With so many shows coming to Denver this week, theater and music lovers have their work cut out for them. Go red for a Denver Center for the Performing Arts rendition of Anna Karenina, or visit the coal mines of Pennsylvania for Davey, Do You See the Light? If live shows aren't your thing, head to the hills for the Winter X Games, or learn how rival gang members came together over food at Trap Kitchen. All that and more is on this week's 21 Best list!
Tuesday, January 22
The National Western Stock Show, which opened January 12 and runs through January 27, is full of down-and-dirty events, with plenty of cowfolk carousing. But there are truly moooving activities, too, including the Exceptional Rodeo presented by GE Johnson at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, January 22, at the Denver Coliseum in the National Western Complex. Designed for kids with special needs, this interactive rodeo comprises events like steer roping, bull riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing, all done with props rather than animals; any interested young cowpokes will be put through their paces by rodeo queens and cowboys. The rodeo is included with the grounds admission ticket, which that day runs $14 for adults and $3 for children over two. Find out more at nationalwestern.com.
Wednesday, January 23
Virtual-reality wizard Ethan Bach and his Creative Collab Effect crew continue to cross disciplines by reaching out to all of the region’s creative communities with Empowering Artists to Galvanize the Creative Economy, an evening presentation to engage artists and makers in a sharing of ideas on changes they expect to see in the wake of Meow Wolf’s upcoming Denver expansion. Attend the event — which begins with a networking reception and keynote by Bach and culminates with a panel made up of Diane Martonis of the Firehouse Art Center, Heather Fortin Rubald of HFR Designs, Meow Wolf’s Jenny Weinbloom and Salt Magazine publisher Anthony Cross, followed by a town hall-style discussion — on Wednesday, January 23, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Longmont Museum, 400 Quail Road in Longmont; admission is free, but a $5 donation in advance is suggested with registration at eventbrite.com.
Thursday, January 24
Revel in all sorts of extreme sports when the Winter X Games return to Aspen's Buttermilk Mountain for another round of slope-side music and mayhem. In addition to thrilling displays of snow-sport skills from competing athletes, 2019's festivities include a top-notch lineup of entertainers, such as Lil Wayne, the Chainsmokers, Kygo, Louis the Child and more. Kicking off at 11 a.m. Thursday, January 24, and wrapping up Sunday, January 27, the Winter X Games continue a proud sporting tradition that goes international this year with an expansion into China. All competitions are free and open to the public (though concert tickets have sold out); learn more at xgames.com/aspen/.
Denver's modern-day cityscape would be unimaginable without Daniel Libeskind, the visionary designer of the Denver Art Museum's Hamilton Building. But that Golden Triangle icon merely scratches the surface of the world-renowned starchitect's influential body of work. Esteemed creator of the Royal Ontario Museum’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal Building and Berlin's Jewish Museum, Libeskind espouses a cross-disciplinary approach to his medium and endeavors to design structures that even laypeople can appreciate. Follow Libeskind's improbable journey from a homeless child of Polish Holocaust survivors to the toast of the design world at a signing and discussion of his new book, Edge of Order, at 6 p.m. Thursday, January 24, at the DAM. Visit denverartmuseum.org or dial 720-913-0130 to join the lengthy waiting list for this sold-out event.
The Cold War is over, but some world leaders still seem to be on the verge of pushing the Red Button. To draw awareness to the nuclear industry, as well as issues faced by communities near the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s Nuclear Nexus collective hosts a monthly Atomic Film Series at Naropa University. In January, you can watch what might be the scariest horror flick you’ve ever seen when the series presents The Day After, a 1983 ABC made-for-television flick that chronicles — in Technicolor detail — a fictional nuclear apocalypse in the American heartland. Attend the free screening at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 24, in Sycamore Hall, Room 8130, at Naropa, 2130 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder; learn more on the Atomic Film Series page on Facebook.
After a hiatus, Boulder’s quirky Square Product Theatre is up and running again, with a couple of inventive shows lined up for winter and spring. First up is innovative London-based playwright Greg Wohead’s Celebration, Florida, an engaging work in which Wohead wraps his magic around the idea of reclaiming loved ones and moments from the past through a surrogate. With a cast of two unrehearsed actors that changes daily, Wohead forces spontaneous performances, with a pre-recorded narrative delivered to the rotating players through headphones. Celebration, Florida opens with Hattie Hodes and Emma Simoneau at 7:30 p.m.Thursday, January 24, at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan Street, and runs through February 2 before moving to the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder for five performances beginning February 6. Find more information and tickets, $15 to $24, at squareproducttheatre.org/upcoming.
