Colorado's biggest unofficial holiday is just a few days away, but there are plenty of things to do in Denver both before and after Civic Center Park gets lit. Here are the 21 best events on the calendar over the next seven days.
Tuesday, April 18
Perennial favorite Lucha Libre & Laughs leaps off the ropes and back into the ring with a special Tuesday showcase at 7:30 p.m. on April 18, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. Boasting the same ringside thrills and minute-to-minute hilarity of a regular LLL showcase at half the price, Cheap Pop! has a brawny and bawdy lineup both on the mic and in the ring. With color commentators Nathan Lund and Mitch Jones along with standups Cody Spyker and Andrew Bueno opening for headliner Andy Peters (Those Who Can’t), the laughs side of LLL’s equation is in good hands. The real marquee attraction, however, is the title match between Lucha Libre & Laughs champion Cody Devine and Japanese wrestling legend Kikutaro. Visit theorientaltheater.com to buy tickets, a bargain at five bucks.
Most readers know local author and librarian Sean Eads for his science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction; his newest book, Trigger Point, released by Hex Publishers, marks his first stab at the mystery/suspense genre. “I’m an author who happens to be tied into the reading community through librarianship,” Eads explains. When he realized that readers were having trouble finding a book with the right elements of humor, suspense, and romance, he decided to write one himself. Trigger Point retreats to the golden age of detective fiction, following an amateur sleuth, massage therapist and reiki healer tasked with solving another masseuse’s murder. Eads will read from the book at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the Tattered Cover Colfax, 2526 East Colfax Avenue; copies will be available for purchase. For more information, go to tatteredcover.com or call 303-322-7727.
Wednesday, April 19
Few things in life are better than a concert at Red Rocks. But on Wednesday, April 19, there’s even more reason to party at the classic concert venue: 420 Eve on the Rocks, a kickoff to Colorado’s unofficial 4/20 holiday. Mighty Tree has booked six bands — Method Man & Redman, Flatbush Zombies, Curren$Y, $uicideBoy$, Futuristic and RDGLDGRN — and the show will start at 4:15 p.m., to ensure some big noise at, you guessed it, 4:20. General admission tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the gate (VIP will run you $150); find out more at cervantesmasterpiece.com. Red Rocks Amphitheatre is at 18300 West Alameda Parkway in Morrison.
Why do we put more thought into selecting our cauliflower than our cabernet sauvignon? If eating organic, natural produce is important, then knowing how the grapes that go into each bottle are treated is important, too. The goal of Colorado Natural Wine Week, which runs from April 17 through 22 at venues all over town, is to educate consumers about wines that are made with organic and biodynamic practices and that treat the grape with respect — from the vine to the dinner table. The pinnacle of the series of wine dinners, tastings and bar takeovers is the Grand Showcase on Wednesday, April 19, at Space Gallery, 400 Santa Fe Drive, featuring more than 200 wines made with traditional old-world techniques, along with guest appearances by vintners from ten wineries around the world, including Colorado’s own Demeter-certified Jack Rabbit Hill Winery. Tickets are $39 each or $75 per couple for the Showcase, which runs from 4 to 8:30 p.m. See naturalwineco.com for a complete list of the week’s events and to purchase tickets. It’s the best week to swirl, sip and spit.
Thursday, April 20
Colorado’s biggest unofficial holiday returns to Civic Center Park on Thursday, April 20. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., the annual 420 Rally will light up the joint with a cannabis culture festival. The vendor village will be open all day, with marijuana-friendly food booths and businesses, there will be live music from 2 to 6 p.m., highlighted by a performance by 2 Chainz…and it’s all free! Find out more at denver420rally.org.
An actor with looks, brains, humor and class is hard to find in Hollywood, but Cary Elwes has them all. In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Elwes could have been just another pretty face as the noble protagonist, but his line delivery rivaled that of Achchoo, aka Dave Chappelle. Of course, Elwes also played Westley, a dashing prince quick with the sword and the punchlines, in The Princess Bride. Over the years Elwes has embraced his iconic character and the film — he even wrote a book about it — and the brilliant Brit will bring his behind-the-scenes knowledge to the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place, for The Princess Bride: An Inconceivable Evening With Cary Elwes, a two-night run complete with a screening of the film and a Q&A. Inconceivable, indeed. Tickets starting at $29.50 are still available for the event at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20; tickets for the Friday, April 21, show start at $39.50. Purchase both at altitudetickets.com.
Denver’s favorite debased and debauched comedy game show, Uncalled Four, lurches back onto the scene just in time to celebrate its third anniversary along with the 4/20 holiday. Co-producers Jake Browne and Samantha Taylor will welcome back returning Uncalled Four champions Aaron Urist, Sam Tallent and Jodie Champion, along with wild card David Gborie, for a take-no-prisoners competition for the title of Denver’s Worst Person. Essentially an evil Mad Libs with the cards written by standup comedians, this entirely original game is merely the opening act for an evening of 4/20 festivities that includes a performance by the Ying Yang Twins and a consumption-friendly Colorado Cannabis Tours bus stationed outside the Oriental Theater at 4335 East 44th Avenue. Doors open at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. show on Thursday, April 20; admission to the 18+ event ranges from $15 to $25 at holdmyticket.com.
