Ring in the new year wth a BANG!

The new year always starts with lots of pop, bang and fizz, whether it's fireworks at the Seattle Center or champagne at the numerous parties around town. The Center's entertainment is free, if you just want to shiver outside in the cold, but other parties can run anywhere from $40 to $100 per person. If your wallet is a little light after Christmas, here's a number of good buys ranging from $5 to $35 (not including drinks).

The biggest party close to home is the Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC) and Wake up Productions' "Party Over Here" featuring Seattle indie-electro rockers The Fitness, abstract hip-hoppers The Saturday Knights and Deep House duo Jacob London.

With eight artists, full bars and advance tickets priced at $15, CHAC is calling this "the biggest bang for your last buck of 2004."

Both levels of CHAC will be filled with music, art installations, and more. Doors open at 9 p.m. at 1621 12th Avenue. You can get advance tickets at Sonic Boom Records or online at brownpapertickets.com.

For a buck more, you can check out The Melvins and friends at Neumo's Crystal Ball Reading Room. The New Year's Eve show begins at 9 p.m. but the doors open at 8. The club is located at 925 E. Pike St. The $16 tickets are available at ticketswest.com, Rudy's Barbershops and at the door.

Other edgy entertainment can be found close to the Hill at the Surrealist Ball at the Center of Contemporary Art, the Heaven and Hell Ball at Consolidated Works or the Hedwig party at the Crocodile Café in Belltown.

At the Surrealist Ball, COCA promises a "Glass Fashion Show" as well as aerial acts. Quasi Nada and March Fourth Marching Band will keep the music loud for the evening. So put on your glass dancing slippers, Cinderella, and skip down to South Lake Union if this is your type of scene. Tickets are $25 in advance from Sonic Boom Records or $35 at the door. The party starts at 8 p.m. on Friday at 860 Terry Ave. N.

At the Heaven and Hell Ball, United State of Electronica plays the heaven stage and Harvey Danger plays the hell stage. AC Newman, the Capillaries and others are also scheduled to appear. Dress naughty or dress nice, and you can dance the night away starting at 8 p.m. at 800 Boren Ave. N. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Call 325-6500 for the advance ticket information.

"A Very, Very Special Hedwig and the Angry Inch New Year's Special" will feature Capitol Hill's own Nick Garrison (well, he's ours when he's not in Chicago or New York or LA). Other Hedwig and cast members from last summer's Re-bar production plan to join the party on stage. Those pyromaniacs in Cirque de Flambe will perform tricks involving open flame (try not to spit your champagne in their direction).

Tickets are $17 for the Hedwig party, but expect the show's many fan to push the crowd limits early in the evening. The Crocodile is located downtown at 2200 Second Ave.

Meanwhile, at the Re-bar, the ever fabulous Dina Martina concludes her holiday show with more sequin tackiness on New Year's Eve. If you want to get drunk with a drag queen - and who doesn't? - there isn't a better show in town. The tickets cost $18 at the door. The Re-bar is located at 1114 Howell Street.

Test your party outfits before the big night or be a really cheap date by going out before New Year's Eve. Bad Actor Productions gives you a chance to dance and support art on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at the Cuff Complex, located on the top of Capitol Hill at 1533 13th Avenue (the corner of 13th Avenue and East Pine Street).

Proceeds from the party benefit Bad Actor Productions' "The Exorcist: The Musical!" scheduled to open in February at Northwest Actors Studio. Tickets are $5 at the door starting at 8 p.m. Bad Actors promises many "celebrities" performing throughout the evening.

Because alcohol is involved in all the venues listed above, be sure to tuck some ID in your party purse to prove you're over 21. Don't forget to take a cab if you're planning to be drinking and look both ways when running across the street in your all-black party duds.

Be safe, party late and enjoy the arts alive in 2005.

Rosemary Jones writes about arts and entertainment for the Capitol Hill Times. She has yet to disclose her New Year's Eve plans.

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