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The Best Things To Do in Seattle This Month: December 2023

Macklemore, The Nutcracker, and More
December 1, 2023
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Settle in for some hilarious holiday hijinks at The Dina Martina Christmas Show. (David Belisle)
December is here, and with it comes twinkling lights, jingling sleigh bells, and all manner of seasonal delights. Even if the holiday season isn't your cup of eggnog, there's also the usual array of concerts, major author appearances, festivals, food & drink events, and tons more. As we do every month, we've compiled the biggest events you need to know about in every genre, from Macklemore: The Ben Tour to Flying Lion Brewing's 10th Annual Dark Beer Fest and from The Dina Martina Christmas Show to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. You can also check out our December events calendar to view events by date.

Jump to: Comedy | ExhibitsFilm | Food & Drink | Live Music | Performance & Theater | Readings & Talks | Shopping | Visual Art | Winter Holidays


COMEDY

A John Waters Christmas Past Event List
John Waters, who shall henceforth be known as the "anti-Santa," will glide his perverse sleigh into Seattle for some Christmas twistedness and holiday jeers. He might stomp on your perfectly wrapped presents, but this evening with the cult filmmaker seems promising for those on the holiday-averse end of the spectrum. If you've been naughty this year, Waters encourages you to lean into it—he'll pull "celebrity blow-up dolls," "yuletide diseases with booster shots that actually get you high," and "kindergarten detention drag shows in Florida" out of his big red sack. LC
Neptune Theatre, University District (Sat Dec 2)

The Eric Andre Explosion Past Event List
The creator of The Eric Andre Show has described his Adult Swim series as "like poop and pee mixed together." While that undersells the program—a hyperbolic and absurdist parody of public-access talk shows—it underscores Andre's scatological sensibilities and knack for shocking and mocking decorum. Since 2012, Andre has hosted and cowritten The Eric Andre Show with fellow stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress. It's a mélange of pranks, physical humor, and celebrity interviews that veers 180 degrees from talk shows' ho-hum formulas. In his stand-up performances, Andre delivers similarly skewed observations with a gravel-voiced hysteria. Some subjects include his biracial status, the mentality behind homophobia, Wendy's Baconator, and the show MANswers, whose hyper-macho approach to television he hilariously dissects. STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR DAVE SEGAL
Showbox SoDo, SoDo (Wed Dec 13)

Sugar Plum Gary Past Event List
Blending Christmassy cheer with a touch of Lovecraftian horror, Sugar Plum Gary will return with some gentle-hearted Satanism for your holiday season. The production follows Gary, a bushy-bearded fellow who is possessed by the ancient, mystical force that is Santa Claus. He'll lead another improv convo with audiences, answering their pressing holiday questions with twisted Christmas glee and a little cosmic fright. The show was dubbed “legitimately Seattle’s best holiday tradition” (Seattle Weekly) that “beautifully sleighs from the absurd to the existential” (Crosscut). LC
18th & Union: An Arts Space (Dec 15–24)

Nikki Glaser: The Good Girl Tour Past Event List
Potty-mouthed blonde and legendary roaster (she's made appearances at the roasts of Rob Lowe, Bruce Willis, and Alec Baldwin) will drop by Seattle to offer up more delightfully crass observations. You'll dig her style if you're sick of Amy Schumer's problematic shit but down for extended bits on the horror and devastation of learning about blowjobs. (“My mouth?! That’s where candy goes, I can’t believe you would put a dick there!” says Glaser in her 2019 Netflix special Bangin'.) LC
Moore Theatre, Belltown (Sat Dec 16)

EXHIBITS

Pulling Together: A Brief History of Rowing in Seattle Remind List
George Clooney-directed flick The Boys in the Boat will premiere on December 25, sharing the story of the University of Washington rowing team, who were thrust into the spotlight while competing at the 1936 Olympics. (Spoiler: the "Miracle 9” won the gold medal in the eight-oared competition.) Get pumped for the film at this exhibition on the historic team, which spotlights "the University of Washington men’s and women’s rowing programs and the history of rowing in Seattle overall" and showcases the Husky Challenger shell. LC
MOHAI, South Lake Union (Dec 1–31)

FILM

Unstreamable: Drop Dead Gorgeous Past Event List
Your internet besties (former Stranger staff writer Jas Keimig and former editor Chase Burns) will present another flick that you can’t find anywhere online (legally, at least) as part of their ongoing project Unstreamable, which has blossomed from a column on Scarecrow Video's blog into a live screening series. Burns and Keimig, who've written "more than 350 (!) blurbs and reviews about offbeat, forgotten, and otherwise unobtainable pieces of cinematic history" (Matt Baume), will continue to share their exhaustive knowledge of lost media on the big screen. In Drop Dead Gorgeous, it's time for Mount Rose, Minnesota's annual teen beauty pageant, and Amber Atkins (played by the incomparable Kirsten Dunst) is poised to steal the show. But a series of weird incidents and tragic "accidents" turn the event into a darkly hilarious bloodbath. The mockumentary boasts a killer cast including Brittany Murphy (RIP), Denise Richards, Allison Janney, and Amy Adams. LC
Northwest Film Forum, Capitol Hill (Dec 1–3)

Little Women Double Feature Past Event List
For those of us whose idea of true romance is a piece of citrus left in a mailbox during a frosty winter, Little Women is the perfect holiday movie. This double feature kicks off with the (utterly superior) 1994 interpretation of the 19th-century novel, followed by the 2019 Gerwig flick. After that, a 30-minute panel will be led by Nico Vargas, Nichole Pouchet, and Anastasia Babenko, highlighting "extraordinary filmmakers in Seattle." If you can't get enough of the March clan, you can also check out Seattle Rep's production of Little Women this month. LC
SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown (Sat Dec 2)

Poor Things Past Event List
Real Lanthimos heads know that he doesn't direct anything without dystopic, black comedy underpinnings and plotlines that make audiences ponder why they're on the planet at all. He is weird, as directors should be, and you're either in or you're out. This time around, he's adapted a '92 Scottish novel for the screen, painting the picture of a young woman (played by Emma Stone, who is raven-haired and looks charmingly bananas) brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist (played by my famous dad, Willem Dafoe). Best part? Poor Things "saved" my other dad, Mark Ruffalo, from "depressed dad typecasting." Praise be. LC
SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Capitol Hill (Dec 14–21)

Moulin Rouge! New Year’s Eve Sing-along Past Event List
"Rooooooxannnne!" Belt it out to Baz Luhrmann's feverish, theatrical love story Moulin Rouge! at this New Year's Eve screening and sing-along, which promises free "bling rings." Best part? The show ends in time to shamble over to the Space Needle and catch the New Year's fireworks spectacle. LC
SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown (Sun Dec 31)

FOOD & DRINK

Miracle on 2nd Past Event List
In 2014, New York bar owner Greg Boehm temporarily transformed his space into a kitschy Christmas wonderland replete with gewgaws and tchotchkes galore. Now the pop-up has expanded to more than 100 locations all over the world and will be returning to Belltown’s Rob Roy this year. Beverages are housed in tacky-tastic vessels (a drinking mug resembling Santa’s mug, for example), bedecked with fanciful garnishes like peppers and dried pineapple, and christened with irreverent, pop-culture-referencing names like the “Bad Santa,” the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F**r,” and the “You’ll Shoot Your Rye Out.” JB
Rob Roy, Belltown (Dec 1–25)

Sippin' Santa Past Event List
This holiday-tiki-themed cocktail bar pop-up (a spinoff of Miracle on 2nd at nearby Rob Roy) invites you to "imagine Santa on a surfboard instead of a sleigh and palm trees instead of pine." Drinks range from the "Merry Spritzmas" (Prosecco, aperitif, tawny port, cognac, lemon, falernum, fig preserves, and cardamom bitters) to the "Jingle Bird" (bourbon, pineapple rum, Campari, lime, pineapple, and "jingle mix"). JB
Navy Strength, Belltown (Dec 1–25)

The Stranger's Holiday Drink Week Past Event List
'Tis the season for warming wintry libations, from mulled wine to spiked cocoa. Ready to get your nog on? The Stranger and EverOut have you covered with our Holiday Drink Week, a new annual tradition that debuted last year. And the best part? They’re only 12 BUCKS! For one week only, you'll find a variety of exclusive holiday-themed drink specials at participating bars and restaurants around town. Why not round up some friends, bundle up in your coziest attire, and head out on a self-guided booze tour? One thing's for certain: these won't be your ordinary cups of cheer.
Various locations (Dec 4–10)

Holiday Tea in the Fireside Room Past Event List
Instead of gazing at a virtual Yule log video, take your tea beside an actual roaring, crackling hearth at Hotel Sorrento’s Fireside Room, a Mad Men–worthy old-school vision in opulent ochre mahogany paneling. You can nosh on posh teatime fare as you sink into a squishy high-backed leather chair and enjoy sounds played on a baby grand piano. If you’re lucky, you might even spy the ghost of Alice B. Toklas, who is rumored to roam the halls of the hotel. JB
Hotel Sorrento, First Hill (Sun Dec 10)

Flying Lion Brewing 10th Annual Dark Beer Fest Past Event List
Dark winter days call for similarly dark beers. At this four-day fan-favorite event, Flying Lion will offer over 30 such brews, including "cellared favorites, special releases, and plenty of limited availability brews." Highlights this year include a special dark beer collab with Georgetown Brewing Company ("an exotic twist on the uncommon Black IPA" in cans and on draft at both breweries) and even a dark cider created exclusively for the event by Greenwood Cider. Plus, in case you need another reason to drag yourself out of bed, a limited supply of free donuts will be available each morning beginning at 10 am. Be sure to bring a growler to fill. JB
Flying Lion Brewing, Rainier Valley (Dec 14–17)

