Staffpicks

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Dec. 5-30
‘SAW-Contemporary Artists Explore The Tool As Canvas’
CRAFT(s) Gallery
572 S. Fourth St., 584-7636
craftslouisville.com

The 18th century practice of tole painting, the folk art  style of decorative painting on tin and wooden utensils, objects and furniture, has local and regional artists using the hand saw or saw blade as a canvas and a source for inspiration. Artists embellished an existing hand saw or saw blade or used their own artistic techniques to create a replica of the tool from another material (wood, iron, glass, clay, etc.) This show is curated by local artist Scott Scarboro. The opening reception is Friday, Dec. 5 from 6-10 p.m. in conjunction with First Friday Trolley Hop.  Special musical performance by singer-songwriter Brigid Kaelin. —J. Cobb

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FRIDAY, DEC. 5

AIGA Louisville’s ‘The Show’
Interactive Media Lab
124 N. First St.
aigalou.org
$10+; 6 p.m.

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) was founded in 1914 as the professional association for design. Its long-standing stated goal is to “educate the public and business community about design and its effect on our daily lives.” AIGA Louisville, formerly the Louisville Graphic Design Association, joined this year, becoming the newest member of the 68 worldwide AIGA chapters. So, for the first time, AIGA Louisville is presenting “The Show,” a juried exhibition of local graphic design, illustration and photography. It is also a peer-to-peer selection of the best in our region. The keynote speaker at the award ceremony is Helen Armstrong, principal/creative director at Strong Design and assistant professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. —Jo Anne Triplett

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FRIDAY, DEC. 5

The Fervor 
Haymarket Whiskey Bar
331 E. Market St., 442-0523
haymarketwhiskeybar.com
$5; 9 p.m.

As bumble gum radio pop has become increasingly dominate — and shoved in your face — over the last two decades, sometimes it’s hard to remember that there’s still really sharp, intelligent pop music all over the place, and The Fervor are a good reminder. The keys-heavy, catchy indie outfit are an excellent balance between clean and bright and dark and gritty — it’s easily digestible, but at the same time, it’s deep and has backbone. This show acts as a re-release for their album “Bleeder” and will also feature Frederick the Younger (formerly Dr. Vitamin) and multi-instrumental virtuoso Long Thanh Nguyen. —Scott Recker

<ballet>

DEC. 6-21

‘The Brown-Forman Nutcracker’
Whitney Hall, Kentucky Center
501 W. Main St., 584-7777
louisvilleballet.org
$32+; 1:30 p.m. (Sat.-Sun.),
7:30 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.)

It’s Sugar Plum Fairy time again. You can be pretty sure it’s December if you see promotions for “The Nutcracker” anywhere in the United States. The Louisville Ballet calls it an “annual holiday treat for the entire family” and you will get no argument from me. Starting in 2008, Brown-Forman has underwritten the productions, giving us the privilege of hearing the Louisville Orchestra play live at all performances. The sets have a special Louisville touch — look for jockeys and the St. James Court Fountain. The Louisville Ballet is also holding two Sugar Plum Parties on Dec. 7 and 13, and the Louisville Free Public Library is presenting “Nutcracker Family Story Time” on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at the Southwest Branch, 9725 Dixie Highway. —Jo Anne Triplett

<celebration>

Saturday, Dec. 6

Bardstown Road Aglow
Bardstown Road & Eastern Parkway
www.TheHighlandsOfLouisville.com
Free; 5-9 p.m.

Culminating the third decade of “neighborliness,” Bardstown Road Aglow is the perfect holiday celebration for families and friends to celebrate with traditional and new events, games, contests, the Polar Palooza and Breakfast with Santa (with benefits going to Crusade for Children) … plus an ugly sweater contest I plan on dominating. For the adults sans children, Four Roses is putting on a Bourbon battle with bartenders from saloons up and down Bardstown Road fashioning special concoctions for the occasion. And in the “glowing” spirit of holiday neighborliness, stores will be competing in the holiday decorating contest. In fact, I will be taking my ugly sweater on the road as a judge, joining Terry Meiners, Scotty Davenport, Kirby Adams and others to see which local business spirit “glows” brightest. —Aaron Yarmuth

<music>

SATURDAY, DEC. 6

Music Makes a City 
Tim Faulkner Gallery
1512 Portland Ave., 389-0347
timfaulknergalleryart.com
Free; 7 p.m.

