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Cool! Simon Beck will make art out of snow in Silverthorne.
Cool! Simon Beck will make art out of snow in Silverthorne.
Simon Beck

The 21 Best Events in Denver This Week, December 30 to January 5

Well, Denver, we did it: another year on the books. Celebrate all that was 2019 at any of the parties, concerts, foodie fests and more events happening on December 31. And if you've resolved to have more fun on the new year, you can get started with help from our 21 best events calendar this week!

Monday, December 30

If you're under 21, you still deserve to have fun. And you'll find that and plenty of good jazz at the all-ages Pre New Year's Eve Gala that starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday, December 30, at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis Street. First up is the Denver South High School Jazz Combo, followed by mnop, from Mountain Range High School, and then Denver's East High School Jazz Combo from 9 to 10 p.m. Jazz-era dress is encouraged for a lively evening of music and dancing, with an art display by East High students providing a visual backdrop. There will be alcohol-free drinks provided by Bar Zero, in addition to a quartet of bars that really count: a pizza bar, a mac-and-cheese bar, a salad bar and an ice cream bar. Tickets are $20 for the all-inclusive evening; get them at dazzledenver.com.

Celebrate New Year's Eve decadently.
Celebrate New Year's Eve decadently.
Miles Chrisinger

Want to start 2020 with a power surge? There’s no better party in town than Global Dance’s Decadence. On Monday, December 30, Bassnectar, Boys Noize, Cash Cash, Feed Me, Ganja White Night, Gigantic Nghtmre, Jai Wolf, Mersiv, Oliver Heldens, Softest Hard, Tchami x Malaa, Tiësto and Whethan will bid adieu to 2019. Then on Tuesday, December 31, Cosmic Gate, Diesel, Don Diablo, Fisher, Gareth Emery, Graves, Louis the Child, REZZ, San Holo, SLANDER, Steve Aoki and Zeds Dead will lift Denver into the new year. The action begins both nights at 6:30 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center. Tickets are $89 to $259 and available at axs.com.

Tuesday, December 31

Can't decide what to do on New Year's Eve? Head downtown, where the lights will be very, very bright on Tuesday, December 31. For the eighteenth year, Downtown Denver is hosting New Year's Eve Fireworks, two eight-minute shows along the 16th Street Mall, at 9 p.m. and again at midnight, both synched to a music playlist from live DJs who'll also play tunes before and between shows, starting at 8 p.m. The fireworks displays are free, as are rides on RTD...which means you'll have cash to spare for drinks and maybe even dinner. Go big or go home! For more information, go to downtowndenver.com.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone goes out on the town on New Year’s Eve. If fancy duds, spilling bubbly or freezing your fanny to watch fireworks on the 16th Street Mall doesn’t appeal, how about a quiet evening spent in the company of other like-minded literary types? BookBar, the bookstore/wine bar combo at 4280 Tennyson Street, is hosting an Introverts New Year's Eve Party starting at 9 p.m. Tuesday, December 31, when you can sip wine and mix and mingle over board games, reading, coloring books and a de rigueur champagne toast at midnight. Sound like your kind of evening? Act fast, as this event is beyond popular; get all-inclusive tickets, $30, at eventbrite.com, and you’ll also receive a coupon for 20 percent off any book purchase. Get more info at bookbardenver.com.

Go back in time for a razzle-dazzle New Year’s Eve at this year’s 1920s Into 2020 at the Cottonwood Club, an immersive Roaring ’20s bash that goes beyond the boundaries of a typical Gatsby-style party. Swanky attire is a must, preferably in the style of a century ago, and the theme will carry through to burlesque, tap and aerial dancers, drag queens, live music and crafted cocktails. The party starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 31, and rolls through 2 a.m. at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street; find information and tickets at eventbrite.com. Learn more at cottonwoodclubdenver.com.

Wednesday, January 1

Start the new year off early at Day One, which kicks off at 7 a.m. Wednesday, January 1, at Bar Standard, 1037 Broadway, where it will rage until 7 p.m. This twentieth-anniversary edition of the long-running party will have a Roaring ’20s theme, with flailing flappers and mobster madness along with DJ sets and other shenanigans. Tickets are $15 to $25 at Eventbrite.

Take the plunge at noon Wednesday, January 1, by joining in an Evergreen tradition. Every year, the Active4All Evergreen Foundation hosts the Evergreen Lake Plunge, as people in crazy costumes go jump in a lake to ring in the new year. The fee is $35 to register, but the cold, hard cash is for a good cause: The event raises money for the Evergreen Park & Recreation District's INSPIRE program, providing financial assistance so that community members can participate in EPRD programs and activities regardless of their ability to pay, as well as raising money for EPRD capital improvements. In 2019, the event raised $12,000. Because of work on the lake, this year's plunge is at the Buchanan Ponds near Buchanan Park Recreation Center; register and learn more at a4aevergreen.org.

