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Best Bets: Dancing fairies, Bad Bad Hats and more

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2011 file/ News Tribune The Minnesota Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" plays this weekend at Symphony Hall. 2 / 3
Robert Robinson performs Sunday at Sacred Heart Music Center. Submitted photo3 / 3

Dancing fairies, cookies and international flare

Clara gets a special gift in the Minnesota Ballet's "Nutcracker," one that is promptly put to use in a war against the in-house rodents. The annual production — set in Manhattan during the Edwardian period — includes fairies, waltzing flowers, dances with international flare and a larger-than-life Mother Ginger and her crew of cookies-gone-wild.

Minnesota Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" is at 7 p.m. Dec. 8-Dec. 9, 3 p.m. Dec. 10 at Symphony Hall. Tickets: Start at $15 at, Ticketmaster outlets including the DECC box office and

Beware the elf

Stop us if you've heard this one: A writer takes a seasonal job as an elf at Macy's and, whoa. Luke Moravec stars as Crumpet in the one-man show "The Santaland Diaries," an adaptation of David Sedaris's autobiographical-ish story of life in the green velvet knickers, a forest green velvet smock and a "perky little hand decorated with spangles." The story, made famous on "This American Life," is about applying for the job, training for the job, and ultimately working the job. Stick around afterward: Moravec stays on-brand with a one-man band, Zozatras. He plays drums with his feet, plays guitar and harmonica and sings, and plays keys with the head of the guitar. Expect original tunes and "Scooby Doo"-themed originals.

"The Santaland Diaries" is at 8 pm. Dec. 7-9 at The Underground, 506 W. Michigan St. Tickets: $15 at

Double the pop

Ggoolldd is a pop band from Milwaukee fronted by Margaret Butler, an artist who hadn't really considered music until she moved to Wisconsin and heard some beats she wanted to write lyrics to. "And the next thing you know, you're fronting a dynamic, dirty, synth-pop carnival of a band, hearing your single on the radio and touring the country," according to the lore.

Ggoolldd recently released the EP "Teeth," a swirly neon-dream soundtrack. Alamode, so close to an album release, opens.

Ggoolldd and Alamode play at 9 p.m. Dec. 7 at Blush, 18 N. First Ave. $7 cover.

Bad Bad Hats back

Bad Bad Hats, the Minneapolis band behind the 2015 debut album "Psychic Reader" — and the doomed summer love song "Midway" — return to Duluth for a show Friday.

Facebook movement indicates that the band of Kerry Alexander, Chris Hoge and Noah Boswell are on track to release something new. Meanwhile, they've been touring everywhere. (In July they said they had played 153 shows and driven 70,000 miles in support of "Psychic Reader.")

Bad Bad Hats play at 9 p.m. Dec. 8 at The Red Herring Lounge, 208 E. First St. Tickets: Start at $5 at

Tellin' tales

Gag Me With a Spoon, a monthly storytelling event with featured writers and an open mic for audience members, is Sunday at Blacklist Beer.

This go-round, readers include Mayor Emily Larson, freelance writer Anna Tennis and filmmaker/artist Frank Sander. Music by Emma Spooner.

BYO-story to share: funny, sad, poignant or anywhere in between.

Gag Me With a Spoon is at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at Blacklist Beer, 120 E. Superior St. Duluth. Free, open to the public.

Twin Cities gospel singer performs holiday tunes

A Twin Cities-based gospel singer will perform a holiday concert on Sunday at Sacred Heart Music Center.

Robert Robinson, billed as "God's canary" on his website and "Minnesota's Master Male Vocalist" by the Star Tribune, has performed alongside Aretha Franklin, Prince, Kenny Loggins, Bobby McFerrin, Barry Manilow and more. Robinson got his start as part of a family band and has toured with Lorie Line.

Robert Robinson performs at 4 p.m. Dec. 10 at Sacred Heart Music Center, 201 W. Fourth St. Tickets: $20 at the door.