Isn't it always more fun to have fun for a good cause? Give back to your local DIY space 7th Circle at the Alamo Drafthouse, and drink for a good cause at the Winter Brew Fest. Of course, no one would blame you for wanting to have just a plain ol' good time, of which there is plenty in this week's event's calendar, from a PJ crawl to a trip to India and down memory lane. And of course, don't miss the massive Outdoor Retailer & Snow Show. It's all here in the 21 best events of the week!
Tuesday, January 23
If you haven't yet read Denver author Adrian Miller's book The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas, Miller's Book Talk and Signing at the Denver Women's Press Club on Tuesday, January 23, will offer the perfect overview of his work. The attorney turned "soul food scholar" will share stories of chefs who have cooked for every presidential administration in our nation's history, including the emotional tale of Senior Master Sergeant Wanda Joell, the first African-American woman to serve on Air Force One, who was on board with President George W. Bush on September 11, 2001. The free talk at the historic (and reputedly haunted) building, at 1325 Logan Street, goes from 6 to 7 p.m. Get details at the Soul Food Scholar Facebook page.
To paraphrase Ned Stark, "Spring is coming." With spring come the birds and the bees, and while backyard robin-raising technology is still in its infancy, beekeeping is pretty well established (and the payoff is much tastier). Learn all about setting up your own hive at the Backyard Beekeeping Class on Tuesday, January 23, at the Majestic View Nature Center, 7030 Garrison Street in Arvada, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You'll learn about the honeybee's life cycle, how small-scale beekeepers impact bee populations, and the equipment you'll need to start a backyard hive — all in time to get your apian guests established this spring. Sign up for the class, $12, at the Center's Facebook page, and get ready to create a buzz in your neighborhood.
Wednesday, January 24
More and more residents are becoming aware of Denver's deep pool of comedic talent, which is more diverse than the scene's bearded white guys would suggest. Indeed, there's a strong argument to be made that Denver's comedy scene would fall apart without the guiding influence of powerful women, including Amy Jenssen King, general manager of the Denver Improv, 8246 East 49th Avenue. Celebrate the achievements of the hardworking women on the mic and behind the scenes at Divas of Comedy, a standup showcase starting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 24, with local powerhouses ShaNae Ross, Midori Marquez, Stephanie McHugh, Donelle Prado and Pam VonNostern. Call 303-307-1777 or visit the Denver Improv's box-office page to buy tickets, $10, and learn more.
Over the course of 38 informative installments, Nerd Nite Denver has delighted local wonks with a wide-ranging series of talks from experts in various fields. Catnip for those who love documentaries, TED Talks and NPR, Nerd Nite has found a home at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, thanks to the joint efforts of Sexpot Comedy and newly minted host/producer Hanna Aucoin. The Nerd Nite crew is beginning 2018 in earnest at Blooood, Video Games, and Cosplay, with medical laboratory scientist Jessie Hanson discussing the history of blood transfusions, gamer Jennifer Hill expounding on the evolution of video games, and an examination of cosplay's charitable ends with Matt Gnojek (aka Colorado Captain). Join the bespectacled crowd on Wednesday, January 24, at 6:30 p.m. for a unique event that answers the question: “What if a great professorial lecture had a full bar?” Find tickets and more on the event's Facebook page.
Thursday, January 25
Those who believe in the power of public parks and strict environmental regulations are having a rough go of it as the Trump administration scales back protected lands and turns over wide swaths of once-regulated natural space to drilling and other commercial uses. It’s in this doomed climate that the Wild and Scenic Film Festival is traveling the country, stopping in Denver on Thursday, January 25, to screen short movies about everything from protecting the Arctic to the plight of gray wolves and bumblebees. The fest will be at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; a reception and "citizen action hub" begins at 5:30 p.m., and the films start rolling at 7. Tickets, $14 to $15, are available at denverfilm.org.
Cooking at home can save money and calories, but coming up with a new menu every night can feel daunting. The same goes for coming up with a menu to entertain guests. Here to save home cooks from their chicken-and-green-beans rut is the CeLAMBrate Workshop. From 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 25, Everyday Hostess blogger Kaitlin Chad will share her tips on crafting the perfect cocktail party, and Climbing Grier Mountain's Lauren Grier will make the perfect food accompaniments (or just a really great dinner on a Tuesday night): spiced lamb pita toasts with fresh mint, and Turkish lamb sliders with labneh. Blackbelly will be on hand to serve charcuterie, plus beer, wine and cocktails to wash down all the lamb-tastic dishes. Get to know the other, other red meat and even take some of your own home: The 21+ event takes place at Cultivated Synergy, 2901 Walnut Street. Find more information at americanlamb.com.
Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj takes on a horrifying myth surrounding the Taj Majal, an architectural feat executed by 20,000 workers over a period of twenty or more years. Its two-man cast, a bantering Godot-like pair, shed light on the divide between the haves and the have-nots in an allegory fit for modern times, though it’s set in Agra in the seventeenth century. When the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company presents Guards, beginning with a preview performance on Thursday, January 25, at 7:30 p.m., be prepared for a story that unfolds on the human level before escalating into something dark and catastrophic. Guards runs through February 18 at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder; for showtimes and tickets, $20 to $45, go to tickets.thedairy.org.
After years of wooing, Denver finally landed the combined Outdoor Retailer & Snow Show — so this year, the trade expo, which runs Thursday, January 25, through Sunday, January 28, will fill the Colorado Convention Center with demonstrations, seminars and exhibits from anyone who's anyone in the outdoor sports industry. Although you must register (and pay) to attend the show, events will spill out into after-parties all over town. At 8 p.m. on January 25, for example, Temple Nightclub will host what's being billed as "the best party ever," with none other than George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic; admission is free with an OR&SS badge (and closed to others). But anyone can head to the Source on January 26 for the late-night bash hyped here. Find out more about the show and related events at outdoorretailer.com.
While the Outdoor Retailer & Snow Show will bring a blizzard of activities to metro Denver, there's plenty of action up in Aspen, too, where the X Games Aspen run Thursday, January 25, through Sunday, January 28. Athletes will heat up the slopes with four days of grueling competition, starting with the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle Qualifying and ending with the Snowbike Best Trick. It's free for spectators, which is handy, because you'll want to save all your cash for the concerts that always accompany the Games...and then there's just the cost of surviving in Aspen. But as parties go, this annual bash is priceless. Get full details at xgames.com/aspen.
Are professional women in Colorado thriving in the creative industries? The numbers look pretty good. To highlight their success stories, the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts and Walker Fine Art are collaborating to bring you Thought Leaders: Backstage With Women in the Arts, a panel discussion led by Angela Astle of Athena Project Arts and peopled by a diverse group of women doing great things in the combined worlds of commerce and culture. Guests range from Denver Center for the Performing Arts CEO Janice Sinden to artivist/performer Bianca Mikahn; gather at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, Unit A, on Thursday, January 25, from 5 to 7 p.m. Find info and tickets, $20 to $35, on the event's Facebook page.
Friday, January 26
Marvel in the winter splendor that is Red Rocks in January at Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks. The seventh annual concert, on Friday, January 26, will host rapper and record-label owner Rick Ross, EDM producer Jauz and rapper and community activist Brother Ali, who opens the show (gates open at 5 p.m.). Mac Miller might have dropped out of the lineup, but that doesn't mean this won't be a fun night at the historic venue, 18300 West Alameda Parkway in Morrison. Don't miss the Outdoor Retailer Fashion Show, which comes courtesy of the massive Outdoor Retailer & Snow Show, in town through Sunday. Find tickets, $45.75 to $125, at redrocksonline.com.
Artist and curator Adán de la Garza has been programming some of the most innovative experimental media shows in the Denver area for Collective Misnomer, a series that endlessly surprises and shocks, often sparking critical debate among crowds. De la Garza recently announced that he'll scale back his efforts over the next few months, so don’t miss his upcoming screening of short films that reflect on social and political disorder, The Way Things Are. The Way They’re Going to Be. Part 2 (part one happened last year). Catch it at the Dikeou Collection, 1615 California Street, Suite 515, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, January 26. Admission is $10, but those who can't pay won't be turned away. Find more information on the event's Facebook page.
As if trying some of the best craft beverages from Colorado and around the U.S. weren't enticing enough, the Winter Brew Fest even throws a little charity into the mix: This year's event benefits the Swallow Hill Music Association. But back to the beer: Nearly 100 brewers will showcase some of their finest work during the two-day fest. Drink to the tunes of ATOMGA, an Afrobeat-influenced ensemble, on Friday, January 26, and Project 432, a local reggae/rock fusion band, on Saturday, January 27. VIP power hour runs from 6 to 7 p.m. both days, and general admission begins at 7. Find tickets, $40 to $60, at denverbrewfest.com.
Playwright José Cruz González, a favorite with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company for his heartwarming stories from Latino culture, is back in Denver with a blast of cheerful music and a story of perseverance and feminism. His new play, American Mariachi, a product of the DCPA’s annual New Play Summit, relates the tale of two women in ’70s-era Denver who fight to form an all-female mariachi band, looking to go against tradition and smash the glass ceiling of a male-dominated art form along the way. The music, performed live on stage, is glorious. American Mariachi opens Friday, January 26, at 7:30 p.m., and runs through February 25 at the Stage Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The show is not recommended for children under age ten. For information and tickets, $20 to $72, visit denvercenter.org.
