The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world

The traditional Irish music band Lunasa performs at Plymouth's Spire Center for Performing Arts Dec. 12.
The traditional Irish music band Lunasa performs at Plymouth's Spire Center for Performing Arts Dec. 12.The Spire center


Pop & Rock

PILE “Green and Gray,” the seventh album from this Boston-hewn band, is tense and twisty, pairing pummeling noise rock with stylistic shifts (thrash on “On a Bigger Screen,” compressed prog on “A Bug on Its Back”) that thrill even after multiple listens. With gloom-gaze locals Lady Pills. Dec. 10, 8 p.m. $18, $16 advance. The Sinclair, Cambridge. 617-547-5200, www.sinclaircambridge.com

BATTLES The New York experimentalists — now down to the duo of drummer John Stanier and multi-instrumentalist Ian Williams — celebrate their just-released fourth full-length, the freaky, yet melody-rich “Juice B Crypts.” Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m. $23, $20 advance. Brighton Music Hall. 617-779-0140, www.crossroadspresents.com


MARIAH CAREY As of this writing, this diva’s new holiday standard “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which celebrates its silver anniversary this year, is No. 18 on the Hot 100 chart — thanks in part to radio stations around the country flipping to all-Christmas formats, although the song’s uncanny timelessness makes it, even after all these spins, a welcome listen. This show will combine her seasonal smashes, traditional carols, and chart-toppers from her own catalog. Dec. 13, 8 p.m. $60.95 and up. Boch Center Wang Theatre. 800-982-2787, www.bochcenter.org


Folk & World

RANDY HOUSER/PAUL CAUTHEN Mainstream country journeyman Houser is the headliner here, touring in support of “Magnolia,” an album many regard as the finest he’s made, but don’t miss Cauthen, who brings a fevered, hellfire-and-brimstone intensity all his own to his version of country music. Dec. 12, 8 p.m. $32.50. Paradise Rock Club. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

LUNASA The giants of traditional Irish music return for what has become an annual “Christmas From Ireland” performance. Celtic-folk singer-songwriter Ashley Davis helps out with the festivities. (Lúnasa also plays two shows at the Burren on Dec. 11, but both are sold out.) Dec. 12, 8 p.m. $35. Spire Center for Performing Arts, Plymouth. 508-746-4488, www.spirecenter.org


DAVID BROZA & TRIO HAVANA Israeli musical heavyweight David Broza comes to the area to go Cuban on his repertoire via a collaboration with the musicians in Trio Havana, as well as flutist Itai Kriss. Dec. 14, 7 p.m. $54. Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline. 617-277-6610, www.ohabei.org


Jazz & Cabaret

BERKLEE GLOBAL JAZZ 10th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT The institute helmed by pianist Danilo Pérez celebrates its first decade by honoring jazz great Charlie Parker’s centennial with the premiere of “Bird Goes Global,” a suite written by guest conductor and composer Bill Dobbins and performed by Pérez, saxophonists Marco Pignataro, Joe Lovano, Patricia Zarate Pérez, bassist Ben Street, Berklee alumni and students, and more. Dec. 13, 8 p.m. $10-$20. Berklee Performance Center. 617-747-2261, www.berklee.edu/BPC

BRUNO RÅBERG TRIO The Boston-based Swedish native is a bass virtuoso who’s played with everyone from Sam Rivers to Donny McCaslin. His top-drawer trio includes fellow world-class musicians pianist Bruce Barth and drummer Matt Wilson. Dec. 14, 3:30 p.m. $10. Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St., Cambridge. 617-395-1393, www.lilypadinman.com

AN EVENING WITH TRACY O’FARRELL The engaging cabaret artist and actress with the sweet, silvery alto has performed her heartfelt take on show tunes, standards, and pop numbers up and down the East Coast from Boston to Florida, ranging as far west as St. Louis. Dec. 14, 8 p.m. $20. Walpole Footlighters Playhouse, 2 Scout Road, East Walpole. 508-668-8446, www.footlighters.com




MUSIC FOR FOOD Now in its 10th season, this Boston-based initiative to fight hunger through benefit performances has gone national but its local series continues. Next up: the Phoenix chamber orchestra offers two Brandenburg Concertos (Nos. 3 and 5) and cellist Mike Block partners with tabla player Sandeep Das for a cross-genre collaboration. All donations go to the Women’s Lunch Place. Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m., Brown Hall, New England Conservatory. 857-269-5587, musicforfood.net

RUN AMOC! FESTIVAL The American Modern Opera Company returns to Cambridge with three works performed over two days including Hans Werner Henze’s “El Cimarrón” (“The Runaway Slave”) — a dramatic score for four musicians with a libretto by Hans Magnus Enzensberger that tells the story of Esteban Montejo, a slave who escaped bondage and fought for Cuban independence. Dec. 13-14, various locations. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org

