No need to celebrate Hanukkah by your lonesome: At the Festival of Lights, Whites, Reds and Roses, Genesis, the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado's social group for singles and couples ages 25 to 40, offers a menorah lighting (bring your own menorah; candles will be provided) and kosher-wine tasting beginning at 7 at the Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee St. Unwrapped children's gift donations will be collected; for details and reservations, call 321-3399, ext. 235. Also in the spirit of the season and just down the street at Ron Judish Arts, 1617 Wazee St., The Box Show, a benefit for the Denver Art Museum's Modern and Contemporary collection opens, spotlighting an array of one-of-a-kind artist-designed boxes--just the thing for a last-minute gift. Drop in for an opening from 6 to 9; the show continues through January 2. Call 303-571-5556.
Rarely does such an array of American string-music masters gather together on one stage, but with a grand helping of holiday cheer, Philip Aaberg, Darol Anger, Alison Brown, Mike Marshall, Tim O'Brien and Todd Phillips will assemble for A Christmas Heritage tonight at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder. The virtuosic sextet will ring in the season with a beautiful conglomeration of jazz, classical and bluegrass sounds; for tickets, $20.95, call 303-786-7030.
Hallelujah! Boettcher Concert Hall will be jumping this weekend when maestra Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra introduce Too Hot to Handel to Colorado audiences. A gospel-charged reworking of Handel's Messiah, Too Hot features spirited backup by the New Hope Baptist Church Majestic Praise Choir at 7:30 nightly, today through Saturday. Boettcher is located at 14th and Curtis in the Plex; for tickets, $12 to $46, call 303-830-TIXS.
It's the hottest thing going in the theater world--maybe too hot to touch. But if you can find one, a ticket to Rent, the Broadway smash and Pulitzer Prize winner based on Puccini's opera La Boheme, makes a swell reward for the holiday-harried. Part-way through a six-week run at the Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, Rent hits the stage tonight at 8; shows continue daily except Mondays, through January 17. Admission ranges from $25 to $60; call 303-893-4100 or 303-830-TIXS.
You can count on it: The Audubon Society of Greater Denver never slacks on its annual Christmas Bird Count, wherein birders of all levels of expertise tally the metro area's avian populations. If you'd like to help, numerations take place in Denver today (303-278-8035), in Evergreen tomorrow (303-674-3280), at Barr Lake State Park on December 26 (303-659-4348), and at Roxborough State Park on December 27 (303-973-3959). Last but not least, count leader Hugh Kingery (303-814-2723) has the skinny on an urban Denver jaunt on New Year's Day. Then again, if your vision's less than sharp but you'd still appreciate a holiday gander at some of our fine, feathered friends, you don't have to be eagle-eyed--but you can eye an eagle. Drop by the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge today from 2 to 4 p.m. for The Eagles Have Landed, a special program allowing visitors to take a peek at members of the refuge's annual bald eagle population through spotting scopes or on a closed-circuit television screen. Access the refuge at 72nd Avenue and Quebec Street (buses are available to shuttle you to where the action is); call 303-289-0232.
Dreamin' of a white Christmas? You'll have snowflakes in your eyes at the Snowshoe Festival, an extravaganza of demos and workshops for the racket-footed taking place today at the Hidden Valley Snow Play Area in Rocky Mountain National Park. Guided hikes, competitive fun runs and a kids' obstacle course are just some of the offerings at the free event, and you'll also get to try out those fancy ultra-lightweight snowshoes flying off sporting-goods shelves these days. Call 1-800-443-7837 or 1-970-586-4431. Also on the snow front this weekend, amateur carvers can ply their craft today and tomorrow at Copper Mountain Resort during the Copper Mountain Snowboard Series, touted as the longest-running amateur series in North America. For an easy $12 entry fee, you can participate in slalom, giant slalom, slopestyle and half-pipe competitions; racers can also take advantage of discounted lift tickets. Pre-registration is recommended for this popular event; call 1-800-458-8386, ext. 2.
Celebrate your inner pagan tonight at the annual Winter Solstice Revels, a family-style frolic for unbelievers that includes everything from mummers and Morris dancers to jugglers and authentic Chinese lion dancers. Mirth and hoopla reign from 6 to midnight--when the Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance traditionally ends festivities--at the Temple Events Center, 1595 Pearl St. Tickets, $20 ($5 for children ages six to twelve; children under six admitted free), are available in advance at the Boulder Early Music Shop or the Swallow Hill Music Association; call 303-571-9112 for details.
Here's an abundance of holiday doings for young and old, including a Hanukkah performance by the Yelidim Choir today at 1 p.m. at the Children's Museum of Denver, I-25 and 23rd Ave. Admission is free, but space is limited; call 303-433-7444. Also today, at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, 1880 Gaylord St., kids are invited to an Afternoon With St. Nick from 1:30 to 3:30. There'll be a holiday ornament workshop and special decorations and displays, including a Holiday Teddy Bear Exhibit boasting fanciful bruins of all shapes and sizes. Workshop admission is $6 ($15 for a family of four) and includes museum admission. Call 303-322-1053 for reservations. And talk about your time-honored traditions: Larimer Square brightens up this afternoon for the annual Tuba Christmas Concert, a whopper of a show featuring an all-ages crew of as many as 300 tuba players of varying abilities. The tubas perform from noon to 1 in Larimer Square; admission is free. Call 303-607-1276 or log on to www.larimersquare.com.
No matter how rousing those other Christmas Handel offerings may be (see Friday), there's always a do-it-yourself crowd lurking in December, waiting for the big chance to yodel out its own hallelujahs in its own inimitable way. Enter Sing Messiah, a yearly event at First Plymouth Congregational Church, 3501 S. Colorado Blvd., which offers all willing participants an opportunity to sing along with the church chancel choir during the entire Christmas portion of Handel's Messiah. Bring along a score or purchase one at the door, then prepare to let loose; admission is free. Call 303-762-0616.
It's about poetry and the criminal-justice system, an unlikely pairing, but Slam, the work of independent filmmaker Marc Levin, brings it all together in believable fashion with help from a dynamic and unusual cast that includes performance poets Saul Williams and Sonja Sohn and graffiti artist Bonz Malone. A hit this year at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals, Slam makes its Boulder debut tonight at 7 and 9:30 as part of the Boulder Theater's Specialty Film Series. Happy hour kicks off the evening from 6 to 7, and film admission is $3; the theater is at 2030 14th St. in Boulder. Call 303-786-7030.
Hey, weary downtown holiday shoppers--take a load off yer achin' dogs for a few minutes. Stop in today at the 1801 California Building between 11:30 and 1 and you'll be treated to A Holiday Musical Feast, featuring a soothing concert by classical-guitar-and-violin duo Komodore and Young. The last in this season's Yuletide lunchtime music series at 1801, it's certain to put a smile back on your stressed-out face. For information call 303-595-8747.