What a glorious week it will prove to be, Denver. From Val Kilmer to Boston terriers, fancy flea markets and loads of beer events, there's enough variety in this week's 21 best events list to satisfy even the most discerning social butterfly. Keep reading for more of the best events in town this week.
Tuesday, May 9
Movie-goers still recognize Val Kilmer from his late-’80s to mid-’90s heyday, when a series of high-profile roles in films ranging from Real Genius and Tombstone to Batman Forever made him into a household name. Over the past few years, an increasingly corpulent Kilmer has reinvented himself as a scenery-chomping character actor and great American weirdo. This reinvention includes Citizen Twain, a one-man show starring Kilmer as author, humorist and raconteur Mark Twain. Cinema Twain, a filmed version of Kilmer’s play, will screen at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village, followed by a Q&A session with Kilmer himself. General admission is $32, with VIP tickets available for $70. Visit comedyworks.com to learn more and buy tickets.
For a totally different museum experience, check out History Colorado Center's Ignite!Nite. The wonky punctuation belies what's sure to be a unique evening for local history buffs: From 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, you'll have access to History Colorado, 1200 Broadway, where live music, art and cooking demos and DIY craft activities will be taking place — all based on the bison. A cash bar and bites will also be available, so you'll be well provisioned as you learn about buffalo drives, buffalo soldiers, buffalo gals and the buffalo nickel. Tickets are just $12 (free if you're a member) and can be purchased at History Colorado's website.
What goes together better than burgers and beer? Literally nothing; a frosty beer paired with a hot ground-beef patty have been naturals ever since the first caveman busted out his Big Green Egg and cooler, way back in the Stone Age. So it was historically inevitable that 5280 Burger Bar and Resolute Brewing Company would team up to brew the 5280 Lager, a pilsner that's now on tap exclusively at the burger joint. But the Resolute Taproom at 7286 South Yosemite Street in Centennial is also getting in on the action: It's launching the beer there from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, and Burger Bar apps will be served to celebrate.
Wednesday, May 10
A painting by Kim Douglas Wiggins is immediately recognizable and utterly distinctive. Though inspired by the Impressionist, Modernist, Expressionist and folk-art movements, Wiggins has fused his influences into unique canvases bursting with vivid colors, organic shapes and an innate sense of motion. Though the American Regionalist painter specializes in Southwestern landscapes, Wiggins also excels at lively cityscapes, hallucinatory portraits and harrowing battle scenes. Learn more about what drives Wiggins’s brush at an artist talk on Wednesday, May 10, at the American Museum of Western Art, 1727 Tremont Place. Admission to the talk, which begins at 3 p.m., is $10. Visit anschutzcollection.org to learn more and buy tickets.
Free beer alert: If you haven't had a chance to try any bees from Telluride Brewing, Wednesday, May 10, is you chance. From 5 to 7 p.m., the Pizzeria Locale location in Highland Square will host a Telluride Brewing happy hour. "Each guest can snag one free flight of beer...no food purchase necessary," the restaurant says.
Thursday, May 11
W. Kamau Bell might just be the most fearless man on earth — the laid-back black comedian and star of CNN’s The United Shades of America has handled on-air interviews with Ku Klux Klan members and smug white supremacist Richard Spencer for the show with an even temper and, somehow, a sense of humor. And it’s that very brand of humor — sharp-witted and satirical with a relaxed delivery — that makes audiences fall in love with him wherever he goes. Even Spencer shook his hand. Bell brings his wise point of view to the stage of the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder, on Thursday, May 11, just days after the release of his new book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6’ 4”, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian, which might provide some of the punchlines. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show; for information and tickets, $25 to $53, visit bouldertheater.com.
Westword was just a few months old when we learned that some intrepid movie buffs were about to do something almost as crazy as starting a free newspaper: They were going to found a Denver-based film festival. The result was a reel success story. On Thursday, May 11, the Denver Film Society 40th Birthday Gala will celebrate this remarkable achievement, as well as independent cinema in general. The festivities start at 6 p.m. at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum and include cocktails, dinner, a live auction, a tribute to DFS co-founder Ron Henderson (one of those original movie buffs), the induction of High Noon Entertainment into the Colorado Office of Film & Television Media Hall of Fame, and a Thursday Night Fever dessert disco. Tickets range from $175 for an individual to $4,000 for a table; for more information on the event and updates on the fortieth Denver Film Festival, coming in November, go to denverfilm.org. The museum is at 7711 East Academy Boulevard.
