December 17, 2014

Something's Askew With This `Christmas Carol'

The seasonal classic A Christmas Carol gets a new look—albeit a disjointed one—when it’s staged in zany panto form for four shows at the Performing Arts Center December 18-21.

A Christmas Carol...AskewA Christmas Carol...Askew is a seasonal spoof of the familiar Dickens’ story. Presented by Steve Cassling, Brian Adams and Ty Warren, the show is part mayhem, part Monty Python as it tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Cassling, and his visit by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.

"To put it in perspective, Elvis is one of the ghosts of Christmas," Cassling said in describing the production. "The music features everything from Elvis to High School Musical." And while the storyline is familiar with traditional Dickens characters, antics change from show to show so no two productions are the same. This is the third time the trio has presented the show to great acclaim.

Big Bear Theatre Project has plenty of experience bringing panto theater, which heavily relies on audience involvement as well, to Big Bear. During summer shows at Discovery Center’s outdoor amphitheater audiences howled at crazy presentations of Robin Hood and other shows have featured takeoffs on The Wizard of Oz and Treasure Island.

Cassling is armed with panto plays from his days at the Pasadena Playhouse. The show is filled with good jokes, bad jokes, political humor, songs, guys in dresses and plenty of audience involvement. "We’re updating the script with new topical jokes and the Cratchitts have a new love song duet," Cassling said. Last year it was Miley Cyrus’ "Wrecking Ball."

While A Christmas Carol...Askew is crazy, the performers are all talented with professional credits including roles with Community Arts Theater Society (CATS) and other productions. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. with 4 p.m. Sunday matinee.

Tickets are bargain priced at $14, $6 students/seniors. For more information visit

Call the PAC at (909) 866-4970.

December 16, 2014

Santa Claus, Santa Claws Visit Big Bear

Youngsters can tell Santa what they want for Christmas when jolly St. Nick makes the rounds during several appearances in Big Bear before his big night out.

Santa Claus in Big Bear VillageEvery Saturday and Sunday through December 21, Santa and Mrs. Claus are in their little house at the corner of the Village "L", complete with mood-setting fireplace, for photos and Christmas wishes from the little ones from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The bright lights of the season make for festive outings and the 60-plus unique stores in the newly-remodeled Village, decked out for the holidays with decorations and music all around, create a unique shopping experience so different from malls, outlets and the internet. Be sure to see the towering decorated tree on the corner of Pine Knot and Village Drives next to Santa’s House and don’t miss the chance to warm by gas fire pits in front of Amangela’s and Copper Q.

Old-fashioned lamp posts with snow piled against them and the sound system playing Christmas carols create a family atmosphere. The brilliant holiday lights that were so impressive last winter will be even better this year. And don’t miss seven carved bears and other woodland critters in a variety of poses scattered throughout the Village perfect for photo ops, with some large enough to sit on. Perfect for quick posts to Facebook or Instagram!

The American Legion’s annual Santa visit is on Dec. 6 at the Convention Center. Children ages 2-12 are invited for free hot dogs and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and each child goes home with a special gift. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. with Santa arriving at 11. Convention Center is on the corner of Division and Big Bear Blvd. across from Big Bear Snow Play. (909) 585-3000.

Saint Nick gets a different look at Big Bear Alpine Zoo on Saturdays Dec. 6, 13 and 20. Santa Claws comes to town from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and he’s not your run-of-the-mill holiday elf. But he is ready to meet as many kids as possible and pose for the most unique Santa photo around.

While at the zoo, don’t miss the new Himalayan snow leopards Asha and Shanti, who arrived at the facility this summer. The two cats came from Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and have each had their right eyes removed after they were born with a relatively rare congenital eye anomaly called multiple ocular coloboma.

The zoo also sports one of the largest timber wolf populations and is one of only two facilities in the state where California’s official symbol, the grizzly bear, can be seen. Black bears, mountain lions, bald eagles and many more animals call the park home. Zoo winter hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., till 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting. Admission is $12, $9 seniors/ages 3-10, under 3 free. (909) 878-4200.

December 4, 2014

Iron Maidens, Dan Band, 80's New Year at Cave

From a smokin’ hot all-female tribute to Iron Maiden to iconic Dan Band and "Totally 80’s" New Year’s Eve party starring Dale Boggio and Missing Persons, there are plenty of holiday treats in December at Big Bear’s hot intimate entertainment venue.

