November's entertainment calendar has started out strong, with Denver Arts Week continuing through November 9 and the Denver Film Festival through November 10. A half-dozen ski areas are already open, holiday markets are starting, too, and there are plenty of other fun ways to fill your days. Keep reading for the 21 best things to do around town this week.
Monday, November 4
The title of singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey’s latest album, Norman F-cking Rockwell, suggests that the brooding star is turning her Americana obsession on its head, bringing crassness to small-town kitsch. The songs on the album — smart, cynical, slice-of-life tales set in California — have fixed her reputation as a true artist. In a rare positive review, Pitchfork described Del Rey as “the next best American songwriter, period.” See for yourself at 8 p.m. Monday, November 4, when the chanteuse graces the stage at Bellco Theatre in the Colorado Convention Center; find ticket information at axs.com.
Tuesday, November 5
donnie l. betts and his Destination Freedom live radio-play series wrap up the 2019 season with a collaboration. Destination Freedom: Enrique's Journey teams betts with Tony Garcia of Denver’s Su Teatro, who originally developed the story for the stage in 2011 with a collaboration of his own: Garcia brought in journalist Sonia Nazario, who researched and authored the Pulitzer Prize-winning fictionalized immigration account on which the play was based. Now adapted for the Destination Freedom format, Enrique’s Journey will be performed in two parts at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder: Part one rolls out at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 5, part two at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 12. Admission to each is $15 to $20; learn more at thedairy.org or nocredits.com/destination-freedom.
Hip-hop is shedding the cultural clichés of its formative years, paving the way for mold-rupturing rappers like Young Thug. Raised in the same Atlanta neighborhood that spawned trap gods such as Ludacris, 2 Chainz and Waka Flocka Flame, Young Thug ascended from mixtape maven and Gucci Mane protégé to national acclaim based on the strength of game-changing singles like "Stoner" and "Danny Glover." A Calvin Klein model and fashionista with androgynous clothing and manicured nails, Young Thug fully permeated the cultural consciousness with a star-making verse on Camila Cabello's "Havana" and almost single-handedly made hip-hop more welcoming to weirdos. In support of his recently released debut studio album, So Much Fun, Thug will drop some hot, fiery science for Denver hip-hop heads at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 5, at Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson Street. Find tickets, $53 to $228.45, at livenation.com.
Wednesday, November 6
Denver’s bookish community has been all wrapped up in Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies, this year’s choice for the national NEA Big Read. Learn more about the author and her story, which envelops the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in a shroud of magic realism, when the lauded Latina author sits down to chat with Colorado author (and 2019 National Book Award finalist) Kali Fajardo-Anstine for Inside the Writer's Studio with Julia Alvarez, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 6, at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. Hosted by Lighthouse Writers Workshop, the evening includes discussion, readings and books by both authors for sale. Find tickets — $20 for the general public, $10 for Lighthouse members, and $5 for students, seniors, teachers and veterans — at lighthousewriters.org/bigread.
More than thirty years after it debuted, The Phantom of the Opera remains there, inside your minds. After making a Tony- and Olivier Award-winning bow on London's West End back in 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical adaptation of the serialized novel by Gaston Leroux remains the longest-running show in Broadway history. The staple of the Great White Way is in the midst of a revival tour promising a grander spectacle than ever before, thanks to the visionary direction of Cameron Mackintosh, brand-new scenic design from the award-winning Paul Brown, lighting by acclaimed lighting designer Paule Constable, costuming by the late Maria Björnson, and new choreography and staging by Scott Ambler and Laurence Connor, respectively. Webber's masked phantom haunts the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 6, and bows out on Sunday, November 17. Tickets start at $45; visit denvercenter.org for details.
Thursday, November 7
The mood of downtown Denver after dark will change with the debut of Night Lights Denver, a sequential projection mapping installation that will light up the side of the historic Daniels & Fisher Tower, 1601 Arapahoe Street, starting on Thursday, November 7, at about 5:20 p.m. and running until 8:30 p.m. The inaugural loop contains animation by Limelight Art and artworks designed by Denver artists Joel Swanson and Sophie Birkin, and it will show every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night starting soon after sundown. And that’s just the beginning: Organizers, including the Denver Theatre District and the Downtown Denver Partnership, hope to expand the scope of Night Lights programming to include interactive installations and special events using the technology. Follow the light at nightlightsdenver.com.
