Bad Elves, Good Times
Elves Gone Bad
Noon, Thursday, Dec. 30, and Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 1 and 2; 5:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 31
Beowulf Alley Theatre Company
11 S. Sixth Ave.
What would happen to Santa's elves if kids started only wanting video games for Christmas? What if the reindeer went on strike, forcing ol' Santa to close down the North Pole toy factory altogether? The elves would get laid off, of course—like so many victims of the economic crisis.
But what would happen after that? The creative minds at Active Imagination Theatre, Beowulf Alley's new children's theater, decided to figure it out—and they did it by the seat of their pants.
Active Imagination Theatre isn't your everyday children's troupe; it employs adult actors skilled in improvisation who take a general scenario (like the aforementioned North Pole scene) and decide to make a play out of it, outlining the actual plot through improv as rehearsals progress.
For Elves Gone Bad, the actors have decided Santa will fire his elves—only to have them find a pirate ship stuck in the ice, meet a certain Captain R. Shrimp and undergo "pirate boot camp" to prepare them for a new life of scouring the seas and pillaging. Will Christmas be ruined?
To find out, you'll have to go to the play with your kids—and your kids could have an effect on its ending: One of the most unique things about Active Imagination is that it brings children onstage to act with the actors (in this case, playing elves). Kids can even suggest a new setting or plot twist, and the grown-up actors have to follow their instructions as best they can.
"That sounds a bit crazy," said John Vornholt, the chair of Active Imagination, "but it works out really well. Our seasoned improv players go with the flow. And we use the whole theater, even the aisles and lobby."
The show is best for kids age 4 to 8. Admission is $5 for kids 4 to 12, and $10 for anyone older (but you get $2 off when you buy online).
Ring in the New With La Rue
Winter Wonderland party with Chi Chi LaRue
8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 31
3710 N. Oracle Road
Can you think of a more entertaining way to ring in the new year than with one of the best-known adult-film directors in the industry's history?
This New Year's Eve, you can do that right here in Tucson, a town Chi Chi LaRue has taken a special liking to. LaRue is the drag persona behind hundreds of famous adult flicks, from More of a Man to Wrong Side of the Tracks. She's won more than a dozen awards for her movies, was on OUT Magazine's Top 100 Influential People of the GLBT Community list and is a staunch safe-sex advocate. LaRue is also a DJ and owns an adult boutique on Los Angeles' Santa Monica Boulevard, where she sells products branded with her name, from sex toys to bottled water.
But instead of sticking around L.A. for New Year's Eve—or going to any of the other big cities she frequents—LaRue asked Tucson's own Woody's bar if she could visit, so the venue is throwing her (and you) a Winter Wonderland party. LaRue will screen scenes from her DVDs and spin dance music, all while interacting charmingly with the crowd (and the go-go boys that will appear alongside her).
"If you haven't met Chi Chi, you're in for a treat," said one of the regular bartenders at Woody's. "When she's in town, we have a packed house. I think she comes here because she's tired of the kinds of people you meet in L.A. and New York."
The Woody's party will feature all of the usual fun New Year's stuff—party favors, champagne, a balloon drop—plus drink specials. VIPs get dinner, their own hostess and bartender, and a free gift bag.
Of course, you don't have to be gay to attend.
"We're a gay bar, but everybody comes here," said the bartender. "People can come and have a good time and not have to deal with stuff like fights; it's a pretty relaxed atmosphere. You can just have a good time."
Cover is $10; VIP tickets are $20. Early ticket purchases are advised.
The Early Partier Gets Home Safe
Early New Year's Countdown
Closes at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 31
The Golden Nugget
2617 N. First Ave.
This New Year's Eve, do you want to party like you're in a different time zone? Or maybe you're one of those unfortunate souls who has to work that night or early the next day. Maybe you always hit the sack early, or you have kids to put to bed, or you just want to avoid the general chaos and revelry of New Year's on the town at midnight.
Or maybe you want to start celebrating New Year's during the day and continue to party into the night.
These are all good reasons to go to the Golden Nugget for this "world famous" Tucson bar's early New Year's Eve celebration. On New Year's Eve, this place closes at 7 p.m. to guard the well-being of its customers. They break out the champagne, party hats and noisemakers around 6 p.m. instead of at midnight. After all, it can get just plain dangerous out there on New Year's Eve. (And don't you dare call the folks at the Golden Nugget pansies for closing early—this is a pretty wild bar, known for its generous pours, fun-loving bartenders and great parties.)
"People's safety is very important on New Year's Eve," said longtime manager Tim Donaldson. "There are a lot of people out (drinking) who don't usually drink. ... People should come to the Golden Nugget so they can celebrate in a healthy environment, go home safe and do it again."
You shouldn't be surprised if the Golden Nugget New Year's countdown happens more than once this Friday; according to Donaldson, it usually does. Why not count down, kiss your friends, sing "Auld Lang Syne" and drink champagne two or three times? You've got all day! (Or at least until closing.)
If you end up celebrating a little too much, Donaldson would like to remind you his bar opens on New Year's Day at 9 a.m.—ready with Bloody Marys to cure your hangover.
The Golden Nugget has no cover charge.
Ooh La La New Year
7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 31
311 E. Congress St.
Celebrate moving into the future by transporting yourself into the past—specifically, the simultaneously sleazy and classy ambiance of the Old World bordello! This New Year's Eve, Club Congress is going all out to help you do it.
In case your innocent mind doesn't know what a bordello is, we'll educate you: It's another word for brothel—actually, an Italian-made-English word stolen from the old French bordel. The theme of Congress' bash will focus on the pre-war-France–era bordello, complete with all the accoutrements, including richly colored decorations, burlesque music, fancy costumes and even girls on swings.
"We have a hotel, so we thought it would be fun to turn the club into a bordello," said Congress entertainment and booking director David Slutes. "Rich, voluptuous and sexy—these are the words of the night."
In fact, Congress will feature three clubs in one. On a giant outdoor stage, the Zsa Zsas (including Slutes performing as "Milos Sucrose") will play their own eccentric interpretation of bordello music, while Optimist Club DJs will be spinning at the club's dance floor all night. An intimate VIP Moulin Rouge Room will offer French cuisine, a penny bar, a video montage and special performances by premier Tucson French singer Marianne Dissard and her attractive crew, who will help give the room what Slutes called an "absinthe and opium feel" (though you'll have to bring your own opium, Slutes jokingly warned).
At midnight, attendees will get champagne and party favors as they watch what might be Tucson's most impressive ball drop: A giant tassled lantern has been reserved just for the night.
"It's gonna be boppin'," said Slutes. "We'll sell out."
Get your tickets now—they're $18 in advance and $25 at the door, with VIP tickets costing $100.