If you are penny-pinchin' because the economy is down, or just plain frugal, but still desirous to experience some culture and compulsory indulgence: Look no further. Each week, I will inform the masses about the fun, the free, the charming, and the cheap.
For all you Christmas orphans, not wanting to travel home (like me) or locals that need a respite from family, you might want to check out some of these events. Holiday shopping might have you in the red, but with these cheap treats, just think about wearing that red holiday hat and cheering "Ho,ho,ho."---
Christmas Carol Service
At this festive time of year, we won’t call you a greedy, materialistic bastard for not taking time out from all of the shopping and parties just to attend a carol service celebrating the eve of Our Lord’s birth. No, no, no. Instead of calling you naughty, we’ll focus on how nice it would be if you did go. We’re taking the approach that Christmas Eve gives you an opportunity to finally be done with buying all that crap nobody really wanted in the first place—and you were only buying because you felt like you had to—and actually enjoy yourself for a couple of hours by listening to talented people sing beautiful songs in a stunning setting.
Don’t forget, the reason this whole “holiday season” thing got started in the first place is that in the absolute dead of winter, people were looking for a little light and hope—literally and metaphorically. They found both, through singing and listening to songs about the coming of someone who was going redeem the world and let them think that peace on Earth might actually become a reality. There’s a reason the tradition has been around for hundreds, even thousands, of years, and it’s still available this Christmas Eve in the beautiful Cathedral of the Madeleine.
The Cathedral Choir, including students of the Madeleine Choir School, will perform, but the highlight for the audience comes when attendees get to join in on familiar favorites. So drop that shopping bag and get over to the cathedral … you greedy, materialistic bastard.
It’s a Wonderful Life
You will cry, and that’s all right—I saw my father cry for the first time 20 years ago while he was watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Most people can relate a special moment connected to this movie, but even if not, bring a loved one to Broadway Centre Cinemas this Christmas and make new memories.
Salt Lake Film Society continues its Christmas tradition by showing this classic on the big screen—the quintessential way to experience it. There’s something about being in a room with dozens of strangers, eyes swelling simultaneously, when George Bailey gets a second chance at life, runs home from the perilous bridge to his awaiting friends and family, who have raised funds to save the beloved Bailey Building & Loan. Then, there’s cheering, laughing, hugging, and caroling. That’s the Christmas spirit. Geez, they don’t make ‘em like they used to. (Austen Diamond)
It’s a Wonderful Life @ Broadway Centre Cinemas, 300 S. 111 East, 801-321-0310, Thursday, Dec. 24, 3 p.m., & Friday, Dec. 25, 7:30 p.m. SaltLakeFilmSociety.org
THE HEATERS, TAUGHTME, FUTURE OF THE GHOST
Has it really been four years since The Heaters got together? Seems like only yesterday the local garage rockers were helping us work up a sweat at Todd’s Bar & Grill, stomping out stripped-down jams in skinny jeans with Stooges swagger. The group—Joe Denhalter, Liam Hesselbein, Christopher Volume, Taylor Smith and Milad Mozari—lived fast and died young, er, broke up in 2007. Its members, now scattered across the country and focused on other projects, are reuniting tonight for a special holiday performance along with Future of the Ghost and San Francisco’s TaughtMe. The evening doubles as a sweater party, so don all ye Cosby apparel. You might want to layer, though. Things are going to heat up.
Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Dec. 26, 10 p.m.
Resort Torchlight Parades
‘Tis the season for a long-standing tradition at Utah ski resorts: the torchlight parade.
What was once solely the realm of locals carrying candles while slowly skiing down a gentle slope has evolved through lanterns, flashlights and headlamps. Now, the ritual has morphed into a spectacle of all varieties, depending on which ski resort you visit. Snowbird, for instance, accompanies its winter celebration with fireworks and Santa rappelling out of the tram. Solitude, on the other hand, keeps the festivities a bit more low-key with a Glow Parade geared specifically toward the kids.
Regardless, most Utah ski resorts will have some version of this holiday pastime—often accompanied by free hot chocolate, cookies and visits from St. Nick—where you can watch lights magically snake down the hillside, temporarily setting a dark wintry wonderland aglow with holiday spirit.
Torchlight Parades @ Alta: Dec. 31, Alta.com; Deer Valley: Dec. 30, DeerValley.com, Park City Mountain Resort: Dec. 24, ParkCityMountain.com; Snowbasin: Dec. 24, Snowbasin.com;Snowbird: Dec. 24 & 31, Snowbird.com; Solitude: Dec. 30 & 31, SkiSolitude.com