Get your thrills at Fright Fest!
Get your thrills at Fright Fest!
Scott Lentz

The 21 Best Events in Denver, September 26-October 2

The fall arts season is already under way. Throw in beer and ghosts, which are already haunting the calendar, and you have a lot of lively options in the days ahead. Here are the 21 best events through October 2.

Tuesday 9/26

Budgeting is better with beer. That's the theory at Anythink, which is in the midst of Anythink Startup Month in Adams County. At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 26, it will put that theory to the test at Budget and Brews at Mother Tucker Brewery, 2360 East 120th Avenue in Thornton. The event is open to anyone 21 and up with a valid state or military ID; participants will get one free beer and endless amounts of information on how to create a budget and manage expenses. It all adds up! Registration is required; go to the online calendar at anythinklibraries.org.

Wednesday 9/27

Boulder’s Flatirons Food Film Festival is turning five this year; in its relatively short history, the festival has built a following based on movies packed with images of cameras slowly panning over gorgeously plated food and earnest chef interviews — in short, food porn. This year’s lineup doesn’t disappoint: From documentaries about the legendary James Beard to a con man scamming the high-end wine market to foodie classics like Ratatouille and Eat Drink Man Woman, the festival has something for everyone. You can even get your little ones involved with a farmers’ market tour and cooking demo geared toward kids. The festival kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 27, with a pre-party and screening of James Beard: America’s First Foodie at 6:30 p.m. at the Rayback Collective, 2775 Valmont Road. Drool-inducing events continue into the weekend with more movies, tastings, cocktail parties and guest appearances ranging from Boulder’s own Antonio Laudisio to chef Jeremiah Tower, the subject of one of the documentaries. Most events are $10, and a pass for the entire festival is a steal at just $65; visit flatironsfoodfilmfest.org for details.

The Denver Art Museum’s Logan Lecture series, sponsored by Vicki and Kent Logan, celebrates ten years with the return of Cuban-born artist Enrique Martinez Celaya, who last graced the lectern during the program’s first year. Part of a four-artist series focusing on global perspectives in art, Celaya’s talk covers his own interdisciplinary practice and ends with a mixer reception, cake and a champagne toast to the Logans. Listen and learn from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 27, at the Sharp Auditorium in the Frederic C. Hamilton Building, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Admission ranges from $10 to $20; register in advance at tickets.denverartmuseum.org.

The 21 Best Events in Denver, September 26-October 2
Metro Caring

It's less than two months until Thanksgiving (yes, really), when you'll be surrounded by cartoonish images of turkeys and cornucopias. But you don't have to wait until then to celebrate food. You can do so right now, while making sure all Coloradans have access to food too, on Wednesday, September 27, at Metro Caring's Cornucopia 2017. The fundraiser at DaVita World Headquarters, 2000 16th Street, benefits the organization's programs providing food access, nutrition and cooking classes, and job training to help end the cycle of poverty and hunger. Food and drink from Humboldt and Blue Island Oyster Bar (among others) will be served from 6 to 8 p.m., as well as impressive downtown views from DaVita's terrace. Get your ticket, $75, at eventbrite.com.

Pair cannabis and yoga with instructor Lucy Rose during Light and Lit, a pot-infused vinyasa yoga session at Break the Stigma Fitness in Wheat Ridge every Wednesday from September 27 to October 11. The sessions will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m.; tickets are $15 for Colorado residents and $20 for everyone else (21+). Find tickets and more information at eventbrite.com.

Thursday 9/28

Youth on Record, that bastion of music education for at-risk young adults, will host the fifth annual Real Rock Star Awards at the brand-new Levitt Pavilion in Ruby Hill Park, 1380 West Florida Avenue, on Thursday, September 28. The evening will bring together musical acts from Colorado and beyond to honor YOR’s “most resilient and talented students in a one-of-a-kind red-carpet event for a new generation,” according to organizers. Tickets for the full event are $100 and include dinner, complimentary beverages and a live auction beginning at 5 p.m. in addition to the awards and entertainment; tickets for the awards ceremony and performances only, which get under way at 7 p.m., start at $15. Admission is free for students under 21 with valid school IDs. Get tickets and more information at
youthonrecord.org.

An alliance for the ages will be forged this weekend when Tacticon and the Rocky Mountain Con join in a meeting of the minds between geeks and gamers. The Tacticon games begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 28, and continue through Sunday, October 1, at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center, 15500 East 40th Avenue, where they’ll intermingle with the events of Rocky Mountain Con, which run from 7 a.m. Friday, September 29, through Sunday, October 1. Founded five years ago as a benefit for victims of the Aurora theater shooting, Rocky Mountain Con has grown steadily without losing sight of its altruistic mission; a portion of the proceeds from this year’s con will be donated to the Aurora Public Schools Foundation. Watch for character actors James Frain (Gotham, Orphan Black), Doug Jones (Hellboy), and Neve McIntosh (Dr. Who), as well as comic-book artists Jim Steranko and Barry McClain Jr., cosplayer Eric “The Smoke” Moran and many more, along with a Tentacle Kitty-sponsored costume contest, dance parties, doodle fights and a dizzying array of tabletop games. All-access passes to the con start at $50 ($150 VIP) at rockymountaincon.com; go to coloradogaming.net for details on Tacticon.

