The 21 Best Events in Denver, April 25-May 1
Bring back the ’80s and celebrate one of Denver's favorite thoroughfares at Totally Tennyson.
This week, we're all about celebrating Denver, from historic homes at Doors Open Denver to Tennyson Street to this city's immigrants. Check out our best events of the week for an opportunity to pay homage to the Mile High City.
Tuesday, April 25
The nonprofit PlatteForum has built a reputation as an arts space where Denverites can debate pressing issues. Now, in a new collaboration with the Temple, a hub for more than thirty artists and creative businesses in the RiNo Art District, PlatteForum is launching a series of public conversations. The first will be a discussion of gentrification with Temple resident artist George P. Perez, who has been documenting 10,347 trees in Five Points, and architect and former Denver urban planner Richard Farley. The free event starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at 2400 Curtis Street. For more information, call 303-893-0791 or go to platteforum.org.
StarChefs is a go-to resource for industry insiders and restaurant aficionados alike; the company’s website and a quarterly magazine highlight the best chefs, bakers, artisans, sommeliers and bartenders around the country, and its Rising Stars awards give props to up-and-coming chefs and culinary professionals, one city at a time. For the first time, StarChefs has selected a class of Colorado stars in eight food and beverage categories, and will throw a gala dinner on Tuesday, April 25, at City Hall, 1144 Broadway, to honor the winners. The awards ceremony, emceed by D Bar chef/owner Keegan Gerhard, kicks off at 6:30 p.m., followed by the gala tasting at 7:15, which will include eighteen dishes, each with a beverage pairing, and four signature cocktails. General-admission tickets are $85 and available at eventbrite.com; VIP passes, at $125 each, include a cava-and-caviar reception beginning at 5:45 p.m. The complete list of winners is available at starchefs.com: Catch a rising Denver star!
Mentalpause is a new standup supergroup comprising Denver comedy titans Nora Lynch, Stephanie McHugh and Nancy Norton. Each a formidable headliner in her own right, the comics have been performing around the country for years. Now they’ll join together to laugh off the middle ages at the debut of Mentalpause at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at the Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. Tickets are $14; get yours at comedyworks.com or call 720-274-6800.
Wednesday, April 26
For ten years, Stupid Cancer has been dedicated to spreading awareness of young-adult cancer, which affects roughly 72,000 new people every year. To raise funds for this vital organization, join Stupid Cancer founder/CEO Matthew Zachary along with a coterie of sharply dressed supporters at Denver’s third annual TOAST Benefit at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, where you can mingle, nosh and imbibe cocktails while participating in a raffle and silent auction. Ticket prices range from $85 to $175; buy yours and learn more at stupidcancer.org.
Thursday, April 27
Project Angel Heart is a nonprofit organization that delivers meals to those coping with life-threatening illnesses at home. Each year, Dining Out for Life raises funds to help keep the food rolling to those in need. Thursday, April 27, marks the 22nd annual Dining Out for Life, and you can contribute simply by going out to dinner. At more than 250 participating food and drink establishments around metro Denver, 25 percent of your bill will be donated to Project Angel Heart. Citywide, the total can add up to more than $300,000, which will go specifically toward supporting those living with HIV/AIDS. Take a look at the organization’s list of participating restaurants and breweries at projectangelheart.org, then book a table at one of your favorites.
Hans Meyer and other immigration rights advocates want Denver to adopt sanctuary city policies.
Ever since President Donald Trump issued an executive order threatening to pull federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities, there has been confusion about whether Denver qualifies as one. Attorney Hans Meyer and a coalition of immigrant-rights organizations would like to clear up that confusion by having Denver pass sanctuary laws, and they’ll unveil the specifics of their proposed policy at Making Denver a True Sanctuary, a community meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, at the Denver Inner City Parish, 1212 Mariposa Street. Elected representatives from the city will be on hand, as will Spanish interpreters. For more information, visit facebook.com/events/205536333275912.
Friday, April 28
Jason Heller has achieved many things: He’s a Hugo Award-winning editor and has published in Rolling Stone and the New Yorker, as well as being a Westword contributor. What fans of his writing might not know about him is that he’s also a stellar DJ. Spinning since the ’90s, Heller created Funk Club, a spin-off (no pun intended) of Mile High Soul Club that will become a monthly happening starting Friday, April 28, at Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., dance the night away to deep funk, all played on 45s. Admission is just $5; for more information, go to facebook.com/funk.club.denver.
Traditionally, a ghillie suit is a camo suit, mottled to blend in with its surroundings and rendering the wearer invisible. But in The Obscured Self — A Ghillie Suit Fashion Show, a fashion-show performance by Esther Hernandez and Rachel Mathews, ghillie suits get an in-your-face makeover as handcrafted, sculptural, wearable art pieces that satirize their original purpose. It’s high performance art on the runway, featuring creations by ten or more artists, some of whom, like Hernandez, are also RedLine resident artists. Sit back and enjoy the reinterpreted ghillie suits from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, April 28, at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street. The evening will include tunes by Space Jail and a DJ set by déCollage. Admission is free. Get more information at estherhz.com.
