As winter approaches, events around town guarantee that you will eat, drink and be very, very merry. In the days ahead, you can dance, dream and even do good. Keep reading for the 21 best events this week.
Tuesday, December 11
WestFax Brewing, 6733 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood, will host a California Camp Fire Brewery Benefit along with seven other Colorado breweries from 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, December 11. A limited-edition Crowler can will be released for purchase with beers from each brewery involved. "The can artwork was painted as an homage to the tragic California Camp Fire by local Colorado artist David Heath and was donated for this event’s cause," Westfax says. The participating breweries — WestFax, Great Divide Brewing, Copper Kettle Brewing, Joyride Brewing, Westbound & Down Brewing, Hogshead Brewing, 4 Noses Brewing and Woods Boss Brewing — are each donating thirty Crowlers' worth of beer for the fundraising cause. Find more information at westfaxbrewingcompany.com.
In a world where electronic-music producers and DJs have tethered themselves to predictable beats and samples, finding an artist who is both experimental and compelling to listen to has become increasingly difficult. The prolific Denver underground artist Lipglo$$ fills that bill. Leaping across genres, from trance to electro-pop, techno to emo and indie rock, the artist pushes boundaries to create music that also tips its hat, at least lyrically, to radio-friendly hip-hop. Sample it yourself when Lipglo$$ and Sad Nois take the stage at Seventh Circle Music Collective, 2935 West Seventh Avenue, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 11. Donations, $7 to $10, will be accepted at the door; find more information at 7thcirclemusiccollective.org.
Wednesday, December 12
Labor advocacy group Colorado Jobs With Justice has been rabble-rousing for workers in this state for thirty years, forming alliances with unions, community activists, faith groups and students. To celebrate those three decades of work, the nonprofit is throwing 30 Years of Worker Power from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12, at Improper City, 3201 Walnut Street. The shindig will include food, drinks, satirical skits and the annual Scrooge of the Year award, in which the group honors/besmirches a particularly greedy, nefarious person or group that has been out to get workers all year long. Find tickets, $30, at the Colorado Jobs With Justice Facebook page.
Looking ahead into 2019, Buntport Theater will launch a new series with a twist: The Peas and Carrots will pop up as a “side dish” midway through each run of its 2018-2019 slate of plays, combining an unorthodox talkback in a talk-show format with a pop-cultural, documentarian slant. The first segment dissects Buntport's current production, Coyote. Badger. Rattlesnake., from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12, at 717 Lipan Street. Admission is $8; learn more and reserve your ticket at buntport.com.
Thursday, December 13
The ladies of Lowbrow, the offbeat emporium for glitter, coloring books, street art and collectible toys, are closing up shop after more than six years on Broadway in Baker, but their Pintastic enamel-pin show and sale will live on as a pop-up, just in time to shop for stocking stuffers and friendship gifts. As a new and more freewheeling entity, Lowbrow will bring an array of affordable pop-culture pins to Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street, on Thursday, December 13, from 5:30 to 10 p.m.; better yet, the shop has plans to now pop up for Pintastic quarterly, rotating between Ratio and Fort Greene. Stick that in your lapel and jump for joy! Admission is free; learn more at the Lowbrow Denver Facebook page.
Smart thrift shopping requires a special knack for rooting out the gold from the dross, and some of us could probably use a few lessons, in particular when setting out to build a saucy holiday-party wardrobe for fewer bucks. To that end, the Goodwill store at 21 South Broadway will give you a richer, curated pot to choose from, plus expert help from a team of thrift bloggers and social-media pros who know their way around a secondhand rack, for Shop & Share, a guided treasure hunt on Thursday, December 13, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Hell, you might even find an ugly sweater or two. Admission is free, but an RSVP is appreciated (e-mail email@example.com); learn more at goodwilldenver.org/shop/thrifting-denver.
’Tis the season for white elephant parties, and we're anticipating a particularly artful version at Leon's first annual Kitschmas Party. This fundraiser for the gallery run by Eric Dallimore and Eric Nord not only includes a gift exchange of white-elephant "kitsch art," but also a cookie-decorating station and complimentary cocktails, beer and wine. And cookies, of course. The fun runs from 8 to 11 p.m. on Thursday, December 13, at Leon, 1112 East 17th Avenue, where you can also see the current show by Cymon Padilla. Admission is $25 (plus your white elephant); find out more at leongallery.com.