Winter Beer Fest 2023 Past Event List
The Washington Beer Commission's annual Winter Beer Festival returns with 41 regional breweries pouring dark malty stouts, robust winter warmers, barrel-aged gems, piney IPAs, and many more unique beers to warm your bones. JB
Magnuson Park Hangar 30, Sand Point (Dec 15–16)

Delancey Feast of the Seven Fishes 2023 Past Event List
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a traditional Italian American supper featuring seven kinds of fish or seafood, usually served before midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and the beloved Ballard pizzeria Delancey has forged a tradition of celebrating it each year. As always, they promise the freshest catches they can procure, with crab arancini, scallops in celery broth, cod, chicory persimmon salad, cuttlefish spaghetti, and a steady flow of wine pairings throughout. They’ll finish with poached pears for dessert. JB
Delancey, Ballard (Dec 18–19)

LIVE MUSIC

The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition Past Event List
Much like the traditional Christmas treat known as figgy pudding, caroling is a whimsical old-time image of the holiday season that seems to fade little by little, year by year—and that's why I am declaring this December Little Women Winter. That's right, I'm talking bonnets, handwritten letters, Christmas trees lit with real candles (that's safe, right?), boiled puddings, communal singing, and helping your neighbors à la the 19th-century coming-of-age novel. Summon your inner March sister at the 37th annual Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, which unites thousands of carolers (and timid bystanders) to sing holiday ditties in support of the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank. The top caroling teams will end the night with a very festive "sing-off" on the Figgy Pudding main stage. Velvet capes, top hats, and fur muffs are highly encouraged (by me). AV
Pike Place Market (Fri Dec 1)

alt-J: An Awesome Wave 10th Anniversary Show Past Event List
Despite the trends of 2013 feeling incredibly dated (galaxy print leggings, high-low hem skirts, men's v-neck shirts, overuse of the word "swag," etc.), ten years wasn't that long ago. That's why, when I saw that British folktronica trio alt-J was hitting the road on a 10-year anniversary tour for their debut album, An Awesome Wave, I had to double-check what year it was. Perhaps this tour isn't about nostalgia, but rather capitalizing on their most beloved album while lead vocalist Joe Newman still has that signature warbly, whiny voice. Sing along to hits like "Breezeblocks" and "Tessellate" after an opening set from Berlin-based indie rockers Meagre Martin. AV
Showbox SoDo, SoDo (Dec 1–3)

Jenny Lewis Past Event List
Jenny Lewis’s latest album, Joy'All, is everything I hoped it would be. It's lyrically fun, danceable, and perfectly balances classic folk with glitzy R&B. She is the queen of a self-deprecating line, and this album has a bounty. Some of my favorite Jennyisms include "I'm not a psycho / I'm just tryna get laid" ("Psycho"), "My forties are kicking my ass and handing 'em to me in a margarita glass" ("Puppy and a Truck"), and "I fall in love too easy / too easy / with anyone who touches me / fucks with me" ("Cherry Baby"). She will support the album alongside Ishmael Butler's Afrofuturist rap project Shabazz Palaces and country troubadour Logan Ledger. AV
Paramount Theatre, Downtown (Sat Dec 2)

Seattle Men's Chorus Presents: A TREEmendous Holiday Past Event List
The Seattle Men's Chorus will make the yuletide gay with a festive, fun-filled performance that proclaims to be the Pacific Northwest’s "gayest sing-a-long." The chorus will perform dazzling carols of the season, such as revamped takes on "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "Festival Gloria," "Here We Come A-Caroling," and many more. Look forward to snazzy tree costumes, sensational singing, humorous dancing, and plenty of holiday cheer. Plus, while all the performances are family-friendly, this year's lineup will include an abbreviated and interactive show specifically for little ones with short attention spans. AV
Benaroya Hall, Downtown (Dec 9–23)

Bill Callahan Past Event List
Former Stranger managing editor Leilani Polk wrote: "Bill Callahan has a deep, warm, gentle baritone that feels like a cozy sweater of sound curling around your consciousness, and his stripped-bare folk songwriting is acoustic-guitar-driven relaxation. You just want to snuggle up in it and take a siesta. He’s been around a real long time, formerly performing under the Smog moniker (you’ve heard "Cold Blooded Old Times"—it was tapped in the High Fidelity soundtrack), until re-assuming his given name with 2007’s Woke on a Whaleheart." Callahan will return to Seattle in support of his nineteenth studio album, YTI⅃AƎЯ, which filters his personal experiences through a kaleidoscope of whimsical folktales. AV
Neptune Theatre, University District (Sun Dec 10)

Matt Rogers: Have You Heard of Christmas Past Event List
I am a regular listener of the Las Culturistas podcast—a "Reader" to be exact (IYKYK)—so, the fact that America's sweetheart Matt Rogers is coming to town feels like a true Christmas miracle. If you know anything about his podcast with Bowen Yang, then you know that Rogers loves many things, including indie pop sapphics MUNA and Christmastime—so it only makes sense that his debut album, Have You Heard of Christmas, is dedicated to the holiday season (and features a song with MUNA). He will perform many mirthful songs from the album like "Hottest Female Up In Whoville" along with tender yuletide ballads like "I Don't Need It To Be Christmas At All." AV
Moore Theatre, Belltown (Tues Dec 19)

