Playbill: This week's performing arts picks

Cora Vette's Restomod Blacklight Burlesque at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse.
As a break from this weekend's flag-waving and fireworks, wouldn't it be nice to cool off indoors in a darkened theater for an hour or two? Here are some options -- ambitious, naughty or light-hearted, depending on your mood -- to chill with over the holiday.

See also: Dead Man Walking, Central City Opera

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Adam Goldstein talks Artistes Nouveaux and the emergence of the Aurora Cultural Arts District

CJ Nicolai
Adam Goldstein is the curator and a performer in this weekend's Artistes Nouveaux.After spending time living and studying abroad, singer and musician Adam Goldstein returned to America with a newly acquired passion -- performing Irish pub ballads. Unsure he would be able to find a venue in Denver for his catalog of unique drinking songs, he eventually discovered Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret -- which has been his performance home for the last six years.

This Saturday, June 28 at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, Goldstein presents Artistes Nouveaux, a one-night-only Vaudeville-inspired show featuring a cadre of performers he's brought from his entertainment family at Lannie's. Entertainers include Naughty Pierre, magician and mentalist Professor Phelyx and world-renowned burlesque queen Orchid Mei and more.

In advance of the old-time show, we spoke with Goldstein (who is also a Westword music writer) about his desire to bring Vaudeville to life and the importance of showing off Aurora's Cultural Arts District.

See also: Denver's Midnite Martini wins burlesque's Miss Exotic World title in Las Vegas

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Denver's Midnite Martini wins burlesque's Miss Exotic World title in Las Vegas

Categories: Burlesque

Harman House Photography
Midnite Martini is crowned Miss Exotic World.
We've known for a while that we have some amazingly talented burlesque performers in this city. But now, the rest of the planet has been put on notice: Earlier this month, Denver burlesque cutie Midnite Martini (aka Kim Townsend) was crowned Miss Exotic World in Las Vegas at the annual showcase event for the Burlesque Hall of Fame -- an honor no other Coloradan has received to date. (Vivienne VaVoom, aka Michelle Baldwin, won a Sassy Lassy award at the same competition this year.)

"This was my seventh time attending the showcase and my fourth time competing in the competition," Martini says. "And this is my one and only award."

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Michelle Baldwin

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Jordan Wieleba on stealing a copy of War of the Worlds and coming out transgender

Crystal Allen Photography
Reading is about more than following a narrative or learning facts; it can also be a profound shared experience that culminates in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. In that spirit, welcome to the Westword Book Club, a bi-weekly feature celebrating the books that inspire Denver artists.

Jordan Wieleba is a comedian, musician, illustrator, GLBTQ advocate, cornerstone of Denver's comedy community and Best of Denver winner. Recently seen gracing the cover of Out Front Colorado, she also provided the illustrations for the book Sharing the Good News: A Positive Model for Coming Out as Transgender. Westword recently caught up with Wieleba to discuss helpful books for people struggling with gender identity, prescient sci-fi authors and her beloved stolen copy of War of the Worlds.

See also: Andy Thomas on Hell is in New Jersey, Etgar Keret and Shel Silverstein

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MCA Denver selects finalists for Twelve & a Half Days of Xmas LIVE!

Atomic Gracie
The results are in, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver's Twelve and a Half Days of Xmas LIVE! has selected the dozen performers who will rock the museum's modernist atrium throughout the holiday season. The performers each earn a $50 honorarium as they compete for the winning prize of $500, and with acts ranging from the holiday-inspired burlesque of Gigi D'Lovely to the self-explanatory Crazy Gorilla Drummer, the dozen days of Christmas should be filled with all sorts of appealing weirdness. We spoke with MCA director of programming Sarah Kate Baie to hear about how the museum found the acts in Denver's very diverse arts scene.

