The 21 Best Events in Denver, December 13-19

Cycling, experimental film, holiday markets, comedy and a beer festival: We've got it all in our 21 Best Events list for December 13-19.

Tuesday, December 13

The 2016 version of Celebration! A History of Visual Arts in Boulder (HOVAB) kicked off in September with a flurry of art exhibits, lectures and performances honoring Boulder’s rich creative communities. On Tuesday, December 13, Boulder’s filmmaking finally gets the spotlight with An Evening of Experimental Films, a program of works by Boulder’s very best film innovators. Curators Glenn Webb of the Boedecker Theater and HOVAB organizer Jennifer Heath have pulled together a definitive selection from such inventive celluloid and new-media heroes as Stan Brakhage, Michelle Ellsworth, Carl Fuermann, Philip Solomon, Stacey Steers and many others. The free screening begins ay 7 p.m. at the Boedecker, located in the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Learn more about this and other remaining HOVAB presentations at
Wednesday, December 14

White Rhino Customs and its partners have been wheeling and dealing all fall, with the r[EVOLVE] campaign that both promotes local artists — who’ve been creating custom art bikes — and benefits nonprofits. The bikes are now on display in the Spokes exhibit at the McNichols Building, the site of the final r[Evolve] event, The Art of Cycling, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 14. The celebration of Colorado’s cycling scene includes food, drink, entertainment and a silent auction of the art bikes to benefit the nonprofits. “It’s clear that we are working toward the same goal — to make this city, and all of its residents, amazing,” says Tyrone Beverly, founder of Im’Unique, a r[EVOLVE] partner. Get tickets, $20 to $30, at The McNichols is at 144 West Colfax Avenue, on the edge of Civic Center Park.

Show your love for RiNo at the RiNoMade Holiday Market, which kicks off the RiNo Art District’s campaign to celebrate all things made in the eclectic neighborhood. From 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14, find RiNo-made jewelry, specialty foods and other handmade work at the Holiday Market’s temporary pop-up space at 1315 26th Street, next to First Draft Taproom & Kitchen between Larimer and Walnut streets. Buy gifts for your loved ones and support local artists — and don’t miss the RiNo holiday ornaments. For more information, visit
Thursday, December 15

The Governor’s Residence is all gussied up for the holidays, thanks to the Colorado Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, which has decked the halls of the former Boettcher mansion for the fourth time. This year’s theme is “Colorado’s Kith and Kin,” and the decor in six rooms celebrates some of this state’s sister cities. Free public tours are offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, December 15, through Sunday, December 18; with the money you save, you can buy a commemorative holiday ornament for $30. All proceeds go to the Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund, which helps maintain the building at 400 East Eighth Avenue. Find out more at

It’s easy to criticize the City of Denver for its controversial homeless sweeps and enforcement of the urban camping ban. But what about alternative solutions? A panel of service providers, homeless individuals and politicians — including Denver City Council president Albus Brooks — will gather to discuss the possibilities at Move Along to Where?, at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 15, at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street. Before the moderated discussion of innovative housing solutions, there will be a brief live-music performance by homeless individuals. The event is free; for more information, search “Move Along to Where?” on Facebook.

From the moment you spot the gigantic milk can that is Paul Tamburello’s Little Man Ice Cream, you know it’s more than just another cone-slinging joint. Little Man, across the street from Hirshorn Park at 2620 16th Street in LoHi, is also a community hub, where families meet and greet at special events throughout the year. Naturally, Little Man has the holidays — all the holidays — covered, and you’re invited to wear your most festive nightwear to its fourth annual Pajama Christmas Carol and Hora Around the Menorah, from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, December 15. Sing along with guest vocalists from North High School, the Northside Music Project and the Centennial singers while welcoming your holiday season of choice. Yes, there will be ice cream, as well as hot drinks; for more information, visit

At 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 15, rock the night away with empowering punk sing-alongs at Riot Grrrl Karaoke. This event, held at Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street, will benefit Girls Rock Denver, so be sure to bring feminine-hygiene products to donate to the Gathering Place and buy plenty of beers, since Ratio will be making contributions, too. Then belt out all the Bikini Kill your throat can muster. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.

Friday, December 16

It’s only proper that Mutiny Information Cafe, which regularly hosts readings by local poets and fiction writers, should get around to establishing its own publishing wing. The piratical bookstore’s first release is an anthology of local talent, The Mutiny Info Reader, featuring work by such readables as slam-poetry champs Suzi Q. Smith and Ken Arkind, novelist/journalist Josiah Hesse and singer-songwriter Rachael Pollard — all overseen by multimedia artist and Fast Geek Press founder Charly Fasano. A release party with a solo set by Pollard and readings or performances by several other contributors kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, December 16, at the bookstore, 2 South Broadway. Admission is free; for more information, call 303-778-7579.

