Local Arts

Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | Dec. 9-15

What is there to do in Charlotte this weekend? Here’s our experts’ picks on everything from entertainment – movies to music to theater – to food and wine, beer and restaurants. And shopping, of course...


The Bottle Shop, the new store in the redesigned Marriott City Center lobby, is holding free wine tastings every day from 5:30-7:30 p.m., with themes like Funky & Fun, Sinfully Delightful And Sexy Spanish Reds. Regular shop hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. You can pick out a bottle and have it served anywhere in the hotel (including your room) with no corkage fee. – KP


OPENING FRIDAY: A little Oscar buzz surrounds Jessica Chastain on any project; she has been nominated for “The Help” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” It has revived around “Miss Sloane,” in which she plays a formidable Washington lobbyist who takes on a powerful opponent at the risk of her career. Want something lighter? The reliable Jason Bateman plays a branch manager who throws a bash that gets out of hand in “Office Christmas Party,” infuriating his CEO sister and possibly endangering a big account. – LT

FRIDAY and BEYOND: “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” has been a beloved Christmas book and play for decades. Matthews Playhouse does the traditional version through Dec. 18. Meanwhile, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte has gone a step further and commissioned the world premiere of a musical version, with fine songs from the late ’50s/early ’60s pop music tradition. It runs through Dec. 23. – LT

FRIDAY/SUNDAY: If you can’t get enough of Tchaikovsky’s music, you have two “Nutcrackers” to choose from this weekend besides the one by Charlotte Ballet. In “Clara’s Trip: A Cirque and Dance Nutcracker,” Caroline Calouche and Co. provide an airborne riff on the seasonal favorite, in which Clara injures her ankle and enters a dream of romance. It runs Dec. 9-11. And the national tour of “Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker” stops at Ovens Auditorium Dec. 11 for a matinee; Charlotte-area children were auditioned to dance small roles. – LT


SATURDAY: Observer sports writer Scott Fowler will talk about his latest book, “Panthers Rising,” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Park Road Books. – DP

SATURDAY: As we grow our own art collections, and continually seek ways to support our local community, we couldn’t be more excited about “Deck the Walls,” a collaboration between Hodges Taylor Art Consultancy and The Light Factory. The one-day photography sale will run 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Hodges Taylor in South End. All of the participating artists have had some relationship with The Light Factory, the only photography-focused nonprofit in Charlotte, over its 40-year history, and all works will be priced at $500 or lower. With significantly discounted artworks up for grabs, you can afford to get one for you and one for a friend. (I just hope I get there before you.) – LN

SATURDAY: If you’re Italian, you know the Chrismas Eve drill: Your menu has to include seven dishes that all involve fish and seafood. Upstream in Phillips Place will give you a head start with a “Night of the Seven Fishes” class 10 a.m.-noon. It’s $40, and there’s no catch-and-release here: You get to eat it after you watch the chef make it. – KP

SATURDAY: Randy Johnson will sign copies of “Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon,” a finalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. at Art in the Dairy. – DP

SATURDAY: Birdsong Brewing Co. is bubbling over about its fifth birthday. Starting at noon, they’ll have reserve beers from past years on tap (Mongeese on Monkeys, Bird on a Wire, Yoshimi Vitamins, St. Tuber Abbey, Imperial Lazy Bird Brown, Puppies on Penguins, The Pride and Rice, Rice, Baby), as well as five IPAs. Live music starts at 1 p.m., and food trucks will be around all day. Get a commemorative glass with an $8 drink ticket. – KP

SATURDAY-SUNDAY: If you have never seen the annual Singing Christmas Tree or Singing Christmas Tree for Kids, both produced Dec. 10-11 at Knight Theater, go this year. The MainStage Choir of Carolina Voices performs on a 32-foot tree, with help from Grey Seal Puppets, Miller Street Dance Academy, Young Voices of the Carolinas and Impromptu. – LT


SUNDAY: Eat, drink and shop merry at the Finders Keepers Market from 1-6 p.m. at NoDa Brewing North End. Expect handmade gifts from local artisans, Pure Intentions Coffee, FuManChu Cupcakes and beer. Lots of beer. – KP

SUNDAY: George Winston comes to McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square with “Winter Show,” with melodic fall and winter type songs but also – of course – holiday favorites. His take on Vince Guaraldi’s work from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” alone is worth the price of admission. (Incidentally, the 1965 Peanuts classic has already aired on ABC this year, but you can find it online at abc.go.com/movies-and-specials/a-charlie-brown-christmas.) – TJ


MONDAY: Before every young chef in the South was growing food and tracking down old recipes, Frank Lee of Charleston’s S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad) was leading the way. Now he’s freshly retired and visiting Charlotte with his new book, “The S.N.O.B. Experience” (Advantage, $39.95). It’s a celebration of the restaurant, but also a look into Lee’s philosophy of combining classic technique with regional ingredients. Meet Lee and get a book signed at 2 p.m. at Park Road Books. – KP


NEXT TUESDAY (Dec. 13): Tickets to the Kissmas Concert at Spectrum Center could be the perfect early holiday gift for the teenager in your life. The lineup for Kiss 95.1’s Christmas-themed bash includes Shawn Mendes, DNCE (led by Joe Jonas), Alessia Cara, Hailee Steinfeld, Charli XCX and Jojo, and here’s a warning to any unsuspecting parent chaperoning their kids: Bring earplugs, mainly to protect yourself from the screams that will greet 18-year-old heartthrob Mendes. – TJ


NEXT WEDNESDAY (Dec. 14): Like George Winston, Jim Brickman is a pianist who’ll bring seasonal favorites to McGlohon, although whereas Winston is an instrumentalist, Brickman adds vocals. And while Winston’s isn’t strictly a holiday show, Brickman’s is -- expect traditional carols as well as his popular originals, like “The Gift,” “Sending You A Little Christmas,” “Angel Eyes” and “If You Believe.” Brickman also is bringing a perhaps unexpected guest: former “American Idol” winner Kris Allen. – TJ


NEXT THURSDAY (Dec. 15): Robert Morgan talks about his most recent novel, “Chasing the North Star,” about a runaway slave in South Carolina heading for freedom, at 5 p.m. on North Carolina Bookwatch. UNC-TV. – DP

Planning ahead

Dec. 30: Already worried about how to keep your kids busy over the holiday break? Let someone else teach them how to cook, at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen in the Atherton Market. Young cooks ages 7-16 can take a morning (9:30 a.m.-noon) or afternoon (2-4 p.m.) class. Classes are hands-on and include food and a recipe book for $70. – KP