06 Thursday

Welcome Christmas, come right in. Fascinate and delight us with your twinkling lights. Give us some of your sweet, piney lovin'. Oh ... oh yeah.

The Fine Arts Center (say it with me -- 30 W. Dale St.) has again been invaded by a regiment of flamboyant trees for the 27th annual Holiday Lights celebration, dubbed "A Multi-Cultural Holiday Festival." In previous years, certain trees have been known to douse themselves in Chardonnay, paint themselves pink and claim association with rebel wine producers, but this year things seem calm and tensions are low. The evergreens, which represent a large number of organizations and cultures, are behaving with an unusual level of diplomacy, and there are no signs that any of the trees will disrupt tonight's opening festivities from 4 to 6:30. Persons interested in learning more about the trees and other decorated shrubbery should call 634-5581.

Besides the whole deal about her climbing our little mountain, we want to know all of the other stirring details related to the creation of "America the Beautiful." And here's our chance: Katherine Lee Bates: The Stirring True Story Behind Our Nation's Favorite Song, by multitalented ABC News correspondent Lynn Sherr. Apparently we could either read the book or attend Sherr's early evening signing at the Cliff House in Manitou to get the really juicy bits. Call 888/212-7000 to find out more.

Mmm ... Ellington and Porter -- elegant jazz for elegant people, at Colorado College tonight. It's the winter Jazz Ensemble concert, in Packard Hall, and it's all for you. Call 389-6607.

07 Friday

This weekend the Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre presents everybody's favorite holiday ballet (and many people's only favorite ballet), The Nutcracker. Tickets are $5 to $7, and the show opens at 7:30 tonight in the Arts Center Theater, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo. Call 719/542-1211 to find out about tomorrow's shows.

Talent will spilleth out from the Pikes Peak Center this evening when the JazzTrax tour pops in for a hot one ... Family holiday songs will be jazzified by the likes of keyboardist Alex Bugnon, trumpeter Chris Botti and guitarist Norman Brown. Tickets are $33 to $37. Fun starts at 8 p.m. Call 520-9090.

From the Local Boy Makes Good File: Dan Lehmann, fixture at the Utopia Caf, performs tonight with Michael Travis of the String Cheese Incident up at Tulagi in Boulder. Also on the docket is Porterhouse, featuring Tye North of Leftover Salmon. Tickets are $7.50 and the show is 21 and up. Call 303/447-0095.

Bristol Brewery, 1647 S. Tejon St., is quickly becoming the hottest little venue that nobody knows about (until I went and opened my pie-hole just now). Anyhoo, bluegrassy Durango band Strung Like a Horse performs, for free, from 8 to 11 tonight. Call 633-2555 for details.

08 Saturday

Get Three Irish Tenors for the price of one tonight when they perform Christmas From Dublin at the Arnold Hall Theater up at the Air Force Academy. Tickets are merely $15 to $30. Call 719/333-4497. Show's at 7:30 p.m.

09 Sunday

Chamber Orchestra of the Springs with violinist Rebecca Lee gives you A Musical Gift, a concert featuring works by Vivaldi, Corelli, Mozart and more. How thoughtful ... It all begins at 2:30 p.m. at First Christian Church, on the corner of Platte and Cascade. Tickets are $6 to $12. Call 633-3649.

And you thought we'd dismiss him ... How could we overlook the king of tantric sex? Sting himself is performing one of only three North American concerts during this tour at our very own World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd. Tickets are a bit steep at $55 to $100, but did we mention one out of three? Call 576-2626.

10 Monday

Steve Barta Trio benefit concert at the FAC -- like Christmas -- only comes once a year, and this year they're donating their proceeds to the Families of Freedom scholarship fund. The fund benefits the children and spouses of all victims of the recent attacks. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. concert are $8 to $15. Call the Fine Arts Center at 634-5583.

11 Tuesday

Take a look, it's in a book, it's -- it's Reading Rainbow, gone Broadway. Theatreworks USA has turned the warm and fuzzy kids literature program into a series of theatrical episodes representing all that is great and good in educational public broadcasting for youngsters -- singalongs and all. The show begins at 7 p.m. at the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave. Tickets are $6. Call 520-SHOW.

12 Wednesday

Decorate, shop, wrap, bake, repeat.

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