Denver events this weekend: High Plains Comedy Fest, hip-hop in RiNo and more

A Meazy’s big stage, new album

Through Saturday. Denver’s scrappy hip-hop scene, while underground nationally, has climbed significantly in recent years as entrepreneurial types have charted high and toured the U.S. The latest example is A Meazy, whose new album “PYT (Protect Your Energy)” is another marvel of thoughtful, hard-hitting, independent hip-hop. Recorded during the pandemic lockdown, and dropping Sept. 10, “PYT” (Uncut Entertainment) hit No. 7 on iTunes earlier this week, just a few spots behind Kanye West’s “Donda.”

The album will get another debut of sorts when Meazy plays the Westword Music Showcase on Saturday, Sept. 18. The event, which begins Friday, Sept. 17, also includes performances from a who’s-who of fast-rising Colorado acts (The Velveteers, Schama Noel, Neoma, Adiel Mitchell, iZCALLi) at RiNo Art District venues the Larimer Lounge, Tracks, Reelworks, RiNo Beer Garden, Number 38 and more, plus national headliners Young the Giant, Thundercat, Hippo Campus, Duke Dumont and Kaytranada.

Various times, Sept. 17-18 in RiNo and at Mission Ballroom, outdoors and inside of 4242 Wynkoop St. Friday general-admission passes are sold out, but Saturday’s are on sale for $55. A ticket covering indoor and outdoor main-stage shows costs $90. Proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test is required for entry.

An overdue laugh, or three

Through Saturday. This year’s High Plains Comedy Festival, which started Thursday, is billed as the first comedy fest of its size to return to full strength since the pandemic began. It’s not hard to believe, given the sharp booking and masterful planning that the festival has shown in the past.

This year’s eighth event features stand-up from national acts Rory Scovel, Solomon Georgio, Vanessa Gonzalez, Dave Hill, Liza Treyger, Chanel Ali, Eliza Skinner, Ian Karmel, Amy Miller, Irene Tu, Matt Braunger, and many more, plus the Colorado comics (and expats) who have made the Front Range scene one of the country’s friendliest to live comedy, including Josh Blue (a current finalist in “America’s Got Talent”), Adam Cayton-Holland (festival founder), Andie Main, Janae Burris, Sam Tallent, Nancy Norton, Andrew Orvedahl and Stephen Agyei.

See the 100-plus performers, plus podcast recordings (“The Dollop” leads the Sept. 18 headliner show at the Paramount Theatre, among others) at various showcases at the Hi-Dive, HQ and Mutiny on South Broadway. Through Saturday, Sept. 18. Full-fest passes are sold out, but individual shows are on sale online and at the door. $20-$37.50 per show; some events free.

Do cannabis and exercise mix?

Friday. Denver writer and author Josiah Hesse (The Guardian, Politico, the “Carnality” series), has made a career of studying evolving subcultures — and his latest is still very much evolving. “Runners High,” published Sept. 14 by Putnam, takes a nonfiction approach to the subject of cannabis and exercise, and the hidden culture of elite athletes who mingle them. Hesse, who credits weed for helping him become a long-distance runner, delves into the growing research and debates around the subject, as well as fascinating subjects in the field.

He speaks at the Tattered Cover to promote the book at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17 at an event hosted by former Denver Post A&E and Cannabist editor Ricardo Baca (now of the Grasslands PR agency).  Free. 2526 E. Colfax Ave. or

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