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Weekend Roundup: Happy hoops, poker power, snowshoe speed

Indoors or outdoors, there are a handful of options for sporting entertainment in Moffat County this weekend.

Bulldog ball

Moffat County High School basketball teams play their first Western Slope League home games Friday and Saturday against league opponents Grand Valley Friday and Cedaredge Saturday afternoons.
The game schedule include girls junior varsity, boys JV, girls varsity and boys varsity.
C-Teams also take on Battle Mountain Saturday morning at Craig Middle School.
Friday games are free for all spectators, with admission covered by Craig Association of Realtors.
When:  Varsity, JV games start at 3 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday; C-Team games start at 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Varsity, JV games at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane; C-Team games at CMS, 915 Yampa Ave.
Cost: Friday games free; Saturday games $5
For more information: 970-824-7036

Dashing through the snow

The Dinosaur 100 Trail Race Series snowshoe races run January and February at locations in Moffat and Routt counties.
Each race is designed to be approximately 3.2 to 4.2 miles, a 5K or longer, with all experience levels welcome.
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: First race at Loudy-Simpson Park, 600 S. Ranney St.; additional races Jan. 26 at Rabbit Ears Pass, Fox Curve; Feb. 2 at Stagecoach State Park; Feb. 9 at Steamboat Lake
Cost: Advance entry $25
For more information: snowshoesteamboat.com or Dinsoaur100.com

Pick a card…

Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club also will host its annual Poker Run fundraiser Saturday, starting at the Freeman Reservoir parking lot.

Snowmobilers head along the path to several stations and pick up a playing card to form a poker hand. Those with the best results win 25 percent of the total collected with 15 percent for second place and 10 percent for third.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony that night, with additional door prizes donated by local businesses are also up for grabs. Money raised during the Poker Run goes to the group's scholarship efforts, last year awarding $1,000 apiece to two local students, the majority of which was raised during the event.

When: Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., awards at 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Poker Run at Freeman Reservoir; awards at Vallarta’s, 2705 W. Victory Way
Cost: Hands $10 apiece, $25 for three
For more information: northwestcoloradosnowmobileclub.org

Do you have an upcoming weekend entertainment item to promote? To submit events for Weekend Roundup, email details including time, date, place, cost and a description of the event to news@craigdailypress.com.

Denver Film Critics Society names Netflix feature ‘Roma’ best picture of 2018

Regional cinematic group Denver Film Critics Society recently announced its selections for the top movies of 2018.

The Spanish-language feature “Roma” took multiple honors, including Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón.

The movie, produced through streaming service Netflix, focuses on the struggles of a middle-class Mexican family in the 1970s, as seen through the eyes of their housekeeper.

The film is partially based on Cuarón’s own childhood in Mexico City.

Two of DFCS’s acting honors both went to the period piece “The Favourite,” about the court of Britain’s Queen Anne in the early 18th century.

Olivia Colman won Best Actress as the temperamental royal, while Rachel Weisz took Best Supporting Actress as Anne’s manipulative confidante and best friend, Sarah Churchill.

Ethan Hawke received Best Actor for his portrayal of a conflicted clergyman at odds with faith in the modern world in “First Reformed.”

Mahershala Ali gained Best Supporting Actor for “Green Book,” a true story about an African-American musician traveling through the Deep South in the 1960s.

John Krasinski, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods won Best Original Screenplay for the suspense film "A Quiet Place," about a family attempting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by sound-sensitive aliens. The film also gained Best Sci-Fi/Horror honors, tying with the female-driven action movie “Annihilation.”

Best Adapted Screenplay went to Spike Lee, Kevin Willmott, Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz for "BlacKkKlansman," a screen version of a 1970s Colorado Springs police officer’s efforts to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.

Superhero films took multiple awards as "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" received Best Animated Film, "Avengers: Infinity War" won Best Visual Effects, and composer Ludwig Goransson’s music for "Black Panther" garnered Best Original Score.

The selection for Best Original Song was from the remake of “A Star Is Born” — the tune “Shallow,” written by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt, which was performed in the movie by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

The dark humor satire about Soviet government, "The Death of Stalin," earned Best Comedy, while Best Documentary went to "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" about the efforts of Fred Rogers to shape child development through television.

Denver Film Critics Society includes area Colorado-based writers ranging from Denver Post’s Lisa Kennedy to Craig Press’s Andy Bockelman.


Gamble with money, not safety: Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club hosting avalanche training, Poker Run

Enjoying one of the region’s favorite wintertime activities and embracing education go hand in hand with upcoming events hosted by Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club.