The Dan Band plays The Cave Big BearThe Cave Big Bear, remodeled with tiered seating, has state-of-the-art sound system, laser lights, fog machines, room to dance and gourmet concessions including beers from Big Bear Lake Brewing Co. and local Stone Summit wines. Think "House of Blues in the mountains" with every seat front and center and top shelf shows every weekend at 7:30 p.m.

Starting on Dec. 6 when IRON MAIDENS returns to The Cave. Iron Maidens, formed in 2001, has become one of the Southland’s top tribute acts and its members have been recipients of many honors at the LA Music Awards, Rock City News Awards, and All-Access Magazine Show to name a few.

The girls boast beauty as well as excellent musicianship, each highly trained with diversified backgrounds ranging from orchestral and musical theater to blues and rock. Kirsten Rosenberg on vocals, Linda McDonald on drums, Courtney Coc and Nita Strauss on guitar and Wanda Ortiz on bass rock while playing Iron Maiden favorites like "Rainmaker," "No More Lies" and "Dance of Death. "The show includes appearances by Maiden mascot Eddie and the Grim Reaper.

Opening is Slaves Against the Machine with a tribute to Rage Against the Machine. The group brings the raw intensity and fury the signature band is known for and is a favorite at Southland venues and festivals. Tickets are just ten bucks for two great shows...but get yours quick because Iron Maidens sold out a year ago.

The Cave rocks to a different beat a week later with THE YOUNG DUBLINERS on Dec.13. Twice in recent years the band has appeared on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! and opened for artists ranging for Jethro Tull and Johnny Lang to Collective Soul and The Flang Lips. Possibly Celtic rock’s hardest working band, The Young Dubliners play hundreds of shows for thousands of fans annually in the United States and Europe.

Yet while the Irish sound is there—two members are from Ireland—the music is hybrid with other influences as well. All of which is featured in a new studio album "Nine" with 10 original songs. All seats are just $15.

THE DAN BAND on Dec. 20 started as a joke for Dan Finnerty, who caught America’s eye as the foulmouthed wedding singer in the hit film Old School with his infamous rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and also in Hangover. He sang "I Am Woman" at a karaoke bar and the act spun out of control and into The Dan Band, a cult hit that garnered rave reviews from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Variety and Rolling Stone.

Entertainment Weekly dubbed it "One of the hottest tickets in Hollywood." Their special on Bravo "The Dan Band: I Am Woman" was directed by Steven Spielberg and the group has numerous television credits including The Late Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel and The Tonight Show, where Finnerty has been featured as a regular correspondent.

The Dan Band plays to sold out audiences around the country and has released two CDs. Tickets are just $35 or the holiday package for $47 includes an autographed limited edition vinyl record of the band’s second release Ho: A Dan Band X-Mas (only 100 available so purchase early).

What do Pete Townshend and Pearl Jam have in common? Both have covered the ENGLISH BEAT hit song "Save it for Later" and audiences can hear the original when the 2 tone ska revival band visits The Cave Dec. 27.

The band’s version of "Tears of a Clown" is legendary and The Beat still pounds with covers of the Staple Singers classic "I’ll Take You There." "I Confess" is as powerful today as when KROQ was giving it massive airplay in 1982. Led by Dave Wakeling on lead vocals and guitar, the band brings energy to the stage and tickets are just $23.

DONAVON FRANKENREITER on Dec. 29 is a San Clemente surfer-turned musician who brings the freedom of the sport to his music with rich vocals and masterful guitar work. "Free" for instance has over two million views on You Tube and "You" from his fifth full-length album Start Livin’ brings the tenderness of a treasured love letter. Tickets $30 or VIP $50.

Coming in January to The Cave is alternative reggae band IRATION on Jan. 2 (tickets $25) followed one night later on Jan. 3 by CASH'D OUT, the only Johnny Cash tribute band endorsed by the late singer’s official website. With over 150 songs in its repetoire—including the June Carter duets popularized in the Oscar winning film "Walk the Line"—Cash’d Out ha played to over 1.2 million fans since forming in 2005. Tickets are just $15 for a memorable night of music!

