Top Tickets: December 12-18
Diablo’s can’t-miss events of the coming week: Abe Mania comes to Walnut Creek, Mark Morris’ The Hard Nut, a holiday movie series, and more.
Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War at the Walnut Creek Library
“Was Lincoln sexy?”
That’s the hard-hitting question Stephen Colbert put to political pundit and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, when she was a guest on his November 7 show. Goodwin’s biography of the 16th U.S. president, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, was a major source for Steven Spielberg’s new film, Lincoln. Goodwin proclaims that Lincoln definitely had that certain allure. “I’ve been saying it for years, but everyone thought I was crazy,” she told Colbert.
Whether you agree that Lincoln was a fox, you have to agree that he’s pretty hot these days—as in a hot commodity. There is the Spielberg film, with Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln a top contender for a Best Actor Oscar. A popular Lincoln-related op-ed topic has emerged since President Obama’s re-election, drawing comparisons—favorable and not—between Lincoln’s management of his wartime cabinet and Obama’s political skills.
And opening this Friday, right here in Walnut Creek, is the traveling exhibit, Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War. While the exhibit is on display through February 8, a series of accompanying special events are scheduled over the next month, including talks by scholars, film screenings, performances of songs, and displays of Civil War memorabilia. The exhibit and events are made possible through a partnership between the Walnut Creek Library Foundation, the Walnut Creek Library, the American Library Association Public Programs Office, and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
Read on for more information on the Lincoln exhibit’s opening party, and the rest of this week’s top event picks.
December 13–16: The Biggest Gift
For more than 30 years, Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble has presented quality, interactive musical entertainment to families and young children. The Biggest Gift is the company’s endearing holiday mystery about Santa’s missing letters from kids. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, $14, (925) 943-7469, tickets: lesherartscener.org, more info: fantasyforum.org.
December 13–21: Holiday Movies on the Big Screen
Livermore’s indie Vine Cinema presents a series of holiday favorites, starting with Will Ferrell’s 2003 hit Elf (December 13). It continues with A Christmas Story on December 15 and 19, White Christmas on December 18 and 22, and It’s a Wonderful Life on December 20. Vine Cinema and Alehouse, 1722 First St., Livermore, $7–$9.50, (925) 447-2545, vinecinema.com/specialevents.html.
Diablo's Classic Film Series, with the California Independent Film Festival, presents the 1947 holiday classic The Bishop's Wife, at Orinda Theatre on December 15 and Moraga's New Rheem Theatre on December 19. The New Rheem will also screen the cult classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians on December 21. All tickets $5; for more information on all screenings, visit lamorindatheatres.com.
December 13–21: A Down Home Christmas
Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre Company presents a concert filled with country and Christmas songs performed by Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally, whose roots music is reminiscent of classic country duos such as Tammy Wynette and George Jones. This intimate show inaugurates the theater company’s second stage cabaret performance space. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley, $28, (510) 843-4822, auroratheatre.org.
December 14: Lincoln at the Library
The Walnut Creek Library becomes a living history showplace for all things Civil War at this open house to welcome the exhibition Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War. The reception will feature a Lincoln impersonator, people dressed in period costumes, a replica of a medical field hospital, and a special guest reading the Gettysburg Address. Walnut Creek Library, 1644 North Broadway, Walnut Creek, 6:30-8:30 p.m. free, (925) 935-5395, wclibrary.org.
December 14–23: The Hard Nut
You’ll hear Tchaikovsky’s sweeping Nutcracker score, but choreographer Mark Morris imbues it with his unique and hilariously unsentimental sensibility. So, along with snowflakes and the Waltz of the Flowers, audiences at this Cal Performances presentation of The Hard Nut will also enjoy what the Washington Post calls “an honest” but “enchanting” portrait of love. Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, times vary, $30–$110, (510) 642-9988, calperfs.berkeley.edu.
December 17: Winterfest
Honored by Diablo magazine as the Best Community Music Group, the Contra Costa Wind Symphony invites you to a sing-along of holiday favorites and presents a quartet of sisters performing heavenly harp music. Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave., Walnut Creek, 7:30 p.m. free, ccwindsymphony.org.
For even more events happening this week, or to submit an event for consideration, visit Diablo’s Community Calendar. Follow Diablo on Twitter or Facebook (links below), and you'll be notified as soon as Top Tickets posts each Wednesday morning.