If you haven't already polished your cowboy boots for the National Western Stock Show, dust 'em off for an exhibit honoring Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. Or check out one of the many art shows, plays, benefits and food events delights happening between Tuesday, January 10, and Monday, January 16.
Tuesday, January 10
At one point, William F. Cody was the most famous man in the world, touring the globe with his Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. When he died in Denver on January 10, 1917, he was broke — but his very rich legacy lives on. This year, the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave — where Cody was buried on June 3, 1917, after the ground thawed — is hosting A Visit to the Wild West, an exhibit examining Buffalo Bill’s Wild West through posters, photographs and artifacts. On Tuesday, January 10, the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave — a Denver Mountain Park on Lookout Mountain — will offer free admission to mark the hundredth anniversary of the showman’s death; at 7 p.m. there will be a candlelight vigil by his grave, complete with a prayer from former Denver auditor Dennis Gallagher. Get more information at buffalobill.org.
Anime fans, take note: The Sie FilmCenter will screen the thirteenth film in the One Piece series at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10. One Piece Film: Gold tells the story of a group of pirates that meets the ruler of Gran Tesoro, an urban hub of decadence and entertainment, where everyone from Marines to millionaires congregate, safely away from the clutches of the World Government. Gild Tesoro, an emperor who wins loyalty with his wealth, is threatening to overturn the world order so he can achieve his sprawling ambitions. If you miss the first screening, don’t worry: The Hiroaki Miyamoto-directed film will run again on January 14 and 16. Check denverfilm.org for a schedule and tickets, $7 to $11.
Katherine Marlowe is no ordinary romance novelist. Her stories are rooted in closely observed details from England’s Regency era, a glamorous time that simmered with secret passions too scandalous to admit out loud. Marlowe avoids many of the clichés of the historical genre by focusing on LGBTQ protagonists who must navigate the stuffy mores of their era. While her stories satisfy readers’ appetites for “handsome men smooching,” there’s a deeper meaning and greater insight hidden in her lusty prose. Join Marlowe and a gaggle of her faithful readers at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street in Boulder, for a reading from her latest book, The Blue Ribbon, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10. Visit the store or call 303-447-2074 to learn more and buy $5 vouchers, which go toward the book’s price.
Alison Bechdel's novel about coming out made for an award-winning musical.
Cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home, told a coming-out story with insights into growing up, family dynamics and how our view of where we come from changes over time. It had tender universal moments that were relatable for everyone. Add some great songs, and it sounds like the perfect musical, right? Fun Home — the musical — won the Tony for Best Musical in 2015 and is now hitting the road, landing in Denver at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, beginning with a 7:30 p.m. show on Tuesday, January 10. The show runs daily except Mondays through January 22. Purchase tickets, starting at $30, at denvercenter.org or by calling 800-641-1222.
Wednesday, January 11
Dana Gould has done several HBO specials and two one-hour Showtime specials and has appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman, Conan and Real Time With Bill Maher. His monthly podcast, The Dana Gould Hour, is a hilarious and inventive exploration of comedy. Lately, Gould has been working behind the scenes as the creator and executive producer of IFC’s Stan Against Evil, a horror/comedy series that doesn’t skimp on the scares. Gould stops by the Dairy Arts Center, 2950 Walnut Street in Boulder, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11; tickets, $15, are available at tickets.thedairy.org or 303-444-7328.
Linger chef/owner Justin Cucci has been an advocate of alternative and sustainable protein sources for years and has been experimenting with cricket-based dishes on Linger’s menu to help Denver diners come to terms with great food made with creepy, crawly ingredients. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11, Linger, 2030 West 30th Avenue, will host the Denver Bug Banquet & Benefit, a five-course feast from guest chef David George Gordon, famed insect cook and author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook. For $75 each, guests will receive five dishes made with insects paired with a wine or craft beer. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Rocky Mountain Cricket Ranch, Colorado’s only edible-insect farm, which provides crickets for Linger’s bug-based tacos and empanadas. Advance tickets can be purchased on eventbrite.com.
