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Things to do in Missoula: Dec 20-26

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays – hard to believe it’s only five days until Christmas and just 11 days left in 2013 – what are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Don’t forget about First Night Missoula – sounds like a lot of fun!

Back again with this week's "Things to Do" article for Missoula.

On Friday, don’t miss the SantaCon at Flippers at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to dress up in red hats or elf gear, wonder around downtown and get your drink on. In addition, on Saturday and Sunday, don’t miss Kris Kringle’s arrival on a Zamboni at the Glacier Ice Rink at the Western Montana Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Santa will be there from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday and from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

For your fresh food lovers, check out the Heirloom Winter Farmers Market at the Western Montana Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For all your theatre lovers, pack up your appetite and head over to Missoula Community Theatre for their production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, which runs through Sunday. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with the closing performance on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. In addition, check out the gallery tour on Figurative Modernists at the PARTV Center at 12:10 p.m. on Saturday – tour limited to 28 people so RSVP at 243-2019. Also don’t forget MCT’s Out of the Box Production of The Santaland Diaries with performances at the Crystal Theater on Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. and on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Here are a few suggestions of things to do this weekend and next week. Don't miss all the great NFL action this weekend. Catch all the college, NFL and NBA action at my favorite sports bar, Hooters. Looking forward to the Dolphins-Bills game on Sunday, especially after that awesome victory over the Patriots last Sunday . Meet me there!

Reading is always a great escape, and we have four great local bookstores: Fact & Fiction, located at 200 N. Higgins and in the University Center; The Book Exchange, located at 2335 Brooks Street; Shakespere & Co. Booksellers, located at 1035 S. Third Street W and Bird's Nest Books, located at 217 N. Higgins. Take some time and enjoy these jewels of Missoula, where you can catch up on some great reads and do some shopping. On Friday, Richard Drake reads from his new tome, The Education of an Anti-Imperialist: Robert La Follette and U.S. Expansion at Shakespeare and Co at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Dan Brister will sign his book In the Presence of Buffalo at Fact and Fiction from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It's never a bad time to catch a movie, and this weekend is no exception. This weekend at the Carmike 12 on Mullan, catch American Hustle at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues at 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.; Frozen at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Philomena at 1:30 p.m.; Saving Mr. Banks at 1:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. and in 3D at 12 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Walking with Dinosaurs at 12 p.m., 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. and in 3D at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. In addition, don't miss the great documentaries at the Top Hat every Monday night. This week's showing is Decline of Western Civilization: Part II at 7:30 p.m. Finally, don't miss episodes 18 and 19 of Twin Peaks at The Roxy this Monday. The Roxy will run two episodes each week until February 10.

There are also great venues in town to catch the latest indie music. Check out the 8 Days a Week column in the Missoula Independent and online at Montana Live Music.

For something different, stop by Wheat Montana at Third & Reserve every Tuesday night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for some great bluegrass music with the Black Mountain Boys. The food is divine and the music sublime - it's a can't miss combination.

Here's where you can catch more live music this week: On Friday night, check out Pinegrass at the Top Hat for Family Friendly Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m., A Musical Dreamtime Journey: Winter Solstice Performance with Michael Marsolek and Lawrence Duncan at St. Anthony Parish (317 Tremont Avenue) at 7 p.m., Beans ‘n’ Joe at Brooks and Browns at 7 p.m., Tom Catmull and Radio Static at the Union Club at 9 p.m., Baby Tyger at the Palace at 9 p.m., Run From the City at Sean Kellys at 9 p.m., The Steady Changes at Stage 112 at 9 p.m., Might Flick at the Dark Horse at 9 p.m., 406 Band at the Sunrise Saloon from 9:30 p.m. to close and Russ Nasset and the Revelators at Top Hat at 10 p.m. On Saturday, don’t miss Sarah Brown at the Top Hat dinner show at 6 p.m., Captain Wilson Conspiracy at Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery (4175 Rattlesnake Drive) from 6 to 8:30 p.m., The Kimberlee Carlson Jazz Trio at Finn and Porter from 7 to 9 p.m., the Wild Coyote Band at the American Legion from 7 to 11 p.m., Mighty Flick at the Dark Horse at 9 p.m., Joan Zen at the Union Club at 9 p.m., the 406 Band at Sunrise Saloon from 9:30 p.m. to close and Run From the City at Top Hat at 10 p.m. On Sunday, it’s Western Union at the Missoula Winery at 6 p.m. Then on Monday, check out cellist Jessica Catron at the Montgomery Distillery at 6 p.m., Monk’s Jazz Mondays at 7 p.m., and Ryan Bundy at the Red Bird Wine Bar from 7 to 10 p.m. Last but not least on Christmas Eve, don’t miss Eric Barrera at the sunrise Saloon at 9 p.m. For your post-Christmas music needs, check out Wild Coyote Band at Sunrise Saloon from 9 p.m. to close on Thursday, Kimberlee Carlson, Ron Meissner and Pete Hand at the Bitter Root Brewery in Hamilton from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and Milkcrate Mechanic at the House and Trance Night at the Palace at 9 p.m.

Don't forget iTunes, ReverbNation and YouTube - be adventurous and be the first to discover new talent - then share it with us all.

Have a great week, enjoy Missoula and we'll catch you soon with an update. Please feel free to drop me a line at lamusiccritic@yahoo.com with any comments, suggestions or questions. Also drop me a line if you or your group or business has an event you'd like to promote. I'm happy to spread the word for you.

If you enjoy my articles, you can click on "subscribe" at the top of the page and you'll receive notice when new ones are published.

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