Whether you're into comedy, food and beer tastings, cannabis, history or just checking out new venues in town, this week's 21 best events have you covered. Still don't find anything you like? Peruse our Calendar (and expand your damn horizons!).
Tuesday, December 6
Celebrate Colorado’s nonprofits by joining the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) on Tuesday, December 6, for Colorado Gives Day. The local organization will set up shop from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, 772 Santa Fe Drive, for an evening of food, friends and fun. Enjoy tamales and champurrado (a spiced chocolate beverage) while browsing Cielo Maya’s fair-trade handmade textiles and jewelry, with 20 percent of purchases going to COLOR. Entry is a $10 to $20 sliding-scale donation, or free if you bring gently used clothing, accessories or newer electronics. For more information and to RSVP, visit the Colorado Gives Fiesta & Mercado Facebook page.
Wednesday, December 7
Roman Polanski’s 1974 classic Chinatown is not only a brilliant neo-noir mystery, but also a thinly disguised history lesson, giving movie-goers a conspiracy-theory version of how manipulating a water supply for growing Los Angeles in the 1930s made a few people filthy rich. That makes it the perfect centerpiece for a special event put on by opponents of Denver’s plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a stormwater-diversion project that will hike fees, remove hundreds of trees from City Park Golf Course — and be advantageous for the Interstate 70 expansion and other big development projects. A benefit screening of the film gets under way at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, with small bites and cocktails (cash bar), followed by Jack Nicholson’s sleuthing and then a panel discussion led by stormwater-project skeptics, including attorney Aaron Goldhamer and RiNo developer Mickey Zeppelin. Proceeds from the $25 admission will help fund a lawsuit challenging the effort to “reconfigure” the golf course for storm-runoff detention. Tickets can be reserved at denverfilm.org; for more information, call 303-595-3456.
The marijuana industry is glitzing it up for the fourth annual Cannabis Business Awards, a red-carpet-formal event hosted by Clover Leaf Consulting that highlights new technology and honors industry vets. Categories include Activist of the Year and Advocate of the Year; products are also up for accolades, including Best Flower, Best Extract and Best Edible. There will be a silent auction, live entertainment, hors d’oeuvre and champagne, and guests are asked to either participate in the auction or make a donation. The ceremony goes from 6 to 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, at the Four Seasons Hotel, 1111 14th Street; tickets are $75 in advance and $100 at the door. For more information, visit cannabisbusinessinfo.com.
Pervert. Auteur. Provocateur. Filthy. Hilarious. John Waters has been called many things in his nearly fifty-year career — but should “Christmas fan” be one of them? Oddly enough, yes. The man who introduced his best friend, the late drag queen Divine, to the world by making her eat dog poop on camera has sweet and hilarious stories about what the holidays mean to him. He’s gifting us all with his one-man show, A John Waters Christmas , during which he’ll discuss his childhood presents, his wildest Hollywood parties, and why he still gets together with his wacky friends on December 25 every year. Get into the twisted holiday spirit with Waters, who lands his sleigh at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7. Tickets for the sixteen-and-up show start at $35. Snatch yours at bouldertheater.com.
Thursday, December 8
The big news in the theater world is that Jamie Horton, who spent 23 years as an actor with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company — and has been sorely missed since his departure in 2006 — is back in town playing George Bailey in the Lone Tree Arts Center’s It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play , which opens Thursday, December 8. The cast is filled with dazzlers, including fellow Denver Center alums Stephanie Cozart, Mark Rubald and Randy Moore. It’s a perfect time to revisit this much-loved classic, about the simple power of kindness in the face of unfettered corporate greed — here cleverly presented as a staged radio play — and this production is well worth the drive to 10075 Commons Street in Lone Tree. Performances run through December 18, and tickets range from $35 to $65; call 720-509-1000 or check lonetreeartscenter.org for more.
