From world-famous beer festivals to superior haunted houses and zombie crawls, this city lives for fall. This week, get to know the Riverside Cemetery during a creepy photo shoot, catch Dracula the ballet (which somehow might make it more creepy), pay homage to George A. Romero, the horror-film king himself, or just enjoy one of the other parties, discussions, arts events and more that you'll find in this week's 21 best events.
The Den brothers are throwing a Rooftop Party! From 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3, and Wednesday, October 4, the roof of the parking garage at the corner of South Pearl Street and East Florida Avenue will turn into a Japanese street fair. Not only will Toshi and Yasu Kizaki be providing food from Sushi Den, Izakaya Den and Ototo, but they’ve called on twenty of their Japanese chef friends to hop the pond and lend their talents to the bash. Expect ramen, yakisoba noodles, the hard-to-find-in-Denver okonomiyaki, yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) and lots, lots more. Tickets are $75 and include three drinks (additional beverages will be available for purchase). And this party is for a good cause (or three): Proceeds benefit relief efforts for hurricanes Irma and Harvey in Florida and Texas, as well as earthquake victims in Kumamoto, Japan, the hosts’ home town. Purchase tickets at sushiden.net/rooftop, asap.
Hyperrealist painter Daniel Sprick has jaw-dropping talent, whether he’s painting a portrait or a plein-air oceanscape. The Denver artist is the focus of a new, locally produced documentary, Daniel Sprick: Pursuit of Truth and Beauty, that seeks to get to the bottom of what makes Sprick tick, in and out of the studio. Pulled together by PBS outlet CPT12, directed by David Schler and produced by Cynthia Madden Leitner of the Museum of Outdoor Arts and CPT12’s Joshua Hassel, the film gets its world premiere at 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 4, in Sharp Auditorium, on the lower level of the Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building, before eventually airing on PBS stations. Sprick, Leitner, Schler and DAM curator of painting and sculpture Angelica Daneo will field questions during a post-film panel discussion. Admission is free; learn more at denverartmuseum.org.
In January 1948, 28 Mexican farm workers (including some legally working in the United States under a guest-worker program) were put on a plane for Mexico. The plane never made it; it crashed in California, killing the crew of four Americans and all passengers. At the time, only the pilot, first officer, stewardess and immigration guard were identified by name; the rest of the dead were buried in a mass grave in Fresno, with a grave marker reading only “Mexican Nationals.” Author Tim Z. Hernandez spent years tracking down and interviewing friends and relatives of the anonymous victims; those interviews became the basis of his book All They Will Call You. Hernandez will talk about his work as part of the statewide Latino Heritage Live Tour on Wednesday, October 4, at 6 p.m. at the Community College of Aurora Fine Arts Building, 16000 East CentreTech Parkway in Aurora. If you miss the free program, there will be an encore performance on Thursday, October 5, at the Arapahoe Community College library, 5900 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton.
Two weeks ago, NASA deliberately slammed the Cassini satellite into Saturn at over 75,000 mph in what it called “the Grand Finale.” It was a fiery end to the probe’s twenty years in space, but the mission is far from over. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 4, Steve Lee of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science will lead a panel discussion in the Phipps Theater titled Cassini: The Grand Finale. Participants will include three scientists from the Cassini mission: Larry Esposito of the Laboratory for Atmospheric & Space Physics at University Colorado Boulder; Colin Mitchell of the Space Science Institute, also in Boulder; and Peter Thomas of Cornell University. Admission is $8 for DMNS members and $10 for non-members; find out more at dmns.org.
Followers of full-moon lore know that the Hunter’s Moon, the first to appear around the fall equinox, traditionally lit the way for hunters tracking prey after dark. But in the present, it will also provide a spooky scene for the Hunter’s Full Moon Photo Shoot at Riverside. With help from the sponsoring Fairmount Heritage Foundation, which oversees Riverside Cemetery, Denver’s oldest intact resting place (where numerous Colorado historical figures are interred), you’re invited to capture Riverside’s eerie October imagery on camera, lit by moonbeams and candlelight, for one night only. Enter the cemetery gates at 5201 Brighton Boulevard from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, October 5, ready to point and shoot. Purchase tickets, $35 in advance, on the Facebook event page or eventbrite.com; learn more at fairmountheritagefoundation.org.