The storytelling series Mortified has had enormous success, with shows in multiple cities and even a Netflix special. And at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 13, some of Denver’s funniest comics will join the fray, offering up a mix of embarrassing ephemera, from childhood love poems written for a hamster to a sixth-grader’s erotic fiction to some prurient Disney-themed art sure to make the crowd cringe — in a good way. The local Mortified event takes place at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue; tickets are $16 in advance and $20 at the door. Learn more at getmortified.com/live.
Friday, December 14
It’s bordering on twenty years since old-school graphic design and typography wizard Rick Griffith put down stakes at his quirky DIY letterpress stronghold and storefront shop MATTER in the Ballpark neighborhood, and almost that long since Griffith instigated his annual holiday party and sale. The boozy affair includes world-famous fish-tank mojitos, curated jukeboxes and a one-of-a-kind gift and print sale (priced from $15 to $50). This year’s Party and Print + Gift Sale will offer offbeat, design-forward treasures from afar and a load of new books on Friday, December 14, from 6 to 11 p.m. at MATTER, 2134 Market Street. Here’s where to shop for your downtown friends; find more information on the event at the Matter Denver Facebook page.
Orchestral grandeur and Fezziwig-worthy festivities await when the Colorado Symphony's perennially popular Colorado Christmas returns to Boettcher Concert Hall with another stocking full of holiday staples. Conductor Christopher Dragon leads vocalist Devin DeSantis, the Colorado Children's Chorale and the Colorado Symphony's choral and instrumental ensembles through performances of Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols, the modernized "Hallelujah Chorus," Bob Christianson and Gary Anderson's Too Hot to Handel, and classics like "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," among others, in a series of performances throughout the weekend. Dragon's merry band of musicians jingles its first bell at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 14, and returns for encore performances at 2:30 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 15, and 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 16. Boettcher Hall is in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; go to coloradosymphony.org for tickets, $20 to $99, and more information.
Because even the most ardent activists take time to enjoy the better pieces of the holiday season, a coalition of Colorado nonprofits and political organizations have joined with the Mercury Cafe to host the Resistmas Holiday Celebration, a chance to mingle with folks of the same mindset — and their families — to celebrate the fact that the local “resistance family” is still standing and gearing up for another year of fighting the good fight. Show up for a party for everyone on Friday, December 14, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Merc, 2199 California Street, and bring either a dish representing your culture to share or a new, unwrapped-toy donation for a progressive organization that's TBA; find more information at mercurycafe.com.
Best of Denver award winner Lunar Fire will bring its Tribal Cirque, a spectacular circus-style performance including dancers, aerialists and musicians, to Cervantes' Other Side, 2637 Welton Street, on Friday, December 14. The group will jam at the nexus of hip-hop, electronic and jam music during “A Mid Winter Nights Dream,” a program that boasts new material from the soon-to-drop album Dreamspell. Expect wild visuals, extreme theatrics, audience participation and a dance party, with more music from Cualli, MAGNETIK and Precious Hill. Tickets to the 9 p.m. show are $12 in advance at cervantesmasterpiece.com and $15 at the door.
Saturday, December 15
If Festivus — that anti-Christmas holiday that Seinfeld gave to the world — scratches you where you itch, head to the Denver Beer Festivus on Saturday, December 15. From 3 to 6 p.m., dozens of Denver breweries will show off their best brews in honor of Frank Costanza's favorite holiday, with such traditions as the Feats of Strength interpreted here by Lucha Libre & Laughs, a live showing of all your best Airing of Grievances, food trucks and more. Tickets are going fast, but visit denverbeerfestivus.com to get your hands on a GA pass ($40) or a Feats of Strength ticket ($65) that includes early access and a festive koozie. And don't forget to submit your best grievances (which you can do anonymously, but where's the fun in that?). The party full of bare poles and shame takes place at the Denver Sports Castle, 1000 Broadway.
Pub-crawl toward a better tomorrow at 12 Bars of Charity, a fundraising tour through some of downtown Denver's finest drinkeries. Founded six years ago in St. Louis, the event inspired barfly benefactors to mount like-minded events in cities around the U.S. and has raised more than $350,000. Give back and drink up while wandering through a boozer's dozen of Denver's most inviting watering holes from 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, December 15; check-in is at the Sports Column, 1930 Blake Street. One-third of the $30 registration fee goes toward a local "charity team" of a participant's choice, including the Dumb Friends League, Special Olympics Colorado and Food Bank of the Rockies; visit 12barsofcharity.com to register and find out more.
