However you celebrate the holidays (or even if you don't celebrate at all), we've got an event for you in this week's 21 best events.
Tuesday, December 20
Denver history is a trove of spooky stories and paranormal phenomena that defy simple explanations. Join Haunted Denver Dinner hosts Bryan and Baxter at the reportedly haunted Yak & Yeti restaurant, 9755 East Hampden Avenue, for a frightfully fun evening featuring a delicious Nepalese/Indian buffet and ghostly tales of firsthand encounters with the other side. The dinner runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, December 20 (and again on December 27); call 720-548-8177. ’Tis the season to eat, drink and be scary.
The new edition of the space odyssey is out, and the Force is in the air. Alert all commands and gather your team of nerds to go head to head against a panel of experts at the Ratio Quiz Show: Star Wars at Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street. If the audience can use the Force and beat the experts, y'all get really cool prizes. Ratio's projector will be showing all your favorite Star Wars scenes while you sip brews and vie to be the brightest lightsaber in the galaxy. The quiz starts at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 20. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.
Wednesday, December 21
Josh Blue is a singular talent with an undeniable facility for hilarious riffs that he seems to casually toss off; he also has an uncanny ability to be instantly likable from the moment he grabs the mike. Blue has been a pillar of the Denver comedy scene for years; he broke out nationally when he won NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2006. Throughout his illustrious career, Blue has managed to mine his cerebral palsy for comedic gold; he doesn’t shy away from challenging subjects, either. After crushing both his Comedy Central Presents episode as well as his first one-hour special, Sticky Change, many thought he’d move on, but Blue has remained loyally local despite his success. His latest special, Delete, was crowdfunded by eager fans. Come see Blue kick off a whole weekend of shows at his home club at 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 21, at the Comedy Works downtown, 1226 15th Street. Tickets are $25 at comedyworks.com or 303-595-3637.
Thursday, December 22
Cartoons & Comedy is fun for performers and audience members alike, a rare glimpse into childhood from the safely ironic distance of years past. Keeping a comedy show going, particularly one that requires such elaborate pre-planning, is an impressive feat; in its two short years, Cartoons & Comedy has changed time slots, venues and formats but still managed to retain its childlike bonhomie while presenting the nimble riffs of Denver’s funniest locals and drop-in comedy-nerd heroes. At the helm of this monthly endeavor is Chris Baker, who hustles his cherubic ass off — cutting together a video package of old cartoons, wrestling videos and ’80s toy commercials, and booking a lineup of quick-witted comics every month. And, yes, there’s cereal! This month’s fun starts at 10 p.m. on Thursday, December 22, at Deer Pile, 206 East 13th Avenue, but get there early, as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is free, but donations are suggested.
Here’s a great last-second opportunity to be nice for Santa: A Good Party: Ugly Sweater Edition. Fans of Be a Good Person, a local clothing brand with a positive message, will be doing much more than drinking while wearing ugly holiday sweaters at this bash, which runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursday, December 22, at City Hall, 1144 Broadway. The company will be collecting socks for the homeless, and also giving away prizes that include limited-edition BAGP ugly sweaters. The party is free, but reservations are requested at agoodparty.com. Nice!
Still hunting for gifts? Hurry to Zip 37, 3644 Navajo Street, for the last days of Holiday Art Market: Give HeART! The members of the Zip 37 co-op make the business of supporting local artists easy every year with a market full of sweet surprises at affordable prices. Find pieces to add to the collection of someone dear to you — or your own — as you browse through drawings, paintings, ceramics and mixed-media finds. Zip is open from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, December 22, and 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 23, when the show/market closes. Find out more at 303-477-4525.
The story of A Christmas Carol is familiar: We know all about the miser whose shriveled heart was forced open and warmed by ghostly Christmas visitations. First comes Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s deceased business partner, clanking the heavy chain forged by his own greed on earth. Then the Ghost of Christmas Past, with a message of bitter nostalgia for Scrooge’s innocent childhood, followed by the Ghost of Christmas Present, who takes him to see two celebrations. Finally, there’s the terrifying ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, who reveals the desolate emptiness of Scrooge’s future. Most versions go easy on the darker aspects — the suffering of the poor, Scrooge’s own childhood sorrows and the existential terror of supernatural intervention — but this year’s Denver Center production skates over none of this while still managing to maintain the joyous affirmation of the ending. The run continues with performances Thursday, December 22, through Saturday, December 24, at the Stage Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; snag tickets at denvercenter.org.