A clip from John Jota Leaños's animated documentary Frontera! Revolt and Rebellion on the Rio Grande.
John Jota Leaños
The Denver Art Museum’s big spring show, Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place, doesn’t open until February. But the spirit of the coming exhibition — a series of site-specific statements by Latino artists on modern life in the American West — will drive the museum’s first Logan Lecture of 2017 with a talk by Mi Tierra participant John Jota Leaños, a San Francisco-based sociopolitical new-media artist. Hear Leaños discuss his work and how he’ll approach the Mi Tierra theme at 6 p.m. Wednesday, January 11, in Sharp Auditorium, located in the basement of the DAM’s Frederic C. Hamilton Building, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. The evening ends, as always, with a meet-and-greet reception at the nearby Art, a Hotel, 1201 Broadway. Individual tickets range from $8 to $18 (or free for DAM Contemporaries members and students), or opt for a six-lecture winter/spring season pass, ranging from $48 to $72. Purchase tickets at denverartmuseum.org or call 720-913-0130.
Thursday, January 12
Ben Kronberg is among the most successful of Denver comedy expatriates, having amassed an impressive list of credits and accomplishments since moving to New York City. But even with high-profile appearances on Late Night With Seth Meyers, John Oliver’s New York Standup Show and the Comedy Central Half Hour, Kronberg stills like to drop in at low-profile Denver open mics to weird people out. With his puckish wit and impermeable poker face on stage, Kronberg is the sort of comic who inspires outlandish stories and admiration from his peers. Join the prodigal Denverite and local comics Rachel Weeks, Zac Maas and Janae Burris on Thursday, January 12, for a homecoming at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. Doors open at 7 for the 8 p.m. show; tickets are $10. Get yours and more information at theorientaltheater.com or 720-420-0030.
If we are, in fact, entering dark times in America, the omniscient Vicki Myhren Gallery picked the right exhibit to kick off 2017. The touring show Dusk to Dusk: Unsettled, Unraveled, Unreal, organized by the Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University and curated by museum director Richard Rinehart, brings a multi-faceted, multi-national, multi-artist grouping of works drawn from the private Ekard Collection, all of which speak to repression, displacement and alienation running rampant in modern times. It won’t be pretty, but it will contain provocative works by artists ranging from Louise Bourgeois and Salvador Dalí to a more contemporary global crew, and it will leave you thinking about tomorrow and how to make things better. Dusk to Dusk opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, January 12, and runs through February 26 at the Myhren, 2121 East Asbury Avenue on the University of Denver campus. Learn more at vicki-myhren-gallery.du.edu.
Curious Theatre Company’s ambitious serial storytelling series, which began with Tarell Alvin McCraney’s powerful trio of Brother/Sister Plays, will sail into the completion of its second cycle — The Elliot Trilogy, by Quiara Alegría Hudes — to start off 2017. The final Elliot play, The Happiest Song Plays Last, opens for two nights of previews starting at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 12, at Curious, 1080 Acoma Street. Song brings to a close three chapters in the story of the recurring character Elliot, who starts out as a young Puerto Rican soldier from north Philly fighting overseas in the first installment and ends up reenacting his wartime experience as an actor for a film being made in Jordan in the last. Curious will punch up The Happiest Song, a play that works alone or as part of the trilogy, with live Puerto Rican and Middle Eastern music. The production runs through February 18; for information and tickets, $18 to $50, visit curioustheatre.org.
Daniel Crosier's comics are the antidote to impending political madness.
Friday, January 13
Denver comic-book artist Daniel Crosier’s work is quirkily rooted in campy horror themes and a totally original choice of medium: He wood-burns and draws his illustrations into birch panels instead of drafting them onto paper. Crosier will resurrect comic illustrations from the last ten years — “works I have forgotten,” he says, “because I am thin on the memory side” — for Dan Solo: Daniel Crosier Gallery Show at GRACe, a mini-retrospective of works that are “horror-based, with a hint of more sophisticated narco-romance-themed art,” including books titled Bartholomew of the Scissors, Distortions Unlimited and Caustic Soda. It’s no accident that the show opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, January 13 (2017’s first Friday the 13th), at GRACe, 888 East 50th Avenue, a collective art space that Crosier fondly calls “a romanticized Mad Max wasteland-like oasis for creatives.” Indeed, “We all need a piece of radness to buffer the incoming political woe we are in for, anyway,” he teases. Go to the Facebook event page for more information.
