Pop stars are well known for moving from the studio to the stage — witness Ricky Martin in Evita, Ashlee Simpson in Chicago, David Bowie as the Elephant Man — but the reverse path is less traveled. Enter Josh Franklin, a Colorado Springs Conservatory alumnus who went on to rack up huge theatrical credentials, including his current gig as the male lead in the Broadway production of Ghost. In February, he's releasing a debut album of pop-jazz originals, which he'll be performing at this evening's Home for the Holidays concert and CD launch party in the Grand Ballroom of the Mining Exchange Hotel (8 S. Nevada Ave.). Showtime is 7, with proceeds from the $20 tickets, available at csconservatory.org, benefiting the Conservatory Scholarship Fund. — Bill Forman
"You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!" Or so he thought, up until the point when the anthropomorphic baked good was eaten by a fox at the conclusion of the classic fairy tale. Not that I'm saying your kid will be eaten by some woodland wanderer (though technically it is possible) at Nature Explorers: The Gingerbread Man, held from 10 to 11:30 today at Bear Creek Nature Center (245 Bear Creek Road, 520-6387). Aimed at adult-accompanied youngsters ages 4 to 5, the $4-per-person children's activity session (reservations required) includes stories, a puppet show, crafts and a hike ... just keep that bite-sized tyke close by. — Matthew Schniper
The world's supposed to come to an end today, but seeing as how it probably hasn't, click here for ways to commemorate it's highly-predicted demise for Christmas.
The proverbial mouse is doing more than stirring in the house at the Millibo Art Theatre (1367 Pecan St., themat.org). In its third year of chronicling its original Christmas Mouse tales, the MAT returns this year with The Christmas Mouse on Holiday, playing today — its final day — at 11 and 2. This time, said holiday mouse decides he needs a vacation, and with much to prepare, the Furry Mouse Mother and Olly the Rat must show the holiday spirit. Even if it doesn't stay true to The Night Before Christmas, it's sure to be a good time. Tickets are $10.50. — Celine Wright
What song do the guests sing at an Eskimo Christmas party? "Freeze a Jolly Good Fellow." Ha ha, I sleigh myself. Ahem. OK, I'm not here just for comedy, but also to direct you to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic's Christmas Symphony, starting at 2:30 today at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave., tinyurl.com/aqvx7sn). With conductor Thomas Wilson, special guest mezzo-soprano Marcia Ragonetti and the Colorado Springs Chorale, expect tunes from ballets like The Nutcracker and movies like Home Alone, and songs like "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays." Tickets run $19 to $59. — Kiki Lenihan
It's Christmas Eve, and you're either a) strolling free and easy amid the bright, sparkly, tinsel-y feeling of the season, or b) making that last-minute mad scramble for gifts. Here then, is a suggestion to suit both situations: Ever Afters? K8e Orr's newest art show happening at safron of Manitou (720 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, facebook.com/safronofmanitousprings). Up through Jan. 18, this solo effort — based on folk tales from the Brothers Grimm — is eminently peruse-able, along with Orr's handmade jewelry and other pretty items that line the walls of the boutique. Now that's two birds with one bush in the hand, or whatever. — Edie Adelstein
I've gone my whole life avoiding It's a Wonderful Life until just this year. Granted, I still wound up leaving before seeing the whole thing, but what I did see took me very pleasantly by surprise, starting with the angels' discussion in the beginning: "A man down on Earth needs our help." "Splendid. Is he sick?" "No, worse. He's discouraged." I know I'm coming to the party late (my kin were more Chevy Chase than James Stewart), but this Christmas is all about new traditions for my family, and many others out there, too, be it from events happy or sad. So this day's up to you — to spend with loved ones, or just George and Clarence. — Edie Adelstein