The more important thing you will do all week is vote, but there's plenty to do after you participate in this great democracy of ours. A diverse array of plays opens this week, including updated versions of Hamlet and Tennessee Williams's The Red Devil Battery Sign. If fantasy is your thing, don't miss one (or all) of the many cons in Denver this week, from Daku Con to Rocky Mountain Con.
Keep reading for more cultural events, parties and lectures to take in this week!
Tuesday, November 6
No matter which candidates get elected or which ballot measures pass on Tuesday, November 6, you can at least have a winning evening at the Midterm Watch Election Night Party at the Denver Press Club, the country’s oldest press club. Its location in a historic building at 1330 Glenarm Place is just a few blocks from the last-second drop-off spot for late ballots; after you’ve done your civic duty, you can grab a seat at the bar or upstairs by the big TV to watch the returns, then cheer or cry in your beer. The party runs from 5 to 10 p.m. and admission is free (you pay for drinks and the pulled-pork buffet); RSVP at eventbrite.com.
Wednesday, November 7
Reel Women, a monthly screening series hosted by local comedian and cinephile Sara Hake, offers a humble yet meaningful corrective to the male-dominated showbiz paradigm by highlighting the work of female filmmakers. The show returns to El Charrito, 2100 Larimer Street, on Wednesday, November 7, with a presentation of Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's animated adaptation of Satrapi's groundbreaking graphic novel. An autobiographical account of growing up during the tumultuous and culturally restrictive Iranian Revolution, the César Award-winning film launched Satrapi's directing career, which includes The Voices, a diabolical foray into live action, and Radioactive, an upcoming biopic about Marie Curie. Celebrate women who create while watching some of the best movies ever made every first Wednesday of the month. Showtime is 7 p.m. and admission is free. Find more details by searching "Reel Women-November-Persepolis" on Facebook.
Denver’s trail-running scene keeps gaining traction, with more ultrarunners lacing up across the Front Range every year. To celebrate, Front Range runners will give their legs a rest and sit back with some of the best trail-running short films from 2017 at the 2018 Trail Running Film Festival. Screenings include Unsupported, a look at people running the 219-mile John Muir Trail; Faster, the story of Christof Teuscher's attempt to break the speed record on the Pacific Crest Trail; and Proof of Life: Pacing, the story of a runner diagnosed with a brain tumor. The festival starts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. For more information and tickets, $15, go to theorientaltheater.com.
Thursday, November 8
Greeted with critical scorn and audience indifference upon its inaugural 1975 production, Tennessee Williams's The Red Devil Battery Sign is overdue for a cultural re-evaluation. Brimming with the great American playwright's signature Southern Gothic flourishes, tragic heroines and doomed romances, the rarely performed drama examines the societal paranoia that followed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy through the prism of noir-tinged intrigue. Plot elements that Williams's detractors found far-fetched at the time (governmental collusion with a hostile foreign regime, for example) seem eerily prescient in light of today's violently absurd political climate. That perspective informs the Community College of Denver's revival of The Red Devil Battery Sign, which premieres at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 8, in the Eugenia Rawls Courtyard Theatre at the King Center on the Auraria campus, with reprise performances on select dates through November 17. Tickets, which include free on-campus parking, are $10 for students and $20 for the general public; call 303-556-2296 or visit ccd.edu for details.
To see or not to see? That's hardly the question at 5th Wall Productions' presentation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, which flips genders and cranks up the jams for an innovative spin on a stage classic. Director Thomas Gerlick breathes new life into the centuries-old tale of regicide and revenge — and offers a bit of sly meta-commentary on the Elizabethan era's all-male theatrical ensembles — by casting Alexandra Kulik in the titular role, giving audiences a whole new view into the psyche of drama's most indecisive Dane. Hamlet's adaptability is a key component of its cultural endurance, though the rest of the credit must go to one of history's most eminently quotable scripts. The production opens at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 8, at the Bakery Arts Warehouse, 2132 Market Street, with repeat evening performances through November 17 and a 2 p.m. matinee on November 18. Buy tickets, $20, and learn more at 5th-wall-productions.ticketleap.com.
Friday, November 9
Made for your inner grown-up geek, Daku Con caters to pop-culture fanatics over the age of eighteen, bringing together cosplay, anime, gaming, comic books and panels, mixed with a little kink, for a three-day convention. The locally produced event goes live at 3 p.m. Friday, November 9 — don't miss the opening-night Wizard’s Ball from 7 to 10 p.m. — and runs through November 11 at the Radisson Hotel at 3155 South Vaughn Way in Aurora. Daku Con includes panels on both Furries and canine cosplay, a Q&A with South Park voice actors, costume contests, video programs, photo shoots, Japanese Christmas songs, a Hamilton Q&A and sing-along, a drag show and more. Three-day admission is $50 at the door ($100 VIP), and day passes range from $20 to $35; see a complete schedule at dakucon.org.