The group will host avalanche safety training Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Freeman Reservoir Trailhead parking lot, about 10.5 miles north of Craig on Colorado Highway 13.

The training begins at 9:30 a.m., and a snow machine is required to go up on the hill.

According to Colorado Avalanche Information Center, multiple portions of the state, including Northwest Colorado, are under moderate to considerable risk for avalanches. Those looking to access high-elevation points are encouraged to be aware of how to do so safely and responsibly.

Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club also will host its annual Poker Run fundraiser Jan. 19, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. starting at the Freeman parking lot.

Snowmobilers head along the path to several stations — open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — and pick up a playing card to form a poker hand. Those with the best results win 25 percent of the total collected with 15 percent for second place and 10 percent for third.

Hands are $10 apiece or $25 for three.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. at Vallarta’s, 2705 W. Victory Way, with additional door prizes donated by local businesses are also up for grabs.

Money raised during the Poker Run goes to the group's scholarship efforts, last year awarding $1,000 apiece to two local students, the majority of which was raised during the event.

For more information on Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club and its activities, visit northwestcoloradosnowmobileclub.org.

The Bock’s Office: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ a perfectly practical sequel

The idea of creating a follow-up to one of the greatest movie musicals in the history of cinema is, like a bad Cockney accent, a sound that is something quite atrocious. Even if you look at it as medicine you can't avoid, "Mary Poppins Returns" is a spoonful of sugar in itself.

In 1935 London, 17 Cherry Tree Lane and its residents have seen happier times.

Newly widowed Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is barely keeping his home together, even with the help of sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), harried housekeeper Ellen (Julie Walters), and his children Annabel, John and Georgie (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson), who have started growing up far too fast with the death of their mother.

To add to his concerns, financial mismanagement is catching up to him after a loan against the house comes due.

The adults' preoccupation with preventing total ruin leads to the Banks kids coming home with some unexpected help, someone who knows them very well even though they have never laid eyes on her.

A mysterious woman named Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) comes from out of nowhere much to the delight of Michael and Jane, who immediately recognize their childhood nanny as well as the many stories of her magical talents that they have since convinced themselves were only figments of their shared imagination.

But, the new generation of Banks quickly learns that there's more than meets the eye with this lady, who may be the only solution to all their problems.

There's no outshining a name like Julie Andrews, but Blunt is spit-spot as she pays homage to one of the greats. She's got the pipes to be sure, but it's the mannerisms that make her performance work as the haughty, strict yet loving governess with a bag of tricks that has only gotten better with age since she last flew in via umbrella.

The aforementioned accent notwithstanding, there's also no forgetting Dick Van Dyke, yet as a similar triple threat, “Hamilton” mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda provides a subtler vocal presence while hitting all the steps and songs as Jack — the one-time apprentice of Bert the chimney-sweep — keeping the lamps of London alight while also carrying a torch of his own, but not for whom you might think.

Whishaw and Mortimer do finely as the grown Michael and Jane, who despite being adults, still could use guidance from their old nanny.

Ahem, former nanny. Even when she's apparently immortal, you don't bring up a woman's age.

Unlike his once cold-hearted father, Michael is in the banking business quite reluctantly, having to forego an art career to make ends meet, remaining sentimental about his progeny yet still largely oblivious about what they need from their remaining parent.

As for Jane, it's a spinster's life for her, balancing her duties as a sister and aunt with union-organizing amid the economic disaster known as The Great Slump and going against the times by — Gasp! — wearing pants. Her suffragette mother would be so proud.

Davies and Saleh do well as twins Annabel and John, who fancy themselves too level-headed and mature to need a caretaker, but newcomer Dawson is the true delight as unrestrained Georgie, who loves the new arrival more than anyone and not just because he was the one to reel her in from the sky on a kite.

The Disney crew doesn't strain itself in terms of story, and with archetypes like a saintly deceased parent, a ticking clock with a family home at stake, you might think they're getting lazy.

Still, those traits are only a bad thing when you don't add more, and the level of care and craftsmanship to evoke the magic of 1964's landmark blend of live-action and animation is hard to miss even with a sharper line this time around between the real world and flights of fancy, but thankfully the classic two-dimensional cartoon style makes a welcome return. 

PL Travers may have had mixed feelings about Walt's adjustments to her original literary character — the animosity of which was captured a few years ago in the half-hearted mea culpa "Saving Mr. Banks" — but it's nearly impossible to imagine lovers of the first film not enjoying this latest work that has all the heart and whimsy you could want with director Rob Marshall at the helm and "special guest appearances" elsewhere.

