The holidays are behind us, and now we can get down to the serious business of having fun in this city, experiencing all that Denver and the state have to offer. For starters, the Denver Public Library's Winter of Reading is under way, opening up a world of words. And yeehaw! The National Western Stock Show rides into town later this week. Keep reading for more of the best events in and around town.
Monday, January 6
Swoon to sounds that evoke a timeless rural landscape without ever leaving metro Denver when the Sawicki-Shafer-Wisekal Trio invites you on a journey through music and time at Pastoral Past and Present. Curated by trio founders Joshua Sawicki (piano), Jason Shafer (clarinet) and Ian Wisekal (oboe), the concert program includes works from Franz Schubert, Camille Saint-Saëns, Loren Loiacono and more, transporting the audience to a simpler era with classical paens to natural splendor. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 6, at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis Street; for tickets, $10 to $25, and more info, go to dazzledenver.com.
Tuesday, January 7
Marijuana Deals Near You
Have you heard the news? The journalism business faces big challenges, as outlined in a report released late in 2019 by PEN America. At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7, PEN will partner with the Colorado Media Project to host Local News in Colorado: Big Picture Solutions, a panel that includes Alan Prendergast, who wrote PEN's chapter on the Denver media; Nicole Ingui Davies, state librarian for Colorado; Melissa Milios Davis, vice president for Strategic Communications and Informed Communities at the Gates Family Foundation; Donna Bryson, Denverite’s housing and hunger reporter; and Laura Frank of Rocky Mountain PBS. The free program is at the Central Denver Public Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway; RSVP at pen.org/event/local-news-colorado.
In January 2015, American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captivated the world with their effort to climb the Dawn Wall, a seemingly impossible, 3,000-foot-high rock face in Yosemite National Park. The pair lived on the sheer vertical cliff for weeks, igniting a frenzy of global media attention. But for Caldwell, the Dawn Wall was much more than just a climb. He'll share his story following a screening of the documentary film The Dawn Wall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 7, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's Phipps Theater, 2001 Colorado Boulevard. Tickets are $20 for DMNS members, $25 for non-members; find out more at dmns.org.
While the Denver Public Library inspires kids to read in the warmer months during the Summer of Reading, the DPL focuses on adults during the colder months of the year. For a very adult evening, head to Roxy Broadway, 554 South Broadway, for a Winter of Reading Kick Off Party: Night of Comedy With John "Hippieman" Novosad. As Hippieman, based out of Denver's Comedy Works, Novosad has performed in clubs, theaters and bars across the country for over thirty years. He'll perform from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 7, in a free show pushing the Winter of Reading, which officially started January 2. Find out more about the program at denverlibrary.org/winterofreading.
Wednesday, January 8
On March 15, the Denver Art Museum will open Natural Forces: Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington; in anticipation of that show, the Petrie Institute of Western American Art's annual symposium — this year on Wednesday, January 8 — will consider the unlikely pairing of Winslow Homer, known for his depictions of rocky Eastern coastlines, and Frederic Remington, famous for his vision of the American West. Patty Limerick, head of the Center of the American West, will moderate a panel that includes Thomas Smith and Jennifer Henneman of the Denver Art Museum; Diana Greenwold of the Portland Museum of Art; Maggie Adler of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art; and Mark Thistlethwaite of Texas Christian University. The program runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Sharp Auditorium on the lower level of the DAM, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway; tickets are $55 for museum members, $65 for non-members. Find more information at 720-913-0123 or denverartmuseum.org.
Thursday, January 9
The International Sportsmen's Expo returns to Denver for a 44th season with a lot more in its bag than just hunting and fishing info. When the show opens at noon on Thursday, January 9, in the vast Colorado Convention Center, it will debut the intimate Campfire Theater, where you'll get an insider's look at Colorado's non-hunting and -fishing recreational offerings. Sessions include the U.S. Forest Service’s Bryan Fons providing newbies with basics on this state's outdoor activities (2:30 p.m. January 9), and Chris Yuan-Farrell, a senior program officer with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), and Jason Blevins, co-founder and reporter at the Colorado Sun, discussing protecting Colorado’s pristine wilderness while having fun (1:30 p.m. January 10). In between and all around, you can browse through hundreds of displays and demonstrations. The expo runs through Sunday, January 12, and daily admission is $16, with kids fifteen and under admitted free. Learn more at sportsexpos.com/attend/denver.
