Night and Day

Arab Film Festival

The fifth annual Arab Film Festival features a broad range of compelling and provocative films, from Fatenah, an animated short about women in Palestine, to the feature-length documentary Garbage Dreams, which chronicles the "garbage people" of Cairo and is a semifinalist for Best Documentary Feature for the 2009 Academy Awards. The fest kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday with a gala reception benefiting the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and featuring a strolling halal dinner and screenings of Fatenah and Thorns and Silk, also about Palestinian women. Note that there's a Q&A with Michigan filmmaker Sam Kadi on Saturday, after the screening of his short film Raised Alone. Screenings take place at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-2266; complete schedule and ticket info available at

The Nutcracker

Clara and her nutcracker doll dance their way through the land of sugar plums, toy soldiers and Christmas mice in this classic ballet. The Cincinnati Ballet's production of The Nutcracker features exquisite sets, impressive special effects and gorgeous costumes, enhancing the graceful dancing and unforgettable score for which this Christmas tradition is known. Local choirs will perform holiday music in the Opera House lobby before the show and during intermission; at Saturday and Sunday matinee performances, families can visit with live reindeer, take photos with Santa and the Nutcracker, and meet the dancers at the Sugar Plum Parade immediately following the show. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; 313-237-SING;; $29-$76.

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village offer all the wholesome fun of the yuletides of yore, including costumed presenters, ice skating, artisan demonstrations, visits with Santa and his reindeer, carriage and Model T rides, four stages of nonstop performances and a number of musical performers, including the Main Street Carolers, Picks & Sticks Stringband and the First Michigan Colonial Fife & Drum Corps. Each night culminates with an amazing fireworks display, a Victorian Christmas tradition. Step into the world of Christmases past from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001; continues through Dec. 27, visit for schedule and ticket info.

The Hebrew Hammer

This world premiere follows the exploits of hip private dick Mordechai Jefferson Carver, the world's first Jewish sleuth. Usually one to fly solo, Carver is persuaded to take an assignment from the ponderously named Chief Bloomenbergansteinthal of the Jewish Justice League after setting eyes on the chief's bewitching daughter Esther. Carver must track down a mysterious man named Damien who gets his jollies by persuading Jewish kids to throw out their menorahs and celebrate Christmas instead. Can Carver stop Damien and teach children to be proud of their Jewish heritage? Find out at 8 p.m. at Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck; 313-365-4948; runs through Dec. 26, including 8 p.m. and midnight showings on Christmas, free eggroll included!

The Potters Market

Nearly 40,000 pieces of pottery are for the taking at the 34th Annual Potters Market. Presented by the advanced ceramics students of Oakland Community College Royal Oak campus, the sale features 135 artists (mainly from Michigan) selling works both functional and decorative, including mugs, picture frames, vases, sculptures, tile-topped tables, bird baths, jewelry, lamps and more. Pieces can range in price from $5 to $400; if you're looking for a bargain, check out the special bulk area featuring thousands of clay-based goodies priced between just $5 and $25. Get first dibs at a special ticketed ($10) preview Thursday night. It happens 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, at the UFCW Union Hall, 876 Horace Brown Dr., Madison Heights; 248-246-2686;

Impossible Marriage

Impossible Marriage is another quirky comedy from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley. It tells the tale of the Kingsleys, a zany Southern family hell-bent on preventing a marriage between its youngest member, Pandora, and a much older man who has abandoned a wife and eight children to be with her. Set in the family's lush Savannah garden, Impossible Marriage is a fairy tale-like celebration of the triumph of true, if unlikely, love, over the myriad comedic obstacles placed in its path by well-meaning but disapproving family. At 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, at Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's Studio Theatre, 322 W. Ann St., Ann Arbor; 734-971-2228;; $10 and $15.

Noel Night

The 37th edition of the Cultural Center's annual holiday open house features dozens of free performances, late-night shopping, horse-drawn carriage rides and all sorts of feel-good festivities at institutions throughout Detroit's Midtown. Noteworthy happenings include Frontier Ruckus performing at MOCAD; Lac La Belle at Cass Cafe; tours of artists' studios at the Scarab Club; vignettes from A Christmas Carol performed by Wayne State University's theater department at the DIA; Thornetta Davis and Luther "Badman" Keith at the Detroit Public Library; My Dear Disco and the Polish Muslims at Motor City Brewing Works; Ballet Renaissance and a PuppetART production of Sleeping Beauty at the Detroit Science Center; and Kwanzaa craft-making and a dramatic reading by Lonette McKee at the Charles H. Wright Museum. Scads more dance, theater and musical events take place throughout the night, concluding with the annual community sing-along on Woodward Avenue. Events take place from 5 to 9:30 p.m. in and around Midtown, primarily between Cass and John R and Kirby and Willis; info at 313-577-5088; for a complete schedule visit

Chair-ity Ball

Here's a novel idea: Take 100 chairs, give them to dozens of artists for an extreme makeover, then auction them off to the highest bidder, all to aid southeastern Michigan's veterans. That's what they're doing at the inaugural "Chair-ity Ball." The live auction, to feature good food, a cash bar and live music, will offer chairs that have been transformed into abstract art or decorated just enough to remain functional. The artists range from such Corridor fixtures as sculptor Bob Sestok to such talented newcomers as Cristin Richard, and all sales will benefit the Michigan Veterans Foundation and Veteran's Haven, organizations that assist homeless veterans in southeast Michigan. Here's your chance to park your keister on a masterpiece. It happens 7-10 p.m. at Tangent Gallery, 715 E. Milwaukee St., Detroit; for advance ticketing call 734-276-1842; $20; dress code: smart casual.

Shadow Art Fair

The Michigan Design Militia's Shadow Art Fair showcases 40 local artists peddling their eclectic wares, from T-shirts and fine art prints to handmade soaps and greeting cards. The twice-yearly fair emphasizes outside-the-box creators, providing an opportunity for networking with other artists and the community. Along with the mixed bag of handcrafted creations, the Corner Brewery will offer two special brews in honor of the fair, and the Dreamland Theater will stage special "shadow" performances from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., with shuttles running between the two venues from 1 to 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight. The fair itself takes place from noon to midnight at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti; 734-480-2739; admission is a whopping 2 cents, with proceeds benefiting the fair and the Shadow Arts Grant, which is awarded to artists to help fund their big ideas.

Radio Killed the Video Star

Radio Killed the Video Star is a benefit show for the Expose Yourself to Art Radio program, a joint endeavor between Hamtramck's new station AM 1610 and the CAID's Ladybug Studio which provides radio journalism and production education to the high school students of Hamtramck and southwest Detroit. The students' work will focus on community arts coverage, and will air on AM 1610 in both communities. The benefit is hosted by Scrummage Records and features performances by Mannikin, Telephone Callers, Coup D'Etatas and DJs Blk_Out and Snag Toof. At 9 p.m. at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit; 313-899-2243; $5-$10 sliding scale donation to cover the cost of production equipment. More info at and

Handel's Messiah

The Fort Street Chorale's annual performance of Handel's Messiah is a Detroit institution, the subject of an Emmy Award-winning documentary and a beloved tradition that has earned the choir the epithet "The Miracle on Fort Street." The Chorale and Chamber Orchestra present Handel's indelible Christmas oratorio, complete with its famed Hallelujah chorus, for the 31st time this year, with approximately 90 volunteers from throughout southeastern Michigan and Canada joining forces to create one unforgettable holiday memory. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Fort Street Presbyterian Church, 631 W. Fort St., Detroit; 313-961-4533;; $18.

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