Comedian Chris Hardwick is not only the author of "The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)," he's also the host of the fanboy show "The Talking Dead." Catch him live at Zanies, 5437 Park Place in Rosemont. $25 plus a two-item menu purchase. (847) 813-0484 or zanies.com. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, in Rosemont
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Kattan in Schaumburg
Former "Saturday Night Live" castmember Chris Kattan, who created such characters as Mango and Mr. Peppers -- and played one of the head-bobbing Butabi Brothers opposite Will Ferrell -- headlines The Improv in Schaumburg.
7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Woodfield Mall, 5 Woodfield Road, Schaumburg. $22, plus a two food or beverage item minimum. (847) 240-2001 or chicago.improv.com.
View 3-D projection images of elves, icicles, snow and other holiday scenes, set to holiday music, at the Magical Animated Holiday Light Show at Randhurst Village at the Randhurst Shopping Center, at Rand and Elmhurst roads, Mount Prospect. The light show will be featured on a portion of a building at Center Court. The Elk Grove Village High School marching band will perform on Friday, Dec. 14. The John Hersey High School marching band plays on Saturday, Dec. 15. Free. (847) 259-0500 or randhurstvillage.com. Showtimes at 5, 5:30 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
'Nutracker' at North Central
Dance West Ballet brings its "The Nutcracker"to North Central College's Pfeiffer Hall,310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. $30; $23 students/seniors. (630) 637-7469 or northcentralcollege.edu/showtix. 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday Dec. 15; and 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, in Naperville
Clay celebrates the season
Former "American Idol" finalist Clay Aiken stars in the "Clay Aiken Christmas Special" at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. $39-$95. (630) 962-7000 or oshows.com. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
Candy Cane Hunt
Kids ages 10 and younger are invited to search for a variety of candy canes outdoors at the Lisle Candy Cane Hunt in Community Park, 1825 Short St., Lisle. Youngsters should dress for the weather and should bring along a basket or sack for their goodies. Prizes will be given to those who find special candy canes. $5 for Lisle Park District residents; $8 nonresidents. Registration is recommended. Register by Friday, Dec. 14. (630) 964-3410 or lisleparkdistrict.org. The hunt begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15
See the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, brought to life on an outdoor stage as a Living Nativity at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit, 150 Lions Drive, Elk Grove Village. The production includes live animals. All are invited inside the church for hot chocolate and cookies. Admission is free. (847) 437-5897. Showtimes at 4 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
Ring them bells
Hear holiday music as pealing bells when The Agape Ringers perform the concert "Sounds of the Season," featuring guest artists from Midwest Ballet Theatre this Saturday at the Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church, 155 W. Brush Hill Road, Elmhurst. $25-$35. (309) 365-2910 or agaperingers.org. 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
Music for the soul
Chicago-area native Maurice Mahon is a rising star in the soul/r&b world, and he'll perform along with Larry Springfield and Asisa Lisa at a special show this weekend in Rosemont. Attendees are invited to bring a nonperishable food item to the show, where it will be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Montrose Room inside the InterContinental Chicago O'Hare hotel, 5300 N. River Road, Rosemont. $25-$40. Go to montroseroom.com.
Noise for Toys
This is the time of year when it's easy to see some of Chicago's best bands while also helping out less fortunate families in the area. The second annual Noise for Toys concert is taking place this weekend, and the lineup this year features Blane Fonda, an energetic dance-rock band with roots in the Northwest suburbs. Other bands scheduled to play include The Noise FM, Archie Powell & the Exports and the Grooks. The show benefits Toys for Tots; if you bring in a packaged toy, you get in for half-price. (That's $5, instead of $10.)
9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., Chicago. $10 (half off with toy donation). Go to subt.net.
Suburbanites seeking "The Nutcracker" north-by-northwest this weekend are in luck with multiple productions. Ballet Legere's"The Nutcracker Ballet" performs at Dominican University's Lund Auditorium, 7900 W. Division St., River Forest.$25-$27; $20-$22 seniors/kids. (773) 237-1874 or legeredancecentre.com. 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16 in River Forest
Holiday carols get a full orchestral backing in the Elgin Symphony Orchestra concert "Let It Snow!" Also on tap are guest pianist Rich Ridenour and soprano Rachel DeShon, with the Elgin Choral Union, Elgin Children's Chorus and Midwest Dance Collective, all at the Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin. $26-$46. (847) 931-5900 or elginsymphony.org. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16.
