It’s really not a secret, but we’re big fans of local creatives. That’s one reason we teamed up with Illegal Pete’s, New Belgium and Channel 93.3 to give any and all Denver musicians, comedians and artists of all shapes and sizes free portraits in honor of 303 Day. All they had to do was sign up and tell us why they love Colorado. Below you’ll find the photos that four very talented photographers took (including two of our own) along with short bios and their response to the question at hand.

Check it out and the make sure to stop by Illegal Pete’s all day on Saturday (303 Day/ March 3) and grab some deals on food, booze and more (including a breakfast burrito for only $3.03).

READ: A Master Guide to Collectives – For All Types of Denver Creatives

*** Bios and responses are self-submitted by the artists so the words are their own. Big thanks to photographers Danielle Webster, Amanda Piela, Robert Castro and Evan Sémon, 303 writers Kait Starr, Emily McCarter and Brittany Werges for the hours of formatting and Virgil Dickerson for coordination. 

Steve Vanderploeg

Steve Vanderploeg. Photos by Evan Semón Photography

AboutSteve Vanderploeg is a Denver based comedian, improviser and writer. He has performed at many comedy festivals across the country including but not limited to the High Plains Comedy Festival, SF Sketchfest, Memphis Comedy Festival and 208 Comedy Festival. I also work at Illegal Petes!

Why he loves Colorado: My blood type is the Front Range. I love the specific lifestyle that encompasses that of both the plains and the mountains.

Upcoming show: Second Fridays at Chain Reaction Brewing Company

Alisha Sweeney

Alisha Sweeney. Photos by Evan Semón Photography

About: Alisha Sweeney is a radio DJ for Colorado Public Radio’s Open Air. She has been a host and producer for non-commercial radio with an alternative, Americana and contemporary formats for 18 years. She is starting her own side-project podcast.

 Why she loves Colorado: Seasons. Community. Family. Friends who’ve become family.

Upcoming show: Weekdays on 102.3 FM 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Hollow

The Hollow. Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: The Hollow has one definitive goal — to deliver thought-provoking rock music that encourages self-love and mental wellness. The Hollow is a dynamic alternative/art-rock band with a tightly focused sound that threatens to transform the pedestrian landscape of contemporary rock ’n roll. With thoughtfully layered guitars built upon a hard-driving rhythm section, their powerful music espouses beguiling lyrics and infectious melodies that evoke modern rock icons such as Incubus, Thrice and Queens of the Stone Age.

Why they love Colorado: Other than getting all four seasons in a week? There’s something compelling about this place. The art. The culture. The kindness and generosity of strangers. There’s a magnetism that’s so beautifully contagious. Perhaps that’s why every member of the band has lived a majority of their lives here. You can choose-your-own-adventure here. Want a weekend away in nature and complete solitude? You’re just a short drive away. Want to experience incredible live music and nightlife in the city? Yahtzee! You’re already there. The support this city gives to your dreams is something straight out of the movies. Yet here we are…

Upcoming show: SYCDVK EP Release Show @ the Hi-Dive on April 13

My Body Sings Electric

My Body Sings Electric. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: My Body Sings Electric (MBSE) has spent more than a decade tirelessly building a following for their playfully honest blend of indie, alternative and post-hardcore rock. The band is prepared to release their most ambitious work yet with a new album slated for 2018 mixed and produced by Jason Livermore – Rise Against, A Day To Remember. MBSE’s debut full length, “Part 1: The Night Ends” showed impressive sales for a self-managed and unsigned band, reaching #1 on the Billboard Rocky Mountain Charts and #156 for Billboard’s National Indie Chart. Their video for the first album single, New Friends, earned a premiere on MTV Buzzworthy. The band has amassed a list of impressive dates on tour with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Nick Thomas of The Spill Canvas, The Hush Sound and arena dates opening for Imagine Dragons, Young the Giant, Grouplove, and Bastille and more.

What they love about Colorado: This badass music scene.

Upcoming show: TBD


Photo by Evan Semón Photography

About: CRL CRRLL is “like that uncle that makes music in your grandma’s basement!”

Why he loves Colorado: The timing

Upcoming show: Saturday, February 24 at Fort Greene Bar

Plume Varia

Plume Varia. Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: Plume Varia is the dreampop/indie-pop project of husband and wife, Shon and Cherie Cobbs. Denver transplants originally from Minneapolis, Cherie and Shon are most comfortable when submerged within a great local music scene. Experienced musicians, writers and performers, they created this project as a way to merge together their deep and independent musical roots in a way that artistically represents both of their individual styles. Plume Varia’s music is the balance of lonesome lilting melodies and the promise of assured forward motion. Cherie’s alluring and imaginative songwriting married with Shon’s pull to darker, brooding productions creates a dense, refined and consuming sound. They have drawn comparisons to acts such as Beach House, The XX, Lana Del Ray, Portishead and Wye Oak. They’ve had the pleasure of opening for many national acts such as Peter Murphy, Dada, In The Valley Below, Avec Sans, Handsome Ghost, Jolie Holland, She Keeps Bees, Soko, Rogue Valley, Parellels and many more.

What they love about Colorado: The accessibility of art and culture. The supportive nature of our art scene.

Upcoming show: June 30, opening for Peter Murphy in San Francisco at The Chapel.


SIR. Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: “Sir” is a reference usually reserved for formality. Although they are a pro-outfit, the unfolding destiny of Denver’s SIR has been anything but conventional. SIR is able to cultivate melodically, sexy, vivid and lyrically relatable alt-pop-rock sounds. Headlining at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater and multi-year showcases during South by SouthWest have not been taken for granted—knowing that there were, and still are, so many things planned for SIR down the line. Their debut album released nationally 1.1.2018

What they love about Colorado: Tacos, Red Rocks and Von Miller

Upcoming shows: March 10-3 at SXSW and March 30 at Black Buzzard


We Might Be Astronauts

To Be Astronauts. Photos by Evan Semón Photography.

