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Hip-Hop Humor

So Dope starts rolling its humor in Denver.

THURS, 11/13

Why, exactly, does brown mustard suck? Find out tonight at the premiere of a new Denver-based sitcom, So Dope, to be screened at the entertainment extravaganza So Dope: An Evening of Comedy."It's a story about two lifelong friends who don't want to work their corporate jobs anymore, so they come up with this plan to make money buying and selling things on eBay," explains So Dope executive producer Denis Lesak, who co-writes the show with longtime friend Todd Sbraggia. "I like to describe it as a younger, hipper version of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm."

And to generate enthusiasm in local urbanites, Lesak and Sbraggia came up with So Dope: An Evening of Comedy, a mixture of hip-hop performances and live comedy to accompany the 25-minute screening.

Featuring Denver gospel group Free Indeed and hip-hop sketch comedy by Varsity, a Fort Collins troupe, the night will also showcase the talents of local stand-up comedians Brandon Shevin, Matt Conty and Clint Rains.

"We've got a really strong comedy foundation here in Denver," says Lesak, who also plays Nevin, one of So Dope's four main characters. "It's a lot bigger than most people think."

Filmed at several locations around Denver, the pilot episode of So Dope, titled "The Waitress," was shot at the Goosetown Tavern and in a loft above the 16th Street Mall. "We definitely want to showcase what it's like living in downtown Denver," Lesak says.

The multicultural sitcom has not yet inked a network deal for regular boob-tube airings, but Lesak plans to market the show over the Internet and at film festivals until he finds the proper outlet. "It's a really interesting premise that we can do a lot of different things with," he says. "It comes at you a little differently than most comedies."

So Dope: An Evening of Comedy will go down at 7 p.m. at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets, $10-$12, are available at www.ticketweb.com. For details, call the Bluebird at 303-322-2308, and for more on So Dope and other upcoming screenings, go to www.clearpurple.com. -- Julie Dunn

Local photog sparks Women and War
THURS, 11/13

Colorado photographer Melanie Stephens is a woman with a mission. In the aftermath of 9/11, Stephens's thoughts turned to other women and how they responded to America's response to the terrorist attacks. She began to research the question and came up with surprisingly scanty results. "The more I searched, the more I thought this was a void," she says. "We don't hear a lot from women, especially those who live war." Literally overnight, she conceived the Women and War photo-documentary project, a long-term undertaking that she hopes will eventually become a book and an exhibition. Her plan? To travel to 32 countries to interview and photograph women with dramatic and often overlooked stories.With help from various humanitarian organizations, Stephens has already hooked up with remarkable women in war-torn places including Rwanda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Israel, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia and Cyprus. She says it's been a humbling experience, but also an inspiring one that's motivated her to do more. "I'm not so much into the politics; to me, it's the power of the womens' words that makes this project so compelling," she says. "I don't know how you could see and hear these women and not want to do something."

A benefit presentation by Stephens tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street, will serve a dual purpose: While the $25 admission fee will go to funding the continuing project, a silent auction will benefit organizations helping women affected by war. For tickets, call 303-442-7961; for donation details, log on to www.melaniestephens.com. -- Susan Froyd

Marti Parti
FRI, 11/14

Dine, drink and dance in high style tonight at the Bartenders' Martini Miracle Ball, a fundraiser for the Children's Hospital Research Institute that will feature twelve of Denver's hottest bartenders pouring ice-cold concoctions. The third annual Miracle Ball, which calls for snazzy "black and white cocktail casual dress," kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Church, 1160 Lincoln Street, with appetizers and cocktails provided by Cielo, the Red Room, Serengeti, Cool River, the Funky Buddha, Sambuca Jazz Cafe, the Rialto Cafe and many others.

"They'll be pouring everything from specialty cocktails created specifically for the party to your classic dirty martini," says CHRI spokeswoman Carolyn Stiles.

One thousand revelers are expected to dance the night away to Fredi and the Soul Shakers, Down Home Sausage Pie and the Boogie Machine, play casino games or relax in the Church's cognac-and-cigar lounge. "The dance floor is always the most popular place to be," notes Stiles.

Tickets, $100, are available at 303-734-2417, at www.martinimiracleball.com, or at the door. The downtown Marriott City Center is offering attendees a discounted room rate of $89 for the night; call 303-297-1300 for information. -- Julie Dunn

The Alterboys spoof a heady phenomenon
WED, 11/19

Forget rat tails, feathered bangs and bouffants. America's favorite hairstyle to mock -- short on top, long on the bottom -- will be celebrated at tonight's Rock the Mullet, featuring Denver's own gender-bending Alterboys. "It's a tribute to the culture that inspires the mullet," explains Alterboys member Kim Powell. "We're obsessed with mullets. They're big in the gay culture; lesbians seem to have a lot of mullets."

The all-female group, many of whom perform regularly as men, will take to the stage tonight as Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams and other classic hockey-hair offenders.

And don't forget to don your favorite neck-warmer wig to compete in the Best Mullet contest. "People who have mullets usually don't even know it," says Powell, laughing. "They think they look good. We've been wanting to make fun of this for a long time."

The show, a benefit for the Colorado AIDS Project, will also include a silent auction. The fun begins at 9 p.m. at 60 South, 60 South Broadway; tickets are $3 at the door. For information, call 303-777-0193 or visit www.alterboys.org. -- Julie Dunn


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