This week marks the start of that glorious lull between Thanksgiving and Christmas when lights and trees go up and holiday parties go down. Usher in the holiday season at one of this week's best events, including a marijuana-infused Thanksgiving-like dinner, a festive tiny-house celebration, the launch of a Denver-centric podcast and more. Happy holidays!
Tuesday, November 28
Celebrate Denver's burgeoning production community at Open Screen Night, a showcase open to local DIY filmmakers. Not unlike an open mic for short films, the monthly screenings have been uniting Denver's film community, cultivating a highly supportive atmosphere where filmmakers can see how a crowd and a judge's panel evaluate their work. November's installment, "Beyond the Sunderdome," is loosely organized around a dystopian theme, though restrictions for aspiring filmmakers are pretty minimal. Arrive at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, by 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 28, to mix, mingle and enjoy a couple of free slices from Sexy Pizza. A partnership of Denver Open Media and Sexpot Comedy, Open Screen Night is a gift to the city's creative community. Admission is $5 at the door, and there is no additional fee for filmmakers, who can submit their work right up until showtime. Visit openscreennight.com to submit films and find more details.
The Women's Bakery helps women in Rwanda and Tanzania make something most Americans take for granted: bread. While we think of it as a staple — who can't get bread? — the challenges of reliable transportation and availability in East Africa mean that it's not as easy to enjoy a freshly baked loaf as you might think. The organization supports women in sourcing ingredients, baking and running bakeries in their own communities; see what it's accomplishing (and enjoy the bakery's bread, appetizers and wine) at Slice of Hope on Tuesday, November 28, at The Posner Center for International Development, 1031 33rd Street. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m.; tickets, $30, are available at the door. Find out more at posnercenter.org.
Wednesday, November 29
Born at the outset of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Chinese artist Xiaoze Xie’s childhood was marked by the banning of books and a general shutdown of free information for the masses. As an adult now living and working in the United States, Xie references his personal loss as a child in still-life paintings of books and other forms of media. To preface Eyes on Xiaoze Xie, opening December 3 at the Denver Art Museum, the artist will discuss his work as part of the Logan Lecture series at 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 29, in Sharp Auditorium at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Admission ranges from $10 to $20 (or free for students with ID and members of DAM Contemporaries and the Asian Art Association); reserve tickets and get more info at denverartmuseum.org.
Thursday, November 30
Bree Davies, devout Denver native, longtime Westword scribe, member of the DIY community and self-admitted loudmouth, loves her town fiercely and wants to share that passion while debating Denver issues with her new live podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? She’ll be bringing along a few friends and fellow activists — including performance poet Molina Speaks, urban-management strategist Yvette Freeman, community advocate Justine Sandoval and artist Lauri Lynnxe Murphy — for the debut forum, “What does it mean to be a Denverite?” on Thursday, November 30, from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway. Grab a cuppa joe and prepare to share your ideas about what’s right or wrong in this town. Admission is free; learn more at mutinyinfocafe.com or visit facebook.com/BreeCocoDavies.
The Horseshoe Market is busting out of its cozy cottage with the launch of the Horseshoe Holiday Retail Pop-Up, a new holiday-season retail venture at Belmar shopping center in Lakewood. The dedicated retail store will use 6,000 square feet of currently vacant space to showcase wares from more than fifty regional artisans and makers, starting Thursday, November 30, and running through December 24 (hours are Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). It’s a big leap for the Horseshoe, and an all-in-one holiday adventure for you: The store, at 7244 West Bonfils Lane in Belmar, is adjacent to the Belmar ice-skating rink, where you can go for a glide before cozying up at the Horseshoe’s warming station and hot-cocoa lounge or visiting Santa; a slate of daily make-and-take craft workshops will be offered throughout the season, and Horseshoe is even hosting a full-fledged holiday market with seventy vendors on December 16 and 17. Holiday shopping, hermetically sealed. For more information and to register for craft workshops, visit horseshoemarket.com.
According to the organizers of Danksgiving, 4/20 + 7/10 = 11/30, so it's worth it to wait a week after the real holiday, let the food digest, and indulge in another one. It's all going down at Black Tape Denver on Thursday, November 30, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. This feast will include both pot-infused and "normal" dishes, with infused dishes designated with green dishware or labels. If you bring a dish, make sure if can feed twenty to fifty people, as it will be a potluck format. Entrance (21+) is just $5 if you bring a dish; without a dish, it's $20. Learn more on the event's Facebook page.