Gather ’round the galleries for a complementary evening of canvas and composition that pairs the abstract-expressionist works of Clyfford Still with the musical expertise of the Altius Quartet. In celebration of the museum's latest exhibit, Still: Elemental, the musicians will draw from the most evocative pieces in their eclectic repertoire, including Leos Janácek’s “Intimate Letters” String Quartet No. 2 and Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major. Join Altius members Andrew Krimm (viola), violinists Joshua Ulrich and Andrew Giordano, and newly appointed cellist Erin Patterson at the Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock Street, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 7, for this special presentation in the museum's ongoing Music in the Galleries series. Find tickets, $30, and more details at clyffordstillmuseum.org.
MCA Denver’s exhibition Francesca Woodman: Portrait of a Reputation, which runs through April 5, is perfectly suited to the museum’s size and ethos. The visual memoir of Colorado native Woodman, a gifted photographer who was the daughter of artists George and Betty Woodman and cut her own life short in 1981 at the age of 22, offers a poignant look at a budding artist and highlights the considerable curational strengths of new MCA director Nora Abrams. Get schooled on everything Woodman during MCA’s Weekend of Woodman, a series of events that begins with a conversation between Abrams and Woodman friend and colleague George Lange, who saved artifacts and photos used in the exhibition, at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 7, at the MCA, 1485 Delgany Street. Free tours with Lange and a panel discussion follow on Friday, November 8, and Saturday, November 9; find info and tickets to the talk and panel, $10 to $15 and free for teens, at mcadenver.org.
Friday, November 8
The 2019-’20 ski season is off to a very fast start, and Copper Mountain joins the lineup with opening festivities on Friday, November 8, starting with free parking in the Alpine Lot. The first fifty people in line when the American Eagle chairlift starts at 9 a.m. will get 10 Barrel flannel shirts, and there will be more giveaways all day. On Saturday, November 9, the newly refreshed Woodward Copper Barn reopens with the annual Barn Bash starting at 11:30 a.m., with free intro and drop-in sessions. And the winter edition of the Copper Live music series kicks off that afternoon with a free performance by Tea Leaf Green, a four-piece jam band from the San Francisco Bay Area; the tunes continue on Sunday, November 10, with a show by the Chris Bauer Trio, a Summit County homegrown funky blues band. For more information on the complete Copper season, go to coppercolorado.com.
You're never too old for cartoons at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science! Dress up as your favorite Pixar character on Friday, November 8, and plan to get animated at the museum's adults-only Pixar Party. From 7 to 10 p.m., the museum, at 2001 Colorado Boulevard, will host a shindig complete with fifty interactive elements in the Science Behind Pixar exhibit as well as live Disney and Pixar tunes from local bands Creature Canopy and Compass & Cavern. Tickets, $43 ($38 for members), include appetizers, a drink, and an evening of crowd-free fun at the museum; get yours, and more information, at secure1.dmns.org.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died before he had the chance to hear his Symphony No. 40 in G Minor performed live. Completed on July 25, 1788 (the composer kept meticulous records in his later years), the symphony emerged during a particularly prolific period in Mozart's life, and is brimming with the urgency of a man who seemed to know that his days were numbered. Former Colorado Symphony music director Jeffrey Kahane will lead the orchestra through a rousing rendition of Mozart's 40th — following performances of Johannes Brahms's Tragic Overture and Mozart's own Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major — at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 8, and Saturday, November 9, and 1 p.m. Sunday, November 10. All shows are at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; visit coloradosymphony.org for tickets, $20 to $99.
Soul Stories, a Denver story-sharing organization aimed at making meaningful connections, teams up with local lit magazine Stain’d Arts on Friday, November 8, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, for Liminal: Projections, the fourth installment of an ongoing series exploring transformative experiences. Starting at 7:30 p.m., eight storytellers will riff on the “projections” theme. Admission is $15 in advance at liminal-projections.brownpapertickets.com; learn more at facebook.com/soulsandstories.
Saturday, November 9
Who's the most notorious character in Colorado history? It could well be Alfred Packer, who was convicted of cannibalism as the only member of his group who made it out alive after being snowbound in the mountains; he was released from prison thanks to the efforts of crusading journalist Polly Pry. Packer is buried in Littleton Cemetery, which happens to be on the course of the Alfred Packer Cannibal Run, a 5K/10K foot race along the Platte River that's hosted by the South Jeffco Rotary Club. Meet at Arapahoe Community College, 5900 South Santa Fe Drive, at 9 a.m. Saturday, November 9, to register (the runs start at 10 a.m.), or sign up in advance at sojeffcorotary.org. Registration runs from $10 to $45, and it's all for a good cause, or causes: the many charities that this Rotary Club supports.
