| Lists |

The 21 Best Events in Denver, September 12-18

X Alfonso at Havana Nights, which caps the Biennial of the Americas.
X Alfonso at Havana Nights, which caps the Biennial of the Americas.
Courtesy Visit Denver

Start your engines: You're going to need to move fast to get to all the big events in Denver this week.The seventh edition of CRUSH kicked off on Monday, September 11, in RiNo, where it will continue through September 17; the Biennial of the Americas revs up on Tuesday, September 12, and ends with a great free party celebrating Havana. And in between? There's plenty more to do; keep reading for the 21 best events this week.

Tuesday, September 12

A celebration of the Western Hemisphere, the Biennial of the Americas is back as a series of symposia and speakers with a civic-minded bent, cultural events and satellite art exhibits, and will present leaders from more than twenty countries around the Americas. Because it’s still a beast to navigate, this year’s Biennial, which runs Tuesday, September 12, through Saturday, September 16, has been divided into tracks and packages to suit your personal interests and time constraints, including a daily Lunch and Learn series. Or if you’re seeking culture, look no further than MCA Denver, which will host an opening for Saber Acomodar: Art and Workshops of Jalisco 1915-Now from 6 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, or party down at Havana Nights, a two-night warehouse bash of Cuban music, dance and art on the evenings of September 15 and 16. Explore your 2017 Biennial options and chart your course at biennialoftheamericas.org.

Gayla Lemke, "Hope Stones."
Gayla Lemke, "Hope Stones."
Courtesy of Arvada Center

Get ready for a mind-blowing ride: Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design’s Visiting Artist, Scholar and Designer Program Series begins a new season on the twisted theme of “Collapsing Time.” First up on the roster is innovative Los Angeles artist David Horvitz, whose work often crosses boundaries in the virtual world. His lecture,“Nautical Dusk,” will touch on the idea of the “alternative minute” and his works "Distance of a Day" and "Evidence of a Time Traveler," both of which traverse time zones and skew our perceptions of the here and now. Trip through time with Horvitz at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 12, in the Mary Harris Auditorium at RMCAD, 1600 Pierce Street in Lakewood. Admission is free, but an RSVP is required at vasd.rmcad.edu.

Marijuana Deals Near You

Wednesday, September 13

Twenty years after Colorado’s Jim Fergus published the award-winning One Thousand White Women, a novel based on the Grant administration’s actual Brides for Indians program, which proposed taming the West by marrying off the country’s excess white women to tribal members, Fergus is releasing a sequel, The Vengeance of Mothers. Booklist calls it “a history lesson infused with both sadness against the violence perpetuated against the Cheyenne and awe at the endurance of this remarkable group of women.” At 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, Fergus will be at the Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, for a reading from the journals of Margaret Kelly and Molly McGill, and to sign and discuss his new book (turns out it’s the second in what will be a trilogy). Admission is free; find out more at tatteredcover.com.

The DocuWest Film Festival returns this year in a new home: the Alamo Drafthouse in Sloan’s Lake. The location may have changed, but the fest’s focus — to captivate audiences through engaging documentaries — remains. The five-day festival kicks off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13, with a free one-hour preview of The Vietnam War, a new eighteen-hour documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the “epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film.” A panel discussion on healing from PTSD will follow. Find more information and a full festival lineup at docuwestfest.com.

Bring your paddle to Ping Pong on the Plaza.EXPAND
Bring your paddle to Ping Pong on the Plaza.
Doors Open Denver

Thursday, September 14

Perpetually bustling with travelers, shoppers and diners, Union Station’s Wynkoop Plaza, 1701 Wynkoop Street, has become a welcome mat for all of Denver, a destination even for people who don’t have a train to catch. A key element of its success is an events calendar packed with diversions, including Ping Pong on the Plaza on Thursday, September 14. Doors open at 3 p.m. and the party runs until 8 p.m.; the tournament starts at 5:30 for teams of up to four players (two active and two alternates) vying for the title of Wynkoop Plaza Champion in an elimination-style contest. There will be craft beverages and appetizers along with live music and a costume contest complementing the tableside action. Team entry is $150, individual tickets are $40, and $100 gets you VIP access. Proceeds benefit the IMA Foundation, which helps nonprofit organizations improve their communities. Visit imafg.com/PingPong to learn more and register.

