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Life Is a Cabaret

Mare Trevathan, GerRee Hinshaw and Melanie Owen Padilla, the very funny and multi-talented trio behind Balls! A Holiday Spectacular, keep bringing the benefit variety show back every holiday season for some very valid reasons, one of the most important being that it serves an important urban niche: "It fills some of that counterculture impulse--that anti-saccharine vibe--some people have during the holidays," Trevathan notes. And to get the most out of this year's pared-down two-night run (Balls! repeats, with a slightly different guest lineup, at the same day and time next week, and that's it), it's been honed, she hopes, to the perfect level of informal revelry.

Guests tonight are Channel 9 personality Kirk Montgomery, musicians John Common and Jessica DeNicola, and Captain Corelli's Mandolinprov, a loose improvisatory aggregation that includes area actors Matt Zambrano, Jessica Austgen and Geoffrey Kent. "They do this abridged version of It's a Wonderful Life with audience suggestions, and it's completely improvised," Trevathan says, adding that they'll return for the second show, along with the Lounge Lizards and the Tommy Freed Band.

But the biggest reason that Trevathan, Hinshaw and Padilla keep polishing Balls! is to promote the spirit of giving--in this case, to Project Angel Heart, the event's fundraising recipient--in a painless atmosphere: "This is not one of those swank $75-per-ticket events; it's only $15," Trevathan points out. "Part of what we're doing is giving people the opportunity to experience something and be a philanthropist at the same time." The silly puppets, improv and impromptu holiday haikus promised just make it that much more worth-while.

Start giving tonight at 7 p.m. at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street; reserve tickets ($15 in advance, $20 at the door) at or call 303-293-0075.
Mon., Dec. 12, 7 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 19, 7 p.m., 2011


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