This week, we have curated a set of holiday events to rev up the cheer that we all need during this new stay-at-home order. You can watch two very different versions of A Christmas Carol; participate in a family-fun workshop about The Hard Nut; shop a holiday pottery market; and take a photo with Santa outside and behind a plexiglass shield.
THE HARD NUT If you’re ready to get in a festive mood, join The Mark Morris Dance Group along with Cal Performances as they throw an online holiday bash to celebrate the winter season. The event revolves around The Hard Nut, an alternative take on the classic Nutcracker that takes visual inspiration from the comic book world. In this two-hour family-fun session, kids and their families will learn choreography from the Snow and Flowers dances in the play, sing carols, and swap holiday cookie recipes. At the end of the event, all the recipes will be compiled and distributed as digital cookie recipe books. Enjoy this holiday event with all the fixings, minus gathering in person. Free with a suggested donation of $12. Saturday, Dec. 12.
POTTERY SALE It’s holiday shopping time! Want to get something unique and made with love? Check out Berkeley Potters Guild’s Holiday Show. The guild is offering in-studio shopping experiences at 20% capacity as well as featuring a collection of items for sale on their website. You can peruse items like mugs, bowls, and plates in varying textures and colors like silky porcelain, translucent ruby, or celadon. You can also purchase items like glassware, knitted wearables, jewelry, greeting cards, original paintings, and crocheted sculptural vases. Be sure to scroll through their online catalog, where you can see Sarah Gregory’s vibrant poppy on a white vase and Carol Valk’s unique functional avian teapots. There’s something for everyone with all the different colors, shapes, and price points—check it out and grab a beautiful piece. Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13.
SANTA ON SOLANO The kiddos won’t be sitting on Santa’s lap this year, but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on seeing the bearded, jello-bellied man. On Solano Avenue this weekend and next weekend, your family can take photos with Santa outside. Santa will be behind a plexiglass shield as you and your family members pose on the stairs away from Santa’s enclosure. You’ll take photos with your own camera so make sure to bring your selfie stick! While the stay-at-home order has started, the event is still on as the arrangement is completely contact-less and outdoors. Get some fresh air and snap a photo with the magical Santa Claus. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13, and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19-20.
A RED CAROL Have you read the Communist Manifesto? Are you tired of watching Dickens’ Christmas Carol year after year? Tune in to listen to a working-class take on the holiday classic performed as a radio play by the Tony award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe. A Red Carol blends together activism, comedy, and music, and offers an optimistic reading of the future. The troupe writes, “A Red Carol reclaims this revolutionary classic as a story not of the redemption of one bad man, but as the never-ending story of all of us making the world a more progressive place.” Come together, fight the power. Available online starting Friday, Dec. 11- Jan. 17. $20 suggested donation.
ANOTHER CHRISTMAS CAROL If you’re in the mood for more, try this rendition of A Christmas Carol that involves paper puppets, miniatures, and silhouettes. Manual Cinema, partnered with Cal Performances At Home, has created a special holiday adaptation combining methods from theatre and film. The story revolves around single Aunt Trudy, who has been assigned the role of presenting the family’s annual Christmas puppet show via Zoom from her studio apartment. As Trudy becomes engrossed in the story, the puppets start to take on a life of their own. Watch this classic ghost story adapted to our contemporary condition. Prices range from $15-60. Live online performances on Thursday, Dec. 17, Friday, Dec. 18, and Saturday, Dec. 19 at varying times.