About: Equal parts hard rock, punk, and alternative, Denver’s To Be Astronauts is a modern band with an abundance of old influences. We are proud to release our first full-length album, indifferentstates. Recorded locally at Modern Art Rock Studios, the album runs the gamut from straight-up rockers like “Oxygen,” (the album’s first single) to alternative tunes like “Oh Lucy” about ghosts at the Stanley Hotel, to punk tracks that deal with fluid sexuality and our declining social safety net (“This is Not Normal”). To Be Astronauts have played multiple venues around Denver, but our favorites tend to be intimate venues on East Colfax, which has led us to describe our sound as “East Colfax rock.” But make no mistake: like our namesake, we bounce all over the known musical universe, and we welcome its continued expansion. Tune in, turn on, and blast off.

Why they love Colorado: All the band members live within a mile of East Colfax and consider the boulevard part of our musical foundation and emblematic of what we love about Denver: it’s unique, gritty, it’s alive, it is always changing, and it doesn’t hide anything from anyone. Colorado is bizarrely in the middle of everything. Just like the continental divide splits the country, Colorado straddles the things that divide us. Everything that is happening in Denver is happening to America.

Upcoming show: April 1: Goosetown, April 7: Mutiny Information Cafe (with Denver Meatpacking Co), June 7: Lion’s Lair w/ Dead Country Gentlemen (San Francisco), Flahoola.

Ben Byrant

Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: Ben Bryant is a stand-up and sketch comedian and founding member of the Middlename comedy collective. He’s been in a lot of comedy festivals and a few times newspapers have written nice things about him. Denver Westword called Bryant “freakishly prolific.”

Why he loves Colorado: There are so many dogs here

Upcoming show: GUEST LIST, March 30 at The Bakery

Whiskey Autumn

Photo by Evan Semón

About: Whiskey Autumn is an indie pop rock band from Denver, CO. Their latest EP, Ice Cream In The Sun, showcases the band expanding upon the ‘60s pop stylings of their previous work with synths, hip hop beats, and electronic elements in what is their most confident release yet. Founded by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Greg Laut, Whiskey Autumn began as a solo project before recruiting bassist Jason Paton and drummer Matty Schelling into the fold. The revamped lineup began drawing from wide range of influences such as synth-pop, ‘60s rock, and beat-driven electronic. The release of Ice Cream In The Sun has seen the band touring heavily in their trusty van named Bruce, bringing their high-energy live show to audiences across the US.

Why they love Colorado: We love the thriving music and arts scene, the Rocky Mountains, the progressive mindset of its inhabitants, the spastic weather, and the good vibrations of living a mile high.

Upcoming show: 3/22-3/24: Tour throughout Southern Colorado and New Mexico; 4/5 – Denver Public Library (Volume Denver Series); 4/12-4/22: Midwest Tour

Bison Bone

Bison Bone. Photos by Danielle Webster.

About: Bison Bone is a working-class cosmic country band from Denver. Their roots music coupled with a dark country feel gives way to a sound blending psychedelic rock and Americana splash.

Why they love Colorado: The art and music scenes here are so supportive.

Upcoming show: April 14 at Bread Bar

Lady Gang

Lady Gang. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Lady Gang is an incarnation of Denver favorite Jen Korte. Referencing hip hop and indie rock, Lady Gang is as intricate as it sounds as she weaves her live looping together with bass, electric guitar and her drum machine.

What she loves about Colorado: Colorado is kind of the melting pot of the west. We have such a diversity of culture and scenery. From hot springs and golden Aspen leaves to Denver, a city robust with art and music, what’s not to love?

Upcoming shows: March 2 at Ophelia’s, March 8 with Esme Patterson at Ubisububi Room, March 16 at Blush n Biu, April 26 at Yer Moms House


King Eddie

King Eddie. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: King Eddie is the VR-Art Rock project from Jay Mars. The Denver band’s new album Holographic Universe, released in December 2017, uses virtual reality as a metaphor for self-delusion. Facing a grave family illness immediately after the birth of his daughter, Jay navigates this duality through a sort of zen futurism to ask — if reality is maya, or illusion, may we create our own hologram?

Jay relocated to Denver from Detroit, MI in 2016 to begin sessions for King Eddie’s second album Holographic Universe at Moon Magnet Studios. The album debuted this winter on Colorado Public Radio’s Open Air with a brand new lineup including bassist Velvet Adams, guitarist Benjamin Buttice, drummer Linton Wright and keyboardist Kevin Netz.

What they love about Colorado: We moved here from Detroit three years ago for the music scene. We’ve found an incredible community that has been willing to help us out. Illegal Pete’s has been a big inspiration from a business perspective because they’ve proven how much community can help grow a business. Everyone we know eats there because the food is good and they support local artists. We see that same theme across Colorado. We consider this place our home and the people we’ve met like family.

Upcoming show: Music Video Premiere @ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Sloan’s Lake on March 10


Katie Bowman

photos by Evan Semón Photography
[email protected]

About: Katie Bowman is a local artist, stand-up and improv comedian based out of Denver. Bowman started her comedy career in 2014 and has been developing her act since. Bowman’s voice is best described as confessional and goofy. She strives to connect with the audience with bits about her life as a social underdog. Bowman has a brand new monthly showcase at Call to Arms Brewing Company every second Wednesday of the month at 8 p.m. You can also catch her around Denver performing at local spaces.

What she loves about Colorado: The Denver comedy scene is constantly growing and it is a beautiful place to live.

Upcoming show: The Funny Final Four Contest at Comedy Works on March 7. Showcase at Call to Arms Brewing Company for Kickback Comedy on March 14.

Gun Street Ghost

Photos by Evan Semón Photography.

