The spooky season is upon us, with Halloween parties and Day of the Dead celebrations crowding the calendar. But Mother Nature has already shown us a few tricks, and benefits for victims of earthquakes and hurricanes are flooding the town, too. Keep reading for the 21 best events in Denver this week.
Local restaurateur Juan Padro made his mark with burgers at Highland Tap & Burger, but he has roots in Puerto Rico, and the flavors of that country have a way of trickling into his growing restaurant empire. On Tuesday, October 10, that trickle will become a flood when Sloan’s Tap & Burger, 1565 Raleigh Street, Unit 100, hosts Giving Light to Puerto Rico. Working with leaders of the local Puerto Rican community and Third Wave, Giving Light will be serving Puerto Rican food from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. all day — with 100 percent of all sales helping victims of Hurricane Maria, providing solar lanterns to Puerto Rican homes. Find out more about the lanterns at solight-design.com; for more on the fundraiser, go to the event’s Facebook page.
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These days, you’ll often find Off-Center, the pioneering theater program, putting on site-specific shows at off-campus locations. For its latest, The Wild Party, the Hangar at Stanley in Stanley Marketplace will serve as a portal to the past for what the company describes as a 360-degree immersive musical set in the Roaring Twenties. You can begin your audience participation by arriving in period costume (though it’s not required), but it won’t stop there: Some things that happen during the course of the night might include the offering of cocktails, moving around and, well, participating in some degree of staged debauchery. Directed by Amanda Berg Wilson with choreography by Patrick Mueller, The Wild Party opens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 11, at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, and runs through October 31; for dates, times and tickets, starting at $45, visit wildpartydenver.com.
A vital cultural and educational resource, the Community College of Denver’s Confucius Institute, 1030 Saint Francis Way, is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a series of cultural events for the whole community to enjoy. A great way to get in on the festivities is at the Chinese Movie Festival at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 11. Although the programmers have yet to announce what films they’re screening, China has such a rich and vibrant cinematic canon that it would be hard to do any wrong. There will also be a spread of tasty Chinese food, so guests can fill their bellies while enjoying world cinema. Admission is free, but it’s recommended that guests RSVP. Learn more about the Chinese Movie Festival along with all the Confucius Institute’s anniversary celebrations at ccd.edu.
Su Teatro opens its season at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 12, with a 23-year-old play that is as disturbingly relevant today as it was when it premiered in 1994. Director Anthony Garcia created La Carpa Aztlán Presents: I Don’t Speak English Only in response to English-only legislation and police brutality in the early 1990s, and portrays with savage wit a world where any representation of diversity has been criminalized and forced underground. The impending expiration of DACA, an interminable series of executive orders regarding U.S. immigration, and tepid FEMA hurricane-relief efforts in Puerto Rico are just a few recent reminders that diversity is still under attack, so join the fight by supporting this timeless, and very funny, celebration of our differences. The show runs through Saturday, October 28, at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive; see the schedule and get tickets, $17 to $20, at suteatro.org.
Denver filmmaker Michael Lauter, long fascinated by his friend (and Westword MasterMind) Mona Lucero’s work as an independent fashion designer, was moved to make a film about Lucero after shooting some behind-the-scenes footage at the 2016 Urban Nights fashion show. The resulting 22-minute documentary short, Art & Style: Mona Lucero, is now ready to make its entrance — in style — at a film-premiere party that rolls from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 12, at the Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway. Along with the doc, Lauter and Lucero will share extra footage and outtakes and rub elbows with a crowd that’s likely to include many of the beautiful people you’ll also see in the movie. Can’t make the party? The film is scheduled to go online at youtube.com/lauterzeit on October 15. Admission is $10 in advance at eventbrite.com; visit the event’s Facebook page for details. — Susan Froyd
Wear your heart on your sleeve at Thick as Thieves Tattoo, which is hosting a fundraiser for Montview Community Preschool from noon to midnight on Friday, October 13, at the shop’s home at 4610 East Colfax Avenue. A pillar of early education in Park Hill for over fifty years, the preschool has an annual kickball tournament to raise money for scholarships for disadvantaged kids; Montview parent and Thick as Thieves artist/owner Mike Pinto will kick in all proceeds from the day’s tattoo specials, with over 100 designs ranging in price from $13 to $100. While you study the possibilities and wait your turn, enjoy live music from the Fathers, along with a DJ, food and booze (all donation-based) and raffles. Find out more by calling Thick as Thieves at 303-321-8442 or going to the Thick as Thieves website.
If you think the Molly Brown House Museum is just prim, buttoned-up ladies with high necklines and stodgy men sporting monocles, think again. Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 13, the mansion at 1340 Pennsylvania Street will be filled with Victorian Horrors, the museum’s annual tribute to spooky Victorian literature. The event will strike a happy medium between Halloween gore and brightly lit elementary-school festivals as you wander through dimly lit rooms while actors bring to life such tales as “Among the Shadows,” by L.M. Montgomery, and Poe’s “Murder in the Rue Morgue.” Opening night is sold out, but the atmospheric readings continue on Fridays and Saturdays through October 28; tickets, $19, are available at mollybrown.org.
