The days are getting shorter, but that doesn't mean your social calendar has to. From artsy parties that keep you out of the cold to beer and food events to keep your belly warm, we've got it all in this week's edition of the best events in Denver.
Tuesday, November 14
International art superstar Ai Weiwei’s magnificent sculpture series “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” has found its way into Civic Center Park for a year, where twelve bronze heads representing the animals of the Chinese zodiac stand in a circle around the park’s Sea Lions Fountain in a public-art installation sponsored by Denver Arts & Venues. It’s free to see anytime through October 17, 2018, but on Tuesday, November 14, from 4 to 6 p.m., you can also watch how such works of art are forged from molten metal at a live bronze-pour demonstration and mold casting, courtesy of artist/instructor Rian Kerrane and the University of Colorado Denver sculpture program. The Bronze Pour Demo, staged in conjunction with Ai Weiwei: Art & Social Change, a companion exhibit inside the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, is free, but it’s recommended that you RSVP for the pour at eventbrite.com. Learn more about the sculpture display at artsandvenuesdenver.com.
Wednesday, November 15
Though they’ve cycled through a few different venues and formats over the years, Roger Norquist and Jay Gillespie’s Videogames showcases have always combined the competitive spirit of a gaming tournament with the expert trash talk of comedians out for blood. They’ve got a real corker planned from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15, when a gaggle of giggling gamers will descend upon Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway, to square off in the outlandishly violent PlayStation 4 brawler Mortal Kombat X. Contestants will fight head to head as Norquist and Gillespie heckle the players for the audience, both in the book store and watching via live stream. After a lengthy and persistent Twitter campaign, Videogames finally won the proud sponsorship of Shasta Beverages, so the $5 admission fee grants contestants a free Shasta along with a raffle door prize and entry into both the main competition and a side tournament. Visit Mutiny’s Facebook page to
You don’t even have to possess a library card to reap the benefits of Denver Public Library (though you should have one anyway, because literacy is a fantastic thing), at least not from Wednesday, November 15, through Saturday, November 18, when Denver Central Library, 10 West Fourteenth Avenue, holds its Winter Used Book Sale. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, you’ll be able to browse more than 60,000 books, CDs and DVDs that have been donated or retired from circulation. Do you need The Silver Surfer, Vol. 4: Citizen of the Earth to complete your comic collection? Perhaps you’re looking for a coffee-table book filled with photos from Bunny Yeager, known for her collaboration with Bettie Page? What about a first edition of The Bell Jar? All of these — and more — will be stacked on row upon row of tables, just waiting to be picked up, leafed through and ultimately added to a place of honor on your bookshelf. It’s the best deal in town for lit lovers. Find more information at denverlibrary.org.
Thursday, November 16
It seems that Christmas decorations are on the shelves earlier and earlier, and now the National Western Stock Show is getting in on the early-bird game. This year you don’t have to wait until January to start planning your Stock Show experience. The First Annual Meat and Greet, benefiting Future Farmers of America, will bring a real farmer-to-table feast to the National Western Stadium Arena, 4655 Humboldt Street, at 6 p.m. Thursday, November 16. For $75, guests will enjoy twelve courses celebrating Colorado beef, pork, lamb, goat and other products prepared by four top chefs; an open bar; live music by Loose Change; and the chance to bid on a behind-the-scenes one-on-one package with a Stock Show exhibitor. Get tickets and more details at eventbrite.com.