You know the holidays are just around the corner when MCA Denver dusts off its serendipitous Black Sheep Friday series for another year. Act like a child when the ninth annual series starts at 6 p.m. Friday, November 9, with the Slinky Olympics, an evening of fun and games that includes Slinky stair-racing, a Slinky headband competition and, for no reason, dancing. Black Sheep Fridays continue every other Friday through January 18, with activities focusing on Mr. Rogers’s sweater-decorating, C’Rap Karaoke, the ever-popular XXX-Mas Craft Fair and more. Admission is free for members and $5 for non-members; register in advance and learn more at mcadenver.org.
Mambo across a cultural bridge to America's misunderstood island neighbor at A Night in Havana, a tuneful and tasty introduction to the new ¡CUBA! exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard. Enjoy live music, Cuban cuisine, informative presentations on the Caribbean nation's flora and fauna, and a rare after-hours peek at the evocative artifacts on display. Retreat from wintry climes on a faithfully re-created Cuban streetscape while sipping cocktails and cutting a rug from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, November 9; admission to the 21+ event, which includes a complimentary beverage, is $27 to $33 at dmns.org/cuba.
It might be a stretch to call the birth of the atomic bomb proper fodder for a rock opera, but Atomic: The New Rock Musical, written by Danny Ginges with music composed by Philip Foxman, is proof that it can be done — in this case, by singling out the story of Leo Szilard, a nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project but did not advocate using nuclear weapons as an overt act of war. With an explosive rock score and a historically accurate over-story, Atomic makes its regional premiere Friday, November 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street. Courtesy of Equinox Theatre Denver, the show is directed by Patrick Brownson, with an enthusiastic local cast. Performances continue on Friday and Saturday evenings through December 1; find tickets, $20, and more information at equinoxtheatredenver.com.
Overcoming a spiral into addiction that culminated in felony charges, jail time and rehab would be commendable enough. But Tiffany Jenkins felt compelled to chronicle her struggles with recovery and new motherhood and unwittingly became a source of inspiration — and cathartic laughter — for more than two million followers. After years as a reliable producer of viral videos and best-selling books, Jenkins is taking her oversharing act to the stage with This Show Is Awkward AF, an evening of new stories that includes the fearless honesty and irreverent wit that fans have come to expect. Experience the impropriety of sobriety at 8 p.m. Friday, November 9, when Jenkins takes the stage at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place; find tickets, $34.50 to $44.50, and VIP passes (with a photo op), $79.50, at altitudetickets.com.
The punk purveyors at the Lion's Lair will revive one of the venue's most popular events when they cede control of the ones and twos to activist, spoken-word artist and erstwhile Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra for his Incredibly Strange Dance Party! Serving up heaping sonic helpings of obscure punk, soul, surf and garage rock, Biafra's benediction also pays tribute to the Denver Film Festival premiere of Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records and provides supplemental tunes courtesy of DJ Brian Polk. Support local record stores while rubbing shoulders with a punk-rock legend when Biafra returns to the Lion's Lair, 2022 East Colfax Avenue, for a pair of 9 p.m. performances on Friday, November 9, and Saturday, November 10; find tickets, $15, and details at brownpapertickets.com.
Saturday, November 10
Since Meow Wolf announced that it would open its second facility in Denver, the Mile High City’s been immersed in immersive events, with everything from art shows to performance pieces billing themselves as “immersive.” And on Saturday, November 10, you can immerse yourself in exactly what this all means at the inaugural Denver Immersive Summit, a one-day gathering of creatives, educators and aficionados from across the field of immersive art, design and entertainment. The talks and workshops run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and include a keynote by Jenny Weinbloom, executive producer of Meow Wolf Denver, and Denver artist Lonnie Hanzon, who was doing immersive work before it was cool. All programming is at the University of Colorado Denver Science Building on the Auraria campus, and tickets are $25; find them and more information at denverimmersivesummit.com.
If cavorting with cosplayers is your cup of tea, look no further than the Rocky Mountain Con, which returns to Embassy Suites Stapleton, 4444 Havana Street, for another two-day gauntlet of geekery. Bask in panels with ink-slinging luminaries such as Larry Hama (Wolverine) and Bob Hall (Batman), wander through Artist Alley in search of new discoveries, or merely people-watch the parade of costumed characters. After all, there's no wrong way to get your con on. A festive gathering for comics-reading, anime-watching and toy-collecting fangirls and -boys of all ages, Rocky Mountain Con was founded as an effort to raise funds for victims of the Aurora theater shooting and continues to donate a portion of its proceeds to a worthy cause each year. This year's recipient is the suitably heroic Cap for Kids, a nonprofit that provides financial support and superhero encounters for children fighting cancer. The con runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, November 10, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, November 11; buy tickets, $10, and learn more at rockymountaincon.com.
Postponed last summer because of extreme structural wind damage at the Historic Elitch Theatre, the nonprofit’s Children’s Day International Film Festival is back on track, though this year it runs in conjunction with Denver Arts Week at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, where the show will go on from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, and Sunday, November 11. Different Kid Flix film blocks will screen each day; highlights include screenings of Coco and Beauty and the Beast, as well as the premiere of Steampunk Cowboy, a locally made silent film produced by Elitch Theatre and Bliss Productions, with a live appearance by Airship Iron Opal, a Loveland steampunk social group. Admission ranges from $10 per block to $50 for a two-day pass for adults at filmfreeway.com/ChildrensFilmFestival; kids ages eighteen and under get in free.
