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Wednesday, December 19 

The Nutcracker
  • The Nutcracker

Raleigh
THE NUTCRACKER
MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM—It's just not Christmas without your creepy godfather commandeering an army of rats and conjuring up a psychedelic land of sweets. Get your annual Nutcracker fix with Carolina Ballet's magical production, set to the tunes of Tchaikovsky. The company performs tonight at 7:30 p.m. and really puts its pointe shoes to the grind with shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Get your tickets early at www.carolinaballet.com. —Karlie Justus

Chapel Hill
WESTERN CIV
THE CAVE—Welcome Alabama transplants Western Civ, whose dark, chunky, post-punk churn ought to feel at home in the birthplace of Archers of Loaf and Polvo. Neither as infectious as the former nor as intricately textured as the latter, there's nonetheless a nice Wire-y insistence, characterized by the band's push and pull between jagged, staccato rhythms and ear-catching ribbons of melody. Tracks like "Secret Lives of Viceroys" move in a moody, wind-and-swoon cycle, building into satisfying, detailed tapestries. The $5 show starts at 10 p.m. —Chris Parker

  • The Nutcracker at Memorial Auditorium; Western Civ at The Cave

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I meant to catch this a while ago but "Pirate Love" is a song by the Heartbreakers, not the Dolls...just …

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