About: Gun Street Ghost is a Denver-based Americana band. Classic elements of country-based songs about the struggles of life, hard work, and drinking to numb the pain. 70’s rock influences add electric guitar-driven songs and aggressive rhythmic aspects. The ambient textures of guitar swells and pedal steel slides intertwined with rhythm guitar and piano create a somber feel, while underpinning powerful vocal melodies that are memorable to the listener. Gun Street Ghost’s music will tell you a story musically and lyrically, at times the message is clear, at times it’s more like a dream that is open to interpretation.

Why they love Colorado: “These here is God’s finest scupturin’s! And there ain’t no laws for the brave ones! And there ain’t no asylums for the crazy ones! And there ain’t no churches, except for this right here! And there ain’t no priests excepting the birds. By God, I are a mountain man, and I’ll live ’til an arrow or a bullet finds me. And then I’ll leave my bones on this great map of the magnificent.” -Del Gue

Upcoming show: May 5 2018 at Hi-Dive with Al Scorch. In the meantime, we’ll be in the studio working on our next full length.


iZCALLi. Photo by Evan Semón Photography.

About: Formed in the Denver over 12 years ago, iZCALLi has, over the course of four LPs and a thousand shows, swigged its evolving sound from both wells of tradition, from Latin-tinged echoes to punching rock to filthy blues, in English and in Español. The result is a loyal flock of fans of every color, from every background, rich or poor. The result is RETI=Rock En Tu Idioma, a community for making rock in Spanish, the music of the melting pot, which is deeply American and knows no frontiers. This is iZCALLi’s appeal: the kind of music that makes you leave home and return, exhilarating live shows that celebrate tradition and kin, that unite what you find with what you left behind, and open the heart, so you know you are home.

Why they love Colorado: FRESH AIR…In every sense of the word. Artistically speaking it is full of talented, energetic, passionate people trying to make a mark using music and other forms of art. Artist innovating and augmenting the cultural experience for everyone. People seem to be open to the notion that the “Colorado Sound” is many things now, that it evolves and morphs and that it is interwoven by multicultural players which make the scene so much richer, rivaling other cities such as LA and Chicago.

Upcoming show: April 28 New Belgium Brewery (Ft Collins), May 19 Bluebird Theater (Denver)

Instant Empire

Instant Empire. Photos by Evan Semón Photography.

About: Instant Empire has been creating lush, lyrical and emotionally resonant indie rock for the past eight years in Denver, Colorado. 2018 finds the band writing, recording and releasing a new single each month – a project the band calls the 12×12 series.

Why they love Colorado: Amongst the five of us, we all make use of the outdoor opportunities in Colorado differently, whether it’s skiing, hiking all 42 14er’s, or boating on the lakes and reservoirs. We’ve all considered Denver to be home for a long time and love the arts and music communities, the social atmosphere, and of course the dive bars and small clubs.

Upcoming show: Saturday, April 21- Syntax Physic Opera (Opening for Left Hand Shakes CD release)

Dan Aid

Photos by Evan Semón.

About: Mixing almost two decades of playing in punk bands with a lifetime of scribbling anxious memories in spiral notebooks, 2018 has found Dan Aid working with producer/engineer Andrew Berlin to record these experiences for his first full-length solo album. Drawing on influences like Ryan Adams and Sufjan Stevens, Aid walks a line of uncertainty and honesty that feels inviting.

Why he loves Colorado: It smells better than New York.

Upcoming show: March 1 at Larimer Lounge

Pelvis Presley

Photo by Evan Semón.

About: Pelvis Presley is an indie/garage/experimental act from Baltimore, Maryland. The solo artist, James Richard Lane initially began as a side project hosting and performing DIY shows in a hostels basement for 3 years. James moved to Denver in summer of 2016 to expand his network within the music scene. This is where he built an identity in Denver by hosting local musicians on a weekly radio show at Met Media. Pelvis Presley performed with notable Denver acts such as GALLERIES, Whole Milk, and Vic & The Narwhals.The project has gained traction by performing annual East coast festivals including MT6 Festival, Light City, and Artscape. The set of Pelvis Presley engages with crowds at every show and leaves unique and memorable impressions to the attendees.The setup is vocals, guitar, loop pedal, tambourine (by foot), whistles (by mouth), and occasional guest drummers. It’s an unforgettable interactive set that keeps all viewers minds stimulated. Pelvis Presley second album Bon Voyage is to be released in summer 2018.

Why he loves Colorado: The music scene is very diverse. I have an amazing position at Met Media to host local musicians on my radio show and spotlight them and music.

Upcoming show: 2/23 The Humboldt House, 3/2 Colt House


Lex. Photo by Amanda Piela

About: LEX is a band that started in Denver two years ago. Although they’re still very little, they can still rock the fucking stage just like Led Zep or Pink Floyd.

What she loves about Colorado: The music

Upcoming show: TBD

Anthony Crawford

Anthony Crawford. Photo by Amanda Piela

About: Anthony Crawford has been a crowd favorite across the country since he lost a bet in 1998. His ability to “paint a picture” with energetic stories is why several publications have called him the “Funniest Man You’ve Never Heard Of.”

What he loves about Colorado: The weather sometimes and the people… sometimes.

Upcoming show: Talkin Shop on March 8

Jen Herling

Jen Herling. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Jen Herling has an intensive background in dance and choreography. She has only been painting for less than 3 years but feels that visual art is in her blood.

What she loves about Colorado: Everything!

Upcoming show: “Savage Calm” solo art show at Core New Art Space in Denver from March 29 through April 14

Jake Browne

Jake Browne. Photo by Robert Castro

About: Jake Browne is a writer and host of the comedy game show Uncalled Four. After four years as the first cannabis critic for a major daily newspaper, he recently transitioned into a managing editor position at the monthly magazine Sensi. As a co-founder of the Whiskey & Cigarettes Podcast, he interviewed national comedians including Greg Proops, Aparna Nancharla, Ron Funches and more.

What he loves about Colorado: Red Rocks, Blue Dream, green chile and people who still talk about the Orange Crush.

