HELLCAB Hellcab is a collection of scenes from the life of a Chicago cab driver on one bitterly cold, 14-hour workday right before Christmas. Six

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Calendar of Merriment

HELLCAB Hellcab is a collection of scenes from the life of a Chicago cab driver on one bitterly cold, 14-hour workday right before Christmas. Six actors portray 30-plus passengers who come from all walks of life: a born-again couple going to church; several fellow cab drivers; obnoxious shoppers, lawyers, and New Yorkers; drug addicts; a drunk; a rape victim; and several horny, pregnant, or otherwise scary and/or uplifting people. This bittersweet holiday-season play by Will Kern has run for nine straight years since its debut in Chicago at the Famous Door Theatre. Union Garage, 1418 10th, 720-1942. $12 Fri. and Sat, pay-what-you-will every Thurs. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Ends Sat., Dec. 15.

THE YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO HANDEL'S MESSIAH Join the Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Symphony Chorale for a personalized presentation of excerpts from the Messiah and other famous works by Handel. This performance is a part of Seattle Symphony's Discover Music series for ages 5 and up. Benaroya Hall, 200 University, 215-4747 or www.seattlesymphony.org. $12 children / $17 adult. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sat., Dec. 15.

WEIHNACHTEN! A GERMAN CHRISTMAS Experience Christmas in Germany with a concert showcasing traditional German a cappella music—including such favorites as "In Dulci Jubilo," "Lo How a Rose," and "Ave Maria." Seattle Pro Musica's Women's Schola will perform medieval chant in the traditional candlelight processional, and the evening will conclude with an audience sing-along of traditional German carols. General $17 advance, $19 at the door; students and seniors $13 advance, $15 at the door. 781-2766 for tickets or www.seattlepromusic.org. Chapel at Bastyr University, 14500 Juanita Drive N.E., Bothell. 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 15. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth, 3 p.m. Sun., Dec. 16.

B.O.M.B'S HOLIDAY BLAST Baroque Northwest presents the Benevolent Order for Music's annual Holiday Blast. Celebrate the season with the best of three musical eras: medieval, Renaissance, and baroque, featuring music from 15th-century England, 16th-century Germany, and 17th-century France. Bethany Lutheran Church, 7400 Woodlawn N.E., 382-2614 or www.baroquenorthwest.com. $20 / $15 students and seniors. 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 15 and 3 p.m. Sun., Dec. 16.

HOLIDAY ART SALE The Kirkland Arts Center presents its annual Holiday Art Sale featuring an imaginative array of holiday gift shopping ideas created by students, Arts Center members, and artists throughout the Pacific Northwest. Find beautiful pottery, sculpture, glassware, prints, painting, jewelry, candles, and soap. Participate in creative hands-on workshops. Kirkland Arts Center, Peter Kirk Building, 620 Market, 425-822-7161. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Ends Sun., Dec. 16.

ISSAQUAH REINDEER FESTIVAL The only Reindeer Festival outside of the North Pole. The whole family is invited to join in this one-of-a-kind event to benefit the animals and the education programs at the Cougar Mountain Zoo. Visit with Santa in his house, check out the reindeer as you walk through the play yard, listen to a story by an elf, sit in the Grand Traveling Sleigh, and enjoy all the music, lights, sights, and sounds. Cougar Mountain Zoo, 19525 S.E. 54th, Issaquah, 425-391-5508. $8 adults / $6 children. 10 a.m.-noon and 5-7 p.m. Wed.-Sun. Ends Fri., Dec. 23.

SEATTLE MEN'S CHORUS The Holiday Hit Parade is a wintertime tradition at Benaroya Hall, with the boys singing all the holiday hits you can handle. Benaroya Hall, 200 University, 214-4700 or www.seattlemenschorus.org. Call for prices and times. Ends Sun., Dec. 23.

