Not to brag or anything, but I'm almost completely done with my Christmas shopping. I actually had a lot of it finished before Thanksgiving, but I guess it's easy when half the people on my list are getting framed photos of my son.
I found a lot of my son's stocking stuffers at Philbrook and Gilcrease museums' gift shops. I wandered in when I was reporting on the Festival of Trees and the Ledger Art exhibit, respectively, and found an abundance of adorable and unique books and developmental toys that I couldn't resist.
It sort of got me thinking about those of you who maybe haven't finished your Christmas (or Hanukkah) shopping yet, and how, rather than head to the mall or Target for yet another Bath and Body Works lotion or pair of slipper socks, you could buy a truly inspired gift from your local gallery, museum or theater. Not only will you be supporting your local business owner, but you'll also impress the receiver with your gift-giving creativity.
Aside from the truly unique items you can find at the Philbrook or Gilcrease gift shops (you don't have to pay museum admission to go into the shops), a membership to one of the museums would also make a nice gift and enable your loved one to cash in on museum discounts, freebies and special events. A membership to Living Arts of Tulsa would also do the same. For more, philbrook.org, gilcrease.org or livingarts.org. Memberships are affordable gifts that the receiver will be able to use all year long.
Depending on your budget, a piece of original, local artwork is also a brilliant gift idea. Each of the local galleries has an exhibit up now, and much of the art on display is priced to sell for the holidays. Visit the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady; M.A. Doran Gallery, 3509 S. Peoria; or Artifacts Gallery, 417 W. 7th St. Those are only a few of your options; see our Events pages for a complete list of local galleries and exhibits.
Another idea, although you'll probably have to give this gift before Christmas Day, is a pair of tickets to one of Tulsa's annual holiday productions. Here's what's going on:
Christmas wouldn't be complete without American Theatre Company's annual production of A Christmas Carol. They've been doing it since 1976 and show no signs of stopping. If they did, there'd probably be a public outcry, as Tulsans still, year after year, show up in droves to see the elaborate show.
Robert Odle adapted the Charles Dickens classic for Tulsa's audiences, Richard Averill composed the music, Richard Ellis designed the set, Edward Durnal directs and, this year, Karl Krause stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserly fellow whose life is changed when he learns the "true meaning of Christmas" in one night via visits from three different ghosts.
This one is perfect for the kiddos, especially those who've never seen a live production of this story before.
The show runs December 11-13, 16-20 and 22-23 at 7:30pm and December 14 and 21 at 2pm in the John H. Williams Theatre of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. 2nd St. Tickets are $35 at the box office or at tulsapac.com.
Another ATC production, less traditional but fast becoming a holiday favorite, is David Sedaris's The Santaland Diaries, his bitingly humorous account of working as a holiday elf in Macy's "Santaland" in Manhattan.
The Santaland Diaries marked Sedaris's debut as a comic when he read the story on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Sedaris has gone on to receive a cult-like following from avid admirers of his dry, sarcastic brand of humor.
Mike Pryor stars in ATC's adaptation of the show, which offsets nicely the company's traditional holiday fare with a sort of anti-holiday show. Leave the kiddos at home for this one and enjoy a night of adult humor.
The Santaland Diaries, directed by Randy Whalen with scenery by Richard Ellis, will be on the Tulsa PAC's Liddy Doenges Theatre stage December 12-13 and 17-20 at 8:15pm and December 14 at 2:15pm. Tickets are $35.
The Tulsa Ballet's annual performance of The Nutcracker also marks an annual family holiday tradition. Tickets to the performance, December 13-21, are $15-$55. For more, see the story on page 50.
Locals can always count on the Nightingale Theater for a sort of anti-holiday holiday fare. The theater, which houses writers collective 50 Swats and theatre troupe Midwestern Theatre, is notorious around these parts for its edgy, uncommon theatre. And that's putting it mildly.
This year, theatre co-owner John Cruncleton leads the Midwestern Theatre Troupe in "Holiday Hootchie Kootchie," with naughty Vaudeville comedy, featuring live rock-n-roll music, shadow puppets, robot sexuality, high-concept, low-brow striptease, no-concept, high-brow burlesque and a whole ton of promised laughter.
"Holiday Hootchie Kootchie" runs December 11-13 and 18-20 at 8pm at 1416 E. 4 St. Tickets are $5. More at nightingaletheater.com.
In addition to putting on its own theatrical antics, the theater also hosts traveling and locally-produced shows, some of which have nothing to do with hootchie kootchie. This weekend, the theater welcomes "Christmas Dream," a debut performance by new company Creative Spaces.
"Christmas Dream" combines traditional and "soulful" song and dance for a show that's promised to appeal to all age groups. The show involves live music and local artists and attempts to uplift and inspire audiences despite current economic conditions. Performances are December 14 and 21 at Nightingale, and tickets are $20.
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse, 1800 S. Main St. in Broken Arrow, continues its run of A Christmas Story December 11-13 at 8pm and December 14 at 2pm. Go to bacptheatre.com for more.
Clark Youth Theatre continues its production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever December 12-13 at 7:30pm at 11440 E. Admiral. Visit clarktheatre.com for tickets and other info.
Sapulpa Community Theatre, 124 S. Water St., presents A Tuna Christmas December 12-14 and 19-21. Two (busy) comedians portray all 24 citizens of Texas's third smallest town, Tuna. Call 227-2169 for tickets, showtimes and other information.
Also, don't forget to check out area galleries as I mentioned above. In addition to their December exhibitions, most, including the museums, are hosting other special events to get you in the holiday spirit.
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