One of the first theme shows to take up residence in El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom, James Draper’s Story Time has a somewhat misleading name. Rather than telling stories (see The Narrators for that), Draper’s show calls upon comics to either share their best one-liners or generate enough new ones to fill five minutes. Like building a ship in a bottle or composing a haiku, telling a great one-liner joke requires focus, determination and maybe even a little mental illness. Shakespeare may have popularized the axiom “Brevity is the soul of wit,” but Story Time pares it down to its very essence. Join Draper along with local comics Mitch Jones, James Hamilton, Cody Spyker, Roger Stafford, Harris Alterman and headliner Curt Fletcher for short jokes and long laughs at this edition, which starts at 7 p.m. Friday, December 16, at El Charrito, 2100 Larimer Street. Admission is free, but donations are strongly encouraged. Find out more at

Twenty college mascots are descending on Steamboat for one of the silliest and most amusing events on the ski-season calendar. The Mascot Stampede, a weekend of racing and downhill shenanigans, will highlight such local favorites as the Air Force Academy’s Gyrfalcon, the University of Colorado’s Chip the Buffalo and Colorado State University’s Cam the Ram, pitted against their costumed counterparts from across the country. The mascots will lead a night-skiing dance party on the slopes from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 16, as a warmup for the welcome parade at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 17, near the base of the Steamboat gondola. That will be followed by a full slate of contests, including a snow bike race, saucer pull, tug-of-war, dance-off and obstacle challenge, all visible to spectators from the base area. For more information, visit

Denver International Airport is getting in the holiday spirit, with live entertainment — local choirs, brass bands and dance groups — performing in the airport’s Great Hall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily starting Friday, December 16, and running through Christmas Eve. But that’s just the start of the fun. On December 16, the action will heat up with an Ugly Holiday Sweater Party on the Plaza just south of the terminal, followed by a screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at 6 p.m. Get there early to take a few spins on the Plaza’s skating rink, which is sponsored by United; the party, the film and skating (including borrowed skates) are all free, but you’ll want to buy a few raffle tickets for a chance to win one of eight pairs of round-trip tickets on United. Find out more at

Keep reading for more events this week.

Saturday, December 17

Beer will be flowing during the fifth annual Denver Beer Festivus, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, December 17, at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard in Lowry. The event features beers made by breweries within Denver’s city limits, and 55 of them are involved this year, new and old, large and small, independent and corporate-owned. “This special holiday-timed beer fest is the pinnacle celebration of Denver’s amazing, growing craft-beer scene and the culture that comes with it,” says Two Parts, which hosts the festival. “We start by asking every single brewery in Denver’s city limits to attend. Then we drizzle on some light references to the Seinfeld-created holiday by encouraging attendees to air their grievances, participate in Feats of Strength and pay some respect to the Festivus pole. At the end of it all, this is just a big party designed to get Denver to raise a glass to the brewers and the beer they create.” Tickets are $40, or $65 for VIP; if they aren’t sold out, get yours at

North Denver loves the Bug, Alex Weimer’s refurbished neighborhood theater on Navajo Street, where long-lived shows like Freak Train, locally produced plays, standup comedy and the occasional cat circus all have a place. The Bug is the gift that keeps on giving, and the venue will be celebrating the season at the Jingle Bug Holiday Party, which starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, December 17. But since there’s a show at the Bug proper that evening, the party will be across the street at Pirate: Contemporary Art, 3655 Navajo Street, where you’ll find a festive slate of noshing and entertainment. Wear an ugly sweater for a free drink at the cash bar — and you’ll have an opportunity to give back to the Bug, too, by shopping at a Silent Holiday Gift Auction for great gifts. Admission is free; learn more on the event’s Facebook page.

The Big Air Finals at Copper Mountain on Saturday, December 17, are a big deal: This is the first time the discipline has been included in the U.S. Grand Prix, which doubles as the United States Olympic Committee’s Winter Champion Series and is sanctioned as both an FIS World Cup event and a TTR World Snowboard Tour international-level event. Big air, previously the purview of events like the X Games and the Air & Style series, is slated for its Olympic debut in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the Grand Prix will serve as a starting point for athletes looking to earn Olympic qualification points. “Our crew’s been working really hard to get the big air jump built, right next to the superpipe on the Main Vein run, and we’ve been grateful to get a ton of new snow, just in time,” says Copper Mountain spokeswoman Stephanie Sweeney. “We’re expecting just about all of the best skiers and riders in the world for this one, and it’s a super spectator-friendly event, too, because you’ll be able to see it from the base area in our Burning Stones plaza without a lift ticket, or by skiing or riding down alongside it on our Lower Bouncer run. The view from the American Eagle chairlift as you’re riding up should be pretty sweet, too.” Women’s snowboard big air finals start at 11:30 a.m., and men’s finals start at 1:45 p.m.; both will be broadcast live on NBC. For the full U.S. Grand Prix schedule, visit 

Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, aka RCPM, come out of Tempe, Arizona; the act plays high-energy rock and roll that incorporates elements of mariachi and reggae. It’s party music, perfect for this time of the year, when we need to get our jollies on and warm up a bit. Luckily, RCPM tours the United States every year, and while it hasn’t released a new album since 2014’s The Independent, it has eighteen years of material from which to pull. Roger Clyne’s previous band, The Refreshments, recorded the theme for the hit cartoon series King of the Hill; that band ceased to exist back in 1998, but Clyne keeps the music alive. He’ll be with the Peacemakers at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 17, at the Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway in Englewood. Tickets to the sixteen-and-up show run $25 to $30 and are available at For more information, call 303-789-9206. 

If you think the holidays don’t rock, the Denver Punk Rock Flea Market is out to change your mind. Vendors that specialize in “punk rock culture” will sell everything from DIY and used clothing and band merch to jewelry, comics, crafts and more, while food trucks will keep your belly full. Shop for your favorite mohawk from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 17, at the Glitter Dome Event Center, 3600 Wynkoop Street. Tickets are available at, or grab one for $5 cash at the door. Kids twelve and under get in free. For more information, visit the Denver Punk Rock Flea Market Facebook page.

Six North High School students and PlatteForum resident artist Sarah Gerard have put together the latest PlatteForum show, Dear Mayor Hancock, What Are You Going to Do? The multimedia exhibit focuses on the issue of homelessness and includes short videos, written stories, photography and a 3-D installation simulating a homeless encampment. The opening reception runs from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 17, at the PlatteForum studio, 2400 Curtis Street; it was scheduled so that artists can meet up with their inspiration, the homeless individuals who’ll need to leave in the afternoon in order to line up for bed lotteries at local shelters. “We want the kids to know that art can be an amazing vehicle to get the answers we want,” says Rebecca Vaughan, PlatteForum’s artistic and programming director. Will Mayor Michael Hancock be there to provide those answers? According to Gerard, he’s been invited. Learn more about the organization at

Sunday, December 18

Broken Shovels Farm is a special place: An artisanal cheesery, working goat farm, animal shelter, petting zoo, concert venue and rural pocket of love, Andrea Davis’s patch of land in Adams County has a welcoming spirit that’s as simple as a jam-and-cheese sandwich grilled over an open fire. That should be enough to convince you to set a while here, and your last chance until spring is from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, December 18. At the Broken Shovels Holiday Market, Davis will have fresh cheeses for sale (she promises new, farm-exclusive items) to help you get ready for a houseful of hungry people. But more important, every purchase you make will help keep the farm and animals going over the winter months. Come out for an afternoon, snap a photo with Barley the cow, and have a good time! Learn more at The farm is at 8640 Dahlia Street in Commerce City.

Still looking for something special for that special someone? Maybe you need a little magic. Head for the second floor of the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, where the Witch Collective’s Midwinter Market will bring together a dozen under-the-radar DIY vendors selling everything from witchy spells and herbal medicine to botanicals and tiny cross-stitched lockets from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 18. There will be drawings and giveaways along the way, and every purchase will include a donation to Black Lives Matter 5280 and Showing Up for Racial Justice. And if you’re really planning ahead, come early for brunch before you shop. Find out more at

The Lumber Baron Inn, 2555 West 37th Avenue, is throwing down for the season with an Old-Fashioned Holiday Festival from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 18. Attractions and activities include live holiday music, local artisan booths, a petting zoo, a backyard campfire and marshmallow roast, visits from Santa and a station for composing letters to him. For parents who have made the “nice” list, bartenders will be serving up holiday-themed libations at a cash bar. The event is free, but the Lumber Baron’s new owners are asking attendees to bring a new item of winter clothing or a gift card to donate to Almost Home, a local shelter that supports families in crisis. Learn more on the event’s Facebook page.

Monday, December 19

Romance and a sense of history are part of what make a night at Bistro Vendôme, 1420 Larimer Street, so special. Looking out through gilt-edged windows onto the brick courtyard tucked behind Larimer Square makes you feel like you’ve been magically transported to France. And on Monday, December 19, that journey includes dinner and a movie: The Hundred-Foot Journey, which tells the story of an Indian chef who casts aside his family’s traditional cooking to become a rising star of French cuisine, with the help of Helen Mirren. Enjoy the film with a three-course, prix fixe menu presented by chef Brendon Flood, all for $55 per guest. Seatings are at 5:30 and 8:15 p.m.; call the restaurant at 303-825-3232 to reserve a spot. Skip the popcorn in favor of some of downtown’s finest French fare. 

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.