Dancers from Berkeley Ballet Theater perform in The Nutcracker

VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS   For some, the holiday season would not be the same without seeing a performance of The Nutcracker featuring Clara, the Nutcracker, the MouseKing, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Dr. Drosselmeyer dancing to the music of Tchaikovsky. Over the next two weekends, Berkeley Ballet Theater will present a “fresh retelling of this classic tale” at the Julia Morgan Theater. New York Times Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay called the BBT production “more touching than San Francisco Ballet’s performance.” Children can meet the dancers at a Sugar Plum Fairy party after the 2 pm performances on Sat. Dec. 8 and 15.

THE ZINE SCENE is alive and well in the East Bay and will be on full display on Saturday Dec. 8 at the 3rd Annual East Bay Alternative Press Zine Fest. More than 60 local writers, artists, comic makers and publishers will sell their wares . Adam Mansbach, author of Go the F*#k to Sleep and Rage is Back, and author and illustrator Eric Drooker will also speak. (3 p.m, and 2 p.m. respectively) “Come discover those lovely treasures to wile away the long winter nights.” The fair takes place at Berkeley Community College from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SPIRIT UPLIFT  Cal Performances will present Handel’s Messiah, which premiered in Dublin in 1742 and combines Old and New Testament texts concerning prophecies of a Messiah, or savior. One of the most loved of all musical compositions, it has become an integral part of any holiday season. Masaaki Suzuki, the director of Bach Collegium Japan, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, and soloists from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music will perform this 8th-century masterpiece Saturday Dec. 8 at 7 pm at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way at Dana.

WINTER WONDERLAND  It does snow in Berkeley! At least on Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto, where frolickers are invited to put on their boots and mittens to play in the white stuff piled up in the parking lot at 1673 Shattuck Ave. Visit with the Snow Queen, ride a decorated live pony, make holiday crafts like greeting cards and dreidels, buy gifts, and warm up with hot cider and chewy cookies. Sunday, December 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

SOUND, REMIXED There’s a new sculptural sound installation by the internationally acclaimed Seattle-based artist Trimpin at the Berkeley Art Museum. Trimpin, who won a MacArthur genius fellowship in 1997, often uses salvaged and reconfigured instruments. In this exhibit, Nancarrow Percussion Orchestra, he has assembled three upright pianos and a drum set to honor the 100th birthday anniversary of the avant-garde composer Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997). Trimpin has converted Nancarrow’s scores for piano players into electronic music. The exhibit closes Dec. 23.

Don’t forget these other weekend events previously mentioned on Berkeleyside:

Barry McGee’s urban art takes over the Berkeley Art Museum (this is the show’s last weekend)
“Wilder Times” at the Aurora Theater
“Eyes Without a Face” at Pacific Film Archive Friday Dec. 7
High lonesome holidays: Nell Robinson at the Aurora

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To find out about more events in Berkeley and nearby, visit Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. We also encourage you to submit your own events.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...