You won't hear the Sherman brothers’ "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" — though Mary's thick-tongued cousin Topsy's full name may have more syllables — or the Oscar-winning "Chim Chim Chir-ee," but the soundtrack's bright spots by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman start early with Jack’s opener "(Underneath the) Lovely London Sky" to the curiously cabaret-inspired "A Cover Is Not the Book" to the loud and proud anthem of the leeries, "Trip a Little Light Fantastic.”

And, If you're not bawling at least a little bit with Mary's lullaby "The Place Where Lost Things Go" or soaring with "Nowhere to Go but Up," you must be trying your darnedest to dislike everything new.

If you need "Mary Poppins Returns" to be better than its predecessor, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. It may not be practically perfect in every way, but it is perfectly practical as a true tribute that simultaneously stands on its own merits of bringing out the best of tried-and-true elements of family entertainment bearing the name Disney.

Perhaps it won't be as admired as fondly in five decades, but let's just see which way the wind blows…

The Bock’s Office: ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ spins wide, wacky web of beloved superhero

You would think retelling a well-worn origin story more than once would be inhibitive in a superhero tale where the audience is already quite familiar with the background.

But, at the risk of becoming repetitive, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” recounts that famous moment not once, not twice but seven times, and each one rings as true as the next.

New York teenager Miles Morales (voice of Shameik Moore) is dealing with a lot.

Displaced in a fancy new private school and beset by high expectations from his parents (Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez), the only one who understands Miles is his Uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali), who encourages him to pursue his artistic ambitions.

While the boy is in the midst of a graffiti project within an abandoned subway tunnel, he doesn’t think too much about a small bite by a spider.

That is, until he happens across another person who’s experienced the same thing — Spider-Man (Chris Pine).

No sooner do the two share a moment than Spidey meets a horrible fate, leaving Miles as his heir apparent once his spider powers activate, though his new strength, agility and other phenomenal abilities are well beyond his control.

Luckily enough, there’s someone else who knows exactly what he’s going through, as he encounters yet another Spider-Man: Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), an older, bitter version of the Spider-Man that Miles has grown up idolizing.

As if this weren’t already odd, he claims to be from an alternate dimension, brought to this reality by technology that could threaten to destroy all existence.

The two reluctantly team up to figure out how to stop this menace, but besides the villains that always seem to be present for any rendition of Spider-Man, more and more incarnations from across the dimensions keep appearing.

Moore provides the ideal intonation for Miles, who’s become a star in his own right in the Ultimate line of Marvel Comics, possessing most of the traits of the original character in his intelligence, his sense of humor and most importantly his reticence to take on the mantle of New York’s protector.

Johnson, on the other hand, is perfect casting because he couldn’t possibly capture the classic Spider-Man, instead shown as a Peter Parker tinged with gray and crow’s feet, who’s been doing his schtick for decades and let it ruin his life, with a sad divorce under his belt, not to mention a few extra pounds as a result of a love affair with pizza.

Liev Schreiber provides more of a wise guy feel than we’ve ever heard for crime boss Wilson Fisk, better known as Kingpin, and his character design looks less like a massive frame of musculature than an Armani-clad refrigerator with eyes.

Still, as the main baddie of this particular adventure, he shows just how much you can accomplish with a limitless bank account and a complete disregard for humanity.

The machinery that causes multiple realities to collide brings with it nearly every take on Spidey over the years — thankfully Ben Reilly is left out of the mix so we don’t lose all inhibitions — including Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) as the hoodie-wearing drummer Spider-Gwen; hard-boiled 1930s Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage); futuristic Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and her super-powered spider-robot; and Peter Porker (John Mulaney), aka Spider-Ham, a mild-mannered arachnid bitten by a radioactive pig.

And, in case you think that was written by filmmakers in a last-second bit of hilarity, the wise-cracking pig has been in comic existence since the ’80s.

The limitations are few in this animated phantasmagoria that draws on decades of spider lore found in pages, past cartoons and films, a history that rivals X-Men and Batman for the most reboots when it comes to the big screen.

With all these versions converging, there’s no way to do this without creators giving a wink to the audience as if to say, “I know, it’s crazy, right?!”

With so many webslingers, the plotline credited to screenwriters Rodney Rothman and Phil Lord repeatedly threatens to fall apart, but the outcome amounts to a pretty standard saga if you’re familiar with the ever-expanding Marvel universe, helped along by a visual style that never commits to one color palette or design for too long.

