Holiday burlesque, a swingin' 'Nutcracker' and more of the top Baltimore-area events this week

Mayor's Christmas Parade The last holiday parade of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration kicks off at 1 p.m. today at Poly/Western high schools, Falls Road and Cold Spring Lane, then winds its way through Medfield-Hampden, heading south on Falls, east on 36th street and north on Chestnut Avenue before ending at 37th Street. Spectators will get to enjoy about 160 marching units, plus a bevy of Harley Davidson motorcycles, even a group of Philadelphia's Mummers. And a visit from Mr. Claus, of course.

'Swingin' Nutcracker' Blending the magic of Tchaikovsky with the swing of Duke Ellington sounds like a can't-miss, especially as performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, ably abetted by the exuberant physicality of Step Afrika. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. $12.50-$55. Also 8 p.m. Thursdqay at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda. $12.50-$60.


'Hairspray Live' A live TV broadcast of the Broadway musical smash based on our own John Waters' take on rocking and rolling and desegregating in early-'60s Baltimore. With Harvey Fierstein reprising his Tony-winning as Edna Turnblad, plus appearances by Martin Short, Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande. 8 p.m. Wednesday on WBAL, Channel 11.

'Commodities' A drama centering on "the trafficking of American children into the sex trade," performed by Baltimore's The OVEN company. Opens Thursday and runs through Dec. 18 at Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and Dec. 15-17, 2 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 18. $13-$23.


MGM National Harbor opens Maryland's newest casino, a $1.3 billion facility at Prince George's County's National Harbor, with 135,000 square feet of space, holding 3,600 gaming machines and 140 table games, throws openits doors at 11 p.m. Thursday. 7100 Oxon Hill Road. As they say, please gamble responsibly.

'Bound East for Cardiff' Baltimore's Vagabond Players continues its centennial celebration with a staged reading of this one-act play by Eugene O'Neill, which was first staged here in December 1916, and for which O'Neill was paid $15 — the first royalties he ever earned, according to the folks at Vagabond. To be followed by a discussion of how Vagabond and the young O'Neill became associated. 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Vagabonds, 806 S. Broadway in Fells Point. Free.

Baltimore Krampuslauf A traveling holiday party, complete with caroling (of a sort), a mobile spanking station (for those who make the dreaded Naughty List) and, for the kids, cool trinkets. (The namesake Krampus, by the way, is essentially the anti-Santa, so know what you're getting into.) 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, beginning at De Kleine Duivel, 3601 Hickory Ave., then winding its way through Hampden's Miracle on 34th Street before ending back at De Kleine Duivel. Free. Check out the event's page on

'Christmas Ranch' Marylander Douglas B. Maddox directed this family-friendly tale of a headstrong young girl spending Christmas at her grandmother's horse ranch. Filmed on location at Glyndon's GreenMount Farm. 7 p.m. Thursday at The Senator Theatre, 5904 York Road. $15-$75. (Tickets at

Holiday Spectac-u-thon Trixie Little and her friends are back for their annual holiday burlesque-fest, this one inspired (more or less) by the Frank Capra film classic "It's a Wonderful Life." With help from Roofie the Reindeer, Kinky Krampus and Sister Solstice, but not Jimmy Stewart. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, plus 8 p.m. Dec. 15, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Dec. 16-17 at the Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave. in Highlandtown. $17-$28.

'Laying-by Time: Revisiting the Works of William Christenberry' This exhibit of photographs, sculpture and paintings includes Christenberry's controversial and rarely exhibited "Klan Room Tableau," a multi-media installation addressing the Ku Klux Klan's presence in his home state of Alabama. On display Friday through March 12 in the Decker Gallery of the Maryland Institute College of Art's Fox Building, 1301 Mount Royal Ave. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays, Free.