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click to enlarge Boulder band Swivel Hips get down at The Acoustic Coffee Lounge - this Saturday
  • Boulder band Swivel Hips get down at The Acoustic Coffee Lounge this Saturday

27 Thursday Tonight is Kujichagulia, the second night of Kwanzaa, a nonreligious holiday celebrating the best and brightest in African and African-American people, culture and society. Each day of the seven-day holiday commemorates a certain quality -- Kujichagulia is self-determination. The Hillside Community Center (925. S. Institute) plays host to the festivities through Dec. 31, offering up their space to feasts, gatherings and African marketplaces. To find out more about the celebration and event schedule, call 473-6566.

28 Friday

Christmas may be over with at your house, but it's always Christmas in the heart of David Simpich. Simpich is a local artist whose figures and marionettes are renowned the world over, although you've more than likely seen his rosy-cheeked holiday incarnations surrounding Santa at a local mall. After creating stationary figures for years, Simpich decided that people wanted to see his characters come to life, so he gave them joints and produced The Puppet Maker: A Story of Christmas, a holiday tradition that runs through Saturday at the Broadmoor Hotel. The performance, while classic, is nrecommended for young kids. Tickets are $16 and the show starts at 7 p.m. Call 577-5747.

Thanks to Martha Stewart and the Bead-Dazzler, crafting often gets a bad rap as a pathetic way to fill the gaping hole in your soul. However, the beautiful and intricate "crafts" at the Business of Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave., are nothing less than works of art. The Gifted Hand is an exhibit of fine crafts from 20 regional artists, and it hangs through Dec. 31. Call the BAC at 685-1861 to find out more.

29 Saturday

If you need practice before hitting the midnight streets in search of New Year's partying, perhaps you'd best stay home. The excitement may be too much for you. You could injure yourself. But if you plan to throw caution to the wind and you think you could use a warm-up session, there's a Practice New Year's Eve Party and House Concert tonight on the near West Side. There will be a bar to accompany the melodious sounds of local boys Phil Volan, Joe Uveges and Jim Sokol. You have to make your reservations to get the address; call 389-0405. Admission is a $6 artist donation and the party begins at 7:30 p.m.

The term "groove" has become way over-used when describing music, but it can't be avoided when talking about Swivel Hips Smith. The jammy quintet are true possessors of groove -- their music flows along in intoxicating, undulating waves of jazz, funk and jam. The Boulder band performs at Acoustic Coffee Lounge tonight, 5152 Centennial Blvd. Admission is $5 and the show is all-ages. Call 265-9951.

31 Monday

There's dinner, champagne and, of course, dancing (to Wallace Cotton and the Royals), but most importantly, there will be art chairs. Spectacular pieces of hand-crafted expression for you to set your bum upon. The Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration Chair-ity Auction will be held at the New Year's Eve Gala tonight at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. To see the items up for auction, click on

click to enlarge "Winged Tiger" by Kathleen Sherman at the BAC through December 31
  • "Winged Tiger" by Kathleen Sherman at the BAC through December 31

www.imaginationcelebration.org. (I'm particularly fond of "Red Odalisque" and "Supporting Character.") For ticket and auction information, call 538-4000.

If you've got small children, a tight budget, no drinking problems and a desire to float from wholesome divertissement to lavish family-oriented occurrence within an eight-block perimeter, there's First Night Pikes Peak. It's a non-alcoholic family New Year's Celebration at 14 various locations downtown, including restaurants, clubs and theaters. Your First Night button ($5-$8) gets you admitted to all events -- you can purchase them at any King Soopers or YMCA location. The non-inebriating festivities are held from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. To find out more, call the Visitors Bureau at 635-7506 Ext. 120.

If you just want to get high on life tonight you might try the World Peace Meditation at Pikes Peak Church, 3685 Jeannine Drive. Apparently, people all over the world will be meditating in unison in order to "turn their hearts and minds to world healing for one hour." If you've never been involved in a group meditation, your life has not been lived to its fullest. Get out and OM man, for your sake. All are welcome; call 596-6894 for details. The chakras will be tapped from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m.


All Night Long

Bar-hop your way to 2002

Where you gonna go? What you gonna drink? How you gonna dress? ... New Year's is full of hard questions, the most difficult being, of course, what kind of live music do you want to see? As usual, we've done all the work for you, and now all you have to do is remember these amazing words of wisdom: beer before wine, you mighty fine; beer before liquor, ain't never been sicker. Party well.

Acoustic Coffee Lounge, 5152 Centennial Blvd., has local favorites Boondoggle with Denver band The Accidents at 8 p.m., and word has it Ms. Marni bought herself a brand-new dress for the occasion. $8 gets you in and supplies you with a champagne toast at the big hour. Call 268-9951.

Inflammatory band Itis rocks your socks off (or your pants, maybe your bra) at 9 at the Gardens, 2945 Galley Road, 597-2900.

Peace Sign plays George's Union Station, 2419 N. Union Blvd., at 9. Highly recommended -- Joe Jacquez can sing like nobody's business. Call 227-7168.

For the angry young artist inside you, Dysarranged, The DejeX, The A-Holes, Raised Under Reagan and The Misplaced all perform from 9 on at Industrial Nation, 2106 E. Platte Ave., 520-0980.

click to enlarge Joanne Taylor belts it out at Laura Belle's on New Year's Eve
  • Joanne Taylor belts it out at Laura Belle's on New Year's Eve

Jack Quinn's, 21 S. Tejon St., hosts Nolaffinmatter at 9:30 p.m. Go here to be with educated people who know how to drink. 385-0766.

Jos Muldoon's, 222 N. Tejon St., is going pop with Denver's Rubber Planet, also at 9:30. Go here to be with people who not only know how to drink, they are happy to teach you, too. 636-2311.

Laura Belle's, 734 N. 19th St., is this reviewer's choice for New Year's, because Ms. Joanne Taylor will be slapping you in the face with her heavenly, powerful pipes from 9 on. And when she's not belting it out, her incredible band will take care of your deep need for blues, soul and R&B. Call 630-7600.

Two-man rock band Arch Hooks (piano) and Bruce Anderson (drums) performs at 9 at Meadow Muffins, 2432 W. Colorado Ave. The bar is a haven for all things American, bizarre, quaint and rough around the edges. Kick-ass food. Call 633-0583.

Navajo Hogan Roadhouse, 2817 N. Nevada Ave., hosts Mike Nelson & The Motel Kings, starting at 9 p.m. Call 632-5490.

The swanky Ritz Grill, 15 S. Tejon St., hosts One Man Gone at 9:30. Call 635-8484.

Any bar with a picture of Andy Capp waving at you is all right... the Townhouse Lounge at 907 Manitou Avenue in Manitou Springs has got the Small House Blues Band around 9. Call 685-1085.

The Underground, 130 E. Kiowa St., is one of the only clubs in town with a legit DJ and house music tonight. DJ Vandal spins from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Tickets are $10 to $12, and the show is 18+. Call 633-0590.

Groove-escent mountain jam band Old Dog plays The Utopia Caf party from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. $30 gets you in, dinner, breakfast and champagne. Call 633-1080. Utopia is at 117 E. Bijou St.

-- Kristen Sherwood

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