Eight days to live 

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23 Wednesday


It's the night before Thanksgiving, and you want something different to do. Your perhaps unexpected answer: men's college basketball, with the University of Colorado making a rare visit to Clune Arena, with a 7 p.m. tipoff (goairforcefalcons.com, tickets $7 to $25). CU expects to contend for the NCAA Tournament in coach Tad Boyle's second season, after going 24-14 last season and reaching the National Invitation Tournament semifinals in New York. Air Force, off to a 3-0 start, hopes to show that it can stand up to Pac-12 competition and perhaps make this an annual rivalry game. Most of the cadets will be gone for the holiday break, so the civilian fans will have to help provide the atmosphere. — Ralph Routon

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24 Thursday


For you counterculture contrarians with a penchant for nature-based activities and ample feasting: UpaDowna has this holiday covered with its Incline Happy Hour Thanksgiving Edition. Join fellow formal-dinner-table rejects at the Manitou Incline around 5 p.m., then trek to the Royal Tavern (924 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, upadowna.com) around 7. The "cost": contributed leftovers, baked goodies or the like, which you know will taste better with a little lactic acid build-up in your body. Comment on UpaDowna's website or Facebook page with what dish you're bringing (and don't forget to stretch those creamy hamstrings). — Matthew Schniper

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25 Friday


This economy has forced many of us to look at the holidays in a new way. ("We're not going to have that kind of Christmas this year," as my mom used to say.) If I'm going shopping anywhere on this day, it'll be at blackFriday@blacKiowa at the blacKiowa Gallery (745 E. Kiowa St., 459-8245). Now in its second year, this is a one-day show of art gifts created by locals 21 and under, and curated by artist Erin Jones. Things get started at 7 p.m. — Edie Adelstein

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26 Saturday


The earliest mention I could find came in a story about the origin of the Tannenbaum. "The first description of a Christmas tree in modern literature is to be found in The Nutcracker, a fairy tale, by Fougue and Hoffmann," wrote the Milwaukee Journal on Dec. 19, 1896. It first seems curious that the newspaper wouldn't mention the ballet, which was four years old at the time, but it makes sense when you learn it wasn't performed outside of Russia until 1927. So enjoy the popularity of Tchaikovsky's composition by hitting the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave., pikespeakcenter.com) at 2 or 7 today, or at 2 tomorrow (assuming, of course, that you didn't see the 7 p.m. opening last night); tickets start at $27. — Bryce Crawford

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27 Sunday


Bright Christmas lights, 20-foot holiday ornaments, and mines. These may not usually be things typically seen together, but if you go to the 14th Annual Holiday Headframe Lighting along the mountain sides and roadways around Victor and Cripple Creek (grab a map at victorcolorado.com/goldcampchristmas.htm), you will get a self guided tour of the 1890s mine structures bursting with holiday colors. This free show runs through Jan. 1 on weekend nights, weather permitting. — Ellie Cole

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28 Monday


Registration for the 2012 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, set for April 20-22 at the Colorado Springs Marriott, opened last week. At tonight's free monthly PPW Writers Night, from 5:30 to 7:30 at Poor Richard's Bookstore (320 N. Tejon St., pikespeakwriters.com), conference faculty director Bonnie Hagan will share highlights for the 20th annual event, answer all your burning questions, and maybe even throw in some helpful thoughts for aspiring authors. For instance: why you should never pass your manuscript to a potential agent or editor under a bathroom stall door. — Kirsten Akens

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29 Tuesday


It's never easy to outdo the summer's catchiest hit with your own cover version, but the Kooks managed the task nicely during a recent live BBC broadcast. Their moodier version of Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" brings out the song's more ominous lyrical content, with Hugh Harris' super-clean hollow-body guitar work as impressive as ever. Despite three Top 10 British albums, the Kooks' youthful blend of power-pop and classic-rock influences hasn't yet achieved the kind of stateside attention given to their indie-pop peers the Arctic Monkeys, but it could still happen. Catch them tonight at the Ogden Theatre (935 E. Colfax Ave, Denver, ogdentheatre.net) in a 16-and-over show with Yawn opening. Showtime's at 8, and tickets are $22/adv, $24/door. — Bill Forman

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30 Wednesday


Ask Wikipedia about cottonmouth, and you get another name for a water moccasin. (Before it delivers its toxic bite, it displays its bright white mouth.) Ask Urban Dictionary, and you get the usual responses about dry mouths, plus some skeevy contributions I won't mention here. But if you're looking to classify the Kottonmouth Kings, playing at 8 tonight at the Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave., blacksheeprocks.com), they want you to know the genre-hopping band is about more than just marijuana. Says member Brad X, "Anyone who can't look past the weed references on our albums are completely missing out on some of our best material." This all-ages show is $22/adv, $24/door. — Edie Adelstein


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