“Into the Spider-Verse” is hardly the best Spider-Man movie or even the best released this year featuring Peter Parker, but it’s nonetheless a high-octane thrill ride that captures every angle of a hero with many facets.

As the old guy who sells Miles his meager spider-costume would say in a cameo for the ages: “Excelsior!”

Weekend Roundup: 4 New Year’s Eve bashes in Craig

The calendar is almost complete, and Northwest Colorado is looking toward 2019 along with the rest of the world. Whether you’re seeking family fun or parties for adults only, you can find the perfect spot to say farewell to 2018.

A cool way to spend your night

Craig Youth Hockey Association will host its annual New Year's Eve party Monday at Moffat County Ice Arena.
The evening will include open skating, games and food for families.
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Moffat County Ice Arena at Loudy-Simpson Park, 600 S. Ranney St.
Cost: $5 for skating, $5 for food and drinks
For more information: Call 970-629-2380

Just roll with it

Thunder Rolls Bowling Center hosts New Year's Thunder Rolls Rockin’ Eve event Monday, complete with hours and hours on the lanes for all ages and food and drinks from Sizzling Pickle Eatery.
When: 8 p.m. to midnight Monday
Where: Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, 990 Industrial Ave.
Cost: $20 for unlimited bowling, shoe rental and party favors; $3 per game with shoes, party package separate
For more information: Call 970-824-BOWL (2695)

A night to remember

Mathers Club brings the tropics to Moffat County with Havana Nights, a Cuban-themed New Year’s party.
A DJ and drink specials are in store, and patrons should show up in their best Havana outfits.
Ages 21 and older only.
When: Starts at 9 p.m. Monday
Where: Mathers Club, 420 Yampa Ave.
Cost: No cover charge
For more information: Call 970-824-9946

What a riot

New Year's Eve at The Popular Bar will include live music all night by local band Black Mountain Riot as part of Riotpalooza.
Only ages 21 and older will be admitted.
When: Starts at 9 p.m. Monday
Where: The Popular Bar, 24 W. Victory Way
Cost: Contact organizers
For more information: Call 970-824-6234
Do you have an upcoming weekend entertainment item to promote? To submit events for Weekend Roundup, email details including time, date, place, cost and a description of the event to news@craigdailypress.com.

Eagles tribute band Boys of Summer set to take it to the limit in Rifle Saturday

RIFLE — The boys are back in town, and the Ute Theater will be rocking this Saturday night as The Boys of Summer, an Eagles tribute band, kick off the last weekend of 2018.

Based out of Los Angeles, the band is made up of James Williamson, drums and vocals; Darrel Monson, guitar and vocals; Dave Williams, guitar and vocals; Chad Quist, guitar and vocals; Chris Turbis, keyboards, saxophones, acoustic guitar and vocals; and Rich Berglund, bass and vocals.

“We are a bunch of older cats out here doing this stuff,” drummer and vocalist James Williamson said.

A big outdoor enthusiast, Williamson fell for the Western Slope back in the 1980s.

“Snow skiing is my first love,” Williamson said from his home in Fruita.

Around 20 years ago, Williamson purchased a home in Colorado, splitting time between the Western Slope and Los Angeles, before becoming a full-time resident five years ago.

“I love the people, man,” Williamson added. “They are just awesome, warm and friendly. It reminds me of where I grew up in Los Angeles as a kid.”

Formed in 2004 by the six lifelong friends, they began as a Don Henley tribute band. With several other Eagles tribute bands in the L.A. area at the time, Williamson said they wanted to make a bold statement, initially focusing on music by the legendary Eagles vocalist and drummer.

“We have always been Eagles fans since we were young,” Williamson said. “I’m amazed by their versatility, their guitar melodies and harmony, not to mention the harmony vocals.”

After limited success at booking gigs, they decided to regroup and alter their path.

“It was a hard sell,” Williamson said. “We decided about six months out to do an about face and go hardcore Eagles.”

As soon as they switched, they started booking more dates, and for the last 14 years they have been touring the wine country of Northern California, Western Colorado and New Mexico.

The trips to Colorado are always special for Williamson, now that he makes his home on the Western Slope.

“I’ve always had a love for Colorado,” he said.

The band plays at least two gigs a year in western Colorado.

“We love playing Glenwood. It’s a lot of fun,” Williamson added.

The Boys have played the Vaudeville Revue theater in Glenwood Springs twice, and this will be the second trip to Rifle’s Ute Theater.

Saturday’s all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information, call (970) 665-6569 or visit utetheater.com

Popular local musician, singer,and songwriter Morgan Crouse will open the show.

