‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’
Irish playwright-turned-auteur Martin McDonagh wrote and directed this dark dramedy, starring Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes, a woman angry over what she considers the indifference of local law enforcement toward violent murder of her daughter. She puts up the titular advertisements to make her point publically. Many people in town consider her crazy or wrongheaded. She holds her ground extremely firmly.
Now playing, Kendall Square Cinema, 355 Binney St., Cambridge, $13, landmarktheatres.com/boston
‘Bill Nye: Science Guy’
Bill Nye combined an engineering degree with improv comedy chops as host of the beloved '90s kids educational program “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” Given his prior humorous, geeked-out public demeanor, many were surprised at his recent re-emergence as a rather serious defender of climate science, evolution, GMOs and more. This new film charts his pilgrim’s progress.
Dec. 1-7, Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, $9-$11, brattlefilm.org
Here’s another chance to get some unique holiday gifts straight from their makers. This artist-run market promises unique handmade jewelry, Italian leather bags, clothes and toys for kids, plus high-end chocolates, fine art and other ritzy objects—maybe even framed butterflies.
Through Dec. 31, Boston Bazaar, 171 Newbury St., Boston, no cover, bostonartisanbazaar.com
SoWa Winter Festival
Over 100 artisans of many different sorts will be selling their handmade wares at the SoWa Winter Festival, another of many opportunities to find a gift you can’t find anywhere else—or just get yourself a treat for tolerating all this stress. Over on Thayer Street, you’ll find a heated refreshment tent with hot chocolate, mulled wine, live music and more.
Dec. 2-3, SoWa Power Station, 540 Harrison Ave., Boston, no cover, sowaboston.com
Pub crawls are nothing unusual in Boston, but when everyone involved is dressed like Santa, it tends to be more of an eye-catching event. SantaCon is also huge—last year, organizers claim it drew 3,000 people—ahem, Santas. Which means that a bar you may happen to be in may suddenly be invaded by Santas. Keep calm and carry on.
Dec. 2, various locations, free, santacon.info/Boston-MA
If something more spiritual is what you’re looking for in a musical holiday fare, there’s iconic Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes’ beloved version of the Christmas story, “Black Nativity," at once a distinctly African-American work and, in the words of its producers, “the Black community’s Christmas gift to the world.” Boston boasts the longest-running annual production—this is year 47.
Dec. 1-17, Paramount Theatre, 559 Washington St., Boston, blacknativity.org
'Elf: The Musical'
Considering that its hyperactive protagonist loved to sing, it likely didn’t take a huge imaginative leap to envision the 2003 Christmas classic “Elf” as a Broadway musical, and sure enough, it proved a hit. The people demanded Christmas cheer and got it; you can get a little yourself this season at the Wang. Bonus: George Wendt of “Cheers” fame plays Santa!
Through Dec. 10, Boch Center Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston, $38-$125, bochcenter.org
R&B singer-songwriter Xavier Omar has won praise for his anti-misogyny stance, something which, by his own assessment, could stand some shoring up in his genre. Early in his career he went by the name SPZRKT, short for “Spazzy Rocket,” but it’s hard to imagine him continuing to use that name and releasing such cool, romantic slow-burners as “Afraid” and “Blind Man.”
Dec. 3, 7 p.m., Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave., Boston, $15, all ages, ticketmaster.com
Brody, one of Caitlyn Jenner’s non-Kardashian children from her second marriage, rarely appeared in the early days of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” but that was partially because he was already a star on “The Hills.” Of course, he won’t be here on Saturday performing reality TV (whatever that even is). He’ll be doing a full-on DJ set.
Dec. 2, 10 p.m., Royale, 279 Tremont St., Boston, $10-$25, 21+, royaleboston.com
Holiday Heroes Cornhole Tournament
Just because winter’s upon us, that doesn’t mean we have to stop playing cornhole. Get your finest team together, or show up as a loan wolf and get paired with one, or just come to hang out. Event proceeds go to Youth Villages, helping kids in need. Your admission includes one drink, certainly the minimum necessary for any serious cornhole action.
Dec. 3, 2 p.m., Lansdowne Pub, 9 Lansdowne St., Boston, $20-$75, youthvillages.org
Ugly Sweater Party at the Samuel Adams Brewery
There’s a poorly kept secret about ugly sweaters: they aren’t actually ugly. In fact, to dust off some outdated slang, they’re pretty damn fly, especially when they’ve got reindeer. Show off your finest at the Sam Adams Brewery on Friday, where you’ll find not only seasonal beers but a mac n’ cheese bar, ornament decorating, and what’s described as “a ginormous chocolate fountain.”
Dec. 1, 6-9 p.m., Samuel Adams Boston Brewery, 30 Germania St., Boston, samueladams.com
Jim Breuer will forever be associated with two roles: that of Brian in the 1998 cult stoner comedy “Half Baked” and one of the weirdest-ever “Saturday Night Live” characters, Goat Boy. But more recent years have found him hosting his own Sirius XM show, “Fridays with Jim Breuer,” appearing as a priest, of all people, on the sitcom “Kevin Can Wait” and touring with his own rock band, The Loud & Rowdy.
Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston, $35, thewilbur.com