Colorado Arts Spotlight: Things to know and do around the state Dec. 29-31

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Stick Horses Improv at Peak Improv Theater
(Courtesy of Mindy Miller)
Stick Horses Improv company members at the new Peak Improv Theater in Colorado Springs.

The end of the year brings a new beginning for the Stick Horses Improv company in Colorado Springs as the group opens a 100-seat performance facility, Peak Improv Theater

Ethan Goldman, program director for the new venue, said this is something the company has waited for ever since they started in 2004.

“There hasn't been a dedicated space for improv in Colorado Springs this whole time. People have been performing at yoga studios and stand up comedy clubs and the library. So finally there's a place for the art form to have a home,” said Goldman

The Peak Improv Theater will offer free improv jams, open mics, community art evenings, and paid lessons and performances for kids, teens, adults, and seniors. The space's inaugural show is December 29, with classes and other programs starting on January 1, 2024.

Friday, Dec. 29

You can still catch the last few performances of the world premiere of “Holly, Alaska!” by ensemble members Matt Zambrano and Frank Oden of the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (BETC).

The story takes place in the little town of Holly, Alaska, where the local community theater has performed Holly Daze! for 119 years running. If the actors can keep it up this year, they can enter the Guinness Book of World Records, and show up their rival hamlet of Ivy. But staging a show in the frigid north-west comes with a host of humorous challenges…

Holly, Alaska! Plays at the Dairy Arts Center through Dec. 31.

Telluride MoutainFilm Festival
(Ben Eng)
Telluride MoutainFilm Festival banner on Main St. in Telluride.

Saturday, Dec. 30

Aspen Art Museum's winter benefit event, the Slopeside Soirée, supports the museum’s curatorial and educational programs. This year’s theme is ‘Western Chic and Frosted Peaks.’ With a dress code of winter Western chic the evening will feature live music atop the AAM roof, with Aspen Mountain in the distance.

Slopeside Soiree, Dec. 30, 2023, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the museum’s Rooftop Café.

The Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek closes out the year with special performances by magician Michael Carbonaro. The actor and executive producer of truTV's "The Carbonaro Effect" has been practicing magic since childhood. He studied experimental theater at New York University and performed hidden-camera tricks on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” 

Michael Carbonaro: Lies on Stage – Two shows on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 5 and 8 p.m. at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

Looking ahead to next week, VPAC presents an evening of Telluride MountainFilm Festival picks. The program, in partnership with Vail Symposium, will be moderated by Jim Butterworth. The festival promises an evening of “culturally rich, adventure-packed, and entertaining documentary short films.”

MountainFilm On Tour, Thursday, Jan. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

(Courtesy of Denver Zoo)
Denver Zoo's Low-Sensory Night.

Sunday, Dec. 31

Families can ring in the New Year with a special magic show in Boulder. No need to stay up late for the New Year's Eve bash at the Dairy Arts Center; the event offers an afternoon balloon drop and countdown for the kids to participate in after the performance.

Boulder magic show on New Year's Eve! Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder.

You can find another option for ringing in the new year with the little ones at the Children's Museum in Denver, which hosts its annual Noon Year's Eve with a sparkly ball drop, rainbows of confetti, and huge sheets of bubble wrap (the museum's version of pyrotechnics) for kids to stomp on. 

Noon Year’s Eve, celebrating hourly from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, just off the 23rd Ave exit from I-25.

In Glenwood Springs, families are invited to an early New Year's Eve at Community Center. Entertainment will include Sventastic "the one-man circus show," an aerialist, magicians and stilt walkers, as well as balloon animals and face-painting. The center's climbing wall and ice rink will also be open to all. Visitors can enter their new year's resolutions for a chance at winning a prize.

Noon Year's Eve, Sunday, Dec. 31 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

For those seeking a calmer way to celebrate the passing of the old year, Denver Zoo offers a sensory-friendly presentation of Zoo Lights on Dec. 31. Crowds will be smaller, music will be softer and strobe effects will be turned off. Sensory kits will also be available for check out for those who want them.

Zoo Lights sensory friendly night, Sunday, Dec. 31, 5 to 10 p.m. (last entry at 7:30) at the Denver Zoo.

Denver's official New Year's Eve festivities include the popular fireworks over the 16th Street Mall at 9 p.m. and midnight, with magicians, mascots, balloon artists, stilt walkers, comedians and more to entertain the crowd. Public transportation to the show is free; RTD is waiving fares on bus and rail service from 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 7 a.m. the next morning.

Denver’s 22nd annual New Year’s Eve fireworks downtown, from 9 p.m. to midnight along the 16th Street Mall.

Other arts and culture events around Colorado

Some groups mentioned in the CO Arts Spotlight may be financial supporters of CPR News. Financial supporters have no editorial influence.

How we pick our events: CO Arts Spotlight highlights events around the state to give readers a sense of the breadth of Colorado’s arts and cultural happenings, it is not — and can not possibly be — a comprehensive list of all weekly events. Entries are not endorsements or reviews. Each week’s list is published on Thursday and is not updated. Some groups that appear on the list may also be financial sponsors of CPR, but have no input into our editorial choices.