Arts & Culture

Let’s say you’re in the holiday-shopping trenches searching for the right gift at Liberty Place. All the retail action has got you a bit puckish, if not ravenous. What will satiate that hunger and keep you going on your merry consumer way?

Hedda Lettuce is, ahem … headed to New Hope to unwrap her annual holiday show “Lettuce Rejoice!” The production will feature her entertaining blend of characters, satire and music Dec. 16 at the Rrazz Room.

Jermel Johnson is the first African-American male principal dancer at Pennsylvania Ballet. He made a name for himself early with his impressive jumps and high energy. Johnson has performed several leading roles, including as principal in George Balanchine’s “Square Dance” and Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which led to Pointe Magazine naming him one of their standout performances of 2013.

FROM RUSSIA WITH NUTS: The Moscow Ballet gets into the holiday spirit with “Great Russian Nutcracker,” a larger-than-life production with magical props, a 60-foot growing Christmas tree and spectacular Russian-made costumes and sets, Dec. 12-13 at Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St. For more information or tickets, call 215-898-3900.

MERRY SAX-MAS: Out saxophonist and nine-time Grammy nominee Dave Koz comes to the area for a holiday jazz concert featuring an all-star lineup of special guests like Jonathan Butler, Ashford & Simpson’s Valerie Simpson and Kenny Lattimore 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Scottish Rite Auditorium, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, N.J. For more information or tickets, call 856-270-6656. Photo: Bryan Sheffield

Fans of big-band music will have a reason to venture out next week when out Philadelphia theater star and singer Jeff Coon and his Summer Club swing into action for a special 17-piece big-band orchestra performance Dec. 5 in Manayunk. The show will feature appearances from other Philly area singers, including Ben Dibble, JP Dunphy, Fran Prisco, Kenita Miller and Michael Philip O’Brien.

The holidays are once again upon us and, given the times we are facing, we thought it would be a good idea to promote actions and events that give back to the community. We’re not saying you can’t be out there pounding the pavement alongside your fellow holiday shoppers for the gifts you’d want to give or receive; by all means, have at it! But do yourself, your sense of karma and holiday cheer a solid and think about donating your time, your energy or some much-needed gifts and sundries to a good cause. Or, at the very least, patronize a party or two this season that supports the community.

One of the main functions of art is to enable the viewer to perceive some aspect of life in a new and different way. Transgender and gender-nonconforming artists, in particular, often find art an effective means of communicating what life is like outside the gender mainstream. One such effective example of this is now on display at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

— Virginia Woolf

I saw Michael Kelly-Cataldi perform a while back at a backyard gathering of jazz singers and musicians. In a crowd of amazing and seasoned performers like the great Jeannie Brooks and our host Wendy Simon, Kelly-Cataldi brought the house down with his whimsical version of Ella Fitzgerald’s “A-Tisket A-Tasket.” While on stage he mentioned that he and his husband Dino were opening a supper club called Dino’s Backstage. The dashing and dynamic pair already own and operate the popular Kelly-Cataldi HOME boutique in Glenside.

PUMP THE ‘BREAKS’: Jazz-influenced Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones is coming through town on the heels of the release of her latest album “Day Breaks,” performing 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. For more information or tickets, call 215-893-1999.

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