Last spring in Washington, D.C., Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) demonstrated their right to refuse illegal war. As part of their effort to stand true to the Constitution, IVAW members created the book, Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations. The work reveals influential documents, pictures and notes from D.C., and boasts an introduction by Jarhead author Anthony Swofford. From 5 to 7 p.m. today, Poor Richard's Book Store (320 N. Tejon St.) will host a reading and signing, as well as some local musicians, to support IVAW. For more information, call 578-0012. EAA
- Hear Out Loud get loud at one of its three area shows this weekend.
In Wasson High School's excellent rendition of The Laramie Project last month, members of Out Loud men's chorus awed theatergoers with an unexpected rendition of "Amazing Grace," which they sung from spots scattered throughout the audience. Today, tomorrow and Sunday, Out Loud will move to the stage for holiday concerts. The singers will perform at First United Methodist Church (420 N. Nevada Ave.) at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow, and then in Pueblo at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center (210 N. Santa Fe Ave.) at 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $10 to $17 kids under 12 are free and you can reserve yours at 866/862-9382. KW
If there was any doubt that our fear of communism has truly receded, one need only consider tonight's Red Nativity performance by ... Oh, wait. OK, forget that. Native American group Brul has sold more than a million CDs, toured the U.S., and been featured in a national PBS special. By fusing electric guitar with Native American drums, and classical flute with contemporary electronics, the group has captured the imagination of a surprisingly broad audience. They'll perform Christmas melodies set to Native American rhythms as well as songs from their own catalog at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave.). Tickets are $30 to $35; more info at pikespeakcenter.com. BF
It's four days till Christmas, and you're gonna hear some more live holiday music today, ding-dong-gonnit. The Colorado Springs Philharmonic offers your first option at 2 p.m. at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave.), with Christmas Classics and Carols. Tickets range from $10 to $50; call 520-SHOW (7469) or visit csphilharmonic.org for more. Option No. 2: The Fourth annual Big Band Sunday Christmas Party kicks off at 3 in the Colorado Springs Shrine Club (6 S. 33rd St.). The $6 to $10 admission will be discounted by $2 with a non-perishable food donation to Care and Share Food Bank at the door. (Under 18 free.) Call 964-7977 for more. MS
When I think of skateboarding, I think of America's Funniest Home Videos. Not a montage of derring-do Tony Hawk-style tricks; I revert to the image of a hapless hipster who nails his crotch on a rail. It's something you're bound to see if you visit the newly opened 40,000-square-foot city skate park in Memorial Park, near the corner of Union Boulevard and Pikes Peak Avenue. Beyond the inevitable, crowd-pleasing wipeouts, it should prove rewarding to watch those on wheels actually enjoying the place. And then you can always skate on it, too. Just somethin' to do on any given Monday, such as today. EA
Since we're talking about last-minute gifts this week, we'd be remiss not to offer a few art-related shopping suggestions. Take, for instance, surprisingly accomplished large-scale paint works by local high school students on display with pieces by several professional artists at Academy Frame Co. (7620 N. Academy Blvd., 265-6694). Your giftee can't walk out with a student's work until April, but the others are fair game today. Also: Check out Rebirth of Nation at the Gallery of Colorado Ironworks (617 S. Sierra Madre St., 447-1622) for a variety of sculpture, jewelry and furniture pieces. And hit the newly opened Western Winds Gallery (2508 W. Colorado Ave., 577-2506) for high-end Southwestern art. MS
You're looking for something different to do on Christmas Eve day? Join the tradition of many area families who pack up the kid(s) every Dec. 24 and head west on U.S. 24 to Cascade and Santa's Workshop/North Pole (5550 Pikes Peak Highway). It's the last day of the season, obviously, at the amusement park, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which offers visits with Santa himself and reindeer viewing, along with well-maintained rides and gift shops. Admission is $16.95 for ages 2 to 59, with great discounts for military and free admission for seniors and tykes. For more, go to santas-colo.com or call 684-9432. RR
This week's 7 Days contributors: Edie Adelstein, Elizabeth Anderson (EAA), Bill Forman, Ralph Routon, Matthew Schniper and Kirk Woundy.