Thursday, January 2

The Denver Theatre District is switching it up with new artwork at Night Lights Denver. About thirty minutes after sunset on Thursday, January 2, the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower on the 16th Street Mall will start sporting illuminated pieces by Colorado-based artists Marc Billard of Lumonics, Conor King and Maya Dite-Shepard. Night Lights Denver, which debuted in November, is a permanent projection mapping installation with content that rotates on a monthly basis; it lights up the building every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, starting at dark and running for about three hours. Find out more at nightlightsdenver.com.

Friday, January 3

Someday all that white stuff in the mountains will melt, filling streams, rivers and lakes in Colorado. Get ready at the nineteenth annual Denver Fly Fishing Show, which opens at 10 a.m. Friday, January 3, at the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue, where the show will run through Sunday, January 5. The place will be swimming in vendors' booths; the schedule also includes seminars, casting demonstrations, giveaways, the Women’s Fly Fishing Showcase and the world premiere of the 2020 Fly Fishing Film Festival, which debuts at 6:30 p.m. January 3. Basic admission is $15 for one day, $25 for two days and $35 for three days; for hours and deals, go to flyfishingshow.com or call 814-443-3638.

Silverthorne is having a ball this month; it's commissioned snow artist Simon Beck for a two-week engagement that starts Thursday, January 2. Beck will be tromping around town on his snowshoes, creating a series of five to fifteen ephemeral creations. Celebrate Silverthorne SnowBALL: The art + science + safety + fun of snow from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on First Friday, January 3, at the new Maryland Creek Park, 44 Maryland Creek Lane in Silverthorne, where you can not only see Beck in action, but meet avalanche dogs and join in competitions organized by the Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment team; send your kids to snow science activities from the Keystone Science School or winter-themed crafts from the Frosted Flamingo; and join in snow painting, snowman building and sledding. A DJ will be on hand providing live entertainment, and hot chocolate and adult libations will be available for purchase. Find out more at silverthorne.org.

Muggles and magicians alike can gather ’round the orchestra pit for the penultimate cinematic journey through the wizarding world when the Colorado Symphony provides the live score to a screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One. Among the grimmest chapters in the films adapted from J.K. Rowling's best-selling novels, the series' conclusion begins with the titular hero facing his most daunting challenges yet, and concludes on a note of uncertainty that doesn't abate until the Part Two credits roll. Academy Award-winning composer Alexandre Desplat took on the considerable task of honoring John Williams's original score while crafting new music to fit the dire tone of the saga's final hours, ultimately creating some of the soundtrack's most distinctive themes. Don your finest Potter apparel for this enchanting union of cinema and symphony at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 3, at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; the show repeats at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 4, and 1 p.m. Sunday, January 5. Tickets are $15 to $89 at coloradosymphony.org.

Sam Adams may share his name with a tea-dumping patriot and a mass-produced domestic lager, but the Denver-based comedian is a true original. Balancing an acclaimed career in sports journalism with decades in the funny business, the multi-talented Adams recently scored a viral hit — 31 million views and counting — with "True Color," a clip from his latest comedy special, Incoherently True. And in the unlikely event that you're insufficiently impressed with Adams's aforementioned accomplishments, he can also play the trumpet and tuba. Catch the Mile High funnyman at the Soiled Dove Underground — located in the Lowry Town Center, at 7401 East First Avenue — when he hits the stage with his latest hour, Six Point Uh-Oh! on Friday, January 3. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the jokes start flying at 8. Find tickets, $15, and further details at eventbrite.com.

Saturday, January 4

EverWalk, an international walking initiative founded in 2016 by marathon endurance swimmer Diana Nyad and her trainer, Bonnie Stoll, is coming to Denver to inaugurate a local version of the monthly social walk that’s spreading to cities all over the world. First Saturday EverWalk Denver, designed to get people on their feet and away from their screens, debuts along with the new year, on Saturday, January 4, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Washington Park. EverWalk Ambassador Victoria Price and AmbassaDog Allie will lead the way; well-behaved pooches are welcome to tag along. Admission is free; learn more and register in advance at eventbrite.com.