As the folks who run the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys like to remind the public during the spooking season, it’s “an old house filled with dolls. Old dolls. Some of which are clowns.” Consider that an open invitation to clown around when the museum hosts A Journey to the Uncanny Valley, a talk about the creepy-doll phenomenon that’s illustrated with physical examples from the collection. Come in costume if you like, and enjoy this hair-raising experience from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 13, at 1880 Gaylord Street. Tickets are $5 to $7 at eventbrite.com; proceeds go toward finding a new location for the museum, which loses its longtime lease at the Pearce-McAllister cottage at the end of next April. Learn more at dmmdt.org.
Tradition runs deep at the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, where the Day of the Dead has been celebrated since long before Santa Fe Drive became an arts district. Learn the true meaning of the holiday — rooted in Mexico, where families honor the lives of their ancestors with altars and ofrendas (offerings for the dead) — at the venerable gallery’s annual El Día de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life, from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, October 13. Be on time: The party and art exhibit will begin with Aztec dancers at CHAC, 772/774 Santa Fe Drive, then move down the street for a procession before gathering back inside for an evening of face painting, sugar-skull workshops and refreshments. Admission is free; visit chacweb.org for information.
You’re in a cornfield. It’s dark, the city lights are far away, and the dead stalks rustle in the cold wind. You hear a mysterious noise, high-pitched and dissonant. It gets closer...closer...until it’s right behind you and rasps in your ear, “You see, Jason was my son, and today is his birthday.” If this sounds like a perfect fall evening to you, don’t miss the Friday, October 13, installment of Movie on the Field. Friday the 13th (what else?) will show at 6:45 p.m. at the Haunted Field of Screams, 10451 McKay Road in Thornton, and will be followed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre. While the cautionary tale of Camp Crystal Lake (don’t have sex, kids!) is the original from 1980, the Chainsaw in question is, sadly, not Tobe Hooper’s 1974 masterpiece, but the 2003 remake. Still, it should make for a swell night of cinematic carnage. Bring your blanket; the films are free, and food and drinks will be available for purchase. Find more details on the event’s Facebook page.
Everyone’s had those nights when they come home to a nearly empty pantry and try to make something reasonably palatable with half a jar of tomato sauce, a splash of milk, some pickled onions and three stale tortillas. No wonder cold cereal is the entree of choice for so many people. Tod Davies, author of Jam Today: A Diary of Cooking With What You’ve Got and Jam Today Too: The Revolution Will Not Be Catered, addresses the bare-shelf dilemma in her books, which read like a mashup of recipes, essays and memoir. She’ll demonstrate her ability to make the best of a bad (or at least weird) situation at Cooking With What BookBar’s Got on Friday, October 13, at the bookstore, 4280 Tennyson Street. The free event starts at 7 p.m., but get there early and buy a glass of wine: You may need it if the mystery ingredients include canned oysters and vanilla ice cream. Learn more at bookbardenver.com/event.
You get what you pay for at the Dumbest Sh!t I Ever Saw, which is about as much fun as you can have for free. The New York-based “animation anti-festival” asked animators to toss all artful delusions out the window and submit their dumbest footage to this show, just for the self-liberating sake of free speech and no limits; the result was a collection of pretty good if silly shorts. The fest will screen in Denver for the first time ever at 8 p.m. Friday, October 13, at Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway, and local animator Michael Scott will throw in a mini-edition of his Denver Nickel + Dime Animation Extravaganza for the price of, well, nothing. Visit the event’s Facebook page for details.
Ah, the ‘80s. The oil business was booming — at least on Dynasty, the prime-time soap opera that was supposedly set in Denver and gave us catfights on the regular between Joan Collins and Linda Evans while a bemused John Forsythe looked on. A reboot of Dynasty premieres on October 11, and while it’s still not filmed in Denver, you can definitely celebrate the original series when Mile High Hamburger Mary’s throws a Dining With Divas Drag Show at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 13, at 1336 East 17th Avenue. The bash coincides with the DVD release of Dynasty: The Complete Series, and guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite Dynasty character; drag queen performers will be doing the same. The event is free, but reservations are encouraged at milehighmarys.com or 303-993-5812.
