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

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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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Christina Battle and Adán De La Garza on video art and the quasi-imperialistic nature of sound

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Courtesy of Paul Destieu
Fade Out is one of the videos featured at Loud!!!
Several years ago, when Adán De La Garza and Christina Battle moved to Denver from cities with vibrant media arts communities, they sought out the same thing here. They did not find it. As video artists, they craved an artistic network, a local scene where they could bounce off ideas and find a home for their projects. Colorado has an amazing array of experimental film- and video-makers working outside mainstream traditions, but too often people find themselves isolated. De La Garza and Battle opted to correct that and launched Nothing to See Here, an organization devoted to showcasing a variety of underrepresented media arts: sound, film, video and performance. Tomorrow they'll host the second edition of Loud!!!, with several short films and a performance exploring the political and aesthetic power of sound at the Sidewinder. In advance of that event, Westword spoke with De La Garza and Battle about their plans.

See also: Suranjan Ganguly on experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage

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The ten best comedy events in Denver this April

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BET
April is a month of rejuvenation and light-hearted trickery, a season of pranks, afternoon showers and street-sweeping tickets. Only the truly foolish would miss out on the fine assortment of comedy shows in Denver this month. With everything from a visit from the reigning ice queen of late-night talk shows to a benefit for Down Syndrome, some great local showcases and an appearance by improviser, singer and all-round showman Wayne Brady, there's plenty of levity to carry local comedy fans through the month. Fortunately, many of these shows are free, which should provide at least a little relief to those unjustly ticketed for blocking street-sweeping operations.

See also: The ten best geek events in Denver in April

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First Annual March for Absurdity brings weirdness to the streets

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All photos by Byron Graham
The First Annual March for Absurdity
Denver's First Annual March for Absurdity convened at RTD's Market Street Station on Sunday afternoon. Whimsical accoutrements abounded at this small but dedicated gathering of weirdos, united in a defiantly pointless exercise for the sake of spectacle. But oh, what a spectacle.

While the costumes were all decidedly bizarre, the real show was on the baffled faces of passersby as they tried to figure out just what the hell was going on. Westword briefly spoke to March organizer Esther Hz (pictured above with a bunny head on) and took a several photos of what amounted to a pretty weird afternoon.

See also: People of Anomalycon 2014

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Chris Fairbanks on Sexpot Comedy, suicidal civil engineers and the Tosh controversy

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Chris Fairbanks is a standup comedian, illustrator, and skateboarder who has appeared on Conan, Comedy Central's Premium Blend, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Fairbanks is making the most out of his trip to Denver this week, with performances scheduled every night starting with 8 p.m. Thursday, March 20 at Deer Pile, where he'll share a story for the Narrators podcast. At 8 p.m. Friday, March 21, he'll be at the Oriental Theater, co-headlining Sexpot Comedy's Vernal Equinox showcase with Rory Scovel and a load of local chucklers. Fans can also catch Fairbanks with the Fine Gentleman's Club at 10 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at the Meadowlark and performing with Andrew Orvedahl at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 23 Comedy Works South. Westword caught up with Fairbanks in advance of his packed visit to talk about Sexpot comedy, the Texas highway system and the Tosh rape-joke controversy.

See also: Comedian Rory Scovel on crowd tension, Bobcat Goldthwait and why Aurora didn't steal Batman from him

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W. Kamau Bell on political humor, rape jokes and why he wants an Obama cabinet position

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Matthias Clamer
W. Kamau Bell is a comedian and sociopolitical commentator who came up in the San Francisco comedy scene. Until recently, Bell served as the host and creator of Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, a political satire featuring revealing interviews and sharp political commentary steeped in the catharsis of laughter. In the wake of FXX's cancellation of his show, Bell has mounted the "Oh, Everything" tour, which lands in Denver at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 16, at the Soiled Dove Underground. In advance of that show, Westword called Bell to talk about his visit to Denver, how his standup act grew more politically engaged, the debate about rape jokes he hosted on his show, and why he thinks he should have a cabinet position in the Obama administration.

