by Lindsay Nelson

“Rudolph, the Grinch, Frosty, Santa and the baby Jesus walk into a bar…(joke deleted for objectionable material) and that’s why they call it ‘the holidays’ now!”

No matter what you call it, the last three weeks of the calendar year are a special (and especially aggravating) time. Endless exhortations to “put the jingle in their step” or perhaps “light up their holiday” by purchasing gratuitous amounts of mass-produced products bombard us whenever we innocently turn on the television or pick up a magazine. It’s tough to resist the notion of expressing our love and delight for others so easily and conveniently as clicking a few “Buy It Now!” buttons in our web browsers. Sadly, in all likelihood, our pile of IPods and travel shavers and wine cozies will make little to no difference in anyone’s life, except maybe the credit card companies or The Sharper Image (clearinghouse for clever-but-useless gadgetry for the one who has everything but a sense of humor, apparently). Buying people stuff doesn’t make them love you.

But there is hope. Thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity of spirit are what nurture love and happiness among us humans. Let’s try it out – it’s kinda nice once you get the hang of it.

Instead of hitting the malls or the Amazon, have yourself a hometown holiday experience tonight, Dec. 8, with Noel Night. It’s an annual event collaboratively arranged by the Business Improvement District and downtown business owners. It is a festive, lit-up night downtown, says “Downtown” Bob Kunkel. On Noel Night, Main Avenue after dark – normally the province of revelers seeking adult beverages – will for one night be focused on the family. Many downtown merchants will keep their doors open until 8 or 9 o’clock, enticing customers with special discounts and seasonal refreshments. It’s a step closer to an old-fashioned Christmas experience than you’re likely to find at any shopping mall or even on E-bay.

For generations of Americans, attending live performances of “The Nutcracker” ballet is a Christmas tradition. I, for one, was treated to a Nutcracker evening for my 6th birthday; unfortunately, I spent the bulk of the evening on the theatre floor looking for candy and asking when it would be over.

Some things are just too culturally refined for tomboy kindergarteners, I suppose.

Children and adults who do delight in the wonders of dance, costume and fable will enjoy this year’s performance of “The Nutcracker,” presented by David Taylor Dance Theatre of Denver, Friday through Sunday at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. One of Denver’s best-known professional contemporary ballet companies, the David Taylor Dance Theatre returns to Durango with its acclaimed interpretation of the holiday favorite for four performances: 7 p.m. each night, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday. Tickets are $15 to $30 (available at the Concert Hall box office, 247-7657), so don’t bring any ruffians who won’t appreciate it, no matter how cute they look in their red velvet Christmas dress.

Maybe you need a break from Christmas, Hanukkah, the generic “holidays” and the cold season. Friday and Saturday night offer music shows geared toward the warmth-producing activity of dance (or a close, inebriated approximation thereof). Friday night at the Abbey Theatre it’s the Break Mechanics, a 10 p.m. live show from a hot Denver underground crew. These boys create a true, live, hip-hop experience with drums, bass and keyboards backing live MCs. It’s a combination of styles that remains unmistakably hip hop. The accomplished musicians of the Break Mechanics have played regularly with KRS-1, Blackalicious and Ani Difranco. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Guaranteed to be more worth your money than “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.”

If your Lycra dance-club top is not yet sufficiently sweat-soaked, check out soul-funk-R&B dance grooves courtesy of Albuquerque’s Felonious Groove Foundation on Saturday night at the Summit. And we all know that nothing helps sharpen the final exam preparations than a school-night ska-punk slam, such as Wednesday night’s Warsaw show. Every time these Jager-swilling dudes hit the Summit stage, the dance floor becomes a trampoline, and many a drink is spilled during the frenzy of horns, dirty lyrics and thumping beats. Sweeeet.

Ted’s been in Vegas; hit him up for cash next time you see him. Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah, everybody.



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows