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Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, is giving us both a new album and tour this year.


Now that we've put a somewhat questionable 2013 and planning for another New Year's Eve behind us, it's time to look ahead to potentially better times and, well, more planning. And 2014 looks as if it will be filled with plenty of entertainment opportunities to work into your schedule.

So here, without further ado, are some of the things our entertainment critics are eagerly awaiting in the new year, and we're pretty sure there will be options that catch your eye (or ear or palate):

ART

An "arborglyph" by Linda Everson, whose work will be featured in a 2014 exhibit at Muse Gallery in Longmont.
An "arborglyph" by Linda Everson, whose work will be featured in a 2014 exhibit at Muse Gallery in Longmont. (Muse Gallery/Courtesy photo)

• Muse Gallery in Longmont plans a couple of exhibitions that have become tradition, as well as several shows that will offer viewers fresh visual art experiences. The gallery kicks off the new year with an exhibition of paintings, drawings and sculpture by Jessica and Damon Mohl. Later in the year, it will present "Arborglyphs," with work by Linda Everson that's based on carved Aspen trees in southwestern Colorado. The gallery also plans a fifth annual "EcoCreations," an exhibit that includes art made from found and recycled objects.

• Longmont Museum will be abuzz with model planes, trains and automobiles with an exhibit that runs from late May to mid-September. It's planning another of its growing Day of the Dead celebrations in the fall before galloping into 2015 with an exhibit of works by the great Western painters Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell.

• The University of Colorado Art Museum presents consistently interesting, sometimes jaw-dropping, shows, and the venue promises to offer more such attractions in the new year. "American West," which is scheduled to run Feb. 7-May 10, draws from the museum's permanent collection and will include works by Charles Partridge Adams, Thomas Hart Benton and other notables of the genre. The show examines "how artists documented, as well as mythologized, the western United States," says the museum.

• It's shaping up to be a historic year at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The museum plans to open a new wing, including the February openings of the Morgridge Family Exploration Center, the Rocky Mountain Science Collections Center and the Discovery Zone. Major new exhibitions planned for 2014 include "Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed," "Whales: Giants of the Deep" and "Traveling the Silk Road."

• The Denver Art Museum offers several new exhibitions, including "Picasso to Pollock," which promises to be a blockbuster. The show includes about 50 iconic artworks by more than 40 influential modern artists. Besides Picasso and Pollock, van Gogh, O'Keeffe, Dali and Warhol will be represented. Also opening at DAM is "The American West in Bronze," a look at sculptures created from 1850 to 1925, and "Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century."

— Quentin Young

BEER

You don't need a crystal beer goblet to predict that new breweries and brewpubs will continue to launch in Boulder County in 2014, especially smaller breweries built around a tasting-room model where brewers can distribute beer directly to their customers and grow their base from there.

We know The Post Brewing Co. is expected to open in Lafayette in early 2014, and Longmont expects to see a mini-beer boom, with 300 Suns Brewing and Grossen Bart both on track to open there next year.

The other big trend we'll likely see continue in 2014 — collaboration among breweries. Craft brewers, in general, are a mutually supportive group who don't hesitate to help out fellow brewers with recipe advice, ingredients, brew space or anything else they might need, and this open culture often leads to some creative collaborative projects.

Wanda Sykes brings her stand-up act to the Boulder Theater.
Wanda Sykes brings her stand-up act to the Boulder Theater. (Courtesy photo)

In fact the Colorado Brewers Guild and Imbibe Denver have put their heads together to launch the inaugural Collaboration Festival in 2014, where more than 20 special collaboration beers involving at least one Colorado-based brewery will be available for public sampling. The festival is set for March 22 at Denver's Curtis Hotel. Visit events.imbibedenver.com for details.

— Tom Wilmes

BOOKS

• Boulder author Michelle Theall's memoir, "Teaching the Cat to Sit" (Gallery Books, $24.99, Feb. 25), explores what it means to be gay, Catholic and a mother, including when the author, her partner and their son face discrimination at a Boulder church. Theall speaks at the Boulder Book Store on March 4.

