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The Greatest Christmas Show of the Century!

Barely alive at the hive: We all have our own opinions about the proposed new arena and whether or not the Hornets should stay or move, but the fact is, they're still here, they're playing well and it's a shame seeing the team getting shafted by low attendance. Last Thursday (December 13) a crowd of well under 10,000 (to be polite) were on hand to watch the Hornets sting Vince Carter and the rest of the Toronto Raptors by a score of 104-90. When the home team is winning by 10-20 points for a good part of the game, you have some time to take in your surroundings. While doing just that, I had to wonder if George Shinn, Ray Wooldridge and their buddy Bill Diehl (who was seen at the end of the game hooking up a kid, that fortunately looked nothing like him, with player handshakes and autographs) might benefit from some fashion advice (as well as grooming tips) from any of the slickly dressed urban fellas in attendance? Do the poor kids pushing some sort of propaganda really think they were going to get anywhere with annoying, carnival-like screams of "Frrreeeeee Hornets shirts. . ." (come on, they can't even give away free tickets)? But -- and this is the more important issue -- what would be the fate of Hugo the Hornet if the Hornets moved and changed their name? I mean really, who else could have come up with the ingenious spin-off of the limber halftime act the Alexis Brothers to the Dyslexic Brothers (which also featured an appearance from the Checkers' furry pal, Chubby)? Forget about the politics, people; let's keep Hugo employed! -- LF

Evening Musings: The Evening Muse had a Christmas Party Saturday for the new CD A Christmas Evening at the Muse, proceeds from which benefit local non-profit charities, including the Second Harvest Food Bank. Many local acts showed up to play a few songs, most with something of a Christmas theme: Les Dirt Clods, Jay Garrigan of Poprocket, Violet Strange (with drummer Chris Garges) David Childers, Shana Blake and Phil Carias of Tesser, Chris English and more. Frankly, most of the hipsterati looked like they were more interested in heading to Ooo La La at the Visulite, what with the promise of drag queens and nubile young breast-barers. Which is at least partially enticing, I must admit. Those who left early missed great sets by Deanna Campbell, Childers, and Blake, who truly sings like an angel. They also missed Childers spreading his "holiday cheer" throughout the small confines of the Muse, albeit probably unknowingly. Then again, maybe it was frankincense I smelled. -- TCD

It's the W(END) of the world as we know it. . . And I felt fine. What I can remember of it, anyway. I've always wanted to hate WEND, ever since they moved into town, tricked us by playing awesome college rock for about a week, and then pulled the Smiths in favor of the frickin' Offspring. So, to throw a few more logs on the fire, I've tuned into the station a bit more recently. First time, I got Nirvana. Second time, Ryan Adam. Cha-ching! The next time I tuned in, the pessimist in me hoping for the Verve Pipe or one of those Sum-182/Blink 47/Black 41 bands, I heard The Strokes, who WEND deejay Kristen called "The Buzz Band of The Century." Which made me laugh, until I considered the fact that this century is only in its first year. Maybe The End is doing something here, and trying to add a little edge to their playlist. Then again, maybe they're following Clear Channel's market studies. Pumped by my new radio enthusiasm, I headed off to check out the station's No-So-Acoustic Christmas Friday night, featuring Ben Folds, Train, Remy Zero and Pete Yorn. So of course, I show up for an End show and -- no tickets, even though Folds' publicity people had supposedly set them aside. Ready to rip the station a new one, I waited for about 10 minutes, and then was escorted to the band area to the right of the stage, and then given a VIP pass. Not being one who's very taken with meeting celebrities, much less the dork singer from Train, I was nonplussed. "Free beer in the back," I heard someone say as Yorn finished up a powerful set that had the kiddies screaming along with "China Girl." Three Guinnesses later (I love the End!), a fever-stricken Folds took the stage, playing almost every song from his new CD, rapping, playing drums, and generally behaving like a drunken-yet-sensitive frat boy. The drunken, insensitive frat boys ate it up, as did the multitude of 13-year-old girls, who squealed every time Folds dropped an F-bomb. After Folds finished, I once again toast the End's generosity while waiting on Train. Soon enough, however, I tired of the wait, and headed for the exits. Most trains take you somewhere. No need to spend hours waiting on one that doesn't. -- TCD

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