Denver poet Mathias Svalina’s Dream Delivery Service actually drops dreams on your doorstep in the middle of the night: For the price of a month’s subscription, Svalina writes down dreams and, if you live within a four-mile radius, delivers them to you daily by bike (for mail delivery outside the radius, postage is added to the fee). And dreams can come true: Svalina is currently a resident artist at Understudy, the new incubator/artist residency created by the Denver Theatre District in an unused corner of the Colorado Convention Center. On Thursday, November 16, Svalina will host the Denver Dream-In, a free open-mic dream forum from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., when you can drop in and share your dreamy experiences with the audience; future events include Dreameaning: A Night of Collaborative Dream Divination (November 21), and the Dream Feast, a shared dream potluck and closing party (November 30). Find Understudy at 890 C 14th Street; learn more about this and other residencies at denvertheatredistrict.com. To sign up for Svalina’s delivery service, go to
Anyone who paid even a modicum of attention during 2016’s presidential race remembers how many times political pundits deemed it “historic” — and while Hillary Clinton wasn’t the first female to run for president (that distinction belongs to Victoria Woodhull in 1872), she was the first woman nominated by a major political party. And definitely the first to lose to a six-time bankrupt real estate developer who had never previously held public office. Now Clinton is touring in support of her new book, What Happened (a question many Americans are asking to this day). Her stop at the Bellco Theatre, 700 14th Street, at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 16, may answer that question. And while Clinton didn’t achieve truly groundbreaking status as the country’s first female president, those who admire her tenacity — even if they don’t agree with her politics — are sure to hear some historic details. Tickets, $60 to $150, are available at axs.com.
New music, always a hard sell, has found a champion in Denver, thanks to Conrad Kehn and the Playground Ensemble, a local group that gives voice to contemporary composers not just in Colorado, but around the world. For the Graphic Scores Concert, Playground put out an international call to composers working in a niche pioneered by musician/artists from George Crumb to Karlheinz Stockhausen and beyond whose notation jumps out of the traditional staff and into a new sonic universe. After paring eighty entries from sixty composers down to nine, Playground will perform the winning pieces at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 16, in the cozy confines of Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway. Pull up a chair and lend an ear to something new and different; visit playgroundensemble.org for more information.
The national nonprofit To Write Love on Her Arms grew out of founder Jamie Tworkowski’s personal story of a friend racked by depression to the point of self-injury and thoughts of suicide. SCARS: a fashion show of hope will push TWLOHA’s positive message by putting women battling similar stigmas on a candlelit runway to let their inner beauty shine through. Along with the fashion show, the benefit includes constructive body painting and free mental-health counseling, as well as a silent auction; semi-colon tattoos, the signature symbol of recovery from depression and cutting, will also be offered for a minimum $30 donation. Models hit the runway on Thursday, November 16, from 8 to 10:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) at Space Gallery, 400 Santa Fe Drive; for tickets, $30 in advance, visit divinity-productions.ticketleap.com. Learn more at the event’s Facebook page.
Friday, November 17
Denver nonprofit Arthyve’s goal of archiving the work of Colorado artists pairs perfectly with the national Wikipedia Edit-a-thon movement, in which citizens with laptops gather for a day to edit and write new history into the annals of Wikipedia’s encyclopedic online universe. Following that model, Arthyve invites anyone with the will and interest to research and make space for Colorado artists on Friday, November 17, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy Department, on the fifth floor of the Denver Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Alex Watkins, an art librarian at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a team of other historian/ researchers will be on hand to give advice to newbies. Novices will also need to register as Wikipedia editors in advance; for more information on that and the event itself, visit the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for Colorado Artists Facebook event page or arthyve.org.
Denver poet Sommer Browning’s Georgia Art Space, a gallery in a garage that messes with the way we look at art, hosted a community-friendly, multi-disciplinary kickoff in September. For Georgia’s second act, Browning will host artist Katie Caron’s exhibit Simulations, a show of mixed-media sculptural works that layer reclaimed materials. Simulations opens on Friday, November 17, with a reception from 6 to 11 p.m.; the evening features a backing installation drone track by Total Cone and the Sleep Donors, and films by animator Kelly Sears. Viewing hours continue from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday; Sunday’s hours, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., include an 11 a.m. pay-what-you-can sideshow performance by Edwina the Great and Her Amazing Traveling Flea Circus (seating is limited; please RSVP in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org). Georgia is located in the alley behind 952 Mariposa Street; learn more at sommerbrowning.com/georgia.