The University of Colorado Boulder’s eightieth annual Artist Series continues with an appearance by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. The merry-making octet will sing and strum its way through a diverse catalogue of beloved tunes, ranging in style from rock, R&B and jazz to country and holiday standards, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, in Macky Auditorium on the CU campus. Virtuosos one and all, the members of the Ukulele Orchestra pride themselves on demonstrating the surprising versatility of the simple instrument. According to founder George Hinchliffe, the uke is a rebuke to the seriousness of the music world and is an inclusive instrument that’s as silly as it is fun to play. In fact, audience members are encouraged to bring along their own ukuleles and join in the merriment. Tickets start at $40; to purchase yours, visit cupresents.org/events.
The Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company is generally known for searing, thoughtful contemporary plays, but the company’s approach to the holiday season is purely comic: Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!) begins Thursday, December 8, and runs through December 24 at Boulder’s Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street. It’s a three-man show in which spry comic actors Justin Walvoord, Jon Fortmiller and Daniel Langhoff spoof traditional Christmas fare — everything from A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. Tickets go from $20 to $35; a $42 ticket for the official opening night — Saturday, December 10 — includes a post-show party, where the celebration will continue. For more information, call 303-444-7328 or visit betc.org.
A century ago, the Daniels & Fisher department store on 16th Street would have been bustling with Christmas shoppers at this time of year. The store itself is long gone, but you can still tour the circa 1910 tower that remains, which William Daniels built as “a monument by which Denver shall be known.” Today the basement is home to the Clocktower Cabaret and the top floors are off-limits office condos (which happen to be for sale) — but join Historic Denver’s Daniels & Fisher Tower Tour at 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, or Saturday, December 10, and you’ll not only see the view from the observation deck, but also hear the history of the area from a Historic Denver docent. Tickets are $18 and make a great holiday gift on their own; reserve yours at historicdenver.org.
Chef Scott Parker has made a name for himself around Denver over the years, heading a diverse group of kitchens including the gone-but-not forgotten Adega, Table 6, Session Kitchen and Carbon Beverage Cafe. In June, Parker looked west and took the executive-chef position at Westbound & Down Brewing Company, 1617 Miner Street in Idaho Springs. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, he’ll present a four-course dinner to go with four new seasonal Belgian-style beers from the brewhouse. Guests of the Grain to Table Beer Dinner will enjoy ten-ounce pours of a Belgian pale ale, a dry-hopped ale, a tripel and a porter infused with a secret ingredient (which will be revealed at the dinner). Tickets are $65 each (with $10 off for couples), but for $100, they’ll include round-trip transportation leaving at 6 p.m. from the Hogshead Brewery, 4460 West 29th Avenue in Denver. Call the brewpub at 720-502-3121 to reserve seating, and visit Westbound’s Facebook page for information.
Look for wildly reimagined slopestyle courses at the Dew Tour, which returns to Breckenridge December 8 through 11. “Whenever people ask for my input, I’m always saying, ‘Let’s change it up. Let’s change it all the way up,’” says snowboarder Danny Davis, who influenced some of the changes to this year’s competition courses and formats. “Dew Tour is really stepping it up this year with some wild designs.” The 2016 iteration includes adaptive snowboard banked slalom racing — a Dew Tour first and a preview of the discipline’s debut as a Paralympics event in 2018 — beginning on Friday, December 9, at 11 a.m. Women’s ski and snowboard slopestyle finals will start at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, and at 6 p.m. that day, a streetstyle competition will take place on Main Street in Breckenridge. The men’s individual and team finals run on Saturday, December 10, and Sunday, December 11. Evening parties at Riverwalk Center, 150 West Adams Avenue, include Powder magazine’s Powder Awards on Thursday, the TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders’ Poll Awards on Friday, and a concert with Joey Bada$$, A-Trak and D.R.A.M. on Saturday. Concert tickets are $37.50 at breckcreate.org. For a full schedule, visit dewtour.com.
