As your allergies keep reminding you, spring is in full swing in Denver, which also kicks off event season. This week, get to know lowrider culture at Museo de las Americas, find gifts for loved ones at the Horseshoe Market, make tortillas for a good cause or catch a comedy or art show. It's all in the 21 best events of the week!
Tuesday, May 8
Between climate change, the threat of nuclear war and capitalism’s inequities, the future’s looking pretty bleak for the next generation. What’s the solution? Resistance, argue Noam Chomsky and legendary Alternative Radio host and progressive interviewer extraordinaire David Barsamian in their new book, Global Discontents. Barsamian will be speaking about the book he co-authored with the famed linguist and dean of anarchism (and frequent guest on Barsamian's show), how to resist the Trump administration, the cozy relationship between media and propaganda, and other topics at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. For more information about this free event, go to alternativeradio.org.
Wednesday, May 9
Alan Cumming, star of stage and both the big and little screens (and currently appearing as a gay detective in the new CBS series Instinct), turns out to be an erudite fellow who can carry a tune. Hear for yourself and learn about Cumming’s experiences as a Scotsman living in America along the way when the actor brings his stage show An Evening With Alan Cumming: Legal Immigrant to town for a night of storytelling and old-fashioned cabaret that includes a mixed bag of musical numbers from across history and genre. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry: See Legal Immigrant on Wednesday, May 9, at 8 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place; get information and tickets, $39.50 to $79.50, at altitudetickets.com.
The local short-film project All Mixed Up: Our Changing Racial Identities got its start when filmmaker Rebekah Henderson, who had always identified as black, began to look more critically at her mixed-race origins and seek out testimonies from others. With fellow filmmaker Trish Tolentino, she went on to formally capture new perspectives on the multiracial identity and turned those interviews into a film. All Mixed Up premieres on Wednesday, May 9, at 7 p.m. at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, in part as a tribute to the late Dr. Gregory Diggs, whose input helped spark the project a year ago. The filmmakers and some of their interviewees will be there in person for a post-screening discussion. Tickets are $15 in advance at eventbrite.com. Learn more about All Mixed Up at mixedupusa.com.
Thursday, May 10
Because they depend on the unexpected, you never know what you’re going to get when you walk into a performance-art venue. But pure in-the-moment is what you'll find when fine artist Drew Austin and composer Nathan Hall collaborate for Contact, a two-night event that pairs Austin’s live mural painting, facilitated by three nude male models, with the sounds Hall will make by mixing and remixing sonic reverberations from the performance. Austin describes Contact this way on Facebook: “We use the male form as a means to make marks, and mark-making as a means to make music.” Bet you’ve never seen that before. You can observe the action at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10, or Friday, May 11, at the nondescript building at 580 Gilpin Street; admission is $15 in advance at eventbrite.com or $18 at the door (seating is limited). Learn more at the event's Facebook page; search for Contact: A Visual/Sonic Live Performance.
The Harm Reduction Action Center has been doing good every day for fifteen years through its needle-exchange program and other services for drug users on the street — without judgment. Now HRAC is asking for the community to give back some of the good. The Harm Reduction Action Center Sweet 16 anniversary fundraiser promises information, food and an open bar for your buck. Get down with HRAC on Thursday, May 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street. Hobnobbing with other do-gooders will only set you back $20 at eventbrite.com. Find more information on the Harm Reduction Action Center Facebook page.
An experiential mentorship program dedicated to nurturing aspiring filmmakers, Project DU FILM unites University of Denver students, alumni and faculty from the Media, Film and Journalism program with the goal of fostering locally made films from script to screen. Share in the creative triumph as Project DU FILM-affiliated screenwriter Marteene Diaz and screenwriter/producer Dr. Sheila E. Schroeder convene at the Landmark Mayan Theater, 110 Broadway, on Thursday, May 10, for a 6 p.m. screening of their short comedy Scary Lucy. Inspired by the true story of a particularly unflattering statue of Lucille Ball — and the hubbub its installation caused — the film stars local standups Christie Buchele and Janae Burris, aka the Pussy Bros., who will perform at the premiere following a post-screening talkback led by Schroeder. Admission is free; find more information and register for the screening at the Project DU FILM Facebook page.
Friday, May 11
The exhibit Pachucos y Sirenas, on view through May 26 at the Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, comes packed with related programming that celebrates different facets of old-school Latino culture. On Friday, May 11, from 6 to 8 p.m., delve into lowriders — exemplified by those low-to-the-road autos decked out with fancy paint jobs and bouncy hydraulics that grew out of the 1940s Pachuco culture — at Lentamente Suavecito: Lowrider History and Hydraulic Demonstration. Hosted by local car club Compas Colorado, the lowrider demo is included in the Museo admission fee of $3 to $5 (free for members and children under three). Learn more at museo.org.