Macklemore: The Ben Tour Past Event List
Having attended high school in 2010s Seattle, Macklemore was a big deal. Pre-"Thrift Shop" success, one of my "cool" teachers had us analyze the song "Wing$" as homework. Later, Macklemore himself showed up at our school cafeteria to sign autographs. He was such a common topic in my school that at one point I asked myself: "Does Macklemore have a partnership with Seattle Public Schools!?" The Macklemore takeover didn't stop there. The "Thrift Shop" music video was filmed at the local thrift stores in my neighborhood, where I shopped regularly. Plus, my fourth-grade teacher makes an appearance in the video. Watching my real life reflected back at me on MTV was eerie. I didn't like it—and as it turns out, I was not alone. Gradually, I saw Macklemore transform from a local celebrity to an A-list star, to finally, a hometown embarrassment. Now, he has come around full circle into someone that Seattleites don't seem to mind. After his 2017 album Gemini, the man took a short break from music. He founded a golf lifestyle brand (yes, he charges nearly "$50 for a t-shirt") and opened a short-lived vintage mall. Now, Mack is back with his first album in six years, Ben, which returns to his roots with cathartic overshares and a handful of lesser-known collaborators. He will support the album with a two-night stint at his hometown arena. AV
Climate Pledge Arena, Uptown (Dec 21–22)

An Evening with David Benoit: Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown Past Event List
When the winter blues covers the windows of my mind in heaps of snow, there is one thing that can shovel me out: Vince Guaraldi's score to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Similarly to the way a string of Christmas lights can transform a cold, dark city street into a twinkling cinematic setting, the opening piano chords to "O Tannenbaum" can instantly uncover the fruits of the season; evoking flannel PJs and hot cocoa with big squishy marshmallows. And, when I hear the children's choir coo "Christmas Time Is Here" it truly makes me believe that there is "beauty everywhere." Guaraldi died nearly 50 years ago, but there are plenty of saints carrying on his legacy. Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist David Benoit, who is best known as the musical director of the 2015 Peanuts Movie, will return to Jazz Alley with vocalist Courtney Fortune for a tribute to Guaraldi's beloved score. AV
Jazz Alley, Belltown (Dec 21–23)

Shrek Rave: Shrek The Halls Past Event List
What happens at a Shrek rave exactly? Portland Mercury contributor Ben Colman has the answer to that burning question: "As green painted bodies blasted at each other endorphins on the dance floor—to a sped-up version of Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe'—more elaborate costumes started to emerge: a digital gingerbread man leering through the pixels of an animated LED face mask, a guy with glowing gloves robot dancing in the corner. Three witches in iconic pointy hats and slinky black dresses sipped $8 well drinks out of plastic cups, bobbing to a trancy remix of Imogen Heap's 'Holding Out for a Hero' cover." Just think, that could be you. Join your fellow Seattle ogres for a special holiday edition of the beloved rave. Get your game on, go playyyyy! AV
The Showbox, Downtown (Fri Dec 22)

Elf In Concert Past Event List
Earlier this year on November 1st—while recovering from a caramel apple lollipop coma—I pulled up the Max app to turn on some trashy reality TV. What I saw next stunned me. Will Ferrell's 2003 holiday comedy Elf was already #1 on the trending tab. I examined my Halloween decorations in confusion before remembering just how seriously people take this movie. Even as someone who isn't obsessed with the film, I've seen it approximately a million times (and I bet you have, too). The movie has everything: comedy, fantasy, romance, and even drama. And, even though it's a movie about a human man who is raised by elves, the most unrealistic part is that Ferrell could pull Zooey Deschanel. This holiday season, share your affinity for elf culture by experiencing the film like never before as every note of John Debney's score is played live to picture. AV
McCaw Hall, Uptown (Fri Dec 29)

Artist Home's 10th Annual New Year's Eve Celebration Past Event List
For the tenth year running, the Seattle-based talent-buying, event-promoting, and artist-consulting collective Artist Home will host a New Year's Eve bash featuring artists with whom they've worked. Dance your way into 2024 to holiday-appropriate covers from Seattle musicians from bands like Smokey Brights, Naked Giants, Parisalexa, Shaina Shepherd, La Fonda, Rat Queen, and many others. AV
Tractor Tavern, Ballard (Sun Dec 31)

Heart Past Event List
After a familial dispute and subsequent solo projects, classic rock's favorite sisters Heart will reunite this New Year's Eve with their first show in over four years. The certified dreamboats will wail classics like "Barracuda" "Magic Man" and "Crazy On You" as the countdown to 2024 begins. After the show, you'll be conveniently right beside the Space Needle where the sky will light up with its annual fireworks show. Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin will open the show with songs from his dad's legendary rock band. AV
Climate Pledge Arena, Uptown (Sun Dec 31)

