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December Arts

Beyond the Holidays

Staples like A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker are back, but if you're looking for some quirk and circumstance, check out what else December has to offer.

December 2nd to 24th: A Christmas Carol
If you've been naughty this year, A Christmas Carol, is sure to put you right back in check. The Dickens classic is brought to life once again as part of ACT's annual holiday tradition. Starring James Carpenter, in his fifth year as the iconic, ever-grumpy Scrooge, this classic is definitely one the adults can enjoy, too. Basically, the story infuses the holiday spirit with a strong moral plot, ends in, you guess it, good tidings and cheer. With tickets starting at $15, and a sure to sell-out show on Christmas Eve, be sure to book your seats early.

December 3rd: Lower Haight Art Walk
Various locations in Lower Haight
Lower Haight is all abuzz with holiday fervor. At this special Holiday Art Walk, expect loads of live music, food and steep discounts, in addition to new exhibits. Select neighborhood merchants will also be participating in a window decorating contest to see who really has the most holiday punch in them. And wait, there's more: for those extremely festive types, sign up for the new Lower Haight Scavenger Hunt starting at Lower Hater Gallery. With a team of up to four, and no extra points for speed, you can enjoy the festivities while hustling up points for a cash prize.

December 9: Indie Mart NightLife
California Academy of Sciences
Indie Mart is heading indoors and deep into the night at NightLife, the weekly after-hours party at the California Academy of Sciences. The museum's halls will be decked out with DIY holiday decor. Vendors of all sorts will set up shop with quirky, clever holiday gifts for those hard-to-shop-fors. Workshop SF is also bringing live-action screenprinting, and stenciling demos. As an added bonus, NightLife is bringing back its live music series with sets from AB and the Sea, Boy in the Bubble, and DJs Ts and Roll. Whew! Grab a drink and great ready for this adult night at the museum.

December 9-17: The Nutcracker
War Memorial Opera House
It's widely known that the San Francisco Ballet does one killer performance of The Nutcracker. The show is as magical as ever this year, with tutus as decorative as tree ornaments, and Tchaikovsky's familiar strings making your head rock gently from side to side. The two-act show runs for two hours and tells the classic story of a little girl's dream on Christmas Eve. Fair warning — “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” may be stuck in your head for days.

December 16-30: Holiday Animation Film Festival
The Exploratorium's Holiday Animation Film Festival presents two short films playing back-to-back, daily from noon to 2pm. The playful shorts' breadth includes pixilation, stop-motion and hand-drawn animating techniques. Fetch by Nina Paley, is a five-minute comedy that explores space through a dog chasing a ball. Next up is The Sour Death Balls, by Palo Alto native, Jessica Yu, who won an Academy Award for her short documentary Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien in 1996.

December 18 to February 5th: Einfluss: 8 from Dusseldorf
Hosfelt Gallery
Hosfelt Gallery introduces the “Next Wave from Germany”, a poignant show featuring paintings, sculptures and site-specific installations from eight Dusseldorf-based artists. The eight artists have shown extensively throughout Europe, but for a few it will be their premier show in the United States, and is a true must-see. The opening reception will be held on December 18th, with a follow-up panel discussion on December 20th.