The holiday season brings a full schedule of traditional events. There are multiple versions of the Nutcracker (by New Orleans Ballet Theatre, Delta Festival Ballet and the Moscow Ballet) and New Orleans Symphony Chorus' production of Handel's Messiah. A touring production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas is at Saenger Theatre.
There also are less traditional and offbeat holiday celebrations. Here are some of them.
The Hip-Hop Nutcracker. This version sets the story in 1980s Brooklyn and features a DJ and hip-hop dance from Brooklyn's Decadancetheatre. Tickets $49-$60. At 7:30 p.m. at Saenger Theatre.
The Nutcracker. Trixie Minx's Fleur de Tease burlesque troupe presents its version of The Nutcracker with Corey Mack as Clara. The show features Florida burlesque performer and ballerina Katie James as the Sugar Plum, and boylesque performer Fathoms Deep as the Russian Candy Cane. Aerialist Ooops the Clown is the Rat King. Tickets $15 general admission, $20 reserved seating. At 8 p.m. & 10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at One Eyed Jacks.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze. Part Broadway-style musical, part circus, the touring show reworks holiday stories with music, dance, acrobatics, illusions and more. Tickets $35-$99. At 7:30 p.m. at Saenger Theatre.
Fly Movement Salon: Home for the Holidays. The monthly open mic for circus arts (acrobatics, aerialist acts, juggling, clowning and more) hosts a holiday edition. Performers include Liza Rose, Rebecca Chen, Crosby Sandoval, Melanie Meisner, Sylvie Zlatkiss and others. Donations accepted. At 8:30 p.m. at Cafe Istanbul.
The Nightmare Before Christmas Burlesque. In Tim Burton's animated Christmas tale the residents of Halloween Town break up their routine with a holiday celebration. Remy Dee adapted the movie into a burlesque show. Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door. At 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday at Valiant Theater and Lounge.
Dec. 8-10 & 15-17
Steel Poinsettias. Ricky Graham, Varla Jean Merman and Sean Patterson reprise their mashup of holiday stories, where Mrs. Sandy Claus dishes gossip at a North Pole hair salon. (Previewed last year in Gambit.) Tickets $30. At 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts.
Courtney Act: Lump of Coal. Australian drag performer Courtney Act presents her holiday show. Tickets $20-$25. At 7 p.m. at Cafe Istanbul.
Jingle Bugs. The Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium is infested with puns at this family-friendly event. "Pupa Noel" is pulled by eight beetles and there's face painting, visits with Santa and holiday refreshments including bug nog. fruit fly cake and more. From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Audubon Insectarium. Free with regular admission.
Krewe of Kringle Santa Pub Crawl. The costumed-holiday pub crawl begins at Molly's at the Market and B.B. King's. Tickets $20. Register in advance or from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. before the event. The procession departs at 9:15 p.m. and finishes at Pat O'Brien's and Boondock Saint.
Running of the Santas. The annual Warehouse District Santa run starts at Manning's (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and at 5:45 p.m. departs for Generations Hall, where holiday-costumed revelers can hear Flow Tribe and Top Cats. A costume contest is judged at 8 p.m. at Generations Hall.
A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour. Contestants from past seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race present a holiday show. Performers include Sasha, Shea, Aja, Latrice, Eureka, Naomi and Chi chi. Tickets $43-$55. VIP meet and greet is $165. At 8 p.m. at Civic Theatre.
Eric Benny Bloom's Really Tacky Holiday Show. Trumpeter Eric Benny Bloom sings beloved and loathed Christmas and Hanukkah songs, but with non-traditional arrangements and some costumes and humor thrown into the mix. He's joined by Kyle Russell on piano, Alex Joseph Hall on drums and Jason Weaver on bass. At 9 p.m. at Chickie Wah Wah.
Loose Cattle's Seasonal Affective Disorder album release. Actor/musician Michael Cerveris splits time between his homes in New York and New Orleans. He and Kimberly Kaye perform as the honky tonking Americana and alt-country band Loose Cattle. They release a Christmas album of offbeat tunes, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Dec. 1. It features covers of Robert Earl Keen's "Merry Christmas from the Family," Tom Waits' "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis," John Denver's "Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas" and Big Star's "Jesus Christ." The New Orleans album release party is at 8 p.m. at Chickie Wah Wah. Tickets $15.
Harry Shearer and Judith Owen's Christmas Without Tears. Comedian, voice of many Simpsons characters and radio host Harry Shearer and wife and singer Judith Owen host their annual holiday sing-along of traditional and not so traditional tunes. Guests (some appear one-night only) include John Goodman, Bryan Batt, Michael Cerveris, Evan Christopher, Helen Gillet, Aurora Nealand and others. Tickets $32. At 7:30 p.m. at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre.
A Very Electric Christmas. Lightwire Theater, creators of dancing electric wire lit dinosaurs in Darwin the Dinosaur, presents its holiday story about a lost bird trying to find his way home in time for Christmas, with some elements of The Nutcracker blended into the story. Tickets $20-$90. At 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Jefferson Performing Arts Center.