The Twisted Holiday Tradition of Black Christmas

Categories: Geek Speak

Worst telemarketer ever
Have you ever received an obscene phone call? Deep breathing, moans or lewd suggestions intruding on your otherwise unremarkable day? I have, and it is fucking creepy, even for a guy. My obscene caller was a woman, and she propositioned me for some pretty weird shit, in graphic detail. Despite the supposed willingness of my sex to jump at any offer proffered, I was not tempted. I was really, really squicked out, and paranoid for hours afterward. Was this person watching me? Did they know I was alone? Were they trying to lure me out for some kind of murdery thing? This was even in the days of caller ID, when I could -- and did -- see her number, and was able to block it to keep the creep out. Imagine what that must have been like in the analog telephony days, when you just had to put up with it while the phone company and/or police shrugged and told you there wasn't much they could do. Or stop imagining and go see the 1974 classic Black Christmas (showing Christmas Eve at the Alamo Drafthouse), which uses a series of such obscene phone calls to create unbearable tension and dread for its sorority-house slasher kills.

See also: I'm Dreaming of a Weird Christmas

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Josh Blue on Dave Chapelle, Speaking Wolof and 108 Stitches

Terry Ratzlaff
Josh Blue is a singular talent with an undeniable facility for hilarious riffs that he seems to casually toss off; he also has an uncanny ability to be instantly likable from the moment he grabs the mike. Blue has been a pillar of the Denver comedy scene for years; he broke out nationally when he won NBC's Last Comic Standing in 2006. Throughout his illustrious career, Blue has managed to mine his cerebral palsy for comedic gold; he doesn't shy away from challenging subjects, either. Blue is closing out a pretty stellar 2014 at the home club where he developed his skills. We caught up with Blue in advance of his holiday shows that start tomorrow at the downtown Comedy Works to discuss opening for Dave Chapelle, telling jokes in other languages and his first big film role in 108 Stitches.

See also: Comedian Josh Blue on the pros and cons of being an "inspiration"

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Video Games Come to the Big Screen at Sie This Saturday

Categories: Games

Adam Roy
Casey Elliot tries out the Durovis Dive 3D system at the Denver Indie Game Expo.
No matter how big the TV your Xbox is plugged into, it can't compete with the grandeur of a full-sized movie theater. But from noon to 6 p.m. this Saturday, Denver gamers will have the chance to play their favorite titles on Sie FilmCenter's larger-than-life screen at the Colorado Video Game Holiday Party.

"The idea behind what we're doing is to celebrate video games, Colorado game development, and the whole Colorado video game scene," says Jet Ternlund, the event's organizer and president of the Colorado chapter of the International Game Developers Association. "That's everything from the guys who are playing professionally to people who are doing it in a studio, to independent game developers. Anyone who's interested in video games is welcome to come out."

See also: New Colorado Video Games Got a Chance to Shine at the Denver Indie Games Expo

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Review: Crammed Full of Cartier "Ice," the DAM's Brilliant Is the Perfect Winter Show

Categories: Art Review

Photo: Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection © Cartier
Tutti Frutti strap bracelet worn by Mrs. Cole Porter. Cartier Paris, 1929. Platinum, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies.

Denver Art Museum
100 West 14th Avenue Parkway

The Denver Art Museum has come up with the perfect winter show: Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century, which is crammed to the rafters with "ice" in the form of more diamonds than I could possibly count. Up front, I'm going to admit that I know very little about jewelry (I don't even wear a watch), but I do know a lot about the history of style as it revealed itself in Paris in the twentieth century, and I've got a good handle on the characteristics of fine craft, as well. So if a person like myself, who has little interest in or knowledge of gems and precious metals, found this show riveting -- against my own expectations -- that really says something about how well done it is. And about how good Cartier was during its heyday. The show is a visual marathon, with so many things included that it's downright exhausting. There are some 200 artifacts from the Cartier collection alone, which is maintained by the company, with an additional 55 pieces coming from an array of private collectors.

See also: Review: Memories of Home Get Hazy for Jill Hadley Hooper at Goodwin Fine Art

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Ícaro Editores Salon Spotlights Independent Latino Authors Saturday

Categories: Literature

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia is the editor at Ícaro Editores.
"People sometimes write books and don't know what to do with them," says Arturo Garcia, editor at Ícaro Editores, a small press. "It's a dream to see their work published. A lot of folks who get published, they want to fly with it. I tell them, be careful. Wings may be made of wax, you know."

