10 Best Bets 

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Nov. 23-Jan. 20

If you're looking for original art, jewelry, mosaics, pottery, purses or paintings to buy but don't want your wallet to take a beating, visit "50 and Below" at Art Works Studio and Galleries. You'll find one-of-a-kind art for less than $50. While there, enjoy the November All Media Show, "Simply Photography," "Recent Works of Lisa Fann," "Sequences" by Linda Winkler and the Skylight Gallery Members' Show. Admission is free. Noon-6 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Visit www.artworks richmond.com, or call Glenda Kotchish at 291-1400 for details.

Dec. 1

Turn your TV off and listen as local storytellers weave tales of mythological, universal and personal adventure infused with holiday spirit. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, get into the oral tradition with The Tell Tale Hearts Storytellers Theater's "Stories for the Season of Light" at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Tickets are $10, and the performance is appropriate for ages 10 through adult. 7:30-9:30 p.m. For more information, contact Judith Onesty at 261-4973 or visit www.telltalehearts.org. Tickets are available for purchase at www.artsglenallen.com.

Dec. 4

Empower yourself and your sisters. Take a walk with Northwestern University chair and professor of psychology Alice Eagly as she discusses women in leadership and the barriers they face in attempting to succeed. "Through the Labyrinth: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Women as Leaders" begins at 7 p.m. at University of Richmond's Jepson Alumni Center. Free, but tickets are required and may be reserved in advance by calling 289-8980. For group tickets, contact Sue Robinson-Sain at 287-6627.

Dec. 7 & 14

Take a nighttime carriage ride and see Maymont in a whole new light. A team of four-legged friends transports you through "Maymont by Moonlight" to the Maymont House, where Victorian ladies and gentlemen host special tours of the Dooley Mansion. End your evening in Maymont's Peacock Alley with living history, holiday shopping, carol singing and light Christmas refreshments. $25. Registration required. 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Hampton Street entrance. Call 358-7166, ext. 329, or visit www.maymont.org for details.

Dec. 10

The New York Times does not compare many Celtic violinists with Jimi Hendrix, but that's what makes Eileen Ivers so special. Ivers has more than 80 contemporary and traditional albums and movie scores under her musical belt, so you are sure to enjoy a festive holiday evening with "Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul: An Nollaig -- An Irish Christmas" at the UR Modlin Center's Camp Concert Hall. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $32, with discounts for seniors and children. Call 289-8980 or visit www.modlin.richmond.edu for more information.

Dec. 3, 13, 17

"Look Good ... Feel Better." Learn strategies for coping with the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment in this hands-on workshop for women undergoing or recently finished with cancer treatments. Enjoy a free gift of full-size, name-brand cosmetics. Each workshop is free, but registration is required. Dec. 3, 1-3 p.m. at Hanover Massey Cancer Center, 8220 Meadowbridge Road, Mechanicsville; Dec. 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Hawthorne, the Cancer Resource Center, 1459 Johnston-Willis Drive; and Dec. 17, 6-8 p.m. at Women's Health Center at Stony Point, 9000 Stony Point Parkway. For more information, contact Carolyn Haynes at 527-3778, ext. 3778, or visit www.cancer.org.

Dec. 14-23

Don't let another winter go by without treating yourself to an evening of sugar plum fairies and dancing mice at Richmond Ballet's "The Nutcracker." The ballet, performed at the Landmark Theater, is set to Tchaikovsky's musical score, performed live by the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. $18-$100. Dec. 14-15 and 20-22 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 15 and 22 at 2 p.m.; and Dec. 16 and 23 at 1 and 4:30 p.m. Call Aaron Sutten at 344-0906, ext. 244, or visit www.richmondballet.com.

Dec. 31

Ring in 2008 with a saucy, sizzlin' girls' night out. Venture downtown to Toad's Place for music, bubbly and fun. Ogle the cute guys in Carbon Leaf and get down with Me & Her. Doors open at

8 p.m. $25 in advance, $30 day of show. 140 Virginia St. Call 648-TOAD for more information.

Jan. 7

Nothing says empowerment like tying yourself to a rope and climbing a 50-foot wall. Kick off the New Year by building muscle, agility and confidence at the climbing gym Peak Experiences. The first Monday of

every month is ladies' night, starting at 6 p.m. For half-price admission, you learn the basic techniques and rock-climbing safety. To try the sport with other women climbers, join the Women Who Rock climbing club, which meets every Tuesday night at 6:30, with brief instruction prior to climbing. A membership or a day pass is required to attend any class at the gym. For more information, visit www.peakexperiences.com or call 897-6800.

Jan. 16

Witness history in the making at the 2008 First Freedom Awards Dinner, honoring advocates of religious freedom at the international, national and state levels. Celebrate Virginia's heritage as the place in our nation where religious freedom first became law in 1786 with the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a precursor to the First Amendment. Proceeds from the event benefit the Council for America's First Freedom's student educational programs. Tickets are $160; sponsorships available.

6-9:30 p.m. The Jefferson Hotel, 101 W. Franklin St. For more information call, Maureen Rosenbaum at 643-1786 or visit www.firstfreedom.org.

Holiday Theater

compiled by Mary Burruss

Need some ideas for entertaining your holiday guests? Take them (or, better yet, send them) to the theater. There are loads of Christmas-themed plays and other fun performances out there. And if you've had your fill of shopping, preparing and celebrating, indulge in a night of simply observing the events unfolding onstage.



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