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The Ticket: music, theater, art, dance, comedy, and more

Michael Kiwanuka (pictured at a July performance in Stockholm) plays at Royale Nov. 29.VILHELM STOKSTAD/AFP/Getty Images


Pop & Rock

MICHAEL KIWANUKA This British soul singer’s voice possesses a gentle grit, and it serves as a firm guide for the simmering explorations that make his second album, “Love & Hate,” one of the year’s more ambitious R&B releases. Kiwanuka brings gospel-choir bursts, glossy strings, and luscious guitar solos under his tent, creating an expansive definition of “soul music.” Nov. 29, 7 p.m. $18. Royale. 617-338-7699,

JON BELLION Borrowing from the sighing, synth-assisted emotionalism of the Postal Service as much as he does Kanye West’s kitchen-sink ambition — and throwing in some wordless vocalizing for good measure — this Long Island-born singer-songwriter accrued a strong following before his debut, “The Human Condition,” came out in June. Nov. 28, 6 p.m. $23-$33. House of Blues. 888-693-BLUE,


ANDRA DAY With a bell-clear voice and arena-size ambitions, this belter’s invigorating live show offers a heady blend of stretched-out soul, expressionistic jazz, and full-throated rock. (And holiday cheer, probably: Her first Christmas EP, “Merry Christmas From Andra Day,” came out in October.) With rising teen sister act Chloe x Halle.Nov. 28, 7 p.m. $32, $29.50 advance. Royale. 617-338-7699, MAURA JOHNSTON

Folk & World

DANIEL BACHMAN Bachman’s website biography consists of the following: “Daniel Bachman was born in 1989 and is a guitar player currently living in Virginia.” Apparently he’s content to let the music he calls “psychedelic Appalachia” do the talking, as he has at a prolific rate from 2011 to his latest, self-titled statement, released a few weeks ago. Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20. Regattabar, Cambridge. 617-661-5000,

JESSE DAYTON Whether it’s addressing domestic life (“Daddy Was a Badass,” “I’m at Home Gettin’ Hammered (While She’s Out Gettin’ Nailed)”) or the whole-body experience of seeing George Jones live (“Possum Ran Over My Grave”), Dayton’s new album, “The Revealer,” reaffirms his penchant for turbo-charging his country and keeping danger in his rock ’n’ roll. Dec. 3, 9 p.m. Tickets: $13. The Cove Music Hall, Worcester. 508-363-1888,


FRONT COUNTRY/BRETT NEWSKI An attractive double shot: Front Country and its dynamic singer, Melody Walker, began as a straight-up bluegrass band before expanding their scope; self-described “songman and full-time nomad” Newski offers a tough brand of DIY folk music that has evoked comparisons to Billy Bragg. Dec. 3, 8 p.m. Tickets: $13. Red Room at Cafe 939. 617-747-2261,


Jazz & Blues

JULIA & THE ZEROUNIAN ENSEMBLE Armenian vocalist and actress Julia Zerounian is a spellbinding cabaret artist, and a deft interpreter of songs in English, French, Persian, Portuguese, Spanish, and even Yiddish. Her husband, pianist Sarkis Zerounian, accompanies her with his multinational band featuring violin, guitar, mandolin, bass, and percussion. Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m. $20-$25. Regattabar. 617-395-7757,

ERIN HARPE & THE DELTA SWINGERS The red-hot singer and finger-style guitarist and her Swingers are self-styled masters of the Charles River Delta blues, rooted in the muddy earth of the Mississippi Delta blues and tinged with elements of soul, funk, and reggae. Dec. 1, 8 p.m. Tickets: $10. Thunder Road, 379 Somerville Ave., Somerville. 617-776-7623,

PANDELIS KARAYORGIS TRIO REUNION CONCERT The cannily clanging, Cambridge-based pianist/composer reunites after 11 years with his acclaimed, engagingly idiosyncratic trio featuring bassist Nate McBride and drummer Randy Peterson. Originally active from 1997 to 2005, the trio recorded three acclaimed CDs, was featured by Kevin Whitehead on NPR's Fresh Air, and performed everywhere from Boston to Chicago to Europe. Dec. 3, 8 p.m. Tickets: $12. Third Life Studio, 33 Union Square, Somerville.




