Ah, spring. Nothing ushers in the season like slamming beer and crying over the Rockies on Opening Day, which happens to fall on April 6. If baseball isn't your thing, we've got everything from oysters to art to chefs to film festivals on this week's list of the 21 best events in Denver!
Tuesday, April 3
Funny women in Denver are looking for more stage time and kinder audiences, and Emily Zeek is here to give them both with Diagnosis Hysterical, an open-mic showcase for women and femme performers only. Anything goes if the performer fits the profile, including poetry, music, standup, performance, monologues and sketch comedy, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, on Tuesday, April 3 (and every first Tuesday of the month). Sign-up is at 7:30 p.m. sharp, and the show follows at 8; all are welcome to cheer on the comics. Learn more at mercurycafe.com.
Wednesday, April 4
Though now based in New York and Austin, Denver native Devon Dikeou brings plenty of high culture to the Mile High City with the Dikeou Collection, a mini-museum ensconced in a downtown high-rise, and its offshoot, the Dikeou Pop-Up on East Colfax Avenue, which both offer a global view of the international art scene, along with close-ups of Denver’s own cultural milieu. But Dikeou, who is up for a Black Cube residency this year, is also an artist, and it’s as an artist that she’ll appear as a speaker in the Denver Art Museum’s Logan Lecture series, discussing her own work. Catch Dikeou at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; an après-lecture reception with Dikeou in the El Pomar Atrium of the Hamilton Building follows. Get information and tickets, $10 to $20, at denverartmuseum.org.
Photographer and poet Kathryn Charles has been capturing City Park and the currently closed City Park Golf Course in pictures and in words. She'll present both in Public Space in Transition, a free show open to the public on Wednesday, April 4, only. View the photos at a wine and cheese reception from 5 to 7 p.m. and hear the poems at 6 p.m., all on the second floor of the Denver Athletic Club, 1325 Glenarm Place. To make an appointment to see Charles's work at another time, call 303-995-9100.
The High West Oyster Fest is coming to the Mile High City at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4. This is the sixth annual celebration of all things oyster; after five years in Boulder, Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is moving the fest to the Exdo Events Center, 1399 35th Street, where there will be more room for the annual oyster-shucking and -eating contests, more room for music from Guerilla Fanfare and DJ Styles, and more room for food and drink favorites from ten Denver restaurants. "Our goal is to create one of the best oyster celebrations in the West," says Jax executive chef Sheila Lucero. This one's already a pearl. Tickets are $45, and all proceeds and donations will benefit First Descents, a local nonprofit that provides outdoor adventure for young adults impacted by cancer. For more information on the program, go to firstdescents.org; for more on the fest, go to jaxfishhouse.com.
Thursday, April 5
Few Front Range organizations are serving refugee communities as well as Project Worthmore. To ensure its longevity, Birdy magazine and the experimental electronic-music label Multidim Records are joining forces to throw a fundraiser for the organization at 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, at Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway. The evening's theme — abstract electronic audio and visual art — will play out in musical performances by Entrancer, Cities of Earth, Staggard Hooks and Glissline, visuals by Cacheflowe, and interactive lighting by Marc Wren. Admission is $10; for more information, go to syntaxphysicopera.com or call 720-456-7041.
For twenty years, Su Teatro has hosted the XicanIndie FilmFest, a multi-day celebration of independent Chicano film and Latino movies from around the world. From Thursday, April 5, through Sunday, April 8, head to 721 Santa Fe Drive for screenings of films, including Dolores, a riveting portrayal of activist Dolores Huerta, and the ever-relevant Walkout, which is about students in L.A. fighting discrimination in the ’60s. Panel discussions with filmmakers, after-parties and more round out the fest-related activities. Visit suteatro.org for a full schedule and festival passes, $40.
Every now and then, watching a swift new play about clever young people or a piece that strains to be socially and politically relevant, we long to hear the strong, sure and deeply musical voice of August Wilson, one of America’s foremost playwrights and creator of an extraordinary community of black folks in his ten-part Pittsburgh Cycle. Fences, sixth in the cycle, tells the story of Troy, a flawed and difficult man newly released from prison and struggling to care for his family; it opens Thursday, April 5, and runs through Saturday, April 21, at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons Street in Lone Tree. The LTAC presents very few plays — usually one a year — but its productions are always professional and meticulous. For times and tickets, $35 to $60, call 720-509-1000 or go to lonetreeartscenter.org.
