"Burning a J Outside Pete's Kitchen," an oil on canvas by Mario Acevedo, will be in Neon From the Curbside: The Art of Colfax.
"Burning a J Outside Pete's Kitchen," an oil on canvas by Mario Acevedo, will be in Neon From the Curbside: The Art of Colfax.
Courtesy Mario Acevedo

The 21 Best Events in Denver, April 24-30

Another week, another round of great events in Denver. And there are some truly Denver-centric things to do, including an art show that will highlight the neon signage of Colfax; beer, weed and food events galore; the Colorado Book Awards; and the Denver Silent Film Festival. Keep reading for more of the week's best happenings!

Tuesday, April 24

Look up and blast off into the hyperspace of modern physics and scientific theory without taking a step when Gates Planetarium presents The Man From the 9 Dimensions, a mind-blowing full-dome show from Japanese horror-film director Takashi Shimizu. The film is a fictional story of scientists on the hunt for the elusive Theory of Everything as they travel through good ol' space and time. And don’t worry if you feel confused when it’s over: Denver Museum of Nature & Science curator of space science Ka Chun Yu will set your spinning mind straight when he speaks after the show. See The Man From the 9 Dimensions at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at the museum at 2001 Colorado Boulevard; learn more and get tickets, $12 to $15, at dmns.org.

Wednesday, April 25

Did you ever study a tall, cool one at the bar and wonder where the heck beer came from in the first place? Eh, maybe not, but it’s an interesting story, one that travels back in time from ancient Egypt to Greece and Rome. Travis Rupp, who lives a double life as an instructor of classics at the University of Colorado Boulder and head “beer archaeologist” at Avery Brewing Company, will approach that tale from both historical and developmental standpoints during a lecture titled "The Archaeology of Beer" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, in the Phipps Theater at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard. And he’s bringing his Avery Ales of Antiquity collection along with him. Belly up: Admission is $15 to $18 at dmns.org.

Despite being constantly told to make sandwiches, women who work in professional kitchens often aren't given the credit they deserve. But on Wednesday, April 25, it's a different story as women's work is celebrated at the Female F&B All-Star Dinner at Old Major. From 5 to 9 p.m., twelve bad-ass broads will be commandeering the kitchen and bar at 3316 Tejon Street for a seven-course dinner. Chefs and bartenders from Old Major, Work & Class, Annette, RiNo Yacht Club, Bar Helix and more will put on a lavish spread for $55 ($80 with wine pairings). Find the complete chef's lineup on the restaurant's Facebook page, then call 720-420-0622 for reservations. And, boys, count yourself lucky if any of the ladies in charge make you that sandwich — it'll be the best damn sandwich you've ever had.

Thursday, April 26

The 24th annual Dining Out for Life is just around the corner. On Thursday, April 26, more than 230 Denver and Boulder restaurants and breweries will donate 25 percent of their earnings to Project Angel Heart, an organization that prepares and delivers medically tailored meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses, so you can enjoy a great meal while doing a good deed. Plan ahead by making a reservation at one of the participating eateries, some of which will donate a percentage of bar sales as well. Visit projectangelheart.org for a list of all restaurants taking part.

Colorado is looking at one hot, dry summer...so Colorado State University is taking a long, hard look at this region's liquid assets. The inaugural Water in the West Symposium will bring more than thirty experts — including Governor John Hickenlooper, CSU president Tony Frank, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack — to the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park on Thursday, April 26, and Friday, April 27. Want to soak up some knowledge? Find out more at nwc.colostate.edu.

The Tony Award-winning tale of a young man who eschews his conventional Baptist upbringing to pursue a musical path to self-discovery through Europe, Passing Strange is a bouncy tale packed with catchy songs. Co-written by Heidi Rodewald and the enigmatic songwriter Stew — also the play's protagonist — a new production of the widely acclaimed musical made its debut at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora, on April 13; the run continues every weekend (including Thursday, April 26, through Sunday, April 29) through May 13. Directed by Nick Sugar and Donna Debrecini, whose recent production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch bowed to wide acclaim, the show stars Trent Armand Kendall, who narrates Stew's meandering and eye-opening quest to discover "the real." Visit the Aurora Fox box-office page for tickets, $26 to $37, and more information.

Heartbreak has always fueled great music, and that's certainly the case for George Frideric Handel's swoony opera Ariodante. The University of Colorado Boulder's Eklund Opera Program is presenting a new production of Handel's tale of obsession, betrayal and a royal betrothal torn apart by rivalry. Performances run Thursday, April 26, through Saturday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m., and conclude Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m. Sung in Italian with English subtitles, the intimate performances will be staged in the cozy Music Theatre in CU's Imig Music Building, 1020 18th Street in Boulder. The opera's grown-up themes are not suitable for young children; visit cupresents.org for tickets, $20 to $30, and more details.

