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Best Times: The coolest things to do in Rhode Island right now

Here are our picks for the best of the best things to do from Dec. 10 to 17.

Bill "Spaceman" Lee reacts after crossing first during the first inning of the Red Sox alumni game. He'll be at the 9th annual Rhode Island Authors Expo on Dec. 11 at Crowne Plaza Ballroom in Warwick,Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Welcome, my friends, to the second installment of Best Times: The link to click to find fun in the Ocean State each week.

If you missed last week’s kick-off intro, I’ll recap: Best Times has a pulse on the Rhody Scene. The hip happenings and good vibes. If it’s worth doing in the next 7 days it’s listed here. Because fun is not just our bread and butter — it’s our Del’s and clam cakes, baby.

This edition focuses on Dec. 10-17 (you can find more options here). Now let’s make like a kid with a Newport Creamery sundae and dive in.



The 9th annual Rhode Island Authors Expo takes place Dec. 11 at Crowne Plaza Ballroom in Warwick, a great spot to meet local authors, Santa (no word yet on whether Santa’s writing a book — but the old guy could have one heck of memoir one day) and “Spaceman” Bill Lee will speak at noon, I’m told. Dude is legend. Spaceman is to the Red Sox what Bill Walton is to the Celtics: endlessly colorful, endlessly quotable, and a dash Hunter S. Thompson. According to the event’s site, the former Red Sox pitcher (who calls himself a “Zen Buddhist Rastafarian”) has co-written four books — plus there’s a 2020 biography: “The Spaceman Chronicles: The Life of the Earthling Named Bill Lee,” by Scott Russell. #KeepingIt100. Details, directions here. Free.


This is all the holiday vibes: Bristol is hosting it’s annual Christmas Festival and European-style Christmas Market Dec. 11 and 12 with (takes deep breath) live wood-carving and ice-sculpting demonstrations, food trucks — including, omg, people, the Burgundian Waffle truck — vendors, “Specialty Huts” offerings goodies and “spectacular photo opportunities,” family wreath-decorating, pics with Santa, kids crafts, wandering carolers, a stage of festive entertainment, and warm mulled wine. Whew. I think that officially checks off every Winter Fun Item. Plus, it’s always fun to shop and stroll historic Bristol, decked for the season. Free. Dec. 11 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 12 noon to 6 p.m., 400 Hope St. Map and schedule here.



Um, so this is awesome. Pizza Marvin — a funky pizza joint on Wickenden, where the pies are artisan, the slice names creative (Bon Chovy, anyone?) and the vibes flow like vino — is spreading Rhody love to neighboring restaurants this season, giving us the collabs we didn’t know we needed:

“The 12 Pies of Christmas” runs through Dec. 23, a new pie each day: Dune Brothers on Dec. 11, for example, Oberlin Dec. 15, Tallulah’s Taqueria Dec. 18, and on Christmas Eve Eve: Durks BBQ… which, I mean… yes, please. To all of it. Cheers to Pizza Marvin for spreading the #RhodyLove.

I want to add here that Pizza Marvin, which opened last year, has quickly earned a rep as Its Own Thing: retro pizza parlor- meets-creative new-school foodie fare. Apps range from fresh little necks and oven-roasted broccolini with vegan Cheese whiz to weenie fries and taco wings. Par of the course: “Papa Squash” pizza with honey nut squash, prosciutto, arugula, and barley hazel blue cheese; “Tater O’Neal” with potato, bacon, cheddar and apple butter. Marvin’s got game. 468 Wickenden St., Providence. 401-262-3336. Meet the owners here.



Soooooo if you happen to be casually walking by, say, I don’t know, Federal Hill between say, oohhh, [cough] Friday afternoon through early Sunday morning, you might see Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy and Kennedy Center honoree Bette Midler. (What? This autograph book? I always have this on me, why?)

