Finally, a circus for people who take circuses seriously. Impresario Victor Shulman hand-picked top stars on the Russian “tserk” scene and brought them to the Millennium Theater in Brighton Beach for a four-performance stand. So that means contortionists, aerialists, a contortionist who does aerial tricks, strong men, dogs that can do back flips and ride bicycles (seriously), and one of the most famous clowns in Russia (his name is Boris, not Dmitry Medvedev).
Noon and 3 pm. “Moscow Circus on Stage” at the Millennium Theater [1029 Brighton Beach Ave. between Brighton 11th and Brighton 12th streets in Brighton Beach, (718) 615-1500]. Also Dec. 26. Tickets $40-$60.
An American life
If self-deprecation had a crown, Mike Birbiglia would be wearing it. The “This American Life” regular has gained fans for his long-form narrative jokes, which mine his awkward adolescence and other embarrassments — personal, career or otherwise. He’s back with a new one-man show, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” and he’ll share bits of it at Union Hall. Best moment? Meeting his girlfriend’s boyfriend’s parents (long story short: “Part of you is angry for obvious reasons, and part of you still wants to make a good impression,” he says).
8 pm. Mike Birbiglia at Union Hall [702 Union St. near Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 638-4400]. Also Dec. 28. Tickets $20. For info, visit www.unionhallny.com.
Like fruitcake, there are just too many “Nutcrackers” this time of year. But there is such a thing as good fruitcake. The “Nutcracker” equivalent is the American Ballet Theatre’s full-length production of the holiday classic, which runs through Jan. 2 at BAM. Sure, it’s a traditional retelling, but that means a live orchestra performing the full score, charming child dancers, and extraordinary sets and costumes by Tony Award-winner Richard Hudson (of “Lion King” fame).
7 pm. “The Nutcracker” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene,(718) 646-4100], through Jan. 2. Tickets $20-$135. For info, visit www.abt.org.
Guns and New Years
Look, there are certainly plenty of ways to spend your New Year’s Eve — you could do the ballroom thing at the Grand Prospect Hall, or the bawdy “Nutcracker Rouge” after-party or Marty Markowitz’s fireworks in Grand Army Plaza — but for our money, there’s nothing more perfect than getting wasted with a Guns N’ Roses cover band at the Rock Shop. Better still, the band takes its name from a seminal song about heroin addiction. As Axl Rose might say, “Yowza.”
8:30 pm. Mr. Brownstone at the Rock Shop [249 Fourth Ave. between Carroll and President streets in Park Slope, (718) 230-5740], www.therockshopny.com. Tickets $25.
Adult Education, the monthly “useless” interdisciplanary lecture series is back with four talks on the topic of “Abnormal Psychology.” Highlights include host Charles Star’s exploration of the cat-loving parasite, Toxoplasma gondii; and comedian Catie Lazarus’s oral memoir of her childhood obsession with Jane Austen (like we said … abnormal!).
8 pm. “Abnormal Psychology” at Union Hall [702 Union St. at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 638-4400], www.unionhallny.com. Tickets $5.