As if you needed another reason to visit the beautiful Terminal Bar patio this summer, the Denver Union Station Summer Concert Series returns at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 11, with a performance by local funk/soul/disco group SuperMagick. There's no cover charge, so you can spend what you saved on snacks and Colorado craft beers. And if you don't get your fill in May, come back for the concerts slated each month through September. Find the lineup and more information at unionstationdenver.com.
The nonprofit Clínica Tepeyac has provided health-care services and education for underserved communities in north Denver since 1995. But with longevity comes the need for growth and, therefore, constant fundraising. The annual Tortillas for Tepeyac luncheon event — which connects professionals and community celebrities with their roots as they don aprons and attempt to roll the most tortillas for the Golden Rolling Pin Award — is an entertaining means to that end: raising funds toward improvements and, eventually, a new facility. Eat well, browse a mercado and witness the tortilla match of the year on Friday, May 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street; tickets start at $50 at clinicatepeyac.org.
What mother doesn’t like chocolate? If you’re looking for a sweet way to treat Mom on Mother’s Day weekend, look no further than the eleventh annual Colorado Chocolate Festival, a to-die-for expo that routinely causes grown people to cry with happiness while diving into a chocolate bonanza. It all starts on Friday, May 11, from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue, with a preview party offering live entertainment, a happy-hour program pairing beer and wine with chocolate, and a chance to win a $10 Golden Ticket, good at any vendor booth. The fun continues on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with pudding-eating contests, free cake for moms at 11 a.m., Andrew Novick’s "Chocolate-covered WHAAAATT?” event, chocolate-makers’ competitions judged by everyday people, and an endless sampling and shopping experience on the floor. Admission is $5 (kids ages four and under admitted free), and tasting tickets will set you back $10 per dozen. Learn more at cochocolatefests.com.
Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 21" is so indelibly associated with Swedish filmmaker Bo Widerburg's doomed romance Elvira Madigan that the piece is still known as "The Elvira Madigan Concerto" more than fifty years after the film's release. The andante section of the concerto was earworm-y enough to inspire Neil Diamond's "Song Sung Blue." Hear it for yourself this weekend at Boettcher Concert Hall, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; conductor Ken-David Masur, pianist Orion Weiss, soprano Jessica Rivera and the Colorado Symphony Chorus will perform a rousing program that will also include the jubilant overture from Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro," Gabriel Fauré's "Pavane, Op. 50" and Francis Poulenc's "Gloria." Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12, with a 1 p.m. matinee on Sunday, May 13. Visit the Colorado Symphony box-office page for tickets, $10 to $99, and more information.
Virtual reality might be the last frontier in visual multimedia, the domain of Ethan Bach’s Denver-based Alt Ethos VR exhibit design group and its Denver Arts + Technology Advancement educational wing. As part of its mission, DATA annually awards residencies to promising artists in the field, and will unveil this year’s resident works at the MORPHOS Digital Dome Art Show at the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater, 408 Mason Court in Fort Collins. The two-night affair comes in two tiers — a Friday-night VIP experience with perks and extra programming on May 11 for $45, and a general admission show on Saturday, May 12, for $20. Both events include work by Meow Wolf-sponsored artist Elise Simard and Alt Ethos-sponsored artist Huang Wei-Hsuan, along with an international showcase of 360° immersive video art. Leave the flat world behind: Find details and tickets at eventbrite.com.
Saturday, May 12
If Mom speaks Spanish (or not) and keeps a garden, the Mother's Day Garden Bazaar, a fundraiser hosted by Re:Vision at RISE Westwood, 3738 Morrison Road in the Westwood Creative District, is a perfect destination this weekend. Re:Vision, which fights the neighborhood’s food desert by funding community garden projects and the Westwood Food Co-op, will offer a garden-plant sale with family activities courtesy of the Museo de las Americas, food vendors, cooking demos, free all-ages yoga classes and more on Saturday, May 12, and Sunday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. It takes a village to make your garden grow — and vice-versa. Get more information at revision.coop/events/gardenbazaar.
It's easy to see why east Washington Park, with its stately historic homes, inviting green stretches and charming cafes, is among Denver's most desirable neighborhoods for residents and visitors alike. For twenty years, the Steele Elementary PTA has given visitors a glimpse into the area's glamorous homes during the Washington Park Home Tour, which returns to celebrate its platinum anniversary on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The five historic homes on view range from a historic Tudor-style charmer to a bold modern design with a waterfall in the living room. And lest you feel guilty for ogling all this real estate porn, the organizers are donating 10 percent of the proceeds to the Denver Public Schools Homeless Education Network. Visit washparkhometour.org to get tickets, $20, and more details.
CANCELLED BECAUSE OF WEATHER FORECAST: You’ll get fire in your eyes and in your belly at Sparks & Spirits in Lafayette, an after-dark maker-fest that focuses on local distillers and demos by crafty artists. Sparks will include performances with fire, light and sound by the Machine Lab of Fort Collins, Denver’s revived Motoman Project and multimedia installationist David Fodel. More than ten Colorado distilleries will also be at the event to consort with the public and offer tastes, all to raise funds for the nonprofit Making Progress. The fun gets under way on Saturday, May 12, from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the Arts Hub, 420 Courtney Way in Lafayette. Tickets range from $30 to $50; receive $15 off the door price when you pre-purchase them using the promo code SS2018 at makingprogresscolorado.org.
