CITY PICKS 

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THEATRE — Tinsel on the floorboards
The Charleston Christmas Special
Dec. 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 at 7 p.m.
Dec. 16 and 23 at 2 p.m.
Dec. 17 at 3 p.m.
$17.50-$29.50
Charleston Music Hall
37 John St.
805-7771

Broadway veterans Brad and Jennifer Moranz have once again assembled a stellar collection of current and former Charleston performers for this year's all-new two-hour musical variety show, where they'll sing and dance their ways into the hearts of yuletide fans young and old. The Tommy Gill Orchestra provides the backbeat as Quiana Parler, Laurie Williamson, Tom Rhoades, Angela Walker, and others don colorful costumes and croon their ways through classic Christmas (roasting) chestnuts and pull out a few surprises, as they do every year. This is a perfect event to take visiting relatives to, especially if they're of the elderly and/or nostalgic persuasion, and it delights locals young and old as well.
WED-SUN, TUES


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EVENT — A new breed of casual day
Chord & Pedal Holiday Office Party
Sat. Dec. 16
10 p.m.
$10
Cumberland's
301 King St.
577-9469
www.chordandpedal.com

Are you dreading this year's office party, cowering at the thought of making inane small talk with the people you already spend way too much of your time with and possibly getting hit on yet again by the outrageously drunk computer guy? Come to Cumberland's, where Chord and Pedal's Kevin Hanley will be the best boss you never had, hosting a procession of Charleston bands — including A Decent Animal with Lindsey Holler, Cary Ann Hearst, The Dellortos, Philip Estes, The Explorers Club, The Specs, Eric Barfield, The Silver Bells, Bill Carson, and The Stiff Joints — as they serve up their creative renditions of little- and well-known holiday tunes. There'll be mistletoe for kissin' under, alcohol for drinkin' (at the bar, for money), a copy machine for dirty drunken Xeroxin' (there will indeed be a "Best Xeroxed Ass Contest"), and a Polaroid camera that will capture your magic moment on Santa's lap (read an interview with the jolly, rotund one on pg. 60) as you ask, yet again, for an iPod. What does it take, branding my forehead? Someone get me a damn iPod already!
SATURDAY


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VISUAL ARTS — A steal at the jailhouse
2006 Student Exhibition and Cheap Art Auction
Fri. Dec. 15
6-10 p.m.
Free ($3/bidding paddle)
Old City Jail
21 Magazine St.
822-2843

Looking to discover the next Jonathan Green hidden amongst the college populace? Time to go to jail! The Old City Jail, that is, where the College of Charleston's Visual Arts Club hosts its third annual Cheap Art Auction and Exhibition, where works by current and former CofC students go on display and on the block, with proceeds benefiting the Visual Arts Club's art education and visiting artist programs. The auction starts at 6:30 and in between paddle-flashing, prospective collectors can enjoy live music and light hors d'oeuvres, not to mention the history-rich surroundings.
FRIDAY


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EVENT — You can leave your hat (and your wallet) off
SunTrust Community Day
Sat. Dec. 16
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Free
Gibbes Museum of Art
135 Meeting St.
722-2706
www.gibbesmuseum.org

Over 1,000 people attended the last Community Day at the Gibbes, in late September, where everyone was invited to check out the sprawling museum's varied collection of artworks while enjoying live music and plenty of children's activities. This time around, in addition to Babar's Museum of Art, hung at child's-eye level, the Gibbes has a slew of new exhibitions, including Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats and Now!, featuring the dialogue-provoking works of five young contemporary artists. There will be two hands-on workshops during the day: from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., guests are invited to create their own hats (perhaps taking some inspiration from Crowns), and from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., "Relatives Remembered" invites everyone to bring in copies of old pictures, quotes, handkerchiefs, or other memorabilia to make a collage that honors favorite relatives. And that's not all! Gibbes museum teacher and storyteller Mary Droge will spin yarns for the whole family at 10:30 a.m. and noon, and the wonderful, local experimental group New Music Collective will host an interactive performance at 11 a.m. Hey, mom and dad: in case you're wondering where to find some extra energy for the full day, Starbucks will provide complimentary coffee for the duration of the event.
SATURDAY


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FAMILY & KIDS — Happy golden days, again
Family Yuletide in the Stableyards
Sat. Dec. 16
5:30-8 p.m.
$10, $5/children ages 7-15, free for ages 6 and under
Middleton Place
4300 Ashley River Road
556-6020
www.middletonplace.org

If you're missing the old Christmas traditions that seem to have given way to crass commercialism and waiting in an endless line for a Playstation 3, Middleton Place offers the perfect antidote — an evening that celebrates family in an old-world way, with caroling, wreath-making, a live nativity scene complete with the stable's animals, and a carriage ride and tour of the historic plantation house. Crafty types can watch and learn how to put together wreaths, cornhusk angels, Carolina snowflakes, and felt ornaments, and kids and parents alike can sip hot cider and eggnog as they enjoy storytelling around the fire or stroll through the plantation to watch craftspeople preparing for the holiday ... by candlelight, no less!
SATURDAY


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THEATRE — Get a gaggle of giggles
PURE Lab Christmas Show
Dec. 14-16
7:30 p.m.
$10
PURE Theatre
Old Cigar Factory
701 East Bay St.
723-4444

On the other end of the spectrum from the Charleston Christmas Show lies PURE Theatre's holiday show, which features three short, quirky comedies written by local PURE Lab playwrights and starring local actors and invites the audience to B.Y.O.B. (or E., or W., or whatever floats your holiday boat). Organizer Spencer Deering offers up A Snowball's Chance, featuring a war between a New Yorker trying to re-create a Yankee wonderland at his second home in Charleston and his irate blue-blood neighbor; C. Kathleen Donnelly presents Misplaced Mistletoe, where a daughter's plan to find a boyfriend for her mother rains chaos on a law firm's office holiday party; and James C. Ward put together A Hunley Christmas, which imagines two Confererate sailors as they stand guard on Sullivan's Island in Christmas 1863. Expect raunch and riotous laughter, and no need for an extra-long attention span: the three plays all transpire in just 90 minutes. T
HURS-SAT


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