Hand in hand with Halloween comes El Dia de los Muertos, the Latin American celebration during which the souls of the dead take time out to party with the living. In that spirit, Aurora's Crossover Project hosts several El Dia events this weekend, with annual festivities at Denver's Pirate gallery sandwiched in between. Tonight at 6 at the Aurora Fox Theater (9900 E. Colfax), events kick off with an art show and entertainment showcase. A candlelight vigil to the nearby San Marcos Restaurant (9935 E. Colfax), where there will be dinner specials for the hungry and a pinata for the kids, follows at 7:30. Call 303-361-2910.
Tomorrow the action shifts to north Denver, where Pirate hosts similar activities, including an art show, a live mariachi band and dancing, a procession to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and costume contests for kids and adults. Pirate is at 3659 Navajo St.; call 303-458-6058. While you're in the neighborhood, you might want to stop across the street at Zip 37--where Devil's Head, a show by local folk artist Jerry Simpson, opens tonight--and Edge, where a children's pinata will be cracked open at 8. Crossover events conclude Sunday with yet another procession, a tamale feast and a dance starting right after 2 p.m. mass at St. Theresa Church, 1243 Kingston St. in Aurora; for details call 303-344-0132.
In Bogota, Colombian pop stars Bloque are huge, selling out entire stadiums full of fans stoked for a sound that borrows from rock, salsa, funk, folk and the kitchen sink. Here the name doesn't ring so many bells--at least not yet. But that might be about to change. Bloque performs tonight at 10 at 'Round Midnight, 1005 Pearl St., Boulder; admission is $3 at the door. And on Halloween night, the group will open for Cabaret Diosa at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; for tickets, $10, call 303-786-7030.
Don't look now, but Halloween falls on a weekend this year, which means there'll be twice as much holiday--but that's no cause to be frightened. There's plenty of fun for folks of all ages.
For a ghostly good time of goosebumping excitement, duck into the Washington Park Community Center, 809 S. Washington St., where the Spoken Wheel Troupe, a hoo's-hoo of local storytellers, will have your skin crawling. Tonight's presentation of Whispers, Cries and Scream...A Halloween Concert of Story and Song promises a bone-chilling evening of frightful family fun. Admission is $5 to $8 at the door; call 303-526-4216.
For something a little less supernatural, the CU Museum of Natural History, 15th and Broadway on the CU-Boulder campus, presents Museum in the Dark, an all-ages flashlight tour of the museum that uncovers natural wonders, including lizards and other creepy-crawlies, lurking in-house. Face painting, scavenger hunts and craft projects fill out the evening. The fun runs in two sessions, beginning at 5:30 and 6:45; admission is $6 per child (parents free). Call 303-492-3396.
You might want to swing by the Auditorium Theatre, at 14th and Curtis in the Plex, where the members of Frequent Flyers Productions take to their low-flying trapezes to bring the Halloween tradition known as Theatre of the Vampires to Denver for the first time. Inspired by Anne Rice's bloodsuckers' trilogy and described as "frighteningly funny," the 8 p.m. show is sure to be a scream. Tickets are $17.50 and $20.50; call 303-830-TIXS for yours.
And here's a really scary thought: If your Halloween costume includes platform shoes and satin shirts, then boogie on down to the Mammoth Events Center, 1510 Clarkson St., tonight at 7:30 for the Halloween Disco Ball. The retroactive shindig features live-and-in-the-flesh performances from a graveyard of Seventies mirrored-ball favorites, including the unstoppable KC & the Sunshine Band, the Ohio Players, Sister Sledge and the incendiary Trammps. Tickets are $19.50 in advance ($22.50 at the door); call 303-830-TIXS.
And finally, for the forward-fashion-minded, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art hosts its 8th annual Exotica Erotica Ball, an "infinitely famous" extravaganza with a cyber-Pacific Rim theme that will appeal to the designer-conscious. A $500 prize goes to the most titillatingly attired attendee, and guests are encouraged to push the envelope of sartorial standards. Tickets are $45 ($35 for BMoCA members); the event takes place at 9 p.m. at 2040 Larimer St. Call 303-443-2122.
