Local Arts

Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | Dec. 16-22

Death (Helen Mirren) approaches a grieving executive (Will Smith) with words of wisdom in “Collateral Beauty.”
Death (Helen Mirren) approaches a grieving executive (Will Smith) with words of wisdom in “Collateral Beauty.” Barry Wetcher

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 final Goodyear Arts Showcase of the year starts at 6 p.m. If you haven’t visited this alternative arts studio/gallery/social space on College Street, make sure that you don’t miss this. Not only will you get to experience new visual art including sculpture, ceramics, installation, tapestry, prints and mixed media, but you’ll also experience an interactive sound installation, and a preview of a musical. Come and say farewell to current resident artists Dylan Gilbert, Grace Stott, and Andrea Vail and enjoy free beer while it lasts! Free and open to the public. – KS

Self-recommending titles opening Dec. 16 include “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” a prequel to “A New Hope” in which Felicity Jones leads the Rebellion’s attempt to get plans to the Death Star; the effortlessly charming musical “La-La Land,” with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as lovers whose careers take them on divergent paths in Hollywood; and “Collateral Beauty,” with Will Smith as a despairing man who writes letters to Love, Time and Death – and gets answers. – LT

Featured reader for Third Friday Reading Series (7-9 p.m.) is poet Mike James of Chapel Hill at The Third Place, a cafe and meeting place at 1609 E. Fifth St. Open mic follows reading. – DP

Hmmm: Must be an omen that “tinsel,” “tunes,” “trashy,” “Texas” and “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” all start with “t.” And you know we’re supposed to obey signs around Christmas. Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte has temporarily relocated to the McBride-Bonnefoux Center for Dance to do this crassly funny musical through Dec. 23. Also through Dec. 23: There are still a few nuts to crack. Charlotte Ballet’s handsomely redesigned “The Nutcracker” is back in town after its Charleston run, and tutus twirl at Belk Theater. – LT

Dress the kids in their jammies and head to Discovery Place Science for an IMAX viewing of “The Polar Express,” along with crafts, writing letters to Santa and sampling liquid nitrogen marshmallows. (Friday 5-8 p.m. for members; plus Saturday 9 a.m.-noon.; other showings were sold out at press time.) Purchase tickets online: www.science.discoveryplace.org. – CB

See Santa in a most unusual place – the swimming pool. Kids can join Santa for a swim in the Ray’s Splash Planet waterpark from 5-7:30 p.m. and bring your own camera for photos. General admissions rates apply. 980-314-4729 or here. – CB

Catch the final week of Vintage Charlotte’s pop-up shop in the Latta Arcade, through Wednesday, featuring more than 70 businesses and their handmade and vintage items; Vintage-charlotte.com. – CB


In July 2014, Lionel Richie made a visit to PNC Music Pavilion as part of his big comeback tour; it marked the R&B/soul vet’s first Charlotte show in 28 years. On May 21, 2017, Richie returns, this time to uptown’s Spectrum Center, this time with another living legend on the comeback trail: Mariah Carey, who’ll be performing here for the first time over the course of a career that includes more No. 1 hits than anyone except The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Tickets for their “All the Hits” tour go on sale at 10 a.m. Dec. 17. www.livenation.com, www.spectrumcentercharlotte.com, 800-745-3000. – TJ

Legion Brewing hosts “Friends and Beerfest: First Birthday Edition!” noon to 11 p.m. – old Saint Nick himself will be in attendance for photo ops from noon to 2 p.m., and the brewery is also collecting new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots (those who bring a gift will receive a raffle ticket for various prizes). There will be a new first birthday pint glass available for purchase, an oyster roast at 5 p.m., live music, and several limited-release beers will be tapped throughout the day. – DH

Spare a thought for the Charlotte Film Society’s “No Men Beyond This Point” at 7:30 p.m. at Theatre Charlotte; the Canadian film depicts a world where asexual women no longer give birth to males, and a housekeeper (Patrick Gilmore) finds himself at the center of a battle to keep men from extinction. – LT

Those of you who don’t believe “Messiah” will come again should check the calendar: It’s Dec. 17 at Knight Theater at 7:30 (also offered Dec. 16), with Kenney Potter conducting the Charlotte Symphony and Chorus in almost all of Handel’s oratorio. The choral group Renaissance will do sacred and secular music Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, including Buxtehude, Argento, Lauridsen, Britten and Cahn (as in Sammy). Carolina Pro Musica offers “Christmas at St. Mary’s” at St. Mary’s Chapel Dec. 17 at 7 and 8:30 p.m. You’ll hear music from the 18th century, readings of the season, carols for all to sing and Bob Sweeten (Max on the “Bob and Sheri Show”) telling the Christmas story. – LT

Local bands go the nostalgic route for the Super Sounds of the ’70s Tribute Show Benefit, a fundraiser for Levine Children’s Hospital that takes place at Neighborhood Theatre (511 E. 36th St.) at 8 p.m. Charlotte acts like Justin Fedor (the event’s organizer), the Sammies, Patabamba, It’s Snakes, Charlie King, Bless These Sounds Under the City and others put their own twists on classic cuts by the Ramones, Bee Gees, Zeppelin, the Stones, ELO, the Dead, Leonard Cohen and more. Suggested donation is $10. www.neighborhoodtheatre.com. – CD


“Broken” Matt Hardy, the “Impact Wrestling” tag team champion, takes on current Premiere Wrestling Xperience champ “The Manscout” Jake Manning at PWX’s “Seasons #Deleteings”CQ event at 3 p.m. at Cabarrus Arena. It’s a chance to see why the Carolinas are once again a hotbed for pro wrestling. http://DeletePWX.bpt.me – CD


Mystery writer Nora Gaskin will speak to the Charlotte Writers Club at 7 p.m. at Providence United Methodist Church. Free and open to the public. – DP

Dec. 22

Check out uptown’s arts and culture scene for free from 6-9 p.m. Hop on the free trolley and ride to these locations, which will offer free admission: Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Mint Museum Uptown, New Gallery of Modern Art, Wells Fargo Historical Museum, SOCO Gallery, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Goodyear Arts and Charlotte Christmas Village. – CB

Through December

Drink hot things at The Ballantyne Hotel. They’re serving holiday afternoon tea with savory tea sandwiches and sweets is $49 for adults and $29 for anyone under 18. Add $10 for adults and you can have champagne instead of tea. It goes on in the lobby every Wednesday-Sunday from 1-5 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). If tea isn’t your bag, move over to the Veranda and the Gallery Bar from 2-5:30 p.m. until Dec. 28 for hot chocolate or hot cider ($7) or $10 to add liqueur to it. -- KP