See also: MCA Denver seeking entries for holiday performance contest (no explosives, please)

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100 Colorado Creatives: Burlesque and cabaret queen Cora Vette

TL Gallegos Photography.
Cora Vette and the Hot Rods.
#42: Cora Vette

Cora Vette, aka Reyna Von Vette, is larger than life, with a big sassy voice, a ribald sense of humor and a sparkly way with a needle and thread, which all come in handy when she tackles her many roles as a burlesque-show hostess-with-the-mostest, costume-maker and show-tune belter. She's the complete package, and when you see her in action onstage, you have no doubt about who's running the show...which she does, regularly, here in town with her own burlesque troupes and on the road at burlesque fests across the country.

Her newest local weekly show, the retro-inspired RestoMod, opens tonight at the VooDoo Comedy Playhouse (see below for more details from the horse's mouth); to note the occasion, we asked Vette to tackle our 100CC questionnaire. Read on -- the lady has a lot to say.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Michelle Baldwin

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100 Colorado Creatives: Michelle Baldwin

#52: Michelle Baldwin

Seems like burlesque shows are a dime a dance these days in Denver. But back in the twentieth century, real vintage burlesque had pretty much died out here, along with the Curtis Street girly shows of a bygone era, after changing times and urban renewal wiped away downtown's tawdry marquees and neon lights. That all changed again in the late '90s, when Denverite and burlesque scholar Michelle Baldwin, aka Vivienne VaVoom, sparked a local neo-burlesque revival.

See also:
- Naked Launch: Burlesque...As It Was
- Burlesquer Bares Brains: Michelle Baldwin and her troupe have peel appeal.
- Michelle Baldwin: I want people to feel like they're part of my party

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Photos: Performers bare their talents at the Colorado Burlesque Festival

Dozens of performers took to the stage this weekend to put their own risque spin on the 2013 Colorado Burlesque Festival. From July 11-14, these skilled performers weren't shy about showing off their assets to the crowds -- and our photographer Christopher Morgan. For more photos, check out our full Colorado Burlesque Festival slide show.

See also:
- Photos: Meet the 2013 Colorado Burlesque Festival headliners
- Photos: Pin-ups and Pasties celebrates the burlesque of yesteryear
- Photos: The women of Burlesque on BROADway

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Celebrate the fourth annual Apocalyptic Ball and help raise money for AIDS Walk Colorado

Norman Dillon
Apocalyptic Ball organizer Briceson Ducharme A.K.A. Ginger Douglas

This Friday, July 12, the 2013 edition of the Apocalyptic Ball -- dubbed The Awakening -- will take over the Denver Mart. A blowout fundraiser featuring dozens of diverse performances from local and national drag stars, burlesque dancers, comedians, musicians and more, the night aims to entertain and engage a wide audience for a good cause.

Denver make-up artist and performer Briceson Ducharme -- known also by his drag moniker Ginger Douglas -- is behind the event, which donates proceeds to both the Colorado AIDS Project and AIDS Walk Colorado.

See also:
- Briceson Ducharme on The Apocalyptic Ball and living with HIV
- Photos: Scenes from Cora Vette's Technicolor Tease at Bar Standard
- How To Survive A Plague: An AIDS and GLBTQ activism film primer

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Photos: Meet the 2013 Colorado Burlesque Festival headliners

Categories: Burlesque, Events

Gravity Plays Favorites is one of five headliners at the 2013 Colorado Burlesque Festival.
The 2013 edition of the Colorado Burlesque Festival is bigger and badder than ever, offering up classes and performances featuring many of the names that put Colorado on the map when it comes to the flirty, coy, artful striptease that's more tease than strip. The festival shows run from Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14; there are also classes, parties and hangout sessions (including free patio events at Lannie's). Find the full schedule at, and keep reading for organizer Midnite Martini's descriptions of the headlining acts.

See also:
- Photos: Pin-ups and Pasties celebrates the burlesque of yesteryear
- Photos: Merry Widow's Artisan Operetta performs a burlesque tribute to Lisa Frank
- Photos: The women of Burlesque on BROADway

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