CHRISTMAS PILGRIMAGE Musicians of the Old Post Road, an enterprising period instrument ensemble, offers Christoph Graupner’s cantata “Das Volk so im Finstern wandelt” in what is being billed as its modern-day premiere, alongside works by Telemann, Heinichen, and others. With vocal soloists Jessica Petrus, Sophie Michaux, Jason McStoots, and David McFerrin. Dec. 13, Emanuel Church, Boston; Dec. 15, First Unitarian Church, Worcester. 781-466-6694, www.oldpostroad.org




BLACK NATIVITY One of Boston’s most cherished and soul-stirring holiday traditions, “Black Nativity’’ is a “song-play” by the great poet Langston Hughes that celebrates the story of the Nativity with a blend of scripture, poetry, narration, dance, gospel music, and hymns. Now in its 49th year, this production is billed as the longest-running performance of “Black Nativity’’ in the world. Featuring Marilyn Andry, Betty Hillmon, Desiree Springer, and the Honorable Milton L. Wright. Directed by Voncille Ross. Through Dec. 22. Production by National Center of Afro-American Artists. At Robert J. Orchard Stage, Paramount Center. 617-824-8400, emersontheatres.org


QUIXOTE NUEVO Working from the expansive template of Miguel de Cervantes’s “Don Quixote,’’ Octavio Solis has fashioned a highly inventive meditation on old age and its sorrows — and on the gnawing desire for second chances that can arrive late in life — while also mining a rich vein of comedy. It’s a balancing act Cervantes might have admired. "Quixote Nuevo'' traces the chaotic odyssey of former literature professor Jose Quijano (Emilio Delgado), who embarks on a quest to rescue his long-lost love while in the grip of dementia, convinced he is Don Quixote. The play also dives squarely into the roiling currents of the present political moment to shine a compassionate light on the plight of undocumented immigrants. Directed by KJ Sanchez. Through Dec. 8. Huntington Theatre Company in association with Hartford Stage and Alley Theatre. At Huntington Avenue Theatre. 617-266-0800, www.huntingtontheatre.org

THE CHRISTMAS REVELS: AN AMERICAN CELEBRATION OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE A 100-member ensemble will perform in this year’s edition, which is set in the heartland of America in the 1930s. Feeling lost, a man encounters a mysterious radio announcer who encourages him to take a road trip in search of what is missing from his life. That trip enables the man to explore — and the audience to hear — performances of cultural riches that include bluegrass, gospel songs, brass bands, and shape-note hymns. Also featured, of course, are indispensable Revels staples like a rendition of Susan Cooper’s poem “The Shortest Day,’’ the Sussex Mummers’ Carol, and the signature Revels piece, “Lord of the Dance.’’ Written and directed by Patrick Swanson. Music direction by Megan Henderson. Dec. 13-29. At Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, Cambridge. 617-496-2222, www.revels.org


RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL Not unlike Liam Neeson, Rudolph has a very particular set of skills. And even though the young reindeer’s crimson beezer brought him so much ridicule that he fled Christmastown, Rudolph (played by Sharon Pearlman) nobly puts his luminous skills to use on behalf of Santa Claus (Jason Hammond) when Santa’s toy-delivery plans are stymied by a massive snowstorm. Through Dec. 8. Boch Center Shubert Theatre. 800-982-2787, www.bochcenter.org



BOSTON DANCE THEATER Global Arts Live presents this Boston-based contemporary dance company co-directed by Jessie Jeanne Stinnett and award-winning Dutch-Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili. The program features three world premieres — Galili’s retrospective “Memories,” as well as world-premiere works by Shannon Gillen/VIM Vigor and Micaela Taylor. The US premiere of Marco Goecke’s “Peekaboo” explores ideas of being lost and being found. Dec. 13-15, $36-$40. Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. 617-876-4275, www.globalartslive.org

TAFUTA! A YOUNG CHILD’S SEARCH FOR THE TRUE MEANING OF KWANZAA This annual presentation by OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center blends music, dance, and poetry to portray a youngster who overcomes bullying to find the power in his unique voice, his shared heritage, and a meaningful African-American tradition. The family-friendly production includes a cast of 7- to 16-year-old children from around Massachusetts. Dec. 14, $20. Roxbury Community College Mainstage Theater, Roxbury. www.originationinc.org

FUNNY UNCLE CABARET & NUT/CRACKED In this irreverent, entertaining evening’s first act, Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion reflects seasonal drama through exploring the families we’re stuck with versus the community we choose. Then David Parker’s The Bang Group takes “The Nutcracker” in a completely different direction with a wickedly funny parody featuring a range of dance styles. Dec. 13-14, $10-$100. Dance Complex, Cambridge. 617-547-9363, www.dancecomplex.org