The Cave; 40789 Village Dr. (877) 825-4388 or

November 11, 2014

CATS Uses New, Old to Mark 20 Years

Past and present come together to help Community Arts Theater Society (CATS) celebrate two decades of Broadway-quality entertainment in Big Bear during 11 shows at the Performing Arts Center November 14-30.

Kim Boda sings in CATS 20th Anniversary CelebrationFrom a special return to the Big Bear stage of longtime favorite Robin Field to spectacular video montage of past shows, lots of surprises await audiences during the CATS 20th Year Celebration and Gala at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 14-15, 19, 21-22 and 28-29, plus 1:30 p.m. Sunday matinees on Nov. 16, 23 and 30. The retrospective variety show features selections from many of the award-winning company’s over 60 major musicals and plays plus another 30 special events during the past 20 years.

Relive special moments from past shows and be treated to some new ones. Like a several-song tribute to Les Miserables and Moonridge Dance Company performance of "One" from A Chorus Line. two shows CATS hasn’t presented. Santa Claus at intermission, complimentary glass of champagne and mini-treats all help add to the celebration.

Some of the more poignant moments come when past highlights are revisited with both video retrospective and live. Nancy Walker for instance sings from Senior Class while video of the show plays. Kim Boda reprises "As Long as He Needs Me" from Oliver! Michael McConnell and Jennifer Gail sing to My Fair Lady.

It’s a musical trip down memory lane as CATS performers like Brett Smith, Elena Peavy, Michael Reno and Suzy Carpenter recreate special moments on stage. CATS also reflects on its past with a video production as it pays homage to shows from the first (Amahl and The Night Visitors) to the most recent (Wizard of Oz) and many in between.

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November 7, 2014

Big Bear Snow Play Opens for Inner Tubing Nov. 8

        The warm weather in the cities has brought cool snowmaking temperatures to the mountains, where Big Bear Snow Play is set to open for family inner tubing fun on Saturday, November 8.

Big Bear Snow Play becomes the first Southern California winter recreation area to open for the season in time for families to make some holiday magic together. Two full-length runs will be open for inner tubing with a base of one to up to three feet of beautiful white snow as the area’s powerful Lenko fan guns have taken advantage of cool, dry conditions. As winter continues Big Bear Snow Play will eventually have over 20 feet of snow piled high on up to eight runs, enough for tubing till Easter.

Big Bear Snow Play, once a ski area known as Rebel Ridge, offers the longest inner tubing runs in Southern California. Continued snowmaking will allow Big Bear Snow Play to build special features like whoop-di-doos and berms in addition to traditional downhill sliding.

Guests never walk uphill to enjoy their exhilarating downhill rides. Big Bear Snow Play has two Magic Carpet uphill lifts running on busy days that families merely step on and off of. No uphill climb to tire parents and kids out means they save all their energy for downhill fun and get in as many runs as they want. One of the Carpets is enclosed in Plexiglass for those snowy, chilly days.

Snow gets groomed nightly to ensure the best possible conditions for guests, who enjoy evenly-spread corduroy for their fast-paced downhill adventure. There’s also a separate kiddie area for the youngest riders. When it’s time for a winter warm-up, head inside the heated base lodge for family-priced snack bar and video games.

Big Bear Snow Play is open daily for inner tubing from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. All-day passes include tube rental and Magic Carpet lift for $30. Guests are free to come and go as they want or bring their own lunch and there’s plenty of paved parking. To read more about Big Bear Snow Play click here.

Big Bear Snow Play is on Big Bear Blvd. next to Motel 6. Call (909) 585-0075.

November 6, 2014

Winter Kickoff at Cave with Warren Miller Movie, Swag

Get psyched for ski and snowboard season with an evening of giveaways and a showing of Warren Miller’s latest film "No turning Back" at Big Bear’s hot state-of-the-art concert venue The Cave Big Bear on Friday, November 14, presented by Stone Entertainment Group.

Doors open at 6 p.m. as guests enjoy food and drink specials including Big Bear’s own Stone Summit wine, beers from Big Bear Lake Brewing Co. and giveaways galore. At 7 p.m. Level’s One’s "Less," a look at modern skiing, will be shown before Miller’s latest offering.

Admission is just $10 and after the movies stick around for the debut of The Cave Club with Vegas-style party featuring DJ. The party is sponsored by The Cave, Getboards, Line skies, Saga Clothing, Orange and others.