If you’ve ever wondered what it means to be a “maker,” you’ll get an answer, in spades, at Maker Faire Denver 2017, a sprawling expo that encompasses every crazy, creative niche in the maker world, where science, tech, craft and art meet. And you don’t have to be a geek to enjoy the show, though it sometimes helps. Just a few of the attractions you’ll encounter are a Fashion Hackers Showcase, cosplay in various categories, workshops, a collaboration with Meow Wolf that includes a live molten-metal pour and yarn fun with the Ladies Fancywork Society, and the SparkFun AVC 2017, a combination of autonomous car and combat-bots competitions. Meet society’s tinkerers, hobbyists and mad scientists from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 14, and Sunday, October 15, at the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue; for a schedule and admission prices and packages, ranging from $12 to $36, go to denvermakerfaire.com.
Confluence Park, nestled on the banks of the South Platte River where it meets Cherry Creek, has been a mess for the past two years, restricting recreation in the area and cutting off bike trails along both waterways. But that’s all over now: Shoemaker Plaza, a renovated promenade with improved river access, is finally ready to be unveiled — after the discovery of coal tar in the riverbank slowed the project and raised its price. Mayor Michael Hancock will preside over the Grand Opening of Shoemaker Plaza, a party with music, food trucks and whitewater recreation demos, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, October 14, at Confluence Park, 2250 15th Street. We have to say, it cleans up real nice; learn more at the Facebook event page.
Get in the Halloween spirit at the Waltzing Shadows Masquerade and Couture Ball, a night filled with dance, decadence and performance art. Attendees are encouraged to dress up, too, in styles ranging from Gothic to Edwardian, Victorian, neo-Victorian, vampire, steampunk, Lolita, burlesque, black tie, carnival, cabaret, Renaissance and fantasy. While a simple black suit or dress will do, T-shirts, jeans, wife beaters, ball caps, sportswear, streetwear and sneakers will not be allowed into the party. The soirée starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, at the Black Box, 314 East 13th Avenue; get tickets, $10 to $15, at blackboxdenver.ticketfly.com.
Do you like the theater but get antsy before intermission? Prefer the great outdoors to great set design? Chautauqua is staging The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure for the theater fan who can’t sit still. As Sherlock Holmes traipses across the moors searching for a devil dog, so will you...sort of. To attend this unique “hiking play,” meet at the Chautauqua Picnic Shelter, 900 Baseline Road in Boulder, at 3 p.m. Saturday, October 14; from there you’ll embark on a two-mile hike on Enchanted Mesa Trail, stopping along the route to watch scenes unfold. The show continues Saturdays and Sundays through October 29, so you have plenty of opportunities to don your deerstalker and get out into the wilderness. Tickets are $20 at chautauqua.com.
Sunday is a day of feasting with family and friends, and there’s no better place to do it than at Feast, Westword’s annual celebration of Denver’s restaurant scene. Join us on Sunday, October 15, for great food, drinks and desserts from dozens of Denver eateries. The fun kicks off at noon (or 11 a.m., if you opt for the VIP package) and runs until 3 p.m. at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. There will be something for everyone, whether you wish to indulge in Thai and Vietnamese specialties, nibble pizza and pasta or satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream and cake. In fact, you can have it all at Feast — one bite at a time. Get more information and tickets for the 21-and-over event at westwordfeast.com.
We are what we collect. At least that’s true in the Retro Con universe, where nostalgia and pop culture entwine, and every toy the adult you ever wished you could play with can once again be yours. Along with toys, Retro Con vendors will hawk everything old that’s new again, from vintage fashions and home decor to classic video games and old LPs. Back all of that with an old-school soundtrack courtesy of DJ Rockstar Aaron, an ’80s fashion show, breakdancing performances, a LEGO play area and retro karaoke, and your day will be made. Get back to the future at Retro Con from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 15, at the Ramada Plaza Denver North, 10 East 120th Avenue in Northglenn; tickets are $6 in advance at denverretrocon.com or $8 at the door (kids under twelve and cosplayers admitted free). Early-bird options are also available; see the Retro Con website for details.
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From pencils to pens, from computers to clay, from LEGOs to G.I. Joes, master animators can breathe life into inanimate objects that rival anything brought to the screen by their flesh-and-blood counterparts. The Denver Animated Pixelshow, one of the most popular film showcases in the Mile High City, returns to the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, with screening blocks at 6 and 8 p.m. on Sunday, October 15. “Denver has a large and vibrant animation community, and this event is a great opportunity to see a diverse selection of the work being produced right here by local artists,” says Eileen Agosta of the Emerging Filmmakers Project, which puts on the show. Get information and tickets at bugtheatre.org.
Eddie Izzard was recognized early on for his energetic performances and colorful drag wardrobe. Though he generally sticks to impeccably tailored menswear these days, Izzard’s digressive monologues remain as engaging as ever. And he’s never been more revealing than he is on his current tour in support of his new book, Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens. Izzard will be in town at 8 p.m. Monday, October 16, with a standup performance that includes private photos, personal stories and even a question-and-answer session with the audience at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place. Tickets are $45 to $60 at Altitude Tickets, but fair warning: They’re going fast.
For still more events around town, see the Westword calendar.