Colorado State University-Pueblo started its Institute of Cannabis Research in 2015, and it's going to share some of the research generated by the institute during the second annual ICR Conference, held Thursday, April 26, through Saturday, April 28, at CSU Pueblo, 2200 Bonforte Boulevard in Pueblo. The conference will cover the scientific, medical, industrial, legal, economic and social elements of cannabis research, with talks given by CSU professors and leading scholars and researchers in the field. Registration is $350 on csupueblo.edu until April 26, when it goes up to $400, but veterans, active military personnel and students with appropriate ID can get in for $99. Admission on Thursday, April 26, is free for everyone, as part of the university's community appreciation event.

Denver Silent Film Festival will show the classic Passion of Joan of Arc.
Denver Silent Film Festival will show the classic Passion of Joan of Arc.
Janus Films

Friday, April 27

Creating stunning works of sound and movement that sidestep the stodginess of high culture, the dancers of Denver's Wonderbound Ballet Company have dedicated themselves to surprising viewers with bold interpretations, contemporary music and cross-disciplinary collaborations with other local artists. Wonderbound returns with a production of the acclaimed Madness, Rack, and Honey, co-presented with the Colorado Symphony and including a debut creation from Wonderbounder Sarah Tallman. The show premieres at Pinnacle Charter School's Performing Arts Complex, 1001 West 84th Avenue, on Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.; additional performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 29, with two May dates at the PACE Center in Parker. Visit Wonderbound's box-office page for tickets, $22 to $50, and more information.

The birth of film was a soundless affair, with plots ingested visually via title cards, beautiful black-and-white imagery, pantomime and live music, not to mention intrepid live stunts and sight gags. Who needed words? Find out at this year’s seventh annual Denver Silent Film Festival, which will offer a balanced international palette of comedy, drama and intrigue with comic stuntman Harold Lloyd, directors Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock, animation by Winsor McCay and Walt Disney, and even Joan of Arc — in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s landmark film The Passion of Joan of Arc. The DSFF opens with Frank Urson’s 1927 potboiler Chicago on Friday, April 27, at 7 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, and runs through Sunday, April 29. Visit denversilentfilmfest.org to find a complete schedule and buy individual tickets, $8 to $13, or festival passes, $110.

Mario Acevedo points to one of his paintings in the show.
Mario Acevedo points to one of his paintings in the show.
Jonny Barber

Denverite Mario Acevedo might be best known as the literary mind that dreamed up the undead detective Felix Gomez, a vampire Iraq War veteran and the star of five sexy, hilarious mysteries. But the campy author is also an artist who paints beloved local neon signs and gritty scenes of life on East Colfax. That’s the Acevedo you’ll meet when Neon From the Curbside: The Art of Colfax, an exhibit of his urban scenes, opens Friday, April 27, at the Colfax Museum, 6109 East Colfax Avenue. Meet the artist and admire his local angle from 5 to 8 p.m.; learn more at the Neon From the Curbside event page on Facebook.

Denver artisan boutique Studio Colfax is down with the worldwide Fashion Revolution Week initiative, a slow-fashion, zero-waste awareness drive inspired by the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. Focused on demanding more transparency in the garment industry with regard to human rights and environmental concerns, its mandate is to get people asking, “Who made my clothes?” You’ll learn that directly, at least on a small scale, at events this weekend at Studio Colfax, 2418 East Colfax Avenue. First up is a local-designer trunk show and sidewalk runway on Friday, April 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. with Colorado designers Baily Rose, Julie Tierney and Rebecca Anne Tischler. The tables turn on Sunday, April 29, with a Global Fashion Exchange clothing swap aimed at keeping used garments out of the landfill; swap away from 4 to 6 p.m. Find details at the Studio Colfax Facebook page, and learn more about the Fashion Revolution at fashionrevolution.org.

The winners of the 2018 Colorado Book Awards won’t be announced until June 2 — but in the meantime, we get to hear from all the finalists, broken down by category, this spring at a series of readings hosted by northwest Denver book store/wine bar BookBar. This week's readings get to the nitty-gritty of literature —  fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction — and they're a great way to beef up the pile on your nightstand with some fine books by the ten Colorado authors who’ll be reading. That list includes best-selling fiction writer Peter Heller, who will read from his third novel, Celine; poet Camille Dungy, who will read from Trophic Cascade; and adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, who will read from his memoir No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon. Go on, sample the products on Friday, April 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. at BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street. Admission is free; visit bookbardenver.com for a complete list of readers and their books.

If you’re looking for a walk on the fancy side, Central City Opera’s 2018 Theatre of Dreams Gala is the place to be. The black-tie affair kicks off the Opera's Dream Events, which offer behind-the-scenes experiences of different exhibits and performances at Central City and beyond. Held at Palazzo Verdi, 6363 South Fiddlers Green Circle in Greenwood Village, on Friday, April 27, the gala will include entertainment by Kyle Dean Massey, of Wicked and ABC’s Nashville fame, along with gourmet cuisine and fine wines. Tickets are a whopping $350 per person, but young professionals from 21 to 35 can get in for $150. Can't make it to the gala? A cool $50 will get you in to the after-party, where you'll enjoy tunes spun by DJ Thrashbot, desserts provided by Epicurean and an open bar. Go to centralcityopera.org for more information.