Upcoming show: TBD

Machu Linea

Machu Linea. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: After releasing three albums as producer of The Circus House, Armando Garibay is now producing under the name Machu Linea. Genres bend to accommodate the wide range of Denver talent that is being assembled for the upcoming album, GIRL. From deep house grooves to psychedelic hip hop, the album contains sounds that will transport you from the sweaty after-hours clubs to the other side of the galaxy.

What he loves about Colorado: Machu Linea loves that Colorado is full of beautiful and talented musicians.

Upcoming show: GIRL Album Release in early June


Television Generation

Television Generation. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Television Generation is a three-piece indie rock band with salty punk flavors.

What they love about Colorado: The amazing music being made here (also, the weed is nice).

Upcoming show: Streets of London Pub w/ Dressy Bessy and Bourbon Brawlers on March 9


Ursula Mains

Ursula Mains. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Ursula Mains is a comedian. What’s so funny about that?

What she loves about Colorado: Thunder snow!

Upcoming show: Boulder International Fringe Festival in August 2018



Wonderlic. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Wonderlic is a funky rock band from Denver. The four piece lineup includes electric mandolin, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Focusing on originals and covers, Wonderlic always brings a fun and upbeat energy, keeping the groovers grooving and the dancers dancing.

What they love about Colorado: Everything — from the weather and the people to the music scene and microbrews, Colorado is the only place we could ever call home.

Upcoming show: Appaloosa Grill on March 3, Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on March 5


The Trujillo Company

The Trujillo Company. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Denver rock and roll outfit, The Trujillo Company is starting to make their own mark on the flourishing Colorado music scene. Sharing the same love of music and same last name, Mike and Leny Trujillo combined forces to create a two-piece powerhouse driven by powerful backbeats and heavy riffs. The band’s debut EP is set to be released Spring 2018.

What they love about Colorado: Everyday is different, and the possibilities are endless.

Upcoming show: March 23 at Ruffed Up Duck Saloon (Laramie, WY) w/ Wynona and Post Paradise



SF1. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: SF1 is an accomplished emcee, drummer, music producer, songwriter dancer and actor. He is a Berklee College of Music alumni and Grammy Award considered artist that hails from Denver, Colorado. When performing live, a skilled ensemble of talented musicians, “The Crew” accompanies him on stage. Receiving many accolades, including three Westword Magazine Music Awards in the hip hop category, SF1 and The Crew are the first and only hip hop act to play major league baseball’s Coors Field.

His singles “Autopilot”, “Rhapsody”, “Ride” and most recently “Honest” have received airplay with iHeart Radio Stations. SF1 has shared stages with the likes of national recording artist, Jake Miller, Robert Delong, Jurassic 5, Big Data, Lupe Fiasco and the legendary KRS-One. A hip hop artist that refuses to be put in a box. His genuine love for music instrumentation is evident in his ability to effortlessly infuse jazz, Afro-Cuban, middle eastern, pop and rock within his energetic sound.

What he loves about Colorado: The music scene! It’s a melting pot of awesome.

Upcoming show: TBD


Sara Hake

Sara Hake. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Sara Hake is from the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate NY. She’s lived in Denver for 3 years and has been working professionally as a stand-up comedian for the past 2 years. Sara also is a local screenwriter and filmmaker working mostly for SexPot Comedy Productions for the past year.

What she loves about Colorado: The mountains and the people.

Upcoming show: February 28 at Jagged Mountain Brewery Comedy Showcase


Rachel Weeks

Rachel Weeks. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Rachel Weeks is a Denver-based comedian from the western suburbs of Chicago. She is a regular performer at Denver’s famous Comedy Works and has appeared on NBC’s First Look, Seeso’s Hidden America with Jonah Ray, and the RISK! podcast. She’s a member of the all-female Denver comedy group Pussy Bros, along with Christie Buchele and Janae Burris. She produces the Denver chapter of Chicago storytelling favorite We Still Like You and has been featured on High Plains Comedy Festival and Orlando Indie Comedy Festival.

What she loves about Colorado: I love that nobody in Colorado wound up here by accident. Whether they’ve been here their whole lives or moved in the last two years, Coloradans live here because they love it. They love to hike or ski. They love to drink beer or smoke weed. They love the weather or the views or the dogs with bandanas. Or, in my case, they love the flourishing comedy scene. We’re all here for different reasons, but we’re here because we love it.

Upcoming show: We Still Like You: Second Wednesdays at the Comedy RoomRoom, Pussy Bros Presents: Last Saturdays at The Black Buzzard


Married a Dead Man

Married a Dead Man. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Married a Dead Man formed in July 2016 from the remnants of hardcore band OK Holiday, where Jaime (drums) and Gwyneth (guitar) decided to form their own female based goth-influenced project. Veteran bassist Travis was added a few weeks later. Black-clad kindred spirits, Megan (vocals and keyboards) and Jaime met volunteering for Girls Rock Denver, a non-profit organization that empowers young girls through music. Brought together by disparate influences, the band creates an eclectic mix of goth, shoegaze and dark-wave, culminating a unique Denver-based sound. They collectively have 30+ years experience performing, recording and touring. With their forthcoming debut LP, The Haunt, Married a Dead Man has a host of local gigs and will be touring in 2018.

What they love about Colorado: I was born and raised here (along with our guitarist) and there is something about the Colorado attitude. Its wild west meets cosmopolitan. I love how laid back we are, but I also love how passionate and creative this state is!

Upcoming show: The Toad Tavern on March 17


Mad Pow

Mad Pow. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Mad Pow is an impressionistic rock band. Exploring dynamic, multidimensional, multi-textured sounds. Beautiful and ugly. Serious and fun.

What they love about Colorado: Our families and friends, our mountains or music scene.

