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

Jorja Smith (pictured at Coachella in April) plays the House of Blues Dec. 16.Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella


Pop & Rock

JORJA SMITH This British singer combines her love of classic soul and airy voice with her interest in cutting-edge hip-hop sounds on her debut album, “Lost & Found.” With teenage R&B prodigy Ravyn Lenae. Dec. 16, 7 p.m. $45 and up. House of Blues. 888-693-2583, www.houseofblues.com/boston

KEN STRINGFELLOW The pop auteur (whose main band the Posies just celebrated their 30th anniversary) presents his hooky gems in a stripped-down setting that will take advantage of his legendary host facility’s grand piano. Dec. 18, 7 p.m. $25 and up. Q Division Studios, Somerville. Tickets available via www.eventbrite.com


CUPCAKKE Surrealistic, hyperverbal, and outrageously filthy, this 21-year-old Chicago-based MC is one of hip-hop’s most exciting stars, breathing audacity and daring into every syllable she lays down. Dec. 19, 7 p.m. $25 and up. Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge. 617-864-3278, www.mideastoffers.com


Folk & World

UNDER THE COVERS Mark Erelli heads back to the basement to continue “Under the Covers,” his long-running annual December performances of other people’s songs. This year, Zach Hickman, Rose Cousins, and Jake Amerding join him; as always, expect the unexpected in some of their song choices. Dec. 16, 5 and 8 p.m. $35. Club Passim, Cambridge. 617-492-7679, www.passim.org

HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER Do you need Hiss, good buddy? Live, they’re in town Monday, and there’s some just out on record as well, in the form of “Devotion: Songs About Rivers and Spirits and Children,” which boxes remastered reissues of three Hiss Golden Messenger titles with a fourth disc of rarities. Dec. 17, 8 p.m. $20. The Sinclair, Cambridge. 888-929-7849, www.axs.com

THE WEISSTRONAUTS’ ANNUAL HOLIDAY JUBILEE This one’s a milestone: The instrumental surf-twangsters have been doing it for exactly two decades with this edition. They’ll play (and, occasionally, sing) usual and unusual seasonal fare, along with a host of guests, including Hayley Thompson-King, the Derangers, Erin Harpe and the Delta Swingers, and the local nine’s keyboard maestro, Josh Kantor. Dec. 21, 9 p.m. $15. Lizard Lounge, Cambridge. 800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com



Jazz & Blues

A JAZZY CHRISTMAS The Mosesian Center’s Berklee faculty artist series presents versatile guitarist John Baboian and virtuosic baritone saxophonist Danny Harrington — who’ve been playing in bands together since 1975 — weaving a festive garland of seasonal melodies backed by bassist Bob Sinicrope and drummer Jon Hazilla. Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m. $17-$22. Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown. 617-923-8487, www.mosesianarts.org

ANA GASTEYER The “Saturday Night Live” alum is a smashing singer as well as comedian and actress. Her nightclub show evokes the cabaret divas of yore, saucy songs and stories spiced with a soupcon of swing, and for this occasion spotlighting the yuletide spirit. Dec. 21, 8 p.m. $45-$65. City Winery, 80 Beverly St., Boston. 617-933-8047, www.citywinery.com

HEATHER PIERSON JAZZ TRIO: A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS Pianist-vocalist Pierson and her band present the late, great Vince Guaraldi’s beloved score for the animated Peanuts classic (1965), plus more Guaraldi tunes and other holiday chestnuts. With bassist Shawn Nadeau and drummer Craig Bryan. Dec. 21, 8 p.m. Amazing Things Arts Center, 160 Hollis St., Framingham. $10-$20. 508-405-2787, www.amazingthings.org



AMERICAN MODERN OPERA COMPANY Reading this on Sunday morning? There’s still time to zip over to Harvard Square for a full day of music at the second annual Run AMOC! Festival, including Bach flute sonatas and partitas with Emi Ferguson and rowdy baroque band Ruckus (2:30 p.m.), pianist Conor Hanick performing John Cage’s “Sonatas and Interludes” (4 p.m.), and a showcase of the adventurous company’s latest collaborations (5:30 p.m.). Presented by American Repertory Theater. Dec. 16. Various locations, Harvard Square. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org


BOSTON CAMERATA The energetic Boston Camerata debuts “Gloria! An Italian Christmas,” a program of festive music from the Renaissance and early Baroque periods including music for separated choirs, village processions, and instrumental fantasias. Acclaimed cornetto player Bruce Dickey appears with the group. Dec. 16 in Brookline, Dec. 17 in Cambridge. 617-262-2092, www.bostoncamerata.org

Zoë Madonna



MISS BENNETT: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY This sequel to Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice’’ shifts the focus from Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy (now married) to Elizabeth’s bookish younger sister, Mary. In an outstanding performance, Amanda Collins conveys a sense of churning depths beneath the polite surface as Mary tries to figure out whether an awkward but ardent new suitor fits into her quest for a “larger life.’’ Written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon and directed with elan by Sean Daniels. Through Dec. 23. Merrimack Repertory Theatre. At Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, Lowell. 978-654-4678, www.mrt.org

BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES Featuring a dynamic, all-male cast of 12, this play by Nigerian-born Inua Ellams is an illuminating depiction of African men from different nations and backgrounds who are seeking solidarity and even, in some cases, solace, as they settle into a barber chair. Its title notwithstanding, “Barber Shop Chronicles’’ registers less as a collection of stories than as a medley of voices. While that approach limits a sense of narrative cohesion, there is also considerable upside, especially when the voices are as vivid and the issues are as resonant as they are here. Directed by Bijan Sheibani. Through Jan. 5. Coproduction by Fuel, National Theatre, and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Presented by American Repertory Theater. At Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300, www.americanrepertorytheater.org



Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans never have any difficulty choosing which side of the naughty-or-nice line to stand on. In this year’s holiday musical parody, directed at a barreling pace by Kiki Samko, a mysterious, Freddy Krueger-like figure, blade fingers and all, has begun bloodily dispatching students of the Elf Street Academy. Because the newly deceased are members of Santa Claus’s flight team, this places Christmas itself in sudden jeopardy. What nefarious figure — or figures — is behind these lethal reindeer games? To find out, Detective Shirley Holmes (Landry), and his scathingly sarcastic helpmeet, Dr. Jodi Watley (the ever-elegant Qya Cristal) go undercover among the high-school-aged reindeer.

Through Dec. 23. Presented by Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans. At Machine, Boston. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3568865

BREATH & IMAGINATION Davron S. Monroe brings a combination of elegantly expressive artistry and emotional clarity to his virtuosic portrayal of pioneering Boston tenor Roland Hayes, a son of former slaves who used his glorious voice to topple color barriers on concert stages in the early 20th century. Maurice Emmanuel Parent makes a strong professional directing debut at the helm of Daniel Beaty’s memory-play-with-music. Through Dec. 23. Lyric Stage Company of Boston and the Front Porch Arts Collective. At Lyric Stage. 617-585-5678, www.lyricstage.com




URBAN NUTCRACKER Anthony Williams’s Boston-centric classic takes the holiday tale in a whole different direction, with a multicultural spin on casting, dance styles, and music (juxtaposing Tchaikovsky’s lushly romantic score with Duke Ellington’s jazz interpretation). In its 18th season, the show moves to new digs at the Shubert and involves more than 150 performers, including professionals from the newly launched City Ballet of Boston and a crew of enthusiastic students. Dec. 20-30. $28-$118. Boch Center Shubert Theatre. 866-348-9738, www.bochcenter.org

MOSCOW BALLET’S GREAT RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER While there are tons of local “Nutcracker” productions, this one sails into town for one night only to offer a very Russian take on the classic, including colorful traditional Nesting Dolls and elegant Snow Maidens. The production boasts first-class performers, virtuosic choreography, and vivid, hand-painted sets. Dec. 19, 7 p.m. $43.75-$123.75. Boch Center Wang Theatre. 800-982-2787, www.bochcenter.org

WHAT THE DICKENS! There’s one week left to catch the popular dance theater interpretation of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” from Deborah Mason Dudley’s Cambridge Youth Dance Program. With choreography ranging from ballet and tap to hip-hop and flamenco, this original family-oriented production features talented youth as well as seasoned professionals. Through Dec. 23. $25-$65. John Hancock Hall. 617-616-5124, www.cydp.org



ADORNING BOSTON AND BEYOND: CONTEMPORARY STUDIO JEWELRY THEN + NOW Picking up after the MFA’s “Boston Made: Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork,” this show follows the thread of innovation starting in the mid 20th century. Also stop by the Society of Arts + Crafts’ “Craft Boston Holiday” through Dec. 16 at the Hynes Convention Center, and have a crafty weekend. Through Feb. 17. Society of Arts + Crafts, 100 Pier 4 Blvd. 617-266-1810, www.societyofcrafts.org

SAMIRA ALIKHANZADEH: DISTANT MEMORIES, FAMILIAR PHANTOMS This Iranian artist works with found photographs dating to the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, a period when hijabs were officially banned. Adding mirrors to her compositions, she creates a nexus of reflection, memory, time’s passage, and the gaze. Through Jan. 30. Ars Libri, 500 Harrison Ave. 617-357-5212, www.arslibri.com

FOOD PORN Katie Commodore and Julie K. Gray approach their subjects through traditionally domestic mediums. Gray makes sculptural cookbooks and re-creates her grandmother’s kitchen in papier-maché and needlework. Commodore’s miniature portraits on ivory explore her subjects’ sexual expression. Through Jan. 12. Kelley Stelling Contemporary, 221 Hanover St., Manchester, N.H. www.kelleystellingcontemporary.com



