Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow--or not. Snow or no snow, you can get in the holiday spirit without leaving the comfortable confines of your home (assuming you need no last-minute gag ties to wrap up for Uncle Ernie). KCFR-FM/90.1 will air Colorado Public Radio Holiday Programs throughout the day, beginning this morning with The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast at 9 from King's College in Cambridge, England, and the Kirov Orchestra performing The Nutcracker at 10. Programming continues at noon with An Old World Christmas, an audio grab bag combining lives of composers with stories about the origins of certain holiday traditions, and concludes this evening from 9 to 11 with Cleveland's Apollo's Fire early-music ensemble in Sweet Was the Virgin's Song and Christmas With the Philadelphia Singers. No need for this night to be silent.
On the other hand, should you choose to stir from the nest, chances are you'll feel right at home at First Divine Science Church's annual Christmas Eve Candlelighting Service, a low-key, meditative event that's dedicated to cultural diversity. Poetry and music by Autoharpist Michael Stanwood, pianist Patricia Valentine, baritone Eli Owens and Katie Glassman and her string quartet will blend pleasantly in candlelight beginning at 7:30. The church is at 1400 Williams St.; call 303-322-7738.
What do little boys (and big men) dream of finding under the tree on Christmas morning? Before the days of high-tech toys, it was inevitably a shiny model train chugging around a miniature track bedecked with tiny trees, picturesque bridges and to-scale depots. For some, including rivet-counters at the Denver Society of Model Railroaders, that dream hasn't changed: They're the nostalgic souls who keep the Colorado Midland O Scale Model Railroad running in the basement of Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St. You can't always see the magnificent sixty-year-old tribute to bygone pleasures, an ongoing project with exacting dimensions and a Colorado theme, but you'll have a chance tonight from 7 to 9; you can check out Union Station's festive tree and holiday lights, too. And if you can't make it, future railroad viewing dates are scheduled for the evenings of January 29, February 26, March 26, April 30 and May 28.
Sated? Maybe it's time to dig out from under the spent wrapping paper, tinsel and turkey bones to spend a few moments in reflection. And if a good book of poetry helps you reflect--do it! You may end up quoted in a national audio and video archive being promoted by U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky, who clearly favors taking it right to the people. His Favorite Poem Project sends out an invitation to folks across the country to submit their favorite poems (by authors other than Pinsky) with a short treatise on why they love the work so much. Pinsky will accept suggestions through April 30, the last day of National Poetry Month. Send yours to: Robert Pinsky, The Favorite Poem Project, Boston University, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, or e-mail to favpoem@BU.EDU.
YOU'LL HAVE TO GET UP EARLY IN THE MORNING TO CATCH THIS DENVER DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE ON PUBLIC TELEVISION, BUT THE SHEER INSPIRATION OF IT WILL CLEAR THE HOLIDAY COBWEBS RIGHT OUT OF YOUR EYES. TRAVIS, THE STORY OF THREE YEARS IN THE LIFE OF TEN-YEAR-OLD AIDS PATIENT TRAVIS JEFFERIES, WHO LIVES IN THE SOUTH BRONX WITH HIS GRANDMOTHER, GENEVA, IS BY TURNS HEARTBREAKING AND UPLIFTING; IT ALSO OFFERS A LOOK AT NEW TREATMENTS FOR THE RAVAGING SYMPTOMS OF AIDS. THE PROGRAM, THE FINAL WORK OF FILMMAKER RICHARD KOTUK, DEBUTS TODAY ON KRMA-TV/CHANNEL 6; TUNE IN AT 6 A.M.
HOW DO YOU NIP THOSE TRANS-HOLIDAY TANTRUMS IN THE BUD? SHIP THE KIDS OUT AND GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO DO. THE DENVER ART MUSEUM OFFERS HELPo In order to accommodate bored children everywhere, its Programs for Families shift into extended hours during the remainder of Christmas vacation. The activities, usually offered only on weekends, will be available beginning today and continuing through January 3; in addition to the usual fare of Art Stops, Family Backpacks and the like, there'll be a week-long riddle-writing contest and drop-in art workshops at the DAM and the nearby Children's Library on January 2 only. Beware--the museum is still closed on Monday, as usual, as well as on New Year's Day, but the rest of the week is open season. The DAM is at 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy.; call 303-640-4433.
Boxing Day, a UK tradition during which gifts and money from church charity boxes are dispensed to the poor, falls annually on the day after Christmas and is as good a reason as any to let yesterday's cheer spill over into today. Denver-based Celtic music group Colcannon thinks so, too, and performs to that end tonight at 8 at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St. Interesting instruments and accompanying tales keep the show lively; for information and tickets, $5 to $8, call 303-294-9258.
Stick to it: Winning the Norwest Denver Cup is the simple objective when the annual college hockey tournament hosted by DU's Pioneers hits the ice today at McNichols Arena. Colorado College faces off against Boston College at 4:30, and the Pioneers meet Lake Superior State at 7:30; consolation and championship matches conclude the action tomorrow. For ticket information, call 303-871-2336.
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It's an odd but nice time to open an art show, and it's made even nicer by the quality of said exhibition: Incandescent Visions, featuring monumental graphite drawings by regional artist David Mesple, marks a fine coup for the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design's Philip J. Steele Gallery, 6875 E. Evans Ave. The painstakingly drafted two- and three-dimensional works remain on view through January 23; the gallery will host a joint reception on January 15 for this show and one at the neighboring Fine Arts Center Exhibition Space that features mixed-media constructions by Carol Redmond. Mesple also gives a gallery talk on January 19; call 303-753-6046 for details.
Hopeful for some hoops? This year's Colorado Xplosion ABL women's basketball team may be less than stellar, but that's no reason to turn your backs on the lanky ladies, especially since NBA action remains on hold this season. Catch the Xplos on the court tonight at 7 against the Portland Power at McNichols Arena; then make a fast break over to the Ramada Inn Downtown West, 1975 Bryant St., for a Post-Game Party featuring players and coaches galore. Game tickets range from $8.50 to $35; call 303-830-TIXS. For party information call 303-832-2225.
You don't have to be a skier to hop on the Winter Park Ski Train for a day at the slopes--you can also spend your time in Winter Park snowshoeing, inner-tubing or going for a sleigh ride or snowmobile tour, as well as partaking in that great American pastime, shopping. Winter Park has it all (although perhaps on a scale less ostentatious than what you'll find at Aspen and Vail), and the train ride up is a beaut, whether you're looking out the windows or not. The ski train chugs out of Union Station at 7:15 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday through April 3 (with the last of a string of special weekday runs scheduled today); added Friday trips kick in for the high ski-train season beginning February 12. Coach rates range from $20 to $40; the cushier club-car rates are $60 to $65. For reservations, which are highly recommended for the oft-sold-out excursions, call 303-296-4754.
Also high up in nearby climes, the Laura and Michael Martin Murphey Vertical Challenge Snowsport Event starts today at the Berthoud Pass ski area before moving tomorrow to Silver Creek Resort. A family-style competition that lets everyone get into the act (for a price), the event awards skiers and boarders who tally the most vertical feet daily. And there's star quality, too: Singing cowboy Murphey will make appearances each day during the heat of the competition. The entry fee is $40 ($20 for young boarders ages twelve and under), a portion of which benefits the Colorado Trail Foundation; for more information, call 1-800-SKI-BERT or 1-800-754-7458.