Smart Bets

A Christmas Carol

Beginning both the holiday season and a winter residency at the Masonic Temple, Montford Park Players performs Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. This is the story with Tiny Tim and Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future — we know it by heart, yet it never gets old. Watch it in the historic Masonic Temple theatre Friday, Dec. 10-Sunday, Dec. 19. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. $6-$12. montfordparkplayers.org.

Count M'Butu and Kevin "Kalimbaman" Spears

Grammy winner Count M’Butu was born Harold L. Jones in Georgia, but after meeting Col. Bruce Hampton in the '80s, many things changed. Including his name. Among other projects, the Count has been the mysterious sixth member of The Derek Trucks Band. He'll perform his percussive collaboration with Kalimba virtuoso Kevin "Kalimbaman" Spears at Tallgary's on Saturday, Dec. 11. tallgarys.com.

Asheville Choral Society’s Heart and Hearth

What's more festive than bursting into seasonal song? How about those same holiday songs ("Carol of the Bells," "Hallelujah Chorus," Rachmaninoff’s "Bogoroditse Devo" and Mendelssohn’s "Heilig") sung to you, a cappella, by a professional chorus? The Asheville Choral Society performs Heart and Hearth: Songs for the Season at the Central United Methodist Church.
Friday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. $10/$20. ashevillechoralsociety.org.

Nikki Talley at Jack of the Wood

On the heels of her latest release, Beautiful Charmer, local songstress Nikki Talley plans a show at Jack of the Wood. It's the perfect venue, really — Talley's sound is rootsy-but-contemporary, country-yet-urban. And the instruments on her album range from piano and accordion to Dobro and banjo, all backing Talley's fine vocal and penchant for spinning a tale. Friday, Dec. 10, 9:30 p.m. nikkitalley.com.

Brian Haynes art show

Brian Haynes founded the late (and much-missed) record store Almost Blue. He's the father of Austin Haynes (of Ville Boyz) and (perhaps most importantly this particular week) the brother of Warren Haynes. Brian is also an artist in his own right (according to a press release, "paintings on wood, paintings on 45s, paintings on just about anything and everything but canvas") — and he'll be showing his original and found works at PULP through the end of January. Opening reception on Thursday, Dec. 9, 5-7 p.m. pulpasheville.com.

We Won’t Bow Down

If you’re not familiar with the documentary We Won’t Bow Down, it’s a good time to learn about the pretty amazing project. Local filmmakers (Chris Bower, Steve Mann, Daniel Judson and David Kabler) have spent six years working on it, capturing the past, present and future of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indians. Get a look at that fantastic world through the lens of Mann’s camera with an exhibit up at Cafe Ello. Opening reception Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. There’s a kickstarter campaign for the project, too, with about a week left: kickstarter.com/projects/spyboy/we-wont-bow-down.

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