While brewers from near and far flock to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, it’s a safe bet that few GABF after-parties will be as wonderfully weird as the one celebrating Santa Fe Brewing and hosted by Meow Wolf. On Thursday, October 5, the folks behind the mind-bending immersive art installation will celebrate their hometown brewery by taking over the Moon Room at Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake Street, for an after-party with installations, performances and whatever sort of wizardry they can conjure up. Guests can also enjoy plenty of noshes while sampling special-release Santa Fe beers and getting down with live DJ sets. The party starts at 7 p.m. and doesn’t wind down until well after midnight. Tickets are $10 at ticketfly.com and at the door, but they’re likely to sell out quickly, so don’t wait to buy yours.
The growing population of transplants moving to Colorado is no doubt lured in part by the claim that our state gets 300 days of sunshine per year. While that number is debatable, Denver’s still a pretty sunny place, so it makes sense that the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon would choose the Mile High City to host its 2017 solar home-building competition. College teams from around the globe have been designing and building full-sized solar-powered homes for the past two years; from Thursday, October 5, through Sunday, October 15, the structures will be judged in ten areas, including architecture, water use and reuse, innovation, market potential and health and comfort. Free house tours, homeowner workshops and a sustainability expo are open to the public at the 61st and Peña commuter-rail station, at 6045 North Richfield Street, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. October 5 through 8 and October 12 through 15, and from 1 to 7 p.m. on October 9. Find out more — and get fired up about your own home-improvement to-do list — at solardecathlon.gov.
News flash: Zombies are still a thing. But you won’t see them this October at the Denver Film Society’s Scream Screen. Instead, Scream Screen curator and mistress of ceremonies Theresa Mercado is unspooling The Non-Zom Films of George A. Romero, four consecutive Fridays of Living Dead-free horror movies to get you in the Halloween mood. First up at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, is Creepshow, the Romero/Stephen King classic collaboration based on E.C. Comics horror stories, screening at 9:30 p.m. Friday, October 6, with live pre-movie music by Church Fire. Creepshow-themed costumes are encouraged — and required if you want a chance at winning a $50 gift certificate from Fallen Owl Tattoo Studio (which is offering five Romero-centric flash designs all month). Future films include Martin, The Crazies and Two Evil Eyes, and special merch and giveaways will be offered throughout October. Admission is $7 to $11 nightly; get tickets and a full schedule at denverfilm.org.
A collaboration that unites various Denver cultural scenes, Avant Garden returns to the Bakery Arts Warehouse, 2132 Market Street, for its third variety-show extravaganza on Friday, October 6. The lineup includes performances from local musicians Sawmill Joe and Dear, Me; standup comedy from Geoff Tice and Meghan DePonceau; and improvised hip-hop jams courtesy of Rapscallions. Throughout the show, guests can also marvel at an exhibition from Denver-based artist Cosmo Peters, whose colorful comic-book-inspired works appeal to genre nerds and gallery snobs alike. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the performances start at 8; tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Visit Avant Garden III’s Eventbrite page to get yours.
There’s a reason that the sexy ballet Dracula maintains a permanently undead relationship with the Colorado Ballet and keeps coming back every few years: It’s a deliciously good first bite for ballet novices looking for a thrill, but the old-guard audience can appreciate it, too. Based on the original Bram Stoker yarn, with choreography by Michael Pink and Philip Feeney’s music performed by a live orchestra, Dracula will simultaneously fill the house and sate Denver’s desire for elegant adult entertainment. “The story is easy to follow, the sets are grand, the costumes are lavish and the music is enthralling,” adds Colorado Ballet artistic director Gil Boggs. Dracula premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 6, and runs on selected dates through October 15 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Get a complete schedule and tickets, ranging from $30 to $155, at coloradoballet.org or 303-837-8888, extension 2.