As winter marches on through the new year, nothing shakes off the cold-weather doldrums like a walk through a tropical paradise. Can’t afford an island cruise? The annual Orchid Showcase, running Thursday, January 9, through February 15 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, might be the next best thing. Wander through dozens of orchids in bloom in the Orangery and Marnie's Pavilion; if you’re a collector, you’ll want to hold out for a Saturday stroll, when Colorado orchid grower Fantasy Orchids will be in the house selling rare beauties from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (DBG members get a 10 percent discount). Admission is included in the regular gate fee; find information at botanicgardens.org.
The 2020 National Western Stock Show Kickoff Parade heralds the annual gathering of livestock and cowpokes as any proper cowtown should: with prancing steeds, longhorn cattle and city officials decked out in Western gear as they march through the heart of the financial district. Furniture magnate Jake Jabs will don the ten-gallon hat as grand marshal for this year's parade, which tips off with a whinny and a cow pie or two in front of Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street, at noon on Thursday, January 9, before heading down 17th Street to Tremont Place. Arrive early to scout out a good viewing spot along the route, and plan on hitting the traditional barbecue luncheon, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Atrium, 1700 Broadway, where chow is available at $12 a head. Learn more about the parade and other Stock Show events at nationalwestern.com.
Aspen kicks off one of its biggest annual bashes, Wintersköl, on Thursday, January 9, with a flurry of activities, starting with Music on the Mall at 2:30 p.m. at the Snowmass Village Mall, then moving on to the Mill Street Mall in Aspen at 3 p.m. for Wintersculpt, in which teams will have 48 hours to create a winning snow sculpture. At 5:30 p.m., head to the Wheeler Opera House for the free Aspen History 101, a crash course in local lore, along with a screening of Aspen Extreme (learn more at aspenhistory.org). The night ends (officially) with a 9 p.m. DJ set by James Murphy at Belly Up Aspen. There's more, lots more, as the fun continues through Sunday, January 12; get the full schedule at aspenchamber.org.
On Thursday, January 9, trailblazing astronaut and educator Susan Helms will land at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, for the next installment in the speaker series "Bold Women. Change History." The first woman in space from the U.S. military and the first woman to live aboard the International Space Station, Helms should have plenty of out-of-this-world stories to share during her talk, which starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, or $15 for History Colorado members and $10 for students; get yours by calling 303-HISTORY or going to historycolorado.org/boldwomen.
Curious Theatre Company, never shy about raising controversies, won’t hold back in 2020. Instead, the ensemble is bursting into the new year with The Secretary, a black comedy with an all-female cast in which women’s-rights issues and the right to bear arms collide over the “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” trope. No rest for the politically weary: The Secretary opens for previews on Thursday, January 9, then runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through February 22 at Curious Theatre, 1080 Acoma Street. Admission ranges from $20 to $50; find details and purchase tickets in advance at curioustheatre.org.
Friday, January 10
Anyone whose snow bro has made them leave Denver at O’Dark Thirty in hopes of “skipping traffic on 70,” take note: When it starts running for its third season on Friday, January 10, the Winter Park Express will depart Union Station on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at an extremely civilized 7 a.m. and deposit you at the base of the resort a relaxing two hours later. The train is scenic, stress-free and BYOB-friendly...if not exactly cheap. (You can also enjoy refreshments in the Lounge Car.) The return train leaves Winter Park at 4:30 p.m., and you can split the difference on your round trip if you want to make a weekend of it. One-way tickets start at $29, and weekend runs continue through March 29; book yours at amtrak.com/winter-park-express.
In 2007, SafeHouse Denver volunteers Brenda and Christopher Volgenau paired their love of the winter ski season with their commitment to giving back, partnering with Warren Miller Entertainment to host a benefit screening every year. The thirteenth annual Warren Miller Film Screening to Benefit Survivors of Domestic Violence is set for Friday, January 10, at Stoney's Bar and Grill, 1111 Lincoln Street; the film is Timeless, the seventieth feature film from Warren Miller Entertainment. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the screening starts at 7; tickets are $25 and include not just the movie, but ski and snowboard giveaways and drink specials. All proceeds go to SafeHouse Denver; get tickets and more information at safehouse-denver.org/news-events/warren-miller.