'Magic of Nutracker'
Dancenter North tours "The Magic of the Nutcracker"to the Genesee Theatre,203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. $15-$36. (847) 782-2366 or dancenter-north.com. 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16
'Nutracker' at Batavia Centre
State Street Dance Studio presents its take on "The Nutcracker"at Batavia Fine Arts Centre,1201 Main St., Batavia. $28; $23 kids ages 10 an younger. (630) 232-0444 or statestreetdancestudio.com. 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
Gaudete Brass Quintet
The Gaudete Brass Quintet presents an afternoon concert of brass chamber music at the Byron Colby Barn at Prairie Crossing, 1561 Jones Point Road, Grayslake. $18 adults; free for youth under age 16. Visit prairiecrossing.com/bcbarn. (847) 543-1202. 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
It's 'Yesterday Once More'
Author Randy L. Schmidt reads from and discusses his new book, "Yesterday Once More: The Carpenters Reader," a book looking at the 1970s superstar brother-and-sister recording artists Richard and Karen Carpenter, at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. Schmidt will also discuss his best-selling 2010 biography of Karen Carpenter, "Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter." The evening includes a performance by Close to You: The Music of the Carpenters. Event is open to the public. Admission is $10 ($5 can be applied to a book purchase). Tickets will be available at the door. (847) 577-2121 or metropolisarts.com. 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
Drive through 97 acres of holiday lights and holiday scenes at "A Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show," at the Cuneo Museum and Gardens, 1350 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills. $10 per car. (847) 362-3042 or cuneomansion.org. 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
'Let It Snow!'
The Elgin Symphony Orchestra stars with its "Let It Snow!" concert at the Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin. Holiday selections are featured. Tickets begin at $26. (847) 888-4000 or elginsymphony.org. 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
Ralph's holiday world
Ralph Covert, lead singer of the children's music group Ralph's World, teams up with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra for "A Ralph Covert Holiday," a program of seasonal songs from around the world, at Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center at North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. $8-$10. (630) 637-7469. 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
Christmas tunes in film
Watch scenes from classic holiday films that feature Christmas tunes at the Christmas Music in the Movies program at the Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross St., Wheaton. Guests are welcome to sing along with the songs from featured films including "White Christmas," "Holiday Inn," "Meet Me in St. Louis" and others. For reservations, stop by the library's checkout desk, call (630) 868-7516, or visit wheatonlibrary.org. 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
Skate with Santa
Family members of all ages are invited to Skate with Santa at the Triphahn Community Center and Ice Arena, 1685 W. Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates. Highlights include skating appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Christmas Mouse. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Admission and skate rental are free. (847) 885-7500 or heparks.org. 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
Tailgate at Wickets
Join a pregame party before the Bears take on the Packers at Wickets Bar and Grill, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg, with football food and cold brews. Dec. 16. Chef George Garcia will grill up $2.50 bratwursts, $1.50 hot dogs and $3.50 burgers. Score a bowl of homemade chili for $2. Stay warm by moving it inside for the game. Corona and Corona Light go for $2.50 all day. (847) 619-1400 or wicketsbarandgrill.com. 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
See Brookfield Zoo all lit up with thousands of twinkly lights via its seasonal Holiday Magic displays at First Avenue and 31st St., Brookfield. $10.50-$15 general admission (extra for rides and special photos). $10 parking. (708) 688-8000 or czs.org. 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and daily from Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Monday, Dec. 31
The award-winning Illinois Brass Band presents traditional and jazzed up versions of seasonal songs for its "A Christmas Fantasy" concert at two locations: Cutting Hall, 150 E. Wood St., Palatine. $12; $6 kids. (847) 202-5222; also at Cosman Cultural Center, 12015 Mill St., Huntley. $10; $5 kids. illinoisbrassband.org.6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, in Palatine; 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, in Huntley