A VERY LESBIAN NUTCRACKER, HUNG BY THE CHIMNEY Based on the titles alone you're in for an original pair of holiday shows. "Their breasts heave, their eyes lock, they stalk each other like cats, and they threaten to turn from respectable women into sex-craved animals at any moment," Seattle Weekly said about this group's last venture. Isn't that enough to get you there? Northwest Asian American Theatre, 409 Seventh S., 340-1049 or www.nwaat.org. $12 / $10 students and seniors. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat.; 4 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun., Dec. 23.

VOICES OF CHRISTMAS Conceived by Ruben Sierra and Colleen Carpenter-Simmons of The Group Theatre, this revival production features stories woven together with popular and traditional songs, skits, prose, and poetry to create a multicultural tapestry with universal appeal. ArtsWest Playhouse, 4711 California S.W., West Seattle, 938-0339 or www.artswest.org. $10-$24. Ends Mon., Dec. 24.

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER This family comedy centers on a community's production of the traditional Christmas pageant. Plenty of twists and turns challenge traditional assumptions of the Christmas story. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever cast consists mostly of children of a variety of ages and cultural backgrounds, while six notable adult actors fill in the remainder of the cast. Sure to please the whole family. Bathhouse Theater, on Green Lake, 325-6500 or www.ticketwindowline.com. $16 / $11 students and seniors. 8 p.m. Thurs., Fri., and Sat.; Sun. matinees at 2 p.m. Ends Sun., Dec. 30.

INSPECTING CAROL A comic collision of classics—Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Gogol's The Inspector General—Inspecting Carol is a behind-the-scenes peek at a struggling theater's annual production of A Christmas Carol, complete with prima donna performers, cast love affairs, tyrannical directors, and a surprise visit from a National Endowment for the Arts funding inspector that throws everything into chaos. A homegrown holiday hit. Seattle Center, Seattle Repertory Theater, 443-2222 or www.seattlerep.org. $15-$44. 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Sun.; 2 p.m. matinees Sat. and Sun. Ends Sun., Dec. 30.

FORBIDDEN XMAS 2001 Richard Gray's show returns to the Cabaret de Paris for a ninth year of spoofing Seattle's holiday traditions. This 90-minute comedy revue skewers everything from the holiday ships on Lake Union to the Christmas tree lot at Chubby & Tubby. Cabaret de Paris, 1333 Fifth (second level of Rainier Square), 623-4111. $55 for a three-course dinner and show, $20 for show only. 8 p.m. Tues., Wed., Thurs., Sun.; 8:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. Ends Sun., Dec. 30.

KING 5 WINTERFEST The annual festival will culminate in a dazzling display of fireworks on New Year's Eve. Visitors of all ages will enjoy timeless favorites such as the carousel, train exhibit, and other holiday-themed entertainment and activities. And, of course, the only place in town to ring in 2002 will be at New Year's at the Needle while enjoying live music and watching one of the most spectacular fireworks shows on the West Coast. Inside Center House, enjoy student music performances, holiday big-band dances, Worldfest at Winterfest, cultural holiday performances, and the Holiday Marketplace with unique gifts from around the world. Seattle Center, 684-7200 or www.seattlecenter.com for more details. Ends Mon., Dec. 31.

WELLS FARGO MAGIC SEASON This year's Magic Season attractions include the Wells Fargo Ice Arena, Puget Sound Energy Theatre performances, Garden D'Lights, Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides in Old Bellevue, Cards of the World, Santa's Toyland Parade, Tree Lighting in the Wintergarden, Bellevue Art Museum holiday programming, and much more. Take a ride to the Eastside for skating, lights, dance, song, and tradition. Various venues, downtown Bellevue, 425-453-1223 or www.magicseason.com. Ends Mon., Dec. 31.

REDMONDLIGHTS RemondLights is a community celebration of traditions, cultures, and faiths honoring the spirit of December holidays. It includes public gatherings, symbolic decorations, and special events for the entire family reflecting Redmond's diverse population. Events, programs, and activities are highlighted in a special brochure available in stores, visitor centers, and city buildings through December. 425-556-2299 or www.ci.redmond.wa.us for more info. Continues through December.

