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The 21 Best Events in Denver, October 31-November 6

Otherworldly style will be all the rage at the Alien Life Fashion Show on Saturday.
Otherworldly style will be all the rage at the Alien Life Fashion Show on Saturday.
Courtesy of Alien Life Fashion Show
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This week we bid farewell to the witching season and start preparing for the holidays. That means holiday gift markets and holiday-themed theatrical performances, of which there are plenty. But don't miss everything else going on in Denver, from an alien fashion show to a Día de los Muertos celebration or two.

Tuesday, October 31

What we know as Halloween has strong connections to celebrations across many cultures, including All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, Día de los Muertos, Samhain. Four Shillings Short will evoke the latter during a performance at the Samhain/Halloween Concert on Tuesday, October 31. As you’d expect from an Irish lass and her Yankee husband, traditional Celtic and European instruments (the British dulcimer, German bowed psaltery and Irish bodhrán) will be prominent; perhaps less predictably, so will the Indian sitar, Andean charango and an obscure Renaissance contraption known as the krumhorn. The free concert includes stories from Celtic folklore in addition to ethereal musical mashups. The (free) fun starts at 7 p.m. at Bemis Public Library, 6014 South Datura Street in Littleton. Find out more on the library events calendar at littletongov.org.

Hosted by The Green Solution and Sensi Magazine, the Gari Safari is a jungle-themed costume party for cannabis industry members to celebrate Halloween together. Kicking off at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31, at the Church, 1160 Lincoln Street, there will be live music from Anabel Englund, Human Life, Matt Ossentjuk, and Mont Blvck, as well as a bus for cannabis consumption offsite (but nearby). Attendance (21+), but guests must register first. Learn more on the event's webpage.

Easily the Halloween-iest director alive, Tim Burton has seen his films in heavy rotation throughout October. With his German Expressionist-inspired sets and costume design, fondness for Gothic tropes and foundational sympathy for the various monsters and misfits that populate his oeuvre, Burton's best films evoke the spirit of the holiday as few other movies have done since the heydays of Tod Browning and F.W. Murnau. Whether you're looking to get hyped up for another evening of Halloween hell-raising or simply want to see some good movies, don't miss the Burton double feature at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House's Studio Loft on Tuesday, October 31, starting at 5 p.m.. With free screenings of BeetleJuice and Sleepy Hollow — that's right: two movies for the price of none — this is an ideal way for cinephiles and goth teens alike to ease into All Hallow's Eve. Visit the Eventbrite page to learn more and register for free.

Wednesday, November 1

Denver’s traditionally a beer town, but if you’re an oenophile instead of a hophead, you’ll be happy the Denver International Wine Festival is coming to town from Wednesday, November 1, through Friday, November 3. The event includes a Grand Vintners Dinner with wine by Kovács Nimród and food by Radek Cerny; the Pairsine Chefs Fine Food and Wine Pairing Competition, where you’ll enjoy twenty bites paired with gold medal-winning wines; and the Grand Tasting, the showcase event with more than eighty wineries and distilleries pouring samples of delicious beverages. Tickets to individual events range from $95 to $175 and are available at denverwinefest.com. Now, that’s something to toast to!

This year, the Denver Film Society is celebrating the fortieth edition of the Denver Film Festival, which runs from Wednesday, November 1, through Sunday, November 12, and includes 200-plus films from more than forty countries. In addition to the usual industry panels, parties and screenings, the festival will spotlight Danish and Polish cinema. Films by directors including Hong Sang-soo, Agnès Varda, Sally Potter, Fatih Akin, Joe Berlinger, Richard Linklater, Claire Denis, Paolo Virzì, Kim Ki-duk will also grace screens across town. Opening-night film Lady Bird plays at 8 p.m. on November 1, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Opening-night tickets run $35 to $60; find a full schedule of films and ticketing options for the rest of the fest at denverfilm.org.

Sponsored by 9News and the Denver Press Club, "Five Years of Legal Marijuana in Colorado" is a panel discussion and social chat will focus on the fifth anniversary of Amendment 64, the voter-approved statute that legalized recreational cannabis in Colorado in 2012. The panel will be moderated by 9News reporter Brandon Rittiman, who will chat with activist Mason Tvert, Smart Colorado's Henny Lasley, Department of Revenue director Mike Hartman, dispensary owner Chris Woods, Governor John Hickenlooper's marijuana policy adviser Mark Bolton and impaired driving expert Chris Halsor. The discussion starts at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1, at the Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place. Tickets are free for DPC members and $5 for non-members. Find more information at blacktie-colorado.com.

Prepare to learn something new at Three Things, Any Three Things.
Prepare to learn something new at Three Things, Any Three Things.
Courtesy of MCA Denver

Thursday, November 2

MCA Denver has a marvelous way of elevating the incongruous, first with its wildly popular Mixed Taste series, and now with Three Things, Any Three Things, a new group of artist/creative show-and-tell sessions divided into three presentations that are not in any way connected. First up, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 2, the MCA gives you Instagram star and animal-adoptaholic Steve Greig on “Senior Dogs,” Denver Museum of Nature & Science Curator of Space Science Ka Chun Yu on Exoplanets and Rubedo percussionist extraordinaire Gregg Ziemba on, natch, the drums; the series continues on November 16 and 30 at the same time, each night offering a new trio of unrelated experiences. General admission tickets are sold out, but you probably want the package that gets you in to all three events anyway ($25 to $40). The MCA is at 1485 Delgany Street; learn more and register at eventbrite.com, or visit mcadenver.org.

So you’re not really a bartender/bank teller/beekeeper at heart — you’re just doing it to pay the bills until you write the Great American Novel. We get it! Now’s the time to make it happen, since November is National Novel Writing Month, popularly known as NaNoWriMo. Anythink Libraries is encouraging your literary ambitions with workshops throughout the month. The library’s Wright Farms branch, 5877 East 120th Avenue in Thornton, will offer tips and resources from staff, as well as time for writing, on Thursday, November 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. The Brighton branch, at 327 East Bridge Street, has scheduled weekly Thursday workshops (excluding Thanksgiving) from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. that will address character and conflict development, story structure, publishing and more. Check out nanowrimo.org for information on the project and anythinklibraries.org for details about the local workshops. Now, get to it — the sooner you start writing, the sooner you can take your rightful place as the next Hemingway.

Denver’s And Toto Too Theatre Company continues its mission of presenting new works by female playwrights with Flowers in the Desert, a two-person modern-life drama by Donna Hoke in which a divorced couple hooks up again at the wife’s behest. The twist? Her reasons for wanting to get back together aren’t what they seem. The play opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 2, and runs Thursdays through Saturdays until November 18 at the Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa Street. For tickets, $22 to $25, go to andtototoo.org. Hot date? Look for Cheap Date Night on November 9, when all tickets are only $15.

Friday, November 3

It turns out that pirates can go home again. For decades, Pirate Contemporary Art’s annual Day of the Dead Show was the co-op’s most graceful interface with what was once a largely Hispanic neighborhood, which joined in with the artists to build altars to the dearly departed inside the gallery and march side by side in a candle-lit processional to the nearby Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Fast-forward to the present, when Pirate has come ashore at a new location in Lakewood, and you’ll be happy to learn that the gallery members have brought the tradition with them. This year’s event runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, November 3, at Pirate, 7130 West 16th Avenue in Lakewood, with much of the old festivities still intact: There will still be community altars, Aztec dancers, piñata parties for kids and adults, and even a procession — now taking off through the 40 West Arts District. Admission is free; call 303-458-6058 or go to Pirate’s Facebook page to learn more.

Get your holiday shopping done early at the fourteenth annual Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show. For three days starting Friday, November 3, peruse some 450 displays offering unique gifts including original art, crafts, specialty foods, home decor, clothing, furniture, jewelry and more. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Denver Mart Expo Halls & Plaza, 451 East 58th Avenue. Find tickets, $11.50 to $14.50, at eventbrite.com, and more information about the show at coloradochristmasgiftshow.com.

Saturday, November 4

YA literature isn’t just for teens anymore, but the Tattered Cover Book Store is catering to the under-21 demographic with its Colorado Teen Book Con on Saturday, November 4. The extravaganza of teen lit takes place at Littleton High School, 199 East Littleton Boulevard, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the agenda is jam-packed with panels on love and adversity, publishing, evoking emotion, and tales of action and adventure from over twenty authors and literary agents. Maggie Stiefvater (All the Crooked Saints, Shiver) and David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy, You Know Me Well) will deliver keynote addresses. And while the entire event is free to readers and writers from ages thirteen to twenty, everyone must register at eventbrite.com. And if you’re over the age limit, don’t worry: On Friday, November 3, you can meet the authors and enjoy the perks of age (namely beer) at a YA Author Happy Hour at the bookstore, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets for the 7 p.m. gathering are $20, also at eventbrite.com.

A stone’s throw from Denver, the suburb of Westminster continues to move toward its goal of becoming the next major urban center on the Front Range by hosting oddball events such as Zombie Golf and the Adult Easter Egg Hunt. From 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 4, the suburb is launching what it hopes will be an annual event: Ballerina Dodgeball. Players ages 21 and up will don tutus and plie their way around the dodgeball course. People hit by a “golden ball” must dance their heart out until the music stops. The event takes place at the Westminster Sports Center, 6051 West 95th Avenue, and costs $15 per player or $100 per team of eight players (tickets include pizza and a drink ticket). For more information and to register, go to www.cityofwestminster.us.