If the party’s outdoors in the middle of December in Denver, you can bet it will sport an outdoorsy holiday theme. Such is the case for Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse’s ’80s Snowpants Party + Shop & Show in the Snow, which blends adventure-film screenings from Teton Gravity Research, a Winter Adventure Market with fresh gear, homegrown craft cocktails, food, a photo booth, on-site ski waxing, local art and an ’80s-gear costume contest. So bundle up in your best neon and get down to Ironton, 3636 Chestnut Place, on Saturday, December 15, from 3 to 10 p.m.; admission is just $5 (waxes are $15 extra) at rinoartdistrict.org or at the door.
Halloween may be long gone, but Denver's 13th Floor Haunted House, 3400 East 52nd Avenue, proffers another gift bag of gasps inspired by the grimmer side of Central European folklore. Krampus, the cloven-hoofed demonic counterpart to jolly old Saint Nicholas, headlines an evening of snowbound terrors that enlists Jack Frost — another one of yuletide's most menacing figures — at the second annual Krampus: A Haunted Christmas, a ghoulish gauntlet that proves just how creepy Christmastime can be. Supplanting visions of sugar plum fairies with frostbitten scaries, the interactive holiday haunt is an all-ages affair, though parents of nightmare-prone children might want to steer clear. Timed sessions begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, December 15, at 13th Floor; buy tickets, $27.99 to $47.99, at krampushauntedchristmas.com.
You’ll have to wait until April for the next Denver Independent Comic & Art Expo, but in the meantime, DINK gives a nod to the season with a tradition: the DINK Take Art Leave Art Holiday Party, a gathering for local comic artists and anyone else who can doodle, to share their work in a fair and congenial exchange. The premise? Just as the name says: Bring an original piece of art, hang it on the wall, and take someone else’s masterpiece in return. New friendships are made and everyone leaves happy, but not before selfie ops with Krampus, a round of White Elephant Black Jack and a whirl around the dance floor. Join the fun on Saturday, December 15, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Cabal Gallery, 1875 South Broadway; admission is free, and DINK will be collecting donations of kid-friendly comic books for Native youth at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Find more information at dinkdenver.com.
Drunk Christmas, Audacious Theatre's boozy spin on A Christmas Carol is back for another round over the next two weekends. Audience members are encouraged to drink and make merry with the drunken cast of the show, watching as returning actors Logan Custer, Joey Laughlin, Ren Manley, Andrew Norman and Elizabeth Porter teach Scrooge a lesson about the meaning of Christmas and all of its "spirits." Audacious will be pouring out performances at 8 p.m. Saturday, December 15, and Sunday, December 16, at Fiction Beer Company, 7101 East Colfax Avenue, then moving the show to Grandma's House at 1710 South Broadway the weekend before Christmas. This is a fundraiser for the theater company, and reserved seats are $15, but pay-what-you-can spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Find out more and reserve your place at audacioustheatre.com.
Sunday, December 16
Vinyl lovers, get ready for heaven. The Boulder County Record Show takes over the Boulder County Fairgrounds, Barn A, 9595 Nelson Road in Longmont, on Sunday, December 16, giving spin doctors all day to browse vinyl, LPs, 33s, 45s, tapes, CDs and equipment from dealers around the area. Early-bird shopping, which costs $10, starts at 9 a.m., but if you’re not after the rarest of picks, show up at 10 and pay just $3 to get in. For more information, go the Boulder County Record Show Facebook page.
Is traditional Christmas music just too nice for your ears? Consider stopping by Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway, from 3 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 16, for A Cacophonous Christmas — a holiday noise-music extravaganza. The day’s events include sound paintings by the Noise Gallery, black MIDI music by Cloudless Rain, electronic sample-based musique concrète from www.com and an experimental performance from Din Virulent & Mahou Odd Genie & Norm L. Princess. Will there be caroling? Probably not. Candy? Absolutely. For more information about this free and very noisy concert, go to facebook.com/MutinyInformationCafe.
Monday, December 17
Tired of shopping around? Let the stores come to you at the second annual Mistletoe Marketplace on Monday, December 17, when Halcyon, the posh hotel at 245 Columbine Street, hosts some of Cherry Creek's premier boutiques from 6 to 8 p.m. You'll be able to browse through items from more than twenty local retailers (all of whom will be offering giveaways), knocking off everyone on your list while also indulging in seasonal treats and a complimentary drink at the otherwise cash bar at the Ballroom at Halcyon. And if you really want to splurge, you can grab a "Merry & Bright" package for yourself, a Halcyon stocking stuffed full of deals. For more information on that or the free marketplace, go to halcyonhotelcherrycreek.com.
In order for an event to be considered for 21 Best, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or 969 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.