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Seven days to live 

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6 Thursday

writing

Was one of your New Year's resolutions to finally write that novel you've been planning to write for, oh, your whole life? If so, give your goal a kick-start by attending the free Writers Group at 7 p.m. at the north-end Barnes & Noble (1565 Briargate Blvd., bn.com). Bring a pad of paper and your favorite writing utensil; you'll put them both to use through a series of improv exercises. You might even be inspired enough to schedule this weekly event into your calendar for the whole year. — Kirsten Akens

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7 Friday

comedy

Tommy Johnagin, on every "really hot girl": "She has an ex-boyfriend who's mean to her, but she still loves him. She's taking a semester off of beauty college, and she knows an old guy with a boat, for some weird reason." Sound familiar? Sound like you? Sound at all funny? If you answered "yes" to any of the above, consider hearing more of Johnagin's hard-acquired wisdom at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave., pikespeakcenter.com) tonight, as part of the Last Comic Standing Tour. With Johnagin (the runner-up during the 2010 season) will be winner Felipe Esparza and a few other finalists. The show starts at 7:30, with all-ages tickets $25 to $60. — Kirk Woundy

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8 Saturday

fruitcake

Manitou Springs takes a lot of pride in its strangeness, as the popular "Keep Manitou Weird" theme attests. The little town doesn't take that hard-earned reputation for granted, making sure to start each New Year with one of its signature events. Today brings the 16th annual Great Fruitcake Toss, from 10 to 2 at the Manitou High School track (401 El Monte Place, Manitou Springs, manitousprings.org). According to the rules, fruitcakes cannot contain anything inedible, though that sounds like a contradiction. Another actual rule: "The device used to launch the fruitcake must not be powered by fuel (i.e.: no motors, engines, gasoline, diesel, etc.)." But the imaginative entrants and teams can (and just may) use pneumatic guns and cannons to catapult their fruitcakes as far as possible. Admission/entry fee is a non-perishable food item or a cash donation to Westside Cares. You can even "rent" a fruitcake for $1. In other words, as long as you're there, why not join in the weirdness? — Ralph Routon

Saturday

music

Southern rock band Rehab scored a hit single with 2008's "Bartender (Sittin' in a Bar)," even managing to cross over to the country charts thanks to a "remix" with guest vocals by Hank Williams Jr. Maybe you remember the video, the one where charismatic frontman Danny Alexander (1) gets pushed into a trailer park kiddie pool by his Daisy Duke'd-out girlfriend, (2) steals her car, (3) crashes it, (4) stumbles away as it goes up in flames, and (5) gets arrested by Larry Wilcox from CHiPs. Most of these things won't happen on stage at the Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave., blacksheeprocks.com), although it's a safe bet they will play the song, along with material from their 2010 Welcome Home album. With Plan*Be, 8 p.m., $10/adv, $12/door, all ages. — Bill Forman

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9 Sunday

music

What has four hands, 10 legs and 176 keys, and might hail from Russia, Taiwan, Korea, China, India, Canada or the U.S.? Answer: Any of the 70 student teams performing at the 15th annual International Duo Piano Competition, which takes place all weekend in The Broadmoor's Main Ballroom (1 Lake Ave.). Come at 7 p.m. Friday for a concert by Moscow Conservatory duo Victor Bunin and Julia Amada Kruger; watch the student competitions at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. Saturday; or attend the winners' concert at 1:30 p.m. today — all the weekend's events are free to the public. Call 303/797-1193 for more information or visit usidpc.org. — Claire Swinford

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10 Monday

pottery

You're likely familiar with the deep discounts available in January as many retailers look to unload excess holiday inventory. Local artisans tend to do the same, and Commonwheel Artists Co-op (102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, commonwheel.com) has capitalized on the trend with its annual Pots by the Pound sale, running from 10 to 6 daily, Jan. 7 through 24. Should you drop in today or any other you'll find items sold by weight, as the name implies. I've personally discovered that it's much cheaper if you don't fill the mugs or bowls with beer or food prior to weigh-in. — Matthew Schniper

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11 Tuesday

film

I happen to think the Hood to Coast relay race in Oregon is crazy. I also happen to have a good friend who has competed in it twice and has been trying to convince me to join her team, one of 1,000 that run the 197-mile route from Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean each year. Now I can live the event vicariously via the Hood to Coast film (hoodtocoastmovie.com), which has a one-night showing this evening beginning at 6 at Cinemark Carefree Circle (3305 Cinema Point), Hollywood Theaters (11250 Rampart Hill View) and Cinemark Tinseltown (1545 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.). At this point, I can commit to a $12.50 ticket. As for actually signing on ... — Kirsten Akens

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12 Wednesday

film

Anytime you've got 13-year-olds killing themselves, you've got a problem. Such was the act of one Devon Martin, whose mom is pretty sure — Devon left no note — that her child took her life while under intense pressure to succeed in school. Race to Nowhere takes a look at that pressure, and the teachers, parents and counselors who may be empowering a broken system. The free film screens at 6 tonight at UCCS' Centennial Hall (1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.) and might make a parent think twice before enforcing those all-weekend homework marathons. — Bryce Crawford

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