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Dave Holodiloff and his band hold a CD release party for "Festive Nights" in Monterey on Saturday.

The countdown begins in earnest this week, as Christmas fast approaches and the Winter Solstice comes around on Sunday. Whether you're celebrating these holidays, or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or nothing at all, this time of year has become the time for giving.

So in between trimming the tree, shopping for gifts or stocking up the larders, consider joining an event Saturday that benefits the folks who watch over where ocean and land meet in unusually beautiful ways, Big Sur.

Dry Barrel Productions presents "Rock for Ocean Rescue" at the Carmel American Legion Post 512 on Dolores Street and Eighth Avenue. Funds raised will go toward the Mid-Coast Fire Brigade Ocean Rescue team's equipment. We all read regularly about unfortunate souls swept out to sea, or stranded on the cliffs, so let's do something to make their rescue more secure and quick.

Four bands are playing — Ricky and the Swedes, AtomixX, Buoy 59 and Mental Musk — along with DJ BBB. Live music takes place between 7 and 10:30 p.m., with the DJ afterwards. Admission for music is $8. If you want to have what is described as an incredible Cali-style feed, between 5 and 9 p.m., then tickets are $13 — and I suggest you get in on that ASAP. You must be 21 and over to attend. There will be a raffle for prizes and a silent auction of local artists' goods. Doors open at 4 p.m.

The American Legion is a cool little venue, although if you hate cigarette smoke like I do, just stay out of the bar section. This is a private venue that still allows smoking inside. Imagine that!


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The event is sponsored by Sea Harvest Fish Market & Restaurant, Ocean Rescue and On The Beach Surf & Ski. Advance tickets are available at www.midcoastfirebrigade.org.

Around the world

On the same night up Highway 1, Dave Holodiloff and his band — saxophonist/clarinetist Stu Reynolds, bassist Bill Sullivan and drummer/clarinetist Nik Bortolussi — are having a CD release party for "Festive Nights" at the East Village Coffee Lounge (498 Washington St.) in Monterey.

Holodiloff and crew will perform high-energy traditional dance favorites from around the world, original music and holiday classics from "Enchanted Winter." This is acoustic music at its best, I can assure you of that. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

"Festive Nights," as described by Holodiloff, "is a collection of songs so memorable that they have crossed oceans and survived wars to bring the party every time, with tunes that cheer the soul and stir the blood." The album "blends classic melodies with exciting improvisation to showcase the high-energy fun of traditional acoustic music."

Songs include Russian Gypsy classics, folk traditionals from Mexico and Italy, and creative interpretations of Baroque favorites, such as a bluegrass rendition of "Pachelbel's Canon."

There will be a special CD sale at the party to celebrate the new release. Tickets are $5 in advance at www.daveholodiloff.com (pre-sale ends Friday) or $10 at the door.

In the spirit

I'd like to express to all my readers that I'm extremely grateful to have this opportunity to share with you my thoughts and opinions on what I think you will enjoy in entertainment. Happy holidays to you all!

Beth Peerless can be reached at beth@2bpeerless.com.