WORRIES BASH: CAITLIN & MISHA The artistic duo of Caitlin Foley and Misha Rabinovitch specializes in participatory installations. Here, they’ve collected audio of people’s anxieties (anyone can contribute), which murmur within pinata sculptures. Tap a pinata, and a worry grows distinct. At a closing event, the sculptures will be destroyed and worries ceremonially released. Through Jan. 18. Carol Schlosberg Gallery, Montserrat College of Art, 23 Essex St., Beverly. 978-867-9604, www.montserrat.edu/galleries

ELIAS TELLES Telles, a self-taught artist and Vietnam veteran, started painting after he dreamed of an angel. He was selling his art at a flea market in Los Angeles when a set designer bought a painting for a Steve Martin movie. His works, all in handmade wooden frames, depict historic figures and landscapes in flattened space with juicy colors. Through Dec. 23. Beth Urdang Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave. 781-264-1121, www.bethurdanggallery.com

INSIDE VOICES Clark Derbes builds sculptures from found wood. Cody Justus’s paintings take off from the weavings of Swedish modernist textile designer Märta Maas-Fjetterstrom. Timothy Kadish’s paintings delve into the curious language of icons and shapes. In LaMontagne Gallery’s exhibition co-presented with Cube Art Boston, all the works play with grids and patterns, subverting old notions about art and craft. Through Jan. 6. LaMontagne Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave. 617-487-3512, www.lamontagnegallery.com



YAYOI KUSAMA: LOVE IS CALLING + BEYOND INFINITY When the ICA announced it had acquired one of the celebrated Japanese nonagenarian’s “Infinity Rooms” earlier this year, it almost had to include crowd control strategies due to the runaway success of Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” exhibition in various cities last year. Now, the ICA offers a deep dive to offset the Instagram onslaught, with thoughtful accompaniments that help tease out both Kusama’s long art-historical lineage and resonant emotional depth. Through Feb. 7, 2021, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

HYMAN BLOOM: MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH Please don’t miss this long-overdue survey of the work of Hyman Bloom, a Boston painter whose visceral images of post-autopsy bodies and denuded trees left him on the outs of a mid-century movement toward gestural abstraction. It’s an important recovery effort, with no apologies necessary. The work speaks, and loudly, for itself. Through Feb. 23. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

ERRE: THEM AND US The Mexican-American artist ERRE built a border wall at Mass MoCA for his new exhibition, “Them and Us.” Any questions? There should be plenty, and the artist offers much food for thought with a nuanced satire on the increasingly common brutality of division. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, through summer 2021. 413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org




CHAD DANIELS As a parent, Daniels has never understood people who say they could never raise kids because they can’t even keep a plant alive. “Well, you’re not a plant,” he says. “You don’t have to know how photosynthesis works to keep a child alive. You just make your food and cut it smaller." Dec. 13-14, 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. $25. Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St.. 617-725-2844, www.laughboston.com

AL PARK The Boston Comedy Festival competition winner is a smart and charming comedian, but he is a bit frustrated about the popularity of his chosen facial hair style, the goatee. “That’s just Crocs for your face,” he says. “It’s comfortable but no one wants to touch you.” Dec. 13-14, 8 p.m. $20. Nick’s Comedy Stop, 100 Warrenton St.. www.nickscomedystop.com

OLD SCHOOL GAME SHOW’S HOLIDAY SPECIAL A jolly edition of this hybrid trivia and variety show, in which audience members can join in the fun. Mike D’Angelo and Ginny Nightshade host, with the Cubic Zirconia Dancers, the Swinging Old School Game Show Band, and singer-songwriter Julie Rhodes. Dec. 14, 8 p.m. $20-$25. Oberon, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge. 617-547-8300, americanrepertorytheater.org



GINGERBREAD HOUSE DESIGN COMPETITION Check out some awesome gingerbread houses made by local architects. Now in its eighth year, the event’s theme for the year is “World Monuments.” Through Jan. 2, Reception on Dec. 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Free. BSA Space, 290 Congress St.. architects.org

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER READING The Boch Center’s Education Team will bring this classic to life with props, music, and audience engagement. Dec. 13, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Free, ages 3 to 10. BCYF Ohrenberger Community Center, 175 W. Boundary Road, West Roxbury. bochcenter.org

UNION SQUARE HOLIDAY STROLL The Stroll is in its fifth year of transforming Union Square into a holiday wonderland. It includes retail, food, beverages, music, visits with Santa, crafts, lights, and more. Dec. 14, noon to 6 p.m., free. Union Square, 90 Union Square, Somerville. unionsquaremain.org



Dec. 31 Lil Dicky at Big Night Live ticketmaster.com

Jan. 2 The Felice Brothers at Sinclair axs.com

Jan. 7 The Dead South at House of Blues ticketmaster.com

Jan. 8 Toth at ONCE Ballroom oncesomerville.com

Jan. 15 Beach Fossils at Paradise Rock Club ticketmaster.com

Jan. 17 Ron Pope at Sinclair axs.com

Jan. 17 Sixfoxwhiskey at Brighton Music Hall crossroadspresents.com

Jan. 20 Snoop Dogg at House of Blues livenation.com