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52 incredible events in Glasgow this December

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It may be the run-up to Christmas - and yes, we have pantos, markets and a fancy dress fun-run with that in mind - but there are also heaps of non-yuletide events to enjoy. For example, there's a healthy dose of US hip hop from The Game and Run the Jewels, a martial arts epic from Wong Kar-Wai and the chance to celebrate the humble cup of joe at the Briggait.

Things to do

Glasgow Coffee Festival, The Briggait, Sat Dec 6
Following last month’s Scottish Coffee Festival, we figured it’d only be fair to give a heads up to December’s Glasgow Coffee Festival, with exhibitors including the Dormous Tea Company, Williams Bros Beer and coffee experts such as Dear Green, Artisan Roast and Papercup.

Riverside Christmas Fair, Riverside Museum, Sat Dec 6 & Sun Dec 7
A free festive market with a retro vibe, including a 1930s-style market street and the chance to visit Santa's grotto aboard the Tall Ship.

Glasgow Santa Dash, George Square, Sun Dec 7
Whether you want to participate and raise some money for charity, or you just like seeing thousands of fun-runners dressed in beards and felt suits, the Glasgow Santa Dash is an annual highlight of the Christmas calendar.

Chris Hadfield, Cineworld IMAX, Mon Dec 15
Do you remember that astronaut who sang ‘Space Oddity’ while actually in space? He’ll be at the IMAX this month, discussing some of the incredible in-orbit photos he took while he was Commander of the International Space Station.  

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. There’s also the ever popular Santa Dash on Sun Dec 7 (see above).

21 Revolutions, Platform, until Sun Dec 7
Exhibition of words and art celebrating over two decades of the Glasgow Women’s Library, with input from Ciara Philips, Corin Sworn, Janice Galloway, AL Kennedy, Karla Black, Lucy Skaer and more.


Reggie Watts, Arches, Mon Dec 15
Here’s a fun fact you may not know about Afro-sporting American beat-boxing comedian and musician Reggie Watts (pictured above): he was born in Germany. Ok, so it wasn’t actually that fun a fact. Go see him anyway.


Top Hat The Musical, Theatre Royal, Tue Dec 2-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’.

Diversity, SECC, Wed Dec 3
One of the few acts on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ that actually had talent, this many-limbed street dance troupe didn’t rest on their TV laurels, instead using their exposure to build a reputation for dynamic dance performances. Check them out at one of the few Glasgow venues big enough to hold them all.

Christmas shows at the Arches, Thu Dec 4-Sun Jan 4
Glasgow’s finest multi-purpose venue is hosting two Christmas shows this year: ‘The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot’ (Thu Dec 4-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. 


Phil Collins: Tomorrow is always too long, Glasgow Film Theatre, Sun Dec 7
No, not that one. This Phil Collins is an artist who has gathered together clips and interviews from the people of Glasgow in an effort to unveil the true face of the city. The film was originally screened as a one-off event in the run up to the Commonwealth Games; this is a rare chance to see it if you missed it the first time.

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.

Jill Todd Photographic Award 2014, Street Level Photoworks, until Sun 7 Dec
Last chance to check out works from the latest crop of promising graduate photographers from across Scotland and Ireland, lent support and exposure by the Jill Todd trust.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Music & Nightlife 

Fat Goth, Bloc, Wed Dec 3
Dundonian hard rock trio with a tendency towards hyper-kinetic live shows and song titles with a sardonic sense of humour, most perfectly encapsulated in ‘You'll Find Me In Da Club (and to be perfectly frank, I'm having a cracking time!)’.

Metronomy, O2 ABC, Thu Dec 4
Joe Mount’s electronica outfit tour fourth album ‘Love Letters’ – an album we said contained ‘more catchy hooks than an explosion in a fishing tackle superstore, matched by a tenderness that lingers just as long as the riffs’ in our four star review.

Slash, SSE Hydro, Thu Dec 4
Catch the axe-wielding rock legend in suitably epic surroundings, accompanied by bandmates Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.

Dusky, Arches, Fri Dec 5
The London deep house and techno duo perform one of their legendary four hour sets at this Arches club night, with support from Tom Trago, Funkinevil, Youandewan and Palms Trax.

2ManyDJs, O2 Academy, Fri Dec 5
Not only are the Belgian electro gods back in town for a set sure to be littered with unstoppable mash-ups and re-edits – they’ve brought along Glasgow-born house and techno fiend Drums of Death for support.

Biffy Clyro, Barrowland Ballroom, Fri Dec 5-Sun Dec 7
Ayrshire's most famous export shuns Glasgow’s biggest venues for a three-night residency at the Barrowlands, playing two of their albums on each night.