See also: Ten best comedy events in Denver this March

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Denver comics remember Lori Callahan

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All photos by Crystal Allen
Lori Callahan, a pillar of the local comedy scene for thirty years, passed away last Friday. She was 54. The news has sent reverberations of grief throughout the community she was so instrumental in shaping. A generous spirit, Callahan organized and performed at many benefit shows. She provided many new comics with their first road gigs, along much-needed moral support in their nascent careers. Always a hit with audiences, Callahan won the respect of her peers with her comedic chops, but won their hearts with her motherly guidance.

That's why the most fitting tributes to Lori's life and career have come from the comedians she inspired. Their outpouring of grief on social media only hints at the surface of this devastating loss. Westword asked some comedians to share their memories of Mama Callahan, and we've reprinted excerpts of others' heartfelt Facebook posts.

See also: Colorado comedian Lori Callahan sticks it to the Mormons

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Ten best comedy events in Denver this March

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Comedy Central's Broad City
As the arrival of spring melts away the remaining sludge of the February doldrums, comedy blooms anew in March. With visits from veteran standups, sets by hilarious newcomers and a chance to see the stars of TV's funniest sketch comedy series in person, there's a vast and crowded field of new entertainment options in Denver. While the lion's share of March's comedy offerings are imported, the lineup also includes a promising new free local showcase and the second round of the Comedy Works Funny Final Four contest. The fact that so many of these events take place in concert venues like the Gothic and Paramount is a testament to the drawing power of the headlining acts we have in town this month, as well as to Denver's boundless hunger for comedic entertainment. Here are the ten best comedy events to feed that hunger.

See also: Nikki Glaser on the Weirdo Olympics, stolen jokes and a new mattress

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Nikki Glaser on the Weirdo Olympics, stolen jokes and a new mattress

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Nikki Glaser is a New-York based comedian with a formidable list of credits and an immediately engaging performance style. Despite their raunchy subject matter, Glaser's jokes are wryly observant and leavened by her considerable charm. Glaser has appeared on @Midnight and Last Comic Standing, as well as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; until recently, Glaser could be seen co-hosting The Nikki and Sarah Show on MTV. Glaser has a soft spot in her heart for Colorado; she performed her first set at the University of Colorado at Boulder and appeared on the pilot episode of the Grawlix's Those Who Can't.

Tomorrow Glaser returns to the Mile High City to headline Sexpot Comedy's Weirdo Olympics. In advance of that appearance, Westword caught up with Glaser to discuss the end of her show, having a bit stolen, and why she'd move to Denver if she could.

See also: Ten best comedy events in Denver in February

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T.J. Miller on the No Cancellations tour, bringing absurdity to morning news shows, and hash dabs

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Comedian T.J. Miller has a commitment to comedic absurdity that has served him well throughout his career. From his early days in Denver to his roots in the Chicago improv scene, Miller has emerged as one of this city's most unique standup exports, remarkable for his madman charisma. In short order, Miller stole scenes and joined impressive ensemble casts in movies like Our Idiot Brother and Yogi Bear 3D. All the while, Miller's home town of Denver has remained close to his heart and channeled into song on his Extended Play EP from Comedy Central Records. And this is an exciting time for Miller, with Silicon Valley, a new HBO series, set to premiere on April 6 and the movie Search Party due this summer. This week, Denver's prodigal comic returns to his native state for two nights of shows as a part of his No Cancellations tour. He'll performing tonight, February 26, at Boulder's Fox Theatre. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. for the 9 p.m. show; general admission tickets are $20. On Thursday, February 27, he'll be at the Gothic Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show; tickets are $20.50 in advance and $23 on the day of show.

Westword recently caught up with Miller on the phone to discuss his tour, the absurdity of morning news shows, and why he always brings his best to Denver.

See also: TJ Miller debuts a Fox comedy that looks DOA, and soon a Mike Judge collaboration

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