New Year's Eve with Kenny G Past Event List
Seattle's curly-haired son (and Franklin High graduate) Kenny G will return for a New Year's Eve celebration, ringing in 2024 with his sexy—and saxy—smooth jazz that has managed to stay consistently popular since 1986. Brush up on your knowledge of the hometown hero by watching Penny Lane’s critically acclaimed HBO documentary, Listening to Kenny G, which takes a look at the backlash he's faced from the jazz world. AV
Jazz Alley, Belltown (Sun Dec 31)

PERFORMANCE & THEATER

Anna Luisa Petrisko: All Time Stop Now Past Event List
Strong candidate for coolest performance this month is interdisciplinary artist Anna Luisa Petrisko's All Time Stop Now, a "contemplation on listening, impermanence, and kinship" framed by recorded conversations between Petrisko and her best friend, a Buddhist nun. Petrisko will morph the stage into a "spacetime playground." Not sure what that means? Me neither, but it has something to do with "hypersaturated" video, projection mapping, sculpture, dance, and "mutant pop" music, so I'm 100% on board. The performance navigates a few specific questions: How can we reject the scarcity of time and just be present? How can we accept grief, while also experiencing joy? Head to one of the three shows to get your contemplation on. LC
On the Boards, Uptown (Dec 1–2)

Little Women Past Event List
It's not easy to improve upon greatness, and to me, "greatness" is personified by the 1994 film Little Women starring the trifecta of perfection that is Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, and Kirsten Dunst. (No, not the Greta Gerwig one. I said what I said!!) But hey, this theatrical interpretation might change my mind. Based on Louisa May Alcott's courageous 1869 novel, which dared to envision an "unladylike" woman author who writes penny dreadfuls and rejects her rich hottie neighbor, this production of Little Women was adapted by playwright Kate Hamill. I am hoping to see Amy put a clothespin on her nose. LC
Seattle Repertory Theatre, Uptown (Dec 1–17)

A Very Die Hard Christmas Past Event List
"Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs." Or you could head to this Die Hard musical parody, which blends the action classic with pure comedy (plus smooth jams and '80s style) for a snarky twist on the Christmas spirit. Yippee ki-yay, am I right!? Sketch writers from The Habit have teamed up with Seattle Public Theater for the production, confirming that no holiday season is complete without a few pesky German terrorists. LC
Seattle Public Theater, Green Lake (Various dates between Dec 1–23)

Scott Shoemaker's War On Christmas! Past Event List
Scott Shoemaker (aka Ms. Pak-Man) will lead a gaggle of Seattle's most Yuletide-lovin' burlesque, music, and comedy stars in this subversive celebration of Christmas. Expect song and dance, utter hilarity, and partial nudity from this cast of cheery queerdos. LC
Theatre Off Jackson, Chinatown-International District (Dec 1–23)

A Christmas Carol Past Event List
If the impending holiday season elicits your well-deserved "Bah, humbug," I recommend taking this dependable Yuletide delight for a spin. ACT's A Christmas Carol, returning for its 48th year(!!!), will offer up a little Dickensian magic with a bunch of intrusive ghosts and a notably grumpy old dude. What could be more Christmassy than that? LC
ACT - A Contemporary Theatre, Downtown (Dec 1–24)

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker Past Event List
It's The Nutcracker—you already know the premise, but it never really gets old, does it? Tchaikovsky’s magical score will spring to life again in this sugar plum-packed rendition of the longstanding holiday tradition, complete with mice, tin soldiers, and a timeless trip to the Land of Sweets. Let's say you're all Nutcrackered out, though. Here are some little-known facts that might entice you: The production's eight Polichinelle costumes are decked out with 640 black pom-poms, and there are 154 costumes in the show, not counting duplicates. The scenery is made up of 3,000 square yards of fabric, and 98 yards of faux fur were used to create the mice. (Personally, there's nothing like 98 yards of faux fur to get me into the holiday spirit.) LC
McCaw Hall, Uptown (Dec 1–27)

Burnt Toast Live Podcast Recording, with Virginia Sole-Smith and Angela Garbes Past Event List
Host Virginia Sole-Smith chats toxic diet culture alongside authors, activists, and researchers on Burnt Toast, the best fat justice podcast you might not have heard of. For this live taping of the pod, Sole-Smith will sit down with Filipino American food writer and former Stranger staffer Angela Garbes, whose book Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change pulls from her own upbringing as a first-generation immigrant in the United States to consider how mothering has been an economic demand, particularly for women of color. LC
Town Hall Seattle, First Hill (Sun Dec 3)

Poog: The Road to Christmas Past Event List
The hags are coming!!! POOG (GOOP backward) is the unhinged blend of hypochondria, consumerism, and millennial ennui that you might not have known you needed, served up on a platter covered in retinoids and permed lashes. Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak are on the road for the holidays, so prepare for some lymphatic drainage in the form of diatribes on skincare and microgreens. If you are exhausted by the endless, girlbossy guides to optimizing, glass skin, and supplements that occupy nearly every corner of Beyonce's internet, Berlant and Novak are here for you—not to debunk or fact-check these things, but to laugh along. ("The original batch of snake oil had to have had something in it," says Novak.) LC
Neptune Theatre, University District (Thurs Dec 7)

