We've left 2020 in the dumpster: Time for a new start. You can take a virtual class, watch a virtual show...or venture out into the great outdoors. This weekend, there are intriguing events in and around downtown Denver, or you can venture even farther afield and enjoy a First Day Hike. (Remember: It's also First Friday.)
But before you head out (or as you head online), sign up for the Winter of Reading, the Denver Public Library's adult equivalent of the Summer of Adventure, except it's designed for adults. There are two months of activities ahead; find out more here
Keep reading to book more adventures, many of them free:
MCA Denver Penny Saturday
Saturday, January 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
1485 Delgany Street
Yes, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is open, and, as always, admission is just a penny on the first Saturday of the month. Come see Citizenship: A Practice of Society
, a survey of politically engaged art made since 2016. In response to political events and the current climate, as well as recent art-world trends, the exhibition posits art-making as a critical civic act, and the works exemplify how artists act as citizens. You'll need to reserve your ticket in advance here
Demonstration to Free Julian Assange and Stand Up for Freedom of the Press
Saturday, January 2, 10 a.m. to noon
Speer Boulevard and Lincoln Street
Saturday, January 2, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Broadway and Canyon, Boulder
Julian Assange's extradition trial to the United States was held in September in London; the magistrate's decision regarding Assange's extradition is expected on January 4. Supporters will rally in advance in cities around the country, including Boulder and Denver. Find out more here
Scout Dry Goods & Trade Grand Opening
Saturday, January 2, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Scout, a resale boutique out of Omaha, debuts today in the former home of Buffalo Exchange. The first thirty people in the door on January 2 get a free Scout swag bag; the first thirty people to make purchases on January 3 (Scout's thirteenth anniversary) get a free reusable Scout tote bag. Find out more here
Walter Chaw and Rian Johnson Talk Under the Skin
Saturday, January 2, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Join film critic Walter Chaw and director, producer and screenwriter Rian Johnson (Knives Out
, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
) as they talk about Under the Skin
. The 2013 film is free to watch on the streaming service Kanopy, which you can subscribe to using your Denver Public Library card. The talk is free, but registration is required to receive the Zoom link and password
Mile High Tree
Saturday, January 2, 5 to 9:30 p.m.
16th Street Mall at Welton Street
Last year the Mile High Tree debuted downtown in front of the Denver Performing Arts Complex. This year the 110-foot digital art installation is back, in a different location. Watch the choreographed lights dance to the holiday music, or join the socially distanced line to get inside the tree to see the five-minute program up close. But this is your last chance; find out more and get the complete schedule here
Night Lights Denver
Still from Andi Todaro's "Still #2" from Convention.
Through January, 5:15 to 10 p.m. nightly
1601 Arapahoe Street
Night Lights Denver has been brightening spirits on the 16th Street Mall for over a year, but the new holiday display is something special, full of holiday- and winter-themed work by Colorado-based artists for "the people's projector" that uses the Clocktower as a canvas. The new lineup includes pieces by Estee Fox, Erin Anderson, Steve Smith, Maya Dite-Shepard, Michael Sperandeo, Chandler Bree Dolan, Waveform.exp, Rainbow Militia, ArtToyz, Wendy Shattil and others. Watch for updates here; this free display gets glowing reviews!
The Twelve Dates of Christmas
Through Sunday, January 3
Ginna Hoben’s one-woman, ninety-minute play is fun, flirty, moving but not saccharine, and a refreshing change from most holiday fare. This Miners Alley production stars Denver’s charming and talented Candace Joice and is directed by the equally talented — and charming — Kate Gleason. The protagonist, Mary, is happily engaged and spending the holidays at her parents’ house in Ohio when, purely by accident, she sees her fiancé, who couldn’t come home with her, kissing another woman on television during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Having dumped him and returned to New York, she embarks on a series of painful and difficult dates. Does she find love? Apparently she does, but not necessarily where you’d expect it. Available on demand now; tickets are $18.95 here
CU Holiday Festival
Through Monday, January 4
Bringing together faculty and students from the College of Music, CU’s Holiday Festival has been a tradition for decades. This year the music, comprising holiday favorites and classical pieces recorded over the course of the fall semester, is virtual. But it still promises to bring the joy of the season to your home, where you can listen seated by the fire, wrapping gifts or entertaining the children. Tickets are $20 for individuals, $40 for a household, and $80 for a group; get yours here
Chicano/a Muralism of Colorado
Tuesday, January 5, 6 to 7 p.m.
The last session of the Denver Art Museum’s Mexican Modernism in Context lecture series, a complement to the exhibition Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism
, brings it all back home by showing how the legacy of Mexican Modernism lives on in bold Denver murals depicting ancestral lore of the local Chicano community. Lecturer Lucha Martínez de Luna, curator of Latino Heritage at History Colorado and director of the Chicano/a Murals of Colorado Project, will walk you through the exhibit, pointing out similarities to the local mural movement. Admission is $18 to $20; Learn more and register for the Zoom link here
January Colorado Virtual Distance Challenge
Through January 31
You need the exercise. We all do at this point of endless lockdown, and here’s an incentive: Just in time to tone up your muscles for spring, Colorado Brewery Running Series is bringing back its January Colorado Virtual Distance Challenge, which — if you can believe it — has always been virtual. You log your hours spent running, walking, hiking and biking throughout January (treadmill and stationary bike miles count, as well), and win rewards based on how many increments of 25, 50 or 100 miles you can rack up. You can even register your dog. Fees run from $30 to $135; find info and register at Eventbrite
Know of a great event in Denver? Send information to [email protected]; we'll be updating this list through the weekend.