Another weekend approaches, and it's time for another inventory of the best events this city has to offer. Whether you're looking to rub shoulders with classical musicians, play a few rounds of pinball or Mario Kart, or cuddle with a gang of pugs, Denver has you covered – and that's if all your time isn't occupied with the Biennial of the Americas and CRUSH, which you'll find in our roundup of arty things to do. While some of what's going on may not be every reader's cup of tea (or may be geared toward a specific audience), we've cast an entertainment net wide enough for everyone to have a good time. Better yet, each and every one of the ten events listed below charges ten dollars or less for admission – fine print notwithstanding. And six are free!
Thursday, September 14, 7 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Revisit Denver's formative years at Manifest Destiny, a spellbinding new performance from Pandemic Collective, a nonprofit theatre company with a penchant for the macabre. Set at a decennial gala held in honor of territorial Governor John Evans (co-orchestrator of the Sand Creek Massacre), the evening promises a silent auction along with plenty of strong spirits and toothsome vittles for its sharply-attired guests, plus era-appropriate diversions such as a poker tables and live piano accompaniment. With performances by Terry Burnsed, Hart DeRose, Dakota Chase Hill, Ken Thong, Scottie Tate, Samantha Saunders, Calista Masters and other Pandemic Collective favorites, Manifest Destiny is horror theater that's equally adept at provoking discussions and agitating social progress as it is at causing nightmares. Visit Pandemic Collective's Eventbrite page to find out more.
Belles & Chimes: A Pinball Club for Women
Thursday, September 14, 7 p.m.
The 1up Colfax
$10 League Donation
For many years, the dude-centric demographic of video game arcades has really put the "man" in one-upmanship. Belles & Chimes, an all-women pinball club, aims to change that perception throughout the fall with a series of training sessions and league matches. Players of all experience levels can reconnect with fondly remembered machines of their youth, or discover the simple joys of pinball for the first time while forging friendships with other gamers. A $10 donation grants members access to fourteen weeks of training thorough enough to transform novices into wizards, along with regular league matches at the 1up's Colfax location, and an amiably competitive fellowship that won't be ruined by hordes of shouting dudes. The season concludes with a final match on December 16. Visit Belles & Chimes homepage to learn more. (A quick word to any entitled mens' rights activists lurking among the commentariat: unlike seemingly every other event in the city, this one isn't about you, so kindly keep your invective and false equivalencies to yourselves. You can play pinball some other night or some other place, bro.)
Cherry Arts Festival
September 15-17, 10 a.m.
The Stanley Marketplace
With nearly one-hundred jury-selected artists (44 of whom hail from right here in Colorado) representing thirteen distinct categories, the Cherry Arts Festival is a fun-filled tribute to the local arts community spread across three lively days. Enjoy interactive art installations, food truck nibbles, live entertainment and a children's Creation Station, while marveling at highlights from the Cherry Arts mobile collection thoughtfully displayed at Aurora's Stanley Marketplace. Though the new ticketed Art Brunch benefit will cost $25-$45 per guest, admission to all the other festivities is free. Visit Cherry Arts online for a full schedule and list of participating artists.
Stoner Comix Art Show — Banned in Amerika by TROG
Friday, September 15, 7:10 p.m. to midnight
Over his 22 year long career, TROG, an Australian-born cartoonist, graphic designer and gallery artist has been celebrated for his underground stoner comix, Wasted Talent canvas collection and numerous design collaborations with musicians and brands. He'll be showing his work and holding court at Denver's SoHi gallery with Banned in Amerika, a series of 420 art inspired by TROG's love of cannabis. Stoner fans can also check out his Killer Weed Coloring Book which was fittingly released on April 20, 2017. Visit the Facebook events page for more details.
Sunnyside Brewhaha and Fourth Anniversary Party
Friday, September 15, 8 p.m.