Square Product Theatre founder Emily K. Harrison met Australian playwright Amelia Roper at Local Theatre’s annual Local Lab play festival in Boulder. They hit it off, and after an exchange of scripts, Harrison decided that Roper’s She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange, a tale of two couples struggling under the crushing weight of the recession, fit perfectly with Square Product’s eleventh-season theme of “Power and Privilege.” “There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in the play,” Harrison says. “But at its core, it’s a very incisive and harrowing social commentary — not only on greed, but on sexism and relationships.” She Rode Horses opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in the Carsen Theatre at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder, and runs through May 13. For a complete schedule and tickets, $15 to $24 (two-for-one on April 20, 21 and 29 and May 3 and 4, and $15 for all seats on May 1), visit tickets.thedairy.org or call 303-444-7328. Learn more at squareproducttheatre.org.
The high-fashion Highland boutique Goldyn joins the Month of Photography 2017 roster with a late entry generated by TARRA: Women Who Create. The show, UnEarthing, brings together a quartet of women working in the fields of photography, fine craft and design for a collaborative meeting of the minds on the theme of “Matriarchy: The Leadership Role We Inherit.” Photographers Knomia Barron Rodriguez and Kyra Weinkle have joined architect/designer Jane Jordan Gravely and innovative and artful quilter Kerry Larkin of Comma Workshop to create one overarching window installation, which debuts at a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, that will also boast wicked spins by DJ duo the NightShift. Goldyn is at 2040 West 30th Avenue; find info at mopdenver.com or on the UnEarthing Facebook event page.
Ephemeral life situations have never kept women from writing. A pencil and a piece of paper are all that’s really needed to begin interpreting thoughts and dreams, and at the Gathering Place, a Denver drop-in center for at-risk women, this hasn’t gone unnoticed. Among its many services, the nonprofit operates a writing group, offering a conduit for personal empowerment for women with few resources. And they have things to say: Hear more when Gathering Place writers Malinda Detweiler, Elizabeth Vonaarons and Fran Ford read from their work at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, at Counterpath, a Denver event venue and book store at 7935 East 14th Avenue. Admission is free; learn more at counterpathpress.org.
Keep reading for more events.
Friday, April 21
Longtime local burlesque maven Cora Vette and the Oriental Theater’s Scott Happel, the mastermind behind Carnivale de Sensuale, have teamed up for the first annual Mile High Burlesque Festival, an event with an emphasis on “high” that’s designed specifically to cushion your come-down from Denver’s 4/20 festivities. The fest will offer two nights of nonstop cannabis-themed burlesquing, headlined by Texas bombshell Coco Lectric and sporting a bevy of beauties from Denver and across the nation. Doors open at 7 for 8 p.m.shows on Friday, April 21, and Saturday, April 22; Friday’s show is at 3 Kings Tavern, 60 South Broadway, and the clothes come off at the Oriental, 4335 West 44th Avenue, on Saturday, when Denver’s “Most High” award recipient will be crowned. Admission ranges from $15 to $25 nightly, or buy a two-night pass for $30; get tickets and the complete lineup in advance at milehighburlesquefest.com.
You’ll find cosplayers, fanboys and -girls, fantasists and every faction of nerddom at Starfest 2017, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this weekend at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse Street. Blasting off at noon on Friday, April 21, the Starfest schedule runs through Sunday and is packed with all the requisite discussions, trivia contests, seminars and screenings you expect at such a con, with fun surprises like a princess luau and a solar telescope for viewing Saturday’s eclipse, and appearances by such geek-friendly stars as Star Trek’s Walter Koenig and Agents of Shield’s Ming-Na Wen. Mingle with Trekkies and Whovians, shop for collectibles and support independent publishers in the dealers’ room, and gawk at the elaborate costumes while navigating your way through a staggering variety of events. Adult one-day passes are $45, and three-day passes are $75; get tickets and information at starfestdenver.com.
Denver dancer/choreographer Tara Rynders is also a nurse whose experiences in the world of healing interact with her work as an artist. Rynders previously shared this joyful crossover of unlikely disciplines through her multi-artist You & Me community arts experiences, which brought people face to face with artists at a group dinner at her home. Now she’ll borrow some pieces of You & Me for The Clinic, a more overt nod to the healing mind-body model that “sees the beauty in you and hopes you see it, too,” she says. Rynders and a crew of handpicked dancers and artists will lead participants through segments of music, performance, storytelling and communing, ending with dinner and drinks, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 21, with additional performances at the same time on April 22, 28 and 29. There will also be a “pediatric-friendly” clinic on April 30 that starts at 9 a.m. and ends with a pancake brunch. The donation-based admission ranges from $30 to $150; reserve a space and receive location information at theclinic.bpt.me.
