The Christmas Revels
This long-running, very Cambridge-y Christmas tradition is a unique holiday offering combining theater, music, dance, storytelling and sing-along. Each year there’s a different theme; this time, Revels travels to Acadian, or, more properly, Cajun Louisiana, featuring the culture’s rousing folk music as well as perennial Revels favorites like “Sussex Mummers Carol” and “Lord of the Dance.”
Through Dec. 27
Sanders Theater, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge
Local band Grimis steps up for some post-Christmas grooves in a typically barren week for rock shows. The quartet, active for over a decade, does a good amount of instrumental jamming, mixing rock and jazz sensibilities without turning into the sort of easy-going funk connoted by the tags “jam” or “fusion.” It’s a unique sound, somehow chill and edgy at the same time.
Dec. 26, 7 p.m.
Middle East Downstairs, 480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$10-$12, 18+, http://bit.ly/2h72210
“Tony Williams’ Urban Nutcracker”
Tony Williams’ annual holiday production, unique to the Boston performing arts scene, is a constantly-changing mash-up of music and dance styles. This version of the Nutcracker takes place in modern Beantown, with the traditional roles of Clara and Fritz changing to Clarice and Omar, performed by several pairs of local kids.
Through Dec. 31
Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley St., Boston
Shane Black’s Christmas
Director Shane Black has set most of his action films during the holiday season, just because it heightens the emotional impact for him. This gives the Brattle an excuse to show them this week as a rather unusual holiday series. It started Wednesday, but tonight and Friday still promise “Iron Man 3”, “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “The Nice Guys” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”.
Through December 23
Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge
Not to be confused with the bizarre 1998 Michael Keaton family film “Jack Frost,” in which a dead father comes back to life as a snowman, this 1997 horror film concerns a dead serial killer who comes back to life as a snowman. Which film is more frightening is perhaps a matter of taste. This one certainly has more blood.
Dec. 23, 11:59 p.m.
Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard St., Cambridge
“James and the Giant Peach”
Parents who were fond of Roald Dahl as children will jump at the chance to show their own kids a Dahl tale in theatrical form, and the American Repertory Theater has picked a particularly weird tale from Dahl’s weird oeuvre: the adventures of an orphaned boy and his insect friends who get around in, yes, a giant peach. Why not, right?
Through Dec. 31
Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge
Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream
What to do with the kids when their usual babysitter, the public school system, is closed? If they like Disney, here’s one option, featuring a variety of vignettes featuring Disney princesses old and new. They’ll go nuts. Kudos to the skaters who have to wear those giant masks while they perform their routines—they must’ve drawn the short straw.
Dec. 23 through Jan. 1
Agganis Arena, 925 Comm. Ave., Boston
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
Humans are the only animals that wear shoes—if you see another animal in shoes, it’s probably because a human put them on that animal. And, as this exhibition of shoes past, present and future shows, we have been wearing them for a long time. And we’ve been wearing a lot of different kinds, some of which, in the modern age, are surprisingly high-tech.
Through March 12
Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem
William Merritt Chase
Victorian-era American painter William Merritt Chase’s work, ranging from portraits to landscapes to still lifes, is every bit as captivating as that of his more famous contemporaries, like Whistler or Sargent. He was also an important teacher, spreading impressionism in America and teaching such masters as Georgia O’Keefe and Edward Hopper.
Through Jan. 16
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston
Emo Night Boston
You’re in your late 20s/early 30s. You loved emo as a teenager, but you had no idea how emo life would eventually become, what with student loans, crushed economic expectations and sudden rent hikes. Well, worry not, emo night is here for you, spinning all the classics, even in the holidays, which everyone knows can get wicked emo.
Dec. 22, 9:30 p.m.
The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge
Free, 21+, http://bit.ly/2hWzTYP