In the 25 years since the company hosted its first-ever mixed martial arts tournament in Denver, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has bulked up into one of the bloodsporting world's most successful entertainment organizations; it's also completely innovated hand-to-hand (not to mention foot-to-face and knee-to-groin) combat and accrued an estimated value of $1.5 billion. In honor of its silver anniversary, UFC Fight Night returns to the Pepsi Center from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, with a title card full of high-flying featherweights, ripped and ready to compete for glory in the octagon. Behold a barrage of fists, feet and fury in an opening match pitting Mike Perry against Donald Cerrone, followed by a bout between Yair Rodriguez and "Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung. To quote Sir Elton John, Saturday night's alright for fighting — and it's exponentially more enjoyable when someone else is taking the punches. Hurry over to altitudetickets.com to buy tickets, $25 to $150.
Painter Margaret Neumann has cast an aura over Denver’s art scene for decades, first with Colorado’s counterculture Armory Group in the ’60s — some of whose members helped found the Drop City artist commune in southern Colorado — and later as a co-op stalwart at Spark and Pirate galleries. Long represented by Rule Gallery through its many phases, Neumann also had a role as a resident resource artist in the early days of RedLine. As the nonprofit art center continues to celebrate its tenth anniversary, Neumann returns with a major retrospective, What Lies Between, curated by Simon Zalkind. A fitting tribute to an artist whose mysterious and masterful paintings dig deep into the human experience, What Lies Between opens with a reception on Saturday, November 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, and runs through January 6; an artist talk is scheduled for December 14. Learn more at redlineart.org.
Small independent dance companies compete with thousands of performing-arts groups for funding and sometimes have to settle for the dregs; regardless of how qualified they are, dance can be a forgotten art. Led by choreographer and Naropa dance faculty member Kat Gurley, Boulder’s Wild Heart Dance is fighting back with The Gift: An Evening of Dance, Food and Good Company, a benefit of its own making designed to raise awareness of the group’s fine work while also raising some dough. Attend and you’ll get a sneak peek at The Gift, a new work from the troupe, followed by a party with food and drink. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, November 10, at Block 1750, 1750 30th Street in Boulder, and the performance starts at 7. Search for Wild Heart Dance at eventbrite.com to get tickets, $35, and more information.
Get ready for your close-up: The Phone It In Film Festival returns on Saturday, November 10, sounding another call to action for local creatives. Founded at Philadelphia's Good Good Comedy Theater and franchised by Denver-based comedian Zac Maas, the festival challenges budding filmmakers to create two-to-three-minute shorts shot entirely on smartphones (though participants have plenty of leeway in the post-production process). The results are then screened for a crowd that gets larger and more enthusiastic each year. The 2018 version includes live jazz from Dizzy and the Dame, and seating is no longer arranged on a bring-your-own-chair basis, so nobody will have to sit on the ground at LFX Filmworks, 1701 31st Street. The screenings start at 8 p.m., and admission is a suggested $10 donation; visit phoneitincomedy.com to learn more.
Get ready for pointe shoes, pirouettes and pianistic prowess when Joyce Yang joins the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company to bring choreographer Jorma Elo's adaptation of Carnaval, Op. 9 to balletic life. Only the most nimble-fingered virtuosos would dare to attempt the perpetually underrated composer Robert Schumann's piece, but the Grammy-nominated Van Cliburn medalist is more than up to the ivory-tickling task. Yang will provide a soundtrack for dancers to embody Schumann's musical evocation of masked Holy Week revelers. Compositions from Philip Glass and Leos Janacek round out the concert program at a pair of performances at the University of Denver's Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 10, and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 11; find tickets, $27 to $69, and more information at newmancenterpresents.com.
Sunday, November 11
Denver author Jeff Miller has collected an army of fans for his nonfiction books, and more will undoubtedly enlist when they read his latest, WWI Crusaders, which details the efforts to feed the starving masses in Europe during the Great War. Among the many heroes you’ll meet in its pages is Denverite Maurice Pate. Appropriately enough, Miller will launch his book this Veterans Day — which happens to be the 100th anniversary of the end of the war — at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 11, at the Tattered Cover at 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Admission is free; find out more about the book at WWICrusaders.com.
Monday, November 12
The Denver Art Museum’s Dior fashion blockbuster is still a week away from opening, but here’s a prep event that will keep you covered until then: Londoner Stephen Jones — hat historian, fashion-house collaborator and milliner to Princess Diana, Mick Jagger and a raft of other stars on both sides of the Atlantic — will give a talk, "The History of Dior Hats," focusing on his work designing hats for the hallowed couturier. Jones speaks on Monday, November 12, at 6 p.m. in Sharp Auditorium at the Denver Art Museum; admission is $15 to $20 at denverartmuseum.org.
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