Feet Relief

Manolo Blahniks would be a terrible thing to waste on Christmas, poking their pointed toes or spiked heels out of the stockings of any of the members of the Barefoot Brigade. They eschew shoes, and they'll celebrate the holidays in a robust if uniquely nontraditional way. This year the shoeless, footloose dancers of Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, 5 Degreez of Danze (Frisco), JAADE Dance Theatre (Fort Worth), Moving Connections (Austin/Dallas), Nova Dancing Company (Dallas), North Central Civic Ballet (North Richland Hills) and Spank Dance Company (Austin), with guest artists Kayo Fischtrom, Peggy Lamb, Gypsy M. Crane, Carisa Armstrong, Emily Johnson, Christian von Howard and Stephanie Milling, are presenting off-the-wall programming called The NOTcracker. The Barefoot Brigade's festival will fill the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive at Northcliff, on December 12 and December 13 and December 19 and December 20. "It's seasonal relief for local dance audiences," says Kerry Kreiman, executive/artistic director of CD/FW. Be grateful at 8 p.m. Friday or at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 817-922-0944. --Annabelle Massey Helber

Not So Silent Night

You've heard them countless times. From the start of the Christmas season in June until after the post-Christmas sales in February, you can't venture into a retail outlet without the sounds of Christmas songs yammering in your ears. But, really, how many of us can get beyond two, maybe three lines of any holiday classic before words fail us. "Deck the halls with boughs of holly?" Uh-huh, and what comes after those first "fa-la-las," wise guy? Dunno? That's OK. We don't know either, though we're better off than our office neighbor, who insists the opening words to one beloved carol are "Good King Wenceslaus went down on the king of Egypt." But then, he's Jewish. What's your excuse? Well, put it aside. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is offering a lesson in Christmas lyrics with the aid of baritone Jubilant Sykes, who will join the orchestra and its chorus for the 7-Eleven Christmas Celebration concerts. Sykes will perform seasonal greats, from "Silent Night" to "Do You Hear What I Hear," though there's no mention of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." There will also be a sing-along medley, which we hope will include printed lyrics. The concerts are at 8 p.m. December 11 through December 14 and December 16 and December 18 through December 20, plus 2:30 p.m. performances December 14 and December 21. Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Tickets are $25 to $90. Call 214-692-0203. --Patrick Williams

The Big Sleep
In the deadly spirit of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Theatre Three presents Joseph Kesselring's Arsenic and Old Lace. In Old Lace, matronly Abby and Martha Brewsterm amiably provide "eternal accommodations" to the elderly male guests at their large Victorian home. The homicidal fun happens at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St. in the Quadrangle. Performances run Thursdays through Sundays through January 10. Tickets are available at the box office, from the Web site or by phone. Prices for regular performance nights range from $20 to $35. Call 214-871-3300 or visit www.theatre3dallas.com. --Mary Monigold

Because the theater community understands that one can only attend so many productions of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol before hitting the eggnog pretty hard, Ground Zero Theater Company presents Christmas at Ground Zero 2003. The show, for mature audiences only, is a festival of 10-minute plays written by playwrights from Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. Performances run Wednesdays through Saturdays through December 20 at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. General admission is $12 with discounted tickets available. Call 214-339-0585 or visit www.groundzerotheater.org. --Mary Monigold

Christmas Culture
Pico's anything but stereotypical

Heads up, Greater Tuna, you've finally got some serious competition. Remember the highly praised production of the laugh-out-loud culture comedy Pico de Gallo performed by the five-member Martice Enterprises acting troupe? It took dead-on shots at all manner of stereotypical notions (being African-American, Latino, gay) in a two-hour show that received rave reviews. Get ready for a second helping of spicy fun and commentary. Now, host-narrator Chula Cholulais, still in her Dollar Store glitter eye shadow and played in drag by co-author Oscar Contreras, is back in A Pico de Gallo Christmas at 8 p.m. December 11 at Fair Park's Hall of State, 3939 Grand Ave. And this time, the promoters promise, "Chula has a secret recipe, and she's checking it twice. Come find out who's been naughty and nice." Again the talented Martice actors--Contreras, Marco Rodriguez, Miranda Martinez, Rhianna Mack and Joseph McConnell--play multiple characters who drop in to Chula's Tex-Mex restaurant where the famed pico de gallo is far more than a spicy side dish--like Dallas Observer reviewer Elaine Liner wrote, "It's a metaphorical recipe for community understanding." They take their best shots at the weepy political correctness that hobbles today's culture. This one's a bit too "naughty" for anything but an adult audience, but by show's end and the last echoing laugh, you're sure to go home thinking about the issues that divide us. Directed by the multitalented Contreras and written by him and Rodriguez, Israel Luna and Christopher Espinosa, the performance will raise funds for the Latino Cultural Center for Arts and Letters. Seating is limited, so call 214-243-2348 for ticket information. --Carlton Stowers


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