Prides, Arches, Sat Dec 6
Synthpop trio who, if there’s any justice, will be hot on the heels of Chvrches as Glasgow’s electronica export du jour.

Rodrigo y Gabriela, O2 Academy, Sat Dec 6
Two people on acoustic guitars with pretty much zero vocals should not be this relentlessly entertaining. Catch the duo live and feel sorry for their battered instruments after.

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’.

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.

The Game, O2 ABC, Tue Dec 16
West Coast rapper and Dr Dre protégé, following in the footsteps of the latter’s similarly Compton-based NWA.

Mike Heron and Trembling Bells, The Glad Cafe, Thu Dec 18
In what is now a traditional winter appearance, former Incredible String Band member Heron joins forces with Alex Neilson’s psych-folk-rock posse.

Madness, SECC, Thu Dec 18
Ska-pop delirium from Suggs and the Nutty Boys.

The Twilight Sad, O2 ABC, Fri Dec 19
The Sad are another of this month's band roster who’ve built a tradition out of Christmastime gigging, in beautiful contrast to their mournful indie palette. This performance also serves as a warm-up for their slot at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

Bye Parrot, Stereo, Fri Dec 19
DIY promoter Cry Parrot (aka Fielding Hope) has been seduced by the bright lights of London’s Café Oto; this farewell shindig in his honour will feature sets from Powell (live), Golden Teacher, Sacred Paws and David Barbarossa (DJ set).

Huntleys and Palmers Audio Club, The Art School, Fri Dec 19
H&P return to their old Glasgow stomping ground for a magnificent seventh birthday, featuring Talaboman (aka John Talabot and Axel Boman) upstairs and Highlife (aka Auntie Flo and Esa) downstairs with special guest Wolf Müller.

Pressure, Arches, Fri Dec 19 & Sat Dec 27
The Slam boys present a corking techno double bill to wrap up 2014: at their Xmas Party on the 19th, Sven Vath performs a three hour set, while their official End of Year party features Len Faki, Blawan, Slam, George FitzGerald, Marquis Hawkes and Silicone Soul.

The RSNO Christmas Concert: The Snowman, GRCH, Sat Dec 20
Actor Blythe Duff joins the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for a performance of Raymond Briggs' famous wintry story, with a few extra Christmas treats thrown in.

La Cheetah Club, Offbeat & Notsosilent present NYE 2014, La Cheetah, Wed Dec 31
You’ll have your pick of great NYE club nights to attend this Hogmanay. If we were permitted to sway you a little though, we’d recommend La Cheetah’s collaboration with Offbeat and Notsosilent featuring special guests I-F (IFM, Viewlexx, Murder Capital), FunkinEven (Apron, Eglo), Dixon Avenue Basment Jams (DAB), Ben Martin (High Sheen).


Black Sea, from Fri Dec 5
Kevin Macdonald directs a Scottish-accented Jude Law in this entry into the lesser known 'Nazi gold submarine heist thriller' genre. With support from some of our favourite character actors of the moment, Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy.

The Grandmaster, from Fri Dec 5
Hong Kong stylist supreme Wong Kar-Wai returns to the martial arts genre with this biopic of Ip Man (aka Bruce Lee's mentor) starring Tony Leung and Zang Zhiyi (both of whom previously co-starred in wuxia epic 'Hero').

Penguins of Madagascar, from Fri Dec 5
Following in the pawprints of 'Puss in Boots', this is the second fun-packed Dreamworks spin-off that may actually surpass the franchise that spawned it, as the arctic escapees plan another joke-filled adventure.

St Vincent, from Fri Dec 5
Not a documentary about wild-haired alt-rock performer Annie Clark, but one of those heartwarming unsavoury-old-man-forms-bond-with-impressionable-kid dramedies. Bill Murray has been widely praised for his title performance as said unsavoury old man.

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').

Big Eyes, from Fri Dec 26
Tim Burton directs this biopic of 1950s artist Margaret Keane (here played by Amy Adams), whose husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) took credit for her popular paintings of big-eyed children.

Annie, from Fri Dec 26
'Beasts of the Southern Wild's Quvenzhane Wallis stars in this remake of the 1982 musical as the orphan who embarks on an adventure when she is adopted by wealthy Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx taking on the Daddy Warbucks role).

Exodus: Gods and Kings, from Fri Dec 26
Following on from of Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah', Ridley Scott delivers his own effects-laden biblical epic, this one focusing on Moses (Christian Bale) and the seven plagues of Egypt.

Unbroken, from Fri Dec 26
Angelina Jolie directs rising star Jack O'Connell ('Starred Up', '71') in this true WWII survival story penned by the Coen brothers.