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Whiskey Revival at Golden Nugget, Stolas at The Space and more stuff you need to know about

Saturday is for whiskey.

      We now live in an era of elevated hate crimes, greater incidences of racism and the bitter clashing of ideologies. And although this Rebecca Gilman play debuted in 1999, its revival—presented by Cockroach Theatre and directed by Darren Weller—comes at the perfect time. Set on the campus of fictional, mostly-white liberal arts Belmont College in Vermont, the production explores the dangers of racism and political correctness in today’s America, told in a way that’s moving, darkly comic and cathartic. March 9-26, times vary, $16-$20. –Rosalie Spear


      It’s Friday evening. You’re at Downtown Container Park, checking in for a so-called adventure race. You’ve got your team, your supplies, a full tank of gas and more caffeine than a truck-stop mini-mart. And then, the organizers distribute the list of challenges. A Mount Charleston night hike. A late-night snack of unsavory, Fear Factor-friendly dishes. A command to build a fire without a lighter or matches. A morning soak in the Gold Strike Hot Springs. A volunteer sesh at a local nonprofit. A drive out to California for some parasailing. A flag football scrimmage at Sunset Park. Whether those figure into this year’s challenges or not, Questival sounds a lot more fun than a 24-hour mud race. March 10-11, 5 p.m., $48, more info here. –Mike Prevatt


      New rule: Don’t take Bill Maher too seriously. He’s smart, and he runs the hell out of a panel discussion—but he also likes to troll his audience and call it a First Amendment fight. Enjoy him simply as a political comic, because he’s a pretty good one. March 10-11, 10 p.m., $65-$87. –Geoff Carter


      Dress up in a Cirque-inspired costume and run through the Springs Preserve’s new Boomtown 1905 exhibit alongside the Cirque cast and crew, from whimsical creatures to acrobats and dancers. March 11, 7 a.m., $20-$40, active.com. –Leslie Ventura


      Checking in with Sergio Medina, guitarist for Vegas post-hardcore trio Stolas:

      One of your newest songs, “Damage Done” contains the lyrics “Against the grain/Distinguish the change that you aspire.” Is this meant to be political? If not, what are you referring to? [Singer/drummer] Carlo [Marquez] wrote those lyrics about anxiety, though he personified it a little bit. That’s a theme that carries on throughout the new record. He’s more political on this one than on the last two; some songs deal with stuff in the social/political sphere. We’ve got a song about political correctness, but the last song is about outer space (laughs). When it comes to lyrics, he’s all over the place. And that can be said for the music, too—though it’s much easier to define lyrics, even though they can be interpreted in so many different ways.

      What separates the forthcoming self-titled album from Stolas’ previous work? This is our first album since our lineup change. We got rid of our old vocalist/screamer/second guitar player in September of 2015, because things just weren’t going so well. And this feels more like us.

      What were some challenges the band has faced as a three-piece? Writing and recording wasn’t too difficult. I wrote and recorded all guitar parts, RJ [Reynolds] did bass, and Carlo did vocals and drums. The biggest challenge was after—finding people to play the music we’d written live. It was tough finding someone as good as, or better, than Carlo on drums, and that goes for my guitar parts as well.

      How did Stolas come to sign with Equal Vision? I’ve always wanted to do something on Equal Vision. It was sort of a high-school dream that became a reality when we were recording with Mike [Watts]. Our manager started pushing what we were doing musically, and Dan [Sandshaw, label manager] said it would just make sense, so he decided to sign us.

      Stolas are bonafide road warriors. What’s your favorite tour memory? Oh man, there are a lot of them. One of my favorites happened during a tour with Letlive. We played some festival in Florida where we were scheduled to play at 11 a.m.—when the doors opened. We basically played an empty warehouse, with the exception of security, and it was really sh*tty. We left Florida at 1 p.m. for Alabama—the next stop. To kill time, we went into a bar where a cover band was playing. We started hanging out with them, and, at one point, they returned to the stage for a jam, which was really cool. We ended up joining them and had a great time. It was really cool—playing with some random musicians in a random bar in downtown Mobile, Alabama.

      What’s next for Stolas? I’m always writing because this is all I do. I’m working on a project with Will [Swan of Dance Gavin Dance] called Sianvar. We’re rolling out some new stuff for Blue Swan Records, too. [Stolas] will continue working on new things. I love being in the studio. We’ve already got skeletons for three or four new songs, and we’re hoping for some bigger and better tours in the summer and fall. Stolas with Icarus the Owl, Oranges, Spokes. March 11, 6 p.m., $10-$12. The Space, 3460 Cavaretta Court.


      Here’s a shot of fake news, no chaser: Fox News’ website claims whiskey might be getting less popular due to an oversaturation of craft distilleries. But the growth of brown booze producers is real, particularly when it comes to bourbon. In 2015, the corn-based American whiskey topped $1 billion in exports for the third-straight year. Focusing on bourbon would be a great strategy at Downtown’s fourth-annual American Craft Whiskey Revival Grand Tasting, partially because there’ll be so much tasty liquor—more than 30 distilleries from all over the country will be represented—you won’t be able to try everything. While big bourbon names Jim Beam, Makers Mark and Bulleit are on the docket, explore something different like wheaty-smooth Rebel Yell or Madeira cask-finished Belle Meade. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of delicious Southern snacks to take the edge off. March 11, 7 p.m., Grand Event Center at Golden Nugget, $58. –Brock Radke

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