Does the thought of spending time with your family over the holidays make you want to scream? Save your breath and drown your ears in some dubstep and heavy bass instead at Deck the Hall, a concert with artists Myro, Twine, Benzmixer B2B, Definitive, Gangus, Swayd and Ryuk at Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake Street, on Thursday, December 22. After a night of loud music, you’ll at least have an excuse for not being able to hear Grandma ask about your love life for the hundredth time. The show is sixteen and up, and tickets start at $15; get them at thesummitmusichall.com.
Friday, December 23
Clark Richert has long been acknowledged as a master of Colorado’s contemporary art scene. Back in 1965, he was a founder of Drop City, a short-lived artist collective near Trinidad; already interested in creating work based on mathematically derived patterns, he designed dome buildings to house residents of the communes. Richert’s ongoing interest in patterns is evident in Close Packed Structures: Works by Clark Richert, which closes Friday, December 23, at Gildar Gallery, 82 South Broadway. The show features mostly newer pieces along with a couple of earlier ones, all of them furthering the artist’s long-established aesthetic goals. If you care about art in Colorado, you can’t miss this. For information, call 303-993-4474 or go to gildargallery.com.
Las Posadas is a nine-day Mexican celebration of the birth of Jesus, with households acting as “inns” each night to welcome actors dressed as Mary and Joseph with songs, food and drink. The custom comes to Latigo, 2229 Blake Street, at 7 p.m. Friday, December 23, with live music, drink specials and traditional Mexican dishes prepared by chef Ignacio Leon and his team. Other elements of Las Posadas — from candy-filled piñatas to ponche (a tropical Christmas punch served warm) — will also be part of the festivities. Toast the coming of Christmas with $3 Mexican beers and $5 tequila shots. Call Latigo at 303-537-7682 for menu details and to make reservations.
Black Shirt Brewing will be Celebrating the Saison on Saturday, December 23, when the brewery at 2719 Walnut Street will line up all of its saisons side by side for your enjoyment — “sip by sip, tulip by tulip,” promises the brewery. Flights and pours will be available throughout the day, but you can guarantee access to all of them with a $35 VIP ticket, available for a 2 p.m. or 6 p.m. session; that gets you a six-ounce pour of each foeder saison paired with gourmet cheeses; a discussion with brewers about saisons, foeders and the history and future of Black Shirt; a tour of the brewhouse and cellar; and a 500 ml bottle of each foeder beer to take home. Call 303-993-2799 to get yours.
Even hardened criminals need a little holiday cheer every now a nd then. Fortunately, they have an ideal soundtrack in Kerry Pastine & the Crime Scene’s seasonable album, A Crime Scene Christmas. Featuring eight original Christmas songs performed in the group’s signature roots-rock style, A Crime Scene Christmas keeps its focus on the festivities. Rock away your Christmas Eve (that’s Saturday, December 24) with Kerry Pastine & the Crime Scene at the Soiled Dove Underground at 7401 East First Avenue in the Lowry Town Center. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8; get tickets, $14-$15, and learn more at tavernhg.com/soileddove.
Twisted Sister is the brainchild of Shelly Jenkins, a yoga instructor who offers hatha vinyasa yoga classes with a real twist. Jenkins refers to cannabis as “one of nature’s sacred teachers,” and before class, attendees often smoke outdoors; during instruction, they are able to vape indoors. As with most of the cannabis-consuming classes around town, Twisted Sister’s Friday Night Ganja Yoga Class is BYOG — bring your own ganja — for the “community bowl.” In addition to cannabis, the Friday, December 23, session will also feature free swag along with snacks and drinks. The class starts at 6 p.m. at 4821 East 38th Avenue, Unit B, and you must register in advance; find out more at twistedsister.yoga.
Saturday, December 24
Need to keep your out-of-town relatives occupied while you do some last-second shopping on Christmas Eve? The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 24. The current exhibit, Kim Dickey: Words Are Leaves, is a real gift that should keep family members occupied long enough for you to browse through the museum’s excellent gift shop, full of items for art lovers and hipsters alike. Or you can skip the shopping altogether and just have a cocktail in the rooftop cafe. Admission to the museum is $8 (and free for anyone under nineteen); before you go, study the useful MCA guide for “local, smart, real gifts” at mcadenver.org.
