Denver does winter well, whether we're outside or indoors. This week, chefs are cranking out feasts that'll make your winter blues disappear, Red Rocks comes to life for Winter on the Rocks, the Wizard of Oz takes the yellow brick road to town, and artist Jordan Casteel comes home for her first major exhibit. All that and more in this week's 21 best events!
Tuesday, January 29
Wonderbound will celebrate the upcoming month of love by paying tribute to everyone's favorite little valentine. The contemporary ballet company's Garrett Ammon and Sarah Tallman collaborated with the Colorado Symphony for Cupid's Playground, what they're calling "a rambunctious journey exploring love’s many nefarious facets." Learn more about at Teaser Episode #18, a tempting look at some of the show’s costumes, with excerpts of the full production and a Q&A with the artists, at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29, at Wonderbound, 2535 East 40th Avenue. The $30 price of admission includes bites and libations; find out more at wounderbound.com.
Wednesday, January 30
Forget crockpots, cheese balls and a jug of Carlo Rossi — we have a progressive dinner for you that won't transport you back to 1977. On Wednesday, January 30, Den Corner (Sushi Den, Izakaya Den and Ototo, 1487 and 1501 South Pearl Street) will be the site of a five-course progressive meal that will transport your tastebuds much farther than half a Denver city block. Start at Sushi Den with two sushi courses and sake pairings before continuing to Ototo, where you'll nibble on binchotan skewers of wagyu beef, foie gras, duck and unagi along with craft beer. The night winds down at Izakaya Den with dessert and an after-dinner drink, coffee or tea. At $350 per couple, tickets aren't cheap for this rare opportunity, but miraculously, as of this writing they're still available for both the 6 and 7:45 p.m. seating. And if you need some time to save your pennies, plan ahead for the next installment on Wednesday, February 20 (surely your honey won't mind delaying your Valentine's Day celebration a few more days once they see what's up your sleeve). Visit sushiden.net to score your seats.
Among the most unforgettable members of Saturday Night Live's cast of Not Ready for Prime Time Players, Julia Sweeney still made one of the program's rare leaps beyond the small screen with It's Pat!, a goofy, gender-bending cinematic outing. In recent years, Sweeney has re-embraced her roots as a comedic monologist, reckoning with religion, parenthood and a cancer diagnosis in one-woman shows such as God Said Ha!, In the Family Way and Letting Go of God. Say "amen" to the gospel of laughter on Wednesday, January 30, when Sweeney brings her Older and Wider tour through town for a one-night-only engagement at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.; visit comedyworks.com to buy tickets, $20, and learn more.
Thursday, January 31
Mexican painter and sculptor Jorge Marín believes in art that people can interact with. Between 2016 and 2017, he brought his "Wings of the City" sculptures to Commons Park as a temporary installation in collaboration with the Riverfront Community Foundation, Outdoor Downtown and Denver Parks and Recreation. The winged figures were so popular with passersby, who liked taking photos with them, that the Riverfront Park Community Foundation will install a permanent version of Marín's work, called "Luz de Denver" (Light of Denver), in the plaza on the west side of Millennium Bridge. The installation takes place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, January 31; find more information at rfpcommunityfoundation.org/luz-de-denver.
You’ve walked all over the work of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Twenty-five years ago, she and Ken Iwamasa were commissioned to create inlays in the floor of the Great Hall at Denver International Airport — public art that will disappear as the terminal is renovated. You can see more of her work in Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors, a show that continues through February 10 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, which is turning 100 this year. As part of the special events marking that celebration, Smith will share a survey of her activist work and painting in Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: A Survey of Contemporary Native American Art. The free talk begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 31, in the Celeste Theatre of Colorado College’s Cornerstone Arts Center in Colorado Springs; find out more about Smith's appearance and other programs at 719-634-5581 or on the Events page at csfineartscenter.org/visit/events.
Named for the century- and continent-spanning trade route that fostered some of the ancient world's most important cross-cultural exchanges, the Silkroad Ensemble forges global unity through sound rather than commerce. Founded in 1998 by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and made up of musicians who hail from the Asian, African and European countries connected by the historic routes, the ensemble has recorded seven albums, including the Grammy Award-winning Sing Me Home. The group's unparalleled ability to communicate in the universal language of music has driven international demand for its concerts, so performances in Colorado are a rare boon for local classical-music aficionados. The tour will stop at the University of Colorado's Macky Auditorium, 1595 Pleasant Street in Boulder, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 31 (tickets are $29 to $56 via cupresents.org), and at the University of Denver's Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 1 (tickets are $55 to $75 at newmancenterpresents.com).
