Although the weather's still uncertain as April merges into May, Denver's cultural calendar is definitely blooming, with interesting entertainment opportunities all over town. Keep reading for the 21 best things to do in the seven days ahead.
Monday, April 29
Work Options for Women is cooking up its fifteenth annual Women Cook benefit on Monday, April 29, at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street. The nonprofit offers free training for women who’ve had difficulty entering the workforce, in programs ranging from four weeks to two years in length; supporting its efforts at this event are some of the biggest female names in the food-service industry, from Dana Rodriguez (Super Mega Bien, Work & Class) to Caroline Glover (Annette), Carrie Baird (Bar Dough), Sheila Lucero (Jax Fish House), and Cindhura Reddy and Austin Nickel (Spuntino). The feast begins at 6 p.m.; get tickets, $125, at workoptions.org.
Tuesday, April 30
The Wright, a three-day summit and awards program celebrating the industry and culture of the outdoors, returns to multiple locations in Golden (“Where the West Lives”) April 30 through May 2, with panel discussions and special events that conclude with the eighth annual awards celebration, recognizing thirteen outdoor-inspired entrepreneurs from the Rocky Mountain region. Marianne Martin, first American winner of the Tour de France, gets the series in gear with a talk titled “Blazing a Trail From the Bike to the Boardroom” at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 30, at the American Mountaineering Center, 710 Tenth Street in Golden. Get the complete schedule and tickets to various events (free to $95) at somethingindependent.com.
Wednesday, May 1
The Spice & Tea Exchange in Idaho Springs is celebrating its third anniversary, and on Wednesday, May 1, will kick off a one-week celebration with live music, in-store specials, promotions and food samples during Wellness Wednesday and a Salute to Locals. Ten percent of all sales on this first day will go to Scraps to Soil, the town’s community compost program and community garden, The store is located at 1634 Miner Street; find out more at 303-993-8018 or spiceandtea.com.
A nice meal for you could turn into a lifesaving meal for someone in need. During Dining Out For Life, participating Denver restaurants donate 25 percent of their sales (sometimes food, sometimes both food and drink) to Project Angel Heart, which provides medically tailored meals for Coloradans living with serious and chronic illnesses. Thursday, May 2, marks the 25th year of the fundraiser, and more than 250 eateries will be participating. Visit diningoutforlife.com for a complete list of restaurants donating to the cause — or to sign up your own eatery to join the effort. Then make reservations at your favorite spot; one meal is all it takes to make a difference, though some eateries will be participating morning, noon and night. Eat up!
Take the comedy train to Trinidad, where the inaugural Southwest Chief Bicycle and Comedy Festival will offer a four-day gauntlet of goofs. A way station for transcontinental travelers since the days of the Santa Fe Trail, the historic mining town has witnessed a return to prosperity — thanks in no small part to the economic boom created by the Green Rush — and is reinvesting its newfound riches in beautification and cultural enrichment, including the town's first comedy festival, founded by erstwhile Sexpot Comedy impresario and recent Trinidad transplant Wally Wallace and the L.A.-based independent film studio Bigtop Studios. Realizing that his new home town's location — roughly equidistant from Los Angeles and Chicago on Amtrak's Southwest Chief line — presented a rare opportunity for comedians from some of the country's best comedy scenes to converge, Wallace booked a rogues' gallery of standups from L.A., Chicago, Denver and Albuquerque, including top-billed headliners Billy Wayne Davis (Conan), Ron Lynch (Bob's Burgers) and David Gborie (who recently became the official voice of Comedy Central). The chuckles start chugging on Thursday, May 2, and continue through Sunday, May 5. For a schedule, tickets ($10 to $30 for individual shows, $120 to $150 for VIP passes) and more information, visit southwestchieffest.com.
For artist/gallerist Niza Knoll, the group exhibition Intolerance: Tales of Loss, Survival and Perseverance, opening this week at her gallery in the Art District on Santa Fe, is personal: The daughter of a family touched by the Holocaust, Knoll was so rocked by the sight of neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville in 2017 that she began to work out her feelings through art-making, and she invited fellow artists to do the same. Intolerance, the physical culmination of a period of active reflection on horrific past events, opens during this year’s Holocaust Days of Remembrance with a reception on Thursday, May 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Niza Knoll Gallery, 915 Santa Fe Drive, and runs through July 13. Find more information on the gallery’s Facebook page.
Multimedia monologuist Mark Rodgers has a shtick for the ages with his one-man spectacle DaVinci & Michelangelo Battle of the Titans, a journey back in time to the Italian Renaissance, as Rodgers channels two of the period’s most memorable figures. The two-hour program, an inspirational visual pageant of artworks, inventions and history brought into the present, shows for one night only: on Thursday, May 2, at 7 p.m. at the Landmark Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway. Find tickets, $20, at discoverdavinci.com.
Button-mashers born in the ’80s have a particularly deep reverence for Square Enix's Final Fantasy saga, arguably the finest series of role-playing games ever committed to code. Aside from the commensurate epic battles, colorful characters and endlessly explorable maps, a key component of the franchise's enduring appeal is its eminently hummable soundtrack of arpeggios and fanfares, mostly arranged by composer Nobuo Uematsu. Conductor Arnie Roth joins the Colorado Symphony for a high-culture tribute to the often-overlooked achievements of video-game scores with Distant Worlds: The Music of Final Fantasy. Celebrate class and nerdery alike when airships of sound dock in Boettcher Concert Hall, which will be equipped with HD video presentations of some of the games' most memorable moments. A handful of tickets remain for the performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2 (the May 3 show is already sold out), so head to coloradosymphony.org with the haste of a Chocobo for tickets, $15 to $89, and further details.
Denver’s punk scene has been in mourning since the April 1 death of 26-year-old Brittany Strummer, a music writer for Punk News, Illegal Pete’s employee and punk superfan who was a constant presence at DIY shows in Denver and at festivals across the country. To memorialize Strummer in the way she would have wanted — by rocking out — punk bands Typesetter, Cheap Perfume and Ersatz Robots (who will be playing their last show) will perform at a free remembrance concert at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at 3 Kings Tavern, 60 South Broadway. For more information, go to 3kingstavern.com.