Celebrations are always filled with food for Italian Americans — and the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a prime example. What started out as a traditional Christmas Eve night of fasting called La Vigilia in Italy evolved into a full-on seafood banquet on American shores. Matt and Carrie Stein invite you to their own Feast of the Seven Fishes at the Chowder Room, their cozy eatery at 560 South Broadway, on Friday, December 24, for seven courses for $49, with wine pairings available for an additional charge. “For us at Chowder Room, it’s another opportunity to create a dining experience that takes advantage of the great variety of delicious creatures that come from the sea,” Carrie explains. “Many of our guests are every bit as passionate about seafood as we are, so we’re looking forward to a really fun night!” A credit-card reservation is required for the dinner, with seatings available from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., so call the restaurant at 303-777-3474 to save your spot.
All aboard for a last Santa Meet & Greet at Denver Union Station. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be in the stunning Great Hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 24, before they head back to the North Pole for their big night. After you tell them what you hope to find under the tree the next morning, you can ooh and aah over the holiday decor, then grab the kids a few scoops from Milkbox Ice Creamery or steaming hot chocolate from Pigtrain Coffee. There are plenty of adult goodies, too, at the Terminal Bar. For more information, visit the Denver Union Station website.
Heebonism — Denver’s longstanding holiday shindig for young Jewish professionals — said its farewells at what was billed as its last hora through town on Christmas Eve 2015. Yet lo and behold, the end-of-the-year gathering of the tribe is back, big time, as Heebonism Resurrection, bringing every sort of fun you could possibly imagine to Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, starting at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 24. That also happens to be the first night of Chanukah, and to help fuel the carousing, there will be Mazel Tov cocktails and a Social Lubrication Hour of Power with free drinks from QC Malt, along with DJs, desserts by the Inventing Room, and immersive gaming by Oh Heck Yeah. Tickets are $18 in advance at bit.ly/HEEB16 or $25 at the door; show up ready to party with three non-perishable food items for Jewish Family Service in hand, and the entry fee will be knocked down to $20. Such a deal. For more information, visit the Heebonism 2016 Facebook event page.
Sunday, December 25
Merry Christmas! Alpine Dog Brewery, at 1505 Ogden Street, will be hosting its third annual Holiday Party from from noon to 8 p.m.on Sunday, December 25. The brewery will release its bourbon barrel-aged Russian imperial stout, The Dyatlov Pass Incident, which was aged for the last year in Breckenridge Distillery barrels, in honor of the day, and there will be food from the Casablanca Mediterranean Food Truck — and service-industry discounts. Ready to get out of the house? Join the pack at Alpine Dog.
Monday, December 26
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You’ve sung your last carol and packed up all the decorations until next year. What’s left to do? Grab a spot at An Improvised Christmas Carol, which opened at the beginning of December and ends its run at the Bakery, 2132 Market Street, on Monday, December 26. “It’s Dickens’s classic tale turned on its ear, and audiences seem to love it,” says executive producer David Jensen. “The holidays can be very challenging for many people, and we have the mission of providing some laughter and levity during the holiday season.” Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $18.50; see if any are left at animprovisedchristmascarol.com.
After a year full of divisiveness and unrest, couldn’t we all use a little unity? That’s the theme of Mela-Nation E.’s first-ever Kwanzaa Music Fest on Monday, December 26, aka the first day of Kwanzaa. Mela-Nation, which launched in November, is a foundation that’s set on unifying and empowering African Americans in Denver while celebrating cultural heritage. Catch great local DJs and underground artists at 3704 Downing Street; doors open at 8:30 p.m. for the sixteen-and-up show. Tickets are $8 (cash only) at the door. Find out more at Mela-Nation E.’s Facebook page.
Discover the fun of learning with the Boy Scouts of America and the NOVA Awards program at Colorado Adventure Point, 10455 West Sixth Avenue. Designed to boost youthful interest in the STEM-based fields of math, engineering, science and technology, these two-day classes combine knowledge and adventure under the guidance of experienced counselors. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers and curious minds are welcome, though only Cub Scouts will be eligible for an award. Learn how to apply STEM skills to daily life and be prepared for the future. Classes run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Monday, December 26, and tuition is $100; register at coloradoadventurepoint.org.