Stu and Nikki Alden of Ink Lounge are celebrating ten years of design work, screenprinting workshops and community-friendly retail and social events in the best way they know how — with the kind of party where the guests can live it up on local food and drink and get their hands dirty pulling their own screenprinted T-shirts. The Aldens, tongue in cheek, are encouraging “black tee” attire at the event because, they say, “Who doesn’t have a favorite black T-shirt?” Enjoy retro tunes by eight-track DJs the Cartridge Family, plus beer, Bear Creek cocktails and other giveaways and goodies from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, October 6, at Ink Lounge, 29 South Fox Street; families are welcome, and kid-friendly beverages will also be provided. Visit inklounge.com for details.
Although tango is danced in countries the world over, the eighth annual Boulder Tango Festival is straight outta Argentina. From Friday, October 6, to Sunday, October 8, at the Avalon Ballroom, 6185 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder, will be a riot of sound and movement, with heels clacking and couples moving seamlessly around each other and the dance floor. The festivities kick off at 1 p.m. each day, with classes taught by dancers from around the world. If you don’t know your colgada from your soltada but want to learn the basics, check out the free beginner class starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday in advance of that night’s milonga (tango dance party), which will go until the wee hours of the morning. Tickets to individual events range from $5 to $30, while ticket packages run $85 to $330. No partner? No worries. Go to gustavoygiselle.com to register for classes and add your name to a list of dancers in need of partners.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit couldn’t have asked for better timing: It opens hot on the heels of the August discovery of a triceratops skull in Thornton that made national news. If that reignited the passion for the prehistoric reptiles you had as a tween (or sparked your own little one’s interest), checking out this exhibit is the logical next step. Highlights include seventeen fully articulated skeletons, life-sized video projections of the creatures, 3-D printers creating fossil replicas, and augmented-reality viewers rebuilding a Carnotaurus (literally, “meat-eating bull,” if your Latin is a little lax) from the bones out. The exhibition opens Friday, October 6, and is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through January 15 at the museum, 2001 Colorado Boulevard; it’s included in the cost of general admission, $12 to $17. Find out more at dmns.org.
Lakewood’s Glen Creighton neighborhood, known to the locals as the Glens, is more than a fairyland of shady, curving Scottish-themed lanes and pleasant homes, hidden away in the area bounded by West Colfax and West 20th avenues between Wadsworth Boulevard and Kipling Street. The Glens is also home to a strong contingent of work-at-home artists and artisans, including twenty-plus makers participating in the district’s annual Glens Art Walk. Choose from jewelry, metal sculpture, painting, photography, textiles, pottery, local honey, handmade violins or Halloween folk art, and find a treasure for yourself or get a head start on holiday shopping from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 7, at Glen Creighton Park, 1707 Glen Ayr Drive. Admission is free; find a map of participating studios at the Glens Art Walk Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a printable map.
’Tis the season for ghoulish gatherings and crawling creeps, so it’s a perfect time for the Denver Zombie Crawl to return to Skyline Park, 1600 Arapahoe Street, for the twelfth year in a row. Starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 7, interested participants can don their best undead attire — think tattered clothing, grotesque makeup and healthy drizzle of fake blood — and turn downtown Denver into their own personal George Romero movie. Makeup stations will be available for Halloween novices along with a gauntlet of vendors, but the crawl’s main attraction is its fiercely competitive costume contest, which costs $5 to enter ($10 for groups). The party continues at the official Zombie Prom after-party at Rooftop Jackson’s Bar & Grill, 1520 20th Street, hosted by Club Cosplay Denver and NerdPopCulture Entertainment; tickets start at $15. The otherwise free day of festivities is intended for all ages, though parents might want to exercise discretion with small children who might be frightened by teeming hordes of bloodied revelers. Visit denverzombiecrawl.com to learn more, register for the costume contest and buy tickets to the after-party.