The Dina Martina Christmas Show Past Event List
Seattle's own "Second Lady of Entertainment" will return to the stage with some Christmassy razzle-dazzle this month. Alongside Stranger Genius award-winning composer and musician Chris Jeffries, Dina Martina will deliver the surreal comedy and festive tunes for which she's been known and loved for over 25 years. (Her show was described by former Stranger editor Chase Burns as "cozy but disorienting," and John Waters calls her act "some new kind of twisted art,” so buckle in for a holiday fever dream.) LC
ACT - A Contemporary Theatre, Downtown (Dec 8–24)

Black Nativity Past Event List
Written by innovative playwright, poet, and social activist Langston Hughes, Black Nativity first premiered in 1961 and was one of the first off-Broadway plays composed by an African American person. Presented in partnership with The Hansberry Project, this interpretation of the gospel play features "actors, dancers, soaring vocalists, and a rousing city-wide gospel choir," who come together for nativity storytelling, dance, and traditional Christmas carols with brand-new songs. The production also offers opportunities for audience sing-alongs, so prep your vocal chords before the show. LC
Broadway Performance Hall, Capitol Hill (Dec 12–30)

The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show Past Event List
Jinkx Monsoon, the "internationally tolerated Jewish narcoleptic drag queen," and BenDeLaCreme, the sugary sweet RuPaul's Drag Race icon, will bring their unique blend of bubbly effervescence and quirky realness to the stage for this holiday dragstravaganza. The pair plan to show off their sleigh and share why they're the true queens of Christmas cheer, which already seems undebatable. The show will return to town after a wildly successful run last year; expect brand-new songs and a healthy dash of spectacle, plus "adult themes and language." LC
Moore Theatre, Belltown (Dec 21–24)

READINGS & TALKS

An Evening with Rainn Wilson Past Event List
As much as you may want to permanently associate Rainn Wilson with a certain fastidious bear expert, the truth is, he's much more than his aughts-era character. The author, philanthropist, and Renaissance man will swing by Seattle on the heels of his new book release, Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution, which "explores the problem-solving benefits that spirituality gives us to create solutions for an increasingly challenging world." If it sounds a little self-helpy, well, maybe it is. But there are worse folks to take advice from: Wilson is a longtime member of the Baha’i faith, and peppers his writing with references to kung fu and Star Trek. LC
Moore Theatre, Belltown (Fri Dec 1)

Ginger Minj: Southern Fried Sass Past Event List
Drag queen Ginger Minj stole hearts across America on the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, winning three challenges and ultimately placing as the runner-up to winner Violet Chachki before returning for seasons two and six of Drag Race All Stars. The self-described “nicest bitch you’ll ever meet,” “froganista,” and “glamour toad” is known for her side-splitting impressions of celebs like Adele, Phyllis Diller, and Tammy Faye, as well as her feisty Southern belle persona. Now, the redheaded icon is turning her talents toward the culinary world with the release of her new cookbook, Southern Fried Sass, which imparts her secrets to “everything from contouring to cooking and setting the table for a full-on Southern-style Thanksgiving dinner.” You can look forward to behind-the-scenes tea, decorating tips, advice gleaned from her grandmother, and recipes ranging from Red Barn BBQ ribs to “better than sex cake.” JB
Elliott Bay Book Company, Capitol Hill (Thurs Dec 21)

SHOPPING

Giving Marketplace Past Event List
There are a lot of markets to shop from this holiday season, but the proceeds from this one will benefit a number of local and global charities. Find not just gifts, but performances and activities as well, like live music from Kenyan American singer-songwriter Naomi Wachira on Friday and Brazilian guitarist Marco de Carvalho on Saturday. Plus, get a portrait of you as an animal by local illustrator Michelle Lassaline, and make your own ornament, jewelry, or wreath to take home. SL
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, Uptown (Dec 1–2)

Urban Craft Uprising Winter Show Past Event List
Urban Craft Uprising has blossomed from its humble, 50-booth beginnings in 2005 to become the largest indie craft event in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Offering a thoughtful alternative to mass-marketed holiday gifts and big box stores, the winter show will include all the resin earrings and chunky ceramics your heart desires, with artsy offerings from independent businesses like Salad Days, Crunch Supply, Confetti Time, and Snowmade. LC
Seattle Center, Uptown (Dec 1–3)

Winter Renegade Craft Fair 2023 Past Event List
Serving up a thoughtful alternative to mass-marketed trinkets and big box stores, Renegade Craft Fair purports to be "the broadest-reaching curated craft showcase in the world." It'll return with goodies from over 180 vendors representing the best of the Pacific Northwest and beyond—skincare enthusiasts, plant parents, and fans of checkerboard patterns should find something to smile about. Why not snatch up some crafty wares from indie artists and bites from on-site food vendors? It's what you deserve. LC
Magnuson Park Hangar 30, Sand Point (Dec 9–10)

