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Originally published Sunday, December 25, 2011 at 5:49 AM

16 top entertainment picks, Dec. 25-31

This week's arts highlights include the movie "The Artist," plus Seattle-area appearances by Woody Allen and "Portlandia: The Tour."

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Movies

'The Artist'

Shot in soft black and white, and nearly silent, Michel Hazanavicius' new movie is a love letter to '20s-era Hollywood. Now playing at Harvard Exit and Lincoln Square. For showtimes, see Page H5. For Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald's recent 4-star review, go to www.seattletimes.com/movies.

TV

'The Closer'

It's been nice to have Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick) and the gang back for a few new episodes this month. The show has been as involving as ever, with stellar guest stars Elizabeth Perkins, Fred Willard and Mark Pellegrino. Monday's episode is the last new one until the very last episodes next spring. 9 p.m. Monday on TNT.

'The 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors'

This year's honorees are Barbara Cook, Neil Diamond, Yo-Yo Ma, Sonny Rollins and Meryl Streep. Join the celebration of these fine artists at 9 p.m. Tuesday on CBS.

Food

BBQ Showdown

Get some free barbecue chicken, pulled pork and smoked brisket. American Brewing Company in Edmonds will throw a "BBQ Showdown" Saturday. Folks are invited to come sample the food from 5-8 p.m. Stick around after 8 p.m. (admission $5) for live entertainment and finger food to kick in the new year. 180 W. Dayton St., Warehouse 102, (425-774-1717 or www.americanbrewing.com).

Festivals

Model Train Festival

For the choo-choo geek in your household: Several local clubs host model train layouts and Puget Sound Model Railroad Club engineers operate their masterpiece — the museum's permanent display of the largest model train layout in the state, 10.a.m.-5.p.m. Monday through Jan. 1, Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; $6-$8 (253-272-3500 or washingtonhistory.org).

Ring in the New Year at Seattle Center

Rock the night away at an all-ages dance with Rhythm Nation. Hungry: The customary array of food vendors will be open inside the Center House and mobile food vendors will congregate on the South Fountain Lawn, 8-11:45 p.m. Saturday; Space Needle fireworks show at midnight, Seattle Center, Seattle; free (206-684-7200 or www.seattlecenter.com).

Pop music

Woody Allen

The self-deprecating Allen would be the first to tell you he's a better comedian and director than he is a clarinet player, but in this case he wouldn't be exaggerating. Even so, Allen's spirited New Orleans-style jazz band — members of which play on the soundtrack of Allen's new Jazz Age film, "Midnight in Paris" — includes some killer-dillers, notably banjo man and vocalist Eddy Davis. 7:30 p.m. Monday, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $46.50-$66.50 (877-784-4849 or www.stgpresents.org).

'Portlandia: The Tour'

Fred Armisen, the Northwest's own Carrie Brownstein and others hit the road to celebrate their hilarious TV spoof of Portland's vegan tree-hugging subculture. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; sold out (888-929-7849 or www.showboxonline.com).

Theater

'Dina Martina Christmas Show'

The twisted cabaret performer returns with singing, dancing and hyperventilating. Adult material. 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Re-bar, 1114 Howell St., Seattle; $20-$25 (800-838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com).

'Land of the Sweets: Burlesque Nutcracker'

The sixth installment of this Lily Verlaine-Jasper McCann holiday show boasts some new cast members and new costumes plus an "unpretentious smash-up of classical dance and vintage bump." Mwah! 7 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, The Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $30-$35 (206-838-4333 or thetripledoor.net).

Classical music

'In dulci jubilo: A Renaissance Christmas'

Doug Fullington and The Tudor Choir present carols, chant and Renaissance motets in an appropriately historic setting. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blessed Sacrament Church, 5041 Ninth Ave. N.E., Seattle; $20-$25 (206-323-9415 or www.tudorchoir.org).

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

SSO conductor laureate Gerard Schwarz returns to lead the orchestra and guests in selections from Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" and, of course, Beethoven's mighty Ninth. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m. Saturday (post-concert celebration available), Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $25-$125 (206-215-4747 or www.seattlesymphony.org). Schwarz's successor as music director, Ludovic Morlot, returns from travels to conduct violinist Joshua Bell with the symphony on Jan. 10.

Seattle Choral Company

O fortuna! Celebrate the old and the new with SCC's now-annual, year-end performances of Orff's "Carmina Burana." Conductor Freddie Coleman will lead the SCC in the composer's own chamber version. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Theatre at Meydenbauer Center, 11100 N.E. Sixth St., Bellevue; $55-$65 (800-838-3006 or www.seattlechoralcompany.org).

Visual arts

Gallery110

The gallery mounts its annual "White" show by its artists, including Maylee Noah, Ray Schutte and Kevin Marshall. All the works — guess what? — "explore the aesthetic of white." Noon-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays through Friday, Gallery 110, 110 Third Ave. S., Seattle (206-624-9336 or www.gallery110.com).

'Luminous: The Art of Asia'

Two weeks remain to see Seattle Art Museum's thought-provoking exhibition of gems from its Asian art collection. The show closes Jan. 8 to make way for a major show of works by Paul Gauguin, opening Feb. 9. 1300 First Ave., Seattle (206-654-3100 or www.seattleartmuseum.org).

Paul Vexler

This ingenious Everett native makes lightweight, kinetic sculptures out of reclaimed wood. Schack Art Center, which named Vexler the 2011 Artist of the Year, exhibits his work through Thursday in downtown Everett. 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett (425-259-5050 or www.schack.org).

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