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Courtesy of Oleg March
Arts + Culture

10 Amazing Things to Do In December

We've rounded up the month's best in art, theatre and food.

Theatre

The Present, Barrymore Theatre, NYC

This December, Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett will make her Broadway debut in a re-imagination of Anton Chekov’s Platonov. Directed by John Crowley (Brooklyn), The Present is set in the mid-1900s post-Perestroika, and centers on an “independent but compromised” widow (Blanchett) who invites a menagerie of old admirers, new suitors, and friends to an old country house on the eve of her 40th birthday. Given Blanchett’s star power, this is a theatre experience you won’t want to miss.

Amélie, A New Musical, Center Theatre Group, LA

Fans of the eponymous 2001 French film will get to see Amelie’s heartwarming story play out on stage this holiday season at Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group. Taking on the the title character is Phillipa Soo, A Tony Award nominee for her work opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton, who will be joined by Adam Chanler-Berat (Peter and the Starcatcher) as Amélie’s love interest. Think of it as a feel-good alternative to the usual holiday programming.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time, Oriental Theatre, Chicago

The story of a teenage boy with Asperger’s syndrome who tries to solve the murder of his neighbor’s dog, Simon Stephen’s The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time achieved instant success when it hit the bookshelves in 2003. It has since been adapted into a critically acclaimed production that has graced stages in New York and London, and this December, it will make its Chicago debut at the Oriental Theatre.

RELATED: Chicago’s Latest Design Digs

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Courtesy of the Center Theatre Group

Restaurants

Dôa, Miami

Arjun Waney, the restaurateur behind Miami’s hot spots Zuma and Coya, is at it again—this time, with a “LatAsian” concept on South Beach’s buzzy Collins Avenue. Titled Dôa, the 160-seat restaurant has an open kitchen, a central island bar, a DJ booth, lounge area and maki counter in a young, urban space designed by London-based Sagrada Studio. But the newcomer’s real selling point is its menu, which serves up flavors that are “unique to the Asian influenced cuisine born in Latin America”—dishes like pork belly ramen, spicy beef tenderloin from a charcoal robata grill, and a molten cake with white chocolate and lucuma, a South American fruit.

Nerano, LA

Amalfi Coast-inspired eats are on the menu at Nerano, a new Beverly Hills hotspot from the same folks behind LA institution Toscana. The two-story, 4,000-square-foot eatery will serve coastal-accented dishes like spaghetti alla Nerano made with zucchini, squash blossoms, provolone and basil, plus bespoke cocktails and over 200 wines. Modern, clean-lined interiors with romantic touches like red velvet couches and candlelight make the spot equally suited for date nights and power lunches.

Chinese Tuxedo, NYC

New York City has no shortage of Chinese food restaurants. But if what you crave is less “cheap eats” and more of an upscale, authentic, and yes, expensive meal out, put Chinese Tuxedo on your list. The Doyer Street restaurant is housed in a former Chinese opera house and features a sexy sunken dining room with 16-foot-high ceilings, leather booths and and plaster walls. The bites are inspired in part by the cooking of the Chinese diaspora and, more specifically, Australia. We’re talking curried chicken spring rolls, whole squab with salt, spices, and black vinegar, and charcuterie boards with honey-glazed pork and spiced duck liver pâté.

RELATED: 10 Stylish (and Affordable!) NYC Digs

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Courtesy of DOA Miami Beach

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Courtesy of Rob Stark

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Courtesy of Oleg March

Art

"WOMEN: New Portraits," Annie Leibovitz, NYC

Annie Leibovitz’s photographs have appeared on the covers of such glossy magazines as Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and Vogue. Now, the legendary shutterbug has teamed up with feminist activist Gloria Steinem and UBS to have her work featured somewhere decidedly less glamorous: a former women’s prison. Titled “WOMEN: New Portraits,” the exhibit consists of 41 portraits of pioneering females (think: Misty Copeland and Caitlyn Jenner) in a space that evokes the institutionalized discrimination women face everyday.

"Albert Oehlen: Woods Near Oehle," Cleveland Museum of Art

In Europe, German artist Alberta Oehlen is renowned for his monumental paintings of tree-like forms, but little is known about the artist or his work here in the United States. Seeking to change that is The Cleveland Museum of Art, which will host the largest U.S. exhibition of Oehlen’s work to date starting this December. Expect virtuosic paintings that push the boundaries of figuration and abstraction—plus, curatorial, musical, and written contributions by four of the artist’s closest friends and collaborators.

"Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time," Los Angeles County Museum of Art

LACMA’s latest exhibition takes on Picasso and Rivera’s work at a moment in time when their paths diverged: post-WWI. The modernist masters sustained a working relationship since the two met in Paris in 1914, each pushing the other to engage with Cubist forms in daring and ground-breaking ways. But following the War, Piccaso and Rivera went their separate ways, and now, LACMA will showcase 100 paintings and prints that examine each artist’s response to that cultural and historic shift.

"A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde," MoMA, NYC

This new exhibit draws from MoMa’s impressive collection of the work of Russian Avant-Garde—an abstract movement that gained momentum during World War I and endured until Stalin clamped down on it in the 1930s. Work of such heavyweights as Alexandra Exter, Natalia Goncharova and Vladimir Mayakovsky will be shown, along with films, film posters, photographs, illustrated books and issues of the noteworthy New Left magazine.

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Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh for UBS

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Courtesy of Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin | Paris

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Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

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