It's beginning to feel a lot like December, which is why this week's 21 best-events list is packed with all things cold weather, including a hockey game, the Holiday Flea and a screening of It's a Wonderful Life. Keep reading for more things to do this week and beyond!
Tuesday, November 29
Since 1991, Colorado Humanities has honored the contributions of local writers with the Colorado Book Awards. Honoring the highest achievements in a number of genres, including non-fiction, young adult and poetry, the awards helped anoint authors such as T.A. Barron, Linda Hogan, Jon Krakauer and Kent Haruf (who was posthumously awarded for Lifetime Achievement in 2016). Join the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street, as it welcomes 2016 winners Holly E. Tripp, Jonathan Waldman, Lisa Birman, Edward Hamlin, Carter Wilson, Sarah Elizabeth Schantz and Nicky Beer for an awards reception on Tuesday, November 29, at 7 p.m. A $5 voucher will get you copies of the winners' books at a discount and into readings and signings. Celebrate the achievements of local writers and get a closer glimpse of the immense talent in our lovely state. For more, go to boulderbookstore.net/events.
Take heed, hockey heads, and prepare for the Colorado Avalanche to face off against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, November 29. After two consecutive years of watching their team fall short of playoffs glory, fans of the Colorado Avalanche Hockey franchise still dare to hope. Though the team’s record during the 2016-’17 season thus far is among the worst in the NHL's Central Division, the season is young, and the team still has a chance to skate its way to victory. Plus the Avs, still smarting from the 5-1 defeat they endured at their last encounter with Nashville earlier this month, have an ax to grind. The game finds the team in its longest home stand of the season, so hopefully the players can leverage home-ice advantage and remain competitive in the league. The game starts at 7 p.m. at the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle. Tickets run $25 to $395 and can be found at nhl.com/avalanche.
Wednesday, November 30
How to handle this city's homeless population is one of the trickiest issues facing Denver. But here's a way to help that's a no-brainer: Raise a glass and raise some funds at a Holiday Wine Tasting for the Denver Voice. The annual fundraiser runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, November 30, at Marlowe's Restaurant, 501 16th Street, and includes wine and appetizers along with a silent auction. Tickets are $50 per person or $85 per couple, and all proceeds benefit Denver's newspaper for the homeless. Get tickets at denvervoice.org.
Thursday, December 1
“Colorado Family Ski Month is a new celebration this year that highlights all of the things about Keystone that are amazing for kids and families,” says resort spokeswoman Sara Lococo. On Thursday, December 1, kids twelve and under will get free lift tickets when accompanied by someone with an adult lift ticket or season pass. Many of the month’s special events are also free: Visit keystoneresort.com for a full schedule of events, including kids’ gear demo days, free ski and snowboard clinics, snowball launches, meet-and-greets with the ski patrol’s avalanche dogs, and the opening of the Kidtopia Snow Fort at the top of the gondola, scheduled for December 17, at the resort, 21996 U.S. 6 in Dillon. “Definitely check out the Sunday morning chocolate tours with chef Ned,” Lococo recommends. “The resort’s executive pastry chef is known around here as Keystone’s Willy Wonka and gives tours of his workshop where kids get to make their own desserts.”
The Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design’s visiting-artist program continues its year-long lecture series on the theme of “Senses” with a timely talk by Houston artist Dario Robleto, whose conceptual works use scientific research and unorthodox materials to describe the essential chutes and ladders we all encounter in dealing with the human experience. Robleto’s lecture, "Sounds in Outer and Inner Space: An Unknown History of the Human Heartbeat," focuses on the reveal of a new work based on his research into the biological and physical science of the human heartbeat. From there, he takes off into a kind of cloud atlas of interpretations; see and hear his stories unfold at RMCAD, 1600 Pierce Street in Lakewood, on Thursday, December 1. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 lecture, which takes place in the Mary Harris Auditorium. Tickets ($10 for the general public, $5 for outside students and 40 West Arts District members) can be purchased at vasd.rmcad.edu/tickets-robleto.
Amanda Faison, the longtime food editor of 5280 who just left that post this month, will discuss the creation of 5280: The Cookbook at a book signing that includes sample treats and free aprons to the first fifty people to get a book signed. The free event runs from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Tattered Cover in LoDo; find out more at tatteredcover.com.
Friday, December 2
The ladies of Lowbrow Denver, a Baker emporium of glitter and collectible toys at 38 Broadway, understand that we are all big children at heart. That’s why, for this holiday season, they’re lining the walls with denim and sticking up a huge selection of enamel pins designed by an international slate of more than thirty artists. “Some of the pins will be limited-edition, and some are new designs being released at Lowbrow,” says shop co-owner Tymla Welch. “Some designs will have a more limited quantity than others, so we want to encourage people to come out to the opening so they don’t miss out.” The Pintastic Enamel Pin Show opens with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 2; there will be fun surprises, free drinks and photo-booth ops with Photo Bus DNVR. For details, check upcoming events on the Lowbrow Denver Facebook page.