Upcoming show: Toad Tavern on March 16


John Tole

John Tole. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: John Tole is a Denver based comedian, voice actor, philosopher and metal head. Tole has been featured on Howard TV, Vann TV, Sirius XM, Howard 100, Howard 101, Hits 1, Playboy Radio and was a contributor to The Howard Stern Show, Jay Thomas, Miserable Men, Pugs and Company Radio Show on AM 1100, Heidi and Frank on KLSX, KLBJ and 104.3 The Horn ESPN, Austin. John was profiled by Vice for the triumphant return of his band, Pitboss 2000 as they celebrated releases for “The Cult of F*** Yeah”, “The Overview Effect” and “The Witnesses of Elsewhere”. Tole has comedically rocked the stages at Oddball, SXSW Interactive, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Limestone and multiple Moontower Festival appearances. He is a regular on The Tin Foil Hat Podcast on All Things Comedy and hosts his own podcast called Moving Weight Live on Sex Pot Comedy Whiskey and The Surfer Denver’s Top Iconic Rock every Tuesday and Thursday on his Patreon Channel and the 4256 iTunes Feed. In 2017, “Pre-Existing Condition,” his fifth comedy album, was released by 4256 Productions and Tole is finishing up his first book, “Now You Know, Now What.” Television-wise, Tole has zero accomplishments other than running through a Brothel on Justified, diving from an explosion on NCIS LA, applauding on the Season Finale of Parks and Recreation, carrying equipment on Parenthood, menacing a Phillies’ bathroom on The Goldbergs, playing pool on Bad Judge and lifted weights in prison with Gene Simmons from KISS and Danny Trejo on Angie Tribeca.

What he loves about Colorado: People aren’t shy about telling me how much they love Colorado. The Thrash metal scene is gnarly. The comedy and art communities are groundbreaking. It’s like living in a postcard made out of weed and every day here is a miracle. I’m hoping by year two the nosebleeds will stop and I will finally be able to look down on the driving habits of people from Texas and California.

Upcoming shows: Headlining Comedy Works Downtown March 25 and LA Comedy Club at The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas April 23-29


James Draper

James Draper. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: James Draper is a comedian and improviser from Denver, CO who got his start in the windswept and culturally moribund plains of Oklahoma. He has been featured in the High Plains Comedy Festival the last three years and runs a one-liner show called Story Time! every third Friday at Comedy RoomRoom. He likes short jokes and short bios.

What he loves about Colorado: Everything

Upcoming show: March 16 Story Time at Comedy RoomRoom and every third Friday


Greg Studley

Greg Studley. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Greg Studley hails from the east coast and is a recovering Masshole. He is a stand-up comic who was screwed in the gene pool and because of his English/Italian descent, is pasty and hairy. A graduate of Emerson College, Greg has recently published his first novel, “This Comic Kills: Confessions of a Hack Comedian”

What he loves about Colorado: The women and the air are thinner than on the east coast, and after skiing New Hampshire and moving here, it turns out I’m way better than I thought, the water tastes amazing and I can wear a beard and flannel without waiting for an investigation to die down.

Upcoming show: TBD


Cory Helie

Photo by Robert Castro

About: Cory Helie is a stand-up comic, musician and runs Mutiny Transmissions—a podcast network/live show series at Mutiny Info Cafe in Denver. He once hype-manned for the fastest rapper in the world, TWISTA.

What he loves about Colorado: The sunny winter, friendly people and the fact many blue collar workers are also artists. “Oh, she is a bartender? AND A WELDER??!”

Upcoming show: March 23 at El Charrito for the Nerd Roast


Chris LaPlante

Photo by Robert Castro.

About: P-Nuckle hails from Denver.

What he loves about Colorado: Everything

Upcoming show: March 3 at Kennedy Station


Ben Verbeck

Ben Verbeck. Photo by Robert Castro.

About: Ben Verbeck is a cannabis-centric, Colorado-based comedian that originally hails from Buffalo, New York.

What he loves about Colorado: The scenery, people and strong economy.

Upcoming show: March 22 at Open Faith Temple. Verbeck also hosts weekly open-mics at Gold Camp Brewing Company every Wednesday.


Astral Planes

Photo by Amanda Piela

About: Astral Planes is a three-piece, indie, emo, rock band from Denver. They’ve been a band for two years and in that time have released an EP, played at many local shows and toured the Midwest twice. They’re about to release their second EP, Dog Days in May.

What they love about Colorado: The sun, the music scene, the melting pot of people and Illegal Pete’s at 2 a.m. after playing any show on South Broadway or Colfax. We always go because it’s an awesome place to meet up with a big group and grab a bite to eat or drinks after spending the night having our eardrums blown.

Upcoming show: February 28 at Seventh Circle Music Collective w/ Old Sport.


Zac Maas

Zac Mass. Photo by Amanda Piela

About: Zac Maas is a regular at Comedy Works, where he is a four-time New Faces Finalist. He has worked with many national touring acts there including Mike Birbiglia, Kyle Kinane, Christopher Titus and Gilbert Gottfried. He is the host of a monthly showcase at Sloan’s Lake Alamo (The Laugh Night on Earth) and runs the Denver “Phone It In” Film Festival. Both events have made multiple appearances in Westword’s 10 best comedy events.

What he loves about Colorado: Talking about how expensive it is to live here. Did you know it’s expensive?

Upcoming show: March 21 at Sloan’s Alamo w/ Sam Tallent, Andrew Polk and Lila Bear


Wake the Bat

Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Wake the Bat is a three-piece, heavy rock band from Denver. This trio of 17-year-old boys was formed in 2011 and is fronted by twins Alec and Quinn Hudson and backed on drums by Sam Stearman. They have been aired on KBPI and have played some of Denver’s best venues.

What they love about Colorado: The music scene here is so strong right now! Venue owners, promoters, fans and other musicians are so supportive and responsive. It’s exciting for an up-and-coming band!