RedLine is spreading the holiday cheer to the rest of the RiNo community with the RedLine Holiday Art Market and Brew Fest, a collaboration with Drink RiNo that combines affordable work by RedLine artists and alumni while showcasing local craft-beverage brewers, distillers and vintners. Grab a sampler glass, enjoy heavy appetizers and tastes from fourteen RiNo beverage producers, and cross some names off your gift list with a Santa’s sack of arty, offbeat handmade presents. Join RedLine artists and Drink RiNo on Thursday, November 30, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street; for tickets, $10 to $40, visit eventbrite.com. For more information, go to the Facebook event page or redlineart.org.
Friday, December 1
Count on Edge Theater Company to put some spice into the usual seasonal fare. This year, Edge started the ball rolling by commissioning a new holiday play from local playwright/actor/director Josh Hartwell, who came up with Resolutions, a story about three middle-aged couples who traditionally gather in the woods to await the impending new year — but the all-star cast and director Missy Moore deliver something that’s anything but cheery. Get your fill of social fireworks and Edge-y drama with the world premiere of Resolutions. The first show is at 8 p.m. Friday, December 1, and performances continue on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through New Year's Eve at Edge, 1560 Teller Street in Lakewood. Tickets are $30 at theedgetheater.com or call 303-232-0363.
Through the heart of every sports-car historian/enthusiast runs a British Racing Green MG MGA roadster (or perhaps one of its sequential offspring), a car that caught the imagination of post-war Americans looking for new adventures on freshly built freeways across the nation. The Forney Museum of Transportation’s new exhibit, MG: The Sports Car That America Loved First, fleshes out that story with a bevy of gorgeous throwback motorcars, including MG’s more stately touring cars dating back to the 1920s. The show opens Friday, December 1, and runs through February 28 (with a break from December 14 through 19 for building renovations) at the Forney, 4303 Brighton Boulevard. Museum admission ranges from $5 to $11 (children under three admitted free); learn more at forneymuseum.org.
DIME Denver, a tuneful offshoot of the Detroit Institute of Music Education, is moving to 800 Kalamath Street. In celebration of the relocation to the Santa Fe Arts District, DIME students will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, December 1, during First Friday festivities. "We would like to invite you all to watch some live music, eat some free food and snoop around our state-of-the-art facilities," says DIME. Admission is free and all ages are welcome; for more information on both the event and the school, go to dime-denver.com.
Take care of everyone on your holiday list and help out others, too, at Ink Lounge's Stuff Your Stocking: A First Friday of Small Gifts & Big Giving, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 1. At this First Friday micro market, you'll be able to buy everything from jam to jewelry to chocolate to ceramics, all made by local artists and artisans. While you shop, you can sip beer from Ratio Beerworks and a specialty cocktail made from Bear Creek Distillery whiskey. All drink tips go to support Urban Peak, and if you bring items from Urban Peak's list of needs, you'll be able to use the Ink Lounge press to print your own wrapping paper. The event is free and family-friendly; head to 29 South Fox Street. Find out more at inklounge.com/events.
Saturday, December 2
During his tenure as vice president, career Democrat Joe Biden charmed his constituents with his sense of humor and his innate ability to lean into the crowd with compassion and a rare egalitarian sensibility. He’s a nice guy, something suddenly unheard of on the current political stage. If you liked what you saw and want another look, Biden’s bringing his American Promise Tour to Denver, for a conversation that covers political high notes, brushes with adversity, and the painful loss of his son, Beau, to brain cancer. Biden shares his stories at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 2, at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place. Purchase tickets, $89.50 (the price includes a copy of Biden’s new book, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose, a $27 value) at altitudetickets.com; learn more at joebidenbook.com.
Composer Phil Kline has been staging his work Unsilent Night in the streets of cities around the world every holiday season for 25 years; at 5 p.m. Saturday, December 2, he'll take it to the streets of Breckenridge, thanks to Rob Woulfe of BreckCreate, who's been bringing lots of community-gathering events to the mountain town. Kline invites you to download one of four musical tracks from the Unsilent Night app to any portable music device, then meet up at Blue River Plaza on South Main Street before the musical stroll starts, creating a singular sound as different tracks line up from various devices. Be a part of the magic; for more information, visit breckcreate.org.
Two pivotal events of a year ago — the 2016 election and the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland — inspired Boulder-based poet Joan Harvey and electronic musician Michael Zekonis to collaborate on Ghost Ship of State: A Modern Opera in One Act, a new opera catching the spirit of a broken DIY community and ailing progressive nation. As a way of mourning over the reverberations of both, the duo will bring the untried work to the stage with help from vocalists Adam Ewing, Angie Strange and Suzanne Whitney and poetic narration by Sean Owens; artist Natascha Seideneck contributes otherworldly photo-based imagery for the backdrop. Ghost Ship of State performers will be offered at 7 and 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, and 2 p.m. Sunday, December 3, at arts-booster Terry Seidel’s Seidel City guerrilla art space, 3205 Longhorn Road in Boulder. Admission is a $10 donation at the door; learn more at the event's Facebook page.
