If you haven't found the perfect Halloween costume, it's not too late. Nor is it too late to pack your events calendar with festive happenings that'll get you in the mood for some spook and fright. Find everything, from a Halloween parade to a celebration of all things creepy-crawly, in this week's 21 Best Events list in Denver.
Tuesday, October 17
If you’ve ever wondered how an oboe works, what it takes to get a day job with an orchestra, whether musicians actually care what the conductor is doing with his wand, or what the difference is between a symphony and an orchestra, REMIX: Young Professionals of the Colorado Symphony will answer your questions at REMIX Presents: Symphony 101. Gather at WeWork LoHi, 2420 17th Street, for drinks and snacks at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 17; the program follows at 7 p.m. Admission is free for REMIX members and $10 for everyone else; find out more at facebook.com/remixcolorado.
History Colorado’s Tiny Library Concert series returns for a third season on Tuesday, October 17, in the Stephen H. Hart Library & Research Center, where listeners will be surrounded by books and treasures from the museum’s collections. The performances start at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 17, with the gypsy-jazz-meets-bluegrass sounds of nationally renowned string band Taarka, and continue Tuesdays through the holidays. History Colorado is located at 1200 Broadway; reserve your tickets, $13 ($10 members), at 303-866-2394 or historycolorado.org.
Wednesday, October 18
At Christmas time, homeowners line their streets with glowing lights so that Jesus can find his way through the suburbs. But luminaria aren’t just for Christmas; the Denver Botanic Gardens will put the decorations to good use throughout the Halloween season at Glow at the Gardens, where they’ll line the pathways at night, leading visitors to massive pumpkin displays. The season starts at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 18, with a DJ, “Thriller” dance lessons, live music and storytelling, pumpkin carving, face painting, costume contests, scavenger hunts, crafts and more; the festivities will continue Wednesdays and Thursdays through October 26 at the Gardens, 1007 York Street. Tickets are $10 to $16; for more information, go to botanicgardens.org.
Thursday, October 19
We all have to grow up, but as adults, we’re still fascinated by — and terrified of — nature’s creepy crawlers and winged nighttime marauders that intrigued us as kids. At this month’s installment of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s grownups-only Science Lounge, Bloodcurdling Beasts, be prepared to revisit some of those nightmarish nemeses during a presentation sure to raise the hair on your neck. Luckily, there will be very adult drinks at the cash bar. The Science Lounge opens at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 19, at the DMNS, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, and given the theme and time of year, costumes are encouraged. Admission is $13 to $15; learn more and book a spot at dmns.org.
Improv comedy gets props not just for being funny and unpredictable, but also for its role as a corporate community-builder that encourages folks to act out and drop inhibitions on stage. The Groupmind Foundation’s Denver Improv Festival wraps all of that into three days of workshops and performances, starting Thursday, October 19, and ending at 9 p.m. Saturday, October 21, with the Big Show, with headliners Beth Melewski, Amanda Blake Davis, Susan Messing and Rachael Mason at the Jones Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Throughout the fest, a host of local, national and high school improv teams will perform at the Jones; Bovine Metropolis Theater, 1527 Champa Street; and Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, 1260 22nd Street. For tickets and a complete schedule, visit denverimprovfestival.com.
If a singles night in a clubby lounge — with some art and culture mixed in to keep your mind as busy as your heart — sounds like a good way to spend a Thursday evening, The Release might be the right groove for you. Billed as a creative mixer, this month’s event includes a live interview with Denver poet/activist Theo Wilson by CPT12’s Emmy-winning producer Gabrielle Bryant, a hands-on Taste & Paint session with artist Marley Boling, and tunes by DJ Nubran, all pulled together by smooth-as-silk host Brandon Bruce at the mic. Have fun and meet new people beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 19, at the Living Room, 1055 Broadway; the event is open-entry, but participating in the Taste & Paint will run you $20. Food and drink will be available for purchase, too. Visit The Release w/Theo Wilson Facebook event page for information.
The Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s world premiere of Birds of North America might be for the birds, but that’s all part of the plan. Playwright Anna Moench’s winning entry from the 2016 BETC Generations new-play competition draws parallels between birdwatching and family dynamics in a story covering ten years in the lives of a father and daughter bound together by their love of cataloguing the avian world in the wild. The show opens for previews at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 19, and continues through November 12 at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Because it’s a short leap from understanding the play’s symbolism to the physical act of carrying your binoculars into the field, BETC is partnering with the Boulder Audubon Society and Audubon Society of Greater Denver on a pair of post-performance birding conversations, as well as a guided nature hike at Boulder’s Sawhill and Walden Ponds over the weekend of October 27 through 29. For more information and tickets, $20 to $45, visit betc.org.
