The Slutcracker, Santas in Speedos, and more events this weekend

By: - Thursday, Dec 4, 2014 - 3:38pm

6495251999_36e15b6d0e_o(Photo credit: Rodney Brown/Creative Commons)

Sick of the holiday season already? Charlie Brown was railing against the commercialism of Christmas way back in 1965 and nothing’s changed yet, so you might as well embrace it. Throw on “This Christmas” and hug your sweetie by the fireplace. Go see a burlesque ballet, run with Santas in Speedos, or score some free hot cocoa. Do you feel it? That warm sensation in your tummy? That’s the Christmas spirit! And the whiskey you topped off your cocoa with. But mostly the Christmas spirit!

* The City Awake social impact festival launches today and runs through December 13. The festival is partnering with 170+ local organizations for 50+ events highlighting Boston’s diverse community of world-class for-impact institutions and leaders — from Ted-style talks and expert panels discussing the world’s most pressing challenges, to workshops and hackathons showcasing prospective solutions. Mark your calendar for Saturday’s City Awake Expo and next Saturday’s Finale Party, both at District Hall, plus everything in between. Various times, prices, and locations

* The Boston Cyberarts Gallery hosts an opening reception for Comfortable Control: Vulnerability in the Digital Age, an exhibition from three local new media artists that explores our inherent vulnerabilities relative to digital technology. Typically characterized as impersonal, the digital technologies surrounding us are actually all products of human endeavors to connect, empathize, and belong. Like sometimes it’s 3 a.m. and you’re trying to sleep but there’s a fireworks show on the back of your eyelids because you’ve been staring at screens all day and it’s finally starting to go away but your phone is right there under your pillow and you could be connecting with so many Patriots articles, empathizing with Tom Brady, and belonging to a team. 12.4. 6p. FREE

* If you happened to catch the New Orleans episode of Dave Grohl’s “Sonic Highways” show on HBO, you know they don’t call him Trombone Shorty because he’s short now, but because he was short when he was first leading bands, because he was four years old. What were you doing when you were four? Whatever it was, you were probably doing it with a big dump in your pants, and it probably wasn’t jamming with Bo Diddley to close out Jazz Fest. Shorty owns that closing set at Jazz Fest now, and you can catch him with his Orleans Avenue band tonight and tomorrow at the House of Blues. 12.4 and 12.5. 7p. $30-50 

* Hot chocolate tastes best when you’ve earned it — after a hard day of shoveling your driveway or at least cleaning your car off. It also tastes pretty darn good when it’s starts with Taza Chocolate hot cocoa mix made into chef-inspired flavors like salted caramel crunch, banana coconut with macadamia nut, cinnamon mocha peanut butter cup, and s’mores. But what really makes the hot cocoa served up at the Revere Hotel’s Pop It Like It’s Hot shop taste so good? It’s free! I’d drink a cup of dirty bathwater with a couple mini marshmallows thrown in if it was free. 12.5. 3p. FREE

* A treasured holiday institution right up there with decorating the tree and hugging your drunk uncle for an uncomfortably long period of time, “The Slutcracker” returns to the Somerville Theatre on Friday with performances through New Year’s Eve. The sexy, satirical take on Tchaikovsky’s classic brings together local ballet dancers, burlesque performers, hula hoopers, belly dancers, and more. The story doubles as a cautionary tale about gifting your significant other a vibrator, because you’re just going to end up threatened by it, and anyways that’s the kind of deeply personal item that people should pick out for themselves, like an iPhone case. 12.4 to 12.31. 8p. $27

* Massachusetts is kind of a microcosm for the country as whole. Consider all the cool stuff happening on the East Coast (Boston) and out west (Amherst, Northampton) separated by a lot of pretty lame flyover country (everything in between). Fresh off their sold-out Great Scott show in October, Western Mass. rockers Speedy Ortiz are back at the Allston venue for a holiday residency on three consecutive Fridaynights. They’ll bring plenty of friends and special guests along, kicking off tonight with Bent Shapes, Idiot Genes, and Chandos. 12.5. 9p. $12

* The Santa Speedo Run started with five drunk dudes running down Newbury Street with a boombox playing Muppets Christmas carols. In what can only be classified as a Christmas miracle, no one called the police, and people actually cheered them on. This year the run celebrates its 15th anniversary, boasting more than 700 annual participants that have raised $1.4 million for local children’s charities, most of which goes to therapy to offset the trauma of seeing hundreds of Speedo-clad Santas running down the street when you were still under the impression that the only Santa lived in the North Pole and you would never, ever have to see his butt cheeks. 12.6. 10a. $30

* Forty years ago when the Vernon Street Studios first opened their doors to the public in a 19th-century brick industrial building, referring to Somerville as “Slummerville” wasn’t just an ironic joke you made while shopping at Whole Foods or drinking $17 cocktails. There’s even a chance the Winter Hill studio paid protection money to Whitey Bulger and the old Winter Hill Gang: “Pretty nice studio you got here. It’d be a real shame if something happened to…hey are these cookies free? What’s the etiquette on eating the cookies if I’m not buying any art?” The studio’s 40th Anniversary Open Studios Celebration highlights the evolution of the creative landmark and features works from emerging artists in a variety of media. 12.6 and 12.7. 12p. FREE 

* Chances are there’s one person on your holiday shopping list for whom buzzwords like “small batch” and “artisanal” and “curated gift box” actually signify a thing they would like to own. Or maybe you’re shopping for someone who just enjoys really good food. Either way, cross them off your list — and score plenty of free samples for your trouble — at the Eat Boutique Holiday Market, open from December 4-21 on Boylston Street in Fenway. Stop by Sunday for their Donuts + Drip Coffee event with Union Square Donuts and Black Magic Coffee. 12.7. 10a. $7