Our two grand downtown entertainment venues – the Bijou and Tennessee theaters – are working overtime to spread holiday cheer this month. So be sure to take a break from the hustle and bustle to chill out with music, movies and more.
This weekend, the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus wants to know if you’ve been “Naughty or Nice.” You can ’fess up at their holiday concert, being presented at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Bijou. The show will feature traditional holiday tunes along with a few twists.
Paint your spirits Blue
In one week, you can have a Blue Christmas without feeling the least bit down. Knoxville’s own Chris Blue, winner of season 12 of “The Voice,” will spread cheer with a full-band concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, at the Bijou. The show will feature music from Blue’s new album, “Fresh Start.”
Blue is teaming up with the Songbirds Foundation to raise money for the “Guitars for Kids” program in East Tennessee. For every $100 raised, the foundation will provide a child with a guitar and 12 weeks of music lessons. So by going to the show, you can give yourself a gift and give some kids access to the wonder of music. Win-win.
The Bijou is also presenting Jim Brickman: A Christmas Celebration at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22.
Holiday movie magic
Meanwhile, at the Tennessee, you can get into the holiday spirit through movies. The James Stewart-Donna Reed classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” will play at 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, and it’s free, courtesy of the Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union. Doors open one hour before the show starts, and seating is first come, first served. The theater’s showings of “White Christmas” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” are sold out, but tickets remain for “The Polar Express” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22.
‘Nutcracker,’ Indigo Girls
The Tennessee will wrap up its holiday merriment with the “Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker” (no Putin jokes, please). Shows are at 4 and 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23, and doors open one hour before show time.
If you’re still shopping for musical gifts, the harmonious Indigo Girls will be at the Tennessee on Thursday, March 5, and tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 13.
Red, green and black
If you need more of a jolly – or scary – holiday-movie fix, head north to Happy Holler, where Central Cinema is showing “A Christmas Story” and “Black Christmas” Dec. 14-16; “Santa Claus” (aka “Santa Claus vs. the Devil”) Dec. 17-18; “Dial Code Santa Claus” (aka “Deadly Games”) Dec. 17 and 19; “Killer Raccoons 2: Dark Christmas in the Barn” Dec. 20; “Scrooged” and “The Muppet Christmas Carol” Dec. 21-23; and “The Santa Clause” and “Die Hard” Dec. 24-25.
And if you missed Paul Harrill’s “Light From Light,” Central Cinema has added some shows: 2 and 9 p.m. today and 2 and 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13. Be sure to confirm show times on the website.
Betsy Pickle is a veteran entertainment, features and news reporter best known as the longtime film critic for the Knoxville News Sentinel.