See also: Arturo Garcia Talks About Broken: The Forgotten Children of Immigration

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Nine Ways to Have a Happy Hipster Christmas

Categories: Holidaze

Credit Westword

Christmas can be a tough holiday for hipsters to navigate. There's all that festive frivolity -- and crass commercialism! Still, it's possible to celebrate seasonal traditions at the same time you recognize all the ironies. Here are nine ways to have a happy hipster Christmas...

See also: Hipster Bash at The Thin Man

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Review: The Familiars Brings a Dysfunctional Family Home for the Holidays

Categories: Theater

The Familiars
Edge Theatre Company

Serious about working with local playwrights, the Edge Theatre Company commissioned a holiday show from Ellen K. Graham, whose enigmatic, razor-sharp How We May Know Him won a Best of Denver award some years back, and who has since earned national recognition. The result is The Familiars, which is softer-edged and more conventional than How We May Know Him but carries some seasonal gifts of its own. The play deals with two familiar holiday themes: the impossibly dysfunctional family whose members come together only on holidays and always with tension and strife, and the perennial idea of a seasonal, heart-opening transformation.

See also:
Best Theater Season 2014 -- Edge Theatre Company

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Mike Nichols: Remembered at the Sie Focuses on Five Films by the Late Director

Categories: Film and TV

Late filmmaker Mike Nichols gets a close-up on his career this week at the Sie FilmCenter.
The world of film has its auteurs and icons, and loyal viewers will line up to see a movie based on a director's name alone. But the name of Mike Nichols guaranteed a film experience above almost all others, with a script that was top-notch and impeccable acting.

Nichols had not just talent and vision, but range. After he helmed two beloved stage productions of Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple at the renowned Neil Simon Theater, Hollywood came calling and Nichols delivered a stunning one-two debut punch with his electrifying direction of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; he also introduced the world to a young actor named Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.

When the filmmaker passed away on November 19, he left decades of work that deserves rediscovery -- and the Denver Film Society is unspooling five of his classics in Mike Nichols: Remembered, which runs December 18 through December 21 at Sie FilmCenter. We spoke with Britta Erickson, festival director (and co-founder of Denver's Curious Theater Company) and Ernie Quiroz, DFS programming manager, to learn about Nichols' legacy and the five films they selected to celebrate this lost talent.

See also: All Aboard the '80s Wayback Machine for Mike Nichols' Good Time Charlie

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Review: Songs for a New World Creates a Noteworthy Evening at Miners Alley

Categories: Theater

Kristen Samu and Jacquie Jo Billings in Songs for a New World.
Songs for a New World
Miners Alley Playhouse

Musical theater takes many forms, and a small, heartfelt evening can be every bit as satisfying as a glittery Broadway effusion. Composer Jason Robert Brown's intriguing The Last Five Years, produced in Denver in 2005 by Modern Muse and at the Garner Galleria in 2008, is an intimate, two-person musical that tells the story of a failed marriage by working backwards through time, so that the woman is seen reading her husband's breakup letter as the show opens, and no sooner has she finished her grief-stricken song than he erupts onto the stage singing joyously about the "shiksa goddess" -- her -- that he's just met. Songs for a New World, an earlier piece first presented when Brown was just 25, has some of the same tone, the same wistfulness and bittersweet worldview, a similar intimacy.

But Songs for a New World -- a synthesis of new work, cabaret numbers and songs Brown had written for other musicals -- has no plot and no dialogue. It's all sung, with each song telling its own discrete story, and all of them are linked by a concept so large and loose it could encompass almost anything: the idea of a turning point in an individual life, a moment of becoming, of either joyous or fearful realization.

See also:
BDT's Fiddler on the Roof Is Reason to Celebrate -- L'Chaim!

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Elitch Lanes to Close on Tennyson in May; Owner Hopes to Find New Location

Categories: Neighborhoods

"If you've been around northwest Denver, you know: The people who come in here are so much nicer than the average person." Cal Eichinger, owner of Elitch Lanes, is already lamenting the loss of his customers. On May 17, after more than sixty years in the Berkeley neighborhood, Elitch Lanes will close up shop. But Eichinger says he isn't done with the bowling business; he's been working in the industry for forty years, and at 63, he's nowhere near ready for retirement.

See also: Best of Westword 2007: Best Bowling Alley - Elitch Lanes

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