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Christine Lavin takes on the holidays

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 is 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" (which 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 and riotous on-stage presentation (twirling glowing batons, 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.

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.

The New York Times described Lavin as "a garrulous comic observer of contemporary manners."

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.

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;, on-line at stclairevents.com; or by calling 535-3562.

St. Clair Productions brings Christine Lavin in concert with her sense of humor and knitting skills.