An Unorthodox Winter Holiday Concert

St. Clair Productions presents singer/songwriter Christine Lavin in "An Unorthodox Winter Holiday Concert" at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., Ashland. Knitters are invited to come knit with Lavin beginning at 7 p.m.

In 2003, Lavin released "The Runaway Christmas Tree" because she "just couldn't find a good Christmas/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Chanukah/Ramadan/Boxing Day album."

"The Runaway Christmas Tree" contains tales of Christmas wishes gone wrong ("Polkadot Pancakes"); choral complaints and celebrations regarding seasonal food ("Scalloped Potatoes" and "Tacobel Canon," respectively); and a snippet of what sounds like munchkins on helium ("Elves"). The title track is a bedtime story Lavin wrote to explain why people decorate their Christmas trees (to weight them down so they won't escape, of course).

Interspersed with these zany holiday excursions are a handful of more conventional hymns to the peace and joy of December: the lovely "Dona Nobis Pacem," "A New Year's Round," "Lamb and Lion," and "Allelujah/Amen." There's also the slightly twisted "A Christmas/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Chanukah/Ramadan/Boxing Day Song," an express-lane version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" (retitled "Th 12 Dys f Chrstms") and "The All-Purpose Carol" (that ends with a resounding, "Oy, mon!").

Concert attendees can be assured they will hear some of these songs as well as new stories and music from Lavin's new CD of holiday songs.

Lavin's incisive and frequently hilarious songs (most often concerning relationships and modern life) and riotous on-stage presentation (twirling, glowing batons, plus storytelling) have enlivened the folk scene for more than 25 years.

During that time, she has released 19 albums of original material for a variety of labels, founded the ever-changing Four Bitchin' Babes singing and recording group, produced eight compilations showcasing the works of dozens of other singer-songwriters, and has become the wry voice of the post-boomer, pre-Generation X crowd.

Born in New York, Lavin worked her way up through the city's competitive club scene to become an internationally popular performer and recording artist. She performs about 120 concerts annually in the United States, Canada and Australia. She has won two New York Music Awards, a NAIRD award, four ASCAP composer awards, the Kate Wolf Memorial Award, and the 2001 Backstage Bistro Award as Outstanding New York Singer-Songwriter of the Year.

In 1998, Lavin was honored (and shocked) by the release of Big League Babe, a two-CD tribute containing versions of her songs secretly recorded as a surprise for her by more than two dozen singer-songwriters.

The New York Times described Lavin as "a garrulous comic observer of contemporary manners." The Boston Globe called her "the classic American troubadour," and she's been lauded as "captivating" by Billboard and "enchanting" by Cosmopolitan.

Lavin's acuity in reflecting contemporary life, love and their pitfalls can be discerned even in the titles of her albums (i.e., "Beau Woes," "Getting in Touch with My Inner Bitch," "I Was in Love with a Difficult Man"). Her song "Sensitive New Age Guys" has been used in the long-running Off-Broadway play "A ... My Name Will Always Be Alice" and has entered the modern lexicon as an acerbic put-down.

Lavin also is a published author and essayist (in The Washington Post, The St. Petersburg Times, Performing Songwriter, the Delta "Sky" Magazine and other periodicals). She is a frequent guest host of the "Sunday Breakfast" show on WFUV, Fordham University's public radio station in New York.

Her children's book, "Amoeba Hop," was released in December 2003. She has written stories that appear in two books released in 2004: "Knit Lit Too" (includes an account of knitting on the road and sometimes on stage) for Random House, and "Remember Me When I'm Gone," a collection of self-penned obituaries by the still-living likes of Mike Wallace, Julie Andrews, Robert Goulet, Dame Edna and Lavin herself, compiled by Larry King (Adler Press).

Tickets are $20 in advance, $22 at the door, $10 for teens 12-17 and free for under 12. Tickets are available at the Music Coop, Ashland; online at; or by calling 535-3562.

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