5 to 7 things to do this weekend: Dec. 1-2
It’s suddenly, desperately holiday shopping season, and the weekend is filled with opportunities to pick up unique and/or bargain wares with that Camberville vibe. But to not let sheer commerce overload the “things to do” list, it’s been padded a bit:
Get used, bargain, and collectors books as cheap as $1 at the Harvard Book Store’s Winter Warehouse Sale. Unlike the Frequent Buyer’s Sale in October (in fact, frequent buyer discounts don’t apply at this event, and nor do gift cards), this event isn’t at the Harvard Square store, but at its Somerville warehouse, and it focuses on used, bargain and collectors titles — hundreds of them priced at $1, $2 or $3 — and gives bargain books an additional 15 percent off. The warehouse, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, is at 14 Park St., Somerville, just off Somerville Avenue. More information is here. (The store has a separate event of sorts Sunday: A percentage of each purchase at the 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square, store goes to the Cambridge Public Library Literacy Project.)
Support indigenous artisans, performers and fair trade by buying at the Cultural Survival Bazaar. Traditional and contemporary crafts, art, clothes, jewelry, carpets and accessories are on sale at this rotating series of bazaars, which have run since 2006 and are credited by the Cultural Survival organization with raising $3 million for its indigenous artists. Performances are scheduled during the event from Hawk Henries, who plays Native American flutes, and the Simba Maasai Outreach Organization. This weekend the bazaar is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Cambridge College, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., between Central and Harvard squares. (The events stay in Cambridge through Dec. 16 before finishing the year in Boston.) More information is here.
Grit your teeth at the name and enjoy Sparklefest with the kids. The Harvard Square Business Association has a five-week schedule for Sparklefest, through New Year’s Eve, but the event launches this weekend with an ongoing exhibit of glittering rare minerals at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St.; free stories and snacks for kids at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Harvard Coop at 1400 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square; the start of Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre’s “Nutcracker” — with more than 200 children from throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire onstage during the run as party children, mice, soldiers, Polichinelles, cherubs, angels and in the lead role, Clara — for $38 to $50 through Dec. 16 at The Sanctuary Theatre, 400 Harvard St.; the second annual Cambridge Yulefest 5K (and subsequent block party and beerfest) at 10 a.m. Sunday at Harvard Yard; and the opening of the 27th annual Harvard Square Holiday Fair, featuring artisan gift items such as jewelry, pottery, cards and calendars, art, recycled silk, lamps, tiles, hats and scarves. “This is not your average craft fair,” organizers say. “It’s more like a party where you can buy stuff.” Billed as a “high-energy alternative marketplace with a great soundtrack,” it’s at The First Parish Unitarian Church, Zero Church St., Harvard Square from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. (It also runs Dec. 7-9, Dec. 14-16 and Dec. 18-23, with weekday hours 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.) More information is here.
Embrace hipsterdom (or say you were into vintage stuff before it was cool) at the Holiday Vintage Market. Somerville’s Davis Flea isn’t limited to December, but the Holiday Vintage Market sale stands apart — as suggested by a Davis Square flea market held in Union Square. This features vendors of vintage and antique furniture, clothing, jewelry, posters, music, ephemera, collectibles and more from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Uniun Warehouse at 3 Sanborn Court, Union Square, behind The Independent and next to Journeyman.
Geek out at the “Apocalypse Drow” comedy event. You can attend this epic, dozen-comedian show even if you have no idea what the title means — and you might want to attend even after you find out. (A drow is a dark elf such as you — or Ben Chang from the television show “Community” — might play in Dungeons & Dragons.) The $5 comedy show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday and features S. Ryan Armistead, Marlon Brandrow, Comicazi Prime, Matt Chaves, Leanne Cushing, The Dork Knights, Justin P. Drew, Andrew Durso, Ruth Ferrick, Kevin Harrington, Brett J. McCabe, Anthony Scibelli and Jenny Zigrino and, if the title and likely material to be covered still isn’t geeky enough for you, is at a comic book store: Comicazi, at 407 Highland Ave., Davis Square, Somerville.
Cherish our local holiday tradition, and its boobs, at “The Slutcracker.” This burlesque event and its sex-positive (to put it mildly) message has been gyrating around The Somerville Theatre since 2008, selling out shows and winning rave reviews throughout. This is the first year the social conservatives at Mass Resistance has caught on, though, giving the show what might be the best review yet by condemning it as the “latest assault on Christmas by [the] liberal elite: [A] Sexualized version of ‘Nutcracker,’ including transsexuality and sado-masochism.” Yes, this is all true, except it’s not so much an assault as it is something you have to buy tickets to see and can’t get into if you’re under 18. So if you tend to ignore reviews, blurbs and giant posters, are of age, buy a ticket and sit through all two hours of something unsubtly called “Slutcracker” and can still justify calling that an assault, this is the show for you. It’s also for you if you enjoy seeing cute people dancing around and singing suggestive, funny songs. And, actually, it’s not for you if you insist on nudity. Technically, there is none.
Prove yourself at the Big Quiz Thing’s Tenth Anniversary Quiz Show Marathon Spectacular. This is a full Sunday of multimedia team quiz, a marathon noon to 10 p.m. event with a $500 grand prize (or, if you subtract the cost of entry, a $485 or $490 grand prize, depending on whether you buy at the door or in advance, respectively). There are distractions and pick-me-ups promised along the way, including smaller prizes, performers and short films, but for some seeing Noah Tarnow, founder and senior quizmaster of the traveling event, onstage for a full 10 hours might be enough. Think of it as a guilt-free Jerry Lewis telethon that does no good excepts burn off a cold Sunday in an entertaining and challenging way. The event takes place at Oberon, 2 Arrow St., Harvard Square. More information is here.