• Northern Colorado writer Laura Pritchett's novel, "Stars Go Blue" (Counterpoint, $25, June 10), revisits Renny and Ben Cross, the elderly ranching couple from her PEN USA-award winning "Hell's Bottom, Colorado." As Ben fades into Alzheimer's, they must decide what dignity, grace and love really mean.

• "Hyde," (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, March 18), by Boulder author Daniel Levine, reimagines one of Robert Louis Stevenson's most famous tales, from the point of view of Dr. Jekyll's bestial alter ego. He speaks at the Boulder Book Store on March 25.

• Local writer Sara Davidson met weekly for two years with renowned Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi to explore spirituality in the autumn of life. The result is "The December Project" (HarperOne, $25.99, February), which is being compared to "Tuesdays with Morrie." She speaks at the Boulder Book Store on March 26.

— Clay Evans

COMEDY

How many laughs can Boulder County take? It was a banner year in 2013 for stand-up comedy in and around Boulder, with two new venues — the Bohemian Biergarten and Johnny's Cigar Bar — hosting comics or open-mic nights for fledgling funny people, and big names playing the big houses at the Boulder Theater. The Dairy Center for the Arts even got into the game, presenting a monthly comedy showcase.

Meanwhile, Nissi's nightclub and Miller's Bar and Grille in Lafayette continue to host stand-up comics from time to time, and Jesters Theatre in Longmont holds regular improv and drag-queen bingo comedy nights.

Look for the laughs to keep rolling from area stages in 2014, as The Dairy Center continues its showcases (Andrew Orvedahl headlines on Thursday, for example. Stand-up Wanda Sykes ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") brings her act to the Boulder Theater on Jan. 15, as does stand-up Jeffrey Ross (dubbed "The Roastmaster General") on Feb. 5.

— Mark Collins

DINING/FOOD

The new year is shaping up to be one in which we see veterans of the Boulder dining scene return with fresh concepts, as well as the rebirth of a beloved, family friendly institution.

• December saw the opening of Zeal, helmed by chef Arik Markus, an alum of Frasca Food and Wine, and founder Wayde Jester. Already, Zeal is generating positive buzz for its organic build-your-own-bowl lunches and fruit and vegetable juice blends.

• Another eagerly anticipated opening is Food at the Riverside, the latest venture from chef Corey Buck, formerly of John's Restaurant. His new venue will front Boulder Creek off Broadway and aims to dish out lunch and brekafast.

• The revival of The Gondolier should allow former starving students and now-grown-up youngsters to relive fond memories of garlic knots and all-you-can-eat spaghetti. But owner Nelson Kugel and executive chef Brian Delka won't be locked into menus of old, as evidenced by their gluten-free pizza and pasta offerings.

— Clay Fong

Although the popularity of the boy's name Kale peaked in 2008 at 539, according to babynameshub.com, the ubiquity of the leafy green in Boulder County shows no sign of abating, even though chefs nationwide might be trying to move on. Continue to look for the healthful brassica, which grows beautifully in the Front Range's wacky climate, in salads and juices at fine restaurants and fast casual venues. And look for other greens such as mustards, collards and chard to get their moment in the culinary sun.

Gluten remains on the enemies list, not only for those with Celiac or gluten intolerance but also for those following a Paleo diet. Each emphasizes healthful eating, and both benefit from a strong loyalty to locally foods, whether it's vegetables or meat and poultry from humanely raised animals.

While not local, coconuts will continue to provide water for hydrating, milk and cream for vegan baked goods, oil for frying and sugar for Paleo types. Agave has the sugar-alternative market virtually cornered with local company Madhava having pioneered the category. Fermenting is the new canning, as home gardeners warm up to the idea of using less energy and adding probiotics to the diets.

For all their healthy preoccupations, Boulder Countians also like to indulge — they burn up enough calories to get away with it. Artisanal cheeses, chef-cured meats, extraordinary local beer and even donuts peacefully coexist with juice cleanses.

— Cindy Sutter

FASHION

• Twenty Ninth Street Mall's new favorite retailer, H&M, is launching two exciting lines in early 2014. Look forward to a '90s throwback line, Urban Graphic, and an Olympic-inspired sports line, expected to hit the racks later this month.

• On Pearl Street, Alex and Ani is expected to open in February. And downtown will gear up for Fashion's Night Downtown in September, expected to be especially big this year, with the new Cedar and Hyde and Fjallraven stores.

