Down the Up Staircase.

Speaking of philanthropists, two events this weekend hope to tap into your spirit of giving: The Punk Rock Social Ball, Saturday, December 16, at Seven South, 7 South Broadway, will feature performances from the Emmas, the Otterpops and the Dinnermints; on the same night at Thia's Cafe, 6495 East Evans, Michael White will host the fifth annual Bella Ball, with appearances by El Fiend, Bella Coyote, Ed Fingers and Great Atomic Motor. Both events benefit Santa's Toy Bag, an organization that works with the Denver Department of Social Services to supply food and gifts to underprivileged kids at Christmas. Attendees are encouraged to dress "to the nines" and, more important, to bring a new toy.

You needn't dress any special way for the grand opening of the Cat, the latest endeavor from Mike Jerk and Jason Cotter, who've vacated -- but not totally abandoned -- their former punk stamping grounds at the Raven. According to Jerk, the new place (located one block north of the Raven at 2334 Welton Street) is bigger, with a better sound system and a bar that's more integrated into the floor plan (not hidden in the back, as it was at the old club). With its dual entrances and multiple bathrooms, the space also eases the logistics of all-ages shows, something Jerk and Cotter are unique in their commitment to providing for young rock-and-roll fans in the area. Jerk says the two will probably continue to host shows at the Raven on an infrequent basis, but they are currently focused on broadening the fare at the new space; DJ and dance music may soon join the show calendar, along with regional and local punk and indie acts. The Cat's inaugural meow is Friday, December 15, with an all-ages show featuring the Fairlanes, Pinhead Circus and the Hate Fuck Trio; on Saturday, it's Brother's Keeper, Shogun, Martyr and Fallen Altar.

And as one local music space opens, another shuts down: Friday, December 15, will mark the final performance at the Wonderground Warehouse, an art and music space run by Cindy Wonderful and her partners in Rainbow Sugar rhyme. According to Ms. Wonderful, the Sugar girls are perhaps not suited to home life (the space is their domicile as well as a venue); they're planning to tour more frequently -- including a pending month-long jaunt in France -- and considering a move to Los Angeles. Goodbyes can be said -- and interesting music sampled -- at the farewell fete; Rainbow Sugar will be joined by Friends Forever and other guests from the Wonderground Records consortium. The warehouse is mysteriously located at the corner of Speer and Zuni, behind Kreative Kar Audio. We certainly wish Rainbow Sugar well but hope the band eventually returns to Denver, as its brand of femme fatale hip-hop and onstage theatrics are a sweet local addition, indeed.

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