Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Two holiday choral concerts on tap for Cheyenne

Some big holiday-oriented concerts on the Cheyenne schedule for the weeks before Christmas.

First up is the "Unto Us a Child is Born" performance on Monday, Dec. 10, 7 p.m., at St. Mary's Cathedral, 2107 Capitol Ave. It's an "a capella concert with the LCCC men's and women's ensembles, Cantorei and the collegiate chorale that will showcase scared choral arrangements, ancient and modern anthems, all combined to weave a magical performance with something for everyone." Admission is free, although donations will be accepted for the Comea House, Cheyenne's homeless shelter. My daughter Annie will again be a soloist. You can see a You Tube clip of the Dec. 1 LCCC choral performance at the Cheyenne Civic Center. Yes, I am a proud pops. I'm also quite impressed by the quality of music programs at our community college. I'm equally impressed by the amount of financial aid available at LCCC. This county resident will be backing any expansion plans proposed by LCCC and will gladly do battle with any Know Nothings who oppose such plans. BTW, the poster for this concert shows the silhouette of the baby Jesus in the manger with his hands raised high to heaven. When I first  saw it, I was convinced that the babe was doing the "Spirit Fingers" routine from "Bring It On." Jesus has spirit fingers -- yeah! Maybe it's "holy spirit fingers."

On Sunday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m., the Cheyenne Capital Chorale performs "Seasons in Song" at St. Mary's. It will feature selections from Vivaldi's "Gloria" and will be filmed by Wyoming PBS for a later broadcast. Free, but donations will be accepted at the door. Go here for more info.

Music for the holidays. A great gift for yourself.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

How about a WWInc membership for that writer on your gift list?

I've been attending the annual conference of Wyoming Writers, Inc., since I first came to Wyoming in 1991. I've been to June conferences in Cody (twice), Casper (many times), Cheyenne, Rock Springs, Sundance (Bear Lodge Writers home turf), Riverton (the year after the hotel caught fire) and Thermopolis (with my teen daughter). In 2013, the conference will be in Laramie for (I think) the first time. This June 7-9 conference is shaping up to be a fine one despite the fact that I am one of the presenters. You've been forewarned! I'll be talking about short stories and will be shilling my new book which, I hope, will be hot off the presses come May. I'll also address blogging and social media for writers.

Who are some of the writers, editors and agents featured at WWInc conferences? Glad you asked. Performance poet M.L. Liebler, mystery writer Margaret Coel, novelist Tim Sandlin, Graywolf Press editor Katie Dublinski, Coffee House Press publisher Chris Fishbach, Hollywood screenwriter Ben Garant, father/daughter poetry team Robert and Lee Ann Roripaugh, poet and musician David Romtvedt, western novelist Johnny Boggs, essayist Teresa Jordan, folklorist Hal Cannon, romance novelist Amanda Cabot and scores of others. 

Wyoming Writers, Inc. (WWInc) has had its ups and downs over its 38 years. Some of its founders remain active members, and one of the challenges is attracting and keeping new members. Here's one way to do this, taken from the new and improved WWInc web site:
WHAT DO YOU GIVE A WRITER? If you're looking for a special Christmas gift for your favorite writer, or perhaps there's a birthday coming up that deserves something more than another book, lunch out or a gift certificate to the same ol' place... Consider giving a membership to Wyoming Writers, Inc., the oldest statewide, multi-genre writers' organization in Wyoming! Go to the "Become a Member or Renew Your Membership" page and either fill out the form online or print and mail it, with the appropriate payment (add student ID information if needed) to: Wyoming Writers, Inc., P. O. Box 999, Sundance, WY 82729 Help us increase our membership and give a wonderful gift to a writer at the same time!
I'm a member so this is not the appropriate gift for me. A much better gift would be a Kindle or perhaps that beard trimmer I have been looking at with envy. No neckties, thank you very much! And especially no Wyoming neckties (know what I mean?)

Did I mention that WWInc is a recipient of a Wyoming Governor's Arts Award?

Anyway, it's a great group. Its members are accomplished and friendly, and always find a way to put on a smashing conference.

Give the gift of membership. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Tinsel Through Time" is like a Cheyenne holiday time machine

My wife Chris and I joined other state employees this evening for a sneak peek of the "Tinsel Through Time" show at the Historic Governor's Mansion in Cheyenne. Christina and her Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites employees did a great job decorating this 107-year-old building for Christmas. Each room is dedicated to an era of the house's existence, with time-appropriate Christmas decorations. One of the upstairs bedrooms was done up in decor of the pre-war era (known as Edwardian in the U.K.). Did you know that the Christmas fad for that time called for all-white decorations on the tree? White candles, white ornaments, white star on top? The war put an end to that, what with rivers of blood being shed and all.

Post-war decor was much more colorful. Prior to WWII, Americans got most of their Christmas tree baubles from Germany and Japan. When war erupted, Americans were a little ticked so they discarded their not-made-in-the-USA ornaments for those made by Corning in New York. These glass balls were painted on the outside and hung with bobby pins due to most metals going to the war effort. Many homes had electric candles burning in the windows for sons and fathers serving overseas. This room had twin beds, and we could almost imagine that it was home to a couple of teen girls whose older brother was in the Army. Chris thought it might be the parents' room, as there was a snap-brim hat hanging on the bedpost. Maybe it's her boyfriend's hat, I ventured. This is a room for adults, she said. We then realized that we were caught up in the moment, actually believing that this was the room of living, breathing people and hot a museum display.

