Christmas markets, pantos, outdoor ice-skating - yes, it's all undeniably festive in Glasgow this week, but you can always dilute that with an experimental electronica night at The Art School, some rabble-rousing rock at Bloc or an appreciation of one of Glasgow's most treasured living artists.
Things to do
Glasgow Loves Christmas, city centre, until Wed Dec 31
A festival of seasonal frolics in the city centre, with illuminations and ice skating on George Square and a food-centric market on Argyle Street among the highlights.
A Series of Fortunate Comic Events, Arches, Sat Dec 13
Comic mart and full on geek-in with loads of comic book vendors selling back issues, graphic novels, original art, fan art, toys, t-shirts, jewellery, crafts, cupcakes and loads more.
Tea Green Festive Makers Market, Lighthouse, Sun Dec 14
Another market for you to peruse, this one offering a platform for more than 50 of Scotland’s artists and designers, including jewellers, florists, painters, homeware designers, chocolatiers, illustrators, fashion designers, glass artists and more. There's mulled wine and goodie bags too.
Top Hat The Musical, Theatre Royal, until Tue Dec 13
Let yourself be swept away by this musical classic from Hollywood’s golden age, originally made famous by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and featuring the peerless ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’.
Christmas shows at the Arches, until Sun Jan 4
Glasgow’s finest multi-purpose venue is hosting two Christmas shows this year: ‘The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot’ (until Sun Jan 4) is a kid-friendly tale of Christmas spirit gone AWOL, while Gary McNair’s ‘War on Christmas’ (Thu Dec 11-Sun Dec 28) is a more cynical, adults-only satire following a novice Santa working in one of Glasgow’s most deprived areas.
A Christmas Carol, Citizens Theatre, until Sat Jan 3
Charles Dickens’ famous festive tale is the inspiration for the Citz’ 2014 Christmas show, helmed by the theatre’s Artistic Director Dominic Hill.
Miracle on 34 Parnie Street, Tron Theatre, until Sun Jan 4
Local theatremaker and panto rejuvenator Johnny McKnight writes, directs and stars in his latest production for the Tron, a gender-bending Glasgow-set Christmas fairytale.
Alasdair Gray, various Glasgow galleries, until Tue May 25
The artist, writer and official National Treasure is the subject of no less than three exhibitions at the moment, in honour of his 80th birthday this month. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum hosts lifespan retrospective ‘From the Personal to the Universal’ until February, while the Gallery of Modern Art and Glasgow School of Art are hosting ‘Spheres of Influence I’ and ‘II’ respectively, providing context by looking at Gray’s influences and those who have been influenced by him.
Manuel Chavajay & Rebecca Wilcox: This Might Be a Place for Hummingbirds, CCA, until Sun Jan 18
Two seemingly unrelated artists’ works are brought into direct comparison at this CCA: Guatemalan painter and sculptor Chavajay and Glasgow-based video artist Wilcox.
Lucy Skaer, Hunterian Art Gallery, until Sun 25 Jan
The Turner Prize nominee and Glasgow School of Art graduate explores the relationship between representation and reality, with special inspiration from surrealist artist Leonora Carrington.
Art From Elsewhere, Gallery of Modern Art, until Sun Feb 1
Glasgow is the starting point for this UK-wide touring exhibition, which brings together international artworks from all disciplines in an effort to enhance the country’s contemporary collections.
Nathan Coley: The Lamp of Sacrifice, Gallery of Modern Art, until Sun Mar 1
Coley’s 2004 installation – which involved the creation of 286 churchs and places of worship in Edinburgh – is revived in Glasgow’s GoMA as part of the Generation project, celebrating the last 25 years of contemporary Scottish art.
Manic Street Preachers, Barrowland, Mon Dec 8
Celebrating 20 years since their groundbreaking debut ‘The Holy Bible’, the Welsh indie icons play through the album in full.
Paws, Bloc, Tue Dec 9
Free homecoming show from the rowdy, punky threesome, who have spent much of the year cracking America with We Are Scientists.
Run the Jewels, The Garage, Wed Dec 10
Can you be a supergroup with only two people? Weathermen rapper-producer El-P and Outkast affiliate Killer Mike seem to think so. Head along to catch cuts from album number two, imaginatively titled ‘Run the Jewels 2’.
Inferno Ball, The Art School, Thu Dec 11
The name might seem in questionable taste given the fire that tore through the Art School earlier this year, but in fact the GSA’s end-of-term Inferno Ball has been around since the 1940s. The line-up is a quintessential Glaswegian experimental electronica roster, with Konx-om-Pax, Yolk of Blood, P6, FK Alexander, Crystalis Methodists, Cleoslaptra, Clip Art, Jaisu and Felix Welch.
Malcolm Middleton, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Fri Dec 12 & Sat Dec 13
The king of indie-pop miserability (and former member of Arab Strap) plays two nights at Scotland’s most loved small room: the first night with full band, the second solo and acoustic.
The Phantom Band, Arches, Fri Dec 12
Six-piece genre-straddling ‘proto-robofolk’ posse touring their third album ‘Strange Friend’ (plus soon to be released ‘evil twin’ album ‘Fears Trending’), which mixes elements of krautrock, folk and electronica.
La Cheetah Presents, La Cheetah, Fri Dec 12
The last ‘Presents’ of the year features back-to-back sets from post-dubstep star Ben UFO (Hessle Audio) and Numbers co-founder Spencer all night long.
Stanley Odd, The Garage, Sat 13 Dec
Politicised hip hop with a Scottish accent and live instrumental backing, featuring the no-holds-barred lyricism of MC Solareye at its core.
We Were Promised Jetpacks, QMU, Sat Dec 13
The indie-rock quintet have been on an extended jolly round the States through October and November, touring their third album ‘Unravelling’. This homecoming show is their last of the year.
Taking Back Sunday, O2 ABC, Sat Dec 13
Pretend you’re a 16-year-old emo again by singing your heart out to ‘MakeDamnSure’ (though obviously, you’ve been into them since ‘Cute Without the E’).
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Arches, Sat Dec 13
The Motown legend is becoming a regular fixture on the Glasgow gig scene around Christmastime – head along to hear hits such as ‘Nowhere to Run’ and ‘Dancin’ in the Street’.
Alasdair Gray at the GFT, Mon Dec 8 & Sun Dec 14
As part of the city-wide appreciation of artist and writer Alasdair Gray, the great man himself dicusses three films at the GFT this week: 1958 Alec Guinnes comedy 'The Horse’s Mouth' (Mon Dec 8), plus a double bill of Henry Coombes’ art film 'The Bedfords' and intimate biography 'A Life in Progress', both starring Gray (Sun Dec 14).
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, from Fri Dec 12
Whether or not you feel Peter Jackson was justified in splitting 'The Hobbit' into three movies, you can't argue with the man's skill at bringing the world of Middle Earth to life. Relish what's likely to be his final sojourn there (until someone pitches him 'The Silmarillion').