Upcoming events: Nina Simone at the Guild, Clan Tynker at the BioPark, Black Label Society at the Sunshine, Burlesque Noir at the Launchpad
BY M. BRIANNA STALLINGS
Celebrating Nina Simone
The rest of the population may be spending their cinematic energy at “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but the Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE) isn’t abandoning those unfazed by this global spectacle. A not-so-long time ago, in an artistic galaxy seemingly far away from our own, there lived a mercurial musical genius named Eunice Kathleen Waymon, better known as Dr. Nina Simone.
This year alone saw the release of two documentaries about Simone. “What Happened, Miss Simone?” was produced with cooperation from her daughter Lisa and premiered at Sundance in January before erupting on Netflix in June. Then there’s “The Amazing Nina Simone” (108 minutes), which screened at the Guild from Nov. 2-5 and has four encore screenings Sunday, Dec. 20, through Wednesday, Dec. 23, at 6 p.m. only.
Directed by Jeff L. Lieberman, the film offers a view of this prodigious artist, activist and American expatriate through the eyes of more than 50 interviewees, including musical colleagues, family members, friends and lovers. Simone was renowned for her lush, androgynous contralto, her dextrous piano work and her brilliant original works and interpretations.
Standouts include “I Loves You Porgy,” “Feeling Good” and the classic protest anthem “Mississippi Goddam.” In a cultural climate teeming with violent, systemic oppression of black lives, “The Amazing Nina Simone” proves a vital portrait of a brilliant creative voice whose passion and power soundtracked the Civil Rights movement. General admission is $8; tickets are $5 for seniors, kids 12 and under, and students with valid ID. Call 255-1848 or visit guildcinema.com for more info.
Tynker sails River of Lights
Beloved Santa Fean performance troupe Clan Tynker has been wowing audiences of all ages with family-friendly circus antics since 1995. The New Mexico troupe has shared its one-of-a-kind assortment of talents at festivals all over the world, including Scotland, Egypt and Italy.
Comprised of brothers, sisters, and shenanigans galore, Clan Tynker adds their trademark glimmering magic to the annual River of Lights at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden (2601 Central NW). Their show features juggling, stilt-walking, unicycle-riding, live music and so much more. It’s a perfect post-Xmas weekend event. This year’s River of Lights boasts over 500 illuminated sculptures, lit with more than two million lights.
It’s open from 6 to 9:30 p.m. through Jan. 2, 2016; Clan Tynker is scheduled to perform Dec. 26-30 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for guests aged 13 and up; kids ages 3-12 get in for$6; and admission is free to kids younger than 3. No senior or member discounts available, but a free Park & Ride is: park at the Zoo and take a free shuttle to River of Lights at the Botanic Garden. Pick up tickets early or at the gate starting at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are also available online at riveroflights.org/tickets. For more information, call the New Mexico BioPark Society at 764-6227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wylde doomtroops into 2016
Perhaps the bright lights of the BioPark aren’t your style. May I instead suggest something a bit darker and heavier? Heavy metal even? Raise those devil fists in the air on Sunday, Dec. 27, for Black Label Society’s “Doomtrooping Into 2016” Tour at Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW).
Doors are at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30. Launched in ’98 by former Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde, Black Label Society gives the genre’s fans what they want: long hair, leather vests and screaming riffs on loud double guitars.
Black Label Society’s latest release “Catacombs of the Black Vatican” won critical praise from the hard rock and guitar press, despite Wylde’s only half-joking admission that “Vatican” was “going to be all completely the same as the last nine records, except just different song titles.”
BLS has a delightfully self-aware sense of humor, though. Want proof? Search out the band’s cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” on YouTube for a laugh. Openers Huntress, featuring operatically trained vocalist Jill Janus, and LA psych-punk trio The Shrine break the silence. Tickets to this ages 13-plus show are $29.50 at holdmyticket.com.
Twice the naughty, nice
There’s an episode of “Bob’s Burgers” wherein middle child Gene Belcher grumbles to his sisters that there’s too much pressure on kids to have fun in the summer. “It’s like New Year’s Eve for kids,” he complains. I’ll confess that sometimes, even after years as an adult, I totally get what he’s laying down.
Come Dec. 31, it can almost feel like you’d have to split yourself in two in order to check out all of the available awesome. Thankfully for us big kids in Burque, Burlesque Noir is looking out for us. Ring in 2016 with a glittering night of drag, burlesque divas and other sensual delights as the renowned ABQ burlesque troupe presents Double Your Pleasure on Thursday, Dec. 31 at Launchpad (618 Central SW).
Headlining boylesk duo, Seattle’s Original Twins won the “Best Small Group” award at the 25th Annual Tournament of Tease this June in Las Vegas, Nev. MembersParis and Trojan will tease and titillate anyone with a pulse, and fetish model Alyxzandrea Asher, burlesque performer Mayo Lua De Frenchie and local drag stars Scarlett and host Vanessa Patricks add intrigue to interest.
Guests can also look forward to an after-hours dance party with DJ Brian Botkiller. Doors are at 8 p.m., and the curtain rises at 8:30. As things are gonna get hot, this show is ages 21 and over. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. A champagne toast at midnight is included with the ticket price. Limited seating available for this New Year’s Eve naughtiness, so grab those advance tickets at holdmyticket.com while you can.
M. Brianna Stallings writes so you don’t have to.
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