Two Los Angeles-area gang members from opposing factions found common ground over cooking, and the result was peace — and Trap Kitchen. Malachi "Chef Spank" Jenkins and Roberto "Sous Chef News" Smith are bringing their Compton brand of culinary magic to Rock Steady, 2100 Curtis Street, from 8 to 11 p.m. on Thursday, January 24. Two options are available: a buffet dinner for $30, or the Trap Kitchen Full Meal Deal Bundle, which includes dinner, the Trap Kitchen cookbook and a T-shirt for $75. Get your tickets at eventbrite.com under "Trap Kitchen Cookout Tour." Menu details are limited, but expect a combination of soul food and L.A. street eats.
Dazzling light shows have been a mainstay of the concert circuit for decades, but they’ve mostly been used by huge acts that can pack an arena or amphitheater. Now, visual artists Andrew Innis, CODO Productions, Andy Ai, Jurassic Netz, Mothpowder Light Show and Strange Oscar are bringing their light art to the small stage at Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway, for Endless Feedback Volume 1. Starting at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, January 24, the light shows will play alongside live scores from local bands including Eldren, King Eddie, American Grandma and Ramakhandra. Tickets are $7; for more information, go to the Syntax Physic Opera Facebook page.
Friday, January 25
Off-Broadway hit I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change — which has been translated into at least seven languages and has remained in near-constant production since premiering in 1995 — is about to make another run at the Mile High City. Replete with classic songs such as "Satisfaction Guaranteed," "A Stud and a Babe" and "The Lasagna Incident," the show is every bit as catchy as it is relatable, which likely accounts for its longevity. Presented by the Equinox Theatre Company players, Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts's tuneful tales of romantic travails take up residence at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, from Friday, January 25, through Saturday, February 16; all shows start at 7:30 p.m. Buy tickets, $22 to $25 ($30 at the door), at brownpapertickets.com.
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company goes classic in 2019 with a big, lush serving of romance — Tolstoy-style, in Tsarist Russia — when a stage adaptation of Anna Karenina by Kevin McKeon opens for previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 25, at the Stage Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Directed by company helmsman Chris Coleman, who draws out the tearjerker tale of forbidden love to its full potential, Anna Karenina runs through February 24; find showtimes and tickets, starting at $30, at denvercenter.org.
The Sie FilmCenter’s Scream Screen series returns on Friday, January 25, for a mini-retrospective showcasing films from one of the horror genre’s, um, brightest faces: Tobe Hooper, best known for such shockers as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist. Welcome to the Funhouse: A Birthday Slash-ebration of Tobe Hooper starts with a bang — or a buzz — with a Chainsaw double-header and pre-show Hooper birthday party in the Sie's Henderson Lounge on Friday, January 25 (party at 8 p.m., films at 9:30). Led, as always, by Scream Screen horror-meister Theresa Mercado, the series continues every Friday at 9:30 p.m. through February 22 at the Sie, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Admission is $12 to $15 for the Chainsaw double feature and $7 to $11.50 for subsequent screenings; get tickets and more information at denverfilm.org.
It’s Stock Show season, a time for Western-themed after-hours diversions — like the Clocktower Cabaret's Thornton & Dolly's Wild West Revue: Cowpokes and Circus Folk, a re-creation of the vaudeville shows of the Old West, complete with aerial feats, ropers, riders, dancers, fiddlers and even some outlaws. Stock Show visitors on their way out of town can catch the Friday, January 25, performance at 11 p.m. at the Clocktower, 1601 Arapahoe Street; those sticking around can attend repeat performances on February 22 and March 22. Learn more and buy tickets, $28 to $40, at clocktowercabaret.com.
Saturday, January 26
The middle-school students in the nonprofit Landmark Academy at Reunion Comic Book Club usually gather after school to indulge their passion. But once a year, the group pulls together MiniCon, a kid-sized comic convention with something for everyone, from cosplay and costume contests to a comic swap and Pokémon tournament, as well as artist and merchant tables. It’s all free on Saturday, January 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Landmark, 10566 Memphis Street in Commerce City; find more details at the Landmark Comic Book Club Facebook page.