Experimental music is alive and well in Lafayette, where Zodiak Free Arts Lab West 2.0 aims to re-create the Krautrock ethos in circa 1968 Berlin, when Tangerine Dream and other avant-garde groups conducted sonic experiments for an audience eager to hear the sounds of the future. Industrial punkers Kid Mask, Sean Patrick Faling’s experimental electronic project Distance Research, and theremin artist Victoria Lundy will have at it from 8 to 11 p.m. on Friday, January 10, at the underground venue Confluence Garage, 75 Waneka Parkway in Lafayette. Rewire your listening skills for a $5 suggested donation at the door; learn more at tiertwolive.com.
Saturday, January 11
The Lafayette Oatmeal Festival and 5K Run returns to Lafayette for the 24th time on Saturday, January 11. You'll be bowled over by this family-friendly event, which starts out at 7:30 a.m. at Pioneer Elementary School, 101 East Baseline Road in Lafayette, with a healthy oatmeal breakfast — the usual glop (disguise it with over 100 toppings!), along with oatmeal muffins and pancakes — followed by the walk/run starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Colorado Music Festival & Center for Musical Arts, 200 East Baseline Road. Admission to the fest (including breakfast) is $8 for adults and $6 for seniors or kids three to twelve. Race pre-registration is open through January 10 and runs $25 adult, $20 youth/senior; add $10 for day-of registration (breakfast, which continues until noon, is included with run registration). It all adds up to one stirring experience! Find out more at business.lafayettecolorado.com.
GameWorks, a massive hub of arcade games, board games and e-sports, will participate in the New Year Brawl, in which players at seven GameWorks locations across the country will take on Super Smash Bros., Ultimate and Tekken 7, vying for a prize pool of $7,000. Players at the Denver location, 7950 Northfield Boulevard, will share in a $1,000 pool. Check-in runs from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Saturday, January 11, and the play starts at 1 p.m. Registration fees vary; for more information and to sign up, go to gameworks.com.
Stories on Stage and the creative geniuses at Buntport Theater are pairing up for Crushes: A Buntport Collaboration, the latest iteration of their annual partnership — this one focusing on how a crush on someone sparks the spirit of true love...or crashes and burns in a fiery heap. You can relive the highs and lows of hopeful affection on Saturday, January 11, at 1:30 or 7:30 p.m. at Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive; the show repeats at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 24, at the Chautauqua Community House, 900 Baseline Road in Boulder. Admission at either venue ranges from $15 to $28; get more information and tickets at storiesonstage.org (Denver) or chautauqua.com (Boulder).
If you’d like to dance for a good cause, the Monster Percussion Showcase with Gilly Gonzalez and Friends promises to be a perfect night for you. The percussion group was founded by Gonzalez, of musical theater group Lunar Fire, who prides herself on “inexorably mobilizing the pelvises of unsuspecting audience members." Sound like fun? Her group is hosting a benefit concert with belly dancer Sadie from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 11, at the Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Park Road, in Broomfield. Proceeds from the show will go to Denver-based nonprofit Musical Ambassadors for Peace; tickets, $20 to $60, are available at eventbrite.com.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The long-lived Hannah Kahn Dance Company will spotlight old and new works during Beck and Call and Other Dances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 11, in the intimate Studio Loft inside the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Kahn, whose own career spans more than forty years and who formed the company in 1988, will introduce a brand-new dance, "Beck and Call," and reprise her 1974 work "Spill/Quell" during the six-dance evening; find details and tickets — $25 adults, $23 seniors, $21 students and children — at hannahkahndance.org.
Sunday, January 12
New year, old wardrobe: What’s a girl to do? Gather up your gently worn cast-offs — clothes, accessories, shoes and more — and trade them in for someone else’s perfectly good used pieces at the 2020 New Year's Clothing Swap, hosted by event-maker Michelle Baldwin on Sunday, January 12, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan Street. There’s an instant new you right around the corner, and it won't cost you a penny to meet up with her, though a do-good donation to the Buntport theater company is suggested at the door or online at buntport.com/donate. Find more information on the Facebook event page.
Nerd is the word at Science Riot, an experimental hybrid of education and entertainment. Enlisting accredited scientists to step out of the lab and up to the mic for a show that applies methodical rigor to the mysteries of humor, Science Riot is a great way to get learnt and get turnt. Part of a nationwide phenomenon with outposts in cities from Boston to Birmingham, the show puts a funny face on academic inquiry. Get in on the experiment with Science Riot: Science Meets Comedy, at 7 p.m. Sunday, January 12, at the Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street. Buy tickets, $17, at clocktowercabaret.com, and visit scienceriot.org to find out more.
In order for an event to be considered for our 21 Best list, we need information three weeks in advance of the date. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.