On Thursday, May 11, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Good River Beer Company, which is opening a taproom and brewery on South Broadway later this year, will host a party at the Patagonia store downtown at 1431 15th Street, to launch the brewery's 2 Percent for Rivers program. Good River is donating 2 percent of its gross revenue to river conservation by establishing its own nonprofit organization. There will be live music, gear giveaways, short presentations by Colorado Water Trust and American Whitewater, and lots of beer to share (Good River is already making its own beer). For more information, visit grbeerco.com/2-to-rivers-1/.
Barbara Lynch, the Boston chef/restaurateur and author of Out of Line: A Life of Playing With Fire, was recently named one of the 100 most influential people in the world — and not just the food world — by Time magazine. Lynch is coming to Denver on Thursday, May 11, and will be the special guest at a five-course dinner at Coohills, 1400 Wewatta Street, beginning at 7 p.m. Chef-owner Tom Coohill will serve a menu inspired by dishes from Lynch’s restaurants and from her cookbook Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition. Tickets for the dinner are $165 per person and include a wine pairing with each course and a signed copy of Out of Line. Check out the full menu at coohills.com, then call the restaurant at 303-623-5700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
Keep reading for more of the 21 best events in Denver.
Friday, May 12
Classier than your average cannabis event, the fifth annual Mother’s High Tea is a family-friendly affair “designed to normalize legalized cannabis and those who work in the cannabis industry,” say organizers. Despite its punny title, there will be no on-site consumption at the High Tea; the public event intends to put a friendlier face on the cannabis industry by introducing guests to some of its leading advocates and entrepreneurs. The tea, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 12, includes a robust speakers’ lineup, education seminars and fun-filled activities. Gather with the crowd at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, to raise a cup and a pinkie with your favorite lady. Tickets, $12 to $45, are available from axs.com. For more information, visit facebook.com/mothershightea.
Answer the call to adventure with Questival Denver, an action-packed 24-hour race through the city that begins on Friday, May 12. Competitors join teams of two to six people to complete a series of challenges issued a mere day before. While the gauntlet includes outdoorsy touchstones such as kayaks and climbing walls, questers are also prompted to explore hidden corners of the city, try new foods, and generally escape the humdrum comforts of their personal comfort zones. Check-in starts at 5 p.m. on Friday at Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Champa Street and Speer Boulevard. Individual tickets are $48; find them at cotopaxi.com.
Saturday, May 13
The social-justice music-education group Youth on Record is known for finding ways to pay local musicians well and make music education enjoyable and useful. The organization will host a block party celebrating the release of its latest album, YOR Sessions Vol. 2, a collaboration between the at-risk and underserved students who learn the ins and outs of music production through YOR and professional musicians, including Billy Strings, Felix Fast4Ward and Ian Cooke as well as members of Wheelchair Sports Camp, the Flobots and the Fray. This free block party takes place from 12 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, outside Youth on Record, 1301 West Tenth Avenue, and will include live music, food trucks and games for kids. For event details, visit youthonrecord.org; for more on the nonprofit, turn to page 38.
Here Be Monsters, a 13.1 percent Imperial Stout aged twelve months in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, was one of our favorite beers from the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival in Vail in January. But that version was just a sneak peek. This time, Cerebral Brewing will release the beer in bottles ($16 each with a limit of four per person), starting at noon on Saturday, May 13, and on tap. "Whiskey, charred oak and cherry on the nose followed by notes of luscious chocolate, toffee, and caramel," the brewery says. Cerebral will also release a vanilla variant of the beer, which has been conditioning on Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for more than three weeks (two bottles per person). For more information, visit cerebralbrewing.com.
Nearly everyone loves dogs, but some folks love Boston terriers just a little bit more. If you dig the pug-faced, bat-eared pups that always seem to be smiling, you won’t want to miss For the Love of Bostons on Saturday, May 13, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The dinner and silent auction will raise money for the Mid-America Boston Terrier Rescue, which helps re-home these canine clowns in Colorado and twelve other states. The event takes place at the South Metro Denver Realtor Association, 7899 South Lincoln Court in Littleton, and costs $55 per person. Buy your tickets in advance at adoptaboston.com; there will be no ticket sales at the door. The organization has rescued more than 3,000 Boston terriers; maybe the next one could be your new companion.