The Cave Big Bear is at  40789 Village Dr. (877) 825-4388 or

October 28, 2014

Colt Ford, Abba tribute, Dick Dale Reopen Cave

Some 180 yards of concrete later, new-look The Cave Big Bear  reopens with a month-full of headline entertainment starting with country star Colt Ford on November 1 followed by Marshall Tucker Band, Dick Dale, Abba tribute and more.

Surf Legend Dick Dale at home in the desertBig Bear’s hot intimate entertainment venue is less than a year-and-a-half old but already it has received its first major makeover. The former movie theater now sports three levels of stadium seating with every seat still front and center, still with state-of-the-art sound system, laser lights, fog machines, room to dance and gourmet concessions including local beers from Big Bear Lake Brewing Co. and local Stone Summit wines.

"Now there is a House of Blues-feel with the different levels," said The Cave’s David Stone. "Now there’s a ramp making it very handicap friendly. And the next phase features a new indoor bar plus portable bars near the dance floor."

The Cave features major performers as it reopens, starting with Colt Ford. Six of Ford’s tunes have made the Hot Country Songs charts including "Back" from the Declaration of Independence album he’s now touring which broke into the Top 40. "Dirt Road Anthem" is another hit along with "Answer to No One." In his career Ford has already sold nearly a million albums and three million downloads. Tickets are $30, VIP $50.

Tickets are moving fast for Nov. 8 featuring Marshall Tucker Band. Led by founding member and lead singer Doug Gray the band continues with the timeless essence of its music, songs like "Heard it in a Love Song," "Can’t You See," "If You Want to Get to Heaven" and many others. Tickets are $45, VIP $60.

Singer/Songwriter Adrian Belew takes The Cave stage on Nov. 15. The former front man of progressive rock group King Crimson has released nearly 20 solo albums blending Beatles-inspired pop-rock with more experimental fare. His 2005 single "Beat Box Guitar" was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rock Instrumental Performance category.

Below has worked extensively as a session and touring musician, with David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads and Nine Inch Nails. He’s also helped design the Parker Fly signature guitar which features advanced electronics and Line 6 Variaz guitar modelling system. Tickets for the show are $20, VIP $40.

The music of Abba comes to life on stage via the stunning tribute presented on Nov. 21 by Abbafab. Sensational Anne Davies, Chelsea Faulds, Scotty Pearson, Nick Davies and lineup of stellar musicians along combine with a multimedia production of some of the greatest music produced in the 1970’s and 80’s. Experience hits like "Waterloo," "Fernando," "Honey Honey,’ "Dancing Queen" and many others.

From early hits like "Mama Mia" Abbafab takes audiences on an Abba journey. The show’s vocalists and musicians have toured the world as solo artists and consistently play to standing room only audiences while presenting the most entertaining Abba tribute. $15, VIP $30.

One night later on Nov. 22 Los Angeles’ premier arena rock tribute band Wayward Sons is on tap Get ready for a nostalgia-fueled, power-chord packed rock show with the great music of the 1980’s including hits from Journey, Queen, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Boston, Night Ranger and Bon Jovi. The band regularly headlines Southland rock venues like the House of Blues, Key Club, The Belly Up, Brixton South Bay, Saint Rocke and many others. Don’t drive to Hollywood; visit The Cave instead where free shuttles are waiting to take guests home instead of a three-hour drive. Tickets are just $12 for a great night of rock and roll!

Catch one of surf rock’s true icons when Dick Dale is at The Cave Nov. 28. During his 50-plus year career he has been nominated for a Grammy for the music in "Back to the Beach" and inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame in San Diego. Along with Hollywood Rock of Fame, White House Congressional Hall of Records and First Presidential Historical Society as a Lifetime Member.

Dale’s music is heard from video consoles and the movie "Space Jam" to Colorado Avalanche hockey games where "Scalped" is used as the theme song. Over 100,000 of his peers voted him into Nashville’s Musicians Rock `n Roll Hall of Fame Museum and Dale has been seen in countless movies, commercials and print publications. Tickets are just $25, VIP $40.

Rock band Ambrosia, with five Top 40 hits in the 1970’s and 80’s, is at The Cave Nov. 29. Hits "Biggest Part of Me," "How Much I Feel" and "You’re the Only Woman" catapulted the band to the top of the charts and the band still features three of four original members who recently rocked the Jimmy Fallon show. Tickets are just $25.

