To borrow a line from the Hugh Martin-Ralph Blane holiday standard “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” it certainly can feel like we’re muddling through in these last days before the holiday. Shopping, planning, finishing work projects — and wringing our hands over all of the above.
Taking a break might seem like a luxury, but several events on the mid-Missouri arts calendar can offer the respite and recharge needed to make it over the holiday hump. Here are just five of many on the docket this week.
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Dec. 18-23: “A Christmas Carol” at Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre
Now a cornerstone of the cultural calendar, the Lyceum’s adaptation of Dickens’ holiday chestnut is a marriage of innovation and emotion, head and heart. Lyceum principal Quin Gresham created and faithfully directs the production each December.
“I first fell in love with this story as a child because of the spooky elements. I still love that aspect of things, but seeing the courage and introspection required to alter one’s life is the thing that inspires me the most as an adult,” Gresham told the Tribune last year.
Seven shows remain between Sunday and the show’s closing Friday. Tickets range from $20 to $46. Visit https://lyceumtheatre.org/ for more information.
Dec. 20: Missouri Trailblazers through Daniel Boone Regional Library
Take an hour off Tuesday afternoon and log in to watch this live program via the library’s Zoom. In concert with the Missouri State Museum, the program will examine two of Missouri’s many literary lights: Evan Connell and Daniel Woodrell.
The late Connell, who died in 2013, is a Kansas City native known for acclaimed works such as 1959’s “Mrs. Bridge.” Connell’s debut is “a book about an underrepresented character in American literary fiction — the alienated upper-middle-class housewife, passing from youth to old age with a nagging existential fear — written, with great sensitivity, by a man in his early 30s,” The Guardian’s Tom Cox wrote in 2012.
“It’s a book that is smart and knowing and makes its reader feel as if they’re in on a joke, while at the same time gradually coaxing them to feel more and more empathy for its vaguely absurd main character, and ultimately playing them like an emotional Stradivarius,” Cox added.
A more recent literary force, the Ozarks-based Woodrell landed on many readers’ radar with the staggering 2006 offering “Winter’s Bone,” which would evolve into an Oscar-nominated film. But Woodrell has excelled both before and beyond that novel, receiving accolades for the likes of “Tomato Red” and “The Maid’s Version.”
“Woodrell is a master of brevity, with an unparalleled ability to compact an entire existence into the fewest words possible,” NPR’s Ellah Allfrey wrote of the latter book.
Tuesday’s event takes place at 1 p.m.; visit the library’s website to register for a Zoom link.
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Dec. 21: Christmas with the Big Bang Brass Quintet at Broadway Brewery
Enjoy seasonal standards rendered in warm brass tones during this mid-week date. The music will reverberate around the restaurant from approximately 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Visit https://www.broadwaybrewery.com/ to learn more.
Dec. 23: Meredith Shaw and Friends at Dive Bar
One of Columbia’s real success stories in 2022, crowd-pleasing singer-songwriter Meredith Shaw has parlayed her second chance at country music into a growing fanbase, steady gigs and even a slot at this year’s Roots N Blues festival.
“Even if I blow this, it’s better than I ever thought,” she told the Tribune earlier this year. “I never expected any of this to happen.”
Shaw will lead a “Christmas special” Friday at Dive Bar with fellow musician Aaron Schilb and, possibly, other guests. Music begins around 8 p.m., and there is no cover charge. Visit https://www.divebarcomo.com/ for more information.
Ongoing: SVS Faculty Showcase at University of Missouri
MU is home to a number of talented artist-educators, and their work takes focus in a School of Visual Studies faculty exhibit, up through early February at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery. A reception awaits in the New Year, set for January 26. Visit https://visualstudies.missouri.edu/gallery/bingham or the gallery’s Facebook page to check holiday hours.
Aarik Danielsen is the features and culture editor for the Tribune. Contact him at email@example.com or by calling 573-815-1731. Find him on Twitter @aarikdanielsen.
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