If you asked most kids who was born on December 25--in theory at least--most would say Santa Claus. Christmas long ago stopped being solely a religious holiday. Actually, it isn't even really about Santa Claus anymore either. It's all about the gifts, baby. If you think we're being cynical, try giving a 10-year-old boy a three-pack of dress socks instead of Tomb Raider III for Christmas. The closest they'll get to his feet is when he's stomping in the garbage can to squeeze in a little more wrapping paper. Fort Worth's Stage Theatre is--God bless 'em--trying to inject a bit of the original spirit into this Christmas with The Christmas Mysteries, a collection of short plays that retell selected Bible stories. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, and even Satan all figure prominently in the The Christmas Mysteries, adapted by Stage West vet Nicolas Sandys from a group of plays originally performed in medieval England. It's probably too late for some kids, especially the ones who have developed a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome from WCW/NWO Revenge. But hey, it's worth a shot. The Christmas Mysteries plays at Stage West, 3055 S. University in Fort Worth, through December 27. Performances happen Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. There will be no performances on Dec. 24 and 25. Tickets are $14-$18. Call (817) STG-WEST.
There's nothing that screams "Christmas"--quite literally--like a screening of The IMAX Nutcracker at The Science Place's IMAX Theater. You can't help being in the spirit of the season after watching IMAX's first-ever foray into non-documentary fare. It's like holding a brilliant snow globe up to your eye for a few hours, as the theater's giant screen overwhelms you with five-story-high Christmas trees and toy soldiers that could hold you in the palm of their hands. The score is even better, as England's Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra tackles such Tchaikovsky standards as "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy." On the downside, The IMAX Nutcracker is the only Christmas film (save for the saccharine It's a Wonderful Life) that could potentially induce nausea. And we're still not crazy about that knee-crossing title. The IMAX Nutcracker plays at The Science Place in Fair Park through January 5. Shows happen daily. Call (214) 428-5555 for times and prices.
Rarely does an art exhibit depend as much on its patrons as does the Good/Bad Art Collective's latest one-night-only extravaganza, 120X (Marks the Spot). The collective will hide 21 artworks by current and former members--including Erick Swenson, Marshall Thompson, Martin Iles, Heather Grace, Susan Laswell, Shane Culp, Aaron Graves, and Tim Kaminski--around the Denton area, anywhere and everywhere. In exchange for a small donation, participants will be given a map of the search area, general directions and rules, and a three-hour window in which to retrieve all of the pieces. The exhibit doesn't begin until all the works, locked in wooden crates, have been found and returned to the G/BAC headquarters, where they will be unveiled for the first and only time. Plus, under the time-honored finders-keepers rule, everyone who locates one of the pieces gets to leave with it. It's Christmas shopping the Good/Bad way. 120X (Marks the Spot) begins at 8 p.m. at the Good/Bad Art Collective, 120 Exposition in Denton. Participants should bring a flashlight and a compass. Call (940) 591-1725.
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Five years ago, Zamora the Torture King's act--sticking various sharp objects through various homemade holes in his body--would have been shocking or, at the very least, something you didn't see everyday. Now, people walk around with enough metal in their faces and other, naughtier parts of their body that Deep Ellum sounds like a convention of tambourine players. Unfortunately for him, Zamora is just one of the guys now. Sure, you'll never see us sticking eight-inch skewers don't our throat (though there are several people out there who'd like to do the job for us), but we don't flinch when we see someone else doing it. Since body-piercing has become so prevalent, if a human pincushion like Zamora wants to keep his unofficial crown, he has to do something drastic like lop off a few fingers. Not that we're suggesting that. We wouldn't want him to, ahem, cut short his career. Zamora the Torture King and his touring stunt show will perform at the Lizard Lounge, 2424 Swiss, on Sunday. Call (214) 826-4768.
Now that the price of a pack of smokes has finally cracked the magic $3 barrier, we're actually considering quitting. Not really, but saying it makes us feel a little better. For those of you actually planning on using the tax-hike and impending New Year's resolutions to lay off the cancer sticks, Eastgate YMCA is offering Monday-night aerobics to whip your black, boxing-glove shaped lungs back into shape. At $26 a month, it's a cheap way to make you feel a little better about yourself. The same used to be said for cigarettes. As for our New Year's resolution, we plan to smoke even more next year. At least if we break it, it's a good thing. Classes start at 5:30 p.m. every Monday at Eastgate YMCA, 1753 Plaza Drive in Garland. Call (972) 613-3117.
If you do quit smoking, you can spend your extra scratch at the Deep Ellum Center for the Arts Holiday Art Market. More than 500 pieces of art by 25 local artists--including Frank Campagna, Broose Dickinson, Matthew Hale, and Elise Ravet--will be for sale. Everything from paintings and computer art to mosaics and photography will available, basically following the something-for-everyone model. If you make off with one of the pieces, it'll be like having a little bit of Deep Ellum at home. Without the puking frat boys and scary bums, of course. The DECA's Holiday Art Market happens through January 2 at 2808 Commerce. Call (214) 744-2787.
With all the holiday shopping happening during December, a good place to stop for some cheap entertainment--aside from watching the construction crews trying to finish Central Expressway--is the Nickel Ranch. This old-fashioned arcade lacks the corporate shininess of Sega Gameworks, but it is every bit as fun. Well, not every bit as fun, but it is impossibly cheap; all the games only cost a nickel, hence the name. You might not be able to play the latest games, but at least at the Nickel Ranch, you can afford to bitch. Admission is $1.75. The arcade is open Wednesday, 3-8 p.m.; Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-6 p.m. 1904 Abrams Parkway. Call (214) 874-0555.