When PlatteForum pairs artists and creatives with youth interns to produce art together, it’s never a formal affair. Instead, it’s a hands-in-the-dirt experience where kids and adults learn from each other and then share their findings — and culminating projects — with the public. That considered, why on earth would PlatteForum throw a stuffy gala when the time came to start fundraising? Well, it wouldn’t: UnGALA, A Soirée Unusual is anything but. Instead, you’re invited to dress down and maybe get your hands dirty, too, at a gathering for everyone, while enjoying the usual party stuff — bites, libations, a silent auction and entertainment — along with other stuff that’s not so usual, like a freewheeling exhibit showcasing PlatteForum residents from the nonprofit’s fifteen years of operation. Get a piece of the UnGala on Thursday, April 5, from 7 to 11 p.m. at PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street in the Temple; for tickets, $60 for individuals or $115 for a pair, go to blacktie-colorado.com. Learn more at platteforum.org.
Friday, April 6
Chinese-born artist Xi Zhang, a longtime fixture on the Denver art scene, now teaches at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City but still has ties to Colorado, which is a good thing for us. He occasionally brings new work to exhibit in Denver, and the latest batch, Imagine: Recent Paintings by Xi Zhang, focuses on paintings inspired by the late John Lennon and his mission to infuse his music with messages of peace. Zhang’s lush and empathetic oil paintings attempt to do the same by leveling the divide and raising understanding between strangers. Imagine, a collaboration between Plus Gallery and ATC Den, 3420 Larimer Street, opens with a reception on Friday, April 6, from 6 to 9 p.m., and runs through June 2; admission is free, but an RSVP is requested at eventbrite.com.
The NoCo Hemp Expo returns to Loveland on Friday, April 6, and Saturday, April 7, at the Ranch Events Complex, 5280 Arena Circle in Loveland, for a fifth year to teach both pros and newbs about the miracle plant the feds have been keeping from us for so long. There will be vendors, symposiums and panel discussions, as well as hemp-based food and live music on Saturday. This year's Expo will be bigger than ever, says founder Morris Beegle, who added an entire building's worth of panel discussions and vendors. Look forward to nearly sixty speakers, 150 exhibitions, the Expo's first-ever farmer symposium, and industry-heavy talks going on during the business-to-business-only symposium on Friday. Tickets range from $15 for Saturday to $65 for both days; all ages are allowed. Learn more at nocohempexpo.com.
Denver artist Peter Yumi wants to mess with your Facebook-addled mind with his new exhibit, Disappearing Room, an interactive installation that he calls “The Machine” and purports to be a kind of fortune-telling device designed to give advice on how to best use social media to your advantage — i.e., for more likes and follows, which translate into dopamine-enhancers. For good measure, “The Machine” also divines winning lotto numbers. It’s absurd, which Yumi accepts, but that makes interaction with the machine all the more fun. And his deepest intention? Once you’ve achieved your wildest social-media dreams, you can give it all up and go out into the real world to meet friends face to face again. Disappearing Room opens with a reception on Friday, April 6, from 6 to 11 p.m. at Alto Gallery, 4345 West 41st Avenue, and runs through May 19. Find more information at peteryumi.com or visit the Facebook event page.
Class wars erupt over a neighborly squabble about property lines in Karen Zacarías’s Native Gardens, a comedy making its regional premiere this spring in the good hands of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company. The story unravels when an upscale Latino couple moves into a quiet neighborhood in Washington, D.C., only to discover that their white neighbor’s prized garden crosses property lines. Arguments ensue, and Zacarías gets to the real bottom of the conflict, complete with unintentionally micro-aggressive epithets and hilarious hose fights. Native Gardens opens with a performance on Friday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m., and runs through May 6 at the Space Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; find tickets, starting at $30, at denvercenter.org.
The long-awaited Museum of Boulder, the new state-of-the-art home of the Boulder Historical Society in a renovated Masonic Lodge in downtown Boulder, is slated for a May 19 grand opening. But you can get a sneak peek this month at a soft opening that will include There. Here. Near., a community-sourced multidisciplinary exhibition by twenty artists that mines stories from Boulder’s history and civic growth for a themed display of multimedia and traditional artworks. Drop by the reception on Friday, April 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Museum of Boulder, 2205 Broadway in Boulder; admission is free. Find details at the Facebook event page, and learn more about the museum at museumofboulder.org.
It isn't spring in Denver until Opening Day, and this year's falls on Friday, April 6, when the Colorado Rockies square off against the Atlanta Braves at 2:10 p.m. Tickets to the game start at $90 and can be found at vividseats.com, but as any good Denverite knows, it's what's going on outside the stadium that makes Opening Day so fun. Start the day at Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th Street, with a $25 breakfast (find tickets at eventbrite.com) that includes a Q&A with local sports media, who will talk all things Rockies, before heading to Great Divide Brewing, 2201 Arapahoe Street, for $5 beer, tacos and cookies. Or just pop into any of LoDo's fine drinking establishments to participate in a much-beloved Denver tradition. Play ball!
