The 21 Best Events in Denver, May 2-8
Cheers to TheBigWonderful!
This week marks the beginning of warm-weather events Denver knows and loves, like the return of TheBigWonderful, the Denver Derby Party and Cinco de Mayo. So bust out your sunscreen, dust off that derby hat and have a ball.
Tuesday, May 2
Denver-based author Peter Andreas has lived a life packed with enough incident for ten memoirs. His recent autobiography, Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution, recounts his formative years, spent on the lam with his revolutionary mother, an outspoken feminist and socialist. Enthralling and disillusioning in equal measure, Andreas’s tale describes his various homes, the constant hiding and even brushes with history in a pre-coup Chile. On Tuesday, May 2, join Andreas and a crowd of loyal readers to hear the author read excerpts from his book before a meet-and-greet signing event. The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Colfax, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Admission is free, and copies of Rebel Mother will be available for $26. For more information, call 303-322-7727 or go to tatteredcover.com.
Mozart’s Requiem rivals any of the composer’s other roughly 600 works, and because he died while writing it, no one knows just how much of it was actually composed by him and how much was written by his associate Franz Xaver Süssmayr. But what is certain about the storied and mysterious work is that it ebbs and flows with a romantic pathos few artists have managed to achieve, and captures the drama so many feel about life and its inevitable march toward death. The CU Symphony Orchestra and Choirs will be ending their season with a free performance of the Requiem at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. For more information, visit colorado.edu/music.
One of Colorado’s favorite mountain towns has long been called the Kingdom of Breckenridge, so it’s an appropriate setting for a production of Map of My Kingdom, a one-act play commissioned by Practical Farmers of America and written by Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander to tackle the tough issue of land transition. A performance and discussion starting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, at the Backstage Theater, 121 South Ridge Street in Breckenridge, kicks off Downtown Colorado Inc.’s 35th annual conference; two full days of events focusing on community revitalization lead directly (and conveniently) into the Colorado Creative Industries meeting in the same town. For a complete schedule and prices, go to downtowncoloradoinc.org.
Wednesday, May 3
Melding R&B and dance music is nothing new, but a modern wave of producers and DJs has elevated the union made in dance-floor heaven to new heights — think the Weeknd and his sexy, slow digitized beats that work in both the bedroom and the club. For his iteration of the two genres, Sweater Beats, the 29-year-old DJ/producer from Los Angeles, draws inspiration from songs like Ginuwine’s “Pony” and gives his adoring fans catchy beats with a sensual edge. Sweater, aka Antonio Cuna, will stop by Summit Music Hall for an all-ages show on Wednesday, May 3. Get tickets, $20 to $25, and information at thesummitmusichall.com.
Thursday, May 4
Star Wars fans, you don’t have to wait until Episode IX to celebrate all things Luke and Leia. On Thursday, May 4, (of course, that’s May the Fourth to you, young Padawan), the Curtis Hotel, 1405 Curtis Street, is hosting Art War, a Star Wars-themed, art-focused costume party with music, dancing and booze. The night begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Curtis; for information and tickets, which range from $30 to a $300 VIP hotel-package option, go to artwardenver.com or eventbrite.com.
Head for the hills for the sixth annual Creative Industries Summit, a state-sponsored confab in Breckenridge filled with two days of activities designed to help Colorado’s cultural leaders stay creative in these days of tightening budgets. Speaking of which, Jane Chu, chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts, will deliver a keynote address at lunch on opening day, Thursday, May 4; a luncheon on Friday, May 5, will feature both the Governor’s Creative Leadership Awards and a speech by Meow Wolf founder Vince Kadlubek. In between, there will be exhibits, receptions, performances and panels (including one I’ll be on to discuss “Preservation in Action at the World’s Wonder View Tower”). Should be quite the arty party; find the complete schedule at coloradocreativeindustries.org.
UGA performs during the Deuce Coupe ballet, 1973.
Photo by Herbert Migdoll, courtesy of Roger Gastman
Despite its outlaw origins, traced back to New York and Philadelphia as long ago as 1967, graffiti has blossomed into a commodified high-art movement that has influenced music and fashion while becoming an integral part of the cityscape. MCA Denver’s Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence celebrates the form’s early pioneers with an extensive exhibit of murals and photographs curated by Roger Gastman, who directed a documentary and compiled a book of the same name. Those who’ve slept on this fascinating exhibit until now have one final chance this weekend, when Wall Writers will conclude its run with celebratory send-off events lasting two days. On Thursday, May 4, join Gastman and Mike Giant, a fixture of skateboarding and graffiti’s early years, for an exhibition talk at 7 p.m at the MCA, 1485 Delgany Street. Then, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday, May 5, the museum will host a dance party with DJ Egyptian Lover. And finally, on Sunday, May 6, at 7 p.m., the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, will screen Wall Writers. Visit denverfilm.org and mcadenver.org for tickets and information.
Although the Emerging Filmmakers Project at the Bug Theatre keeps the soul of Denver’s independent film community on screen once a month throughout the year, the Den-Ex Film Fest, now in its third iteration, is where you’ll see the truly experimental stuff, says EFP crew member (and Westword MasterMind) Johnny Morehouse. “We’ll have non-narrative documentaries, animation, scratched-on film, you name it; we really tried to get to the raw part of experimental film,” explains Morehouse, who will serve as host for the five-hour program, which begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, at the Bug, 3654 Navajo Street. The evening’s films were curated by filmmaker John Hartman and EFP festival director Eileen Agosta; none will last longer than ten minutes, Morehouse adds, which will help audience members stay on top of the demanding and unconventional content. Admission is $10 at the door; for more information, go to efpdenver.com or facebook.com/events/1002809136517262.
Denver civic health club Warm Cookies of the Revolution has long been in the business of answering stupid questions, many of them pertinent to political survival, with periodic sessions of “Stupid Questions, Stupid Talents” over the years. Usually, that means that the learning portion of the event is tempered by a hilarious break for what amounts to Stupid Human Tricks, à la David Letterman. This time around, the question is a serious one — “What is sanctuary, and how does it work?” — and instead of public ear-wiggling and slurping spaghetti noodles through one’s nose, Warm Cookies will present a live wrestling match, courtesy of Rocky Mountain Pro Wrestling. The other half? You’ll be hearing from Jeanette Vizguerra and Ingrid Encalada Latorre, two immigrants seeking sanctuary in Denver (Vizguerra was just named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017), and the money collected at the door will benefit people like them, via the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition. Experience both from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue; a suggested donation of $5 to $10 is requested, but no one will be turned away. And, yes, there will be cookies. Learn more and register in advance at warmcookiesoftherevolution.org.
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