Just Do Art: The Deluxe Holiday Edition

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“Night at Fulton Market” (2005). See “Remembering Fulton Fish Market.”

As he proved on his debut album (“Something New”), singer/songwriter/rabbi’s son Avi Wisnia knows his way around Brazilian bossa nova, acoustic American folk, 1950’s west-coast jazz and contemporary pop. His latest release (available now online) is the holiday single “Maoz Tsur.” This jazz instrumental is based on a liturgical poem that’s become a popular Hanukkah song often heard after the lighting of the menorah. Translated as “Rock of Ages,” its words celebrate the human spirit’s ability to claim victory over oppressors and overcome persecution. You don’t have to be one of the chosen people to appreciate that — but it doesn’t hurt! With that in mind, Wisnia cordially invites all colors and creeds to come and experience the joy of the holidays at a free event, which will feature the live performance debut of “Maoz Tsur.”

Fri., Dec. 9, from 8-9:30pm (doors open at 7:30pm). Free and open to all ages — but seating is limited, so arrive early. At Live at Caffe Vivaldi (32 Jones St.; off Bleecker St., by 7th Ave.). For info, caffevivaldi.com or 212-691-7538. For more info: aviwisnia.com; twitter.com/aviwisnia; youtube.com/teamwisnia; facebook.com/aviwisniamusic; myspace.com/aviwisniapresents.

Christmas comes but once a year — and to help build that pile of presents under the tree, there’s another annual December event we’ve come to depend upon. Secure a slot on Santa’s “nice” list when you help support ARChive — a nonprofit music library whose stockpile of over 2 million sound recordings makes it America’s largest popular music collection. ARC keeps two copies of all recordings released in America. When a third copy comes in, it becomes part of this annual sale. Over 20,000 items are up for grabs — including books, CDs, LPs, singles, VHS, DVDs, sheet music and a flea market full of vintage kitchenwares, psychedelic rock posters and clothing. All the CDs (mostly pop and rock recordings, priced from $1-$10) are mint condition donations form record companies and collectors.

Sat., Dec. 10 through Sun., Dec. 18. Open daily, 11am-6pm. At the ARChive of Contemporary Music’s (54 White St., 3 blocks south of Canal, btw. Broadway & Church Sts.). Call 212-226-6967 or visit archmusic.org. Blog: arcmusic.wordpress.com. On Facebook: facebook.com/ArchiveOfContemporaryMusic.

The Village Light Opera Group’s presentation of Nathan Hull’s “Scrooge & Gilbert & Sullivan” has high concept charisma to burn. This modern mashup of two timeless classics takes its inspiration from the mutual admiration society formed by Dickens. The “Christmas Carol” author was a fan of Sullivan’s music; and Gilbert adapted Dickens’ “Great Expectations.” Now the creations of this trio are merged into one night of entertainment — in a shows that injects 11 Gilbert & Sullivan operettas into that familiar tale of Scrooge’s redemption.

At The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University (3 Spruce St.). Fri., Dec. 9 at 8pm; Sat., Dec. 10 at 2pm & 8pm; Sun., Dec. 11 at 2pm. The Dec. 10 2pm performance is a Children’s Matinee (special activities before and after, and kids pay half price). The Dec. 10 8pm performance will include sign language interpretation. For tickets ($25 and $45), call 866-811-4111 or visit vlog.org. Group discounts available for orders of 10 or more.


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A full plate of diverse Christmas programming: See “Trinity Wall Street.”
Holiday caroling, a youth chorus performance, a Dickens adaptation and one of the city’s most popular Christmas Eve services: Trinity Wall Street has a little of everything — for everyone. On Thurs., Dec. 15 (at 5pm), The Trinity Youth Chorus performs their annual concert of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.  After the concert, join the Youth Chorus as they lead the audience in holiday caroling (Melissa Attebury conducts). At St. Paul’s Chapel (Broadway at Fulton St.).

On Sun., Dec. 18 (at 1pm),  “Scrooge & Marley: A Reading” invites you to become part of the story, as Theater at Trinity presents its annual reading of Israel Horovitz’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” (audience participation encouraged). At St. Paul’s Chapel (Broadway at Fulton St.).

On Sat., Dec. 24 (at 4pm), the annual Christmas Eve Service for Children, Youth and Families features a sermon presented in a storytelling format. Children are “highly encouraged to participate,” and the Eucharist is celebrated. The Trinity Youth Chorus performs. At Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall St.).

For info on these free events, call 212-602-0800 or visit trinitywallstreet.org.

Over 100,000 white lights deck the World Financial Center Winter Garden — but it’s their diverse programming that makes the season both merry and bright. On Fri., Dec. 9 and Sat., Dec 10 (10am-1pm and 2-7pm), kids (and, yes, adults) can schmooze with Santa, his reindeer and some lively elves. The price of a photo op with this jolly gang starts at $20, with proceeds going to help The Brooke Jackman Foundation promote literacy and learning (see brookejackmanfoundation.org). On Thurs., Dec. 15 (at 7:30pm), the Brooklyn Youth Chorus reunites with soprano Harolyn Blackwell for a holiday concert (featuring a new work based on a Langston Huges poem). On Sun., Dec. 18 (at 12pm), The National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene celebrates the Festival of Lights with Yiddish music and theater. The special guests on the bill (which bills itself as “My Yiddish Chanukah: A Musical Feast for New York) include Zalmen Mlotek, Annette Ezekiel and Alicia Jo Rabins (of the Klezmer group Golem), Daniella Rabbani and Dmitri “Zisl-Yeysef” Slepovitch.

All events take place at the World Financial Center Winter Garden (200 Vessey St.; 3 World Financial Center). For more info on these and other events, visit artsworldfinancialcenter.com.

Another iconic slice of old school Manhattan life that’s gone forever, the Fulton Fish Market’s South Street incarnation (1822-2005) endures — on walls — thanks to the work of Naima Rauam. The artist spent over two decades immersing herself in its darkness to dawn routine, when the market was full of life (and recently expired fish). On the sixth anniversary of its move, Rauam’s exhibit of watercolors and drawings (which glowed with a melancholy poignancy even when the market was still based on South Street) gain power and gravity as time goes by.

Free. Through Dec.18. At @SEAPORT! Gallery (210 Front St., corner of Beekman, at South Street Seaport). Gallery hours: Wed.-Sun., 12-7pm. For info, visit artpm.com.

Peridance Contemporary Dance Company brings its signature style (versatile dancers of diverse backgrounds, innovative movement and design) to this unconventional production of “The Nutcracker.” Expect all the standard issue stuff (snowflakes, sugarplums and that Tchaikovsky score), plus an injection of contemporary choreography performed by a cast of over 60 dancers — including young students from The School at Peridance, pre-professionals from the Certificate Program and the International Student Programs and professional dancers from the Peridance ensemble.

Sat., Dec. 17, at 6:30pm & 8:30pm (followed by a reception); and Sun., Dec. 18, at 2:30pm & 5:30pm. At Peridance Capezio Center (126 E. 13th St., btw. Third & Fourth Aves.). For info, call 212-505-0886 or visit peridance.com.