War never seems to go out of business; while we fret over the threat of increased conflicts in North Korea and Afghanistan, images of earlier conflicts stick with us, whether presented in such great paintings as Goya’s “The Third of May” and Picasso’s “Guernica” or in the powerful photography of Robert Capa, Margaret Bourke-White, Sebastião Salgado and countless others. Two timely new exhibits — a large group show, Art and Conflict, with views of war by Colorado artists, and a vintage propaganda/poster show, The Great War: Visions of a World Conflict — both open with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 14, at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard. The exhibits will be there through November 12; the center will host an artist meet-and-greet and lecture on war-inspired art through history on Saturday, October 28. All events are free; learn more at arvadacenter.org.

Phantom Circus gets a leg up on the competition.
Phantom Circus gets a leg up on the competition.
Courtesy Phantom Circus LLC

The acrobatic arts will get twisted both on and above the stage of the Oriental Theater when Denver-based Phantom Circus opens its second season with a bevy of aerialists, acrobats, hoopers, hand-balancers and belly dancers. And at this circus, with the advance purchase of a drink ticket at the bar, you can even get an intermission libation poured by an upside-down chandelier aerialist. The nevertheless family-friendly extravaganza runs from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, September 14. Tickets start at $12 and $25 in advance at theorientaltheater.com and rise to $15 and $30 at the door of the Oriental, 4335 West 44th Avenue; a $50 VIP option, also available online, includes reserved seating, goodie bags and other perks. Learn
more at phantomcircus.com.

Regan Rosburg hopped onto the Biennial of the Americas bandwagon to curate Axis Mundi: Environmental Melancholia, Collective Social Mania, and Biophilia, an expansion of the artist’s own previous ecological-statement works and a multi-leveled satellite event in itself. Axis Mundi kicks off with a screening of Albatross, a film by Chris Jordan that meticulously examines the grim life and death of birds on Midway Atoll in the Pacific, at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 14, at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Then the three-part Axis Mundi show opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, September 16, in a trio of Curtis Park locations — PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street; the Olympic Building, 2565 Curtis Street; and the Land Library, 2612 Champa Street — where the works will be displayed through October 7. All events are free, but advance reservations for the film are required at eventbrite.com. For more information, visit axismundiartistsrespond.wordpress.com.

Friday, September 15

The Greenway Foundation is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the South Platte River and its tributaries. One of the foundation’s major fundraisers, the annual Noble Energy Gala on the Bridge, will take over the 19th Street Pedestrian Bridge at 19th and Platte streets on Thursday, September 14. While the gala is sold out, there’s a follow-up party on the bridge that promises even more fun: On Friday, September 15, you can join the Blue Moon After Party on the Bridge from 6 to 11 p.m. For $90 (or $100 at the entrance), you’ll enjoy cocktails, live music, a silent disco and food from Fogo de Chão along with several food trucks, all while the Platte rushes beneath your feet. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit thegreenway foundation.org.

At ten years and counting, India’s ZEE Jaipur Festival bills itself as the world’s largest free literature festival, and it has inspired offshoots around the world, including one in Boulder that launched in 2015. The 2017 edition runs from Friday, September 15, through Sunday, September 17, at the Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue; the lineup includes Suki Kim, who has written about going undercover in North Korea; Boston Globe Spotlight team member Michael Rezendes, who will speak about the changing landscape for journalists; and Vikas Swarup, author of the novel Slumdog Millionaire. As at the original festival, all programs are free; for more information and to register, go to jaipurliteraturefestival.org/boulder/program.

Michael Cera is the focus of a Very Cera September.EXPAND
Michael Cera is the focus of a Very Cera September.

Boedecker Theater’s Friday Night Weird film screenings returned this month with a Very Cera September, a series dedicated to that wispy icon of millennial awkwardness, actor Michael Cera. Over the course of five films, cineastes will sample every era of Cera, from his star-making comedic turns to some of the most decidedly outré titles in his filmography. The month-long affair continues at 8:45 p.m. Friday, September 15, with the Boedecker premiere of the absurd 2017 indie comedy Lemon, in which Cera plays against type as an arrogantly twee student in leading man Brett Gelman’s Chekhov class; there are additional showings at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 16, and 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 17. The Cera series continues with a screening of Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus on September 22 and Youth in Revolt on September 29. Get tickets, $8 to $11, and information at tickets.thedairy.org.