Friday, October 20
DreamHack, the world’s largest video-game festival, will land at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street, this weekend. The creation of Modern Times Group, a Swedish digital-entertainment company, DreamHack Denver 2017 will open its doors at 11 a.m. Friday, October 20, with festivities including American Video Game League challenges as well as a concert. But there’s more, lots more, to this gigantic gaming celebration: Through Sunday, October 22, the fest will host a DreamExpo Hall, lectures by game developers, a cosplay competition, a three-day Magic: The Gathering tournament with a $10,000 prize, free-play PC and console areas, and loads of other activities. Day passes are $20, three-day passes are $45, and kids under five get in free; get your tickets and see the full list of events at denver.dreamhack.com.
An entrepreneurial journalist and marketing exec well-versed in the stories of women trying to break through the glass ceiling, Kate Bailey founded TARRA, an awareness-raising group and incubator for women working in the design industry, from small-scale makers to architects. Now she’s bringing TARRA2017 to town, a two-day symposium and celebration that starts Friday, October 20, with an “anti-networking” mixer and participatory community-building studio night from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street. The program continues on Saturday, October 21, with a pop-up makers’ market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Source, 3350 Brighton Boulevard; “The Politics of Design,” a loaded panel of heavy-hitting females working in the arts, starts at 5 p.m. at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street. Tickets for evening events range from $25 to $35 at tarra.co/tarra2017.
Pay tribute to bebop pioneer and virtuoso saxophonist John Coltrane at a pair of concerts at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis Street, where local musicians George Cables, Javon Jackson, Jimmy Cobb and Eddie Gomez will join in a hard-bopping homage to the great jazz artist. Performing a series of highlights from Coltrane’s peerless catalogue, this accomplished quartet is keeping his legacy alive every bit as efficiently as his numerous posthumous honors, which include a Pulitzer Prize and canonization by the African Orthodox Church. The band strikes up at 6:30 and 9 p.m. on Friday, October 20, and again on Saturday, October 21. Get tickets, $25 to $50, at ticketfly.com; find out more at dazzledenver.com.
Looking for a literary evening that’s anything but boring? We’re betting on Death Horse, a relatively new itinerant reading series hosted and curated by Denver poets Elisa Gabbert, Brian Foley and Sommer Browning. Death Horse’s second edition, which starts at 6 p.m. Friday, October 20, at Bar Max, 2412 East Colfax Avenue, has booked Lauren Hunter and Chris Tonelli, both poets based in North Carolina, along with queer poet and University of Denver Ph.D. candidate Alicia Mountain. And that death horse thing? Fear not: The presenters assure us that “there should never actually be a death horse at the readings.” Learn more about the participating poets at the Death Horse 2 Facebook event page.
The Black Lodge is a dream come true for event producer Ginger Perry, a David Lynch fan who’s long relished the idea of putting together a noirish evening capturing the vibe of Lynch’s cult-y canon of sensual and weird movies and media. Party-goers will dance their way through lip-synched theatrical music vignettes from such film favorites as Wild at Heart, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and Dune, performed by a surprise cast of Denver celebs. Lynch-inspired costumes are encouraged, so dig up your logs and oxygen masks and head out for a night of heaven and hell, beginning at 9 p.m. Friday, October 20, at the Black Box, 314 East 13th Avenue. Purchase tickets, $20, in advance at blackboxdenver.ticketfly.com; get more info on the Black Box Facebook event page.
The final installment of the McNichols Project runs from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday, October 20, when the series will turn away from the past (previous events channeled the jazz era of the 1920s and the Wild West) and look toward tomorrow with The Future Project. While the “more human than human” replicants of Blade Runner definitely won’t be delivered by the promised date of 2019, you’ll see visions of the future — more optimistic ones, we hope — while you sip futuristic cocktails, peruse James Balog’s exhibit ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers and enjoy molecular ice cream and other treats on two floors of the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Tickets, $30, are on sale at mcnicholsproject.com.
The fast-growing Baha’i faith is still unfamiliar to most Americans, but its teachings include figures most Westerners have heard of: Buddha, Christ and Muhammad, among others, are all considered manifestations of God, and one of the faith’s primary principles is unity of humanity and of the world’s religions. To this end, the Baha’i Center of Metro Denver, 225 East Bayaud Avenue, is celebrating the 200th birthday of the religion’s founder, Bahá’u’lláh, with the Light of Unity Festival, two days of free celebrations. The fest begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 20, with a presentation about Baha’i and its key figures, followed by a concert with original music marking the anniversary. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, gather in the street in front of the center for a fair boasting Mexican and Bollywood dancers, Persian music, a bouncy castle and crafts for the kiddos, food trucks and workshops. A program of music and prayer will close the festival from 6 to 7 p.m. Learn more at denverbahais.org.
