The week's best events run the gamut from fun to educational to inspirational. Don't miss a history lesson on Denver through the eyes of this newspaper at Westword Civilization, a one-night exhibit spotlighting covers from the last two decades organized by longtime Westword art director Jay Vollmar and photographer Anthony Camera. If you're getting the protest itch, scratch away at the 2018 Women's March. Keep reading for more of the best events of the week.
Tuesday, January 16
Denver loves great storytellers, and this city is full of them, as evidenced by the serial storytelling nights starring local celebs from the creative community. One of our favorites, Raconteur Denver, will start 2018 like a fitness-crazed New Year's resolutionist with Let's Get Physical, a rousing set of tales from roller derby athlete Meghan Dougherty, circus artist Staza Stone and contemporary ballet dancer Nayomi Van Brunt. After that, Raconteur turns the stage over to audience members in three-minute increments, should you be brave enough to tell a tale of your own. Get physical on Tuesday, January 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street; you’ll have to sign up when you arrive in order to participate in the amateur portion of the evening. Admission is free; get details at raconteurdenver.com.
The GLBT Community Center and the LGBTQ Student Resource Center will shine a spotlight on LGBTQ activists, artists and academics in the new Outspoken Speaker Series. First up: Terry DeCarlo, who served as the chief communications officer for the GLBT Center of Florida in the wake of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting. DeCarlo has been traveling around the world, lecturing about how to prepare for mass shootings and how communities can effectively respond. He will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 16, at the Tivoli Student Union, 900 Auraria Parkway. For more information, go to glbtcolorado.org/outspoken-speaker-series.
Wednesday, January 17
Tethered by Letters, the brainchild of a ragtag team of editors, artists and writers, publishes F(r)iction, supports literature, and fights for literacy with efforts both fun and fashionable, as The Novel 2018 Gala Kickoff Party will show. While the gala will be a big fundraising bash, the kickoff party itself is free, running from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Andrew Clark Photography Studio, 1481 South Gaylord Street. Find out more at tetheredbyletters.com/community.
Ganja Guru Yoga, 2745 Welton Street, and Stillwater Brands will host a private 420-friendly yoga session from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 17, at Urban Sanctuary. Its "indica experience" Wednesday sessions incorporate relaxing strains with power, vinyasa, hatha and restorative yoga for "flow to slow" vibes. Attendance (21+) is invitation-only, but you can register on the Ganja Guru website for class invitations and updates.
Thursday, January 18
These days, it's easy to get caught up in the political chatter about who can enter the country, and from where; discussions about travel bans, extreme vetting and national security are fevered. There's a problem with these conversations, though: They are theoretical for most of us — an exercise in semantics, partisanship and political literacy. Put a human face on your concept of "refugee" at Refugee Voices: An Evening of Storytelling and Q&A on Thursday, January 18. Belong Church, at 1615 Ogden Street, is hosting three speakers who will tell their stories of coming to the U.S. to escape persecution in their own countries. These are people who have made a journey most of us can't even imagine, and we owe it to them to bear witness to their experiences. The free event runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m.; register at eventbrite.com. The church will also be accepting donations on behalf of Lutheran Family Services, which provides essential resettlement services (housing, employment, English classes and cultural orientation) to refugees; visit lfsrm.org for a list of needed items.
Drop in at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities beginning Thursday, January 18, and pull up a chair, any chair. There will be more than enough seating available to view (even some to bid on) the three wings of In SITu, a new flight of exhibits centered around the most basic piece of furniture. The centerpiece is In SITu: From the Artist's Perspective, an immersive gallery where you can view each artist’s work from an actual studio chair; that's flanked by the In SITu: Art Chair Auction in the upper gallery, presenting fifty identical IKEA Ivar chairs transformed by an army of Colorado artists into one-of-a-kind artworks open to bidding, and In SITu: Chairs From Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, an excursion through the temporarily closed Kirkland’s style-heavy chair collection in the theater gallery. The auction starts at 9 a.m. Thursday, January 18, at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; get a closer look during an opening reception, from 6 to 9 p.m. that same evening. Bidding ends March 31, and the exhibits end the following day. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the center's exhibition programs; learn more at arvadacenter.org.
Feeling pudgy from too many Christmas cookies and other holiday-season indulgences? You’re not alone. Meet the rest of your admittedly fat post-holiday community and burn a few calories together at the second annual McNichols Fit Fest, a concentrated three-day extravaganza of health and wellness workshops, complete with a separate kids’ camp and vendor village. Choose from an expansive schedule of workouts in fitness disciplines ranging from yoga to boxing, and sweat it off from Thursday, January 18, through Sunday, January 21, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Full-weekend passes are $25 for adults and $10 for children ages five to eleven at eventbrite.com; learn more and pick your favorite sessions in advance at mcnicholsfitfest.com.
Friday, January 19
If one picture paints a thousand words, Westword Civilization could fill a book. The show of Westword cover art, created by longtime Westword art director Jay Vollmar and photographer Anthony Camera (and, yes, that's his real name), uses our covers to explore Denver's political, economic, social and cultural development over the past two decades, showing how the weekly publication has evolved along with the city. See the rise of Westword Civilization for one night only, from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, January 19, at Vertigo Art Space, 960 Santa Fe Drive. Admission is free...like the paper! Find more information on the event's Facebook page.
According to (potentially wildly inaccurate) estimates, there are about 75,000 wild horses roaming the American West. They've been under federal protection since 1971, and the Bureau of Land Management is tasked with overseeing the herds. Part of its strategy has been to make surplus animals available for adoption, and on Friday, January 19, and Saturday, January 20, you can witness the process yourself at the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Event at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 West 6th Avenue Frontage Road in Golden. Show up at 1 p.m. on Friday to adopt a halter-trained animal, then stick around until 4 p.m. for demonstrations of the saddle-trained horses, which will be going up for auction at 1 p.m. the next day. Adoption fees start at a mere $150, but may go higher during the auction. As with everything run by the government, the paperwork is formidable and the hoops to jump through are many, so if you're going with an eye toward adoption, be sure to visit blm.gov first to ensure that you have a handle on the requirements; apartment-dwelling horse lovers can just go for the show (and then check out David Phillipps's excellent book Wild Horse Country: The History, Myth, and Future of the Mustang to learn more about the country's wild equines).
Enjoy Denver's best comedians in one of the swankiest settings at Hold Please, Productions' Float Your Boat Comedy Showcase at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, January 19. Local comic and producer Terri Barton Gregg, aka the Hebrew Hairdresser, runs shows all over town, but she's seized upon something special at the Lake House at Cherry Creek, 4800 South Dayton Street in Greenwood Village, where the coziness of a mountain lodge meets the gentility of a yacht club. Join Gregg along with emcee Chuck Roy, openers Jack Barton, Mo Vida and Anthony Armstrong, and headliner John Tole for a laughter-filled evening set against a scenic marina backdrop. Call 303-220-5253 or visit themarinaatcherrycreek.com to buy tickets, $15, and learn more.
MCA Denver's final Black Sheep Friday of the season takes place on January 19, and it's sure to be a tuneful and tasty sendoff to one of the arts scene's most innovative events. At Hibachi Mariachi, guests can enjoy a live performance from a Colorado Youth Mariachi Program-trained band while perusing the MCA's collection and munching on grilled treats from strategically placed hibachis. The first hundred 21+ guests will also receive a complimentary brew from Ratio Beerworks, so we recommend arriving promptly at 5 p.m. at the museum, 1485 Delgany Street. The event also represents artsy Denverites' last opportunity to check out the Saber Acomodar exhibit. Museum admission is $5 (free for members), but there's no additional charge for Hibachi Mariachi. Visit mcadenver.org for more details.
Saturday, January 20
Maybe you fancy yourself a great baker, but, alas, you don’t have the skills to match? Here’s a great cheat, where you can merely pretend to be one with the yeast and maybe even walk away with the grand prize: Great Mini Fake Off: The Workshop, a fake competition in miniature at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys for which you’ll fashion dollhouse-sized pastries, pies and cakes from bread clay, then air-dry them and hope yours catches the judges’ eyes. Will you be the “Star Faker” and run off with the golden doll trophy or other prizes? Sign up for the workshop, which rolls out on Saturday, January 20, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the DMMDT, 1880 North Gaylord Street. Admission is $7 in advance at eventbrite.com; registration includes admission to the museum, materials, instruction, refreshments, judging and episodes of the Great British Baking Show, via Netflix. Learn more at dmmdt.org.
The Mile High Swappers ride again! No, it's not that kind of swap, you pervert — this endeavor is strictly a homemade, homegrown trade. The Denver Food Swap is scheduled for Saturday, January 20, and is the place for gardeners, bakers, homebrewers, avid cooks, chicken ranchers and mad food scientists of all kinds to exchange their creations with others who are interested in bartering for handcrafted goodies. Register for the swap at eventbrite.com, then show up at Huckleberry Roasters, 4301 Pecos Street, at 2 p.m. with at least five portions of your delicious victuals. You'll meet like-minded folk and head home with new foodstuffs to enjoy and spark your own creativity. Find out more about the Swappers' monthly get-togethers at milehighswappers.com.
An outmoded psychological term that reflects the chauvinism of men, "hysteria" was a catchall diagnosis too often employed in the subjugation of non-conforming women. A collective of female musicians are reclaiming the word with a series of rollicking concerts sure to inspire mass frenzy and blissful delirium. Join singer-songwriters Liat Sarah, Shelly Rollison, Jenny LaJoye and Jennifer Jane Niceley for Hysteria Vol. 2, as they defiantly raise their voices in song. It all gets started at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 20, at Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway; admission is $10 at the door. Visit the event's Facebook page for more information.
Drew Austin, a young dynamo of an artist, is starting the year by giving back to the community. His new installation, It’s What's Beneath / It's What's Inside, is designed to honor and raise funds for the Wayfaring Band, a Denver nonprofit that provides travel opportunities and adventures for adults who experience cognitive and developmental disabilities. Austin, who served as an artist/mentor on a Wayfaring Band hot springs tour last October, will pay back with a large-scale, multimedia hallway mural on the second floor of the Temple, 2400 Curtis Street; at the opening reception, on Saturday, January 20, from 6 to 10 p.m., you’ll also be able to mingle with Austin and members of the band and buy small prints of sketches and digital collages that Austin created during his Wayfaring Band residency to benefit the group. A suggested $5 donation is requested at the door; visit the event's Facebook page for information.
As the entire Internet will attest, pet videos rule cyberspace, offering needed respite from political rants and selfies. If you’re a dog person, you can now take that fixation on canine antics to the next level at a one-night-only screening of the touring Bow Wow Film Fest at the Boedecker Theater in Boulder. This year’s collection ranges from reels about working dogs from every filmable era to Ask Frank advice columns hosted by the know-it-all French bulldog of Internet fame and a selection of international dog movies; stick around for giveaways and vendors galore. See the dogs in action on Saturday, January 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Boedecker, in the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder; fetch tickets, $15 for adults and $10 for kids under twelve, in advance at thedairy.org, or pay $20 at the door. Proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. Learn more at the event's Facebook page.
In early 2017, women (and men) around the world marched in solidarity, calling on the Trump administration to defend a woman's right to choose, the environment and other causes. Denver's march drew over 100,000 people, far more than organizers expected. On Saturday, January 20, emboldened by a year of troublesome policy making and the #MeToo movement, women will again take to the streets for Denver's 2018 Women's March, which kicks off at 9:30 a.m. in Civic Center Park, at Colfax and Broadway. If it's anything like last year's, expect a long, raucous gathering that will inspire you and foster connections between you and your fellow (wo)man. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water; find more information at marchoncolorado.org.
While the rest of us were slowly coming back to life after another New Year’s Eve, artist Eric Dallimore quietly took over the Understudy arts incubator space with King Me, a hand-wrought installation of wood beams rising from the rubble that’s been taking shape ever since. It’s Dallimore’s response to living through 2017, a tough year for many, and he’s been camping out in the installation regularly, performance-style, adding new pillars to the work. Sensibly, King Me will formally meet the public with a closing reception on Saturday, January 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Understudy, 890 C 14th Street, in the Colorado Convention Center. Learn more at the Understudy Facebook page or at understudydenver.com.
It’s not enough to be an artist in 2018. You have to be an activist, too, as opportunities for the creative class dwindle and cheap studios become a thing of the past. In the interest of presenting a unified art community, a national group called the Federation, led by art superstar Laurie Anderson with co-organizers Laura Michalchyshyn and Tanya Selvaratnam, is calling for artists and organizations across the country to participate in A Day of Art Action on Saturday, January 20, by posting local actions on social media via the group’s website. In Denver, the Tilt West discussion forum encourages local artists to join in and participate in solidarity with other arts communities. Have something to share with the world? Visit wearethefederation.org for a free, downloadable, Day of Art Action tool kit with a submission link and ideas for actions.
Sunday, January 21
Curious Theatre Company does a great job of mentoring talented youth playwrights throughout the year with summer intensive programs and in-school residencies. The fruits of such ventures will now come to life in public with Uprising!: 2018 Curious New Voices Companion Plays, a series of programs spotlighting ten-minute plays written by youth in response to the company’s current production of Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit ’67. Hear from Denver’s next generation in theater arts at three separate programs, all beginning at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 21, Monday, January 22, and Monday, January 29, at Curious, 1080 Acoma Street; admission is free, but you must register in advance at the event's Facebook page. Donations are gladly accepted.
Monday, January 22
Rarely would we encourage you to battle mountain traffic on I-70 if we didn't think it was absolutely worth it. But the 28th Annual International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge is something you don't want to miss. Technical Week kicked off on January 16, during which volunteers helped build giant blocks of snow meant for chainsaws. But have no fear: The real fun begins on Monday, January 22, with Sculpting Week, which lets visitors witness those blocks being turned into gorgeous sculptures (Viewing Week runs January 25 through 29). Head for the hills and learn the true power of frozen water; find more information at gobreck.com.