Listen to some fast talkers this week.
Listen to some fast talkers this week.
Colorado Auctioneers Association

As it turns out, auctioneers stick together, perhaps because they’re the only ones who understand the language of auctioneers — that tongue-twisting slurry of information rattled off at high speed in an arena where time is money. The Colorado Auctioneers Association is proof, and to celebrate the rarest of spoken art forms, the group hosts the Colorado Auctioneer Championships during its annual convention, with competitions for the state’s best speed-talkers. The 2020 contest runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, January 4, at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street, and is the perfect warmup for Stock Show season. It's open to the public and free to watch; be ready to bid on actual auction items. Everyone’s a winner! Learn more at the association’s Facebook page.

Seize the spirit of renewal at 50 First Jokes, an annual gathering of Denver's favorite funny people presenting their newest material in bite-sized increments. Each of the fifty comedians has four days to write and two minutes to deliver their inaugural bit of the new year, with their efforts culminating in a marathon of mirth. After six years, audiences at the consistently sold-out show have come to embrace the evening's experimental nature; the inherent unpredictability is part of its charm. The Denver edition of the nationwide phenomenon returns to the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 4. Host Timmi Lasley is back at the helm for this year's festivities, and while the full lineup has yet to be announced, past headliners have included Adam Cayton-Holland, Josh Blue and Janae Burris. Kick off 2020 with plenty of funny: Search nightout.com for tickets, $15, and more information.

During The Gateway Show, standup comics attempt to do a set after getting stoned out of their minds. After delivering a round of their best jokes, the comedians go off and get totally baked before returning to the stage, where the audience gets to watch them try not to fumble their punchlines. Hosted by Billy Anderson, the fun starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 4, at the International Church of Cannabis, 400 South Logan Street, and is definitely 21+; tickets are $10 to $25 at eventbrite.com.

Sunday, January 5

Get a fresh start in 2020 and burn off some of that holiday-season poundage at the Resolution Rush, a combined event with 5K, 10K and one-mile options, along with a free kids’ dash and cool swag. The action starts at 8 a.m. Sunday, January 5, at Central Park, 8801 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Stapleton, and winds up with post-race eats and family fun. Registration ranges from $18 to $38, rising to $45 after January 3; sign up and get all the details at bodiesracecompany.com.

Plenty of people make New Year’s writing resolutions — but so few fulfill them. If you’re committed to starting the year off right, sign up for Lighthouse Writers’ annual 12-Hour Write-a-Thon. No matter your genre or experience level, you’re invited to join the Denver nonprofit devoted to all things literary for a marathon session that runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, January 5, at 1515 Race Street. Coffee will be available in the morning, and beer and wine will be served at happy hour; you're encouraged to bring snacks to share, plus unopened food and toiletry items for a donation to the Gathering Place. Admission is free for Lighthouse members and first-timers; for more information, go to lighthousewriters.org.

Soul Stories starts out 2020 with First Sunday: The People We Love, a heart-to-heart storytelling event that will leave an audience feeling all warm inside. Speakers will truthfully riff on such guiding questions as “What makes us lovable?” and “How do we show ourselves love?” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, January 5, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street; there’s a $5 to $10 suggested donation at the door, but no one will be turned away. Learn more about Soul Stories at soulstoriesdenver.com.

Ken Arkind is back, and he's slammed.EXPAND
Ken Arkind is back, and he's slammed.
Courtesy of Ken Arkind

It’s bound to be SRO on Sunday, January 5, when poet Ken Arkind — who left a vast empty space in this town’s poetry community when he moved to New Zealand in 2015 — returns for an evening at the old, familiar Denver Mercury Poetry weekly slam, where he was once a regular, helping young poets on their way up the slam-poetry ladder. Sign-up begins at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 at the Merc, 2199 California Street; Arkind will top off the evening as the featured poet before disappearing back into the alleys of Auckland. A $5 donation at the door is suggested; learn more at facebook.com/denvermercurypoetry.

Founded by a group of talented Western Kentucky University students in the late ’90s, Nappy Roots helped introduce mainstream listeners to the laid-back charms of Southern hip-hop popping up outside of major metropolises like Atlanta. Soon after, the Kentucky collective released its major-label debut, Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz, which went on to become the top-selling rap album of 2002, thanks largely to earworm-y lead single "Awnaw." Over the ensuing years, the group has welcomed new members, bid farewell to two of its founders — Big V. and R. Prophet, who departed to pursue solo careers — and circumvented music-industry meddling by returning to the independent spirit of its early years with the creation of the Nappy Roots Entertainment Group. With over two decades' worth of country-fried bangers in its catalogue, Nappy Roots still puts on one hell of a show; see for yourself when the group plays the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, on Sunday, January 5. The concert starts at 8 p.m.; find out more and get tickets, $18 to $150, at theorientaltheater.com.

Know of an event that belongs on this list? We need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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