The 21 Best Events in Denver, May 16 Through May 22

The Denver Cruiser Ride rolls back into town.
The Denver Cruiser Ride rolls back into town.
Denver Cruiser Ride

This week you can welcome back an old favorite — the Denver Cruiser Ride, which starts a new, improved season on May 17 — as well as celebrate a new holiday: Colorado Public Lands Day, honoring this state's very great outdoors. In between you can dance and drink, laugh and love. Here are the 21 best events in and around Denver this week:

Strange Craft taps into another year.
Strange Craft taps into another year.
Jonathan Shikes

Tuesday, May 16

Strange Craft Beer, at 1330 Zuni Street, is celebrating its seventh anniversary as one of the leaders of the craft-beer movement in Denver. Among the festivities is a screening of the feature-length documentary Blood, Sweat and Beer, which follows the journeys of two startup breweries and examines the beer industry nationwide. Get your tickets at for $5, or pay $7 at the door on Tuesday, May 16. There will be two seatings, at 6 and 8 p.m. Sip local suds while learning about the ups and downs of small-business ownership in a fast-growing industry. Cheers to more beers!

If you’ve never visited the Temple — the Curtis Park enclave of artist studios, galleries, a zine library, a bakery and shared work spaces in the newly restored historic Temple Emanuel building at 2400 Curtis Street — here’s one more reason to get to know it better: PlatteForum, the arts haven’s anchor organization, is teaming up with other Temple artists to present The Temple Evening Lecture series, a showcase of everything the space has to offer. At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, Temple denizens Eden Myles, owner/operator of the building’s Five Points Pizza shop, and author/artist Will Meier will engage in a chess match while discussing art and life in an improvised presentation, with audience participation encouraged. Admission is free, but prepare to engage; tor more information, go to

Between testosterone-fueled mosh pits and the punk genre’s typical all-male bands, women have all too often been pushed to the back of the room in the punk scene — at least, that’s one way the story’s told. Baltimore documentary filmmaker Amy Oden counters that narrative in her film From the Back of the Room: 30 Years of Women in Punk!, which looks at the contributions of women to the punk scene from its beginnings (and not just during the female-centric Riot Grrrl movement of the mid-’90s). Oden’s film will screen at 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 16, at Seventh Circle Music Collective, 2935 West Seventh Avenue. Donations will be accepted at the door. For more information, go to A portion of proceeds from the event will go to the Titwrench Music Festival.

There’ll be a whole lotta shakin’ going on Tuesday, May 16, when the United States Bartenders’ Guild “Make it Exotic” Cocktail Competition comes to the Tavern Wash Park, 1066 South Gaylord Street, from 6 to 8 p.m. Mixologists from across the country have been submitting cocktail recipes using Exotico tequilas; at this semi-final event, each of the ten contestants will have seven minutes to make their cocktails and wow the four judges. The judges will pick six bartenders to move on to the final round; they’ll get an all-expenses paid trip to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, site of the final contest. The semi-finals are free to watch, and audience members even get to vote on a crowd-favorite cocktail that will be named at the event. Find out more at

The Denver Cruiser Ride is growing up this year.
The Denver Cruiser Ride is growing up this year.
Scott Lentz

Wednesday, May 17

A Denver favorite is growing up: The Denver Cruiser Ride began as an opportunity for cyclists to gather in Denver and ride every Wednesday during the summer. What was a purely social gathering has morphed in the hands of founder Brad Evans into a series of happy hours called City Spark that aim to unite civic leaders and city residents at gatherings where they can discuss important topics. But if the Cruiser is your thing, don’t worry: Your fun-loving, costume-clad self can still gear up for five rides this summer, the first of which is on Wednesday, May 17. Just as in years past, head to the Ginn Mill, 2041 Larimer Street, for the ride, which begins at 8:15 and continues until 11 p.m. For more information, visit To find out about the next City Spark meetup, visit

There are two types of people in this world: those who tinker, and those who don’t. If you’d rather take apart and rebuild a microwave than simply use it, head to Space Gallery, 400 Santa Fe Drive, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 17. As part of its Adult Maker Night series, in which art and engineering converge over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, Space will host Motor Racers, where you can learn how to design a mini propeller-powered car while sipping on a cocktail or two. Find tickets, $20, and more information at

Denver’s loss is Aurora’s gain. As artists are being priced out of the core city, many are moving east, giving Aurora a creative infusion. But then, that town already has a solid arts base, one that provides strong support for Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, which helps youth learn and succeed through art. Still, a little help is always appreciated, and you can do your bit by attending the annual DAVA fundraiser, Innovation & Imagination: Building Creativity and Confidence in Our Youth. The fun runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, at the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street, Aurora; tickets are $75 or $100 VIP. To purchase yours, go to

Upcoming Events

Thursday, May 18

Warm Cookies of the Revolution, Denver’s civic health club, has issued a call to arms for this month’s stitch ’n’ bitch session, titled What Is Militarism? Bring your hand-occupying crafts (if you don’t have any, materials will be supplied) as well as your opinions (we know you have those) to the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. From 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, you can chat with combat veterans from WWII and the Iraq War as well as veterans of anti-war movements, and chew over the issues of the day over cookies and milk. A donation of $5 is requested; for more information, go to

The mainstream world might label My First Show Show II an open mic for new — or maybe really obscure — bands looking for a break. That’s not entirely incorrect, given that the event invites musicians barely beyond the “just jamming” stage to get up and play their hearts out. But in Denver’s zine world, there’s so much more that’s right about My First Show Show II, a radically fun dance party that will raise funds for this year’s Denver Zine Fest, now only a month away. Bands that want to perform will be added to the lineup in the order they e-mail For the rest of us, doors open at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 18, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, and you can rock all night for a donation of $5 to $10. Get more info at

Keep reading for more events this week.

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