In fixer-uppers (through 12.16)

both hands theatre company‘s new production is a maelstrom of bursting humor, skewed pathos and feminine angst. exactly what t(w)o do navigates an ambitious arc, showing us how two highly ineffective women talk about the things they can’t fix. Written, directed and performed by Cheryl Chamblee and Tamara Kissane, the play contains whirling Super 8 sequences and original guitar music by Adam Sampieri. Oh, and did we mention the set design? You’ve got to come take a look at what they’ve done to the place. At Manbites Dog Theater through Dec. 16. Call 682-3343 for information; go online to for tickets. Douglas VuncannonIn kosher shrimp and grits (12.14)

OK, there’s no such thing, but if there were you can be sure Marcie Cohen Ferris and Bill Smith would have created it. Ferris is the author of Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South as well as associate director of the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and assistant professor of American studies at UNC-CH. Smith is the acclaimed chef at Chapel Hill’s Crook’s Corner restaurant and author of Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook’s Corner and from Home. Crook’s is where the legendary Bill Neal created shrimp and grits, and Smith has carried on the tradition of using seasonal and native ingredients to develop innovative Southern dishes like tomato and watermelon salad, honeysuckle sorbet and (non-kosher) pork roast with artichoke stuffing. They’ll be discussing their books Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at Market Street Books, 610 Market St. in Chapel Hill’s Southern Village, and local chef and food writer Sheri Castle will be serving samples from both books. Richard HartIn y’all-come-back-now yule (12.20)

Raleigh bluegrass quartet Chatham County Line has an uncanny propensity for unlikely situations, evidenced primarily by the phone calls fiddle-and-mandolin man John Teer used to make from the road during the band’s first two years of touring. Whenever Teer called, I knew to expect some fantastical story about drinks with some television executive in D.C., a night spent at an austere converted logging mill in New England, rubbing elbows with Scarlett Johansson in Manhattan or recording a surprise program for the BBC on the band’s first European tour. Chatham County Line is good enough to go places, make friends and bring those experiencesand, oftentimes, those friendsback to Triangle stages. This is the third year in a row they’ve gotten rowdy with their friends on The Pour House stage for Chatham County Line’s Ho Ho Holiday. Expect guests, laughs and stories (if you can remember them) on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.Grayson CurrinIn fuzzy naves (12.16)

It’s hard to retain mystery as a rock band today. If you don’t have all yer ya-yas right there on the Webto be heard, eyeballed and endlessly commented on by kids with komputerhow is some dude with a blog going to ever rep for you? For Times New Viking, who visit the Nightlight on Saturday, Dec. 16, a cruddy cassette burst their cocoon of Columbus, Ohio. Rock debris started sliding out, sludge, sparkling guitar gnashes, vocals that sounded like three dudes arguing (or cheering) and melodies buried deep beneath in a fuzz sarcophagus. They even made a record with Rust Belt four-track hero Mike Rep (see Guided By Voices, for starters), and, word has it, the major leagues are knocking at the band’s door. The mystery may be over, but not quite and not yet tonight. Cover is $5, and Psychedelic Horseshit opens at 10 p.m. Chris ToenesIn new traditions (hopefully) (12.18)

Christmas often seems to be about belief in less-than-omnipotent beingsFurby, Elmo, whateverthese days, and Dec. 25, 2006, is only Playstation3mas to snotty brats (and adults) around the globe. Christian or no, many folks are missing the good old-fashioned yuletide fun, but Chapel Hill’s Trekky Records is doing its best to change that. They’ve released their New Old Fashion Christmas collection with all proceeds benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and now they have a show to do. On Monday, Dec. 18, the Trekky crew brings some holiday cheer to Carrboro when it presents Christmas at the Cradle with the Trekky Yuletide Orchestra. If members of the Never, Vibrant Green, Mortar and Pestle and Alvarez Painting playing indie-fried versions of “Let it Snow,” “Up On the Housetop” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain” doesn’t quite get your reindeer in a row, the rest of the lineup should get you chugging nog in no time. The Mountain Goats, The Strugglers, Bellafea, The Prayers And Tears Of Arthur Digby Sellers, David Karsten Daniels, Bowerbirds, Ben Davis, Erie Choir, Billy Sugarfix And En Garde help spread the joy. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are a measly $7. Rich IveyIn singing and swinging (12.16)

The cause is a good but grave one: The Chapel Hill-based Ipas works to raise awareness of unsafe abortion procedures and the hazardous effects they have on women across the world. This Saturday, the Rock for Reproductive Rights concert will infuse great music with a great cause. The event features the Mamadou Diabate Ensemble, a 2005 Grammy nominee for Best Traditional World Album of the Year, and Katharine Whalen, former lead singer of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Come celebrate Dec. 16 at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Doors open at 7 p.m and the concert starts at 8 p.m. General admission is $15. For ticket info, visit, and for more info about Ipas, visit Iesha Brown