Wade Gardner, curator of the annual Docuwest film festival, has been busy working on a documentary about street preacher Marvin Booker, who was killed by Denver sheriff’s deputies at the city’s downtown corrections center. The film, Marvin Booker Was Murdered, is an investigation into excessive force and homicide committed by Denver law enforcement, the sheriff’s department’s failure to investigate itself adequately, the district attorney’s refusal to prosecute the deputies, and the Booker family’s massive lawsuit against the city. A screening of the film, which features interviews with Booker’s relatives, city brass, journalists and civil-rights attorneys, will start off the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend on Friday, January 13, at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theater, 119 Park Avenue West, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; for more information, go to the event’s Facebook page.
Turning Pete Townshend’s epic and chaotic anthem-driven rock opera Tommy into a traditional musical is no small feat on any stage. But squeezing all that drama down to fit the Bug Theatre’s twenty-by-twenty-foot stage is all part of the job for Equinox Theatre’s Colin Roybal, who says he dealt with it by “paring down some of the gargantuan sets and effects, and instead investing in the heartfelt story and music of the show.” In other words, he’s letting his cast and the Who’s music, provided by a live seven-person band “tucked lovingly behind the two-story set,” carry the story of the deaf, dumb and blind pinball-wizard hero, Tommy. Does it work? Find out when The Who’s Tommy opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 13. “All I can say is, our audiences had better be ready to rock out with this incredible cast and band,” Roybal says. “We turn our amps up to 11!” Tommy runs on Fridays and Saturdays through February 4 at the Bug, 3654 Navajo Street. Tickets are $20 in advance at brownpapertickets.com or $25 at the door; learn more at equinoxtheatredenver.com.
Even though the Denver Theatre Company isn’t doing any of Shakespeare’s plays this year, that doesn’t mean the Bard’s imprint won’t be all over the season. In The Book of Will, playwright Lauren Gunderson dramatizes the tale of John Heminges and Henry Condell, two founding members of Shakespeare’s company of players who endeavor to preserve his greatest works in the years following his death, forging alliances with everyone from rivals to thieves in order to keep drama’s greatest works from falling into obscurity. Part of the DCPA’s Women’s Voices Fund initiative, Gunderson’s truth-based script celebrates the inspiring effort happening just behind the scenes. The play kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, at the Ricketson Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Tickets start at $35; call 303-893-4100 or visit denvercenter.org to learn more.
A writer, actor, rapper and standup comic, Brandon T. Jackson is a talented performer who can effortlessly win over nearly any audience. An ace impressionist, Jackson got his start opening for high-profile comics like Chris Tucker at the Laugh Factory before amassing an impressive résumé of film and television credits including Wild ’N Out, BoJack Horseman, Tropic Thunder and Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. Most recently, Jackson appeared with his fiancée on Oxygen’s Living With Funny, a docu-series exploring the private lives of comedians and their loved ones. Jackson will stop by the Denver Improv, 8246 Northfield Boulevard in Stapleton, at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. on Friday, January 13. Shows continue through Sunday January 15; visit denver.improv.com for tickets, $20, and showtimes.
Hip couple Dorothy and Mel Tanner began exploring Plexiglas light sculpture back in the ’60s, inventing their own avant-garde genre while freely experimenting with what’s come to be known as “new media” on the modern front: refracted light, projections, music and electronic enhancements. Mel passed away in 1993, but Dorothy, now in her nineties and still resiliently creative, remarkably continues those experiments begun decades ago at her Lumonics studio and gallery in metro Denver. The Tanners will get their due with Then & Now: A Retrospective of Light-Based Sculpture by Dorothy & Mel Tanner, an eye-popping exhibit (and their first full retrospective) opening on Friday, January 13, with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. at the MOA Indoor Gallery, 1000 Englewood Parkway in Englewood. Then and Now runs through March 24; visit moaonline.org for details. Learn more about Dorothy Tanner and Lumonics at dorothytanner.com.