THE ARGOSY CHRISTMAS SHIP FESTIVAL This festival is a ship-to-shore holiday celebration that has been a local tradition for the past 51 years. The Spirit of Seattle is the official Christmas Ship, decorated with hundreds of shimmering white lights and miles of holiday garland. Aboard ship, some of the finest Northwest choirs sing holiday greetings. On the water, other decorated boats join in the festivities by following the Christmas Ship, forming the largest holiday flotilla in the world. The parade will cruise to over 45 waterfront communities spreading sights and sounds of the holiday season. A portion of all ticket sales goes to benefit The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy. 623-1445 or www.argosycruises.com for times and locations. $83 / $56 children (includes three-course dinner). Ends Sun., Dec. 23.

OWEN MEANY'S CHRISTMAS PAGEANT "The story is about what is essentially a war between an 11-year-old child and a 40-year-old woman," says Jane Jones, who helped adapt this play to the stage. Based on selected chapters from the popular John Irving novel, this hilarious holiday tradition from the Book-It Repertory Theatre returns for its fifth annual presentation. North Seattle Community College campus, Stage One Theatre, 9600 College Way N., 325-6500 or www.book-it.org for show times. $19. Ends Sun., Dec. 23.

CROUCHING ELVES, HIDDEN PACKAGES Elves run amok in the Pork Filled Players' new holiday comedy. Elves audition for Hollywood! Asian Santa suffers identity crisis! Multicultural Christmas carolers mired in muddled mystery! "What?" you say. Find out as Seattle's multicultural you-name-it comedy group entertains you in Crouching Elves, Hidden Packages (The Musical). Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh S., 365-0282. $8 / $6 students / $5 groups. 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 7 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun., Dec. 23.

ARTIST HOLIDAY EXHIBIT Christmas is a time to honor people, family, and friends. However, we must not forget mankind in other parts of the world; our current world situation has made victims of innocent citizens who will celebrate little this holiday season but the memories of their own family and friends, killed in a war they did not ask for. Benham Gallery presents Alan Pogue, who has been documenting and photographing the lives of the people of Iraq and Palestine since 1997. Also featured is the work of resident artist Phil Borges, who has been visiting and documenting indigenous and tribal cultures around the world for over 25 years. Stop by to celebrate the diverse talents of Benham Gallery's resident artists and honor world peace in this holiday exhibit. Benham Gallery, 1216 First, 622-6383. Ends Sat., Jan. 12.

TALLIS SCHOLARS The Tudor Choir presents the world-renowned Tallis Scholars in a holiday concert at St. Mark's Cathedral. The Tallis Scholars have earned an unparalleled reputation as the finest singers of Renaissance sacred polyphony. Experience the excitement and purity of sound by this astonishing 10-voice ensemble directed by Peter Phillips. St. Mark's Cathedral, 1245 10th E., 322-3118. $30 reserved seating / $22 festival seating. 8 p.m. Thurs., Dec 13.

HELL'S BELLES Southside Johnny's legendary yearly Christmas Big Bells Bash has drawn some of the coolest talent any parties have seen, and this year local hipsters Hell's Belles join in. The Fabulous Firwood, 8014 Valley E., Fife, 628-0888 or www.ticketmaster. com for info. $10. Doors open at 7 p.m. Sat., Dec. 15.

METRO BUS HOLIDAY LIGHTS TOUR This year, instead of Mom making you climb into the back of the old station wagon for a holiday lights excursion, why not climb aboard some restored vintage buses and let Santa Claus guide you on a two-hour tour of the best Christmas and holiday lights in the Seattle area? Buses depart from S. Main and Third, across the street from the Seattle Fire Department Headquarters in Pioneer Square, 684-1816 or www.mehva.org. $5 / $4 seniors and children. 7 p.m. Sat., Dec. 15.