The Stanley Hotel, on the hill at 333 East Wonderview Avenue in Estes Park, may be infamous for its reportedly haunted grounds and turn-of-the-twentieth-century elegance, but it’s also burnished its reputation as an entertainment destination over the past few years. In a partnership with Comedy Works Entertainment, the Stanley will host Comedy Weekend With an Edge, two back-to-back nights of standup showcases filling the historic hotel with laughs starting Friday, April 28. Josh Blue, headliner for the Friday showcase, rose to national fame after winning Last Comic Standing in 2006. In the years since, the Denver favorite has released two one-hour specials (Delete and Sticky Change) and performed all over the world while continuing to call the Mile High City home. Saturday’s headliner, Dana Gould, is a standup legend who wrote for The Simpsons and created the horror/comedy series Stan Against Evil for IFC. VIP tickets for Friday and Saturday are both sold out, but general admission ($30) and weekend passes remain. Visit stanleyhotel.com for details.
Howie Movshovitz has worked for years to ensure that silent films remain at the front of every movie lover’s lips. To Movshovitz, these movies are not just interesting artifacts, but some of the most creative, original productions in history. For his Denver Silent Film Festival, he’s spent the past few years putting together a top-notch schedule full of silent-film classics alongside obscure films, and adding grand musical scores, to boot. This year’s three-day fest kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 28, with one of the greatest films by one of the era’s masterminds — Steamboat Bill Jr., by Buster Keaton — and closes with a rare and bizarre Lon Chaney great, He Who Gets Slapped, about a clown who can’t stand the career he’s chosen. The 1924 film will be projected from a 16mm print struck from the original nitrate film strip. At this festival, you’ll be reading title cards and flying back to an era when film was a pure, new entity and the possibilities were endless. Screenings take place at the Alamo Drafthouse, 7301 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton; reserve your seats at drafthouse.com, then enjoy the quiet.
Keep reading for more of the week's best events.
Mark Bradford, "Butch Queen," 2016.
When museums happen to be next door to each other, they have all the more reason to collaborate. Untitled: Talk Back is an evening of exhibition-based, artist-produced activities that the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, is splitting down the middle with the Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock Street, in celebration of their joint show, Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford. From 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, April 28, the action — which includes a “trans”-museum tour guided by drag queens Shirley Delta Blow and Dixie Crystals and the performance of a two-part composition by Denver composer Nathan Hall — will flow back and forth between the neighboring institutions. At the DAM, Untitled is included in the regular museum admission of $8 to $13 (children and youths ages eighteen and under are admitted free); admission is free at the CSM next door. Visit denverartmuseum.org and clyffordstillmuseum.org for more information.
Known for his playful imagination and backed by an engineer’s technical know-how, the iconic American sculptor Alexander Calder is credited with popularizing, if not wholly inventing, the mobile, a moving sculpture with balanced hanging pieces. The versatile artist also created static, large-scale metal sculptures he called “stabiles.” These, including some that still come with trademark moving parts, are the basis of Calder: Monumental, a site-specific outdoor survey that opens Friday, April 28, and runs through September 24 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street. Related activities, beginning with an opening-night lecture on Calder’s life and career by curator Alfred Pacquement (tickets are $20 to $25), will be scheduled throughout the exhibit’s stay at the gardens, and one-hour guided docent tours will be offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (admission is $10 to $14 and includes gate entry). Regular DBG admission is $9 to $12.50; learn more at botanicgardens.org.
Explore Denver's beauty at Doors Open Denver.
Courtesy of Kevin Alexander
Saturday, April 29
With buildings going up and down in the blink of an eye, it’s doubly important to appreciate Denver’s unique architecture while you can. Our city’s history and future will intermingle in every tour planned for the thirteenth annual Doors Open Denver, presented by the Denver Architectural Foundation over two days starting on Saturday, April 29. This year’s event showcases around seventy sites; some tours are self-guided and free, and others are guided “insider” explorations available by reservation only for $10. Also free are a series of art-based Building Behavior cultural activities curated by Cortney Lane Stell and funded by the Bonfils Stanton Foundation, including everything from an exhibit of hats inspired by Denver buildings to an art-installation takeover of the Castle Marne bed-and-breakfast. For guided-tour registration and a complete schedule of all Doors Open Denver tours and activities, visit doorsopendenver.com.