Saturday, January 14
In the wake of the Oakland Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 people, fire inspectors showed up at Denver DIY venues Rhinoceropolis and Glob and shut them down for code violations. Supporters launched a GoFundMe campaign, and Westword granted the group an emergency MasterMind Award (with $2,000 attached) for its many years of service to Denver’s music and arts scenes. From 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, January 14, artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers are throwing a concert and art sale at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, to help raise funds to bring these spaces into compliance so they can reopen. The musical lineup includes Many Blessings, French Kettle Station, Petite Garçon and Barbed Wire, among others, and artists and writers Colin Ward, Stephan Herrera, Molly Bounds, Esther Hz, Zachary Barnes-Fagg, Kelly Shortandqueer and Kim Shively will perform or donate work to the cause. Admission is pay-what-you-can; proceeds will go to the venues. Visit the event Facebook page for more information.
When traditional investigative police work fails, psychic detective Troy Griffin steps in. With experience working on over 100 cold cases, Griffin has appeared on ABC News’s Nightline and is currently investigating the disappearance of Kelsie Schelling, who vanished in 2013 in Pueblo shortly after learning she was pregnant; he’s also helping police solve the case of the Long Island Serial Killer. Griffin will reveal his secrets from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, at the Aurora Central Library, 14949 East Alameda Parkway in Aurora. Curious Denverites will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of psychic investigations from one of the field’s leading experts. Tickets, $98, can be purchased at eventbrite.com; seating is limited to thirty people. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
Former hackerspace and current alternative art space Cabal Gallery will get in the game in 2017, with a new monthly Art-cade display and showcase of locally developed arcade games. The series opener, Button Mashers, gets off on a properly pixelated course with a sweet exhibit of artist Kym Bloom’s signature Chiclet mosaics of Pac-Man and other classic video-game icons, with additional game-inspired art by Cabal artists. For the evening’s arty/nerdy pièce de résistance, you’ll get a chance to try out Linez, a two-player game from Matthew Bethancourt in which each competitor overcomes challenges to collect circles and create a printable artwork. See the art and play the game for free from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, January 14, at Cabal, 1875 South Broadway. Visit the Button Mashers Facebook page or cabalgallery.com for information.
Sunday, January 15
If the post-holiday weeks of January feel like a real grind, why not turn that grind into something productive? Il Porcellino Salumeria, 4324 West 41st Avenue, is offering a series of classes for butchers — from home hobbyists to seasoned pros — beginning Sunday, January 15. The first class is a demo and hands-on sausage class (yes, we said it) where students will learn how to grind, mix and stuff a variety of fresh sausages. Discussion will include selecting the best cuts of meat; working with casings; getting the proportions of meat, fat and seasonings right; and using the finished product in recipes. If you attend, you’ll go home with recipes from the Il Porcellino team as well as sausage you made yourself. The class is $85 and starts at 5 p.m. Register online at squareup.com/store/il-porcellino-salumi; this class is capped at six students, but will return several times in 2017 — and the salumeria will also offer chicken- and whole-hog-butchering classes.
Dine to the nines at 1515 Restaurant.
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Monday, January 16
Gene Tang, chef/owner of 1515 Restaurant downtown (1515 Market Street), maintains one of the best wine cellars in Denver and isn’t afraid to break out a few bottles to complement his inventive menu, which combines molecular-gastronomy technique with ritzy steakhouse ingredients. Join Tang on Monday, January 16, for a five-course wine dinner with special guest Sarah Quider of Sonoma vintner Ferrari-Carano. Dine on miso-crusted Icelandic cod, pheasant sausage with mussels, and buffalo short ribs with sweet potato — plus salad, dessert and an amuse-bouche. As wine-pairing dinners go, this one’s a relative bargain at $60 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity). Call the restaurant at 303-571-0011 for a reservation, and visit 1515restaurant.com to view the full menu.