Dec. 2 “Blade Runner” (Director’s Cut). Professor Series at the Magic Lantern Theatre. Local professors pick classic and contemporary films to watch and dissect with the audience/class. Join Eastern Washington University’s Marvin Smith, to learn more about “Blade Runner,” and possibly where Harrison Ford got that scar on his chin. 7 p.m. Admission $5, (509) 720-7743 or www.spokanefilmfestival.org/.
Dec. 4 All-City Talent and Variety Show Competition, East Central Community Center. Finally, a reason to juggle chainsaws and karaoke Mariah Carey…in support of a good cause. Cash goes to the victors, but onsite vendors ensure everyone goes home a winner. Bring the kids for children’s activities. Proceeds support VOICES and the East Central Community Center. Voices @ 326-4135, ECC @ 625-6699 or http://voicesspokane.org/.
Dec. 18-20 The Nutcracker at INB Performing Arts Center. If you don’t see The Nutcracker during December, you hate Christmas. Bring the whole family to enjoy a top-notch rendition of the classic holiday tale, featuring toys, sweets and a dance battle between the Nutcracker’s posse and the Mouse King’s mice. Admission $14-$36. 509-325-7328 or www.inbpac.com.
Jan. 14-24 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Spokane Arena. USA Today says Spokane could see a positive economic impact of nearly $26 million from this glittery event that showcases some of the world’s best skaters as they compete for a spot at the Vancouver Olympics. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of the action! www.spokanearena.com, www.passporttogold2010.com, or www.spokane2010.com/.
Jan. 28 Spokane International Film Festival, location TBA. Features, documentaries and shorts from around the world travel to Spokane for your viewing/critical pleasure. Partake in filmmaker and cast member Q & A sessions, discussions, opening and closing events, or just pick out a flick or two and enjoy the art. Full schedule and more info at www.spokanefilmfestival.org or 509-720-7743.
Jan. 28 – Feb. 13 Honky Tonk Highway, Spokane Interplayers Professional Theatre Ensemble. A country-western musical with a magical cowboy hat that turns the wearer into its former owner. Once the wearer is possessed by the spirit of the deceased honky-tonker, get ready for bouts of singing, boot tapping and full-on dance numbers. 455-7529 or www.interplayers.com.
All Month, Coeur d’Alene Resort Holiday Light Show. Over 225 holiday displays line the boardwalk with more than a million lights making this the “largest on the water resort holiday light show in America.” World record or not, here’s another good reason to visit beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene. 800-688-5253.
Dec. 12-13 Annual Christmas Market, Kootenai County Fairgrounds, Coeur d’Alene. Any motivated Christmas gift shopper should be able to make a killing in a single days’ work: 100 vendors of gifts, crafts and art sponsored by the Hayden Chamber of Commerce. For info, contact Kevin Clement at 208-819-1835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 31 New Year’s at Schweitzer, Sandpoint. Instead of an all-ages party, bring the family to a New Year’s celebration with a party for every age. Includes a rockin’ Clumsy Lovers concert in Taps, a teen tubing party and a ‘tween’ party for younger kids. Buy tickets sooner than later as they tend to sell out yearly. www.schweitzer.com/.
Jan. 1 Handicap Hangover Fun Run, Coeur d’Alene. Testing the boundaries of politically correctness, yet still a beloved family tradition, this blurry-eyed run raises money for TESH, a nonprofit organization that teaches life and job skills to people with disabilities. Sweat it out for a good cause. 208-765-5105 or www.teshinc.com.
Jan. 1 Polar Bear Plunge in Coeur d’Alene. Another way to combat a nasty New Year’s hangover, or at least put it into perspective – how about throwing yourself into the frigid waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene at 11:30 in the morning? Try it for the first time or continue the tradition with other crazy people.
Jan. 30 Black and White Ball at Coeur d’Alene Resort. Put on the Ritz and enjoy a high-classed evening of dinner and dance with the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra. Tuxedo shirts are discouraged. Non-ironic canes are acceptable. 208-765-3833 or www.cdasymphony.org.
Dec. 2-6 Holiday Ale Festival 2009, Pioneer Courthouse Square. A giant tent provides a great view of the city lights while beer-sampling professionals (you) sample beer. Adding to the atmosphere is one of the region’s largest decorated Christmas trees plus gas heaters to keep attendees toasty. Base price to hit the suds is $20, includes souvenir mug and 10 sampling tickets. 503-252-9899 or www.holidayale.com.
Dec. 15-30 Peacock Lane. Head over to Peacock Lane, where since the 1920s, every house has been completely decked out for Christmas. Decorative lights, nativity scenes, rotating Christmas trees and life-like replicas of Santa and Frosty are all part of the sensory overload. Visitors are advised to park several blocks away and walk to avoid congestion. www.peacocklane.net.
Dec. 31 First Run & Walk, beginning at the World Trade Center. Instead of making a New Year’s resolution you’ll never keep, run a marathon at the stroke of midnight! As part of the fit festivities, there will be a celebration of food, non-alcoholic drinks, music and dancing. Distances range from 1 ½ to 3 miles, timed and non-Competitive. 503-531-3140 or www.racecenter.com/firstrun.
Jan. 30-31 World Forestry Center presents Chocolate Fest 2010. After enduring a whole month of the New Year, this would be a good way to blow your resolutions in a highly enjoyable manner. The 5th annual event features over 45 vendors, demonstrations, presentations and plenty of sweet sweet chocolate! 503-228-1367.
Jan. 5 Portland Arts & Lectures presents Christopher Hitchens, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The controversial journalist and literary critic has been featured in Vanity Fair, The Nation and The Village Literary Supplement. His latest book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” will most likely arouse colorful discussions and commentary. Bring your two cents. 503-227-2583 or www.literary-arts.org.
Through Dec. 31 Electric at Can Can. Sexy cabaret performers propel themselves about with bungee chords, spin from the ceiling and dance seductively to a “rock” soundtrack. Really, any good show should include this stuff. 206-683-6178 or www.thecancan.com.
Dec. 4 Keller Williams at Showbox, the Market. Keller is living proof that a one-man jam band can live up to the massive media hype surrounding the genre. The singer/songwriter/guitarist does it all while creating improvised backing loops during performances. See it to believe it. 206-628-3151.
Dec. 6 Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers, Qwest Field. Flex your holiday spirit by contributing to one of the meanest home field advantages in the NFL as the Hawks attempt to smack the 49ers back to the Bay Area. LOUD NOISES!! 425-827-9777 or www.seahawks.com.
Jan. 23-24 Seattle Travel Show, Seattle Center. Over 120 travel companies and 300 travel professionals from around the world flood the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Prospective travelers will be enticed by exotic destinations, travel packages and more. 206-684-7200 or www.seattlecenter.com.
Jan. 22 Zepparella at the Tractor Tavern. This all-lady Zeppelin band plays respectfully close to the original rock juggernauts’ sound, but don’t shy away from infusing it with a healthy dosage of their own live style. 206-789-3599 or www.squarepegconcerts.com.
Jan. 28-31 Bruno Beltrao: Grupo de Rua, On The Boards. Is it street dance? Is it contemporary art? It’s nine male dancers led by Dance Brazil’s hot stuff choreographer, Bruno Beltrao. Prepare your palate for solos, duets and group pieces infused with plenty of spice. 206-217-9888 or www.ontheboards.org.
Dec. 4-6 Winter Gun Show in Hamilton. For over 28 years this event has been a one-stop buyer’s paradise for guns, knives, Old West memorabilia and antiques. There should be something for just about everyone at this ‘family event.’ 406-633-2206.
Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve Rockin’ Rail Jam and Torchlight Parade in Whitefish. Skiers/riders will be hitting jumps and rails nonstop in shred city madness while judges score the best Jammer in each category. Hot on the heels of the downhill action, a torchlight parade and fireworks show will start up and ring in the New Year. 406-862-2900.
Dec. 11-Dec. 12 Festival of Trees and Fundraising Gala in Libby. A two-day holiday celebration. Night one: view amazing Christmas trees decorated and displayed by local businesses, keep warm with St. John’s Lutheran Hospital Auxiliary chili, meet Santa and elves for holiday crafts and story time. Night two: A fundraising Gala in support of St. John’s with dancing to Little Elmo and the Mambo Kings, succulent hors d’oeuvres and more. 406-293-0106.
Jan. 8-10 Flathead Sled Dog Days in Whitefish. Mush over to the Olney Snowmobile Trailhead for this three-day extravaganza of furry competition. Friday, there will be a meet and greet with the mushers and a chance to learn about this sport. Saturday and Sunday, it’s off to the races with all events free to spectators. Bring cross-country skis and sleds and have some fun of your own. 406-881-3200.
Jan. 16-17 Annual Ski Fest in Essex. For the cross-country fanatic in all of us, this celebration of slightly slower skiing aims to get newbies interested in the sport while providing plenty of entertainment for those who already are. Includes family activities, equipment demonstrations, free ski lessons, sleigh rides and ski trail passes, and discounted ski rentals. 406-888-5700.
Jan. 29 Micro Brew Review and Cool Dog Ball at the Helena Civic Center Ballroom. Sample the ultra-tasty work of Montana and Northwest breweries and dance to Big Mumbo Blues, all in support of Race to the Sky. Montana breweries in attendance will include Blackfoot River Brewing and Lewis & Clark Brewery of Helena, Big Sky and Bayern Brewing of Missoula, and more. 406-447-1535.
Dec. 3-6 Whistler Film Festival. Get Hollywood, indie style, on the mountain. For four days, experience talked-about films from around the world, attend exclusive premieres, outdoor screenings, workshops, ski races, parties, schmooze with celebrities, groove to live music, win prizes, it’s all possible. www.whistlerfilmfestival.com .
Dec. 4 A Baroque Christmas in Vancouver. If it’s not Baroque, don’t see it. Join the Vancouver Chamber Choir with soloists and orchestra for performances of Baroque masters, Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann at a holiday event that’s far from the usual. www.vancouverchamberchoir.com or 604-738-6822.
Dec. 8 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour at Williams Lake. This traveling festival hits more than 300 communities in 25 countries. Swing by for a showing and heat your mountain fever to a boil. Learn more at www.banffmountainfestivals.ca or 250-398-7665.
Through January 4 Festival of Trees in Victoria. Say hello to 2010 and goodbye to the holiday season by voting for the most beautifully decorated tree in the Fairmont Express. Each vote enters the politically involved caster into a drawing for the People’s Choice Award Citizen Prize. www.bcchr.ca/ or 604-875-2444.
Jan. 8-9 Winter Purina Incredible Dog Challenge, Whistler. Come see the dogs perform feats most humans would fail at: avalanche rescue, skijoring, agility, and more. For local dog owners: Paw-and-Pole exhibition/competition, which includes fastest small and large dog awards, best costume and the hilarious “Look-Alike” contest. www.whistler.com or 1-800-944-7853.