Nestled in the Portland Warehouse District, the new Tim Faulkner Gallery location is massive — 25,000 square feet of gallery space, studios, shops and a stage area that is as big as some of the mid-size venues in town. If you haven’t been there yet, the perfect time to start is this Saturday’s “Music Makes a City” event, featuring Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Abrams Chamber Group, 1200, Kyle James Hauser, A Lion Named Roar and Tiny Elephant. And, if you have been there already, you probably don’t need me to convince you; you’re already aware that this thing is going to be a blast. Not to mention it’s free.—Scott Recker

<fundraiser>

Picture Your Pets with Santa
Dec. 6-7 & 13-14
All Feeders Supply Stores
kyhumane.org, 366-3355
$12+

Typically mangled or eaten by furry children, Elf on the Shelf isn’t the best holiday messenger for our four-legged companions. They need a more direct line of communication to let Santa know who’s a good boy (or girl). Lucky for them, all local Feeders Supply stores are giving pets that opportunity the first two weekends in December. Photo packages starting at $12 give pet parents a caboodle of holiday card and gift options, and the whole family gets the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that this volunteer-driven project donates 100 percent of proceeds to local animal rescue groups.—Laura Snyder

<art>

THROUGH DEC. 14

‘Lines’ by Jen Goodell
Tim Faulkner Gallery
1512 Portland Ave., 389-0347
timfaulknergalleryart.com

Straight, wavy, narrow, wide. Jen Goodell’s new collection of oil paintings is titled “Lines” and it accurately describes what you see. Lines are a basic element in art and creatives would find it hard to do without them. Yet Goodell’s work is much more than an exercise in making marks. Her lines are physical, leading us from one direction to another, colorful and full of meaning. She describes them as “a depiction of the lines we deal with in our daily lives, whether they be literal, figurative or metaphorical. I break down images into colorful, pattern-filled lines that build figures in motion as they go through our world of lines.” That makes sense because people are walking, talking lines too.    —Jo Anne Triplett

<theater>

Dec. 5 – 21

‘Forgive Me, It’s Christmas’
Bunbury Theatre Company
The Henry Clay Theatre
604 S. Third St.. bunburytheatre.org
$10 – $22

Bunbury Theatre’s producing artistic director, Juergen Tossmann says the central characters in “Forgive Me, It’s Christmas” — Meryl and his intellectually challenged brother Loomis — were inspired by a couple of real characters he observed one day at Churchill Downs. Not long after Meryl and Loomis “entered his brain,” Tossmann announced a new holiday play would be part of the 2014-2015 season. He started writing the play in August, and the new production makes its debut this Friday. Meryl is all set to receive what he thinks is a prestigious horseman’s award and wants Loomis to don a tux for the occasion. Loomis decides instead to donate the itchy suit to a Jehovah’s Witness, and the result is a hilarious tale of holiday giving. —Laura Snyder

<art>

THROUGH DEC. 29

‘Small Worlds’ by Margaret Oechsli 
Paul Paletti Gallery
713 E. Market St., 589-9254
paulpalettigallery.com

Art is all around us; it’s just waiting for the right person to find it. Few artists epitomize this idea as well as photographer Margaret Oechsli. As a research scientist with a Ph.D. in Immunology, Oechsli documents the beauty and color of worlds hidden from the naked eye. Using microscopes to photograph chemical reactions caused by medications in the body, Oechsli documents moments that are filled with color and movement and that have an uncanny resemblance to the works of artists like Jackson Pollock and Joan Miro. It is a fascinating look at what is inside of us, what we put into our bodies and also reminds us that inspiration can come from levels far beyond our own vision. — Chasson Higdon