click to enlarge "Composition in Blue" by Orkendell Ford at Celebration IV
  • "Composition in Blue" by Orkendell Ford at Celebration IV

According to Rick, an old family friend, the secret to eating abnormally huge amounts of food is to "eat slowly. Let it work its way into all the corners." So while your Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, squash, pie, duck, goose, beef, spinach casserole, beets, yams, ice cream, corn, rolls, potatoes, gravy, salad, fish, tofu, beans, chicken, cranberries, cake, pork, etc., are settling into all of your abdominal hidey-holes, take the time to think about how lucky you are to have all those good eats. Don't just be thankful for all of the simple treasures you've got, let today remind you to give something back, to be the reason for someone's else's happiness.

For instance, Sweet Georgia Brown's Soul Food Restaurant, 3043 W. Colorado Ave., is providing a Thanksgiving dinner today, and are in the process of putting together Christmas Care Packages for local people in need. They are seeking aid in the form of volunteers and monetary contributions. Call 391-0827 to find out how you can help.

The Salvation Army is also coordinating Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners around town, with Care & Share and other local agencies. The dinners will be served from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the respective holidays. For volunteer info, call 636-3891 Ext. 21.

He's stiff, he's uptight, he's rigid, he's made out of wood ... everybody's favorite nutcracker will grace the stage in the classic Nutcracker Ballet at the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave. San Diego's California Ballet will perform the magical tale, which begins at 2:30 this afternoon and again at 8 tonight. The show runs through Sunday, and tickets are $12-$47. Call 520-SHOW.

The Soapbox Playhouse is a struggling acting company that is so bored with the yearly production of A Christmas Carol that Scrooge sometimes recites his lines in Spanish. Tiny Tim is no longer tiny, and their technology is far from Y2K compliant. On top of all this, the National Endowment for the Arts sends word that an inspector is coming to make sure the company still deserves funding, and the nightmare begins. The comedy is "the perfect antidote for the holiday blues." Inspecting Carol begins at 8 p.m. at the Lon Chaney Theater, 221 E. Kiowa St., and runs through Dec. 5. Tickets are $10-$12. Call 573-7411 for more details.

Feeling bloated? A little full? Perhaps someone threw your jeans in the dryer on accident (of course) and the waistband is a little tight? Walk off that quarter turkey you ate while learning about the animals you didn't eat at Fountain Creek Nature Center. The Wildlife Wetland Walk is a 2-mile jaunt beginning at 10 a.m. The walk is free, but reservations are required (call 520-6745). Go for it -- you'll feel svelte by noon.

While nothing beats Independent editor Kathryn Eastburn's Nashville country Christmas experience of opening her door to find Roseanne Cash and Rodney Crowell caroling on her step (ask her about it sometime -- she's got some good Issac Hayes stories, too), Old Colorado City has the next best thing. From 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, Colorado Avenue between 24th and 27th streets will be filled with crafts, Christmas trees, horses, carolers, wagons and old-fashioned charm. Pikes Peak Hospice will light their Tree of Life at 5 p.m. Admission to the Rocky Mountain Country Christmas is free.

Celebration IV will raise funds for the Pikes Peak Library District's African-American Historical and Cultural Collection. Take part in the festivities today at an art show featuring the works of Alice Hudson, Orkendell Ford and John Hudson from noon to 5 p.m. Authors Shirlee Taylor Haizlip and Harold C. Haizlip will be signing their works from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Shirlee's memoir of the role skin color played in her family is now required reading at over 180 colleges and universities, and Harold's memoir of a marriage In the Garden of Our Dreams addresses the struggles of an interracial couple fighting for integration and racial healing. Both events are free and will be held at the Doubletree World Arena Hotel, 1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd. Call Peggy Shivers at 593-8400 for details.

There are few Americans who have not read or heard of Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box. The 1992 best-selling story has become a musical production, demonstrating the importance of family relationships, especially those of parents and children. The holiday musical begins at 7 p.m. at the Air Force Academy. $12-$21. Call 333-4497 for more ticket information.

Yeah, yeah, you can sing and dance and look good in Lycra. You know Showboat by heart, even though it's killing your father. But do you know what kind of message to leave on an agent's answering machine? Have you priced rent in New York City? Did you know you should always glue your rsum to the back of your picture? People, these are the truly important things to know when you're trying to take Broadway by storm. Michael Allen has been there, under those big bright lights, and shares his knowledge in his new book, How To Make It in Musicals. Allen will sign copies of the book at Chinook Bookshop, 210 N. Tejon St., at 5:30 p.m.

Can you believe it's already December?

The Hearthstone Inn's annual tree-trimming celebration has become a local tradition over the past few years. The famous Victorian bed and breakfast will deck the halls again at 6 p.m. The public is invited, and refreshments will be served. The inn sits prettily at 506 N. Cascade Ave.


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