As estranged family members start trickling into town this weekend for the holidays, chances are you're looking for something to do to show off this great city. You're probably also trying to do it on the cheap so you can save up for some awesome last minute gifts (or pay off the ones you already bought).
Don't worry -- we've got you covered this weekend, with appearances by real life reindeer for the kids, horror author readings, dance parties and plenty more.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale at the Esquire Theatre (Friday-Sunday, $10) There are quite a few cult Christmas movies out there, but Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale looks like it could be added to the list of bizarre holiday classics soon. The story details an archeological dig in northern Finland, where the body of Santa Claus has been found. From there, local children start to go missing, a mythological being is captured and Santa's elves attempt to free their leader from captivity. It sounds like a horror story, but rest assured, this leans far closer to a comedy, even if it is one of the very few Christmas movies to be rated R.
Donner and Blitzen at the Hyatt Regency Denver (Friday-Sunday, Free) At this point in the holiday rush, you might be used to seeing people dressed up in costumes of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps it's a little bit of a disappointment -- after all, reindeer are real. This weekend you'll be able to catch up with two of Santa's most famous reindeer, Donner and Blitzen: two real, actual reindeers. You see, while the elves are busy finishing up making gifts and Santa is running from mall to mall, Donner and Blitzen are just hanging out, drinking hot chocolate and the occasional cocktail and waiting for their big day. So they were more than willing to make a public appearance.
Scrooged at Denver Filmcenter (Friday-Saturday, $9.75) Despite the fact it's remarkably cheesy and over-the-top, Scrooged is one of our favorite holiday movies. It's filled with ham-fisted performances, ridiculous cameos and one of those silly, feel-good endings reserved specifically for '80s movies -- but all those things combine to make it a trademark classic Christmas movie to be enjoyed by any member of the family.
Jesse Bullington and Stephen Graham Jones at Broadway Book Mall (Friday, free) Local authors Stephen Graham Jones and Jesse Bullington are two of literary-horror's best writers. Tonight they'll be facing off in a Book-Signing Grudge Match to the Death, or rather, they'll be signing their newest books and doing readings. If you're a fan of horror but haven't read either of these guys, you should stop by for the reading and stay for the DJ set. It will certainly be a welcome aside to for folks not interested in all the holiday hub-bub.
Jump Suits: an Outis Space Venture at PlatteForum (Friday, free) While you've already missed the opening reception for Jump Suits, that doesn't mean it's not a worthy show to attend. When you get there, you'll find a slew of different objects, pieces and stories revolving around the works of a group of Colfax Community Network kids as well as their facilitator, artist Teddy O'Connor, detailing their self-designed superhero gear. It's a great collection of collaborative works that will certainly inspire memories of comic-reading afternoons for adults and kids alike. Christopher Maier: Stories about Dads at Edge Gallery (Saturday, free) During Christmastime, most of the talk around town revolves around Mary and Jesus, and nobody seems to give a crap about old Joseph. Fathers are just as important around the holidays, which is why veteran storyteller Christopher Maier will be telling tales about dads with roots ranging from contemporary folk to traditional African stories for kids tonight at Edge Gallery.
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Flobots.org Holiday Party at the Meadowlark (Saturday, $7 donation, 7-10 p.m.) Flobots.org has been hard at work funding community and youth events, and to celebrate their efforts and raise some money, they're throwing a big holiday shindig. Not only will you know the door money is going to a good cause, you'll also be entertained all night by music from the Playground Ensemble and Tito del Barrio Malaga as well as a DJ set from the ZetaKaye house and spoken word from Suzi Q. Smith, Molina, Brer Rabbit and Jonny 5. Regardless of your leanings, there is sure to be something for everyone here tonight.
ArtistRoster.com Presents a Dance Party at Meadowlark Upstairs (Saturday, $5) While the Flobots.org benefit is sure to be the perfect for folks looking for a quaint and quiet night, upstairs at the Meadowlark things will be getting a lot dirtier. With DJ XOXO and DJ Blastphemy on the decks, the point is simple: give Denver the best indie-electro dance possible. It's sure to be one hell of a dance party, filled with plenty of tunes that you simply don't hear anywhere else in the city.
Odin's Winter Solstice at 3 Kings Tavern (Saturday, $7) While the main attraction for Odin's Winter Solstice is the music, there will be plenty of other things happening at 3 Kings to keep people entertained. First and foremost, it's a masquerade ball, but there will also be plenty of pagan vendors and fortunetellers on hand to provide solace to those not interested in the music. Just be careful if you decide to have your fortune told -- we've seen enough episodes of The X-Files to know bad things happen when you're not careful.
Posada Sin Fronteras at Rangeview High School (Sunday, $5-$8) Posada Sin Fronteras is a play that takes the traditional story of Christmas, with Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay at an inn, and transforms it into a metaphor for the immigrant experience. Put on by Rights for All People, an organization devoted to organizing the immigrant community, the goal is to offer a traditional story with a modern, political twist.