STAGE Nov. 18-Dec. 28 Portland novelist Marc Acito makes his playwriting debut (with some help from C.S. Whitcomb) with Holidazed, a comedy about a girl who hates holiday spirit and the family that loves her.Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 241-1278. 7:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays. $20-$38.

STAGE Dec. 2-28 It's ba-ack! Portland Center Stage's hit production of A Christmas Carol returns for a second year. Top hats and crutches not required. Gerding Theater, 128 NW 11th Ave., 445-3700. 7:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 and 7:30 Sundays, noon Thursdays. $16.50-$66.50.

VISUAL ARTS Dec. 2-Jan. 17 G. Lewis Clevenger grew up in a mid-century ranch house, which he says "imprinted itself into [his] sensibilities." His grid-based abstract paintings look like candy-colored architectural blueprints—the Brady Bunch house, transplanted to Palm Springs. Pulliam Deffenbaugh, 929 NW Flanders St., 228-6665. Free.

WORDS Dec. 3 The holidays are coming, and that means there's a good shot you're going to be forced into cooking meals for large groups. Feeling stumped for ideas? Jack Bishop from America's Test Kitchen will help you out. Powell's Books at Cedar Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., 228-4651. 7 pm Wednesday. Free.

MUSIC Dec. 3 Ditching the ethereal medieval music that made it famous, the sublime femme foursome Anonymous 4 takes on early American tunes with Portland newgrass pioneer fiddler/mandolinist Darol Anger and guitarist Scott Nygaard, and proves that a "classical" group can handle folk music without pretentiousness or condescension. It's a gorgeous combination. Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., 224-9842. 7:30 pm Wednesday. $14-$37.

DANCE Dec. 3-7 There's a suggestion of a pants-off dance-off in White Bird's Skinner/Kirk + Bielemeier promo; barring that, expect a comic flourish or two in this collaboration between BodyVox regulars Eric Skinner and Daniel Kirk and the Portland modern institution Greg Bielemeier. Portland Opera Studio Theater at the Hampton Opera Center, 211 SE Caruthers St., 790-2787. 8 pm Wednesday-Friday, 2 and 8 pm Saturday-Sunday. $16-$26.

VISUAL ARTS Dec. 3-27 Talk about unconventional media! Instead of using ink, Ian Boyden makes drawings out of crushed pearls, fossilized shark teeth, lava and petrified wood. The drawings are inspired abstractions that suggest feathers, geysers and other natural phenomena. Augen, 716 NW Davis St., 546-5056. Free.

FILM Dec. 4-7 Environmental cinema doesn't have to be boring: at the Northwest Film Center's Eco-Sicko mini-festival, it can even include David Cronenberg. Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 7 pm Friday-Saturday, 4:30 and 7 pm Sunday. $8.

MUSIC Dec. 5 Like Handel's Messiah, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet is a holiday perennial whose overfamiliarity overwhelms its considerable charms. But Portland Jazz Orchestra's performance of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's delicious 1960 jazz version of nine of the ballet's movements reheats the old chestnut with some sly swing—the most original holiday performance of the season. PCPA Newmark Theater, 1111 SW Broadway. 224-4400. 7:30 pm Friday. $16-$28.

WORDS Dec. 6 The musicians from Philip Pelletier's multimedia children's book One Night in Frogtown play a concert for the whole family. Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 236-9234. 2 pm Saturday. $5. All ages.

DANCE Dec. 12-24 This year, Oregon Ballet Theatre polled viewers to ask them how they'd like their Nutcracker; look for the results over the holidays amid the merry swirl of dancing candy, armed rodents and falling snow. Keller Auditorium, Third and Clay streets, 222-5538. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Fridays, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturdays, 1 and 5 pm Sundays, noon Wednesday, Dec. 24. $19-$122.

FILM Dec. 19-28 Northwest Film Center's Black Christmas is a retrospective of top-notch film noir, highlighted by Night of the Hunter. Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 7 pm Fridays-Sundays. $8.


MUSIC Jan. 2 Early music vocal ensemble Cappella Romana performs the world premiere of The Kontakion of the Nativity by American Orthodox composer Richard Toensing, along with Orthodox carols and hymns. St. Mary's Cathedral, 1716 NW Davis St., 236-8202. 8 pm Friday. $15-$30.

STAGE Jan. 6-Feb. 15 Conor McPherson's demonic drama about a boozy Christmas Eve card game gone wrong, The Seafarer, gets its West Coast premiere in Portland. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 241-1278. 7:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays. $20-$38.

VISUAL ARTS Jan. 7-Feb. 22 Eerie, haunting, and enigmatic, the luminescent sculptural installations of Laura Fritz do not readily give up their secrets. Past works have mimicked the movement of insects and cats on light-boxes, and simulated the slow undulations of sea urchins. Whatever she does with the large NAAU space, count on it to be thought-provoking and borderline creepy. New American Art Union, 922 SE Ankeny St., 231-8294. Free.

VISUAL ARTS Jan. 8-Feb. 28 Before his untimely death in 2005, Drake Deknatel was a beloved figure in the Northwest art scene. This show presents the last paintings he made, culled from a body of work he produced while in Berlin. Elizabeth Leach, 417 NW 9th Ave., 224-0521. Free.