“I’m looking forward to playing Rifle again,” Williamson said. “We had such a blast last time. The scene is amazing. They love the Eagles in Rifle.”

🎄Add entries to Craig Holiday Tour of Lights interactive map🎄

The interactive map for the Craig Press and Yampa Valley Electric Association shows the nine entries in this year’s contest, but there are many more Christmas light displays around town.

If you have a worthy yard decoration display or know someone who does, send the address and photo to news@craigdailypress.com to be featured on our map.

Former NASA engineer creates glitter bomb to surprise package thieves

You wouldn’t think it would take a rocket scientist to foil “porch pirates,” but Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer, was tired of thieves purloining packages from his porch, so he spent months working on a decoy that sprays glitter, activates a spray can of fart spray and has four attached cameras to catch the subsequent fun.

It’s brilliant.

Given that porch piracy is a growing problem throughout the land, how much would you pay for one of these things?

Weekend Roundup: Support sports, look at lovely lights, come together for Christmas — 8 happenings for a happy holiday in Craig

‘Twas the last weekend before Christmas, and all throughout Moffat County, people were hunting for a few more bits of holiday fun.

All the trimmings

The seventh annual Festival of Trees runs through January at Moffat County Courthouse, hosted by Moffat County Youth United Way and Moffat County High School Key Club.
The theme for this year's holiday extravaganza is "Once Upon a Time… Christmas Stories" with numerous Northwest Colorado organizations and nonprofits providing creatively decorated trees.
When: Open to the public 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, Nov. 26 to Jan. 4
Where: Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: 970-824-6222

Feliz Navidad

Museum of Northwest Colorado hosts a holiday display with the exhibition "Nacimientos of Mexico." The specially made Nativity scenes from the collections of Suzanna Orzech and Joyce and Max Douglas will be available for viewing through the Christmas season with its last day this Saturday.
When: Nov. 20 to Dec. 22; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Museum of Northwest Colorado, 590 Yampa Ave.
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: 970-824-7898

Light up the night

Craig Press and Yampa Valley Electric Association host the 2018 Holiday Tour of Lights at homes around Craig. Nine total houses show their Christmas cheer with home and yard decorations, which range from lights to inflatables to radio signals providing holiday tunes.
An online map is available through Craig Press and features each of the entries. Driving west to east to view each of the homes is about 6.6 miles depending on traffic and takes at least 20 minutes depending on each stop.
When: After sunset
Where: Full list of addresses and map available at CraigDailyPress.com
Cost: Free

Hoop it up

Moffat County High School basketball teams host their annual Hoop-a-Thon and Chili Dinner Friday at MCHS.
Players are collecting pledges from community members based on how many baskets they can sink during the evening, with funds collected to benefit the program.
The chili dinner is open to all who attend.
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: MCHS, 900 Finley Lane
Cost: Donations welcome
For more information: 970-629-3628

Rolling into Christmas

Thunder Rolls Bowling Center and The Sizzling Pickle host a December bowling tournament Friday night, with entries benefiting the Adopt-a-Family program for the holiday.
A Secret Santa exchange is available for those who bring gifts to participate, and the alley will also provide drawings for bowling-themed stockings.
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, 990 Industrial Ave.
Cost: $13 tournament entry
For more information: 970-824-BOWL (2695)

A cool weekend

Craig Youth Hockey Association's 18U Midget team hosts its home opener with a series against the Front Range's Hyland Hills and Cheyenne, Wyoming Saturday and Sunday at Moffat County Ice Arena.
When: Games at 4:30 and 6:15 p.m. Saturday, 9:30 and 11:15 a.m. Sunday
Where: Moffat County Ice Arena at Loudy-Simpson Park, 600 S. Ranney St.
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: craigyouthhockey.org

Pop by

Luttrell Barn Cultural Center hosts Pop-Up Coffee House and Open Mic Night Saturday.
Hot drinks, soups and cookies are on the menu, as well as live holiday music.
When: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Luttrell Barn Cultural Center, 411 Emerson St.
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: 970-629-5984

Dinner for all

Mathers Club will host its yearly holiday community dinner Christmas Day. All are welcome to attend and enjoy each other's company.
People are also invited to bring their own side dishes to share.
When: 2 p.m. Christmas Day
Where: Mathers Club, 420 Yampa Ave.
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: 970-824-9946

Do you have an upcoming weekend or holiday entertainment item to promote? To submit events for Weekend Roundup, email details including time, date, place, cost and a description of the event to news@craigdailypress.com.