4-27: rehearsal for Flight Path
4-27: rehearsal for Flight Path
Courtesy of Frequent Flyers

Thirty years is a long time to fly through the air, but Nancy Smith — dancer, choreographer, and the heart and soul of Boulder’s Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance since she founded the troupe in 1988 — is still hanging around with Frequent Flyers, which has grown to become an aerial dance school and host of the international Aerial Dance Festival every summer. Thirty years is a big deal for Smith, and Frequent Flyers will celebrate with a spring slate of dance concerts beginning with Flight Path, an evening that starts with a retrospective and ends with a brand-new work made in collaboration with electric string quartet Spinphony. Flight Path takes off on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28, at 8 p.m.; there are also performances at 2 p.m. on April 28 and 29 at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. See the schedule and pick up tickets, $28 to $30, at frequentflyers.org.

Saturday, April 28

Boulder’s Catamounts company has been in the business of fresh and new theater, but it costs money to keep the ensemble’s creativity flowing for another season. Luckily for you, when this group throws a fundraiser, the emphasis is on fun, and this year’s Into the Woods is no exception. Sporting an outdoorsy theme, the party will set the stage with roving musicians, a photo booth in an Airstream, a costume contest, woodland-inspired cocktails and s’mores for dessert, with a silent auction tucked in for good measure. Join the Catamounts on Saturday, April 28, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the industrial confines of Studio Boulder, 3550 Frontier Avenue, Unit A2, in Boulder, and dress for a camping trip — or as a wood sprite flitting through the forest, or anything in between. Admission is $50 in advance per ticket for groups of two or more, $55 for single tickets, and $65 at the door; buy tickets at brownpapertickets.com and get the lowdown on the Catamounts Facebook page.

Classical-music institutions have been saving themselves by catering more to the general public lately, but the Colorado Symphony is making sure it still offers some hoity-toity fare for the black-tie class. Nowhere is this more obvious than at the annual Colorado Symphony Ball, a fundraiser and concert that takes place this year on Saturday, April 28, starting at 6 p.m. at the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson Street. The event includes performances by the Colorado Symphony, local band the Merger and pianist Natasha Paremski, who will play George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Tickets for the ball start at $150 for concert admission and run all the way up to $1,000; get yours, and more information, at coloradosymphony.org.

You’ve more than likely seen the blue RiNo rhino, Mike Whiting’s iconic steel sculpture that welcomes people to the art district at the intersection of Broadway and Larimer and 24th streets. This summer, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Whiting’s menagerie of colorful creatures inspired by classic 8-bit video games — specifically, at the Denver Botanic Gardens, where they'll take over the grounds for Pixelated: Sculpture by Mike Whiting. The exhibit, Whiting’s first large-scale outdoor venture, will adorn the gardens, 1007 York Street, from Saturday, April 28, through September 23 and is included in the regular DBG gate fee, $9 to $12.50 (members admitted free). Imagine yourself caught in the middle of a Pac-Man chase — and learn more at botanicgardens.org.

Sunday, April 29

Denver’s MOTH Circus sells out shows in the blink of an eye — now you see it, now you don’t. That was the case for its next performance, Alice in Wonderland: A Circus Adventure. But go ahead and smile like a Cheshire Cat, because the company kindly added a second show, so you still have a chance to catch the all-ages big-top rendition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice interpreted by acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, dancers and contortionists. Tickets, $28.50 to $48.50, are still available for the 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 29, at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue; get them while you can by following the ticket link at contemporarycircuscenter.com/shows.

Among Mexico's many colorful and festive holidays is the Día del Niño, a celebration of children. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has partnered with the Mexican Cultural Center to celebrate the holiday on Sunday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the museum, 2001 Colorado Boulevard — and they've even turned it into a Scientific and Cultural Facilities District free day. Festivities will include mariachi and folklórico performances, face painting, a museum-wide scavenger hunt, and art activities related to the DMNS's El Alebrije, Una Historia en Común exhibit, on display through August. Attendees can also visit the temporary Creatures of Light exhibit for free and get 50 percent off admission to the can't-miss Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. Gratis parking at the museum is limited, but find a free spot at nearby East High School, 1600 City Park Esplanade, where (also free) shuttles will transport visitors to and from the museum starting at 9:30. For more information, visit dmns.org.

Monday, April 30

American life is plagued with inequities, but the gender pay gap might be among its most egregious. Across various industries and at every level of employment, women are consistently paid less than their male co-workers. It's an outrage that local humorist and public speaker Debbie Scheer is dedicated to fighting, and she will convene a panel of experts at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, for Time for ¢hange, a frank discussion about advocating for a woman's worth in the workplace. The panel includes a trio of community leaders from different fields, including Hope Tank proprietor Erika Righter, comedian Janae Burris and Channel 7 news anchor Theresa Marchetta. The discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 30. Admission is $20 at Eventbrite (search for "Time for hange"), where you'll also find more details.

In order for an event to be considered for 21 Best, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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