It has to be one of the best Christmas Eve traditions: a nighttime drive to look at the Christmas lights. But so far in my neighborhood, the twinkling light parade has been rather sluggish. One more reason to consider the Gold Camp Christmas 2009 Headframe Lighting Tours in Teller County. More than a dozen old mining-operation headframes off State Highway 67 and Teller County Road 81 are now festooned with lights and other decorations, free for the viewing. At dusk tonight and each night through Jan. 1, the frames will glow, weather permitting. Maps are available at victorcolorado.com and in Victor and Cripple Creek. — EA
Tomorrow, we can complain again about the uninspired drivel that pours out of Hollywood. Today, we should probably just be thankful that there are new movie releases, reasons to be blissfully antisocial. For the '09 holiday, we get Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law), It's Complicated (Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin), Nine (Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz and a slew of others), and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. Check out our reviews, showtimes and in the film section, starting on p. 32. — KW
Back in our Best Of issues in October, we wrote about the artist that readers voted to the top, Scott McCollum. Though McCollum creates paintings and custom woodwork, he speculated that he received attention more for his bass playing in the local band the Dark. Made up of musicians who formerly rocked out as Trick Life, they've continued to produce a blend of rock and metal with an electronic influence, and they'll be headlining a show that begins at 7:30 tonight at the Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave., blacksheeprocks.com). Tickets to see this supposed best, unless you are above age 21, are $8 ($5 in advance). — MS
Most "special" December days have passed by the 27th, but you still have time to savor the ecstasy that 1 million lights can bring. From 5:30 to 10 tonight, enjoy one of two Denver Botanic Gardens light shows — either Blossoms of Light at the main gardens (1005 York St., Denver) or Trail of Lights at the Chatfield satellite location (8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton). For $4 to $9, you'll buy entry and 3-D HoloSpex glasses, with which you can easily find the "romantic kissing spots" marked with ornate balls of mistletoe. When thoroughly necked, catch your breath with the vendors offering "warm drinks, tasty treats and food for the entire family." For more details, visit botanicgardens.org. — BC
We're down to the final days of 2009, and if you're reading this now, you can be happy simply to have survived another year. So how do you recognize that achievement and celebrate your existence? Tonight, join the "Live and Breathe Society" from 6 to 9 at Venue 515 (515 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 375-1200). Members will be gathering, as they do every last Monday monthly, for Campbell James Kersey's Incredible Poetry Night. Expect an open mic, optional critique and "far-out philosophizing" moderated by Michael Bliss, Julie K. Shavin and Aliya Medhi. The Canvas Café will be open for food and drink; the event is free. — JT
Just about the only place to find a fiddle is in a symphony, a school orchestra (in all their squeaky glory) or somewhere under my bed, dusty and unused. Away from the commonplace, though, stand Ed Miller and Arlene Patterson and their fiddles. The touring musicians will keep to their Scottish heritage at 7 tonight at Venue 515 (515 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1861), with an intimate evening of Celtic playing. Tickets, available at KRCC (912 N. Weber St.) prior to the show, are $10 for students and $15 for everyone else. — LE
Funk legends are hard to come by these days, unless you count the couple dozen characters who routinely tour with George Clinton. But Meters co-founder Leo Nocentelli definitely deserves the title. He recorded with Mavis Staples, Paul McCartney and Dr. John, jammed onstage with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and took part in a full-scale Meters reunion tour back in '06. Through the years, his guitar playing has shifted some — incorporating hard rock and fusion elements into the clean, syncopated and supremely funky style he once pioneered — but he's smart enough to know you can't bill yourself as Leo Nocentelli & the Meters Experience without putting a whole lot of "Cissy Strut" back into the mix. Catch them in this all-ages show at Cervantes Lounge (2637 Welton St., Denver, cervantesmasterpiece.com) at 9 tonight for $20. — BF
Contributors: Edie Adelstein, Bryce Crawford, Lora Elliott, Bill Forman, Matthew Schniper, Jill Thomas and Kirk Woundy.