JINGLE BELL BASH Join KISS 106.1's fourth Jingle Bell Bash, featuring the Barenaked Ladies, Train, Jessica Simpson, Lifehouse, Craig David, Michelle Branch, Blu Cantrell, and American Hi-Fi. Stadium Exhibition Center (next to Safeco field), 628-0888 or www.ticketmaster.com. $35. 5 p.m. Mon., Dec 17.

KIRK FRANKLIN AND THE FAMILY CHRISTMAS SHOW Get in a praising spirit, raise your hands high above your head, and get ready to clap, shout, worship, dance, and stomp with songwriter, preacher, and gospel singing stars Kirk Franklin and the Family. KeyArena, 305 Harrison, 628-0888 or www.ticketmaster.com. $32.50 and $28.50. 8 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 20.

SMOOTH JAZZ CHRISTMAS Dave Koz and a group of special friends will join together at the Fifth Avenue Theatre to perform A Smooth Jazz Christmas. Guitarist Peter White, trumpeter Rick Braun, pianist David Benoit, and vocalist/pianist/songwriter Brenda Russell make up the core members of Koz's musical performing package. As a group, all will be performing Christmas classics as well as selections from the latest CD releases from each artist. Fifth Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth, 625-1900 or www.jazzconcerts.com. $45 / $37.50. Fri., Dec. 21.

MAGICAL STRINGS Imagine yourself in the midst of a joyful procession of musicians, Irish dancers, jugglers, storytellers, and a children's choir in a beautiful sanctuary listening to songs of the season with the Boulding family and friends: Celtic harps, hammered dulcimers, violins, cello, whistles, percussion, Irish pipes, hurdy-gurdy, and more. Come celebrate yuletide life with Magical Strings. First Presbyterian Church of Seattle, Seventh and Spring. 292-ARTS or www.magicalstrings. com. $24 reserved seating / $18 general / $12 children. 7 p.m. Sat., Dec. 22.

ELLINGTON SACRED MUSIC CONCERT Earshot Jazz presents its holiday concert Sacred Music by Duke Ellington, featuring the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra with guest vocalists Dee Daniels and James Caddell. Ellington's eminently enjoyable Sacred Music is both serious and swinging. Composed late in his 55-year career, it's a reverently hip body of composition for jazz big band, vocal soloists, a gospel choir, and tap dancer. "Every man prays in his own language," Ellington said; the sacred concerts celebrate that quote by embracing the jazz heritage and all religions. University Christian Church, 4731 15th N.E., 547-6763 or www.ticketmaster.com. $23 preferred seating / $19 general / $17 Earshot Jazz members. 7:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 22.

NORTHWEST BOYCHOIR The Northwest Boychoir, with the Chamber Orchestra, presents its traditional Festival of Lessons & Carols. Let the mystical voices of this choir wash over you as the spirit of the holiday is brought to life. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine, 528-0250 or Ticketmaster at 292-ARTS. $12-25 adults; $7-20 children. 7:30 p.m. Sun., Dec. 23.

HOLIDAY LASER SHOWS Sit back and enjoy Laser Nutcracker and Colors of the World. Pacific Science Center, 200 Second N., 443-2001. $12.50 / $10 children 13 and under. Laser Nutcracker at 1 and 3 p.m., Colors of the World at 2 and 4 p.m. Wed., Dec. 26-Mon., Dec. 31.

AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS Menotti's Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors captures the essential spirit of Christmas. The New York Times called Amahl "rare art . . . tender and exquisite." It tells of the Three Kings, who follow the star to Bethlehem and stop for shelter at the home of Amahl, a poor, lame shepherd boy who lives with his widowed mother. Inspired by the Kings' story of a child whose kingdom is "built on love alone," Amahl offers his own simple gift to the Christ child. ArtsWest, 4711 California S.W., 938-0339 or 325-6500. $15 / $10 students and seniors. 8 p.m. Fri., Dec. 28; 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 29; 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sun., Dec. 30.

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