Now in its fifth year, the Americas Latino Eco Festival will pack a powerful punch in its 2017 iteration, bringing together Latin-American thinkers and artists for three days of events and presentations, from an environmental film series to a U.S. Forest Service-led interactive bioblitz for fourth-graders. The fest also includes a green expo, a Colorado River summit, family-day performances and planetarium shows. ALEF runs Friday, September 15, through Sunday, September 17, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard; event admission ranges from free to $120. For more information and tickets, visit americaslatinoecofestival.org.

Though travel by Americans to Cuba isn’t impossible, the Communist island still bears the stigma of forbidden fruit. But now the allure of new Havana — its emerging music, dance, art and culture — is coming to Denver, at least for a weekend, thanks to the Biennial of the Americas’ Havana Nights. Cuban hip-hop musician X Alfonso, founder and curator of the Fábrica de Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory), a hip multi-disciplinary warehouse space in Havana’s primary arts and entertainment district, will headline a concert that includes salsa sensation Issac Delgado, the Acosta Danza dance company and more live music; food trucks will keep the audience fueled. The party starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 15, and repeats at the same time Saturday, September 16, at Denver Rock Drill, a mixed-use redevelopment site at 1717 East 39th Avenue in the Cole neighborhood. Admission is free; register in advance at eventbrite.com.

The Bug packs twenty years of fun into one night.
The Bug packs twenty years of fun into one night.
Courtesy of the Bug

Saturday, September 16

Coloradans love few things more than they do beer, hiking and dogs. The smart folks at the Denver Dumb Friends League know this, and they’re combining all three for Wag ’n Trail, a fundraiser for homeless pets at the League’s Buddy Center location in Castle Rock, from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, September 16, at the Glendale Farm Open Space (Interstate 25 and Surrey Ridge). Make sure your hound is walk-ready and head off on a 1.6-mile hike along a route that will include a beer garden, vendors, food trucks, music and adoptable pets; four-legged guests will also have access to a five-acre off-leash dog park before and after the festivities. Registration is $50 and includes a downloadable photo of you and your dog, a frame, a bag of dog treats — and some treats for you, too. For registration and more information, visit ddfl.org or call 303-751-5772.

While many Denver residents head to Baker for its thriving bars, restaurants, boutiques and galleries, the neighborhood’s true charm lies off the main thoroughfares and on side streets lined by stately Queen Anne homes. Built in a colorful Victorian style distinguished by its ornate woodwork, fanciful turrets and inviting balconies, these living relics of a bygone ere have been protected since 1985, when Baker was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now the Historic Baker Neighborhood Home Tour invites you to see the wonders that await inside a curated selection of distinctive homes in the area, including Queen Annes as well as fine examples from other architectural periods, such as a mid-century modern library and a neo-Gothic schoolhouse. The tour runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 16, and tickets are $20 to $25; visit bakerhometour.com to learn more.

Hot times in Westwood.
Hot times in Westwood.
Wendy Nakajima

Cinco de Mayo may be a fun time to party, but it’s not Mexico’s Fourth of July. That holiday falls on September 16, when Mexican Independence Day is celebrated in Latino-loving communities everywhere, including west Denver. This year’s Westwood Chile Fest will boast a “Día y Noche” (Day and Night) theme, reflected in family-friendly carnival games, farmers’ and arts-and-crafts markets, chile roasting, cultural performances, mural painting and contests during the day, and more adult fun, like dancing to live music and imbibing in the beer tent, at night. And you won’t go hungry: Food trucks will be dishing up tacos and more at the fest, which runs from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, September 16, at Re:Vision, 3738 Morrison Road in the Westwood neighborhood. Admission is free; get more information at bucuwestchilefest.com.