Join Habitat Denver and more than thirty breweries at Great Divide Brewing's event space, 3403 Brighton Boulevard, on Saturday, May 12, for the 2018 edition of Hops for Homes, a craft-beer festival that "brings the collaborative spirit of the craft-brewery community together to craft a home and build hope for a local family in need. Tickets — $40 for GA and $50 for VIP — include unlimited pours, a specialty tasting glass, games, a live DJ and raffles. Food trucks will include Basic Kneads Pizza, Farmer Joe's Food Truck and Catering, Mile High Cajun Food Truck and Trubucha. For tickets and a full list of participating breweries, go to habitatmetrodenver.org. The fest runs from 1 to 4 p.m. (VIPs get in at noon).
If you’re a flea fan, going to the Horseshoe Market is like going home. You always know it’s going to be great, with well-curated vendors and every detail looked after, just as it’s been for the past eight years. The Horseshoe returns to the Berkeley neighborhood with its first market of 2018, bringing along 130 prime vendors including forty newcomers, like ice cream sandwich mavens Sprinkle Me Smitten, Modern Cherokee Jewelry and Dear Zoo, a local company that turns rock stars like Joey Ramone and Ozzy Osbourne into animal characters on children’s T-shirts. Eat, shop, dance to live music and get your picture taken in the free Picture Me Camping photo booth on Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the corner of 46th Avenue and Tennyson Street. Admission is free, so you'll have more money to eat and shop with; learn more at horseshoemarket.com.
MCA Denver, known for its approachable youth outreach programs, will treat the millennial crowd to a fest of its own with the return of the MCA Fem Fest, an all-ages party with a focus on women-run bands and the DIY ethos. Along with headlining band the Red Aunts from Long Beach, you’ll get a full afternoon and evening of live music outdoors, along with hands-on workshops (tampon-crafting, anyone?), comedian-led museum tours, tarot readings, photo-booth fun and more on Saturday, May 12, from 2 to 10 p.m. at the MCA, 1485 Delgany Street. Admission is $5 for attendees ages eighteen and under, $20 to $25 for everyone else; reserve a spot and learn more at mcadenver.org.
Grease your reels for the Bear Creek Lake Park Trout Fishing Tournament, happening this year on Saturday, May 12, at the park, 15600 West Morrison Road in Lakewood. The two-person-team tournament will reward the fattest rainbow or brown trout caught either on a boat or from the shore with cash prizes. Check-in begins at 5:30 a.m. and the tournament ends at 2 p.m., which gives you plenty of time to brag about your "big catch" with friends at dinner. The $60 fee to participate covers the park entrance fee; find more information and register at lakewood.org/fishingtournament.
Beautiful mountains and quality cannabis are high on the list of Colorado's finest resources, and both become more prevalent in our lives over the weekend — so why not combine the two? CannaVenture, a pot-infused hiking group that travels around the state, will hold its next heady hike on Saturday, May 12, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Mount Sanitas and Sanitas Valley Loop Trail, a 3.2-mile trail in Boulder known for its wildflowers. The hiking group (21+) is free to join, with consumption optional and at your own risk. Find more information and RSVP at CannaVenture's Facebook page.
Sunday, May 13
American Indian art might have begun with pottery and beadwork, but like everything on the planet, it’s come a long way to reach the 21st century. In the modern world, contemporary artist Jeffrey Gibson, of Choctaw and Cherokee lineage, incorporates traditional materials — rawhide, tipi poles, sterling silver, wool blankets, metal cones, beads, fringe and sinew — into sophisticated statement works that run a gamut of mediums, from sculpture and painting to video installation. Take a socio-historical journey through Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer, the artist's first major museum exhibit, when it opens on Sunday, May 13, in the Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. The show runs through August 12 and is included in the regular museum admission of $8 to $13. Pre-purchase museum tickets and learn more at denverartmuseum.org.
Monday, May 14
It seems like every restaurant in Denver has a charcuterie board on its menu — and for good reason. The small bites of cheese, meat and just about anything in the world that you could pair with the two are perfect in every way. Learn how to match beer with your favorite cheese and other charcuterie delights at Alpine Dog Brewing Co.'s pairing event, supplied with fromage from the formidable Truffle Cheese Shop, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, May 14, at the brewery, 1505 Ogden Street. The $20 ticket gets you four beers and combos of four cheeses and charcuterie, with additional goodies available to purchase à la carte. Find tickets by searching for Alpine Dog Brewing Co. at eventbrite.com.
For your event to be considered for 21 Best/Night & Day, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org three weeks before the date of the event.
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