STAGE Jan. 13-Feb. 8 L.A. director Nancy Keystone premieres the final chapter of Apollo, her nonlinear exploration of the intersection of the civil-rights movement and the Apollo Project, five years in the making, at Portland Center Stage. Gerding Theater, 128 NW 11th Ave., 445-3700. 7:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays, noon Thursdays. $16.50-$66.50.

DANCE Jan. 15-17 Mark Morris and Stephen Petronio have been called bad boys of dance, but Rasta Thomas one-upped them by forming Bad Boys of Dance to show off some of the best men in modern ballet and Broadway circles. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 790-2787. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday. $25-$57.50.

WORDS Jan. 19 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks (March) is coming to Portland to read from her latest tome, People of the Book. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm Monday. Free.

MUSIC Jan. 23 After three decades, Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians has risen to the status of the one of the 20th century's greatest masterpieces, on that exalted level with The Rite of Spring, A Love Supreme, Pet Sounds and not many others. Experiencing it live can be a transcendent experience. The concert by Third Angle also includes music by Reich's erstwhile partner, Philip Glass, and Dutch minimalist Louis Andriessen. Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., 331-0301. 7:30 pm Friday. $25-$30.

WORDS Jan. 26 Matt Miller's The Tyranny of Dead Ideas argues that the biggest problems facing the world today come from the fact that we make sense of new realities by using out-of-date concepts. The public-policy wonk offers a few suggestions for change. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm Monday. Free.

STAGE Jan. 27-March 22 Fin Kennedy's 2005 sci-fi psychological thriller, How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found, is a terrifying headtrip. Who better to direct it than Portland Center Stage's Rose Riordan? Gerding Theater, 128 NW 11th Ave., 445-3700. 7:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2:30 pm Sundays, noon Thursdays. $16.50-$46.50.

DANCE Jan. 28 Clean, lyrical dancing has won the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company a 40-year following; here they perform new and rep works drawn from the company's extensive body of creations for every kind of dance company. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 790-2787. 7:30 pm Wednesday. $20-$50.


VISUAL ARTS Feb. 3-28 Devastatingly self-critical, Kris Hargis' self-portraits are known for their brutal, unflinching style. His latest exhibition includes paintings on paper and wood panel, and promises another harrowing trip into the universe of this gifted artist. Froelick, 714 NW Davis St., 222-1142. Free.

FILM Feb. 5-22 The mother of all Oregon film festivals, Northwest Film Center's Portland International Film Festival usually features a future Oscar nominee, and always dazzles in sheer scope. Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., Various times and prices.

MUSIC Feb. 6 Abetted by pianist Janet Coleman and members of the Southwest Washington Symphony, Portland Vocal Consort presents a full staging of John Blow's 17th-century love comedy, Venus and Adonis, plus music by Brahms and the great Italian Baroque composer Claudio Monteverdi. First Baptist Church, 909 SW 11th. 8 pm Friday. 209-7539. $15-$25.

MUSIC Feb. 6-14 Portland Opera continues its compelling series of works by Benjamin Britten, this time on the big stage, with the English composer's musical setting of Henry James' dark ghost story, The Turn of the Screw. Keller Auditorium, between SW 2nd & 3rd avenues and Clay & Market streets. 241-1802. February 6, 8, 12, 14. $39-$162.

STAGE Feb. 6-March 1 Third Rail Rep takes on Martin McDonagh's bone-busting black comedy, A Skull in Connemara, the final play of the Irish writer's Leenane Trilogy. World Trade Center Auditorium, 121 SW Salmon St., 235-1101. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Sundays. $16-$29.

WORDS Feb. 12 Philosopher Susan Haack speaks on science, religion, law and the meaning of scientific "objectivity" for the Linus Pauling Memorial Lecture Series. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 232-2300. 7 pm Thursday. $38.25-$55.

MUSIC Feb. 13 Some of our major local music institutions shamefully neglect to comission or even perform the music of local and regional composers. FearNoMusic deserves major kudos for programing excellent Oregon composers Bonnie Miksch, Robert Kyr, David Schiff, Jack Gabel, Tomas Svoboda, Bob Priest and emerging local composers in this important concert. Imago Theater, 17 SE 8th Ave., 8 pm Friday. $5-$20.

WORDS Feb. 17 Journalist, poet, glutton and political commentator Calvin Trillin was the first guest of the Portland Arts and Lectures Series, and he returns to be the guest of honor at its 25th birthday celebration. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 224-4400. 7:30 pm Tuesday. $25-$55.

DANCE Feb. 21-28 Stravinsky's Rite of Spring has tempted Oregon Ballet Theatre artistic director Christopher Stowell like so many dancemakers before him; look for his version alongside Peter Martins' fast-paced Ash and Val Caniparoli's union of Bach and Africa in Lambarena. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 222-5538. 7:30 pm Feb. 21, 27-28; 2 pm Feb. 22. $19-$122.

DANCE Feb. 25-27 Major ballet companies nationwide have danced work by Trey McIntyre (including Oregon Ballet Theatre, which did his Just). Now, the choreographic wundkerkind has a new forum: the Trey McIntyre Project makes its Portland debut. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 790-2787. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Friday. $20-$50.