Upcoming show: TBD


Phil Hutchinson of the Water Aerobics

Phil_Hutchinson. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Born on the ski slopes and craft beers of the Rocky Mountains, Denver-based, indie-rock outfit Water Aerobics are bringing the party to you! Combining fuzzy-wuzzy guitars with catchy vocal hooks, Water Aerobics is your new favorite garage-pop heroes, coming to save you from corrupt politicians and student loan debt. With 4-track EP, “Ikigai” released in 2017 from producer Dryw Owens (from Indian Lakes, Dance Gavin Dance), the group show their knack for quality over quantity, emotion over production and good times over bad rhymes. With a laid-back command of the stage—like Phoenix and Sex Bob-Omb after one-too-many IPA’s—you owe it to your mom to come to a show, let your hair down and not take life too seriously. Never fear, Water Aerobics is here!

What they love about Colorado: The mountains and the weather and the people and the pot and the music scene and the food and the pot and the snow and overproduction

ing show: TBD


Nathan Lund

Nathan Lund. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Nathan Lund has traveled the country and is a favorite at Denver’s Comedy Works. He was featured on the television show “Flophouse” on Viceland’s network, as well as the BBC Two show “Horizon.” Nathan was a part of Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy Fest, Crom Comedy Festival, Savage Henry Fest and the High Plains Comedy Festival. He is the host of Film on the Rocks at Red Rocks and the reigning Denver Comedy Champion.

What he loves about Colorado: The amazing views, the incredible Denver art scene, the talented people who make comedy, all of the passionate activists who run organizations that give back to the community and music and beer and weed and food.

Upcoming shows: Orlando Indie Comedy Festival on March 1-4, Grandma’s House Comedy Show in Denver March 8, Boar and Bull in Loveland March 10 and Nuthouse Comedy Show at Walnut Room in Denver March 11.



Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Jake Danna AKA CURTA is a hardworking, touring artist who grew out of the Denver DIY experimental scene.

Upcoming shows: Show dates and locations can be found here.


Grayson Nite

Grayson Nite. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Grayson Nite is a comedian from Denver. He’s done shows all over New Orleans and San Francisco. I heard one time he wrote for Hard Drive magazine. Wow, such prestige!

What he loves about Colorado: I was born here, so just that is enough. I love the mountains, city and enjoy the wide weather variations we get.

Upcoming show: A midwest tour March 9-18.


Gabby Gutierrez-Reed

Gabby Gutierrez-Reed. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Denver comedian, Gabby Gutierrez-Reed has been a stand-up comedian and improviser for 2 years. She intertwines her experiences to create a wide range of high-energy jokes and characters. She has performed at the eighth annual New York Musical Improv Festival in 2016 and at Comedy Works Downtown Denver in the 2017 Funny Final Four Competition. She will be in this year’s 2018 Funny Final Four Competition at Comedy Works Downtown Denver. She received her BS in Culinary Nutrition in 2016 and to this day has yet to use it in any way. It is unknown whether her parents are proud of her or not.

What she loves about Colorado: Colorado has a lot going on in terms of culture, creativity, cuisine and art. I’ve been able to thrive in this state because each community is supportive and giving. I love that you can see a show for music or comedy on any given night.

Upcoming shows: March 10 at El Charrito, March 14 at the Funny Final Four at Comedy Works Downtown, March 31 at Max Taps Comedy.


Erin Barnes

Erin Barnes. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Erin Barnes is the author of Tintabula, a bedtime story meant to entertain you with shiny tricks while subtly priming your brain for sleep. Follow Very St. Clair as she takes a sleep class that leads her through a phantasmagorical adventure through the dream world. A psychedelic speculative fiction, Tintabula is out Spring/Summer 2018.

What she loves about Colorado: Local bands, the Music District, Illegal Pete’s, Craft beer, legal cannabis and the people.


Dave Cooper Claire

Dave Cooper Claire. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Cooper Claire is the moniker and musical calling card for multi-instrumentalist, producer, and songwriter David Cooper Claire. Claire has worked extensively as a drummer and sideman in both Michigan and Texas, recording and performing with members of Billy Joel, Foreigner, Kenny Rogers, M83, Eminem and The Polyphonic Spree.

What he loves about Colorado: The mountains and the people.

Upcoming event: A full-length album will be coming in April.


Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Music inspired by rhythm and life. Christopher Ryan is a Colorado-based musician whose live performances blend acoustic songwriting and heartfelt lyrics. He is a multi-instrumentalist and brings unique sounds to the stage with his cigar box guitar, djembe, vocal harmonizer, guitar and live looper. Ryan has performed at the Rocky Mountain LoopFest, the international One Month Festival and has been a featured artist on the Hoodoo Music podcast. He has received radio play on Mile High Underground.

What he loves about Colorado: Colorado is incredible. The state has great trails, beautiful mountains and a huge love for the arts. The music scene is very supportive of its artists. From organizations like Swallow Hill and the Fort Collins Musicians Association to events like the UMS and the People’s Fair, locals care about local artists and support their art.

Upcoming show: March 20 and April 6


Boat Drinks

Boat Drinks. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Boat Drinks has been playing noisy pop songs in Denver since 2015.

What they love about Colorado: We love the energy of creative ideas from Denver, new and old.

Upcoming show: April 14 at the Magic Rat in Fort Collins.


Blink 90210

Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Blink 90210 covers all the hits from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s with a little punk rock twist. A super fun party band to play at almost any event.

What they love about Colorado: The blue skies and all the great people

Upcoming show: TBD


Bailey Elora

Bailey Elora. Photo by Amanda Piela.

About: Bailey Elora is an up and coming singer with small-town roots and a city soul. She has been writing and performing all her life. Her band of young musicians is relatively new to the music scene, but you wouldn’t guess that after hearing them perform. A strong vocalist as their frontwoman, Bailey Elora has a voice that is truly breathtaking. With a performance list that is unmatched by most artists her age, Bailey Elora is definitely on the path to success.
Her first single, “Must’ve Been the Roses,” recorded at Youth on Record and released digitally on February 14, 2018, has a soulful-folk sound with a hauntingly sad meaning. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “Must’ve Been the Roses” tugs at your heartstrings, eliciting a hurricane of emotions only found in the deepest parts of yourself. In 2017, Youth on Record awarded her with the “Real Rock Star Award” and since then, she and her band have been making history.