Sure, you could crack open a seasonal ale and do all your shopping at home online. But where’s the fun in that? Mingle with the merry at the Holiday Flea, which runs Friday, December 2, through Sunday, December 4, at the former Sports Castle building, 1000 Broadway, and promises locally made goods from 200 vendors, craft drinks, live music, festive decorations and more. The flea runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday are $5 each, and $30 will get you into Friday’s party — and bottomless beverages. For more information, visit denverflea.com.
Saturday, December 3
On CeeLo Green’s biggest hit, he sings, “I guess he’s an Xbox, and I’m more Atari,” but the hip-hop/soul artist keeps putting out work that adjusts to changing times. Last year, the former member of Goodie Mob and multiple-Grammy-winning duo Gnarls Barkley tapped into our nostalgia with the release of TV on the Radio, with music derived from classic television theme songs. In the past few years, Green has been embroiled in various controversies, including a sexual-assault charge, yet his latest single, “Robin Williams,” shouts out famous comedians and encourages listeners to “laugh the pain away.” Green will perform a DJ set starting at 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, at Beta Nightclub, 1909 Blake Street. Tickets to the eighteen-and-up event are just $10; find more information at betanightclub.com or by calling 303-383-1909.
With its monthly charity events, the All Sacred Foundation makes giving back to the community easy for the tattooed masses. All Sacred Tattoo Studio, owned by eighteen-year veteran tattoo artist Aries Rhysing, brings together ink masters for monthly sessions, the proceeds of which go to three nonprofits: Phoenix Multisport, which helps addicts in recovery with CrossFit, yoga and mountain climbing; Little Old Dog Sanctuary, a family-run hospice for old pets that would likely be euthanized otherwise; and Art From Ashes, a twenty-year-old program that gives at-risk youth the opportunity to be leaders in their communities through art, poetry and self-expression. “Seeing the money we donate being used and seeing it in action is really rewarding,” says Rhysing. Get inked by Rhysing and other talented artists, including Jayce Wallingford, Graham Niles, Sal Tino, Evan Lorenzen and David Robinson, at the next Tattoos for Good, from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at the All Sacred studio, 5846 West 25th Avenue in Edgewater. For more information, go to allsacred.com.
The Boulder Facial Hair Club, which claims to promote “positive facial hair awareness,” hosts monthly meetings for the bearded bunch and, for the past five years, an annual beard-off. Last year’s big hebang was in Denver, but the club is returning to Boulder, where it all began, for this year’s Beard and Moustache Competition. Categories include Mustache (styled or natural), Partial Beard, Small Beard (four inches and under), Large Beard (four inches and over), Freestyle, Creative Beard (real facial hair not required) and, finally, the YEARD, for those competitors who were shaved on stage at last year’s competition. The contest will take place at a smaller venue than those of years past, so the vibe promises to be intimate (you may want to get there early). Get mustache envy from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, at the Bohemian Biergarten, 2017 13th Street in Boulder. For more information, visit the Boulder Facial Hair Club Facebook page.
The Parade of Lights ushers in the holiday season downtown every year, but fighting the crowds in icy-cold weather to get a brief glimpse of twinkling parade floats isn’t everyone’s idea of a festive undertaking. For those who like their holiday celebrations a little boozier (and indoors, to boot), the Parade of Darks is back for its fifth year. Dark beers — from rich amber to inky black — are the focus of this fundraiser for Metro Caring, a nonprofit that fights hunger and promotes food-waste reduction. The beer fest takes place inside the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria campus, 900 Auraria Parkway, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, and boasts more than sixty beers from around the world. Compared with being left out in the cold, sipping one-ounce samples of warming winter beers sounds like a pretty bright idea. Ticket are $45 and can be purchased at metrocaring.org/parade-of-darks-2016.html.
Revel in nostalgia at the 1940s White Christmas Ball, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday, December 3, at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, 11705 Airport Way in Broomfield. This seventh annual charity ball — a holiday must-do that commemorates the Greatest Generation — will delight 2,000-plus guests with “everything from big-band music to World War II planes, cars and props,” says Khyentse George, the ball’s creator. The evening is sure to be a gas, with sleigh and helicopter rides, dance lessons, reenactments of classic holiday films, music from the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, a Vintage Vegas tribute show with Frank Sinatra, Elvis and Judy Garland, and an appearance by the Satin Dollz, a 1940s-themed dance troupe from Hollywood. Tickets start at $75; purchase them online at 1940sball.org or call 720-924-1945.
A conversation about overpopulation doesn’t have to be about doom and Soylent Green; it can also be about sustainability. That was the impetus for the Center for Biological Diversity’s promotion of endangered-species condoms — colorfully packaged rubbers (actually made with a vegan-friendly version of latex) for humans that remind us of the perilous state of the hellbender salamander and other species whose survival has been jeopardized by our heedless breeding. The CBD has handed out hundreds of thousands of the condoms in the past few years, and they’ll be readily available at the release of Benjamin Dancer’s eco-thriller Patriarch Run, in which a madman hoping to avoid an apocalyptic sixth extinction seeks to take down the power grid. Dancer will read from his novel — and the condoms will be free, as usual — on Saturday, December 3, starting at 7 p.m. at BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street. Also on hand: author Benjamin Whitmer (Cry Father).