CHIARA STRING QUARTET The foursome, which recently released a fine recording of the complete Bartok string quartets, plays works by Mendelssohn, Britten, and Beethoven. Nov. 27, 3 p.m., Concord Academy Performing Arts Center. 978-405-0130,

JACK QUARTET Formidable new music performers, the quartet, with two new members, brings a typically intrepid program of music by Iannis Xenakis, Erin Gee, Julia Wolfe, and Roger Reynolds. Nov. 30, 8 p.m., Boston University College of Fine Arts Concert Hall.

BOSTON CAMERATA The first of the ensemble’s two holiday programs this year is “Puer Natus Est,” a selection of Christmas music from medieval France, Italy, England, and Provence. Dec. 2-4, multiple venues. 617-262-2092,




BLACK NATIVITY Now marking its 46th anniversary, the Boston production of “Black Nativity’’ is an annual high point of the holiday season. A retelling of the Christmas story that is based on a script by Langston Hughes, “Black Nativity’’ will feature more than 75 singers, dancers, and musicians, who will perform a blend of gospel songs, carols, and choreography. Dec. 2-18. Presented by National Center of Afro-American Artists. At Paramount Center, Boston. 617-824-8000,

MURDER ON THE POLAR EXPRESS It just wouldn’t be the holidays without a raunchy musical sendup/mashup from genre parodist extraordinaire Ryan Landry. With plot lines pillaged from Agatha Christie novels, Landry has concocted a murder mystery in which Shirley Holmes — “the world’s foremost drag detective,’’ played by Landry himself — boards the Polar Express with sidekick Dr. Jody Watley for a vacation at the North Pole. However, it turns out there’s a killer among the ranks of the Christmas characters onboard the train. Dec. 1-21. Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans. At Machine nightclub, Boston. 800-838-3006,


THE RETURN OF THE WINEMAKER When I reviewed Bernard McMullan’s comedy last year, I described it as “enjoyably absurd and absurdly enjoyable.’’ It’s likely to be so again in this return visit, given that the entire cast is back — Nancy E. Carroll, Colin Hamell, Derry Woodhouse, Stephen Russell, and Sara Fraser — with Carmel O’Reilly again directing. The highly irreverent setup: It’s the present day in a small Irish village and Jesus, played by Woodhouse, has become a popular figure in town because of his gift for turning water into wine. But as Jesus prepares to turn 40 on Christmas Day, his divine father, God, is calling him home — plunging the townspeople into a panic. Dec. 1-23. Production by Tir Na Theatre. At The Rockwell, Somerville.



THE NUTCRACKER For sheer opulence and impressive dancing, local audiences can’t beat Boston Ballet’s vivid production. Set to a live orchestral performance of Tchaikovsky’s score, this one’s the whole package. Through Dec. 31. $35-$250. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955,


NOT! THE NUTCRACKER Jeannette Neill Dance Studio’s annual extravaganza taps into a distinctly different kind of holiday spirit, forgoing balletic virtuosity and a traditional story for a lively showcase of jazz, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, and house dance. Dec. 2-3. $20-$25. Tsai Performance Center. 617-523-1355,

ON DISPLAY Renowned dancer/choreographer Heidi Latsky returns to the Institute of Contemporary Art with a dance installation that is part of her ongoing exploration of our society’s obsession with body image. The installation, in recognition of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, features more than 30 local performers of diverse shapes, sizes, and abilities in moving sculptures throughout the building. Dec. 3, 12-1:30 and 3-4:30 p.m., Free with admission. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100,



THOMAS JACKSON: EMERGENT BEHAVIOR Jackson assembles bright balloons, tutus, cheese balls, and other objects into swarming patterns in natural settings. His astonishing, comical photos of these installations explore tensions between domestic and wild and between painstaking and spontaneous. Pictured: “Tutus No. 1, Montara, California.’’ Through Dec. 23. Miller Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave. 617-262-0550,