Saturday, October 21
It’s been a long, long time since Front Range Halloween revelers marched in the streets, as they used to do a bit too rowdily decades ago in Larimer Square and along the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder. Too much drink had something to do with the demise of those events, but now there’s a new kid in town: The Halloween Parade on Broadway, hosted by the Broadway Merchants Association and District 7 City Councilman Jolon Clark. This is the real thing, a family-friendly parade complete with sponsored floats, live marching bands and such novelties as the Denver Hearse Association, Denver Roller Derby, Colorado Ghostbusters and the Badda Boom Brass Band; the costumed public is invited to fall in at the end. The parade tips off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, at Broadway and Third Avenue, then heads south to Alameda Avenue; both marching and watching are free. Find complete information at broadwayhalloweenparade.com.
Time to break out your finest monkey suit: The Denver Zoo’s annual costume party, Boo at the Zoo, returns starting Saturday, October 21. This fall classic is full of the fright stuff: Imagine tarantulas slowly stretching their hairy legs as they walk across your skin, or the feel of snake scales as a constrictor tightens around your throat. For the kids, there’s Spooky the Ghost’s Magic Show or the Halloween Spooktacular Juggling show, neither of which should trigger any night terrors. The Zoo, at 2300 Steele Street, hosts the not-so-horrible Halloween celebration from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 21, 22, 28 and 29. Admission fees run $12 to $17; find out more at denverzoo.org/booatthezoo.
F.W. Murnau’s 1922 film Nosferatu is the original cult classic. The lone movie produced by Prana Films, it was the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Bram Stoker’s estate; most copies of the film were destroyed by court order, and the production company promptly declared bankruptcy. A few prints survived, however, and the movie went on to become one of cinema’s most influential silent films — and like Count Orlok himself, screenings of the masterpiece rise from the grave every October. This one starts at 9 p.m. Saturday, October 21, at Historic Grant Avenue, 216 South Grant Street, where Denver musician Hank Troy will perform an improvised piano accompaniment to the film. Tickets are $8 in advance at eventbrite.com or $10 at the door.
Sunday, October 22
An art museum can’t go wrong with an occasional crowd-pleasing exhibit devoted to impressionist painters of the late nineteenth century, but Her Paris: Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism gives the topic a twist, focusing on the oft-ignored feminine side of the still-popular school of art. The traveling exhibit from the American Federation of Arts opens at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, on Sunday, October 22, bringing more than eighty paintings by both famous and lesser-known Parisian and Paris-educated women artists of the era, from the ones you expect (Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt) to the ones you don’t (Anna Ancher and Paula Modersohn-Becker). The show runs through January 14; tickets are $5 to $24 (free to $12 for DAM members), and you can get yours at denverartmuseum.org.
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As Halloween draws close, it’s time to get your holiday affairs in order — or at least settle on your costume, because pickings will be getting slim at thrift stores and costume shops. If you’re looking for something particularly sick and twisted, head straight to the Oddities Market Part 2, running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 22, at Spectra Art Space, 1836 South Broadway, where you’ll find spooky home decorations and hair-raising artworks by hand-picked vendors. Or just drop by for an adult version of bobbing for apples, a pumpkin-painting contest, live music and glass-blowing demos. Admission is free; learn more and RSVP at spectraartspace.com.
Few musical genres inspire the hardcore collections of heavy metal. From merch table treasures to far-from-basic black apparel, the Heavy Metal Flea Market will welcome a murderer’s row of local metal-scene vendors from noon until 5 p.m. Sunday, October 22. The market has found a fitting home at Black Sky Brewery, 490 Santa Fe Drive, a hard-rocking beer hall at the southern end of the Santa Fe Arts District. Enjoy one of the fine brews on tap and a slice of New Haven-style pizza while selecting the perfect gift for the metalhead in your life. And since admission to the market is free, you’ll have plenty of money left for shopping. Find out more on Black Sky’s Facebook events page.
Monday, October 23
Every year, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado hands out Force for Good Awards to people who are exhibiting very good behavior in one of three categories. This year’s honorees — Bishop Karen Oliveto and the Mountain Sky Area of the United Methodist Church (congregation category); Denver Homeless Out Loud (community) and Representative Joseph Salazar (state legislature) — will be celebrated at a reception that starts at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, October 23, at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street. A $25 ticket gets you one drink ticket, appetizers, entertainment and very good company; proceeds benefit the Interfaith Alliance. Buy tickets and learn more at interfaithallianceco.org.