Weekender: Dec. 8-9

‘Zhenya’

Saturday, Dec. 8

234 Pearl St., New Albany
zhenyaexhibition.wordpress.com
Free; 5-8 p.m.

In October, an 11-year-old Russian boy named Yevgeny Salinder discovered the remains of a wooly mammoth. It was named “Zhenya” after his nickname and is the second-best preserved mammoth ever found. Eight senior BFA art students from IUS are channeling Zhenya’s curious spirit in their exhibition of the same name. The artists will display their work, which ranges from illusionistic to abstract, at a one-night-only show Saturday. The pieces include traditional media such as oils, graphite, monotype and ceramics, and branch into installation, shadow boxes and vegetable papyrus. Like Zhenya’s discovery, this exhibition represents each artist’s own explorations in his studio. So make an expedition across the bridge and discover something new for yourself. —Sara Havens

 

Help Portrait

Saturday, Dec. 8

930 Art Center
930 Mary St.
help-portrait.com
Free; 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Everyone knows the holiday season should be about giving back as much as getting. Keeping with that spirit, this weekend the folks at Help Portrait will offer cameras, lights and generosity to take free photos for those in need. Help Portrait has recruited about 30 local hairstylists, make-up artists and photographers to doll up and snap all those who attend the event. Individuals and families will head home with either one free 8×10 or 4×6 print along with a CD of their images. To date, Help Portrait has provided close to 170,000 portraits in 1,520 locations and more than 56 countries. —Anne Marshall

 

‘Fifty Years in KY Journalism’

Saturday, Dec. 8

Carmichael’s Bookstore
2720 Frankfort Ave. • 896-6950
Free; 1 p.m.

Look at you — flipping through paper pages to get your news! In today’s world with ready access to aggregated blogs, you’ve shown the good taste to value journalistic tradition and individual voices. One of the cornerstones of journalism in our region, Al Smith, is celebrated in the new book “Kentucky Cured: Fifty Years in Kentucky Journalism.” The man himself is coming to Carmichael’s Saturday for a reading/signing. This book will introduce you to a wealth of characters that could only be assembled in our commonwealth. But you’ll also learn that public fights to support education and the arts were going on long before Rand Paul’s rise (or Mitch McConnell’s, for that matter). Newshounds have long been held responsible to serve — rather than pander to — the readership, and Al Smith has understood this privilege. —T.E. Lyons

 

What Made Milwaukee Famous

Saturday, Dec. 8

Zanzabar
2100 S. Preston St.
zanzabarlouisville.ticketfly.com
$10; 9 p.m.

Winner of this week’s honorary “Simpsons” Be Sharps Award for naming a band something kind of clever that quickly becomes more trouble than it’s worth is this Austin-based indie rock group. Now celebrating a decade together with a new album, You Can’t Fall Off the Floor, being released next month, WMMF has been perpetually on the rise, playing all the major festivals, filming a set for “Austin City Limits” (one of the few then-unsigned acts featured on the prestigious showcase), and touring with Arcade Fire and the Black Keys, among others. And the name? Swiped from Jerry Lee Lewis’ song “What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me).” So have a Schlitz and enjoy the sounds. —Peter Berkowitz

 

‘Brown-Forman Nutcracker’

Dec. 8-23

Kentucky Center
501 W. Main St. • 584-7777
louisvilleballet.org
$30+; 1:30 & 7:30 p.m.

If you’re seeing large dancing mice and you didn’t smoke anything funny, then it must be “Nutcracker” time. It’s an annual favorite — the Louisville Ballet revamped in 2009 to add the St. James Fountain and Derby jockeys just for Louisvillians. At any given moment, the stage is filled with up to 180 people, including more than 100 children. Throw in some magic by illusionist Marshall Magoon, and you’ve got a doozy of a show. “Nutcracker” is as much an event as a dance. The Louisville Ballet is offering Sugar Plum Parties on Dec. 8 and Dec. 16 for $20 per person. And a dancer from the company will read the “Nutcracker” story at the Southwest branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, 10375 Dixie Highway, on Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. —Jo Anne Triplett

 

Spirits of the Red City

Sunday, Dec. 9

Clifton Center
2117 Payne St.
cliftoncenter.org
$5; 7 p.m.

Take a dirty basement version of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros’ quasi-Jesus lovin’ pop hymns, add the deliberate post-Dylanisms of a younger, less greasy Conor Oberst, and season with a more string-driven version of Neutral Milk Hotel’s freak-garage songs, and you’ve got a potent mixture kinda sorta like the sound of the Minneapolis-based tribe called Spirits of the Red City. Led by Highlands native Will Garrison, the family returns with a special show notable not just for the music, but also for the presentation. The Spirits will take over the Clifton stage, all acoustic, and the audience will also be onstage with the group — something like the audience will be at the back of the stage, and the group will be down stage. Like a house show in a really huge house. —Peter Berkowitz

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