* Messiah The Charlotte Symphony and Oratorio Singers of Charlotte celebrate the holiday season by performing the most popular sacred work of all time: Handel's "Messiah". Located at First United Methodist Church, 500 N. Tryon St. Wed., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m. $18, can order online at call 704-972-2000, log onto http://www.charlottesymphony.org or buy at the door. Charlotte Symphony, 201 S. College St. 704-972-2000.
ComedyPsychotic Pooch Psychotic Pooch. at 3143 Cullman Ave. Live sketch comedy and improv. Comedy rated NC-17 for situations and content. E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fri., Sat., 11 p.m. Continues through Jan. 8. $8, additional $3 for after-party. 3143 Cullman Ave. 704-375-2826.
The Perch Sketch Comedy Theater Extreme Improv. The Desperate for Attention Players will be performing Chicago stylel long form shows. Down and dirty, stage clawing, improvised comedy available no where else in this area. Saturdays, 7 p.m. Continues through Jan. 8. $8. 1500 Central Ave. 704-372-7724.
* The Nutcracker the tradition returns, as NC Dance Theatre presents Salvatore Aiello's beautiful holiday classic. Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 15, 11:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 16, 2 p.m.; Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 21, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 22, 11:30 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 23, 2 p.m. Tickets range from $15-$50. 704-372-1000 or 704-522-6500.
* Levine Museum of the New South Catawba Pottery, Legacy of Survival: Seven Master Potters. get an intimate look at the pottery of the Catawba Indians. Approximately 30 pieces of pottery will be displayed along with text and photos that explain the history and role of pottery in the Catawba culture. Crossroads Quilters: Stitching the Community Together. Exhibition includes 15 traditional quilts, photographs, teacher guides, gallery guides and a "discovery panel". Light Days, Dark Nights: The Carolina Photographs of Doris Ullman. the exhibit will feature the portraiture of this acclaimed photographer who traveled throughout North and South Carolina from 1929-1933 shooting images of Americans in the rural South, whom she felt define the essence of the American people. 200 E. 7th St. 704-333-1887.
* Mint Museum of Art Artists' Forum:" What's Happening In Charlotte?". Area artists will discuss their work as well as current issues and activities in their artistic fields. Talks will be followed by an informal reception and a chance to meet the artists. Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame. a collection of masterworks highlighting some of the greatest triumphs and tragedies in early Mesoamerican history. 2730 Randolph Rd. 704-337-2000 or 704-333-MINT.
Hansel & Gretel an enchanting holiday program including the much-loved, time-honored gingerbread cottage, the wicked witch, and an incredible score by Engelbert Humperdink. This is Opera Carolina's first holiday show. It will be performed entirely in English with piano accompaniment and a special appearance by St. Peter's Episcopal Children's Chorus. Dec. 20, 7 p.m.; Dec. 21, 7 p.m.; Dec. 22, 11 a.m. $14. Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. 704-372-1000.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree Warm your soul with the perfect family outing the weekend before Christmas. This musical adaptation of the Gloria Houston book will be presented by CPCC's Opera Theatre in the Pease Auditorium. Gloria Houston herself will narrate and sign copies of her book following the show. Dec. 22, 3 p.m.; Dec. 23, 3 p.m. $10 for individuals, $30 for families of four or more. CPCC, P.O. Box 35009. 704-330-6436.
* The Littlest Angel a classic holiday story of the spirit of giving. Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 15, 11 a.m.,1 p.m. & 3 p.m.; Dec. 16, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m.; Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. $9 for center seats, $6 for side seats. Children's Theatre of Charlotte.Visual ArtsApplewood Gallery Selected Works by Regional Artists - at the Applewood Gallery. Featured artists: Mary Kelly (pastel works), Sheridan Strickland (pottery), and Cama Tadlock (acrylic & mixed media works). 3920 Park Rd. 704-525-6162.
Art Gallery Unlimited These Mountains and Valleys. an exhibition of watercolors by Dariusz Orszulik of Poland. Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings. works of Piotr Lucjan of Poland. 507 E 36th Str. 704-347-0067;618-6568.
Art Institute of Charlotte Gallery Exhibit of Art Institute of Charlotte Instructor's Work. will feature works by Thomas Bontempo, Diane Bounds, Wil Bosbyshell, M.J. Cunningham, Quentin Currie, Joan Faison, Pierre Fraser, Roger Hicks, Jennifer Moore, Mike Watson, Julia Winfield. 2110 Water Ridge Parkway. 704-357-8020.
* Blue Pony Gallery & Press Art for the Holidays. gift sized works of art by gallery artists. 3202A N. Davidson St. 704-334-9390.
Center of the Earth Gallery Robert Gardner: A premier exhibition of new work in glass and steel. Exhibit will highlight a combination of freestanding sculpture and wall relief constructions. 3204 N Davidson St. 704-375-5756.