In the Simpsons episode "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation," Homer attends a Rock-and-Roll Fantasy camp to be trained in the ways of rock. Brian Setzer makes a memorable guest appearance. Weighing in as the Professor of Slide Guitar, the rockabilly guitar legend is referred to as "Brian Seltzer" through most of the episode. Later, after the celebrity musicians are apologizing for having slighted the Simpson patriarch, Setzer implores Homer to "not judge the entire Brian Setzer Orchestra" by his behavior. When The Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Extravaganza makes its way to the Fillmore Auditorium tonight, fans will get a chance to appraise both the singer and his band for themselves.For a second year, the Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Extravaganza will travel on a fifteen-city tour that stars the popular musician and a sixteen-piece backing orchestra. The seasonal event showcases the Grammy-Award-winning performer's unique blending of rockabilly, swing, jazz, country and blues in a show billed as "the hipster's alternative to the Rockettes." Setzer's ninety-minute set will feature songs pulled from the 2002 CD Boogie Woogie Christmas; it will include renditions of such holiday favorites as "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus," "Blue Christmas" and the Kay Star number "(Everybody's Waitin' for the) Man With the Bag." The orchestra will also perform several original holiday tunes from the album. At each show, Setzer takes a stab at Tchaikovsky's classic Nutcracker, resulting in an eclectic seven-minute piece that melds a traditional presentation with Setzer's trademark fiery guitar licks. Fans of the performer's less-seasonal music need not fear. The jam-packed show is sure to include material from his new album, Nitro Burnin' Funny Daddy, along with such Stray Cats classics as "Stray Cat Strut," "Jump Jive an' Wail" and "Rock This Town."
Homer would be proud.
Setzer and his jiveanauts will saunter onto the stage at the Fillmore, 1510 Clarkson Street, around 8 p.m (doors open at 7). Tickets, $40 to $45, are available at all Ticketmaster locations or at the Fillmore box office. For more information, log on to www.cc.com. -- Adam Cayton Holland
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance jams in a joyful jubilee
Granny's got a tale to tell, but she's getting a little forgetful. Fortunately, she has a memory aid in the form of an angel named Shakti to guide her through Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance's seasonal celebration of global traditions. "Granny has forgotten all of her stories, so a guardian angel helps her to recall them," says Robin Ashmore, spokeswoman for the troupe founded by Cleo Parker Robinson almost three decades ago. "The whole production is reflective of Cleo's own look at dance." That look includes live music, song and dance inspired by sources ranging from the East Indian Diwali to a North African harvest fest to American Christmas rap songs.
The performance, now in its twelfth year, showcases professional artists of all ages tapping to a world beat. "This show is a fabulous multicultural production celebrating holidays around the world," says Ashmore. "It's a sort of new-age Nutcracker alternative." In this year's incarnation, Granny and company will be front and center, with the Space Theatre set up for an "in-the-round" performance. And that's appropriate, because Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum brings dance full circle.
"It's a story that transcends boundaries of culture, race and age," says Ashmore. "The production goes into the audience, making it a total interactive and feel-good holiday experience."
Granny begins tonight and runs through December 21 at the Space Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Performances are at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets, $23.10 to $38, are available online at www.denvercenter.org or at www.cleoparkerdance.org; call 303-893-4100 for more information. -- Kity Ironton
The always-amusing NuClia Waste is stepping in for Santa tonight at the fifth annual Island of Misfit Toys Show, and this Cycle Slut is going to turn the North Pole upside down. The effervescent event is an annual fund- and gift-generator to benefit the Colorado AIDS Project in an effort to garner a little holiday help for children and families affected by AIDS. NuClia is coordinating the festivities with her distinctive (and virtually trademarked) radioactive flair, so chances are the self-described "triple-nippled drag queen of comedy" has some plutonium pleasures to pull from her extra-long sequined sleeves.For five bucks and a new, unwrapped toy, you can join NuClia and some of her most fabulous friends as they sprinkle cheer through a series of silly sketches and twisted yuletide tunes. "Christmas carols are the icons of world music, so we take them and turn them on their head," says NuClia. "We also do Hanukkah and Kwanzaa songs, because holiday time is always fun time."
The doors at 2101 Denver, 2101 Champa Street, open at 7 p.m., with NuClia center stage at 8. Go to www.nucliawaste.com for more information. "Everybody needs fun and toys in their life," concludes NuClia, "no matter what their age." -- Kity Ironton
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Something for Everyone
Denver Gay Men's Chorus marks the season
Revel in some festive music at tonight's 22nd annual Denver Gay Men's Chorus Celebrate the Season holiday concert."The program is a really nice mixture," says DGMC spokeswoman Debra Pollock. "There's something humorous, spiritual pieces, non-religious. We just want people to leave feeling good."
The 115-member choir led by Sue Coffee performs a repertoire of traditional a cappella works and twists on popular Christmas carols tonight at 8 p.m. at Boulder's First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce Street in Boulder, and tomorrow and Saturday evening at 8 p.m. at Denver's Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia Street. Tickets are $15 for the Boulder concert and $20 for each of the Denver concerts; they can be purchased over the phone at 1-866-464-2626, online at www.dgmc.org or in person at Relatively Wilde, 42 South Broadway, as well as at King Soopers locations.
"The great thing about the DGMC is that they really strive to create a sense of community for those who may be alone or estranged from their families," says Pollock. "The holidays can be really hard. This is a nice place to come together." -- Julie Dunn