United Indians Native Art Market Past Event List
Put your money where your land acknowledgement is and support the Indigenous community at this market featuring goods from local Native artists. You can find wide range of gifts, including clothing, jewelry, woodworks, drums, art prints, and more. Already finished with your holiday shopping? That's fine, these high-quality creations will be in style all year round. SL
Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, Magnolia (Dec 15–17)

VISUAL ART

Well Well Projects: Companions Past Event List
This cross-city pollination invites eight artists from the Portland collective Well Well Projects to showcase work in Seattle, while Vestibule artists will install an exhibition in Portland. Guest curated by prolific creator Alyson Provax, Well Well's exhibition, Companions, displays works by more than half of the member-run gallery collective's members. The show "operates as a forest," meaning that the multimedia work presented helps "create an environment of unique species that have come together in ways both interdependent and at odds." Expect a wide range of mediums, including paper-cutting, collage, ceramics, and more. LC
The Vestibule, Ballard (Dec 1–16)

Calder: In Motion, the Shirley Family Collection Remind List
I was lucky enough to spot Alexander Calder's buoyant abstract mobile Lizard (Lézard)at the Palm Springs Art Museum last summer, and therefore must recommend you thrill your eyeballs with this exhibition, which traces the kinetic modernist sculptor's career from the '20s through the '70s. Calder: In Motion, which pulls from a collection gifted by museum patrons Jon and Kim Shirley, offers a non-chronological narrative of the artist's mobiles, stabiles, paintings, illustrations, and more with dynamic works installed throughout SAM's galleries (including its double-height gallery, with overlooks from the floor above). By the way, I hope you're into Calder, 'cause his work is here to stay: This show promises to usher in "a new era at SAM," which will include "ongoing exhibitions and programs centered around Calder and his legacy taking place in downtown Seattle, the Olympic Sculpture Park, and through local and national partnerships." LC
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (Dec 1, 2023–Aug 4, 2024)

Elizabeth Malaska: All Be Your Mirror Remind List
Elizabeth Malaska was one of my key inspirations during art school—her moody figures, fearless use of patterning, and not-so-subtle responses to power dynamics and the Western painting canon completely captured my gaze. As the winner of the 2022 Betty Bowen Award, Malaska's work will be celebrated in this solo exhibition. Malaska's paintings will continue to offer swift comebacks to historical genres and motifs, like the reclining nude, with "challenging and introspective" compositions that feel entirely new. LC
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (Dec 1, 2023–June 16, 2024)

Søren Solkær: Sort Sol Remind List
Danish photographer Søren Solkær cut his teeth photographing musical legends like Björk, Metallica, Paul McCartney, the White Stripes, and Amy Winehouse, but in this solo exhibition, he studies "music makers of another sort": starlings, those passerine birds with wings that resemble the night sky. This series of photographs studies their "murmurations," or forms made by flocks in flight. ("Occurring before dusk in the spring and fall months, the mysterious act may function as an open call to join the evening roost and provide protection against predators," explains the show's promotional materials.) Sort Sol features over 50 photographs, video art, and homages to European paintings and Japanese woodblock prints, too. LC
National Nordic Museum, Ballard (Dec 9, 2023–Mar 10, 2024)

WINTER HOLIDAYS

Christmas Ship Festival Past Event List
Because nothing says Christmas like a giant ship covered in lights, the waters around Seattle will get a little more sparkly as Argosy Cruises' Christmas Ship docks in waterfront communities along the Puget Sound. Those who pay to hop aboard can enjoy holiday-themed food and drink, a community choir performance, and a reading of "‘Twas the Night Before Christmas" during the three-hour cruise. The 8th Annual Parade of Boats, where everyone is invited to deck their boats out in lights and join in on the fun, will take place on Friday, December 8, with a number of excellent shoreside viewpoints for us plebes who don't own boats. SL
Various locations, Puget Sound (Dec 1–23)

Snowflake Lane 2023 Past Event List
As gimmicky as it sounds, this Christmas-themed nightly parade between Bellevue’s main shopping centers is actually pretty magical. Regardless of the weather forecast, it snows. Dazzling lights and holiday floats featuring your favorite characters cruise down the street, punctuated by dancers and toy drummers (playing real drums). We recommend being on your best behavior—Santa's watching. SL
Bellevue Collection, Bellevue (Dec 1–24)

Village of Lights: Christmastown 2023 Past Event List
Ignoring the fact that Germans never lived there and the Bavarian theme was chosen by a revitalization committee in the '60s to boost tourism, Leavenworth is a pretty cute place, especially around the holidays. Celebrate the season with live caroling and holiday music, photos with Santa, chestnut roasting, a gingerbread house exhibition, and over half a million Christmas lights. Performances and activities run through Christmas Eve, but the lights will be up through February—we recommend stopping by in the new year for a magical sparkly experience without the crowds. SL
Leavenworth (Dec 1–24)

