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Holiday toast: Variety show features Tom Waits’ music, Christmas songs

After three years, it’s a tradition, right?

Barney Lopez thinks so.

The local musician is planning “Tom Waits for Christmas 3.”

The event will feature New Mexico artists and musicians participating in a variety show.

And Lopez plays Tom, who is a huge fan of Christmas.

He can’t wait to enjoy all of the spoils the holiday brings.

This year’s event also has a new home at Moonlight Lounge in Downtown Albuquerque.

“The event has never been in the same place,” he says. “That’s sort of become a tradition as well.”

Lopez says having the event at Moonlight Lounge brings an intimacy to the show.

“We’re starting to book more stuff at Moonlight,” he says. “Since Burt’s (Tiki Lounge) moved to the bigger space, there’s not really a small music venue. I’m hoping that this will fill the need.”

Lopez says this year’s event is more focused on soloists, duos and trios.

“It’s harder to organize this year,” he says. “I wanted to get more people involved, and I wanted to open up more slots. Having bands in previous years took a lot of time setting up and breaking down. With a smaller amount of performers, I can cram more acts in.”

Of course, Lopez is welcoming more music by Tom Waits.

“Performers have the option of playing Christmas songs, Tom Waits songs or Christmas songs in the style of Tom Waits,” he says. “I do a little bit of both. I’ll be a guest with a few performers. I’ve also written a Christmas song. It’s called ‘The Saddest Christmas Song Ever (Let’s Build a Snowman).’ It’s inspired by a story from my past.”

Lopez is proud that the event showcases local talent.

It takes him around a month to curate the show. Lopez is also a member of Blackout Theatre and the indie rock band Red Light Cameras.

“There are so many talented people in the local scene,” he says. “This is a way to showcase something different. The show is very special and part of the holiday season now.”

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