Diebolt Brewing Company
Raise a frothy glass to four years of Diebolt Brewing Company while chortling away at some of Denver's funniest comedians tomorrow night at Sunnyside Brewhaha. With a lineup composed of local mirth merchants Aaron Maslow, Brad Galli, D? Kelley, Katie Bowman and headliner Aaron Urist, the laughs will flow as freely as the beers on Diebolt's tap, while the Sunnyside staple celebrates four years in the brewery business. There are often food trucks nearby offering plenty of toothsome fare to help drinkers soak up all the suds in their stomachs. The show is free. Visit the Sunnyside Brewhaha Facebook events page to learn more.
Colorado Symphony Afterglow Opening Night: Meet Music Director Brett Mitchell
Friday, September 15, 9:30 p.m. to midnight
While tickets to the Colorado Symphony's season-opening performance of Beethoven's Fifth may fall outside the price range of many local pocketbooks, classical music lovers can still mix and mingle with Music Director Brett Mitchell and composer Mason Bates at the Afterglow Opening Night meet and greet. While the event is intended for Colorado Symphony REMIX members, who'll enjoy free admission to both the season-opening performance at Boettcher Concert Hall and its accordant after party – sign up here. Any old plebe with a crisp Hamilton can attend. Visit coloradosymphony.org to learn more and buy tickets, $10.
Westwood Chile Fest
Saturday, September 16, 2 to 9 p.m.
Westwood Food Cooperative
Spice up your Saturday at the Westwood Chile Fest, a culinary and artistic celebration of the Hispanic cultures that comprise one of the most vibrant corners of this fair city. Enjoy art, music, and dance along with a vast and tasty array of cuisines all along the Morrison Road Corridor from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, September 16. With the Westwood Food Cooperative serving as a convenient hub, locals can explore a relatively unheralded section of the city and come together to enrich the entire community. To learn more, check out the Westwood Chile Fest's Facebook events page.
Pugs in the Park
Sunday, September 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Stapleton Central Park
$5 per Dog
Despite what this hateful anti-pug screed from our archives might suggest, Westword is a safe haven for pug-loving patriots. That's why we're recommending Pugs in the Park, an annual fundraiser for Colorado Pug Rescue, a doggo social, which returns to Stapleton Central Park on Sunday, September 17. Compete for fabulous prizes in hot dog eating contests, the "pug plop drop," and a wildly contested costume contest. Pug loving owners can also get their canine companions microchipped, or treat their pups to a spa day followed by a photo portrait. Mingle with the four legged crowd, or arrange a meet and greet with some of the dogs the Rescue has available for adoption. Celebrate the goofiest mugs in the canine kingdom starting at $5 per dog. Visit copugrescue.org to learn more.
Mario Kart Brunch Battle
Sunday, September 17, 1 p.m.
A staple of each Nintendo video game console, the Mario Kart series is a deathlessly engaging – addictive even – experience for every stripe of gamer. A fast-paced but agreeably goofy racing game, its most enjoyably played in groups because talking trash to a person sitting right next to you always beats shouting at pixels by yourself. Idle away a hangover Sunday afternoon by taking a few laps around Rainbow Road with a gaggle of gamers at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake location's bustling lounge and events center, Barfly. Enjoy bites, bloody marys and the friendly spirit of competition at the Mario Kart Brunch Battle, starting at 1 p.m., on Sunday, September 17. While you're there, why not stick around for a movie and make a whole day of it? For more information, look no further than the Facebook events page.
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Soundscapes: Women in Classical Music
Wednesday, September 20, 2 p.m.
Gordon Gamm Theater at the Dairy Arts Center
While the classical music world has a reputation for clinging to hidebound traditions on its fusty road to obsolescence, a new generation of performers is shattering those old perceptions while breathing thrilling new life into cherished works from the classical music canon. Showcasing the compositions of Libby Larsen, Augusta Reed Thomas, Kate Soper, and Amy Beach, Soundscapes: Women in Classical Music pays tuneful tribute to pioneering women of the field while showcasing the achievements of the modern women preserving their legacies. Join violinists Leslee Smucker and Erika Eckert along with soprano Christie Conover, dancer and choreographer Jessica Riggs, flautist Mary Matthews and pianist Margaret McDonald for an evening of music so divine it makes gender roles seem irrelevant. Visit the Dairy online to learn more and buy tickets of your own, $10-$15.