Stage & Canvas 

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The Cracker Cometh
If the almost immediate transition to the commercialized holiday season has you jaded, we're happy to announce that the eternal antidote is being offered up at the Detroit Opera House. Rivaled only by vodka as the best darn thing to come out of Mother Russia, The Nutcracker is the ultimate Christmas fantasy – a work that children and adults adore with equal fervor. Take an eggnog break now if you already know the story. If not: Tchaikovsky's ballet centers on Clara, a little girl who receives a special toy from her godfather on that wonderful eve of all eves. This saber-wielding fellow with the strong jaw comes to life shortly after midnight and proceeds to battle a horde of annoying rodents. Housecleaning duties completed, he whisks Clara off on a magical journey to a land where sweets, beverages and indigenous dance routines are enjoyed by one and all. The BalletMet Columbus will provide the movements, the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra under the baton of Peter Stafford Wilson will supply the sounds and Sir Roger Moore's voice will narrate the play-by-play events. That's right – the former 007 himself! The plums start to get sugared on 11/23. Please crack – that is, check motopera.org for ticket info.

Fabulous? Absolutely!
We're more than happy to take the time to give another rousing cheer for Faberge: The Rise and Fall at the remarkable Detroit Institute of Arts. Both a familial saga and a timeline paralleled by tumultuous events in world history, this marvelously curated exhibit features over 200 priceless works made by Faberge craftsmen – everything from cigarette cases to those fabled Easter eggs created especially for the Romanov dynasty. By the way, at the end of the tour you may want to buy a delicious bar of Russian chocolate in the gift shop. Be advised also that an additional DIA treat (with fewer calories) is being offered with Hidden Treasures: An Experiment. Our beloved museum recently dusted off eight paintings that had been stored away for several years. Visitors are being asked to vote for those stories and explanatory paragraphs that seem most appropriate to each canvas. Votes will be tallied up in March and the winning notations will be used when the works are returned to public view. Trust us – THIS election won't be as tedious as the one we just went through! More: dia.org.

Alert
The River's Edge has once again come up with an exhibit featuring two talented people in complete harmony with their inner visions. This time it's Patricia Izzo and Martine MacDonald casting off the dross of slumber in a show entitled But I'm Awake Now. It's also going to be a nice balance between two mediums with Izzo supplying (as usual) memorable photos and MacDonald providing canvases and mixed-media pieces of dazzling color. It will be mezzanine magic until the end of the year. And before we leave you, take note. The River's Edge is one of several Detroit area galleries lending support and visibility to projects aimed at helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The next time you visit an artspace, check to see if you can provide a helping hand as well. And if the hand writes a check, that's great. 3024 Biddle in Wyandotte.

Native
The Zombie Film-Fest we enjoyed last week at the Main Art in Royal Oak (kudos here to Connie Mangilin and the Mitten Movie Project!) also brought our attention to the Red Room Gallery, a charming alcove that the Main generously provides as an exhibit space to local artists. Right now the gallery is being graced by photographs taken by Salwan Georges – pictures that bring into beautiful focus the landscapes and indigenous tribes of North America. Aesthetic and respectfully academic in their attention to often overlooked details, these images have a quiet and haunting depth. 118 N. Main St.

Colors All Along Woodward
Two ongoing exhibits are yours to enjoy if you find yourself driving on either side of M-1 in the next few weeks. The Lawrence Street Gallery is housing Spirit & Matter, a splendid array of works by Agnes Miller. Befitting the title, Miller's canvases are imbued with a dialectical charm with both the thematic and visual subjects present in every canvas. 220 Woodward in Ferndale. We're also happy to bring some attention to Birmingham's Lido Gallery and the paintings of Douglas La Ferle. An artist with a keen appreciation for the aesthetic styling of past decades, La Ferle doesn't hesitate to add a dash of nostalgic humor to his pictures. We also like the intriguing dichotomy he gave Don't Tread On Me, a group portrait that makes us wonder if the boys in The Purple Gang were more politically prescient than we had hitherto imagined. 33535 Woodward. 248.792.6248. | RDW

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