1. Ride ’em, Cowboy
Eight seconds to glory, baby. All you have to do is hold on for dear life on the back of an angry horned beast, flounder in the dirt under said angry beast, and run for your life to avoid a swift hoof-kick to the face. Better plan: Watch the pros. Check out the National Western Stock Show’s Centennial Celebration.
National Western Stock Show and rodeo: Jan. 7–22, National Western Complex
2. A Doggy Dog World
Chinese New Year gives you a second crack at resolution making. So start the Year of the Dog off right with some philanthropy at a fund-raiser for the Nathan Yip Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money to build new schools in rural China. Food by Denver’s own Johnny Hsu and entertainment by New York City soprano Shu Ying Li.
Chinese New Year Benefit Celebration: Jan. 28, University of Denver Cable Center
3. Twinkle Toes
It’s giant mice fighting Goliath-size nutcrackers. It’s waltzing flowers and sugarplum fairies. It’s 40 winks in the back of the theater because you waited too long to buy tickets, and now you’re in trouble with that special someone who just “adores the ballet.” No sweat. It’s at the new Ellie Caulkins, where the only bad seat is in the lobby.
Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker: Dec. 2-29, Ellie Caulkins Opera House
4. Skate Date
Michelle Kwan you’re not. Triple axels? You can’t. Sparkly, spandex unitards dripping with fluffy chiffon? Hey, to each his own. And what better place to flaunt your figure-skating finesse than Denver’s favorite seasonal ice rink? Skate your heart out under the white lights and festive decorations all season long.
Cherry Creek North Ice Rink: Nov. 25–Jan. 16, Fillmore Plaza
5. Party Like It’s 1969
Nothin’ says Happy New Year like cheap polyester and an audience-participation rendition of Sweet Caroline, so don’t pretend you aren’t itching to yank that leisure suit from the hanger in the recesses of your closet. Join Neil Diamond cover band Super Diamond, featuring the vocals of Surreal Neil for what’s sure to be a bizarro start to 2006.
LSuper Diamond: Jan. 31, Paramount Theatre