There are some artists who become so attached to their works that they can't bear to part with them...and then there's Erick Johnson, a sculptor whose kinetic installations come with a built-in self-destruct function saturated with inspirational meaning. Johnson will set fire to Flight, a series of steel and wood towers equipped with wings and paddles commissioned by the Museum of Outdoor Arts, during a ceremony and reception tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. Spectators are invited to place mementos of loved ones on the sculptures before they go up in smoke, sparks and flaming pinwheels; colorful prayer-flag streamers will also be available at the site. It all takes place in Samson Park, 6304 S. Fiddler's Green Circle, Englewood; call 303-741-3609.
The Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St., rings in the night (and another anniversary) with a skull-bucket full of ghoulish festivities. As usual, it's a multi-layered and multi-leveled affair, featuring everything from dinner and lounge music to spooky theater productions earlier in the eve. Upstairs, lindy-hoppers can soar to the sounds of Papa Grande & His Double Wide Jumptet while reveling in a costume-ball atmosphere. The upstairs juking room will also host appearances by a slew of performance types and none other than Amaru, Serpent Queen of the Nile. Yow! Second-floor fun costs $10; get the 411 at 303-294-9258.
Larimer Square gets in on the masquerade angle with its ninth annual Halloween Costume Contest, a progressive version that takes costumers through four restaurants while they pursue cash prizes and freebies. Participating restaurants will be doling out trick bags of treats throughout the night, including rivers of Halloweenish adult concoctions. The fun starts at 9; get info at 303-607-1276.
For an especially skary experience, mosh out at Skalloween, tonight at 6 in the Glenn Miller Ballroom, CU-Boulder campus. The lineup of bands includes ska heavyweights the Toasters, the Skoidats and Slow Gherkin, along with the crunchier sounds of Zeke and the Voodoo Glowskulls. Tickets are $15; call 303-492-7704.
Peter Jackson's film Dead Alive is perfect fodder for zombie-loving film buffs. A campy, cult-friendly slice of cinema, it's a bloody spoof that aims to tickle the funny bone while shivering the spine. The midnight time slot for tonight's showing at the Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway, adds to the flick's seasonal correctness. Admission is $7; call 303-744-6796 for the gory details.
Gain new perspectives on the art of writing for stage when the Denver Center for the Performing Arts hosts Alfred Uhry today as part of its Meet the Playwright Series, in conjunction with the Denver Center Theatre Company's current production of The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Uhry, best-known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning Driving Miss Daisy, speaks at 2:30 p.m. in the Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; admission is free, but tickets, available at the box office on a first-come, first-served basis, are required.
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It had to happen--the only wonder is that it's taken this long for someone to try mining the psychological and sociological implications of Star Trek. Jungian facilitator Jody Taylor explores The Inner World of Star Trek in a six-week video-and-discussion series at First Divine Science Church, 1400 Williams St., beginning tonight from 7 to 9. The workshop costs $10 per session; for reservations, call 303-322-7738.
New York performance artist Holly Hughes, one of the notorious "NEA Four" who, along with Karen Finley, Tim Miller and John Fleck, took on Jesse Helms in a funding battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court, says, "I would be worried if Jesse Helms had liked my work." Now a Roser Visiting Artist at CU-Boulder, Hughes brings her cutting-edge wit to Turkey!!! (The New Musical), the student-produced result of her stay. The show begins today and runs through November 8 at the Loft Theatre on the CU-Boulder campus. This is just a hunch, but we're assuming Helms wouldn't like it. For information call 303-492-7355 or log on to www.colorado.edu/TheatreDance.
Always controversial and never complacent, filmmaker Spike Lee is a tailor-made guest for the Denver Distinguished Lecture Series, a program that brings a variety of scintillating speakers from all occupations to the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Lee launches this year's series, which also includes political movers and shakers James Carville and Mary Matalin, columnist George Will and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, tonight at 7; for tickets, $15-$52 ($100-$625 series), call 303-534-5252.
Food comes to the rescue tonight at the first annual Denver Chefs Auction, a spanking-new benefit for the March of Dimes spotlighting works of art by a collection of Denver's biggest culinary kingpins. There'll be tasty tidbits, celeb guests and silent and live auctions of everything from an in-home candlelight dinner prepared by Tuscany chef Tim Fields to a seasonal Mediterranean feast from the talented hands of Aubergine's Sean Kelly. Events begin at 5:30 at the Denver Petroleum Club, 555 17th St., Ste. 3700; tickets are $75. Call 303-692-0011.