What they love about Colorado: The variations of weather, people and culture—and the love the state has for local music!

Upcoming shows: March 2 for First Friday Party and Artwalk for Youth on Record and May 26 at YOR Day.




Sarah Slaton of Edison

Sarah Slaton. Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: A lysergic twist on the modern folk-freak scene, often heartbroken but always upbeat as they traverse the American landscape. Edison is a trio hailing from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, featuring Grammy-nominated guitarist, Maxwell Hughes of The Lumineers. Edison as opened for Iron & Wine, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, Jon Foreman (of Switchfoot), Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Shakey Graves, Shook Twins, Langhorne Slim, Martin Sexton and Jared & The Mill. Their past festivals include South by Southwest, CMJ Music Marathon, Folk Alliance International, Moods of The Madison, Nebraska Folk ‘n Roots, Westword Music Showcase, Denver Day of Rock, Bohemian Nights and The Underground Music Showcase

What they love about Colorado: We love the ability to get lost in the mountains by day and the city by night. Living in Colorado gave us the opportunity to play Red Rocks and grow as a band nationally from the support built at home.

Upcoming shows: March 15 at Syntax Physic Opera Denver and a tour from March 15-April 11, with locations and times found here.


Preston Tompkins

Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: Preston Tompkins is a comedian from Omaha, NE currently residing in Denver. He hosts a monthly roast called The Nerd Roast and has a sketch series on YouTube with fellow comedian Zach Reinert called Step-Dads. He has opened for comedians Aparna Nancherla and Nick Swardson.

What he loves about Colorado: There is always something to do in Colorado and there is always something to put green chili on.

Upcoming shows: March 10 at Prost Brewing in Fort Collins and March 14 at Comedy Works Funny Final Four


Nate Earl

Nate Earl. Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: Nate is an up and coming comedian in Denver who has hosted multiple shows, improv teams and open mics, as well as appearing at Comedy Works multiple times.

What he loves about Colorado: The air and natural beauty.

Upcoming shows: March 9 at the Mutiny Information Cafe and March 21 at Finkle and Garf.


Marie Conigliaro

About: Marie Conigliaro is a vintage collage artist born in Danbury, Connecticut. After receiving her interior design degree Cum Laude from Paier College of Art, she began working for a large architecture firm in Hartford specializing in hospitality and casino design. After the 2008 crash and subsequent job loss due to the economic downturn, she took a non-creative position in project management which later prompted her experimentation with collage as an answer to, and outlet for, her pent-up creativity. Conigliaro currently resides in Denver working full-time as office manager and accountant at a Denver-based architecture firm. She enjoys making vintage collage in her spare time.

What she loves about Colorado: The people, music, art, mountains and smothered chorizo breakfast burritos.

Upcoming shows: DAVA April & Pablos Coffee in July/August


Lola Rising

Lola Rising. Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: Lola Rising is an island, folk, rock band—also known as “Jahawaiian”—that is ukulele driven with high energy melodic dance rhythms and soaring guitars. The six-piece hailing from Colorado has quickly risen with dates alongside Rusted Root, Trevor Hall, Mike Love, Through the Roots and appearances at festivals like Big Ticket Festival, Velorama and Spread The Word Music Festival. 303 Magazine voted Lola Rising’s single, “Colorado”, as one of the best folk songs in 2017.

What they love about Colorado: Being Colorado natives, we are inspired not only by the breathtaking topography that our state offers but by the people who fill our cities. Denver is where we are from, but the people who live here make it our home. The music scene in Denver has become our biggest supporters and we are fortunate enough to be a part of it.

Upcoming shows: March 25 at Globe Hall w/The Suffers and Fridays in the Asher. Also, they will be featured at the Spread the Word Music Festival.


John Papaioannou

John Papaioannou. Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: John Papaioannou is a stand-up comic and reluctant scientist.

What he loves about Colorado: I’m a big fan of its right angles.

Upcoming shows: TBD


Ian Mahan

About: A Colorado transplant from small-town Illinois, singer-songwriter Ian Mahan has spent the last
decade writing and performing music for the sole purpose of connecting with his audience. His
acoustic-style songs, with melodies ranging from mellow to upbeat, are marked by a characteristic lyrical vulnerability. Though he attended piano lessons from a young age, Mahan did not find his true instrumental passion until his 18-year-old self picked up a guitar. His high school and college years were spent exploring music in the form of countless different bands, ultimately establishing himself as a solo artist in 2008. In 2011, Mahan produced his first, self-titled EP with his drummer, band director and long-time friend, JD Raab. Four years later, Ian released “Tiger Lily,” his sophomore album which marries the singer-songwriter genre with pop-style, electronic elements. Released earlier this year, Ian’s six-song EP, “Rockford,” showcases his evolving musical style grounded in emotional transparency and whispery acoustics. The album is a collection of curated songs that highlight life’s joys and miseries, inspired by breakups, Rocky Balboa and everything in between. Mahan has performed with notable artists such as Ryan Adams, Leon Bridges, Vanessa Carlton, Howie Day, Nina Storey, The Rocket Summer, Parachute, Stu Larsen, Tyler Hilton, Christina Perri and Joe Brooks.

What he loves about Colorado: The local music scene here is unparalleled. There isn’t a better music scene and a better community than what you have in Denver. I also love the running trails I can find all over the city, and of course, rewarding myself with an Illegal Pete’s burrito after those runs.

Upcoming shows: March 31 at 4 Noses Brewing

Deadly Ever After

Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: Deadly Ever After is Wes Luna

Why they love Colorado: My wife & dog, the music, the people.

Upcoming show: See website.