Kristin Hersh first gained fame as a founder and leader of the alternative-rock band Throwing Muses, and has since continued rocking with power trio 50FootWave and musing on as an author and solo acoustic performer. She’s also a pioneer in DIY models of marketing, releasing music as free downloads and listener-funded book/album combos, including the brand-new Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, a package that blends her stream-of-consciousness essays and song lyrics in a book, accompanied by a double CD of new material. Hersh will introduce and sign copies of Wyatt, available from Overlook-Omnibus for $24.95, at 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street. Later in the evening, she’ll play a set at Swallow Hill Music Hall, 71 East Yale Avenue; for tickets, $20, and information, go to swallowhillmusic.org.
Friday, December 9
Award-winning comedy improv troupe the Queerbots has commandeered the Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street, for a wild holiday event that would make even the Grinch feel gay. The group has been doing monthly shows around town for more than two years, with an emphasis on nicely naughty entertainment around the holidays. But Revenge of the Misfit Toys is a brand-new show, promises troupe member (and TV star) Chris Parente. “This is our first stab at a full Christmas show,” he says. “It’s loads of fun.” The Toys take the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, December 9, when they’ll get their cues from the audience; they’ll return on December 16 and 21. Tickets are $25; purchase them at queerbots.com or clocktowercabaret.com.
Dubstep was born in south London in the late ’90s and has since gained worldwide appeal, even reaching popular radio stations in recent years. (Admit it: You know all the words to Bieber, Skrillex and Diplo’s “Where Are You Now?”) For the Friday, December 9, edition of Gravity Fridays, Beta Nightclub will be dubstep central with headliners Trampa and P0gman. U.K. native Trampa specializes in London dubstep, and fellow Brit P0gman claims to push a “heavy yet wobbly style.” Doors open at 9 p.m. for the eighteen-and-up show; get tickets, $20, at betanightclub.com. Beta is at 1909 Blake Street; visit the club’s Facebook page for more information.
Saturday, December 10
As winter approaches, the Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District is gearing up for a celebration of all things wintry with the Winter Fest on Fillmore, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 10. The mercury may be low, but spirits will be high as Cherry Creek’s Fillmore Plaza transforms into a fun-filled winter wonderland. Activities include prize giveaways, ice sculpting and live family-friendly entertainment, along with plenty of free food samples and hot drinks to keep guests warm and jolly. With costumed elfin carolers and a face-painting station, there’s plenty of merriment in store for children and families — so bundle up, gather ’round, and don’t forget your shopping list. For more information, visit cherrycreeknorth.com.
Through December 24, the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, 772 Santa Fe Street, is celebrating the holiday season with old traditions, including an exhibit depicting la Virgen de Guadalupe; the gallery’s annual mercado of handmade, eco-friendly craft items; and an open-entry bounty of gift-worthy jewelry, santos, ornaments and art. From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 10, designer Susan M. Luna will present a pop-up for her artist-decorated Lunapparel clothing line, with food, drinks, and a fashion show at 1 p.m. “As a strong Latina, I want to wear clothes that make a bold artistic statement on and off the court,” says the athleisure designer. Clothing by Luna, including vibrant skirts, colorful yoga pants, scarves and patches, will be available for purchase. Visit chacweb.org for more information.
Colorado’s ski season got off to a slow start, but things should pick up quickly on Saturday, December 10, when LuvByrd, the dating app for outdoor enthusiasts, hosts a Chairlift Speed Dating event at Loveland, appropriately enough. During registration, participants will receive two wristbands — one representing age group, one skier/rider ability — as well as a raffle ticket. At 10 a.m. they can pair with someone who looks like a good fit based on age, gender and ability — and if that doesn’t work out after a few runs, they can return to base camp to pick up a new partner (and get another raffle ticket). At the end of the day, everyone will meet up at a LuvByrd social hour to get their prizes — which may or may not include a new love match. Find out more at luvbyrd.com.