JACOB LAWRENCE: THE LEGEND OF JOHN BROWN Sunday is the last day of this display of Lawrence’s remarkable sequential portrayal of the famed abolotionist’s radical efforts to end slavery by violent means, culminating in a failed insurrection in 1859 that would cost him his life. Lawrence, whose angular illustrative style embues the story with a rough urgency, strained against the history painting convention of a single image to tell an epic tale. And so he didn’t, crowding his frame with figures and energy so intense that they seem ready to burst from the frame. Through Dec. 16. Davis Museum at Wellesley College, 106 Central St., Wellesley. 781-283-2051, www.wellesley.edu/davismuseum

4 x 4: When you have a permanent collection as good, and as deep, as the Addison Museum of American Art, drawing on its depths is an inexhaustible endeavor. Not often is it as clear-minded and stimulating as the counter-intuitive play to be found in “4 x 4,” in which four curators were each given a space to tell their stories of their choosing. While you’ll find familiar names — Jackson Pollock, Donald Judd, Winslow Homer, Sheila Hicks, to name a few — it’s the friction between them that excites. Through July 31, 2019. Addison Gallery of American Art, 180 Main St., Andover. 978-949-4015, www.addison.andover.edu

INTRODUCING TONY CONRAD: A RETROSPECTIVE “You don’t know who I am, but somehow, indirectly, you’ve been affected by things I did,” Tony Conrad once said, and it’s not an idle boast. Running alongside but somehow outside some of the most significant, game-changing art movements of the late 20th century — Fluxus, installation art, the Pictures Generation, the rise of video — the title of the show plays with his status as the most famous artist you’ve never heard of. Don’t be surprised to see work that seems familiar, somehow, but you can’t quite place, like an itch you can’t scratch. Through Jan. 6 at MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames St., Cambridge. 617-453-4680, listart.mit.edu




THE COMEDY STUDIO The schedule this week is packed, but Thursday’s show is particularly good with Jon Rineman, Reece Cotton, Tooky Kavanagh, Joe Kozlowsky, Liam McGurk, Pat McLoud, Anthony Scibelli, Abhishek Shah, and Mike Whitman. Dec. 20, 8 p.m. $12. The Comedy Studio, 1 Bow Market Way #23, Somerville. 617-661-6507, www.thecomedystudio.com

GUY BRANUM His delightful “Talk Show the Game Show,” which was canceled by TruTV, will be missed, but we still have Branum’s stand-up, his deeply personal, pop-culture-flavored memoir “My Life as a Goddess,” and his “Pop Rocket” podcast to enjoy; the man never stops working. Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $28. Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St., Boston. 617-725-2844, www.laughboston.com

DAN BOULGER A sharp writer and one of Boston’s funniest stand-ups, Boulger is the first to do a weekend headlining show at McGreevy’s. Hosted by Brian Higginbottom, who also hosts the weekly Monday and Tuesday night shows at the venue. Dec. 22, 8 p.m. $10. McGreevy’s, 911 Boylston St., Boston. 617-262-0911, www.mcgreevysboston.com



CARLY COPLEY’S BIRTHDAY PARTY Round up the whole family — four-legged friends included — for some tail-wagging birthday fun celebrating Carly Copley, canine ambassador for Fairmont Copley Plaza. Guests can gather for a reading of “Catie Copley,” a book about Carly’s predecessor, then munch on cake (for humans) and birthday snacks (for dogs). Attendees can also donate towels, blankets, and toys to the Animal Rescue League Boston shelter. Dec. 16, 1-2:30 p.m. Free. Fairmont Copley Plaza, 138 Saint James Ave., eventbrite.com 

HOLIDAY LEGO NIGHT Put on your hard hat and get to work building a winter wonderland of your own with Legos and holiday cheer galore. Each ticket includes a $5 voucher toward food and drink, so attendees can stay fueled during construction — and the team with the best creation can score a $20 gift card as their prize. Dec. 20, 7-9 p.m. $10. Trident Booksellers and Cafe, 338 Newbury St., eventbrite.com 

WATSON ADVENTURES’ WIZARD SCHOOL SCAVENGER HUNT Wizards and muggles alike can search the halls of the Museum of Fine Arts for art that bears similarities to the characters and objects of the Harry Potter series. Thanks to a bit of magic, this scavenger hunt will reveal a bridge between art and the Wizarding World, with discoveries that include a sorceress, Dementor-esque cloaked figures, and giants that bring Hagrid to mind. Dec. 22, 1-3 p.m. $21.50-$34.50; price includes museum admission. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., watsonadventures.com 



Dec. 28 Bad Rabbits at the Sinclair  axs.com

Dec. 31 Dalton & the Sheriffs at Paradise Rock Club  ticketmaster.com

Jan. 7 Ensiferum at Brighton Music Hall  ticketmaster.com

Jan. 11 Lettuce at House of Blues  livenation.com

Jan. 17 Jackals at Great Scott  axs.com

Jan. 19 Kacey Musgraves at Wang Theatre  ticketmaster.com

Jan. 22 Jesse McCartney at House of Blues  ticketmaster.com