There’s just something about the Denver Christkindl Market that sets it apart from other holiday fairs around town. It could be the outdoor venue: The annual celebration fills Skyline Park at the 16th Street Mall and Arapahoe Street, where shoppers enjoy crisp winter air while being warmed by glühwein or hot chocolate. Or it could be the live entertainment every evening, ranging from the Denver Philharmonic to traditional Teutonic tunes to dancers. But other fairs have entertainment and interesting venues, so we think that special something could simply be tradition. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from cynicism about commercialism and family drama, and simply celebrate the season with food, drink and easy fun. And even if you can’t muster any joy for the upcoming holiday, Christkindl has something for you, too: Krampus will be on hand to correct your attitude. The shopping and revelry begin Friday, November 17, and continue through Saturday, December 23; hours and a list of vendors are available at denverchristkindlmarket.com.
Jordan Wieleba, a brilliant artist, transgender activist, musician and comedian, passed away last year, and the Denver comedy community hasn’t recovered. While surviving members of the Pussy Bros. Standup supergroup — Rachel Weeks, Janae Burris and Christie Buchele — continue to honor their departed sister by working almost as hard she did, they haven’t attempted a major memorial show until now. For Trans Awareness Week, they’ve teamed up with Out Boulder County for a Standup Comedy Tribute to Jordan Wieleba, which will include the comic stylings of Weeks, Burris and Buchele and those of headliner Jaye McBride, as well as selected bits from Wieleba’s Esrogentrification album. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. Friday, November 17, in Boedecker Theater at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Visit thedairy.org to buy tickets, $12, and learn more.
Saturday, November 18
What objects define Colorado? Crocs? Dinosaur bones? Craft beer? Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects, a new exhibit opening at 10 a.m. Saturday, November 18, in a brand-new gallery space at History Colorado, 1200 Broadway, offers visitors a chance to explore a hundred items, both ordinary and extraordinary, that reflect the land that’s now Colorado from the early Paleoindian era of 13,000 years ago through today. “The objects act as portals that open the doors to the stories of our past,” says Steve Turner, executive director of History Colorado. “We hope this overview sparks curiosity about our history and a desire to learn more.” And if that curiosity is sparked, you have an entire museum to explore after you’ve seen Zoom In, which is included in the regular admission fee of $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. Find out more at history- coloradocenter.org.
Anythink is a new style of library, and on Saturday, November 18, Anythink Wright Farms will prove it by hosting a Studio Open House, with free creative workshops in everything from video production to storytelling, sewing alterations and 3-D printing and design. “In the Studio, imagination knows no bounds,” says Mo Yang, Anythink Studio coordinator. “The Studio Open House allows people of all ages to check out the Studio, talk with our staff and artists-in-residence, and dream about what’s possible.” Find out what that might be during sessions that run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Anythink Wright Farms, 5877 East 120th Avenue in Thornton; learn more at anythinklibraries.org.
Although winter is officially a month away, for all intents and purposes, it’s already here — and that means you can indulge in some heavy, malty, dark, sweet, aged-in-bourbon-barrels beer without fear of judgment from pedantic hopheads. Not that we care about them; the rule about delegating dark beers to cold months is as outdated as the one that bans wearing white after Labor Day. So drink up at Wynkoop Brewing Company’s Day of Darks on Saturday, November 18. From noon to 4 p.m., the top floor of the brewery at 1634 18th Street will be taken over by brewers pouring nothing but shadowy stouts and black Belgians; there won’t be a pale ale in sight. Participating brewers include Firestone Walker, Chain Reaction Brewing Co., Renegade Brewing Co. and the ever-excellent Stem Ciders, which has managed — somehow — to pull off a dark cider with aplomb in previous years. Tickets, $35, are available at eventbrite.com; find a complete list of participating brewers on the Wynkoop Facebook page. Proceeds from Day of Darks will benefit local health organizations.
