What is there to do in Charlotte this weekend? Here are picks on everything from entertainment – movies to music to theater – to food and wine, beer and restaurants. And shopping, of course...
Whether you’re wowed by the contestants on “So You Think You Can Dance,” moved by contemporary ballet, or in awe of the backup dancers on any number of arena-hopping A-list tours, there’s always a choreographer behind the curtain responsible for coming up with those moves. Charlotte Ballet puts a spotlight on those up-and-coming innovators with the Choreographic Lab showcase. $10-$15. 7:30 p.m. The Patricia McBride and Jean Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance.
Chinese lanterns have been replaced with more than 600,000 twinkling lights adorning towering trees and illuminated displays as Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens transforms for its annual Holidays at the Garden. The holiday garden opens nightly (except Christmas Day) at 5 p.m. with live music, horse drawn carriage rides, roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate, model trains, and the Children’s Discovery Trail of kid-friendly activities. $12.95-$14.95 adults, $11.95-$13.95 seniors, $7.95-$8.95 children 2 to 12; younger than 2 free. Through Dec. 31.
The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and conductor Christopher Warren-Green are joined by guest violinist Benjamin Beilman for Beethoven and Brahms, which includes a performance of Beethoven’s only complete violin concerto. The concert also includes Beethoven’s “Overture to the Consecration of the House” and Brahm’s “Symphony No. 4.” $30-$137. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Belk Theater.
Comedy’s angriest stand-up, Lewis Black (he did voice Anger in Oscar winner “Inside Out”), returns for his politically charged Rant White and Blue Tour. Expect plenty of current gripes about American politics, gun culture and why Hollywood’s getting its comeuppance for its treatment of women (which he discussed in an interview with the Observer Monday), as well as the nightly live and often localized audience-aided rants made available on his website. $39-$65. 8 p.m., Ovens Auditorium.
Much like next week’s Black Friday Record Store Day, Local Comic Shop Day celebrates locally, independently owned comic book stores across the globe with limited edition releases, including hardcover graphic novels and variant exclusives that will only be available for sale that day. These include exclusive Planet Hulk and Batman Hush hardcovers, Charlotte’s Rebel Base Comics and Scott’s Collectibles in Kannapolis are participating locally, as is Borderlands Comics in Greenville, S.C. Free.
If you’ve yet to don your armored battle gear, elf ears or fairy wings, grab your garb because the annual Carolina Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace comes to a close for the season. Stop by Saturday or Sunday for a day of cosplay and combat, maidens and muggles, pirates and pottery, swords and sorcery. Adults $24, children age 5-12 $14, children younger than 5 free. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville.
The annual Speedway Christmas begins Sunday (following Saturday evening’s Eggnog Jog 5K) with Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams leading the charge as the honorary pace car driver. He’ll lead a parade of cars through the 3.75-mile light show, which ends on the track where you’ll find Santa, a petting zoo, the Christmas village, and movies on the big screen every Thursday through Sunday until New Year’s Eve. While the light show is open seven days a week, the village operates Thursday through Sunday. Eight-passenger vehicles $30-$40, vans $50, buses $175. 6 to 10 p.m. nightly, Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Petra’s Bar hosts Bandsgiving – a Thanksgiving benefit dinner and concert to support transgender youth who may face difficult times during the holidays. Farewell Albatross, Radio Lola, Pullover, Infinity Crush and Mitchell Franklin perform and proceeds benefit Trans.Formation – a shelter for transgender youth started by Charlotte musician and nationally recognized activist Lara Americo. Admission is waved for entrants donating a piece of winter clothing in good condition or a covered dish for the buffet (both vegan and non-vegan dishes welcome). Otherwise it’s $5. 6 p.m.
The best-selling show of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s 70-year history is back after its hit 2016 premier, which means the Herdmans are back in all their hardscrabble glory. “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical” begins its month-long run Nov. 24, but given how often it sold out last year it’s good to grab tickets early. The musical version of the favorite Barbara Robinson book and ’80s TV movie features children from the theater’s training program alongside professional adult actors. For ages 4 and up. $12-$28. 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 4 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 23. ImaginOn.