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Michele Costa, the innovative performer and artist whose puppetry has become a fixture on Western New York's cultural scene, will give a free performance of Louis Moeri's beloved holiday story "Star Mother's Youngest Child" at noon Saturday in the Art Dialogue Gallery (1 Linwood Ave.).

The kid-friendly piece, set to Scandinavian music, tells the story of an old woman and a child who come together unexpectedly one eventful Christmas day. "For two unsuspecting characters," a release about the event reads, "secrets and transformations unveil themselves until both discover that of all the ‘things' to give and receive, love is the most precious."

Costa's work, part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival and seen in local schools throughout the year, can range from the vaguely spooky to the heartwarming. Far from a prepackaged puppet performance, Costa's pieces are the product of her own painstaking craftsmanship, which extends beyond the puppets and is always matched with a unique setting and soundtrack designed to evoke a very particular mood.

For a required reservation, call 885-2251 by 5 p.m. today. The performance coincides with the Western New York Artist Group's "Artful Gifts" exhibition, which will remain on view through Dec. 28. Call 885-2251 or visit www.wnyag.org for more information.

– Colin Dabkowski