Yup, “Hocus Pocus 2″ is reportedly filming this weekend on Atwells Avenue, with the parking lot at Roma Ristorante transformed into a “Halloween village.” #90sKidsRejoice


Brian Regan gigs The Vets Dec. 11. You might recognize him from his Netflix special “On the Rocks,” episodes of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” with Jerry Seinfeld, or from “Loudermilk,” the Amazon Prime comedy-drama from Rhode Island’s Peter Farrelly. From $45. 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence. 401-421-2787.

Attention ‘90s kids who grew up with MTV’s “Jackass,” your moment has arrived: “Steve-O’s Bucket List Tour” arrives at The Strand Ballroom & Theatre Dec. 10. The show is 18+ (shocker) and the show description is vague. But Steve-O fans, I’m sure you have an idea of what to expect. $26. 401-618-8900. 79 Washington St., Providence.

BYOB to Rhody’s version of “Whose Line Is it Anyway” with The Bit Players, Newport’s improv comedy troupe. (Hey, Jay Leno’s a fan.) Dec. 10 and 11. (And most Fridays and Saturdays. Check schedule for more showtimes.) Firehouse Theater, 4 Equality Park Place, Newport.


Meanwhile, Kismet Improv in Pawtucket, which also bills itself as a “Whose Line Is it Anyway,” hosts two improv shows Dec. 10 and two Dec. 11, including an “Improvised Christmas Carol.” $10-$15. 1005 Main St. 401-205-2552. Details here.

(Open note to Ryan Stiles & crew: If you want to do an Ocean State special, we’ve apparently got some talent here.)


”The Nutcracker” is back, baby. If you’re a fan, you’re already anticipating your annual fix. Festival Ballet Providence brings the mice and merriment to The Vets. According to Vet’s site, this is the New England premiere of this version, with “inventive new choreography,” a 38-foot tree, and a “brand new Nutcracker character by Big Nazo Lab.” Dec. 17-26. Tickets from $20. Details here.


‘Tis the season for Charles Dickens. Catch Scrooge, Tiny Tim and all the ghosts at Trinity Rep’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” Depending on your comfort level, there are in-person and streaming options. In-person now through Jan. 2, (ticket prices vary) streaming now through Jan. 16. ($50.) 201 Washington St., Providence. 401-351-4242.


Son of a nutcracker! Catch Will Ferrell as Buddy in a free screening of “Elf” on Dec. 12 at Newport’s Jane Pickens Theater. Just bring canned goods, or nonperishables (as much as you want) to donate. Donations will benefit the non-profit Martin Luther King Center in Newport, according to the theater’s web site. Masks recommended; theater at 50 percent capacity. 1:30 showing.


Another holiday movie — based on the classic book by RISD alum Chris Van Allsburg— “The Polar Express” shows Dec. 11 at 4:30. (Nonmembers, $12.) Watch the “Downton Abbey” movie in Newport with free shortbread? Don’t mind if we do. (Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m. $12 nonmember.) And the indie theater is also showing Wes Anderson’s “French Dispatch” (Bill Murray + newspapers = 100.) Dec. 11-15, nonmembers $12. 49 Touro St. 401-846-5474. Details here.

#ICYMI: A few events mentioned in last week’s 401 are still rolling:

  • You still have a shot to see “Hamilton” at PPAC. Shows run through Dec. 12. Details here.
  • Mansion mania: The Breakers, The Elms & Marble House are decked to the nines (scratch that, the tens) for the holidays. Full schedule here. Tickets start at $20 per adult. Price details here.
  • Bristol’s Blithewold hosts “Night Lights” through Jan. 9. Festively lit paths throughout the grounds, gardens and arboretum. Details here.
  • Rogers Williams Park Zoo is lit with Holiday Lights Spectacular. Now through Jan. 2 Details here.

Got any ideas, tips or events coming up? Email me, tweet me, slide into my DMs. You may make The Best Times. Catch you on the flip side, neighbors.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.