For Voices From the Edge, two literary beacons in Denver’s cultural life, Lighthouse Writers Workshop and Stories on Stage, collaborated on something different from the usual for both organizations. Writing school Lighthouse tapped the voices of the homeless, the incarcerated and people facing similar life challenges in outreach workshops, and now SoS, known for its staged readings of passages from great literature, is bringing those writings full circle, with performers Greg Ungar and Jada Suzanne Dixon reading them live. Get in touch with stories from the lives of Denver’s downtrodden on Friday, April 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the McNichols Building,144 West Colfax Avenue; admission is free, but registration is required in advance at lighthousewriters.org. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.
Ever think to yourself, "I should start a podcast!" but fall short of doing the work? Let MCA Denver's new spring series, which combines live storytelling, comedy and a podcast taping, do the heavy lifting for you. The Friday, April 6, edition of Shut Up and Listen starts at 6:30 p.m. in the museum's cafe; local culture podcast Denver Orbit (which just won a Best of Denver award) will tape live, followed by standup from Gabby Gutierrez-Reed and AJ Finney. The event is free for members and $5 for non-members; happy hour at the cafe runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Learn more at mcadenver.org.
Saturday, April 7
The chefs cooking at Chef's Table Colorado on Saturday, April 7, are some of Denver's best. Justin Brunson (Old Major), Elise Wiggins (Cattivella), Bill Minor (Il Porcellino), Goose Sorensen (Solera) and Zoe Deutsch (Hinman's Bakery) are among the talent showing up at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard, from 6 to 9 p.m. to dazzle you with unlimited bites and beverages. They'll also be raising funds for Denver Urban Scholars, which provides mentoring and academic support for high-performing low-income students from middle school through college. Get your ticket, $125, at chefstableco.com, where you can find a full roster of participating chefs.
History Colorado is ushering in baseball season with Play Ball! A Celebration of America's Game. Opening Saturday, April 7, the exhibit will showcase the Marshall Fogel Collection, "one of the greatest sets of baseball artifacts ever assembled outside the Hall of Fame," according to History Colorado. "This celebration of our national pastime features more than 160 one-of-a-kind objects evoking the game’s greatest moments — both on and off the field." Those objects include forty bats from some of the game's greatest players, like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, and uniforms, programs and schedules for the Denver Bears, the Mile High's minor-league team until 1955. The exhibit is included with general admission, $12, to the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway. Find more information at historycolorado.org.
Sunday, April 8
Even artists need some R & R once in a while, because contrary to popular belief, being an artist isn’t about having nonstop fun. Art Church to the rescue! An invention of the folks from Cedarbox, a multi-disciplinary collective based in a traveling vintage trailer, the faux-religious event is an anything-goes, hands-on monthly creative meet-up with changing themes. In April, church is all about the Cosmic Workout, with yoga instructor Piper Rose and an avant-garde interlude that will include ambient music written for Communist-era East German Olympic teams in the ’70s and ’80s. Attend Art Church on Sunday, April 8, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Leon Gallery, 1112 East 17th Avenue; admission is free, but donations are welcome. Find the 2018 Art Church schedule at cedarboxtrailer.com.
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Monday, April 9
Kids in the Hall team member Scott Thompson is neither the first nor the last comic to wield a lounge-lizard character, but you have to admit his super-queen Buddy Cole is a brilliant social parasite — an original so good that Thompson even wrote his faux biography twenty years ago. He’ll bring Buddy back to life again with Après Le Déluge: The Buddy Cole Monologues, a retrospective recap of his best Cole routines, on Monday, April 9, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. Relive a classic: Admission ranges from $15 to $40 at theorientaltheater.com.
Boulder again becomes the center of the world on Monday, April 9, with the start of the Conference on World Affairs. The seventieth edition of this annual festival of ideas will pack more than 200 panels and 100 speakers and performers into five days of free programming. The late film critic Roger Ebert, who participated in the CWA for four decades, called it "the Conference on Everything Conceivable," and it’s all that and more. Opening-day events include a screening of Sundance Film Festival favorite RBG and the panel “We Need to Talk: Making a Difference Today,” at the Dairy Arts Center. Otherwise, all programs are on the University of Colorado Boulder campus; find the complete schedule at colorado.edu/cwa/attend/schedule.
Know of an event that would belongs in a future 21 Best list? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.