cats face the erstwhile Bugs tonight at 7pm at the Charlotte Coliseum. Tickets are $10-$115, available at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 704-522-6500. (Davis)

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