KATIE BLOCKCHRISTMAS WITH JPAS The Jefferson Performing Arts Society presents a number of shows this month at its new Westwego Performing Arts Theater. Information, 885-2000: Dec. 4-5, 10-12. “The Nutcracker,” Ballet Hysell’s award-winning production. Dec. 4-5, 11-12. Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature. Dec. 14. A Nohgaku Kyokai company lecture and demonstration of Noh, a classical form of Japanese musical drama featuring a slow, graceful presentation with distinctive masks and lavish costumes, and Kyogen, a form of comic theater. Dec. 18. “Merry Christmas from JPAS,” JPAS Symphony Chorus with Dr. Louise LaBruyere as conductor. QUINTETS AND CLARINETS New Orleans Friends of Music’s 50th anniversary season welcomes the American String Quartet with Richard Stoltzman on Dec. 6 at Tulane University’s Dixon Hall. The American String Quartet consists of violinist Laurie Carney, violinist Peter Winograd, violist Daniel Avshalomov and cellist Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos. The quartet will play Mozart’s “String Quartet in D Minor” and Shostakovich’s “String Quartet No. 3 in F Major.” The final half of the concert includes clarinetist Richard Stoltzman joining the quartet for Brahms’ “Clarinet Quintet in B Minor.” Information, 895-0690. WRITE TURN “Words & Music, A Literary Feast in New Orleans” invites writers, poets, editors, publishers and literary agents to our city Dec. 2-6 for a literary festival, including a lecture by Dr. Matthew Bruccoli, an expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald (see related story, page 122). The festival is created by Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and is designed to provide help for aspiring authors and entertainment programming for the general public. Information, 586-1609. CRYSTAL CLEAR Glass lovers will clearly take notice of New Orleans Museum of Art’s exhibit “Crystal Clear: Steuben Glass from the Collection of Isidore and Marianne Cohn,” showing through Jan. 16. Vases, bowls and tableware made by post-1930s designers, engravers and cutters will be featured at the first public showing of this important collection. Information, 488-2631. NEEDLE WORKS Longue Vue House & Gardens puts on its newest exhibit, “With Heart in Hand,” an impressive collection of needlework, through June 10. The exhibit is Hanna Bloom Stern’s collection of lace, canvas embroidery, table linens, quilts and fans from the 17th through 20th centuries. In conjunction with the exhibit, Longue Vue will unveil “Joy,” a new sculpture by William Binnings, on the East Lawn, the first in a new tradition of biannual sculpture changes. Information, 488-5488. LOVE LETTERS Southern Repertory Theater presents the play “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage through Dec. 12. The winner of four new-play awards in 2004, “Intimate Apparel” is a portrait of Ester, an early-20th-century black woman in New York who makes intimate garments for socialites and prostitutes. Although she is in the business of love, she has trouble finding it herself until she begins a letter-writing affair with a Caribbean stranger. When he finally arrives in New York, she must figure out if he is the same man who sent her those romantic letters. Information, 522-6545. HAIR DO Broadway in New Orleans’ 2004-2005 season includes the musical comedy “Hairspray,” taking hold Dec. 7-12 at the Saenger Theatre. The Tony Award-winning show tells the story of a 1960s teenage outsider’s trials and tribulations after she appears on a local TV dance program and turns into a celebrity. Information, 522-5555. HOMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS Take a self-guided tour of seven private homes decorated for the holiday season with local musicians performing at the 30th annual Holiday Home Tour for the Preservation Resource Center held Dec. 11-12 in the Garden District. After the tour, enjoy lunch at the café and shop for holiday gifts at the boutique. Dec. 10 marks the PRC’s special cocktail reception in one of the Garden District homes. Information, 581-7032. EUROPEAN EXTRAVAGANZA Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company performs “Spirit of the Ukraine!,” a show with exceptional choreography that focuses on virtuosity, agility and balletic prowess, along with wit and comedy. The 85-member ensemble leaps and spins to live orchestral music in authentic, elaborate costumes. The major production presented by the New Orleans Ballet Association in its 35th-anniversary season takes place Dec. 4 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts. Information, 522-0996.