Soul Stories, an organization known for its experiential community storytelling gatherings, invites you to join in and get down with your neighbors for some meaningful exchanges at A Seat at the Table: How Denver Is Changing, a program tailored to getting folks talking about issues plaguing our city. Don’t expect to be passive at this event: Bring your personal stories and thoughts to share on Saturday, January 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at New Legacy Charter School, 2091 Dayton Street in Aurora. Learn more about this and other events on the Soul Stories Facebook page.
Waiter, there's a bug in my beer! At Cerveceria Colorado, 1635 Platte Street, that bug is from Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, Colorado's only edible-insect farm, and it's supposed to be there. At least, that will be the case on Saturday, January 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., when the brewery presents its Beer & Bug Pairing, with three brews, three kinds of edible insects, and other food from Comida, one of the city's top taquerias. Tickets are $20 in advance at nightout.com, $25 at the door.
The Corn Mother, who made the corn grow in ancient legends, represents the fundamental nurturing of creativity. Therefore, when we honor modern Corn Mother figures like Denver folklorists and storytellers Rita Wallace and Lois Burrell, it’s a shout-out for their work preserving cultural narratives. Both Wallace and Burrell will be present on Saturday, January 26, from noon to 4:30 p.m. at a Tribute to Denver’s Corn Mothers, a full afternoon of cultural activities, performances, food sampling and workshops for all ages at the Denver Public Library's Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales branch, 1498 Irving Street. Admission is free; learn more at the Tribute to Denver Corn Mothers Facebook page.
The aim of the Center for Colorado Women's History at the Byers-Evans House Museum is all about documentation of the past as a pathway to the future for women in the state. The center not only maintains an inspirational gallery showcasing women who’ve made waves throughout Colorado history, but also offers memoir workshops and funds a Women’s History Fellowship for three recipients each fall. Meet last year’s crop — historian Kelly Rogers Denzler, writer Kali Fajardo-Anstine and oral-history videographer Natalia Zreliak — at a CCWH Fellowship Panel, where they’ll discuss their culminating projects, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, January 26, at the Byers-Evans House, 1310 Bannock Street. RSVP in advance at 303-620-4933, and get more information on the Center for Colorado Women's History Facebook page.
For three years, Vic N' the Narwhals have been gigging around town, building a fan base and perfecting a sound that evokes surf rock, the Doors and the spaghetti-Western scores of Ennio Morricone. The group has mixed punk, cumbia and Spanish pop for its debut full-length album, Lágrimas de Agave (Tears of Agave), to create an original sound that should inspire other Denver performers. Vic N' the Narwhals will celebrate the new album at 7 p.m. Saturday, January 26, at the Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer Street; Colfax Speed Queen and the Corner Girls will open. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door; get yours at themarquistheater.com.
Sunday, January 27
In 1963, when Denver singer-songwriter Jim Broyles was a child, tunnels leading to a coal mine in Pennsylvania some 300 feet underground collapsed, trapping three miners in what appeared to be a hopeless situation. In Davey, Do You See the Light, Broyles recounts the harrowing tale, which he says touched his life "very directly," in a radio drama-style musical, harking back to the days when families would gather around their RCA radios and use their imaginations to visualize the tales they were hearing. Broyles says he has "woven the story into a tapestry of poetic verses and thirteen original songs that combine a Shakespearean drama with the music of Americana." Get back to this country's roots at 7 p.m. Sunday, January 27, in Swallow Hill Music's Tuft Theatre, 71 East Yale Avenue; tickets are $15 to $17 at swallowhillmusic.org.
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Monday, January 28
Sync up with boy-band royalty when Justin Timberlake hits the Pepsi Center stage at 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 28. The erstwhile Mouseketeer/NSYNC heartthrob/Saturday Night Live jokester will be crooning tunes in support of his Man of the Woods album, among others. A genre-melding blend of R&B, funk, Americana and soul, Timberlake's latest effort showcases his vocal versatility and cements his place in the pop canon. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $49.50 to $250 at altitudetickets.com. Visit justintimberlake.com to learn more about the tour.
Freak Train is an apt name for the freewheeling open-mic variety show that brings out the wild side of Denver's creative community at the Bug Theatre every month. Billed as the city's longest-running open stage, it's a haven for comedians, storytellers, poets and various unclassifiable performers, never failing to display a wealth of local talent. Defy mundane Monday nights when Freak Train pulls into the Bug station at 3654 Navajo Street on Monday, January 28; sign-up begins at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8. Admission is $5 at the door for performers and audience members alike; visit the Bug Theatre Facebook page to learn more.
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