To start off 2018, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities Black Box Theater is presenting the first leg of a three-play repertory season that runs through May with an acclaimed modern adaptation of the Jane Austen classic Sense and Sensibility. In this version, the Dashwood sisters encounter more than romance and bad fortune, thanks to a cast of unexpected characters that rise out of the scenery. Sense and Sensibility opens Friday, January 26, at 7:30 p.m. and runs through May 6 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; joining the Black Box schedule later are The Electric Baby, opening February 9, and All My Sons, opening March 2. Tickets start at $45; reserve yours in advance at arvadacenter.org.
Saturday, January 27
If you happen to have grown up in the pixelated olden days of video gaming, you might remember taking a virtual trip cross-country from Independence, Missouri, to the Willamette Valley in Oregon via covered wagon, in the safety of your public school library. Dubbed The Oregon Trail, it was a test of fortitude that often ended in unfortunate mishaps and death by dysentery. History Colorado is bringing the game back, with a twist: At The Oregon Trail: In Real Life (IRL), you’ll actually travel through those dangerous places, testing your pioneering skills and fording the “river” in a human hamster ball. Tackle the live-action historical experience from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, at History Colorado, 1200 Broadway; if you survive, you'll discover a cash bar and music at the end of the road. Get tickets, $25 to $30, and more information at historycolorado.org.
The blind and visually impaired suffer from an 80 percent unemployment rate, nearly twenty times higher than that of the non-visually impaired. With that in mind, the Blind Institute of Technology will host its third annual Dining in the Dark gala on Saturday, January 27. The fundraiser will draw hundreds of businesses and government and community leaders to provide resources for blind and visually impaired job-seekers and their potential employers around the U.S. The black-tie-optional evening kicks off with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 5:30 at Infinity Park, 4400 East Kentucky Avenue in Glendale; dinner and dancing begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets, which start at $125, must be purchased in advance at blindinstituteoftechnology.com.
Denver Digerati, the folks who bring the Supernova outdoor festival of digital animation and art to the Denver Theatre District each fall, will diversify in 2018 by collaborating on a new multimedia series with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Sonic Arts @ CU program. Dubbed dd@bb, the series will test the waters in Boulder with a program combining visuals by Supernova veteran Victor Morales with experimental music by Duluoz and Zone Motif, who will take advantage of the facility’s state-of-the-art technology over a few days of rehearsal to hone the public performance. See and hear what they come up with on Saturday, January 27, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Atlas Black Box, 1125 18th Street on the CU Boulder campus. Admission is free; learn more at denverdigerati.com.
Sunday, January 28
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Some people never want to take off their pajamas and face the day. But what if they could face the day...and stay in their pajamas? Isn’t that a little bit better? The folks at Stanley Marketplace think so, so they’re inviting the public to shop in pajamas and adult onesies on a lazy Sunday during the Stanley Pajama Crawl. And there are other perks: Arrive clad in your PJs at the Stanley, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, on Sunday, January 28, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and receive a 10 percent discount at most Stanley businesses for your trouble. Life is good. Learn more on the event's Facebook page.
Infusing cannabis with your wedding reception might have been unheard of ten years ago, but times have changed, and the Cannabis Wedding Expo is coming to Denver to show you how. The expo returns to town for a third year on Sunday, January 28, teaching soon-to-be newlyweds how to tastefully incorporate cannabis into their wedding celebrations. Both traditional wedding vendors and cannabis brands will be at the Lionsgate Event Center, 1055 South 112th Street in Lafayette, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with gift bags, live music and glass-blowing, raffles and mobile budtenders to show you how much fun a truly Mile High wedding can be. Tickets (21+) are $10 at eventbrite.com.
Monday, January 29
7th Circle, one of the lucky DIY spaces that didn’t get shut down a year ago in the wake of the Ghost Ship tragedy in Oakland, has found a painless way to raise funds, in a partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse: A one-night takeover on Monday, January 29, with live music by Almataha and Suspicious Activity, followed by a screening of the cult film SLC Punk! Show up at 7 p.m. for the music (the movie starts at 7:30 p.m.) at the Alamo, 7301 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton; tickets are $7 in advance at drafthouse.com/denver. The theater’s normal age restrictions will be waived for this event, allowing teens ages fifteen to seventeen in the theater, accompanied by a parent.