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click to enlarge August Wilsons Ma Raineys Black Bottom opens this - weekend at the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater.
  • August Wilsons Ma Raineys Black Bottom opens this weekend at the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater.

Friday

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Once upon a time, two women began playing music together. They were called Susan Morello and Cindy Smith and they played acoustic guitars and sang and called themselves Morello & Smith, and everyone was happy. But then they stopped playing music for many years, and the world was plunged into chaos: Republican presidencies, war, Major Dad, etc. But they return to us now in the darkest of times with shorter hair, a new CD and a reunion/CD release/25th anniversary show at First Congregational Church (20 E. St. Vrain St.) from 7:30 to 9:30 this evening. They will play material from their past as well as new stuff, and it'll seem like those 25 years just whizzed by. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the show.

The wacky sisters of Hoboken are back in a holiday treat with a twist: The Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical onstage at the Fine Arts Center courtesy of the Rep Company. Taped in the convent basement for Cable Access television, the nuns' idea of fun includes a fruitcake baking demonstration, Catholic home shopping service and more. Hey, it's the holidays and you need a laugh. Performances, starting tonight, are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Dec. 12. Tickets are $22 for FAC members and $24 for the public in advance, $26 at the door. Group rates are available. Call to reserve tickets at 634-5583 or visit www.csfineartscenter.org.

A little farther north at the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater (3955 Cragwood Drive), August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom opens, a story about the blues and the lives of black Americans in Chicago during the 1920s, with the famed blues singer Ma Rainey upfront and center. TheatreWorks' production is directed by Katie Damp, who directed their production of A Raisin in the Sun three years ago. The show runs weekends through Dec. 12; tickets are $18-$20 with group discounts available. Call 262-3232 for more or visit

www.uccstheatreworks.com .

Saturday

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click to enlarge The Sangre de Cristo Arts Centers Everything Nutcracker - includes exhibits and kids activities through Dec. 30.
  • The Sangre de Cristo Arts Centers Everything Nutcracker includes exhibits and kids activities through Dec. 30.

This weekend, chuck the children in the car and head to Pueblo, where the Buell Children's Museum at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center (210 N. Sante Fe Ave.) will be holding its Everything Nutcracker exhibition. The fun ranges from a collection of nutcrackers from Germany's Erzgebirge region to a gingerbread land of sugarplums, gumdrops and candy canes to nutcracker and holiday-themed crafts to hands-on nutcrackery activities. And while the kids play, you can shop at the Sangre's annual Own Your Own holiday art show and sale with fine arts and crafts by over 80 artists available for holiday buying and giving. The events run through Dec. 30, and admission is $4 for adults and $3 for kids. To learn more, head to

www.sdc-arts.org or call 719/295-7200.

Man, it's been a while since the phrase "swirling cauldron of bubbling rock reactants" came across my desk, but the wait is over! Hard-rockers Shinedown bring that cauldron to 32 Bleu (32 S. Tejon St.) tonight, and they'll get it swirling, and just when you think it can't get any more awesome, it'll start to bubble. Then, boom! Look out! Claiming influences as diverse at Otis Redding and Tool, Shinedown is touring its debut album, Leave a Whisper. Boom! They'll be playing with Silvertide and Future Leaders of the World. Tickets for this one are $15 and are available through www.32bleu.com. Boom!

Sunday

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It's Children's Book Week, you know. "But I haven't finished my shopping!" you say. "I didn't even make a cake! How to commemorate such an important week?" Settle down, baby. You can take your kids to Penrose Public Library (20 N. Cascade Ave.) at 1:30 p.m. for their Create Your Own Book event. This hands-on workshop will have kids making books from the inside out and tapping the well of creativity. The event is free, but preregistration is a great idea. Do so by calling Call 531-6333 ext. 2403, and give your offspring a Children's Book Week memory they'll treasure forever.

Catch the Abendmusik chamber choir this afternoon in their annual holiday concert at the Broadmoor Community Church (315 Lake Ave.). In their 27th year, Abendmusik'll be dishing out steaming helpings of sacred choruses, folk tunes, spirituals and more -- an eclectic mix of deliciousness to ring in the holidays, followed by a dollop of good cheer. Mmm! The show gets started at 3 p.m., and admission is free, although donations are always welcome.

Friday

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Kick off your weekend with one of the most genuinely awesome-sounding events in, like, the history of events, ever. The Colorado Carnivorous Plant Society will hold a meeting from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Old Colorado City Library (2418 W. Pikes Peak Ave.). There, carnivorous plant devotees can see rare plants, take part in show and tell, plant judging, raffles and a silent auction for carnivorous plants donated by Exotic Plants Plus. Brilliant. Seriously, if your weekend does not involve plants that eat animals, you've taken a wrong turn on life's path, my friend. The meeting is free. For more information, head to www.geocities.com/colorado_carnivorousplantsociety/index.html.

  • What's happenin' this week in the big city highlights from our listings

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