On Saturday, April 29, from 2 to 8 p.m., representatives from Denver Artists for Rent Control and housing advocates Colorado Homes for All, Denver Homeless Out Loud and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will gather at Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway, for the DARCO Plan-of-Action Rally to discuss and raise awareness of Denver’s affordable-housing shortage as it relates to the arts community. The groups will also launch a letter-writing campaign with the goal of convincing lawmakers to reverse a state ban on local governments passing rent-control policies. This being a gathering of artists, the evening won’t be all business; for a suggested $5 donation at the door, participants will also get to enjoy spoken-word performances and live bands. For more information, visit facebook.com/events/815796015242275.
Cherry Creek Bridge Project
We cross them every day as we speed here and there, but underneath the bridges spanning Cherry Creek along the greenway, some folks have been swept from their makeshift homes. Artist Eric Shumake has chosen to raise awareness of Denver’s urban-camping ban in a way that also gives back: For the Cherry Creek Bridge Project, Shumake has been painting landscapes of the 28 bridges to benefit the Harm Reduction Action Center, a nonprofit syringe-exchange program that he praises as “actually helping people.” You can help, too: The paintings will be on display at the Cherry Creek Bridge Project Pop-Up Benefit Show, from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at Dateline Gallery, 3004 Larimer Street. Learn more at
Political art is back in fashion, and one of Denver’s newest arts groups, the Feral Factory, will host an exhibit of work from artists around the United States addressing two themes: how to struggle and how to survive. Art of Resistance, Art of Resilience opens at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at Crash, 2555 Walnut Street, and will include photography, paintings and multimedia projects looking at the “tenacity of cities and their citizens against social, political and environmental trials,” according to organizers. Art of Resistance stays up through May 25; for more information, go to feralfactory.com or call 303-720-9579.
Seven years ago, Totally Tennyson transformed Tennyson Street into the city’s biggest street party. A lot has changed along the street since then as the neighborhood continues to boom, but one thing remains a constant: Totally Tennyson is still a major bash. The event, a benefit for eighteen public schools in northwest Denver, returns from 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, when the blocks between West 35th and West 46th avenues will be filled with fun. You can stroll along the stretch, where businesses will be decked out in keeping with the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s theme (yes, there’s a costume contest); a party bus will also take you to such destinations as Local 46, Midwestern Saloon and Paddy the Yank. After the crawl, continue partying at a concert at the Oriental Theater by the 6 Million Dollar Band. Tickets to Totally Tennyson are $35; get yours at totallytennyson.com.
Sunday, April 30
Considered one of the finest youth orchestras in the country, the Denver Young Artists Orchestra has been training generations of classical musicians since 1977. As the senior-level orchestra prepares to take its next steps, it has arranged an evening of music that listeners of any age can enjoy. Revolution will showcase Igor Stravinsky’s groundbreaking The Rite of Spring along with Pablo de Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen” and an original composition by Dianna Link, the winner of DYAO’s Composition Competition. The show starts at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, at Boettcher Concert Hall, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. For tickets, $6 to $19.50, and information, visit dyao.org.
Denver’s top chefs will converge on the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, on Sunday, April 30, for Chefs Up Front, a fundraiser for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program, which is dedicated to ending childhood hunger. Admission to this posh event comes in the form of sponsorships ranging in price from $500 (for individuals) to $15,000 — making this an ideal event for corporate groups that love great food. A cocktail reception and auction begin at 5 p.m., with dinner starting at 7. More than 25 Denver restaurants will be represented, and there will also be craft cocktails, a seafood raw bar and a charcuterie station. When you register at chefsupfrontco.com, you’ll be asked to pick your three favorite chefs, and then your table will enjoy a four-course dinner from one of those chefs. Visit the website for more information about the event and remaining sponsorship opportunities.
Monday, May 1
May Day is usually marked by festival celebrations...and union protests. Those take on an added edge this year when, from noon to 3 p.m. on Monday, May 1, the Democratic Socialists of America will host May Day Against Trumpism, a protest at the State Capitol. “Workers in the U.S. and across the world are hurting,” organizers say. “Despite Trump’s promises to upend a rigged economy and cancel unfair trade deals, his actions have instead focused on banning Muslims, rounding up immigrants, and filling his cabinet with outright racists and Wall Street shills. But Trump is a symptom, not the disease, and true freedom for the working class means moving beyond both Trump and the Democratic Party.” Find out more at facebook.com/events/589838171220197.
George de Forest Brush made several vital contributions to the field of pottery, but his crowning achievement was a series of paintings of Indian tribes. Based upon notes and sketches from his time living among the Crow, Shoshone and Arapaho peoples, Brush’s paintings both humanize and romanticize his subjects. Get a closer look and gain a deeper understanding of Brush’s paintings on Monday, May 1, at the American Museum of Western Art, 1727 Tremont Place, as part of its ongoing Artful Insight series, which offers guests a close encounter with art along with the guidance of an expert. Space is limited, so swift reservations for the 11:45 a.m. tour of Forest Brush’s work are highly recommended. Visit anschutzcollection.org to learn more and buy tickets, $10.
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