Kringle's Filling Station Holiday Experience Past Event List
Kringle’s Filling Station Xmas pop-up is back this year on Aurora. Get tickets if you're looking for an immersive holiday experience featuring hot cocoa from a gas pump, karaoke, one-of-a-kind holiday photos, "ski" ball in the games garage, and more. It's honestly pretty cute and good for families and Hinge dates alike. Pro: unlimited skee ball; con: children scream-singing karaoke. SL
Kringles Filling Station, Greenwood (Dec 1–31)

Winterfest Past Event List
Every holiday season, the Seattle Center transforms into Winterfest, where visitors will find seasonal decor, live performances on the weekends, and of course, the beloved miniature winter train and village. For the first time this year, we're getting a European-inspired outdoor Christmas market offering gifts from local and international vendors and tasty treats like glühwein and bratwurst. SL
Seattle Center, Uptown (Dec 1–31)

29th Annual Sheraton Grand Seattle Gingerbread Village Past Event List
Every year, diabetes research center JDRF Northwest invites local architecture firms to use their skills to craft an elaborate gingerbread village at the Sheraton for this holiday tradition. This year's theme is "The Chocolate Factory," though we think the fact that Timothée Chalamet's Wonka comes out on December 15 might just be a sweet coincidence. Fill out a ballot for your favorite, this is likely the easiest thing you'll vote for all year. SL
Sheraton Hotel, Downtown (Dec 1, 2023–Jan 1, 2024)

WildLanterns 2023 Past Event List
Grab some hot cocoa and get cozy with your friends, family, or Hinge date at this wintertime immersive experience full of giant glowing animal and nature scape lanterns, each representing flora and fauna from around the globe. Kids and those of us who are kids at heart will enjoy a magical snowy world in a polar regions exhibit, and marvel at brilliantly lit parrots and toucans in the Fine Feathered Friends zone. Arachnophobes might want to skip the Bugs and Blooms display, where vibrant flowers and giant spiders line your path (though we bet they won't bite). Let your imagination run wild in the Fantastical Folklore Realm as you search for mythical beasts from the white dragon to a pegasus. SL
Woodland Park Zoo, Phinney Ridge (Dec 1, 2023–Jan 14, 2024)

Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink Past Event List
It doesn't get more Hallmark movie than an outdoor ice rink, and the one in Bellevue Downtown Park will be open for 60 days of skating this year. You can take a free skate lesson, warm up with seasonal treats, or join for a specific theme night, ranging from superhero on December 13 to black tie on December 27. The ever-popular ugly sweater skate will be taking place on December 2, 9, 16, and 22 for maximum cheesiness. SL
Bellevue Downtown Park, Bellevue (Dec 1, 2023–Jan 15, 2024)

Christmas Ship Parade of Boats Past Event List
Because nothing says Christmas like giant ships covered in lights, the waters around Seattle will get a little more sparkly this season as Argosy Cruises' Christmas Ship leads a parade of holiday cheer. You can grab a spot on the lead boat, deck out your own boat in lights and follow along in the water, or stake out one of the many excellent shoreside viewpoints if you're boatless like us. The parade will gather in Lake Union and head westward through the Fremont Cut, where you can find a free viewing party at Evanston Plaza. SL
Various locations, Lake Union (Fri Dec 8)

Astra Lumina: An Enchanted Night Walk Amongst The Stars Past Event List
Los Angeles-born light experience Astra Lumina will illuminate the Seattle Chinese Garden all month long, transforming the botanical space into a "wonder of visiting stars" with projections, lighting, music, and "astral energy." OoOoO! Bundle up to stroll down the celestial pathway; you're promised to encounter "cosmic visions and astral song." (You may also want to pop an edible first.) I think it'd be the perfect way to celebrate New Year's Eve—lock your resolutions into place with a fake shooting star or twenty. LC
Seattle Chinese Garden, Riverview (Dec 8–31)

Green Lake Pathway of Lights 2023 Past Event List
Grab your gloves and earmuffs, it's time to take an illuminated stroll around Green Lake. For this annual tradition, thousands of candles are lit along the path, and you can enjoy complimentary refreshments as you turn your ear to holiday music performed by local schools and community groups. Be a good neighbor and bring a non-perishable food donation to one of the three music stages in support of local food bank FamilyWorks. Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates so we can see some magnificently lit hot air balloons. SL
Green Lake Park, Green Lake (Sat Dec 9)

Seattle SantaCon Past Event List
In the words of former Stranger staff writer Matt Baume, "I do not necessarily endorse this event, but I feel that you should be warned that it is happening again." Happening across two weekends, SantaCon claims to be "much more than a pub crawl" and features drink specials, contests, and live entertainment for the hundreds of folks decked out in Santa Claus costumes looking for a drink (or several). My favorite thing is the bars that put out 🚫🎅🏻 signs in an effort to ward away the sometimes-too-jolly red elves. SL
Various locations, Downtown (Sat Dec 9)

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