Chicagoans have been slammed with a string of bad news lately: tax hikes, CTA service interruptions—not to mention everyone’s favorite weather system, the ice storm. Happy holidays, everybody. But there’s a light at the end of the blizzard. Those who need a gentle reminder why we live here—and love it—can take heart with Voices Project: Chicago Stories.The collaboration between Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble (formerly Adler Danztheatre Project) and the Neighborhood Writing Alliance uses theatre, dance, poetry, music, and film to deliver a narrative of the city’s historical highlights. Blips along the timeline include the Cubs/Sox rivalry and the dancing church ladies of Pilgrim Baptist. The show runs 8 p.m. Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th, 7 p.m. Sunday the 9th, at Links Hall (3435 N. Sheffield Ave., second floor; 773-281-0824). Opening night tickets, $25, include a wine and dessert reception; other shows are $15.
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• They had us at the title. An updated take on The Nutcracker, The Nut Tapper, starring South Side hoofer Reggio McLaughlin and fellow dancers from preschool age to 91, combines percussion, tap, flamenco, clogging, and other forms. Showtime is 4 p.m. Sunday the 9th at Athenaeum Theater (2936 N. Southport Ave.; 773-935-6860). Tickets run $20 to $25.
• Hey, if Tchaikovsky deserves an update, maybe Dickens does, too. The Hipmas Carol reinterprets the classic tale of Scrooge and Co. via beat poetry and the blues. The show runs through December 30th at Apollo Studio Theater (2540 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-935-6100). Tickets are $12 to $22.
• Need a break from the holiday hoopla? It’s their first remount of a previously staged show, but the new/old Hunchback is our favorite Redmoon production in recent history. The meta take on Victor Hugo’s tragedy includes plenty of the troupe’s signature mechanical props and puppets, with a rare-for-Redmoon bonus: a character who speaks something other than gibberish. Performances run through January 20th at Redmoon Central (1463 W. Hubbard St.; 312-850-8440). Tickets are $15.
• The critically adored but low-output indie-rock band Shellac, fronted by the Chicago-based music producer Steve Albini, just released its first album in seven years—which makes this concert series sort of like the Halley’s Comet of music shows. Don’t wait for it to come around again; the band plays the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia Ave.; 773-227-4433) December 13th and 14th at 9 p.m., and December15th and 16th at noon and 9 p.m. Online tickets are sold out, but limited tickets will be available at the door for $12.
• Robbie Fulks’s long-running Secret Country series concludes Sunday the 9th with A Tribute to the Carter Family at Old Town School of Folk Music (4544 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-728-6000). The concert includes a slew of Fulks’s fellow Chicago musicians, plus Carter biographer Charles Hirshberg. Tickets are $20. Showtimes are 4 and 7:30 p.m.; at press time, the early show was close to selling out.
• A big hand for John Turturro, who has made the transition from character actor to film director. His dark and twisted musical—yep, musical—Romance & Cigarettes, starring Kate Winslet, Susan Sarandon, and Christopher Walken, screens 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday the 8th at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.; 773-871-6604); word is, Turturro will be in attendance. Tickets are $9.25.
• Or take in some earnest holiday fun with the Portage Christmas Spectacular at the Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-736-4050). The evening features music from the Revolutionary Swing Orchestra, sing-along carols with onscreen lyrics, and the Barbara Stanwyck classic Christmas in Connecticut. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Friday the 7th; tickets are $10.
• You know things are rough when the Clauses are having marital troubles. No-EL, or How the BlagojeGrinch Stole Christmas, takes on Christmas, civic foibles, and more in a satire with one mouthful of a title. The show opens 10 p.m. Friday the 7th and runs through Sunday the 23rd at Gorilla Tango Theatre (1919 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-598-4549). Tickets are $10.
• Bundle up and sing your heart out at Chicago Chamber Choir’s Neighborhood Caroling Party. The mobile merry-making unit starts at Unity Lutheran Church (5409 N. Magnolia St.; 312-409-6890) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday the 9th. Bring a flashlight for the lyrics sheet.
• See the historic Pullman homes decked for the season on the Candlelight House Walk, Sunday the 9th from 3:30 pm. to 7 p.m. The event includes a walking tour, buffet, and silent auction at the Historic Pullman Foundation Visitor Center (11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave.; 773-785-8901). Tickets are $40.
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