Bob by Digital, tradition and Kinetic Kaleidoscope

by Lindsay Nelson

Here at “The Underground,” we (OK, actually it’s just me) sometimes take things a little too seriously. This time of year, it’s easy to get entirely too wrapped up in the obligations and guilt associated with the season of giving. Surely you can empathize, unless you’ve given up on the idea that you should do nice things for others during this cold, dark month of December, if for no other reason than to save your loved ones from depression and self-destructive behavior. Well, I’m here to tell you that while it is better to give than to receive, there is one gift you ought to give yourself. Chill out, be reasonable and don’t get so wrapped up in finding stuff to wrap that you forget to enjoy the holidays. So crank up some Nat King Cole, pour a little peppermint schnapps in your hot cocoa, and rest your merry mind.

Take a break from generosity and start the weekend off tonight at Steamworks with the balls-out regional rock ’n’ roll band Knucka at Steamworks. Combining influences from the world of barn-storming country-blues and outlaw punk with guitar-driven rock, this band has been starting fights and wearing out boots around the Southwest for years. Formerly operating under the moniker Dixie Wrecked Revival, these guys from the Pagosa area are sure to bring a high-energy, hard-drinking good time. The show starts around 9:30 p.m. and only costs a few bucks – combine that with $1 Pint Night and you’ve got yourself a good, cheap night of hot entertainment.

Saturday night begins a special two-night engagement at the Abbey Theatre with rap legend RZA of Wu-Tang fame. Also known as “Bobby Digital,” among other aliases, RZA is all over the scene with his work as a producer, recording artist and actor (you can catch him now in the Denzel Washington film “American Gangster.”) RZA first surfaced in the rap game during the early ’90s as a member of the rap group All in Together Now, a group from Staten Island, N.Y., which also contained fellow Wu-Tang members such as GZA/Genius and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Aside from the rise to fame of Wu-Tang and its members, RZA, as a producer, is responsible for many influential hip-hop classics such as the group’s 1993 debut “Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers,” considered one of the most influential albums in its genre. Since that album, he has created countless solo albums for the group, plus three more group albums. His first solo album as simply the RZA, “Birth of a Prince,” was released in 2003 and spawned the single “We Pop.” As a sought-after producer, he has created great songs for legends such as the late Notorious B.I.G. and Big Pun. Catch RZA with special guest Black Pegasus (solo hip-hop artist out of the Denver area, touring this month with RZA) for an all-ages show at 10 p.m. this Saturday at the Abbey. Then on Sunday, it’s same time and place but for the 21-and-over crowd.

It is holiday time again, with the attendant family-friendly, happy, high-culture music events. Avail yourself of some traditional holiday fare on Sunday at the Durango Choral Society’s Traditional Family Christmas, an annual holiday extravaganza, with all three Durango Choral Society choirs participating. See your family, friends and neighbors perform another rousing celebration of the season in a program that is guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. Showtimes are 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday at the Community Concert Hall.

If that’s not enough holiday cheer for you, don’t miss the annual FLC Music Department Bash, Friday night at the Concert Hall. It’s a fun, informal campus and community holiday party, complete with cookies, hot chocolate and Christmas sing-alongs. The concert features many of the college’s performing ensembles with 150 plays altogether. A great alternative to caroling or singing in the shower, take in the bashing good time at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

Speaking of high culture, we don’t often talk about dance here in the Underground, but this is as good a time as any to start. A new dance performance called Kinetic Kaleidoscope, directed by Anne Berg, features diverse and unique original choreography from a host of local dance professionals and students. The showcase of local movement masters begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Mainstage Theatre at Fort Lewis College, and runs through next weekend.

It’s not wintertime in Colorado without a nice cozy bluegrass show. Catch the Colorado Playboys on Wednesday at the Henry Strater Theatre (f.k.a. The Diamond Circle). This occasional band is comprised of pickers who play in other bands, and they’ve gotten together just for this tour during the holiday season. Andy Thorn, formerly with Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, will be playing banjo. Travis Book, of the Infamous Stringdusters, will be holding down the low end on bass. John Frazier, of Hit and Run Bluegrass, will be playing mandolin. And Jon Stickley, of The Biscuit Burners, will be playing guitar. Thorn, Book and Stickley have played together previously in the Rockygrass-winning band Broke Mountain (spare me the cowboy jokes, please) and are taking the stage together again. The show starts at 8 p.m.; mark your social calendars now.

Finally, the Abbey comes to our rescue again, saving us from the crapulent dreck that is the blockbuster Christmas movie season. Opening Friday is “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” a Sidney Lumet film starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei. Lumet is famous for his gritty, urban masterpieces, “Serpico,” “Network” and “Dog Day Afternoon,” and critics are calling this latest a welcome and fitting addition to his oeuvre. While it lacks Al Pacino, this movie has a lot going for it. It’s a (surprise) suspense thriller about the desperate and foolhardy act of two brothers who plan “the perfect crime” to haul themselves out of a financial black hole. The plan, of course, goes awry and threatens to destroy their own family. In the hands of such a masterful director, even a seemingly done-to-death plot could yield an excellent film. You be the judge, and support honest-to-goodness, grown-up movies at your local neighborhood theater.

Only 25 shopping days ’til Christmas, people!


Top 10 albums of the week in Durango

1. Rodrigo & Gabriella, “Rodrigo & Gabriella”

2. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Raising Sand”

3. Neil Young, “Chrome Dreams II”

4. Eddie Vedder, “Into the Wild” Soundtrack

5. Bruce Springsteen, “Magic”

6. Led Zeppelin, “Mothership”

7. Soundtrack to the Motion Picture “Across the Universe”

8. Nine Inch Nails, “Y34Rz3R0R3Mix3D”

9. Eagles, “Long Road out of Eden”

10. Gorillaz, “D-Sides”

-Courtesy of Southwest Sound



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