Friday, February 1
Before chef Carrie Baird took over the kitchen at Bar Dough, she was on a little TV cooking competition. You may have heard of it: season fifteen of Top Chef, which was filmed in Denver in 2017. Now Baird will join fellow competitors Brother Luck (of Colorado Springs's Four by Brother Luck) and mustachioed top-three finalist Joe Sasto for a Top Chef alumni dinner at the restaurant, 2227 West 32nd Avenue, on Friday, February 1. The six-course menu and wine pairings will run you $130 ($90 without booze), or splurge on a seat in the eatery's private room, which includes a chance to chat with each chef, for $150. Expect Baird's signature fancy toast, two pasta courses from Sasto and dessert from Luck, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting victims of California's devastating Camp Fire. Call 720-668-8506 for your chance to channel Tom or Padma.
There's nothing like a rich stout to fend off the chill of a Colorado winter, and the Mountain Sun family of pubs and breweries doesn't take your craving lightly. Every February, Mountain Sun rolls out the barrel for Stout Month, when more than thirty of the company's darkest beers, along with at least thirty more from other Colorado breweries, will be tapped. Beginning Friday, February 1, you'll have five stout-focused taprooms to choose from, including the original Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, 1535 Pearl Street in Boulder, and Denver's Vine Street Pub, 1700 Vine Street. Visit mountainsunpub.com for all five locations and addresses, then prepare to embrace the darkness.
Bundle up and boogie down when Icelantic's Winter on the Rocks brings the heat to the huddled masses at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Friday, February 1. Atmosphere heads up a bountiful bill of rap all-stars, including De La Soul, Living Legends, deM atlaS, Watsky, The Lioness, DJ Keezy and DJ Cassidy, for an evening of beats and bars guaranteed to keep you warm. Carry your old-school hip-hop sensibilities into 2019 and venture into the foothills for a head-nodding blast from the past. Doors open at 6 for the 6:30 p.m. show; visit redrocksonline.com to buy tickets, $49.95 to $125.95, and learn more.
The history and future of classical music are driven by child prodigies, and Yumi Hwang-Williams, who made her debut as a violin soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra when she was just fifteen, is no exception. Currently in the midst of her twentieth season as a Colorado Symphony concertmaster, Hwang-Williams will join pianist Anne-Marie McDermott and conductor Kevin John Edusei for Mendelssohn & Schubert, a trio of concerts honoring the spirit of youthful invention. Fittingly, the program commences with Felix Mendelssohn's Concerto for Violin and Piano in D Minor — which the composer wrote at the tender age of fourteen — and continues with Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 9, known as "The Great" for its C major key and its general majesty. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 1, and Saturday, February 2, and 1 p.m. Sunday, February 3, at Boettcher Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; find tickets, $15 to $94, and more information at coloradosymphony.org.
The beauty of The Diary of Anne Frank, Wendy Kesselman’s stage adaptation of a 1955 script by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, is that it isn’t all grim. Like its source — Frank’s original diary — the play is full of life and the hopeful observations of a thirteen-year-old girl who puts her trust in the idea that “people are truly good at heart,” in spite of her predicament as a Jew in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. The versatile Black Box Repertory will bring the story to life beginning at 7:30 p.m Friday, February 1, at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada, where it will run with upcoming shows The Moors and Sin Street Social Club through May 17. Get tickets, starting at $45, and more information at arvadacenter.org.
Nothing says you're not in Kansas anymore like seeing a world-class stage production — no offense, Kansans. The Colorado Ballet will put its best feet forward with The Wizard of Oz, an adaptation of the L. Frank Baum fantasy novel that inspired one of the most enduring films of Hollywood's golden era. Reimagined with choreography by Septime Webre and a score by Matthew Pierce, the show premieres at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Friday, February 1, at 7:30 p.m. and continues weekends through February 10. Visit coloradoballet.org for tickets, $30 to $155, and showtimes. Pay close attention to the men and women behind this curtain: They're bound to dazzle.
Saturday, February 2
A few dozen bald eagles have been spotted out and about at Barr Lake this winter, some of them pairing up to nest and lay eggs, and they’ll be the main attraction at the annual Bald Eagle Festival on Saturday, February 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Barr Lake State Park, 13401 Picadilly Road in Brighton. The family-friendly day brings together guided hikes, hands-on activities and presentations with a focus on the magnificent raptor that is our national bird. An RSVP is required at 303-659-6005 for Eagle Express rides and a live eagle presentation; otherwise, all are welcome and admission is free with your daily or annual Colorado State Parks pass, ranging from $8 to $120. Learn more at the Oasis newsletter link on the Barr Lake page at cpw.state.co.us.
In a city where more than 5,000 are experiencing homelessness, advocates champion everybody’s right to a place to rest but struggle with finding a solution for people who live on the streets. With an eye toward the May municipal election, nonprofits and community organizations including Denver Homeless Out Loud, the Denver Foundation and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition will host the free Right to Housing Summit — Remain, Reclaim, Resist from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 2, at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street. While the schedule has not yet been announced, expect activists, politicians and community members to discuss solutions to homelessness. Find more information on the Denver Homeless Out Loud Facebook page.
A contemporary master in the colorful footsteps of Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Faith Ringgold, Jordan Casteel makes national waves for casting her own cultural slant on the relaxed portraiture oeuvre of painters like Alice Neel. But the Harlem-based artist has roots right here in Denver, where she’ll now get her first major museum exhibition. Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze opens at the Denver Art Museum on a convenient date: the DAM’s Free First Saturday, February 2, when admission is free for all. Comprising nearly thirty large-scale Casteel paintings of humanized black subjects — predominantly men — at home in the community, Returning the Gaze will stay up through August 18. Learn more at denverartmuseum.org — and keep reading for an adjunct event.
Jordan Casteel will be in Denver for the opening of her new exhibit at the DAM, and on Saturday, February 2, she'll take part in a conversation with young panelists from Platte Forum, the Art Students League of Denver, East High School and Project Voyce about her figurative paintings that chronicle everyday life in Harlem. Teen Q&A With Jordan Casteel takes place from 2 to 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, February 2, at the DAM; admission is free, but advance registration at eventbrite.com is required. Find more information on the event’s Facebook page.
Larry Robert Hubbell, better known in these parts as homegrown alternative-comic artist Harry Lyrico, passed away on December 1, 2018, at the age of 72, the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Albuquerque. Although he was sometimes homeless, Hubbell left behind many friends and supporters from the art and comics communities, where he gained some local fame as a member of a group of collaborators who worked on a trove of ’90s-era "Hector" comic strips. Some of those folks will come together to celebrate Lyrico’s life with stories and remembrances on Saturday, February 2, at Pirate: Contemporary Art, 7130 West 16th Avenue in Lakewood. Bring some tales of your own and join them from 7 to 9 p.m.; find more information at pirateartonline.org.
Thanks to a penchant for energetic live shows and bass drops that reverberate from the soles of your feet to the top of your spine, The Glitch Mob has won legions of fans who've stuck with the crew through a widespread backlash to the EDM genre, and dubstep in particular. Mobsters DJs Boreta, edIT and Ooah got together in 2006 and quickly became barons of the Los Angeles beat scene. Over the years, they've released and remixed three essential albums, including last year's See Without Eyes. The Glitch Mob returns to Temple Nightclub, 1136 South Broadway, at 10 p.m. Saturday, February 2, for another round of face-melting beats, audiovisual trickery and gleefully mindless dancing. Buy tickets, $40, and find out more at eventbrite.com.
Sunday, February 3
"We don't want to get sued," say the folks at Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen, 1317 14th Street. So on Sunday, February 3, the LoDo eatery is circumventing a certain professional football game's pesky trademark rules by preparing a "Super Owl" feast to go with the NFL's biggest game of the year. This is a take-home deal for you and your football-loving friends, so read through the Super Owl menu at euclidhall.com, then call 303-595-4255 by Saturday, February 2, for pick-up between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Choices include two kinds of wings, housemade sausages and pork rinds, nachos, pickles, meat and cheese platters, red velvet cupcakes and even drink mixes for Bloody Marys, margaritas and party punch. Of course, you're welcome to hang out at Euclid Hall, 1317 14th Street, for the game itself, but you won't have access to the TV remote.
Seminal Japanese filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi paved the way for later auteurs, including Akira Kurosawa, with his period dramas with sweeping views that blended the supernatural with historical context. Ugetsu, a 1953 romantic ghost story set in the late sixteenth century and based on the eighteenth-century writings of Ueda Akinari, is one of his later films and one of his best. Let Mizoguchi’s single-shot scenes carry you back to a different time and place when the classic screens at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, on Sunday, February 3, as part of the Tattered Cover’s monthly film series with host Howie Movshovitz. Admission is an easy $1; learn more at denverfilm.org.
Monday, February 4
The best way to grow cannabis is to focus on the female of the species, and that's exactly what an upcoming social session wants do with consumers. Sex author and speaker Dawn Todd will host Intention, Sensuality and Cannabis Circle, a gathering to celebrate women, sexuality and cannabis, from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, February 4, at consumption-friendly venue Urban Sanctuary, 2745 Welton Street. "I created this Intention, Sensuality and Cannabis Circle to be a sisterhood tribe, a safe space for women to come share stories, heal and celebrate," Todd explains. Tickets, $25, to the 21+ event must be purchased in advance (no walk-ins, please) at eventbrite.com, and it's BYO cannabis for those who wish to consume during the evening.
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