The Best Things to Do in St. Louis This Week, December 8 to 13

click to enlarge Buy some art for a good cause this Saturday. - COURTESY OF ST. LOUIS ARTWORKS
Buy some art for a good cause this Saturday.

It's cold once again and there are more Christmas events every day. Plays, musical performances, holiday markets — even without snow it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Keep your eyes open for reindeer and remember to moisturize.

1. Catch an award winner in Grand Center
Annie Baker's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama The Flick is an atypical play. There is no action to speak of, and much of what occurs is limited to three ushers mopping the floor of a rundown movie theater. In between bouts of mopping, the trio discuss the job and films, and reveal tiny bits of themselves through nothing but naturalistic dialogue. If you enjoyed the playwright's Circle Mirror Transformation, which Repertory Theatre St. Louis produced a few years back, you'll likely find The Flick similarly enchanting. R-S Theatrics closes out its season with The Flick at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday (December 8 to 23) at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard; Tickets are $18 to $20.

2. Catch an unusual kind of Christmas play at Fontbonne
Theater companies often present Christmas-themed plays during December, but you rarely see one as alien and yet familiar as Ron Reed's drama Remnant. The play takes place after the end of the world, in the cramped home of Barlow Sho'r and family, who live surrounded by the electric detritus of the pre-apocalypse world. Despite the cataclysm that has broken society, memories of Christmas still linger for the survivors — and Barlow fervently believes that if they properly perform all the Christmas rituals tonight, the world will spontaneously rejuvenate. When a mysterious stranger arrives seeking shelter, Barlow has a tough decision to make. Does Christmas require him to kill a man to make its miracle work? Mustard Seed Theatre made its debut with Remnant way back in 2007. It mounts its second production of the show — one even closer to the end of the world — at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday (December 7 to 23) at Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard; Tickets are $15 to $35.

click to enlarge The Gateway Men's Chorus has it all going on. - COURTESY OF GATEWAY MEN'S CHORUS
The Gateway Men's Chorus has it all going on.

3. Thrill to the sounds of the Gateway Men's Chorus
The Gateway Men's Chorus starts its 31st season at the end of the calendar year with its always popular Christmas performance. This year's show Hark, How the Bells offers the popular favorites and Christmas carols you'd expect, as well as a special treat: Ralph Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs. The piece comprises five meditations on the nature of spiritual love for a baritone soloist; Dr. Robert McNichols Jr. will be doing the honors. Also joining the GMC is the Trinity Presbyterian Church Handbell Choir, which will provide the bells for the harking. Hark, How the Bells is performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (December 8 and 9) at Union Avenue Christian Church (733 North Union Boulevard; Tickets are $20 to $25.

4. Celebrate
Christmas at the Cathedral
If you like your Christmas songs with a dose of wonder and awe, not just all that ring-a-ding-ding ho-ho-ho jolly crap, you might want to celebrate Christmas at the Cathedralhis weekend. The St. Louis Archdiocesan Choirs & Orchestra promise to perform the music of Advent and Christmas in one of the most glorious spaces in the city — beneath the gorgeously mosaic-filled dome of the Cathedral Basilica. For both performances, mezzo-soprano Johanna Nordhorn takes the solo parts in John Rutter's Magnificat. Christmas at the Cathedral is performed at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (December 9 and 10) at the Cathedral Basilica (4431 Lindell Boulevard; Tickets are $24 to $49.

5. Shop away at ArtWorks Sale
If you're looking for a gift that no one else could possibly duplicate via Amazon (or even a trip to the mall, how exhausting!), you'd be wise to check out the ArtWorks Sale held Saturday, December 9, at St. Louis ArtWorks. A total of 60 young artists will be selling their work, including a printmaking group that's incorporated cartography into their pieces and those working with the Batik textiles program, which makes brightly colored and hand-dyed fabrics. Hey, it's a whole lot better than that fast-fashion sweater from H&M that'll be pilled beyond recognition in a month. The sale is held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Louis ArtWorks (5959 Delmar Boulevard; Admission is free.

6. Eat, drink and be merry at Wintermarkt
No one does Christmas quite like the Krauts, and if your idea of celebrating the season involves both the delectable gingerbread Lebkuchen and the rich meatloaf Leberkäse, you've got a marvelous option in Midtown at Urban Chestnut's Wintermarkt. The market includes both vendors on site for holiday shopping and live music, as well as beer specials, traditional Eastern European food and warm drinks. Drink hot cocoa if you're trying to maintain sobriety — or do it like the Germans do and brace yourself for the cold and drear with a nice warm Glühwein. Wintermarkt is held Saturdays in December (December 9 and December 16) from 2 to 6 p.m. at Urban Chestnut (3229 Washington Avenue; Admission is free, although you'll pay for food, drink and your purchases.

7. Snoop around STL's finest at the Lafayette Square Parlor Tour
Some people don't decorate much for the holidays, because how much can you spruce up a two-bedroom apartment that's mostly held together with cat hair? For those desirous of holiday beauty, any number of tours in town feature beautifully decorated homes. Perhaps the loveliest among them is the Lafayette Square Parlor Tour, which stars eleven homes in the city's grandest neighborhood that have been properly decked out for the season. Their owners open the doors Sunday, December 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to welcome admirers. Interested parties should meet at Park House (Mississippi and Lafayette avenues;, where you'll pay for your tickets ($20 to $25) and tour book. If you want to make the tour in style, free carriage rides are offered; there's also a holiday market and kids' crafts (from 1 to 3 p.m.).

8. El-Oh-El at Craigslist for a good cause
Putting on a show to raise some much-needed money is a time-honored tradition. Local theater company Equally Represented Arts takes this route for its first fundraising gala. The centerpiece of the evening is The Residents of Craigslist, an original show created from real posts found on Craigslist. Each performance opens with a silent auction at 7:30 p.m., followed by the play at 8 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., musical guests take the stage to perform. The entire extravaganza is reproduced across four nights, Wednesday through Saturday (December 13 to 16) at the Centene Center for the Arts (3547 Olive Street;, with the musical act changing each night. Tickets for the evening are $25, and the dress code is "yard sale formal."