Boulder Christmas ball offers music, nostalgia

Jazz, big band featured in Saturday event

Steve Weishampel

In his latest
film, Midnight in Paris — now entering its one
billionth month in local theaters—Woody Allen explores the lure and danger of
nostalgia. Those who came out of the film wishing they could travel to the past
have a chance this weekend: Boulder Elks Lodge will host its second annual
1940s-themed Big Band Christmas Ball Saturday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.

This isn’t some
half-hearted ugly sweater party where the theme flies out the door in the first
10 minutes. The ball fully embraces its post-World War II theme, with a costume
and dance contest to judge who best embraces 1940s style.

“You don’t have
to know how to dance,” says 1940s ball creator and founder Khyentse James.
“It’s really just to get everyone in their costumes dancing.” James says the
winners “actually get pretty big prizes: two $50 gift certificates to the
[Boulder] Cork.” Runners-up will receive gift baskets and a pinup shoot with
Erie photographer Iman Woods.

Aside from the
costume contest, the ball will feature a long list of performers: Front Range
big band The Hot Tomatoes will play, along with late-night rockabilly ’50s band
The Atomic Drifters at a ’50s-themed dance party at the end of the evening.
Denver-based jazz dance group The Diamond Dolls will perform as well.
Re-enactments of classic films will include Jimmy Stewart and his angel and
Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, as well
as a re-enactment of Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas.”

“We have a
really full night,” James says. Attendees — apparently,
even though it’s a ball, the term is not “ballers”— can roast chestnuts outdoors
and watch Hawaiian hula dancers, or take swing dance lessons from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

says the Christmas ball follows the success of the 1940s World War II Ball,
held in June at the Boulder Airport. After a strong first year in 2009, James
decided to start a Christmas version to benefit charities during the holidays:
Toys for Tots is among the charities that benefit from the ball.

work with the Wounded Warrior Project, Toys for Tots and the Spirit of Flight
Center,” she says. Wounded Warrior assists injured service members as they
transition to civilian life; Spirit of Flight is an aviation museum in Erie.
The 1940s Ball, itself a non-profit, donates all net proceeds to charity, James
says. Over three years the non-profit has raised over $16,000.

says she’s excited to see how the ball builds on last year’s success. “Last year
was great,” she says. “We had an amazing turnout, the show was wonderful and
everybody seemed to have a really great time.”

Dinner and drinks will be
available at the event, but are not included in the ticket. James says about
100-200 tickets are still available through the Christmas ball’s website,

Correction: The article was corrected to state that all net proceeds are donated to charity. For more information, visit