Playbill: This week's Denver-area dance and drama picks

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Gemma Wilcox takes a Magical Mystery Detour at Wesley Chapel in Boulder.
Summer is a mixed bag at metro-area stages, where the local companies entertain with audience-friendly fare, new play festivals and Shakespeare under the stars. And there's more, so what will you see this weekend? Here are a few ideas.

See also: Dance Fever: The Vail International Dance Festival


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Aparna Nancherla on Totally Biased, Australian crowds and avoiding the dregs of Twitter

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Doug Ault
The High Plains Comedy Festival will return next month, and SexPot comedy will whet fans' appetites tonight with another weed-and-jokes pizza party at the Oriental Theater. The lineup is packed with crushers from start to finish: SexPot host Jordan Doll and comics Sean Patton, Ashley Barnhill and Ian Douglas Terry will join headliner Aparna Nancherla for an evening that promises to be a greasy slice of laughter pie. Nancherla is a fast-rising star on the alternative comedy scene whose absurdist perspective informs a wide-ranging act that can touch on everything from the gross combo of orange juice and toothpaste to imperialism within the same five-minute set. Nancherla has appeared on Conan and @Midnight, and contributed several memorable segments as a performer and staff writer to the prematurely cancelled Totally Biased with Kamau Bell. In advance of tonight's show, Westword caught up with Nancherla to chat about about SexPot, Australian audiences and avoiding the dregs of Twitter.

See also: Marc Maron on patent trolls and spiritual experiences in the desert

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Andrea Moore

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Jumping for joy with the Uganda Project.
#67: Andrea Moore

As a creative, Andrea Moore can't be categorized: She works in words and action, embracing poetry, performance, photography, visual art and the less definable art of self-discovery -- not just as a form of expression, but as a way of helping others. Working with the Wayfaring Band, the organization she co-founded, Moore animates self-actualization among members of the special-needs community and other marginalized groups through experiential voyages; she also works with at-risk youth through programs like PlatteForum. What propels this proactive, people-friendly dynamo? Read her 100CC questionnaire below to learn more.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Gretchen Marie Schaefer

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Playbill: This week's performing arts picks

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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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Allen Strickland Williams on one-liners, sketch comedy and #YesAllWomen

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Kelly Rose
Allen Strickland Williams is a Los Angeles-based writer, comedian and former NBC page who somehow absorbed that office's buttoned-down aesthetic. Today Williams, along with fellow standups Jake Weisman, Dave Ross and Pat Bishop, comprise the sketch-comedy group Women, whose widely circulated videos are nibbles of absurdity dolloped by grim punchlines. Women will descend on the Oriental Theater this Saturday, June 21st for the monthly Sexpot Comedy showcase. The show, hosted as always by Jordan Doll, features standup from each member, as well as videos and live sketches. It's also a Sexpot show, with all the dab dabbling that implies. In advance of the gig, Westword caught up with Williams to discuss what makes Women's sketches different, his fondness for one-liners, and his essay about the #YesAllWomen hashtag.

See also: Dave Ross on tour mishaps, Drunk History, Deer Pile and his sketch group, Women

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Tony Labat's Elevation: Denver activates at Emmanuel tonight with art, DJs and drag

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All photos by Mauricio O. Rocha
San Francisco artist Tony Labat has built a site-specific sculpture for Emmanuel Gallery on the Auraria Campus, and from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight you can watch his sculpture turn into a platform for community interaction when it is activated with performances by DJs and drag queens. This piece is part of Labat's series Elevations: Platforms, Stages, and CatwalksElevation: Denver and Labat.

See also: West Elm celebrates local goods with a launch party Friday


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Rhinoceropolis becomes a life-size diorama to house art and music for Fantasia 2014

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A look at Rhinoceropolis as it transforms into an aquarium world for Fantasia 2014.
For this year's edition of Fantasia 2014, Colin Ward says he was moved to action by the urban environment he experiences every day.

"For years I've been diehard passionate about the world kind of waking up -- I believe that there are so many bad decisions being made with the design of cities," says the artist, musician and one of many collaborators behind this art and music gathering. "Urban environments are boring; whoever is in charge of these shared physical spaces -- it's like we're walking around in someone else's program."

See also: Over the weekend: Fantasia 2012 at Rhinoceropolis

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Kim Olson

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Photo by Frank Sygusch.
#77: Kim Olson

Dancer/choreographer Kim Olson founded SWEET EDGE ten years ago in Boulder as an interdisciplinary vision built on a foundation of collaboration and trust. "The name derives from a state of being -- where change is constant and movement fundamental. We shift, merge, adapt, step out of the known, take risks and ask why -- this is the Dance. For me, the  SWEET EDGE happens in the space between what is and what can be." That's how she describes the tight-knit ensemble's mission in her written statement, and it's a credo that's taken SWEET EDGE, now based in Denver, beyond all limits.

How does Olson keep the ideas flowing through that unknown space? Learn more by reading her 100CC questionnaire.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Patrick Mueller, Control Group Productions


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Updated: The ten best comedy events in Denver in June

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Updated: Since this post was originally published, Tracy Morgan -- who performed a show in Denver June 1 -- was injured in an auto accident.

As summer approaches at its leisurely, flip-flopped gait, comedy fans have a full calendar of laugh appointments ahead. While almost nothing can compete with the natural splendor of a languid June evening spent outdoors in Denver, only a jejune goon would miss out on these fine shows. Besides, at a comedy club you're significantly less likely to accidentally drink the moth that flew into your beer. From stars of stage and screen gracing local venues to a showcase that actually encourages comments from the audience, comedy nerds will be drawn to these events like an eclipse of moths to an outdoor light bulb.

It's important to note that a lot can happen in a month, and national headliners often have to reschedule long after press time, so dates are subject to change (which happened last month with Bobcat Goldthwait). Regardless, there's plenty of live comedy in June that's guaranteed assuage your melancholy, and reduce you chances of discovering the unmistakable taste of foamy moth.

See also: The ten best geek events in Denver for June

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Buntport Theater

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Buntport Theater, plotting their course.
#78: Buntport Theater

Brian Colonna, Hannah Duggan, Erik Edborg, Erin Rollman, Samantha Schmitz and (sometimes) Evan Weissman are Buntport Theater, and it's not too far off the mark to think of this sextet of personalities as a single entity -- that's just how they work, slinging ideas back and forth toward a common goal. As a group, they were part of Westword's first class of MasterMinds back in 2005, and they've only gotten better with time, always challenging the boundaries of the stage with a wink and a pragmatic sense of making spaces out of nothing in original works that twist classic themes into something altogether new and witty. And Buntport is generous within the cultural community: After all, collaboration -- and appreciation of the creative work going on all around them -- is what makes this group so special.

And what keeps the fire alive under Buntport after thirteen years of making theatrical magic in Denver? Get a clue from their 100CC questionnaire, which follows.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Emily K. Harrison


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