Boulder is a smorgasbord of adventure; you’ve got hiking, biking, climbing, gliding and ballooning. The Adventure Film Festival is another good reason to head to the college town. From 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 7, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, will host film screenings (and a street party!) of some of the best independent adventure flicks of the year. Standouts include Blood Road, a documentary about two women traveling the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in hopes of finding the remains of one’s father, and The Frozen Road, a meditation on solitude from a biker riding across the Yukon in winter. And if you’re an aspiring Warren Miller, consider the Adventure Film Workshop, a two-day course on developing and producing your own film, culminating in a shoot. More into adventure than film? The Adventure Street Fair will be going on outside the theater both days, with backcountry cooking workshops, live music, plenty of outdoor gear vendors and a beer garden. Tickets to films range in price from $25 to $45, with a full-festival pass going for just $65; the film workshop starts at $199, but the street fair won’t cost you a dime. Find more information and a schedule at adventurefilm.org.
The real point of a community read isn’t just about reading the book — it’s more important that people start talking about it. To that end, Denver’s participation in the national NEA Big Read event has been redubbed Denver Talks, with six weeks of public events and discussions inspired by author Claudia Rankine’s book Citizen: An American Lyric, all hosted by the local literary school Lighthouse Writers Workshop. An obvious good place to get started would be the Denver Talks Kickoff Party, where you can pick up a free copy of Citizen, Rankine’s personal discussion of racism in America, and learn more about future programming while enjoying live readings and performances by Khadijah Queen, Molina Speaks, Stories on Stage and others. Drop by the Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock Street, from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 7, and open the book on an entire month of events; admission is free. Looking for a Denver forum to join? Book talks are scheduled at RedLine at 2 p.m. on October 14 and 21, and you can also hear Rankine in discussion with Mayor Michael Hancock on November 15 at Boettcher Concert Hall. Learn more at denvertalks.org.
Sukkot is possibly the most shareable of Jewish holidays, and its custom of inviting friends and family into a branch-roofed hut for a ceremony and shared autumnal dishes mirrors the modern slow-food movement. You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate the harvest-season tradition — even the weirder parts, like waving the lulav (palm branch) and etrog (citron), a mystical tradition that’s rife with symbolism. Sample it all at the Sukkah Pop-up at Stanley, hosted by the Hebrew Educational Alliance, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, October 8, at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, where it’s easy to grab a bite to bring in with you. The Alliance is kicking in live music and crafts, along with the mysterious lulav-shaking; find more information at the Facebook event page.
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In a divided country fraught with ever-worsening tensions, it’s more important than ever for people to come together in peaceful unity. That’s the goal of the Indigenous Peoples’ Day, an event celebrated across the U.S. that honors the traditions of indigenous cultures from all over the world. The Denver chapter of the International Indigenous Youth Council (which arose last year from the Standing Rock pipeline protests) invites local guests to cherish the art, song and dance of Native people while broadening their cultural understanding in educational workshops where they can learn how to play indigenous drums, screen-print resistance art, or brew their own herbal teas and tinctures during Indigenous People’s Community Day. Celebrate art as a form of resistance starting at 11 a.m. at HEAL Denver, 938 West Eighth Avenue, on Sunday, October 8. To find out more, visit the IIYC Denver Chapter’s Facebook events page.
The Colorado Symphony’s Chamber Music Series strikes up its first chords of the year at 6 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, at the celebrated Denver jazz club Dazzle, now located at 1512 Curtis Street. The series’ inaugural concert will include Bijoux Barbosa on bass, Dan Scwhindt on guitar and Claude Slim on the violin; the yet-to-be-announced songbook couldn’t be in more capable hands. Find more details along with tickets, $20, on ticketfly.com. Dazzle recommends arriving a half-hour to 45 minutes early for full dinner service.
Though many historical policies continue to shape the lives of indigenous people, few are as powerful still as the Doctrine of Discovery, a concept perpetuated by European monarchies to justify colonization outside of the continent — and an idea Thomas Jefferson brought to the U.S. in 1792. Find out how the doctrine still impacts the world at the Doctrine of Discovery and Beyond discussion hosted by the Colorado Council of Churches, Rocky Mountain Synod and Iliff School of Theology. Held on Monday, October 9, traditionally known as Columbus Day, the discussion begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Iliff School of Theology, 2323 East Iliff Avenue. Find more information on the event’s Facebook page.