The image archivists at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science recently uncovered two film fragments from the 1920s. They’ve now been restored and will be screened at the museum during Two Lost Films From the Archive, at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 28, with a live, original musical score written by University of Colorado Denver students. The first film is the featurette Naked Man vs Beast, an African safari adventure that hasn’t been seen since the 1930s. The second, Abyssinia Revisited, is from the collection of Alfred Bailey of the Field Museum in Chicago; it documents a trip to Ethiopia. “We found four reels of film hidden in Bailey’s collection with some extraordinary content,” says DMNS’s Rene Oconnell. “While the film was severely deteriorated, we managed to save significant footage and splice together enough to somewhat re-create the original.” Admission is $8 for DMNS members and $10 for non-members; learn more at dmns.org.

9-28 Thurs: Gish Jen
9-28 Thurs: Gish Jen
Courtesy Knopf Books

Gish Jen, already an American novelist of great acclaim for her insightful and subtly cross-cultural stories, in recent years has turned to nonfiction, though the new work inhabits similar landscapes. Her current book, The Girl at the Baggage Claim, is a measured and witty treatise that crosses the divide of East-West cultural differences, much as her novels Mona in the Promised Land and The Love Wife did earlier. Jen will illuminate those ideas for writers and readers alike during a reading and book signing hosted by the Mile-High MFA program at Regis University at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 28, on campus in Claver Recital Hall, 3333 Regis Boulevard. Admission is free, but registration is recommended at eventbrite.com; visit regis.edu/event-promotions/writers-series for details.

Friday 9/29

While nothing says summer quite like a day at Elitch Gardens Amusement Park, there are still plenty of frights and delights on hand as the facility winds down its season. Like an especially persistent zombie, the Elitch Gardens Fright Fest roars back to life at 6 p.m. Friday, September 29, with a ghoulish gauntlet of haunted attractions for Halloween hounds of all ages. During the day, families can enjoy interactive challenges, enter costume contests and stock up on free candy on the Trick or Treat Trail; when the sun goes down, it’s time for Fright by Night, which includes the multi-sensory show Séance; a creepy clown graveyard populated by flesh-eating Big Top Freaks; and a daring escape from skulking killers at Terrortories and menacing hoteliers at No Vacancy. For guests who prefer physics-inspired screams, roller coasters and other rides will still be operating. Fright Fest runs through October 29; entry is included with regular gate admission, but some attractions cost extra. Get details at elitchgardens.com.

Denver is one of just a trio of American cities outside of Austin selected to host Fantastic Fest, Alamo Drafthouse’s horror, sci-fi and fantasy film festival that runs from Friday, September 29, through Sunday, October 1. This is the first year in the fest’s twelve-year history that the show has gone on the road, and it promises to fulfill all your nerdly dreams. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (S. Craig Zahler’s followup to his epic genre mashup Bone Tomahawk) opens the festivities; also on tap, among many others, are My Friend Dahmer, the Palme d’Or-winning The Square, and a top-secret showing of an as-yet-unnamed film that promises to be “something weird.” Screenings are all at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan’s Lake; tickets run from $13 to $25 at drafthouse.com.

9-29 Fri: Under Construction, William Andrew Dibble
9-29 Fri: Under Construction, William Andrew Dibble
William Andrew Dibble, Panfocal Photography

To call Charles Mee’s Under Construction a theatrical collage doesn’t do the work justice, but it’s a start. Inspired by the markedly disparate styles of Americana master Norman Rockwell and no-holds-barred contemporary installationist Jason Rhoades, and expressed in mainly plotless vignettes held together by a lone narrator, the play unravels American culture from both ends. Meridith Crosley Grundei is directing Under Construction for a Naropa University MFA Theatre program student production, with musical help from her talented spouse, Gary Grundei; audience participation is part of the plan, so be prepared to tell secrets. The show premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 29, at Naropa’s Nalanda Campus, 6287 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder; performances continue Friday to Sunday through October 8. Tickets are $12, and seating is limited; find tickets and more information at eventbrite.com.

By day, Fairmount Cemetery is a peaceful place, one that inspires solemnity with its well-tended grounds and poignant memorials. As with all graveyards, however, Fairmount takes on a different character altogether after dark. Whether you’re looking to take an informative stroll through local history or merely get your goth on, the Fairmount Cemetery History Mystery is a highlight of the year’s spookiest season. Learn about some of the famous — and infamous — personages interred at Denver’s second-oldest cemetery, whose residents include everyone from senators and architects to vaudeville entertainers and bawdy-house madams. The next tour starts at 6 p.m. Friday, September 29, at 430 South Quebec Street. Tickets are $25; hurry to buy yours at eventbrite.com, as they sell out quickly during Halloween season.

Most people think of porn as something to consume — not something to make. Since 2005, sex columnist Dan Savage’s Hump! Film Festival has turned that around. His traveling event showcases erotic movies made not by porn stars, but by everyday people who take up his challenge to create short movies showcasing what they think is sexy. The results are surprising, even shocking. There will be two screenings on Friday, September 29, and three on Saturday, September 30, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. For more information and tickets, $20, go to humpfilmfest.com.

