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New Year's Eve: Three parties that end well before the clock strikes midnight

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Whether you think of New Year's Eve as a time for parties that keep you dancing into the wee hours, or you're the type who's lucky to still be awake when the corks pop and Auld Lang Syne rings through the town, several events are perfect to prime your pump -- or let you live a little before you sleep. Some early-evening suggestions follow; go to Westword's New Year's Eve guide for a complete listing of NYE parties and events.

See also: - The ten best New Year's Eve shows in Denver - New Year's Eve celebrations: sixteen sweet options

3) Buntport Theater's New Year's at 9 most resembles a party: From 7 to 10 p.m., the company will take a break from dreaming up its next show, Wake (a Buntport deconstruction of Shakespeare's The Tempest that opens at the end of January), to host a fundraising bash that includes dinner, drinks and dancing, with a 9 p.m. ball drop that gives you plentyy of time to kiss and run before midnight. Tickets are $25; visit Buntport online for reservations or see the Facebook event page for details. 2) Art lovers can shmooze at a free, opening reception for CORE New Art Space member Lola Montez's abstract-painting show, Juego, before moving on to the second act. Join the artist from 6 to 10 p.m.; if you can't make it, the exhibit continues through January 18.

See also: - High times in Madrid

1) At the Mercury Cafe, the night will still be young when the annual Erotic Poetry Festival gets going at 7 p.m. An event that's both silly and sexy, it's been a tradition at the Merc for many years, and -- promisingly -- will include performances by the Holly-Bollywood Belly Dancers. You'll be well-titillated by the time you head out the door for new adventures...or Ryan Secrest, if that suits you better. Or you can stay: Visit the Facebook event page for a full listing of Merc New Year happenings . See also: - Blue Horizon Find information on hundreds of other arts and entertainment events in our online Calendar.

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