The holiday gorge, ballerinas and Moral Panic

The holiday gorge, ballerinas and Moral Panic

The Nutcracker ballet returns to the Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Fri., Dec. 7; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 8; and 2 p.m., Sun. Dec. 9.

Chris Aaland - 12/06/2018

Sugar cookies? Check. I’ve eaten my fill already, less than one week into December. Christmas tree decorated? Roger that. The woodpile stocked for the winter? We felled and bucked three more dead aspens in my back yard the past two weekends and they’re ready for splitting and stacking. The stockings are already hung by the chimney with care. Yep, the holiday season is upon us.

Holiday traditions around here don’t get bigger than Noel Night, which takes place Friday downtown. Many businesses have sales, specials, live music, complimentary beverages and more. It all started in 2002 as a response to the Missionary Ridge Fire and the damage it did to local businesses. It’s sad that this year’s 416 Fire impacted businesses in a similar way. Eschew Amazon and support your friends and neighbors by shopping downtown and keeping the revenue at home.

Another annual highlight to the December entertainment calendar is the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara’s presentation of the holiday Nutcracker ballet at the Community Concert Hall. Once again, evening performances are slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the State Street troupe, more than 80 local dancers will join the professionals, along with the San Juan Symphony. Artistic director Rodney Gustafson holds true to the original classic ballet in this Tchaikovsky masterpiece, creating a traditional Nutcracker set in Victorian times and suited for all ages.

Seasons celebrates its 24th anniversary with its annual holiday benefit from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday when it raises money for Manna Growing Opportunities/Feeding Community. The public is invited to drop in to sample the latest seasonal menu as well as traditional fare and fine wines. A minimum $40 per person donation for Manna is requested. “Seasons is now one of a small group of long-standing restaurants in Durango,” said owner/general manager Karen Barger. “Instead of having just a party, we always want to make our anniversary count. What better way to celebrate than with donations to the entity that is not only feeding those in need, but also through their culinary program, training future restaurant employees?”

El Moro Spirits & Tavern hosts a food and beer pairing from 6-9 p.m. tonight (Thurs., Dec. 6). Courses will be paired with beer (from Steamworks, Ska, Carver’s, BREW and Animas Brewing) at each station, plus a complimentary welcoming cocktail upon arrival. There is no limit on how many times diners visit each station. Tickets cost $50 per person.

BREW Pub & Kitchen is stoked for deep powder, lots of turns and a safe backcountry season. From 6:30-9 p.m. tonight, they’ll host their first Avalanche Pint Night, raising money for Friends of CAIC, the nonprofit organization that supports avalanche forecasting and awareness. One dollar from each pint goes toward the cause, plus there’ll be an epic prize drawing.

There’s a new beer in town – not quite a shocker, since with five breweries churning out craft beers, new ones get tapped on a weekly basis. This one, however, can be found on the shelves of your favorite liquor store starting Friday. Moral Panic Brut IPA becomes the newest member of Ska’s mainline beer family, and thought to be the first canned Brut IPA in the state. The refreshing, dry-finishing IPA satisfies Ska co-founder and CEO Dave Thibodeau’s urge to name a beer Moral Panic and quenches palates gravitating toward an emerging trend. “In sociology, moral panic is the process of arousing social concern over an issue, legitimate or not,” Thibodeau waxes poetically. Perplexed by my old buddy’s and Moral Panic explanation of the beer’s name, I sought it out at the World Headquarters recently seeking enlightenment about this new trend. Moral Panic has a hint of dryness without the lingering bitterness of traditional IPAs. It isn’t aggressive, with a tropical nose from Galaxy and Citra hops. It’s also only 5.7 percent ABV – much lower than most Bruts on the market.

