Arts and Culture

MCA Denver selects finalists for Twelve & a Half Days of Xmas LIVE!

The results are in, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver's Twelve and a Half Days of Xmas LIVE! has selected the dozen performers who will rock the museum's modernist atrium throughout the holiday season. The performers each earn a $50 honorarium as they compete for the winning prize of $500, and with acts ranging from the holiday-inspired burlesque of Gigi D'Lovely to the self-explanatory Crazy Gorilla Drummer, the dozen days of Christmas should be filled with all sorts of appealing weirdness. We spoke with MCA director of programming Sarah Kate Baie to hear about how the museum found the acts in Denver's very diverse arts scene.

See also: MCA Denver seeking entries for holiday performance contest (no explosives, please)

Westword: How did the selection process work? Do you have a total number of entrants?

We wanted to find thirteen exciting acts to perform at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver every day throughout the holiday season. Performers entered online -- they sent us pictures, videos and a short statement about why they wanted to play in our atrium. We wanted to find a little bit of everything -- some music, some dance and some things that defy easy classification; let's just call them the weird. As the process went on, we watched the total number of entries grow and grow. We knew we would have a hard time narrowing it down to just thirteen acts. In the end, we locked ourselves in our conference room with some Chinese food, a pile of applications and links to the Youtube videos and vowed not to come out until we had picked the finalists. We had to turn down some great acts. But we got a great lineup, too.

Which act do you think marks the most significant departure or new direction for MCA programming?

We are really thrilled to be working with big groups like denver OFF center improv team on December 21, the Denver Swing Project on January 4, and the Ukulele Social Club on January 5. We don't often have a chance to host these kind of large acts in our space. But we love all the acts in the lineup. We couldn't have been more pleased with the quality of the creative work we saw in the entries. Denver continues to grow as a creative center, and people are doing all kinds of crazy wonderful work -- stuff you just couldn't imagine, like Atomic Gracie, who performs electric violin on an amazing, custom-designed instrument on December or Werk Out Palace, a group that describes what it does as "Glitterobics with comedy, intrigue and real sweat" on January 2. The whole lineup is fantastic. I want to give a shout-out to every single performer. Go to our website to see the full schedule.

Did anyone try to sneak any pyrotechnics past you?

I wish! It would have made it easier to turn them down. Nope, everyone followed the rules.

Twelve and a Half Days of XMas LIVE features Denver's weirdest holiday performances live in the atrium of MCA Denver. Performances are held daily from December 20 through January 5 at 5 p.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends. There are no performances on Mondays, Christmas Day or New Year's Day. All events are free with museum admission. Find more info on the MCA website.

Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham