Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest times of year in the metro area. Families and friends are in town and everyone is looking for something fun to officially kick off the holiday season.
There are all kinds of lighting ceremonies, parades and shopping opportunities at malls and markets to get you in the spirit. But if you’re looking for something with a little more arts or local flavor, I rounded up five activities to give you a sense of how much Denver and the surrounds have to offer this time of year.
A new kind of ‘Christmas Carol’ at Miners Alley
So much of the holidays are about traditions, and stagings of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is one tradition that seems to go back as far as the holiday itself.
Golden’s Miners Alley Playhouse has added a decidedly un-traditional spin to the proceedings by presenting the theater’s own Josh Hartwell’s adaptation.
Directed by Len Matheo, Miners Alley, 1224 Washington Ave., will host “A Christmas Carol” from Nov. 23 through Dec. 23. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 1 and 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Hartwell’s adaptation relies on only six actors to bring Scrooge, Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit to life. The actors use nothing more than simple props, fun physicality and the power of imagination to convey this timeless story of redemption.
For tickets and information, call 303-935-3044 or visit www.minersalley.com.
Tennis at Central Presbyterian Church
One of the most astounding aspects of a large church or cathedral is its acoustics. Organs, choirs and other religious music sound amazing in these spaces. Even a more secular performance sounds fantastic there as well.
One of Denver’s most historic locations, Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman St., will host two of the best Denver-based performers, Tennis and Esme Patterson, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23.
Patterson, a former member of indie band Paper Bird, beautifully blends jazz and folk in her solo albums.
Tennis — a band with the husband-wife duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley — has been slowly building up a following since 2010, when it released its debut album, “Cape Dory.” The group had a great 2017 with the release of their fourth album, “Yours, Conditionally,” as well as an EP called “We Can Die Happy.”
What makes this show special — aside from the location — is Moore and Riley will be performing simply as a two-piece. The two reimagined their songs for a more intimate setting, closer to the way they are written and demoed.
Tickets can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com.
Movie at the Cinema concert
“Home Alone” has become a movie that countless people watch at this time of year. One of the film’s secret weapons is John Williams’ score which, along with some favorite Christmas songs, puts the movie’s soundtrack in constant rotation as the holiday draws near.
To experience the full effect of the music and the movie working as one, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s Movie at the Cinema series will feature “Home Alone” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23, at Boettcher Concert Hall, 1000 14th St. in Denver.
The series features the orchestra playing the film’s score live as the movie is shown — truly a unique experience.
For tickets, visit www.coloradosymphony.org.
Celebrate Hi-Dive’s longevity
The Hi-Dive is one of Denver’s best bars — the kind of place to see fun, local bands of all genres and backgrounds. On any given night, there might be a metal or punk group you can hear on the street, a blues tribute featuring covers of some of Americana’s best tunes, or a Colorado Public Radio-sponsored folk singer.
When it seems as if certain parts of the city are becoming more corporate, it’s important to celebrate the places that give Denver that extra jolt of energy. To that end, the Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway, is hosting a two-night 15th birthday party, at 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23, and Saturday, Nov. 24.
Each night will feature a surprise special musical guest. Tickets and more information can be found at www.hi-dive.com.
Elvis Costello and The Imposters at the Fillmore
A lesson learned over the past five years: Appreciate the performers while we have them. We’ve lost too many legends, from Aretha Franklin and David Bowie to Prince and Gregg Allman, to take anyone for granted.
For a while, it looked like we might lose Elvis Costello to cancer but, thankfully, one of our sharpest songwriters is still among us and performing. He’ll be stopping by the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 N. Clarkson St., Denver, at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25.
At the beginning of October, Costello and his band, The Imposters, released one of their best albums in ages with “Look Now.” The album is literate and dense, and while he may not be as angry as he was when he first appeared on the scene, he’s lost none of his bite. My favorite Costello songs are almost always the slow ones, and there are some stunners on this one.
Don’t miss the chance to see a classic rock icon still doing his thing. Get tickets at www.livenation.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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