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Ten Days to Live 

click to enlarge The Virgin of Guadalupe is hanging in the Denver Art - Museums Our Lady of Guadalupe exhibit.
  • The Virgin of Guadalupe is hanging in the Denver Art Museums Our Lady of Guadalupe exhibit.

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Thursday

Always one of my favorites, this one: The Springs First Church of the Nazarene (4120 E. Fountain Blvd.) presents its annual Many Lights of Christmas Drive-Through, a wonderland of 500,000 lights, each one of which wishes you a very happy holiday. Attractions include Santa's Workshop, Candy Cane Lane, puppets, shepherds, reindeer, a Ferris wheel, a live nativity and so much more. In short, it's like condensing a week's worth of Christmas-themed television commercials into a short drive. Either that, or a video game called Yule Explosion! It's taking place all weekend once the sun sets. For more information, call 596-5119.

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Friday

This weekend, head north to catch the Denver Art Museum's Our Lady of Guadalupe exhibit. The museum is highlighting paintings of the revered Mexican icon who is thought to have appeared to San Juan Diego and is renowned for her healing abilities. Fun family activities will be taking place during the course of the exhibit, which will be located in the fourth-floor Spanish Colonial galleries until Jan. 2. For information about special vouchers, museum hours, location and admission costs, give 'em a call at 720/913-0113 or visit

www.denverartmuseum.org .

Also tonight, get your pop-punk-at-the-biker-bar fix when the Gamits play the Navajo Hogan (2817 N. Nevada Ave). Beloved in their native Denver as well as the in the Springs, the Gamits dish out pretty infectious pop melodies and will be going on their very last tour ever. Expect catchy power chords, tears and farewells. With them will be Stereotypewriter, Link and Nevertheless. Expect things to get started around 8 p.m. For tickets prices, give those Hoganites a jingle at 632-5490.

18 Saturday

You just can't go wrong when you combine local celebrities with holiday-themed do-gooder benefits. Take, for instance, Bell Ringers, Clowns and Santa, Oh My!!!, taking place as a benefit for the children of Washington Elementary School, Colorado Springs' school for homeless children (924 W. Pikes Peak Ave.). Your gift of new, unwrapped art supplies is also your admission to see the be-bow-tied Mike Merrifield in a more Santa-ish costume, to catch music by the Sun Chime Bell Choir (emceed by one Mike Miles) and to do some good. The curtain rises at 11:30 a.m. For gift ideas or more information, call 380-7064.

19 Sunday

click to enlarge See Oro and Nugget, Thursday, Dec. 23 at the Western - Museum of Mining and Industry.
  • See Oro and Nugget, Thursday, Dec. 23 at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry.

Ah, CC. In a season of spectacle and paint-by-numbers events, you can always count on Colorado College to provide something refreshingly esoteric. Today at 3 p.m. in Packard Hall (southwest corner of Cascade Avenue and Cache La Poudre Street), catch some holiday music, early Baroque-era style. Included in the program are a Christmas oratorio by Heinrich Schtz for chorus, soloists and small orchestra; settings in Hebrew of the "Song of Solomon" by Salamone Rossi; and early Baroque dance music. The concert is free of charge and quite open to the public.

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Monday

Everybody's favorite little sassy restaurant/bar/cafe/salon, Shuga's (702 S. Cascade) celebrates its third birthday tonight with complimentary champagne toasts and $3 food and drink specials. So put on your party duds and scoot on over to the first restaurant/bar established in Colorado Springs' answer to LoDo, SoDo (that's south downtown for the uninitiated). Happy birthday, Shuga's!

Over at 32 Bleu, eclectic pop rockers who described their own sound back in the '80s as "surrealist absurdist folk," Camper Van Beethoven, will perform an unplugged show alongside Cracker, featuring Camper's former frontman singer/guitarist David Lowery. Hard to say what to expect; Camper's most recent work, New Roman Times, is a rock opera about a Texas boy who joins the military and then leaves to start an anti-government militia. Order tickets online at

www.32bleu.com ; by phone at TicketWeb, 866/468-7621, at Independent Records stores; or at the box office, 32 S. Tejon St.

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Tuesday

What better way to observe the winter solstice than to see some photographs of Nepal? (Honestly, I can think of a better one, but it's illegal in 46 states, plus Puerto Rico and Guam, thanks to the powerful Washington goat lobby.) That said, check out photographs by Constance Elmore on "Living in Nepal" at the Mediterranean Cafe (118 E. Kiowa St.). Photos will be up until Dec. 31, and you can check them out while ingesting baba ghanouj during regular business hours. For more, call 633-0115.

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Thursday

A helpful hint for all you aspiring freelancers out there: Any press release that includes the phrase "I've enclosed a photo of our donkeys" is A-one certified journalistic gold. With that in mind, take in some holiday comfort at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry today (just north of Colorado Springs at the Gleneagle exit), where they'll buy you a cup of coffee and let you browse the museum shop for last-minute gifts. Oro and Nugget, the museum's donkey mascots, will be present for meeting, petting and photo ops. All of this is free of charge from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. After that, enjoy a guided tour of the museum at regular admission prices: $7 for adults, $3 for kids ages 3 to 12, and free for those under 3. For more, check out

www.wmmi.org .

-- Aaron Retka

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