• Rags consignment shop is planning to expand its Boulder store by 1,400 square feet, in addition to opening branches in the Highlands and Cherry Creek areas of Denver. Each store will be slightly different but still will carry the favorites: gently worn jeans, boots, tops, sweaters and more. Rags Highlands will be at 2027 W. 32nd Ave., and the Cherry Creek shop will be at the Plaza at Cherry Creek, at University and Second.

— Aimee Heckel

MOVIES

• "The Grand Budapest Hotel," rated R, expected out March 7: Whether or not you love his insulated, colorful worlds packed with funky, neurotic characters, we believe Wes Anderson's name should appear when you look up "auteur" in the dictionary. His latest flick, about a hotel concierge (Ralph Fiennes), his trusty sidekick/lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revolori), and their connection to a stolen Renaissance painting, features several recurring Anderson actors (Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Jason Schwartzman) and several newcomers (Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson.)

• "Under the Skin," R, April 4: Helmed by "Sexy Beast" director Jonathan Glazer, this adaptation of Michel Faber's novel about an alien (Scarlett Johansson) sent to Earth to spy (and eat the men she seduces) on behalf of her soon-to-be-invading race looks both terrifying and original.

• "Godzilla," not rated, May 16: Are you missing Bryan "Breaking Bad" Cranston and his penchant for getting tangled up with monsters? Weep no more, darlings — his next co-star is none other than Godzilla, the radioactive Japanese leviathan who sometimes despises and sometimes defends Tokyo but always manages massive damage. Also stars Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn, and Juliette Binoche.

• "Edge of Tomorrow," NR, June 6: Remember in "Groundhog Day" how Bill Murray repeats the same day over and over again, eventually using the time to learn 16th-century French poetry and classical piano? "Edge of Tomorrow" is totally samesies, except swap Murray for Tom Cruise and French poetry and classical piano for alien warfare skills. But, seriously, the film could be something of a dark horse, quality-wise: It's directed by Doug Liman (he did the original and arguably best "Bourne" film) and the screenplay written by award-winning action writer Tony Gilroy.

• "Interstellar," NR, Nov. 7: This is Christopher Nolan's first original film since setting aside superheroes. The story (co-written by Jonathan Nolan) begins with Earth's flagging food supply, a team of explorers and a recently discovered wormhole. Stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Jessica Chastain, Wes Bently and Michael Caine.

— Jeanine Fritz

MUSIC: CONTEMPORARY

Despite being ravaged during the September flooding, Planet Bluegrass has vowed to be back with a vengeance in 2014 after rebuilding. The Lyons venue has scheduled its 42nd RockyGrass for July 25-27 and its 24th Rocky Mountain Folks Festival for Aug. 15-17. No acts have been announced, but in November, spokesman Brian Eyster told the Longmont Times-Call that Planet Bluegrass had been contacted by high-profile artists he couldn't yet identify who would like to play the venue this year. Eyster predicted the RockyGrass festival could be its "best ever," and already two days of the three-day event have sold out.

— Quentin Young

Concerts and new releases to mark on your calendar now, if you haven't already:

• St. Vincent will play Denver's Ogden Theatre on March 29. Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, has a new album and a tour on the way. The nervy experimental rocker has impressed again and again, with Actor and Strange Mercy, not to mention her captivating live shows.

• Neutral Milk Hotel will play the Boulder Theater on March 30 and the Ogden Theatre in Denver on March 31. Calm down, April Ludgate, and brush up on your "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" lyrics. Just kidding, we know you've had them memorized since they graced your hearts in 1998. Neutral Milk Hotel doesn't really need an excuse to tour because they're indie-rock royalty. That simple. Grab a ticket if you can.

• St. Vincent, St. Vincent. Since Annie Clark took a break from her solo work to make that delightfully weird album with David Byrne, we've gone years without a St. Vincent record. Her 2011 LP, Strange Mercy, was her best yet, even after the stellar Actors, so the pressure is on. Walking the line between beautiful and unnerving isn't easy, but it's never slowed her down. The self-titled record, her third overall, is due out Feb. 24 or Feb. 25.

