5 Things To Do Today: Dancing Lights, "Nutcracker," John Denver tribute, Forest Beutel ...

By Volcano Staff on December 23, 2014

TUESDAY, DEC. 23 2014 >>>

1. It's two days before Christmas. Having exhausted all financial resources barring the sale of various vital organs or offspring, you drive the streets, dejected, unsure of what to do now. You venture into downtown Olympia, and you see stars - white stars, red stars, blue stars, in fact all sorts of colored lights. It's Peace on Earth. Your mouth forms a wondrous "Oh." You reach out for your loved one's hand. He/she slaps it and tells you to stop being so sarcastic. It seems to be coming from the Percival Landing boardwalk. Yes, you're sure of it. Well, God bless us, everyone, it's the 6th annual Dancing Lights Marine Christmas Show. The Olympia Yacht Club has converted the marina into a holiday light display, computer-animated mind you. Dora The Friendly Sea Dagon greets you, as does a 45-foot yacht decorated with more than 20,000 lights. The 45-minute program consists of nine musical selections and runs twice each evening from 7-8:30 p.m. Hurrah!

2. Franciscan Polar Plaza is the place to be once winter hits. Think you can find something better to do than busting out some ice skates? Yeah, good luck with that. Polar Plaza is on its fourth year of setting up an ice-skating rink decked out in wintery goodness at Tollefson Plaza, just across from the Tacoma Art Museum in downtown Tacoma. With three fabulous years behind them, the Plaza folks put their heads together and found a few key ways to make this ritzy rink even better for 2014. Skate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

3. Hello, holiday tradition! The Nutcracker ballet performance is a holiday forever classic. The Tacoma City Ballet does it up right and with a delightful twist. Did you know that there's a "prequel" to The Nutcracker called Tale of the Hard Nut? Celebrating its 31st performance season, the ballet company takes on The Nutcracker performance in its entirety, which includes the prequel. In short: prepare to be dazzled, delighted and enchanted at 3 and 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater.

4. Folksy, folk-writing folk hero John Denver - born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. - died Oct. 12, 1997, when the experimental plane he was flying crashed into Monterey Bay off the coast of California. Tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Red Wind Casino fans both casual (which way to the slots?) and rabid (dude, "Rocky Mountain High"!) will cheer on Ted Vigil - born Ted Vigil - as he pays tribute to Denver - both visually and musically.

5. Forest Beutel is a fixture of Tacoma's music scene, playing banjo for The Barleywine Revue, punkgrass outfit The Rusty Cleavers and matching Julie Campbell's fierce fiddle in Dixie Highway. In September, he released If You Label Me, You Negate Me, his first solo album - a mix of high-energy folk punk, down-tempo blues and introspective lyrics. At 8 p.m., Beutel will perform at the Eleven Eleven with friends Jake Cline and Shootdang from Portland.

LINK: Tuesday, Dec. 23 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area