You don’t have to love the ubiquitous autumnal flavor of pumpkin spice, or even opera, in order to enjoy Opera on Tap’s Pumpkin Spice Opera evening at Upslope Brewing Company. Chef Sean Smith’s pairing of small bites and specialty brews will be the perfect accompaniment to the Thanksgiving-themed repertoire of arias and tunes by immigrant composers who settled in America; the combination sounds so tasty that you might even leave hungry for more. Try a taste of opera from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, November 18, at Upslope, 1898 South Flatiron Court in Boulder; the all-inclusive admission is $35 in advance only at eventbrite.com; tickets must be purchased by November 15. Visit operaontap.org/colorado for more information.
There’s no living comic more inimitably British — and possibly none more funny — than John Cleese, in all his stiff-upper-lipped absurdity, who towered over so many unforgettable Monty Python gags, forever silly-walking himself into our hearts. He’s had quite a life since then, as you’ll learn during John Cleese: Live on Stage, a sit-down tour that begins with a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail before the big man even walks on stage. But when he does, you’re in for a memorable evening of stories and tall tales from Cleese, which culminates in a Q&A session with the audience. The show starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 18, at Bellco Theatre in the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street. Tickets, which start at $69, are going quickly; reserve yours and learn more at bellco.theatre-denver.com.
Sunday, November 19
The Red Ball Fashion Show is one of Denver’s premier runway events; it does good while everyone’s looking good, raising awareness for World AIDS Day and supporting the Colorado AIDS Project. The ninth edition will again highlight the work of local designers and salons, as well as over a hundred models; the evening includes a cocktail reception, entertainers, a silent auction, and special guests who make this a see-and-be-seen celebration. The show runs from 7 to 10 p.m. (VIP admission starts at 6 p.m.) on Sunday, November 19, at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street. Tickets start at $40 and go to $125 for VIP; go to redballdenver.org to
It’s time to say so long — for now, at least — to the iconic Gio Ponti-designed North Building at the Denver Art Museum. The 1971 structure is about to undergo a major renovation, and so the DAM is hosting a See You Later, North Building! party from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, a celebration with tours, performances and free admission (to anything but the new Her Paris show). And starting Monday, November 20, when the North Building is closed, the DAM’s Hamilton Building will extend its hours to seven days a week, marking the switch with a free activity book for the first 1,000 visitors. The DAM is at 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; find out more at denverartmuseum.org.
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Adam Goldstein — former Westword scribe, burlesque host and itinerant Irish musician with his combo Avourneen — has a thing for Bob Dylan tunes, in particular all of Blood on the Tracks, the rock icon’s 1975 comeback masterpiece. More than once, Goldstein has taken the stage to play “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Idiot Wind” and the rest of Blood’s track list, and now he’s doing it again, with Avourneen in tow. Even the most ardent Dylan fan just might hear something new in those old songs; the show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, at the Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street. Admission is $15; learn more and buy tickets in advance at clocktowercabaret.com.
Monday, November 20
Thanksgiving combines all the things that make us truly American: egregious portion sizes, dysfunctional families and the start of seasonal excess. But its original purpose — to give thanks for the good things in our lives — is still in there somewhere, and it shouldn’t be forgotten in the madness of consumption and unrealistic expectations. The African Community Center’s Refugee First Thanksgiving on Monday, November 20, is the antidote to holiday snark and eye-rolling, uniting Denver’s newest residents with longtime denizens to enjoy the Thanksgiving tradition of being thankful at a community table. The two seatings (5:30 and 7 p.m. at Assumption of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 4610 East Alameda Avenue) are potluck, so whip up your best marshmallow yams or green-bean casserole to share with others, and also be prepared to share what you’re grateful for this year. The dinner is free, but donations are requested; make yours at eventbrite.com, and sign up for the potluck at acc-den.org.