Alternative holiday movies
There are some holiday movies that you can’t escape this time of year, no matter how they good they are – “A Christmas Story,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “A Christmas Carol,” among them. However, two of my top five movies of all time are tangentially Christmas movies, so you can slot them right in for something different.
The first is Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment,” a black comedy featuring all-time great performances from Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. The movie takes place right around Christmas through New Year’s Eve, and is at times hilarious, bittersweet and one of the best romantic comedies of all time.
The second is “The Lion in Winter,” which takes place on Christmas Eve as King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine and their three sons battle over who will inherit the throne. It features some of the best dialogue ever committed to film, and Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn give fucking legendary performances.
Trade in the Santa Hats and ghosts of various Christmases for these gems.
Donating to a pet fund
Absolutely nothing grinds my gears more than having to see Mike Vick in the news again. I have fought hard on Facebook to hopelessly convert people to my point of view on this topic (failed again) but this one hits especially close to home for me as a dog and a begrudging football lover.
However, if push came to shove, I would abandon that worthless, shitty, miserable sport, its fans, its pageantry, and its flair INSTANTLY for animal kind. Shame on you NFL. I hope this money goes to the adoption truck heading to get abandoned doggies in Houston and hits Jerry Jones on the way. Fuck you NFL.
Here’s a great organization to donate to this holiday to help little dawgs not fall into the hands of NFL fans: www.ddfl.org/home/donate/.
I love this time of year because so many outlets are releasing their best of the year lists. We’re getting double the treats this year, as it’s also the end of the decade. Catch up on some stuff you missed and rediscover some of your favourites. Here are a few of the ones I like most:
–Pitchfork’s 50 Best Albums of 2019
–Pitchfork’s 100 Best Songs of 2019
–Pitchfork’s 200 Best Albums of the 2010s
–Pitchfork’s 200 Best Songs of the 2010s
–Rob Sheffield’s Top 20 Albums of 2019
–Rob Sheffield’s Top 25 Songs of 2019
–Rolling Stone’s 10 Best Movies of 2019
–Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2019
–Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Songs of 2019
–Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums of the 2010s
–Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Songs of the 2010s
–Stereogum’s 50 Best Albums of 2019
–Stereogum’s 100 Favorite Songs of 2019
–Stereogum’s 10 Best Rap Albums of 2019
–Stereogum’s 100 Best Albums of 2010s
–Stereogum’s 200 Best Songs of the 2010s
–Steven Hyden’s Favorite Albums of 2019
–Vulture’s Best Albums of 2019
My own list will be coming very soon…
Killjoys Complete Box
The space western “Killjoys” is the second of two truly great shows on the Syfy Channel (the first is “The Magicians” – more about that in a couple weeks) and I’m so bummed it wrapped up its run after five seasons this early fall. The repore built between the three leads (Hannah John-Kamen, Aaron Ashmore and Luke Macfarlane) was truly something special
But, the nice thing is the complete series is now available in box set form. For the nerd in your life (or co-runner of your favourite music/culture blog), this is a fantastic gift idea.
Order it here.
Sonic Palette at Union Hall
Denver’s Vinyl Me, Please is one of the finest purveyors of melted wax and the music on it, not only in the state but the whole damn country. The record of the month club’s December album is Aretha Franklin’s immortal, “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You,” and to celebrate they’re hosting the second edition of Sonic Palette.
The event, hosted from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Union Hall, 1750 Wewatta St., Suite 144 in Denver, features the music of the goddamn Queen of Soul and Neon Brown, food stuffs from Citizen Rail, cocktails by Wood’s High Mountain Distillery, and a tour of Union Hall’s current exhibition, “Poems for Our Country.”
Get details and tickets at www.unionhalldenver.com.
Hazel Miller Christmas Special at the Soiled Dove
Anyone with no taste and looking to attend Decadence need not inquire about this show. Hazel Miller is a force of nature in the Denver music scene, and her voice is always bigger than the hall (or mall) she is trying to fill.
I have no idea what to expect for this show, but I can imagine hearing Hazel belt out a few diva-style Christmas carols is a sight to see (or hear). She’s performing at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19 and Friday, Dec. 20 at the Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. 1st Ave. in Denver.
Get info here.
Parade of Lasers at the Fillmore Auditorium
In preparation for Decadence, why not whet your whistle with a little bit of ear-splitting dance/trance to numb those drums?
This is just a one night show, held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21 at the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 N. Clarkson St. in Denver, and hopefully all the crazies go back to their holes and caves after this show and not fill up all the downtown hotels.
Info and tickets here.
The sound of the season at Dazzle
A week ago, one of my friends asked his Twitter followers what the best non-annoying Christmas music is. To my mind, there’s only one answer – Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” It’s the perfect mix of hopeful and melancholy – just like the holiday season.
For the sixth year, Dazzle, 1512 Curtis St. in Denver, is hosting the Annie Booth Trio to perform Guaraldi’s music. There will be six sets performed from Sunday, Dec. 22 through Tuesday, Dec. 24. It’s one of the most popular shows the club does all year, so make sure to grab your tickets ASAP at www.dazzledenver.com/upcoming-events/.
Buying decorations the day after Xmas
Let’s be honest; you either are or aren’t the type of person to do this kind of depraved act. This is not a personality trait you can acquire, and that’s ok. To be honest, it’s probably not worth the time to even type this out because you wont take my advice. Just like I won’t take my own.
If you got $5 and need a quick retail fix, head first-thing A.M. on Dec. 26 to your nearest retailer (Target, Walmart, BobbLobb) and scoop up the scrapings of this year’s holiday season. One-armed Santa? They got ‘em. Rudolph with a cracked red nose? Shiiiiit get two of em.
Decadence at Colorado Convention Center
The grandaddy of ‘em all – if granddaddys gave a shit about EDM music. This is considered one of the better EDM shows the rolls through Denver yearly, typically much better than EDC which tried its hardest to be the new Warped Tour.
Its held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 30 and Tuesday, Dec. 31 at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th St. in Denver.
This show is two nights of HAM, poor decisions, frostbite and hotel deposits lost because your friends buddy brought his dog up to the room and he “swears he’ll be good and quiet while we’re at the show”.
Info and Tickets here.