Worth a Look


Welcome winter at Hidden Villa

This time of year, the days are short and the nights are long, but the solstice reminds us that the sun will soon return. Families are invited to celebrate the winter solstice and welcome the new season at Hidden Villa on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2-4 p.m. Participants can make a beeswax candle, contribute wishes with which to decorate an oak tree, hear live music and learn some of the science behind the solstice. Admission is $8 per person (kids under 2 are free). Go to Hidden Villa.

’The Hip Hop Nutcracker’

Yes, it’s another local production of Tchaikovsky's classic Christmas ballet, but with a contemporary twist. Peninsula Ballet Theatre, along with dancers from Tribe and Poise’n, will perform the “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” in which Clara journeys from Scotland to Hip Hop Land, meets the Sugar Plum Tribe, pops and locks rather than pirouettes, and dances to a mashup of classical and modern sounds, Friday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway St., Redwood City. Tickets are $20. Go to Fox Theatre.

Building Futures Now open house

Building Futures Now (BFN), the 24-year-old nonprofit that works with promising students from East Palo Alto and Menlo Park (starting when they’re in third grade) to help them build academic, self-esteem and social skills and prepares them to thrive in high school and college, is holding its open house and student art show on Saturday, Dec. 17, 1-5 p.m., at 1848C Bay Road, East Palo Alto. This autumn, BFN collaborated with EPACenter Arts to incorporate a variety of art forms into its academic curricula. The fruits of their labor will be on display, followed by refreshments and an informational program about BFN’s work. Go to BFN.

Karen White at Viewpoints Gallery

More than 30 of Palo Alto resident Karen White’s vividly colorful landscape and floral oil paintings are on exhibit at Viewpoints Gallery, 315 State St., Los Altos, for the month of December. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. White has lived in Palo Alto since the 1960s and takes inspiration from both the rural and urban environments. Her paintings feature bold, layered textures and thick brushwork. Go to Karen White Art and Viewpoints Gallery.

’The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’

The always-winter-never-Christmas land of Narnia comes to life thanks to the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre this weekend (Dec. 16-18) for the final set of performances of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” C.S. Lewis’ midcentury fantasy classic features the mighty leonine Aslan, the cruel White Witch and the four Turkish delight-loving siblings who accidentally travel through a magic wardrobe to meet them. Performances run Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Tickets are $12-$14. Go to PA Children's Theatre.

Holiday organ recital

Stanford University’s organist Dr. Robert Huw Morgan will perform his annual concert of holiday music on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 1:30 p.m. at Stanford Memorial Church, 450 Serra Mall. Admission is free. Go to Stanford Events.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details