Saturday, April 22
As cities around the globe mark Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, many will host a March for Science to protest budget cuts, censorship of researchers, and threats to evidence-based policy-making. “The March for Science is the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies and government,” say organizers. Denver’s joining in the action; this city’s March for Science will run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in Civic Center Park. Find out more at marchforscience.com.
To help support the construction of affordable homes, 21 Denver-area craft breweries, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, are joining up for Hops for Homes, a beer fest and fundraiser on Saturday, April 22, at Great Divide’s bottling hall, 3403 Brighton Boulevard. There will be two sessions, from noon to 4 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m., with 400 tickets available for each — and the potential to raise $20,000 for Habitat for Humanity. Participating breweries include Boggy Draw, Call to Arms, Cerebral, Crazy Mountain, Dead Hippie, Declaration, Diebolt, Dry Dock, Epic, Fiction, Great Divide, Grist, Living the Dream, Mockery, Ratio Beerworks, Renegade, Resolute, Seedstock, Station 26, 4 Noses and 38 State; each brewery will also host individual fundraising events and offer promotions to raise more funds for Habitat. General-admission tickets are $35 ($45 VIP) in advance at habitatbeerbuild.org, $45 at the door.
Celebrate the mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and obsessions of Denver’s funniest standup comedians at Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game. Inspired by Wait, What?, a boozy brouhaha created by New Orleans comics Geoffrey Gauchet and Isaac Kozell, Designated Drunkard will prompt the audience and hosts alike to take a drink each time a comic returns to a familiar tic or premise. Be at El Charrito’s Comedy RoomRoom, 2100 Larimer Street, at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 22, for the inaugural showcase. Local Crushketeers Zach Welch, Brian Flynn and Jose Macall will open for headliner Christie Buchele of the Pussy Bros. The night will be hosted by Caitie Hannan and Westword’s own Byron Graham; tickets are just $5 at nightout.com.
Sunday, April 23
You’ve noticed it: Your dog has spring fever. Every blade of grass is suddenly interesting to your pooch, as new scents rise from the awakening earth to waft on a breeze he can smell from forty blocks away. Your dog needs an activity, and the BarkHappy Spring Fling Dog Party just might suffice, at least for a few days. Not only will you and your well-behaved (and leashed) canine companion be showered with freebies both edible for dogs and just plain useful for humans, but you’re also invited, as a team, on a scavenger hunt for prizes. Join the fun from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at Bentley’s Pet Stuff, 1685 South Colorado Boulevard. Buy tickets, $15 in advance only, at denverspringfling.eventbrite.com; a portion of all event proceeds will benefit Denver’s own MaxFund no-kill shelter. Let the sniffing resume!
Forget streaming music: The Denver Record Collectors Spring Expo will boast more than forty music dealers from across the country hawking CDs, LPs, 45s, posters and merch. The expo isn’t just for oldies fans; people looking for obscure tracks by musicians like the Strokes or Paul Oakenfold are likely to find what they’re looking for, too. The expo runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at the Ramada Plaza, 10 East 120th Avenue in Northglenn; admission is $2. Find more information at bigk.com.
Boulder’s thriving culinary scene is the envy of cities ten times its size. A haven for skilled chefs, the college hamlet has earned the moniker “America’s Foodiest Town.” Find out why at the eighth annual Taste of Pearl, which will welcome fifteen of Boulder’s finest restaurants, wineries and distilleries to the Pearl Street Mall from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, for a movable feast of sips and snacks. Tickets are $65 in advance at boulderdowntown.com, or $70 at the door; $75 VIP tickets are available in advance only.
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Monday, April 24
Lidia Yuknavitch, best-selling author of the Ken Kesey Award-winning novel The Small Backs of Children, is back with a book that puts the saga of Joan of Arc in a frightening dystopian context. The Book of Joan not only spins a hell of a yarn with its revisionist take on the historic heroine, but Yuknavitch’s imaginative world-building raises thought-provoking questions about identity in a future where people are hairless, genderless and essentially identical. Yuknavitch is an engaging public speaker whose popular TED Talk “The Misfits Manifesto” is being adapted into a book; she’ll be reading from The Book of Joan at 7 p.m. Monday, April 24, at the Tattered Cover Colfax, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Admission is free; find out more at tatteredcover.com.
An attorney with a degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Troy Walker has both a better comedy career and a better backup plan than anyone we know. Having recently relocated to Los Angeles, where he signed with the prestigious Gersh Agency, Walker absolutely destroyed his late-night television debut on The Late Late Show. Despite his promising Hollywood future, Walker is an avowed Denver fan; at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 24, the two-time winner of Comedy Works’ New Faces Contest will return as headliner on the stage where he honed his craft — the downtown Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street. Tickets are $14; get yours at comedyworks.com.
For more events around town, see our calendar.