Here’s an event you’ll want to add to your calendar right meow: Caturday Night Fever! On Saturday, September 16, the Denver Zoo is rounding up a pride of food trucks to serve dinner to feline-loving visitors from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Admission to the Food Truck Safari (as the cool cats are calling it) runs $25 per adult (sorry, no cubs or infants at this one), which includes one free pour of Great Divide beer. Proceeds from the party will go toward the care and conservation of lions, tigers and fishing cats, so sharpen your fangs and claws and get ready to dig into some delicious grub. The zoo is located at 2300 Steele Street; get your tickets online at denverzoo.org.

A dash of spit and grit has gotten Denver’s tenacious Bug Theatre through more than twenty years at its home at 3654 Navajo Street, which started out in 1912 as a neighborhood nickelodeon. For the past two decades, offbeat performing-arts showcases like Freak Train, the Emerging Filmmakers Project, Equinox Theatre Company and the Grawlix have filled the Bug’s calendar with a steady feed of variety, theater and comedy shows. But all that activity creates wear and tear, and the venue can always use a few more structural and interior improvements, like the new surround-sound system and film screen. The Bug’s Best will raise funds while providing plenty of fun on Saturday, September 16, with performances by returning Grawlix superstars Adam Cayton-Holland and Andrew Orvedahl, among others; Freak Train’s GerRee Hinshaw will serve as master of ceremonies. The party starts at 6 p.m. with drinks and food, followed by the show at 7:30. Tickets are $25 in advance at bugtheatre.info or $30 at the door.

Sunday, September 17

The road to body acceptance can be rough, often blocked by outdated standards of fashion as well as societal pressures. Local performer and playwright Inspirational Eve wants to smooth the way with her newest piece, Body Logs: A New Conversation on Body Acceptance. Over the past four months, Eve has worked with a half-dozen women to re-frame their self-image and learn to love who they see in the mirror. Now, in a series of six monologues that range from hilarious to heartbreaking, she tells their tales, inspiring those in the audience to recognize their own beauty. Body Logs premieres at 7 p.m. Sunday, September 17, at the Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street, with additional performances at the same time and place on Monday, September 18, and Tuesday, September 19. Tickets are $25, and 20 percent of the proceeds will go to SafeHouse Denver; get yours at clocktowercabaret.com.

Take the plunge at the Unseen Festival.
Take the plunge at the Unseen Festival.
Courtesy Unseen Festival

Monday, September 18

There’s a wealth of film you’ll never find on Netflix or at your neighborhood multiplex. But you’ll catch at least some of it at the Unseen Festival, a collaboration of OFF Cinema and Counterpath that pairs experimental film and literary readings during two weeks of nightly programs through Sunday, October 1. Special guests during that stretch include Chicago filmmaker Amir George, who’ll bring a full program of his own work as well as his touring Black Radical Imagination short-film series to Denver on Friday, September 22, and Thursday, September 28; other programs focus on silent films, emerging filmmakers, music and visuals, and more. The fest starts with a fundraiser from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Monday, September 18, with guest readers Stephen Graham Jones and Edwin Torres, a screening of festival picks and a spread of eats. All events are at Counterpath, 7935 East 14th Avenue; admission to individual screenings is $7, or purchase a full-access pass for $70. Tickets to the benefit are $30 or pay-what-you-can for students. For information, visit counterpathpress.org.

Chef/restaurateur Troy Guard (owner of TAG, Los Chingones and Mister Tuna, to name a few) has been a key player in Taste of the NFL for several years, as well as the force behind Taste of the Broncos. Now in its third year, this winning celebration of Denver restaurants will take place on Monday, September 18, at Sports Authority Field, 1701 Bryant Street. You’ll sample bites from thirty restaurants while Broncos cheerleaders, past and current players, and even Miles the Mascot serve as sous-chefs and mingle with the crowd. The event is a benefit for Food Bank of the Rockies, and general admission tickets ($100 each) will get you in the gate at 7 p.m. for food and drink; early-bird admission ($150) will grant you entry at 6:30; and a VIP pass ($300) will open the doors to a pre-event happy hour at 5:30 in the Broncos locker room, followed by access to the main event at 6 p.m. Get your tickets at ticketmaster.com.

Interested in still more events? See our Calendar.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.