Designer Sumeria Sierra.
Designer Sumeria Sierra.
Courtesy of Alien Life Fashion Show

Halloween won’t quite be over until after the Alien Life Fashion Show lands its flying saucer on the runway for a presentation at Knew Conscious gallery this weekend. But don’t expect any Klingons, Wookiees or one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eaters; this is a real fashion challenge inviting designers to create avant-garde costumes based on the out-of-this-world artwork of Knew Conscious founder Kurt Redeker. The event begins on Saturday, November 4, at 9 p.m. at the gallery, 2041 Lawrence Street, and will rock out through the wee hours to music by special guests Orchard Lounge and Soulacybin; general admission is $40, or opt for a VIP level with perks for $65. What does one wear to an alien fashion show? Be inventive. Get information and tickets at the event’s Facebook page.

Denver Arts Week, nine days of discounts and events at galleries, theaters, cinemas and music venues, runs from November 3 to November 11. Our favorite deal? The free Night at the Museums, on Saturday, November 4. Starting at 5 p.m., twelve Denver institutions will offer free admission until 10 p.m. Not only that, shuttles will be on hand to whisk you from one attraction to the other. Participating museums include the obvious — Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Art Museum — as well as lesser-known sites like the Black American West Museum and the Denver Firefighters Museum. So whether your interests lean toward cowboys, chrysanthemums or cars, there will be somewhere to grab your attention. Visit denver.org for a complete list of museums and information about the shuttles.

One of opera’s classics, La Bohème has probably been in continuous production around the world since its debut in 1896. That’s probably because the tale of young people partying and pontificating in Paris has broad appeal for all kinds of folks, from the recent college graduate without health insurance who can relate all too well to Mimi’s consumption or the stereotypical silver-haired opera fan who comes for the costumes and culture. Opera Colorado’s production opens on Saturday, November 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and continues through November 14. Even a starving artist can afford tickets, which start at $15 at operacolorado.org. (Note: The $20 tickets for opening night are sold out.)

The Soweto Skeleton Movers at Breakin' Convention.
The Soweto Skeleton Movers at Breakin' Convention.
Belinda Lawley

Groove to the pros: The London-based Breakin’ Convention will hit Denver on Saturday, November 4, as part of a four-city tour curated by British hip-hop dance veteran and Breakin’ artistic director Jonzi D. The “international festival of hip-hop dance theater” will bring with it such esteemed international names as Protocol (U.K.), Salah and Yeah Yellow (France) and the Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa), as well as a local lineup including Nasty Kidz, Block 1750, Machinez Remainz, Malika and more. Breakin’ Convention kicks off with a free, youth-oriented 303 Jam with workshops and local talent from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 4, at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; tickets start at $20 for official programs, also at the Buell, beginning at 7:30 p.m. November 4, and 3 p.m. Sunday, November 5. For reservations and a complete schedule, go to breakinconvention.com/touring/denver.

There’s no place in town more authentic than the stretch of Morrison Road in the Westwood neighborhood, which means you’re bound to hit a Día de los Muertos celebration somewhere along the drag. True to the traditions of the observance, for which families honor and welcome the souls of their ancestors with more joy than sorrow, Westwood’s annual Día de los Muertos community art and altar show does it by the book, offering up Aztec dancer performances, face painting, Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muerto for families from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, November 4, at the Westwood Food Cooperative, 3738 Morrison Road. Admission is free; visit the Facebook event page for details.

Cannabis job-finder Vangst Talent Network will host the Pueblo Cannabis Career Fair on Saturday, November 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the La Quinta Inn in Pueblo, 4801 North Elizabeth Street. Prospective trimmers, packagers, budtenders, extraction technicians, store managers and more can inquire about more than 200 open positions in the cannabis industry for free after registration. Learn more about the event on its Eventbrite page.

Sunday, November 5

After a diving accident at Cherry Creek State Park in August, musician Brian Jung underwent an eight-hour operation to remove and replace parts of his spine. Meanwhile, in the waiting room, his friends concocted a plan to help him move forward. The resulting We Got Your Back, Brian: Bluegrass Benefit Concert will take place Sunday, November 5, from noon to 2 a.m. at Be on Key Psychedelic Ripple, 1700 Logan Street. A suggested $15 donation at the door gets you access to musical acts Bottle Rocket Hurricane, That Damn Sasquatch, Timber, Follow the Fox and many more, as well as a silent auction of items including concert tickets, art, autographed memorabilia and travel packages, all to benefit Jung’s rehabilitation. For more information, visit facebook.com/gotyourbackbrian.

Monday, November 6

Stockton Helbing prides himself on how bad he is at sitting still, which is a boon for an artist who spends his life composing and arranging music, running an independent jazz label (Armored Records), leading bands, teaching students, writing and more. Ahead of the upcoming release of his seventh album, Swimming in Place, Helbing will join the University of Denver’s Lamont Jazz Orchestra for a free performance at 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 6, at Gates Concert Hall in the University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. For more information, call 303-871-6400 or go to du.edu/lamont.

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