The Cave; 40789 Village Dr. (877) 825-4388 or

October 2, 2014

Moonshine Bandits, 1980's Pop Favorites ABC at Cave

Big names—1980’s pop icons ABC and the Moonshine Bandits—highlight the October marquee at The Cave Big Bear.

Then the near-new facility, which opened its doors less than a year-and-a-half ago, closes its doors for 20 days or so to get its first major renovation. By the time country star Colt Ford takes the stage November 1, the state-of-the-art facility will offer three-tier seating instead of its current stadium design, another full bar and even more of a nightclub feel.

First up though are two great shows, starting with MOONSHINE BANDITS on Saturday, Oct. 4. The band’s music reflects its Central California hard-driving roots, ranging from country rap on songs like "For the Outlawz" to the hit song "Get Loose." It’s a unique sound to be sure, a blend of West Coast beat and country twang, West Coast hip/hop and rap.

The band’s live show features originals like "My Kind of Country," "Whiskey River" and "We All Country" plus unique versions of other songs. Like Garth Brooks’ "Friends in Low Places" backed by a hip-hop driven beat. "Calicountry," the debut disc for Moonshine Bandits on Average Joes Entertainment/Suburban Noize Records released earlier this year, features more of the band’s driving, good-time music sound, on songs like "California Country" and the party anthem "Throwdown."

"A lot of our music is hell-raising music," band member Tex said. "Our guitars are very loud and our bass is pretty heavy. It’s very much in-you-face kind of music that you can party down to."

It’s no coincidence that moonshine and whiskey are themes; Tex’s great-grandfather was a bootlegger in the Bay area who used his barbershop as a front. "My great-aunt was actually pedaling it in baby carriages to politicians during prohibition," Tex said. He is continuing the family tradition, albeit legally, by endorsing moonshine distilled in Modesto by Valley Spirits Distillery, 99 proof, un-aged whiskey available in original, apple pie and peach.

Yet Moonshine Bandits are all about the music and their live shows have created legions of loyal fans. The band has over 15 million YouTube views, with a fan favorite video on that hit #1 and on CMT’s High Five countdown that reached #2.

The concert is a prelim to Moonshine Bandits’ "Rebels on the Run" 26-city tour visiting top western venues, kicking off in San Diego in December. Tickets are just $13 for the 7:30 p.m. show or $25 VIP.

1980s pop favorites at The Cave Big Bear October 10, 2014Friday, Oct. 10 sees pop favorites ABC take the Cave stage. Formed in 1980 the band is known for songs like Top 10 U.S. hit "Be Near Me," plus "Tears are Not Enough," "Poison Arrow," "Look of Love" and many more. Lead vocalist and original member Martin Fry helped ABC take new wave and new romantic music to a new level with moving lyrics.

"When Smokey Sings," a tribute to Smokey Robinson, was another huge hit for the band along with "How to Be a Millionaire." ABC is more than just an iconic pop band though; in 2009 ABC performed its 1982 debut album Lexicon of Love live at the Royal Albert Hall, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, to magnificent reviews. ABC traveled the country in 2008 and 2009 during Regeneration Tours joined by acts like Cutting Crew, A Flock of Seagulls and others to rave reviews and continues to perform around the world. ABC has five U.S. Top 40 hit singles, ten in the United Kingdom and Fry remains one of music’s premier showmen.. Tickets $30, VIP $50.

Mostly headliners are on the marquee once The Cave reopens, starting with Ford on Nov. 1. Six of Ford’s tunes have made the Hot Country Songs charts including "Back" from the Declaration of Independence album which broke into the Top 40. "Dirt Road Anthem" is another hit.

Marshall Tucker Band on Nov. 8, legendary performer Edgar Winter on Nov. 22 and surf guitar master Dick Dale on Nov 28 are other upcoming headliners at The Cave. Every seat is front and center at The Cave, which has the feel of an intimate nightclub with full cocktail service, including local wine from Stone Summit Winery and beers from Big Bear Lake Brewing Co., yet offers concert-quality state-of-the-art sound, lighting and special effects like laser lights and fog machines.

The Cave; 40789 Village Dr. (877) 825-4388 or