Cody Spyker

About: Cody Spyker is a born and raised western slope Coloradoan, Naropa University Peace Studies alumni, and a nanny-by-day, stand-up comedian by night. She co-hosts a weekly podcast—formerly a live am radio show through Radio 1190—called Ice Cream Social. Over three years running, the show features both local Colorado talent as well as nationally touring comedians such as Emily Heller, Myq Kaplan, Scott Dikkers (of The Onion) and David Gborie. She’s performed on the Crom Comedy Festival and for the past two years the High Plains Comedy Festival in Denver, fulfilling a dream of opening for Todd Glass and Eddie Pepitone in 2017. She is the host of eTown Comedy Live! in Boulder and she loves and likes you very much.

Why she loves Colorado: It’s my home state, baby! It holds all of my very favorite things: mountains, my family, black-tailed prairie dogs. I am freaky blessed to have roots here.

Upcoming show: Sticks and Stones Debate Show Feb 28 / Floodwater Comedy Festival, Iowa March 1-3 / eTown Comedy Live! March 21.

Chella Negro of Chella and The Charm

Chella Negro. Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: Denver darling, Midwestern shade queen.

Why she loves Colorado: Nearly everything but mostly that it has a hometown Midwestern charm with all the thrills of a big city

Upcoming show: We are in the studio finishing up our third record. I’m taking a hiatus for a month. See website for more.

Byron Graham

Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Graham is the events editor of Westword, Denver’s alt-weekly newspaper, co-host of the deathless Lion’s Lair open mic and co-producer of Designated Drunkard: a Comedy Drinking Game. He cannot abide cowardice and has never been defeated in an open duel.

Why he loves Colorado: As a Colorado native, I feel uniquely connected to Colorado’s majestic landscape and the pioneering optimism of its residents.

Upcoming show: Designated Drunkard on Saturday, March 3, 7 p.m.

Brendan Dorney of Rabies Babies

Photo by Danielle Webster.

About: Screenprinter, illustrator, designer of screen-printed concert posters.

Why he loves Colorado: More affordable for an artist than my home of NYC. Great live music. Sunshine and space.

Upcoming show: March 24 Open Studio + Print Tour part of Mo’ Print events. See website for more.


Mike McGraw of Shark Dream

Shark Dream. Photo by Evan Semón.

About: Beautiful floating moments interrupted by sharp cutting teeth. Shark Dreams style of ethereal indie rock will put you in a daze, then shake you awake.

Why he loves Colorado: The music scene!

Upcoming show: Super Bummer & Shark Dreams at Magic Rat, Saturday, March 3.

Melissa Wahe

Melissa Wahe. Photos by Evan Semón Photography.


About:  Melissa Wahe is a stand-up comedian as well as a very small business owner of a business where she teaches teens and women basic car care, maintenance and emergency preparedness in their vehicle.

Why she loves Colorado: The camaraderie between artists and the immense amount of talent we have in this state!

Upcoming show: February 22, March 3

Mark Reiley

Mark Reiley. Photos by Evan Semón Photography.

About: Writer, performer and charming liar.

Why he loves Colorado: It’s the only state where it’s perfectly normal to buy some marijuana before going to the mountains to get some white powder.

Upcoming show: See website for more.


Photo by Evan Semón Photography.

About: Vick is a  27-year-old hip hop artist born and raised in Aurora, Colorado! He’s always had a passion for music growing up and is now stepping up to pursue my dream of becoming a full time musician.

Why he loves Colorado: What I’ve always loved about growing up here was the diversity you can see wherever you go. They definitely don’t have that same quality in some of the other cities I’ve been to. I’m fortunate enough to have grown up with friends from all kinds of backgrounds. I’m proud to call the 303 my home!

Upcoming show: TBA

Christina Lundell

Christina Lundell. Photos by Evan Semón Photography.

About: Christina Lundell is a singer/songwriter from Denver that mixes soul with dark R&B tones. Influences range from blues/jazz to hip hop.

Why she loves Colorado: The people.

Upcoming show: TBA

Brad Galli

Photo by Evan Semón Photography

About: Brad Galli is a stand-up and writer living and performing in Denver, CO for 7 years. He has performed on the High Plains Comedy Festival, The Laughing Devil Comedy Festival and had opened up for the likes of Doug Stanhope.

Why he loves Colorado: It’s a beautiful state with an eclectic group of talented performers.

Upcoming show: Sticks and Stones Comedy Debates at Oscar Blues Black Buzzard on February 28.

Groove Thief

Groove Thief. Photos by Evan Semón Photography.

About: An American dub and reggae connoisseur previously based out of Hong Kong, The Groove Thief [TGT] is now living in Denver, Colorado, USA. Including the influential Pomegranate club residency at underground dance mecca oma, TGT promoted countless events featuring local & international artists while in Hong Kong. Here in Colorado with his Pomegranate Hi Fi sound system, he’s organized backyard boogies, guerrilla pop-ups, and sponsored collaborations, plus he’s rapidly becoming a leading voice celebrating roots reggae and sound system culture. As a DJ, he’s supported numerous international artists including Cojie [Mighty Crown], Iration Steppas, Mungo’s Hi Fi, and Tippa Irie. Since 2011 he has released dozens of mashups and over 50 mixes – including guest spots for Bass Music China, Dub Temple Records,, Monkey Radio India, NiceUp, and “The Saturday Skank” (RTHK Radio 3). His 4:20 mix for 2017 has been particularly well-received, with over 24k plays. Since moving, TGT has also found a home at community radio station KGNU, regularly hosting the “Reggae Transfusion” and “Dub Palace” shows.

Why he loves Colorado: The creative possibilities!

Upcoming show: Tuesday, March 13 = ETuesday DJ Battle @ The Black Box; Friday, March 23 = Art Day @ Boulder Wellness Center

Meghan DePonceau

Photo by Evan Semón Photography.

About: Meghan DePonceau is a Denver comedian.

Why she loves Colorado: The comedy scene

Upcoming show: March 7 at unCORKED,  March 23 at Shanty Town plus many more.

2 Responses

  1. Colorado Love

    For Colorado being so diverse, that list sure didn’t encapsulate that. Disappointing.

    • Brittany Werges

      Check the intro! The list was created via an open call and these are the people who replied.


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