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PICNIC Holiday Sale

58 Fore St, Portland, ME   (view map)

BOTH SIDES OF THE BAUBLE | Holiday entertainment tends to splinter into two groups: the faithful and the oddball. For the former, there’s Portland Stage’s classic, full-ensemble rendition of A CHRISTMAS CAROL (through December 23; today at noon and 5 pm, $34-44 at 25A Forest Ave.), Portland Ballet’s VICTORIAN NUTCRACKER (at Merrill Auditorium at 2 pm, $24-54 at 20 Myrtle St.), and the entire town of Kennebunkport (whose CHRISTMAS PRELUDE, which wraps today, is an aggressive two-week campaign of well-tinseled merriment). Those are all well and good, but let’s be real: there’s little hope of getting through the season without strangeness, and it’s impossible to weather the good-egg conventions and commercial blitzkrieg without healthy doses of irony and oddity. For that, seek out the transfixing actor Will Rhys in his one-man rendition of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Freeport Factory Stage (through December 15; 2 pm today, $10-15 at 5 Depot St. in Freeport), Dustin Tucker in David Sedaris’s humbuggish neo-classic THE SANTALAND DIARIES (through December 16; 2:30 and 5:30 today at Portland Stage, $34-44), and Vivid Motion’s annual and joyously debauch NUTCRACKER BURLESQUE, which opens at the St. Lawrence Arts Center on December 14. To say nothing of the oddities you might find at the massive local arts marketplace PICNIC, this year at 58 Fore St. from 11 am on.

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