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See & Do

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December 21, Wednesday

Testament to the power of the medium, Clay Aiken's second-place finish on American Idol brought him more fame and success than a lifetime of touring (and it's kept comedian Kathi Griffin's career afloat). Like Carson Kressley, Aiken's appeal is his aw-shucks charm, which invests a gentle innocence in his adult-contemporary fare. It remains to be seen whether his shelf life will surpass Pop Rocks. If you want them, more details are available at 704-522-6500. Show begins at 8pm and tickets range from $39.50-$54.50. Charlotte Bobcats Arena. There now, we've done our duty and told you about it. (Chris Parker)

Sing Glory Hallelujah, y'all! Tell the good tidings to Zion -- and to the daughters of Jerusalem while you're in the neighborhood. For unto us is given the very first full-length performance of Handel's Messiah at Belk Theater -- with all the trimmin's from Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the Oratorio Singers, and four guest soloists making their Queen City debuts. Scott Allen Jarrett leads these combined forces through the world's most beloved oratorio, climaxing in the stirring "Hallelujah Chorus." Nothing shabby about the brassy "For Unto Us a Child Is Born" or "The Trumpet Shall Sound," either. Kendra Colton is the soprano soloist, Paula Murrihy is the mezzo, William Hite sings tenor, and Richard Zeller booms the bass. Tickets for the 7:30pm performance are $14-$44. Call 704-972-2000. (Tannenbaum)

See for yourself the writers who've continued the tradition of fine Southern literature at the Charlotte Museum of History. Distinguished photographer Curt Richter spent part of seven years photographing more than 200 writers associated with the land of grits and honey, including Alice Walker, Eudora Welty, Jimmy Carter and Pat Conroy. The exhibit's been around since Oct. 1, but you can catch it through Jan. 5 at the museum. Tues. through Sat.: 10am to 5pm; Sunday: 1pm to 5pm. Admission $6 adult/$5 senior, student/$3 children. Charlottemuseum.org or 704-568-1774. (Shugart)

For those who like pageantry with their Savior celebration, Carowinds WinterFest has more than one million twinkling lights on 35 acres boasting the largest Christmas celebration in the Carolinas. Take the kids to see a live performance of Santa's Toy Factory, a look at the inner-workings of Santa's workshop (they don't have to know it's a "performance") WinterFest lasts nine more magical nights. Dec. 21-23 and 26-31. Tickets are $22.99 at the gates, $19.99 in advance. For more information call 704-588-2600. (Neumark)

December 22, Thursday

Charlotte's beloved downtown staple for the arts and sciences (What is Discovery Place?) presents Rockin' the Holidays. Get your "off"s on with the 95.1 DJ Mix-off and holiday dance-off. From Britney to Bing, lyrics can be requested for spotlight time in the karaoke area before or after visiting the crafts tables and magic show. But the main attraction will be those legendary legs of Americana kicking up their heels for a meet-and-greet session. Straight from Radio City, the Rockettes will sign autographs and display a few of those famous eye-high kicks. Dec. 22, line up from 10-11am for autographs; other events last until 2pm and are free with general admission. Details at www.discoveryplace.org. (Emily Milloy)

Around the time the Double Door Inn opened its doors as an Elizabeth neighborhood pub, a Dick was running the country and there were major issues with the nation's fuel supply. That was 32 years ago... funny how some things never change. The bar, whose stage has seen Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Dixon and Buddy Guy, to name a few, is one of the more authentic places left in the QC these days. Tonight they're doing some celebrating with an anniversary party featuring another longtime local music icon, jazz purist Bill Hanna. The CPCC Jazz Ensemble will set the mood at 8pm and Hanna, joined by his quartet, will commence his regular weekly jamming around 9:30ish. Call 704-376-1446 for more information and ticket pricing. Admission is $8-$10. (Lynn Farris)

December 23, Friday

A stethoscope and blouse is now commonplace in hospital hallways, but like many other pursuits, the medical profession was one considered "unsuitable" for women. The Public Library downtown (PLMC) has teamed with The National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, MD, for a new exhibit to celebrate women, like Charlotte native Dr. Jonnie Horn McLeod who created Charlotte's premier walk-in drug treatment facility. The exhibit, Changing the Face of Medicine, also praises the accomplishments of women in other fields such as sports, literature, and government. The exhibit ends today at PLMC's Gallery L. Details at www.plcmc.org. (Emily Milloy)

For years the LA Clippers have been the butt of every NBA joke. Only the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks could possibly compete in a futility contest. But this is a new year and the Clippers sit atop the always tough Pacific conference, (which includes the Lakers, Suns, and Kings). Even worse for the Bobcats, every time I write one of these previews, they lose. Oops, sorry Bobcats. The game begins at 7:30pm. Call 1800-BOBCATS for tix ($10-$85). (Neumark)

December 24, Saturday

It's the last time we'll all get to enjoy the fragrant smell of roasting meat taking over the city unless the Panthers can secure a home play-off game. And, the chances of that will be increased by beating the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday in the Panthers final home game. If the Panthers do clinch a home play-off game expect the meat smell to double, maybe even triple in intensity. The Cowboys are also in the play-off mix so this one should be close. Notorious meanie Bill Parcells' brings a formidable defense and an underrated offense to town. Ultimately this will be a battle of the Juliuses. Our Peppers vs. their Jones. Fear not, ours has bigger guns. The game begins at 1pm, but if you want to be drunk for kickoff, the pre-game begins considerably earlier. Details at www.panthers.com. (Neumark)

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