9-30 Sat: Talking Trees
9-30 Sat: Talking Trees
Courtesy Rocky Mountain Land Library

Saturday 9/30

Write Denver interweaves poetry and places with community by inviting people to discover different parts of the city while writing their impressions of visual cues. The Talking Trees Project, a new collaboration of Write Denver (and its parent entity, Lighthouse Writers Workshop), Oh Heck Yeah, the Rocky Mountain Land Library and Elyssa Lewis’s I Am Denver Project, now does the same for young authors. Come see what all the excitement is about at a celebration for the installation, an outdoor motion-activated forest of recorded poems read aloud by kids from the Five Points neighborhood, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, September 30, at the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s city digs in the Puritan Pie Factory building, 2612 Champa Street. While there, enjoy eats and drinks and have a peek inside the beautiful old structure; learn more on the event’s Facebook page.

The cultural mashup that is TheBigWonderful continues Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October 1, when bluegrass meets beer fest meets Turkish bazaar at Oktobergrass. The creative incubator is returning to its roots at 4400 Fox Street with vendors and live music both days; Everyone Orchestra, Chain Station and Gipsy Moon will take the stage while you shop at trucks of both the food and fashion persuasions. There will also be a Pickin’ Lounge this year, so bring your banjo. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the libations flow from 2 to 6 p.m., with local favorites Bear Creek Distillery, Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery and Infinite Monkey Theorem serving up drinks. Single tickets range from $5 to $49 at thebigwonderful.com.

The only problem with food trucks is that they’re on wheels. Just when you think you’ve tracked down your favorite barbecued pork in a cornbread bowl or plate of Vietnamese tacos, the engines rev up and the truck is off to some craft brewery across town. That’s why Denver needs more food-truck rallies. And that’s why you won’t want to miss the Truck Stop: Food Truck Rally in Five Points on Saturday, September 30. Come hungry and thirsty to the intersection of 24th and Welton streets between noon and 6 p.m., where you’ll find more than twenty mobile kitchens smoking, frying, chilling, grilling and otherwise serving up delicious grub. Nab your advance tickets at twoparts.com; $20 will get you four drink tokens and two food tokens, and you can always purchase more at the event. Now hit the road!

Aside from the occasional Beyoncé surprise, music videos are something of a lost art, devolving into millennial nostalgia objects, fond reminders of an era when you could have your MTV if you wanted it. But J.D. Lopez, a local comic and host of the Left Hand, Right Brain podcast, celebrates music videos with the monthly Comedy Saved the Video Star, an inventive showcase that invites comics to perform a set before riffing on a music video of their choice. Fans who show up early or hang out late can also watch all their old favorites in a low-key Total Request Live-inspired segment. Smash-smiths Adam Fedyski, Brad Galli, Aaron Urist and Christie Buchele are all slated to perform at the Saturday, September 30, installment; Lopez will be stationed at Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway, and ready to take requests at 9:30 p.m., roughly half an hour before the free show begins. Check out lefthandrightbrainpod.com to learn more.

10-1 Sun: See Ganesha: The Playful Protector at the Denver Art Museum through October 28. (Shiva and Incarnations of Vishnu created in Nepal in the 1700s. Oil pigments on canvas.)
10-1 Sun: See Ganesha: The Playful Protector at the Denver Art Museum through October 28. (Shiva and Incarnations of Vishnu created in Nepal in the 1700s. Oil pigments on canvas.)
Courtesy Denver Art Museum

Sunday 10/1

A favorite Hindu deity gets its due at the Denver Art Museum when Ganesha: The Playful Protector, an exhibition developed by the DAM in collaboration with the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, opens on Sunday, October 1. The divine elephant-headed being’s general aura is a positive one: He’s not only a god of beginnings and remover of obstacles, but he also symbolizes human sophistication as a champion of intellect, wisdom, arts and sciences. Although a 29-inch seventh- or eighth-century Ganesha figure from the Cambodian museum is the exhibit’s centerpiece, the show also includes a selection of Ganesha icons from the DAM’s own collection while the Asian Art galleries in the Ponti building are closed for renovations. Ganesha runs through October 28 at the DAM and is included in the regular general-admission price of $8 to $10 (children and youths ages eighteen and under are admitted free). Learn more at denverartmuseum.org.

Monday 10/2

Curious Theatre Company’s new season is already under way (the opener, Appropriate, continues through October 14), but the eminent Denver ensemble company is more than willing to step out of line to celebrate a milestone — namely, its twentieth anniversary — and you’re invited to the festivities. For now, the location and content of the Curious Surprise Birthday Party at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 2, are both a big secret, though here are a couple of clues: There will be immersive theater devised by Curious co-founder Dee Covington, with fabulous, over-the-top decor by artist Lonnie Hanzon, plus the usual party stuff to fluff it up. Say no more! Tickets are $150 at curioustheatre.org; attendees will be emailed a map to the secret location on the day before the event.

For even more events, see the Westword Calendar.

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