Westside in the house! A group of west-side breweries — Little Machine, Joyride, Strange and Seedstock — will have two shuttle buses running continuous loops between them on Saturday, May 13, from 2 to 10 p.m. Start at whichever brewery you choose and ride the loop for $5. Buses will leave each brewery every ten minutes or so. Complete the loop at all four breweries and get a coupon for a free beer at the brewery of your choice on your next visit. Tickets can be purchased at your starting brewery on the day of the event.
Spoile mom on her special weekend at the Favorite Things Brunch. Starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, at Larimer Social, 1427 Larimer Street, the brunch will include a fashion show, and guests ages 21 and up can enjoy bottomless mimosas, a bloody Mary bar, and bites from Bistro Vendome, Cru, and Rioja. Makeovers come courtesy of Glam Bar by L-Style. You can also shop an AILLEA pop-up shop, create a bouquet, eat ice cream, and see a fashion show from local retailers. Visit eventbrite.com for more information.
When it comes to taste-making in the music community in the Mile High, Denver Public Library is right at home on the list of concert venues. The library hosts a slew of music-related events at branches across the city, and on Saturday, May 13, the DPL’s Harmony Street concert series returns with a free
performance at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. The library regularly brings world-class musicians from Colorado to the Five Points library to pay homage to the neighborhood’s musical roots, and starting at 3:30 p.m on Saturday, Tom Riis and Austin Okigbo, faculty members at the University of Colorado, will “host a sing-along featuring African and American favorites,” according to the library. “Music has always been an important part of Five Points, and our Harmony Street series will continue that tradition by showcasing jazz, gospel and crossover vocalists as well as a community sing-along,” says librarian Michelle Jeske. Learn more at denverlibrary.org.
Denver’s groundbreaking flea, the Horseshoe Market, keeps on innovating as it enters its eighth season. Additions to the market include sixty new vendors and some brand-new fashion trucks specializing in kids’ wear and gently used maternity clothing. There’s also a fledgling partnership with the Swallow Hill Music Association, bringing fresh live music to the open-air event. All in all, when the Spring Horseshoe Market opens for business at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 13, more than 130 Colorado-based vendors will be selling wares in the Olinger Moore parking lot, 4345 West 46th Avenue, and that includes food, dessert and beverage trucks so you won’t go hungry or decaffeinated while you rummage. Kids are welcome, and activities include a photo booth, henna tattoos, DIY art-making for all ages, and free music. Shop the Horseshoe until 4 p.m.; visit horseshoemarket.com for details.
Sunday, May 14
We posit that Philosophy, a new bi-weekly showcase hosted and produced by Denver comedian Emily Zeek, is one of Denver’s best bets for free comedy. Moving into the newly renovated Capitol Hill Tavern, 1225 Logan Street, Philosophy may not have a central gimmick, but it’s a consistently well-curated showcase of a broad range of Denver comics. For a special Mother’s Day show on Sunday, May 14, Zeek welcomes Mo Vida, Daniel Reskin and April Kaprelian to join feature act Anthony Armstrong in opening for Sunday night’s headliner, Christie Buchele of the Pussy Bros. Showtime is 8 p.m. Whatever your inclinations, Philosophy offers up a fine evening of laughter, and it’s as free as the will of humankind.
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Monday, May 15
Dana Crawford made her reputation saving landmark buildings, starting with the Victorian storefronts in the 1400 block of Larimer Street, which she turned into Larimer Square fifty years ago. Today the preservationist is a landmark in her own right, consulting on concepts across the country while working on her own projects in Trinidad, Idaho Springs and Denver.“ When you look at it, we saved a lot, but we have to be really, really careful,” Crawford says of her quest. Three days before Colorado Preservation Inc. hands out the 27th annual Dana Crawford Award, a regular feature of National Preservation Month, Crawford biographer Mike McPhee, author of Dana Crawford: 50 Years Saving the Soul of a City, will share her remarkable story at 7 p.m. Monday, May 15, at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway. Tickets are $8.50 for members, $10 for non-members ($16 includes admission to the museum); go to historycolorado.org to register or call 303-866-2394 for more information.
Canopy, a local business accelerator program for the cannabis industry, has assisted startups across the state and the country get their businesses off the ground. On Monday, May 15, Canopy will host Demo Day, during which ten startups will present the cannabis businesses they’ve developed over Canopy’s sixteen-week program. The evening begins at 7 p.m. at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder. An after party and cocktails will follow the presentations. Tickets, $5, can be found at eventbrite.com.