The first Friday of each month is Firkin Friday at Steamworks, and this month is a special winter warmer, Mucho Macho. The recipe is a raspberry vanilla Imperial Stout that starts with Steamworks’ own Macho Man Imperial Stout as its base. According to head brewer Ken Martin, Macho Man has

all the attributes of a good stout: chocolate and “roasty/toasty” dominance with toffee and bready undertones. “But it’s much bigger, fuller bodied and stronger,” said Martin, pointing to Macho Man’s 9.5 percent ABV. “Then we added the fermantables, so I suspect it’s approaching 10 percent ABV. Madagascar vanilla beans were soaked in bourbon for about a month, then dropped into the firkin along with raspberry extract. This one will be served in 10-oz. glasses due to its potency. The firkin gets tapped at 3 p.m. Friday.

KSUT Public Radio hosts its annual 12 Hours of Giving on Wednesday. Listeners who pledge their support will be automatically entered into hourly drawings that take place from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Prizes include lift tickets to Purgatory and Wolf Creek, Osprey packs, concert-and-dining pairings, an iPad mini and two tickets to the Michael Franti “Making a Difference” film screening and acoustic performance Dec. 18. In addition to the drawings, guests like the Bar-D Wranglers will drop by for their annual on-air holiday set. Plus, all donations received this month will be entered in an end-of-year drawing for a weeklong trip for two to a Mexican resort. The end-of-month drawing will take place Dec. 28. Pledge by calling 970-563-0255 or at www.ksut.org.

Elsewhere: Rob Webster entertains at Ska Brewing at 4:30 p.m. today; the Black Velvet Trio returns to the Derailed Pour House at 7 p.m. Saturday; and La La Bones bring bluegrass to Fenceline Cider in Mancos at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Finally, I sat at home Friday numb over the news of the passing of President George H.W. Bush. I never voted for him; his politics were polar opposites of mine. But I always respected his public service, especially his years as a Navy fighter pilot in World War II. I like to think he may have flown or trained with Bob Byerly, a Navy aviator who was a step-grandfather of mine. Or he may have flown sorties over Guadalcanal protecting Marines like my father’s father. Thank you, Mr. President.

Anchors aweigh, my boys. Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net

Top Shelf

Iron thrones, iron horses, Jewell and Denver
Iron thrones, iron horses, Jewell and Denver
By Chris Aaland
05/23/2019

Many of you have taken a few days to digest the final episode of “Game of Thrones.” I certainly have.

Old-timey Americana, red leather pants and newgrass
Old-timey Americana, red leather pants and newgrass
By Chris Aaland
05/16/2019

I’ve been fortunate to be a DJ and music writer since the late 1980s, when I was a college DJ at KDUR right on through my current role as on-air host and development director at KSUT.

Junkies move on & musical Mt. Rushmore
Junkies move on & musical Mt. Rushmore
By Chris Aaland
05/09/2019

I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter. I must admit, most of it is to see what the Deplorables have to say about Mango Mussolini’s latest misadventures.

Goodbye to Greg, Pretty Lights spin-off & Derby Day
Goodbye to Greg, Pretty Lights spin-off & Derby Day
By Chris Aaland
05/02/2019

The guitar gently weeps in Durango, as local icon Greg Ryder died in a head-on collision last week. A regular performer at the Strater for decades, Ryder’s warm voice, friendly smile and  omnipresence in front of a microphone made him a favorite of thousands of fans and countless local musicians

Read All in Top Shelf

Day in the Life

Cyclists of the Iron Horse: A Field Guide
Cyclists of the Iron Horse: A Field Guide
By Stephen Eginoire
05/23/2019

It’s everyone’s favorite bike-frenzied weekend, the 48th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic!

Painted Desert
Painted Desert
By Stephen Eginoire

At an abandoned gas station on the Navajo Nation in Black Mesa, Ariz., the building may be empty but the walls are full of life.

First blush
First blush
By Stephen Eginoire
05/09/2019

The lower Animas Valley all the way to New Mexico is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. 

Surf's Up!
Surf's Up!
By Stephen Eginoire
05/02/2019

As mid-elevation snow melts its way into the Animas River, how refreshing it is to see a few thousand CFS of turbid water making its journey south to New Mexico.

Read All in Day on the Life