• The Men, Tomorrow's Hits. The Men just keep working and evolving. On their previous record, New Moon, they shed the hard-rock sounds for something closer to Americana, then released an EP that was literally recorded around a campfire.This next LP includes eight songs from a batch of 40 demos guitarist Mark Perro recorded in his bedroom. No telling what Tomorrow's Hits will sound like (and that's a hell of a name for a record). Find out March 4.

— Ashley Dean

MUSIC: CLASSICAL

• The most anticipated event by far on the local scene in 2014 is the search for Michael Christie's replacement as artistic director of the Colorado Music Festival. These are daunting shoes to step into, as Christie had become Boulder's most beloved classical ambassador in his 13-year tenure. Much is still shrouded in mystery at this point: Finalists have yet to be announced, and the programs for the 2014 summer season at Chautauqua Auditorium have not been revealed. What is known is that each finalist (there will likely be four) will be responsible for two concerts in one festival week. Christie is slated to return one last time to conduct the sixth and final week. The mystery deepened recently when Australia native David Pratt reneged on his decision to replace longtime CMF executive director Catherine Underhill. Now CMF is left to continue a search for its two most important positions.

• Michael Butterman has been increasingly ambitious in his programming with the resurgent Boulder Philharmonic. Recent concerts have garnered glowing praise, and the orchestra is once again packing Macky Auditorium. Hidden in the background is the search for a concertmaster to replace longtime first chair Gregory Walker. Charles Weatherbee, violin faculty member at the University of Colorado, has been serving on an interim basis. Walker, meanwhile, has maintained his relationship with the Phil in his recent activities as an electric guitar player. He recently released a fascinating and eclectic holiday/solstice CD titled Electric Vivaldi, with Phil members as his backing band.

• The CU Presents Artist Series still has marquee events coming, including this month's appearance by revered crossover banjo player Bela Fleck with jazz pianist Chick Corea. One trend we hope to see continue is the use of CU faculty members as guest soloists by local organizations. Big names are great, but it's good to be reminded how much talent we have in our own backyard.

-— Kelly Dean Hansen

THEATER

• "Blood Wedding," Boulder's Upstart Crow, 2590 Walnut St., Feb. 28-March 15. This tragedy about love, marriage, deception and fate premiered in 1933 at the height of the Spanish Civil War and cemented Federico Garcia Lorca's reputation as a playwright and poet. Demanding roles for performers and innovative staging are two of its calling cards.

• "And the Sun Stood Still," Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, The Dairy Center for the Arts, March 28-April 10. The BETC received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to help underwrite the world premiere staging of Dava Sobel's scientific drama about Nicolas Copernicus, who transformed man's understanding of his place in the universe. This play explores Copernicus' struggles with faith. Sobel was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2000 for her biography "Galileo's Daughter."

• "Damn Yankees," Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Johnstown, April 3-June 8. Sometimes a blast from the past is just what the doctor ordered, and this eight-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical is pure nostalgia. A middle-aged baseball fanatic trades his soul to the devil for a chance to lead his favorite team in the pennant race against the New York Yankees, only to realize the true worth of the life (and wife) he's left behind. The songs are imminently hummable, including "Whatever Lola Wants" and "You Gotta Have Heart."

• "Animal Crackers," Denver Center Theater Company, Denver, April 10-May 11. The Marx Brothers first made their name not with the 1930 movie version of this George S. Kaufman-Morrie Ryskind musical comedy but with the stage play. When a valuable painting goes missing at a society dinner party, chaos ensues. If you like nonstop one-liners, this is a show for you.

— Mike Pearson

VIDEO GAMES

The most anticipated games of 2014 all lead to the latest and greatest game systems. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 each has at least one game due early in the year to please fans.

• "Titanfall" for the Xbox One landed a small mountain of Best in Show accolades when it was introduced at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo. The multiplayer shooter, which puts players in the shells of giant mechs, hits on March 11.

• On the PS4 front, players can look forward to the stunning "inFAMOUS: Second Son," the third installment of the series but the first with new protagonist Delsin Rowe. It releases March 21.

• Wii U fans can expect "Mario Kart 8" sometime in the first quarter. The whimsical racing game will include all the features from both the Wii and 3DS iterations but also a few surprises of its own.

— Marc Camron