There are few things as satisfying as eating with your hands (just think of the scorn that's heaped on those poor weirdos who eat pizza with a knife and fork). The Tagalog language even has a word for it: kamayan. And on Saturday, December 2, you can eat Filipino-style at the Kamayan Holiday Dinner Feast. Cakeheads, 7530 South University Boulevard, is hosting chef Leah Everleigh for a pop-up dinner at 7:30 p.m.; Filipino dishes (which, sadly, are still hard to find in Denver) will be laid out on banana leaves, and there will be no utensils other than the ones at the end of your arms. Tickets are $75 (excluding beer and wine, which will be available for purchase) at eventbrite.com.
After watching the same comedians perform night after night, local open-mic hosts Caitie Hannan and Westword's own Byron Graham can readily reel off comics' favorite jokes, as well as their unconscious verbal tics and gestures. With their monthly showcase Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, Graham and Hannan mine the obsessions and mannerisms of local standups for a rib-tickling and liver-pickling hybrid of comedy show and drinking game. The format is fairly simple: Hannan and Graham write notes about each comic on a large easel pad and prompt the audience to drink each time the comic on stage says or does something on the list. A First Saturday staple of El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom, the next round of Designated Drunkard welcomes a holly-jolly lineup that includes Geoff Tice, Timmi Lasley, Harry Baber, Allison Rose and David Rodriguez. Seating begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 2, 2104 Larimer Street; visit Designated Drunkard's Nightout page for tickets, $5, and more details.
Photographer Lewis Neeff matches the diary excerpts of local artists with their photographic portraits for the Diary Library, an intimate archive that invites people to tell their own stories while Neef puts their faces on the covers. To give the project a kick-start, the library is hosting Photographic Memories, a free workshop with Mariam Osman on the art of journaling with photos. To participate, bring your own photographs and art materials to the Temple, 2400 Curtis Street, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 2; if you’re not sure what you’ll need, some additional art materials will be available at the workshop. Admission is free; find more information at the Diary Library’s Facebook page.
Sunday, December 3
Celebrate Christmas With Cody at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave on Lookout Mountain on Sunday, December 3; it's the culmination of this year's centennial of the death of William F. Cody. From 9 a.m to 5 p.m., you can see two temporary exhibits: A Better Place Could Hardly Have Been Chosen, which focuses on Cody's burial on Lookout Mountain in 1917, and A Visit to Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which shows what visitors to the West might have experienced a hundred years ago. From noon to 3 p.m., kids can visit Santa Cody, create their own take-home craft and pick up a special holiday gift. Admission is free all day; tor more information, call 303-526-0744 or go to buffalobill.org.
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Take a road trip east on I-70 for Christmas on the Plains, hosted by the Hugo Improvement Partnership of Lincoln County, the county that bills itself as "America's Home on the Range." From 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, this drive-by tour will take you to nine stops that include a trifecta of historic sites, all dressed up for the holidays: the World's Wonder View Tower in Genoa, the Limon Heritage Museum and Railroad Park, and the Lincoln County Hedlund House Museum. Tickets are $8 and available at Lincoln County businesses, or go to limonchamber.us.
Thanks to the efforts of Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and Walt Disney, audiences around the world know the ancient yet timeless story of Cendrillon — better known to English-speaking audiences as Cinderella. The fairy tale that has inspired thousands of variants and adaptations also served as the foundation for a lovely yet obscure opera by French Romantic composer Jules Massenet. Join the Boulder Opera Company for a trio of concerts showcasing this nearly forgotten Belle Epoque masterpiece, sung in the original French with English scene descriptors for the non-Francophone crowd. Catch Cinderella/Cendrillon at 3 p.m. Sunday, December 3, at Stewart Auditorium, 400 Quail Road in Longmont; the show repeats on Friday, December 8, and Saturday, December 9, at Boulder's Nomad Playhouse. Tickets are $18 ($15 for students and seniors); call 303-731-2036 or visit boulderoperacompany.com to buy yours.
Monday, December 4
Looking for a different kind of holiday-lights experience this year? Maybe something contemporary and cool and sustainable? The Shops at Northfield in Stapleton is hosting the Tiny House Holiday Village, a beautifully lit enclave of living quarters in miniature, courtesy of the Colorado Tiny House Festival. The decorated homes, all of them created by Colorado builders and no larger than 400 square feet, will be on view from Monday, December 4, through Sunday, December 10, and open for public tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 9 and 10; after that, the tiny homes will take off. Until then, you can see the lit-up installation any evening for free at 8340 Northfield Boulevard; the weekend tour costs $5 (free for children). Learn more at the event's Facebook page or visit coloradotinyhousefestival.com for tour tickets in advance.