- Enjoy Theatreworks The Santaland Diaries. Ho. Ho. Ho.
It's that time of year, when everything suddenly is Christmas this and holidays that and deck-the-friggin'-halls-while-whistling-a-jaunty-tune. So, yes, you might consider ringing in the season in a particularly anachronistic Colorado way in Pueblo, where Michael Martin Murphey and his band are putting on a Cowboy Christmas show at Pueblo Memorial Hall (1 City Hall Place). It's bound to be an evening of ropin' and chaps and Christmasey stuff, so expect either a bell-choir version of "Rawhide" or a bullwhip-style "We Three Kings." The show starts at 7, and tickets are $17-$27. You can get yours by calling TicketsWest at 866/464-2626 or by going to ticketswest.com.
Tonight is the debut of The Santaland Diaries by UCCS Theatreworks, which just might turn out to be the funniest play ever. Adapted from the essay that catapulted David Sedaris into NPR fame, Santaland is the story of a young naf named (duh) David Sedaris, who works as an elf in a department store's Santa Claus village. And you know what? I'll not further synopsize it, because if you haven't read it, you should. You also should see the play, which runs through Dec. 18 at the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theatre (3955 Cragwood Drive). Tickets for the show, which runs in repertory with A Christmas Carol, are $22 in advance or $25 at the door. Get yours by calling 262-3232 or by merrily making your way to uccstheatreworks.com.
Judging from their Web site, Katherine Dines and the Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Band have the market cornered on Hawaiian shirts and zaniness. But, hey, if we've learned anything from the legacy of folks like the late, great Jim Varney, we've learned that zaniness can be a good thing, especially when it's kid-geared and nominates you for Grammys, as is done for Dines. Catch a special holiday concert by Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta today at Venue 515 at the Business of Art Center (515 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs), where the acclaimed trio is serving up its brand of multi-instrumental music, movement, humor, sign language, props and theater. Show times are 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and tickets are $8. For reservations or more information, call 685-4729 or log on to themat.org.
- Howl along with Riders in the Sky.
Speaking of Grammys, get to Lewis-Palmer High School (1300 Higby Road, Monument) to check out aforementioned-award-winning western music group Riders in the Sky. Playing tunes in the tradition of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and the like, Riders present a family-friendly environment chock-full of humor, fiddlin', twang and strum that's only a 5.6 on the Shtick Scale. The 2 p.m. performance is $25, and tickets are available through TicketsWest outlets or by calling 866/464-2626. For more information, try wagon-training over to trilakesarts.org or ridersinthesky.com.
You gotta love a band that references so-called "groovecore." St. Louis rockers Calico System do just that, and manage to fuse it with screamo, hardcore, emo, punk rock and probably, like, zydeco and djembe jam and marching band music, to boot. They're eclectic, is my point. You can get an earful of their miscellany at The Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave.), where they're a-rockin' with Mikoto and locals In Death We Rise and They Murdered Miracles. The 8 p.m. show is $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Boogie to sodajerkpresents.com for tix or more information.
Today features a pair of less- than-cheery Southwest-themed lectures at Colorado College by School of American Research president James F. Brooks. At noon is "Captives, Commodities, and Comanches: Indian Slavery in the Southwest," in Gaylord Hall at Worner Campus Center (902 N. Cascade Ave.) This Aficionados Luncheon is $12, and reservations are required; call 389-6649 to make yours. At 7 p.m., Brooks will deliver "Mesa of Sorrows: Archaeology, Purity and Prophetic Violence in the American Southwest," based on his book of the same name. This is taking place in the Gates Common Room at Palmer Hall, smack in the middle of campus. It's free and open to the public; visit coloradocollege.edu for more info.
-- Aaron Retka