Jenny LaJoye opens queer open mic, plus other events this week

click to enlarge COURTESY JENNY LAJOYE

  • Courtesy Jenny LaJoye

Friendsgiving! A Queer Open Mic

Nov. 24, 6:30-9 p.m., 5460 N. Union Blvd., free,

Denver-based singer and songwriter Jenny LaJoye brings their unique folk/pop sound to Colorado Springs for an evening focused on music, friendship, creativity and community. Keep Colorado Springs Queer!, Hear, Hear! Poetry and Finding Home have teamed up to create an unforgettable open mic experience for the Colorado Springs queer community.

LaJoye’s music creates a powerfully positive vibe that connects with the audience across many different levels. Their music aims to remind others of their humanity and turn their gaze to the goodness that lies within them. As LaJoye’s bio states, “Everyone is made of the good stuff.”
Their songs often utilize a vocal loop, which allows them to use their own voice to create dynamic sound and beautiful layers of accompaniment. Classically trained in violin and influenced by jazz, musical theater, folk and blues, LaJoye creates music that embraces it all, while still adhering to their own special sound. Their lyrics, thoughtful and sincere, bring it all home.

Their newest album, Alters, has a theological bent, which is fitting considering that Finding Home is one of the co-hosts of this event. Finding Home provides an open-minded, spiritual place for those who feel left behind by organized religion, yet still seek a space to practice their faith — whatever that faith might be. The venue, Grande United Church of Christ, is equally supportive and inclusive, offering another layer of warmth and support to the LGBTQ community.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true Friendsgiving without good food, so all guests are invited to bring a dish and partake in the pre-show vegan potluck.

The evening will close with a showcase featuring incredibly talented performers from the Colorado Springs queer community. Poets, musicians, comedians, writers and any other performer can take a turn at the mic and shine.

Demystifying Ethnicity Testing

Nov. 21, 2-4 p.m., 20 N. Cascade Ave., free,

The popularity of at-home DNA test kits has boomed in recent years, and the results people have received have caused more than a few surprises, not to mention confusion. Dr. Greg Liverman will help attendees decode the information provided in testing reports with an informative presentation that provides a brief introduction to the science of DNA, explores migration patterns of humanity’s ancient ancestors and helps create a deeper understanding of ethnicity and ancestry. Registration is required for this free event.

click to enlarge KAYLA COBURN

  • Kayla Coburn

The Petite Nutcracker

Nov. 22, 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, $3,

The Nutcracker has long been a staple event of the holiday season. The colorful sets and costumes, and fanciful storyline make it an engaging performance for many kids, but the length and formality isn’t always the best fit for others. In this special show, kiddos will be treated to a performance by the Connexus Dance Collective, followed by a condensed, 20-minute version of The Nutcracker ballet, complete with tutus, music and lots of fun.

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Nov. 23, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Acacia Park, 115 E. Platte Ave.,

Pull your coziest sweater out of winter storage, break out the thermos of cocoa and get ready for all the holiday fun at the city’s annual tree lighting ceremony. This family-friendly event offers fun games, live music and a visit from jolly old Saint Nick to help you kick your holiday spirit into high gear. The event itself is free, but for $10 you can rent some skates and venture out on Acacia Park’s outdoor ice rink to make it a truly splendid affair.

Turkey Trot 5K

Nov. 28. Race at 9 a.m., kids’ fun run at 8:15 a.m., Briargate YMCA, 4025 Family Place, $10-$40,

Start your Thanksgiving Day off with an endorphin rush at the Turkey Trot 5K. While this is a chip-timed race with prizes for the top three male and female finishers in each division, the race is also super family-friendly. There’s a free Tiny Trot for littles 12 and under, and if you are so inclined, you can also enter your dog for $15. They’ll get a Turkey Trot bandana (the dog, not the kid), plus a treat. Frankly, it’s worth it for the costumes alone — who knew there was such a variety of turkey hats?