Santa's Lil' Gimp
While kickin' it at Sabala's this month, why not take a break in between thrash-rock sets and shots of Jack Daniels, and do a little reading? The walls are decorated throughout December with the text and illustrations of Greg Dorr and cartoonist M.E. Russell's not-so-Christmas classic Santa's Lil' Gimp, about a demented kid's holiday adventures. Sabala's Mt Tabor, 4811 SE Hawthorne, 238-1646, Through December

FRIDAY 12/17

Eric Utne
Conceived by Eric Utne, editor of the Utne Reader, Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac aims to answer the question, "What would it take for us to reestablish our connection to nature right where we live, day-to-day, in the city?" It's a noble, beautiful, and necessary ambition. Unfortunately, the first edition of the Urban Almanac never quite gets off the ground. Like the Poor Richard's Almanack, which it directly salutes, Utne's guide begins with a hodgepodge of accessible, natural science writing. There are sections on naked-eye astronomy, seasonal guides to wildlife and weather, and field guides to urban fauna such as rats, pigeons, and coyotes. These are welcome topics, but the essays are composed in a forgettable, banal style and fail to stick to the ribs. After only 62 pages, the book literally turns into a day planner, stocked with more barely-scratching-the-surface writings and images about great people, places, and natural phenomena. The Urban Almanac is bound like any other trade paperback, though, and is printed on cheap paper, so its feasibility as an actual day planner is quite limited. It feels like you're reading somebody's moderately interesting calendar. It's a shame, because Utne is collecting and disseminating a lot of ideas and ideologies about the beauty and wonder that exist in this crazy world. He doesn't have the presentation down yet, but he still ought to be applauded and encouraged for his intentions and efforts. CHAS BOWIE Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651, 7:30 pm