As the Latino Cultural Arts Center in Sun Valley continues to raise money for a new home, the museum's retail shop, Hijos del Sol, at 2715 West Eighth Avenue, puts a beautiful face on the institution’s mission by offering quality, hand-selected, handcrafted textiles, jewelry, accessories and home decor created by Latino folk artists from across the Americas; sales support both LCAC and fair-trade artisans. Now Hijos del Sol, a 2019 Best of Denver winner, is kicking off its Holiday Mercado with four weekend shopping days, starting on Saturday, November 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and continuing on November 23, December 7 and December 21. Learn more at latinoculturalartscenter-denver.org, and then find something exquisite por tu familia y amigos.
Although Día de los Muertos is over for the year, you can keep the day's spirit alive by learning all about Mexican piñatas — their meaning, their colorful history and how to make them. The paper art form can be traced back to the intersection of indigenous Mexican traditions and Catholic celebrations, and continues to play a role in Hispanic culture today. From 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, Mexican artist Maribel Arredondo will lead a Piñata Workshop at Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive. The workshop is $28 for Museo members, $35 for non-members; find tickets at eventbrite.com.
Denver is lucky to have a rich literary community that generates a plethora of reading opportunities, both aboveground and below. Poet Sommer Browning favors small-press stars for her ongoing Death Horse series, which will roll out its fourteenth installment on Saturday, November 9, at Bar Max, 2412 East Colfax Avenue, with featured readers Darcie Dennigan, a Rhode Island-based poet and playwright; Denver author, educator and small-press editor David Heska Wanbli Weiden; and poet and translator Lindsay Turner. Arrive at 6 p.m. for shmoozing; the readings begin at 6:45, and everything is free. Search "Death Horse 14: Dennigan, Weiden, Turner" on Facebook to learn more.
Over the past few years, Denver Fashion Week has upped this town’s fashion game slowly but surely, bringing a new sophistication to the look of the city. Denver Fashion Week Fall ’19 will carry on that work, inspiring fashionistas while showcasing local and international designers and beauty experts during eight days of runway shows, workshops and conversations. It all starts with a bang on Saturday, November 9, with Fashion X Art, a tag-team effort that pairs emerging and veteran designer/artists for an edgy promenade on the runway at the Forney Transportation Museum, 4303 Brighton Boulevard. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a reception and close at 8:30 p.m., when the show gets under way. Denver Fashion Week continues through Sunday, November 17; see the full schedule and find tickets for every event at denverfashionweek.com.
When you go to a hoedown and meet some people who seem “different,” you might be surprised to learn that they’re not different at all. That’s the reasoning behind the Wayfaring Band Barn Raiser, a fundraiser for the Wayfaring Band, a nonprofit providing services and travel experiences for people with disabilities. So come on down for fun and Western flair from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, at First Plymouth Congregational Church, 3501 South Colorado Boulevard, where you can chow down on a barbecue dinner, tap your toes to Rocky Mountain Bluegrass and shop for Wayfaring Band T-shirts, trucker hats and other themed merchandise. Tickets are $10 to $20 at the door; learn more at the Facebook event page.
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Sunday, November 10
Look into your future, shop for holistic remedies and learn more about palmistry, spirit messaging, African divination systems, numerology and even the health benefits of chocolate at Athena Festival 23, a Denver institution for local metaphysicists, goddesses, dreamers and spiritual health nuts. Men are welcome, too, so bring your beloved and learn a thing or two together from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 10, at the Ramada Plaza Northglenn/Denver North, 10 East 120th Avenue in Northglenn. Admission is $5 at the door (free for children under fourteen), and most readings cost between $1 and $1.50 per minute, with no time limit. Get a complete schedule at athenafestival.com.
What better place in town to fete the hundredth anniversary of the bauhaus movement than at the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, a veritable treasure box of twentieth-century objets, art and design? Celebrate in style — bauhaus style—at open haus: celebrating 100 years of the bauhaus, a brunch fundraiser on Sunday, November 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kirkland, 1201 Bannock Street. A $100 ticket gets you food and drink, as well as a paper-folding activity; opt for the $150 VIP ticket and interact with special guests Gwen Chanzit, Charles Parson and Koko Bayer, all folks with ties to the bauhaus philosophy. Either way, you're bound to have a bauhaus blast; learn more and reserve a seat at eventbrite.com.
If you've been bumping to "Sunflower" since the moment you saw Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, you have Post Malone to thank for the most welcome earworm of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Don't let the face tattoos and penchant for conspiracy theories fool you: Malone is a genre-blending crooner who specializes in laid-back party jams. Currently in the midst of touring in support of his latest album, Hollywood's Bleeding, Malone will swing through the Pepsi Center on Sunday, November 10. Doors open at 7 for the 8 p.m. concert, and opening acts include Swae Lee and Tyla Yaweh. Admission runs $53.50 to $503.50 at altitudetickets.com.
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