Sunday, December 11
For nearly twenty years, old-school Denver hipster Jimi Bernath has been gathering Beatles fans young and old every December to sing up the band’s canon and remember Beatles past at the John Lennon Memorial Beatles Singalong, a tradition that’s lasted so long simply because it channels joy and brings folks together in a beautiful way. “It is truly an all-ages event, and to see young children dancing to ‘Twist and Shout’ along with babes-in-arms and elders who were teenagers at the earth-shaking Ed Sullivan performances is just magical,” Bernath says. “It has also become, for many, the kickoff to the holiday season, however one celebrates it, as we always end with our ‘Imagine’ circle and ‘Happy Christmas (War Is Over).’” Be part of the nineteenth annual Beatles singalong from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, December 11, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Admission is free, and lyrics sheets will be provided. Learn more on the Facebook event page.
Tig Notaro has remained indefatigably prolific and unfailingly hilarious throughout her struggles with health, heartbreak and loss. After releasing the instant-classic album Live, Notaro worked ceaselessly; she was the focus of the heart-wrenching documentary TIG, performed shirtless in a triumph over her mastectomy scars in Boyish Girl Interrupted, and created her own sitcom, One Mississippi. In addition to her flourishing creative efforts and a busy touring schedule, Notaro and her wife welcomed twin boys into their family earlier this year. With local treasure Nancy Norton in the feature spot, Notaro will stop at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, on Sunday, December 11, and promises a fearless yet defiantly silly evening of comedy. Tickets are $35; doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8. For more information, visit bouldertheater.com.
Back in July, director Rachel Talalay (Freddy’s Dead) discussed with Westword her exile from Hollywood following the initial (poor) reception of her 1995 cult film, Tank Girl, and the massive gender gap she has encountered in both film and television production. Talalay has persevered, staying creative and constantly hammering away at the glass ceiling while excelling in her direction of huge U.K. shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who. She even found time to direct a new film, On the Farm, which follows an investigation into a series of murders that rocked Vancouver in the 1990s. Talalay will be at the Alamo Drafthouse on Sunday, December 11, to screen On the Farm at 3:30 p.m. and two episodes of Doctor Who — fan favorites “Hell Bent” and “Heaven Sent” — at 6:45 p.m., with proceeds from both screenings going to the ACLU. Between shows, she’ll participate in a Q&A with the audience and talk about her past, present and rosy new future. Get tickets at drafthouse.com; the theater is at 7301 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton.
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Monday, December 12
In the best of worlds, the holidays aren’t just about gifting and consuming. But back here on planet Earth, we’ve all got a little shopping to do. On Monday, December 12, you can shop for books at the Tattered Cover and then put your feet up for some downtime at the Eighteenth Annual Holiday Reading, when former Denver Center acting stalwart Jamie Horton returns to the bookstore for a traditional evening of seasonal dramatic storytelling, warm drinks and holiday treats. The reading begins at 7 p.m. at the Tattered at 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Salve your capitalist conscience further by bringing along a new or gently used book donation for the T.C.’s Reach Out and Read Colorado children’s book drive. Visit tatteredcover.com for details.
This city has a new venue, and it’s truly a hidden gem: DIMEDenver, powered by the Detroit Institute of Music Education, is a pop-up studio/performance space/office in the basement of the Tivoli Student Union, right under the Tivoli Brewery, 900 Auraria Parkway. The century-and-a-half-old stones embrace an incredibly cool space that hosts an alternative choir on Thursdays and an open mic on Mondays. Drop down any time after 5 p.m. on Monday, December 12, to share songs and stories — and maybe hear some tunes from indie group Wildflowers, whose lead singer, Siddy Bennett, is also the events and marketing manager for DIMEDenver. A native of England, she arrived in Denver via Detroit. “I love it here,” she says. “Everyone is so friendly. It’s like a festival.” Join the fun at #MondaysAreEverything; find out more at dime-denver.com.