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Center Stage: What's hot in the Midlands

For more local holiday events, tips and other ideas, visit http://www.thestate.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 4

Trustus Theatre will open "Rent," a musical about bohemian living in New York, tonight. The production is directed by Dewey Scott Wiley with musical direction by Christopher Cockrell. The musical will run through Dec. 13 before a holiday break. The show will resume Jan. 7-23. Trustus is at 520 Lady St. $25; (803) 254-9732

The Columbia Community Concert Band will perform its Christmas and holiday music concert at 7:30 p.m. at Lexington Baptist Church. The church is at 308 E. Main St., Lexington. Free

City of Columbia Parks and Recreation in conjunction with New Life Productions will present the play "To Touch God's Hands" at 7 p.m. at the Booker Washington Heights Cultural Arts Center. The play's premise is about how HIV/AIDS touches the lives of family members. The center is at 2611 Grant St. $10; (803) 255-8164

"Miracle on 34th Street" will be performed by Village Square Theatre tonight through Dec. 13. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. Friday and Dec. 11; 8 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 12; and 3 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 13. The theater is at 105 Caughman Road, Lexington. $12 to $16; (803) 359-1436

K.D.'s Treehouse, Jot and In The Loop will host "A Little Holiday Party" from 4 to 8 p.m. The stores - eco-chic kids boutique, stationery store and local yarn shop - at 2900-B and 2900-C Devine St. will set up the party across the outdoor patios and parking lot behind the stores. Zach Siebert and friends Todd Mathis and Matt Corbin will perform "An Americana Christmas."

This event is part of A Devine Celebration, a holiday open house on Devine Street from 5 to 9 p.m. The Palmetto Pipe Band and the Sandlapper Singers will perform.

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, Dec. 4 and 5

Festivus.

The holiday was created by George Costanza's father, Frank, a character on "Seinfeld," as a nontraditional way to celebrate the Christmas holidays. Wouldn't it be great to hear Frank's thoughts on the recession's effect on Christmas?

For two days, Five Points will revel in Festivus cheer. Here's a schedule:

At 5 tonight, Five Points retailers will host Shop and Stroll; at 6 p.m., there will be a parade with Belinda Gergel, a city councilwoman, leading the way; at 7 p.m., the "Airing of Grievances Tour" begins. For $15, participants can register at the Five Points Fountain to get a tour T-shirt, a grievances notepad, a bag for prizes and a tour map. At 7:30 p.m., chorus students from A.C. Moore Elementary School will sing.

Day two of Festivus will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday as Five Points stores will offer discounts. From noon to 3 p.m., there will be Feats of Strength, with the strength test being the pounds of food you donate to Harvest Hope Food Bank. From 1 to 6 p.m., you can get carriage ride to A Devine Celebration, Devine Street's annual holiday event.

For more information, visit http://www.fivepointscolumbia.com.

FRIDAY through Sunday, Dec. 4-6

Columbia Classical Ballet will dance its version of "The Nutcracker" Friday through Sunday at the Koger Center. The company dancers will perform the production set to the sounds of Tchaikovsky.

Showtimes: 7:30 tonight, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. The Koger Center is at 1051 Greene St. $5 to $32; (803) 251-2222

"Babes in Toyland," the holiday musical, will run at Town Theatre through Sunday. Showtimes are 7 p.m. tonight; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Town Theatre is at 1012 Sumter St. $10; (803) 799-2510

"The Goblin King" will be performed by Celestial Stars, a local dance company directed by Gabrielle Celeste, who wrote and choreographed the production. It's a story of a prince who must find his soul. Showtimes: 7 tonight and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. The performances will be held at the CMFA ArtSpace, 914 Pulaski St. $8 to $18; (803) 939-1129 or http://www.celestialstarsdance.com

SATURDAY, Dec. 5

Get up early for the 56th annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade, beginning at 10 a.m. at Bull and Gervais streets. Get there early and cheer on runners in the third annual Jingle All the Way 5K run beginning at 9:45 a.m.

The Russian silent film "Aelita: Queen of Mars," a sci-fi classic, according to a press release, won't be so silent when it is screened at 7:30 p.m. Dennis James will perform the musical score to the film at USC School of Music's Recital Hall. This is the sixth annual screening of a silent film with accompaniment by James, who specializes in silent film scores.

James, who will play organ and theremin, will be joined by Mark Goldstein, who will perform the buchla lightning wands, a pair of wireless sticks that produce sounds when waved.

"Aelita," according to notes, was produced during the lenient years of Lenin's economic policy, and it was one of the first full-length feature films to depict space travel.

The performance is at 7:30 p.m. The recital hall is at 813 Assembly St. Free; (803) 777-2339

The Cultural Artisans Holiday Bazaar will be held the first two Saturdays of this month at Gotham Bagel. The first is at 1 p.m. Saturday. All sorts of cultures will be represented, including Asian, African and Native American, through poetry and live music throughout the day.

The bazaar is free. Gotham Bagel is at 1508 Main St. Free; (803) 708-4838

SUNDAY, Dec. 6

Christmas at Red Bank is your opportunity to see local musicians like you rarely see them: Singing with the Christmas spirit.

The concert will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Red Bank United Methodist Church.

For three years, Kevin Oliver, a Free Times contributor, has been organizing the music community to play holiday songs in an effort to raise money for charities such as Lexington Interfaith Community Services.

Who's performing this year? Todd Mathis, Mac Leaphart, James Etheridge Jr., Sharon Von Fange, Bentz Kirby, May Weatherwax, Adam Whitehead, Matt Goudelock, Daniel Machado, Kenley Young, Ellie Laveer, Danielle Howle, Brian Conner, Greg Humphreys and Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion.

There's a special treat this year: "Christmas at Red Bank Vol. 1," a compilation CD of previous performances, will be released.

The concert is free, but donations will be accepted. The church is at 2909 Old Barnwell Road, Lexington. (803) 359-4031.

The Carolina Jazz Society will play a Dixieland jazz concert at 2:30 p.m. at the Capital Senior Center, 1650 Park Circle. There will be World War II re-enactors on hand with memorabilia, and the band will play music from that era. $8; (803) 432-1504More parades: West Metro Holiday Parade of Lights, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, 12th Street, Cayce/West Columbia, and the Lexington Christmas Parade, along Main Street at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

SUNDAY and WEDNESDAY, Dec. 6 and Dec. 9

Fort Jackson's 282nd Army Band will present two free holiday concerts: At 5 p.m. Sunday at the MG Robert B. Solomon Center on Fort Jackson and at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Newberry Opera House. The opera house is at 1201 McKibben St., Newberry.

MONDAY, Dec. 7

If you're a state employee, the State Museum is offering a 10 percent discount at the museum store, the Cotton Mill Exchange and at the Crescent Cafe.

You can check it out from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you're looking for something - ties, glasses, shirts, jewelry - with the Palmetto tree symbol, this is the place to go. Just bring your state ID.

The museum is at 301 Gervais St. For more information, call (803) 898-4921.

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