PERIPHERAL VISIONS: SCULPTURES BY ROBERT LEWIS Culture builds on itself, layer after layer, and Lewis’s large-scale works play on that accretion. He considers the vestiges of past civilizations and builds in references to cultural icons from Caravaggio to Superman. Through Dec. 16. Rafius Fane Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave. 508-843-2184,

CONSTRUCTED VIDEO Robin Mandel, Georgie Friedman, and Andrew Neumann create meditative, non-narrative, multi-channel video installations that make inventive use of architectural space and plumb the mysteries in such subjects as water, music, and time. Through Dec. 18. Boston Cyberarts Gallery, 141 Green St., Jamaica Plain. 617-522-6710,



CHRISTIAN MARCLAY: THE CLOCK A masterpiece of our time, Marclay’s 24-hour montage of clips from film and television is its own timepiece: Almost every clip contains some reference to the actual time as you watch it. Unmissable. Through Jan. 29. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300.

DORIS SALCEDO: THE MATERIALITY OF MOURNING Recent sculptures by the Colombian artist acclaimed for her moving evocations of the trauma and loss of war and political violence. Includes the recently acquired “A Flor de Piel,” a room-size tapestry of thousands of hand-sewn rose petals. Through April 9. Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St., Cambridge. 617-495-9400,

YOSEMITE: EXPLORING THE INCOMPARABLE VALLEY A look at the famous landscape through the lens of science and art. Made up not only of prints, paintings, and photographs, but also geological and botanical specimens, the show includes such masterpieces as Albert Bierstadt’s “Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Trail.” Through Dec. 31. Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St., New Haven, Conn. 203-432-0600,




GHOSTBUSTED Macabre burlesque troupe The Slaughterhouse Sweethearts are doing their last official show, a tribute to movie monsters, with comedians Nick Chambers, Emily Ruskowski, and Wes Hazard. Nov. 27, 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $13-$20. Oberon, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge. 617-495-2668,

ALINGON MITRA Cityside Comedy is one of Boston’s newer entries, and it’s booking quality acts Mondays for free shows. This week, it’s Boston Comedy Festival winner Mitra, with Emma Willmann and hosts Anjan Biswas and Sam Ike. Nov. 28, 8:30 p.m. Free. Cityside Bar, 1960 Beacon St., Brighton. 617-566-1002,

THE BRILLIANT IDIOTS Every week, Andrew Schulz and Charlamagne Tha God get together to have a goofy, profane conversation about current events and pop culture. They’ll tape a new episode Saturday at the Wilbur. Dec. 3. 7 p.m. $26-$52. Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston. 617-248-9700, NICK A. ZAINO III


FREE GAME SPACE Step away from the Thanksgiving table and pull up a chair at Round Table Games in Carver. There’s no charge so grab your favorite dungeon master or monopoly banker and spend a day playing in an alternate universe. Nov. 29 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Free. Round Table Games, 128 Main Street Suite A Carver. 508-465-1671

CRAFTBOSTON ’Tis the season for arts, crafts, and homemade goods! Check out the more than 175 vendors at Hynes and shop for some one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones this holiday season. Dec. 2-4 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $15. Hynes Convention Center

COMMANDER’S MANSION HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE Take a tour of the historic Watertown Arsenal mansion decked out for the holiday season. Sip some hot cocoa, read a story with Mrs. Claus, and compete in a gingerbread house contest. Dec. 3 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Free. 440 Talcott Avenue, Watertown. 617-926-7755



Dec. 7 TWIN PEAKS and PANGEA at The Sinclair

Dec. 7 “BEDROOM FARCE” Actors Forum at Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts

Dec. 8 BOSTON MUSIC AWARDS at House of Blues

Dec. 8 MELISSA ETHERIDGE at Lynn Memorial Auditorium

Dec. 8-9 “INTO THE WOODS” at Oberon

Dec. 10 NORAH JONES at Orpheum Theatre

Dec. 11 JINGLE BALL (Alessia Cara, Daya, Diplo, DNCE, Ellie Goulding, Ariana Grande, Niall Horan, Tove Lo, and Shawn Mendes) at TD Garden

Dec. 13 SHANKAR MAHADEVAN at Berklee Performance Center

Dec. 17 ANDREA BOCELLI at TD Garden