That's what history, well-presented, can do for you.

My favorite spot in the house is the basement fallout shelter. According to interpretation displays, First Lady Win Hickey made sure that the mansion was fortified for a commie attack with supplies for at least two weeks. It was stocked with survival kits, toilet paper, board games, coffee, battery-powered radio and a mirror. Asked about the last item, Mrs. Hickey replied that you couldn't expect a woman to go without a mirror for two weeks. It's funny to think about the governor's family taking shelter in the basement of a house that was but a few miles away from a nest of ICBM missile silos. If the shit had hit the fan, a mirror would have been the last of her worries. She may have had no worries at all, once the big one dropped.

Let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now

Thanks, Randy Newman.

My father built those missile silos. I never heard him talk about building a fallout shelter. It's possible that he knew the truth about what was in store for us if WWIII broke out.

Strange thoughts for Christmas. Blame it on "Tinsel Through Time." Here are some details about it:
Reminiscence about the traditions of Christmas past with “Tinsel Through Time: Christmas at the Mansion,” a special exhibit at the Historic Governors’ Mansion, December 1-22, Wednesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A free opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Friday, Nov. 30, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will feature the St. Mary’s Catholic School Children's Choir, refreshments, entertainment and a free commemorative ornament to our first 75 guests in celebration of State Parks 75th Anniversary.

This year, the exhibit features numerous trees with historic trimmings and our newest collection of more than 400 antique Christmas Ornaments courtesy of Frank and Louise Cole.

The 1905 Mansion, the first official residence of Wyoming’s First Families, has hosted everyone from U.S. presidents to neighborhood children for 71 years. The public is invited to view this enchanting free Christmas exhibit.

The Historic Governors’ Mansion is located at 300 E. 21st Street in Cheyenne. Please call 307-777-7878 for more information. Go here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Proceeds from Christmas Craft Show at Cheyenne Elks Lodge 660 benefit local causes

This Saturday, Nov. 24, is filled with holiday goings-on, including the annual Cheyenne Christmas parade and lots of arts and crafts fairs.

Before you head downtown for the parade, drop by the Christmas Craft Show at the Cheyenne Elks Lodge 660 on 100 E. 17th Street. Eat some homemade Indian tacos and chili with all of the fixings for $6. Proceeds will benefit the Cheyenne Elk Run which also benefits UPLIFT of Wyoming. UPLIFT serves families who have children with special needs, notably those diagnosed with behavioral and mental health disorders. I'm proud to be a member of the UPLIFT board.

The Christmas Craft Show goes from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. If you're a crafter and need info on table availability, contact Annette at 307-635-5691.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Visions of handmade local sugarplums dancing in my head

Next Saturday is Small Business Saturday. It's an opportunity for all of us to avoid the Big Box Stores in favor of the Small Box Stores, preferably locally-owned and locally-managed places. Buy your CDs, vinyl and funky clothing at Cheyenne's Ernie November's. Give your favorite beer drinker (hint, hint) a selection of beers from Freedom's Edge Brewery just down 16th Street from Ernie's. If you can wait until the following Saturday -- Dec. 1 -- local culinary artists (chocolate-covered bacon!) ply their wares at the Winter Farmers Market at the Historic Depot. Or browse local art galleries and studios during the next Art Design and Dine on Dec. 13. You'll find a broad selection of handmade/homemade items for the arts lover on your list. Buy books by Wyoming authors at City News or directly from the writers. For ideas, see Wyoming Writers, Inc., or consult the list of writers on the Wyoming Arts Council blog sidebar.

Speaking of the arts.... Tickets to concerts and plays make for splendid holiday presents. If I was Martha Stewart, I would buy tickets to a Cheyenne Little Theatre Players show, put it in an envelope, place that in a box, put that box inside a bigger box, wrap the big box in festive wrapping and then place it under the boughs of a Christmas tree harvested in the Snowy Range and decorated with dazzling homemade ornaments, many of which are edible. Since I'm not Martha Stewart, I shall still buy the theatre tickets at the last minute and stash them in my loved one's Christmas stocking while I sip home-brewed grog late on Christmas Eve as the Led Zeppelin Christmas album plays in the background.

Check out more shopping ideas on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page. You can get free downloadable signage at

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Morris House Bistro sells great gumbo for good causes on Nov. 26

The Morris House Bistro in Cheyenne is conducting the “Gumbo for Gifts” fund-raiser for two good causes on Saturday, Nov. 26, beginning at 4 p.m. You will note that this is also the date of the annual downtown Christmas parade. For $10, you can get a bowl of homemade gumbo (before, during or after the parade). Vino’s is donating beverages (alcoholic and non) for the event. Proceeds will go to buy gifts for children in need and food for the hungry through Needs, Inc., and the Friday Food Bag Foundation.

FMI: 307-369-1378 or

In case you’ve never eaten at the Morris House Bistro, you’re in for a treat. This homegrown Cheyenne restaurant features real Carolina low-country cuisine and it made right on the spot. Never had the gumbo but it’s bound to be superb.