Dig out your festive knits and red and green attire and join Food Bank of the Rockies on Saturday, December 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the second annual Ugly Sweater Volunteering Party. Lend a hand fighting hunger in Colorado by helping out at the food bank’s warehouse, which serves 500 hunger-relief programs each year. Enjoy post-shift holiday treats, a build-your-own hot cocoa station and a taco bar; trophies will be given out for the ugliest sweaters. Those interested in participating can contact spokeswoman Kristina Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org. The warehouse is located at 10700 East 45th Avenue; for more information, visit foodbankrockies.org.
Winter Park’s 34th annual Chef’s Cup event pits local restaurants against each other on Saturday, December 3, at 7 p.m. in the resort’s West Portal Station, 85 Parsenn Road. “It’s a great introduction to some of the stars of the Grand County food scene, and a good date night out,” says Winter Park Resort spokesman Steve Hurlbert. “In a ski town like Winter Park, we don’t get too many of those fancy nights out, so everyone breaks out their finest duds.” Tickets to this year’s “Fire & Ice”-themed event are $70 for individuals or $120 for couples and benefit the Winter Park Ski Education Foundation’s scholarship program. Heck’s Tavern at nearby Devil’s Thumb Ranch was the big winner last year, taking nods in the Best Entree, Best Dessert and Best Presentation categories. Other defending champs include Wild Horse Catering Company (Best Appetizer and Chef’s Choice) and the Back Bowl Soup Company (Most Creative). For tickets and more information, visit winterparkresort.com or call 970-726-1564.
Sunday, December 4
What’s a family to do when the political climate goes bad and folks are struggling to understand what happened and where to run with it? Sometimes it’s best to just dance. And then you can talk. Denver civic health club Warm Cookies of the Revolution hopes to get people chatting about issues of justice and the importance of community when the going gets rough — but not until everyone goes a little crazy on the dance floor, to live music provided by Bluebook. And because some people are also parents, the party happens at a reasonable hour and kids are invited! The Warm Cookies Boogie Down Family Day takes place at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 4. Show up ready to shake, rattle and roll; when it’s time for the grown-up discussion, the kids can keep on making noise with the Swallow Hill Music Association’s Instrument Petting Zoo. Get all this for a $5 donation at the door; learn more at warmcookiesoftherevolution.org.
Soak in the spooky ambience — and, if you’re lucky, prepare to receive a message from a loved one on the other side — at Denver’s famous Lumber Baron Inn & Gardens, 2555 West 37th Avenue. From 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 4, the historic home invites guests to enjoy cocktails in its festive ballroom as medium Heather Hunter channels the spirits of loved ones and shares information from the great beyond. Tickets are $33 (or two for $56), with the option of a VIP Lumber Baron tour and more time with Hunter for $45 (or two for $80.) Get to know more about a Denver gone by and tap into your own family’s past with this special night in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. See the Denver: Historic & Haunted! Facebook page for more information.
It’s going down at the Watering Bowl, 5411 Leetsdale Drive, this Sunday, December 4, as Primos Pro Wrestling ushers in the holiday season with its Xtreme Xmas smackdown. Former WWE superstar Paul London comes to town to challenge the Primos crew in the ring for an unforgettable Christmastime match. And the hometown crowd will be pleased: Maria James will make her wrestling debut, and fellow locals Sammy Six Guns and Royce Isaacs will face off. These matches are all-ages but can be brutal, so parental discretion is advised. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7. Tickets, $10, can be purchased at the door or at primosprowrestling.com.
Monday, December 5
Kelly Shortandqueer is as amazed as anyone that the Denver Zine Library, which he oversees, has been around long enough to celebrate its thirteenth anniversary. But it turns out that Denver’s DIY underside is strong enough to survive against all odds. “Overall, it’ll be a laid-back event, just a time to get together, love zines and hopefully continue to build some much-needed community,” Shortandqueer says of the Denver Zine Library Lucky 13 Celebration on Monday, December 5, which includes the release of the 2017 DZL calendar (with artwork created by local zinesters) and a silent auction to benefit the library and its longtime space-mate Sent(a)Mental Studios. Wish the DZL a happy birthday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Infinite Monkey Theorem, 3200 Larimer Street; visit denverzinelibrary.org for details. Check out the library itself, at 2400 Curtis Street in the Temple complex, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
When It’s a Wonderful Life debuted in theaters in 1946, studio execs considered its performance at the box office a disappointment. Just goes to show that classics aren’t born overnight. Starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, the movie, about coming to understand what’s important in life, has become one of America’s most beloved films and required viewing for families around holiday time. As part of its monthly film-series partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse, the Denver Actors Fund will show the film, with a special live performance by the cast of Spotlight Theatre’s ongoing stage production of It’s a Wonderful Life, the Live Radio Play, at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 5, at the Alamo, 7301 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton. Get tickets at drafthouse.com.