Allow Dr. Aaron to prescribe you a dose of jazzy, bluesy, folksy holiday tunes tonight at the Briargate Borders (1790 Briargate Blvd.), where Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Coles Whalen will be kicking out some serious jams. Diagnosis? Delightful! To mix some metaphors, Whalen's got a timeless voice, a piano and a guitar in her musical arsenal, and you can bet she'll be spewing dangerous amounts of holiday-themed folk-rock shrapnel all over you. The show gets started at 7 p.m. Duck and cover your way to
www.coleswhalen.com <> for more.
Also tonight, head to Pueblo for what has to be the best concept for any play ever: Dastardly Deeds in Deadwood or I've Got Your Healthcare Crisis Right Here premieres tonight at the Damon Runyon Theater (611 N. Main St. in Pueblo). This breathtakingly absurd tale of an Old West mortgage-foreclosure, orphans, crewmembers from the starship Enterprise, cobbled-together Christmas carols and rising health-care insurance costs really makes me wish I could steal the idea and sell it to, say, Comedy Central. The play shows tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 11 and 12 at 2 p.m., and Dec. 17 and 18 as dinner theater. Tickets for show-only performances are $8 to $25, and $38 for dinner and the performance. For information or reservations, call 719/564-0579.
Hey, terrified of puppets? (It's understandable. They're scary.) Let's get you through that phobia tonight by attending The Puppet Maker: A Story of Christmas, presented by David Simpich Marionettes. This original production features the tale of a woodcarver preparing marionettes for a local Nativity scene, and it's sure to warm all the cockles you have. The puppet fest is taking place at Mount Saint Francis Auditorium (7665 Assisi Heights Blvd.), and will run Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. through Dec. 28. Tickets are $11 in advance or $13.50 at the door. Get yours by calling 636-3272 or visiting Simpich Character Dolls at 2413 W. Colorado Ave. For more, head to www.simpich.com.
Today at the Pioneers Museum (215 S. Tejon St.), catch the video documentary The Life and Times of General William Jackson Palmer, to be screened in the historic Division 1 courtroom on the museum's third floor at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Jim Sawatzki directed the documentary, which features six local historians interpreting Palmer's life through stories, rare archival photos, historic railroad footage and re-enactments. This premiere showing is free; make reservations for first seating by calling 385-5990.
And while you're there, check out the Pioneers Museum's hundreds of antique pipes on display. The exhibit spans three centuries, including pipes and smoking paraphernalia from the collection of James Lee Dick (the inventor, believe it or not, of the Morton salt box pour spout), American Indian pipes and tons more. Admission to the museum is free, and museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more, call 385-5990.
You know those heartwarming holiday tales of reindeer and elves and snowmen teaching us all a valuable lesson and inspiring hope in our fellow man? Throw those out the freakin' window and head to Denver today for "Making Merry," a holiday production of Stories on Stage. Pieces to be read include David Sedaris' "The Santaland Diaries," "Christmas Is a Sad Season for the Poor" by John Cheever, Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory," and "The Loudest Voice" by Grace Paley, all read by stars of the Denver stage. The show starts at 2 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe (2199 California St.). Tickets are $12 and are available by calling 303/494-0523. For more, head to
I've said it before and I will most certainly say it again: Things are better on ice! No concept or production can possibly suffer when paired with colorful costumes, piped-in music and skates. That said, check out Chanukah on Ice at the Chapel Hills Mall Ice Rink (near Academy and I-25) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Enjoy latkes, witness the lighting of southern Colorado's largest menorah, skate to Jewish music and, most importantly, see Judah the Maccabee shred some ice. The cost for the event is $5. Call 634-2345 for more.
Get your fill of sassy, striped-socked redheaded children tonight at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave.), where the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration presents Pippi Longstocking. This stage adaptation follows the spunky Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Macrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking on her no-doubt zany adventures. The show begins at 7 p.m., but fun hands-on activities will take place an hour before the show. Tickets are $10 and are available through the Pikes Peak Center box office by calling 520-SHOW. Showgoers are invited to bring unwrapped Christmas gifts such as books, stuffed animals, dolls, art supplies or games to donate to Kids Crossing.
-- Aaron Retka