Winter might have slapped us in the face a bit, but lest the crazy weather make you forget that it's definitely still fall. Celebrate the spooky season at any number of events this week, including Pumpkin Nights Denver, Boo at the Zoo or the Denver Botanic Garden's Ghost in the Gardens tour. Keep reading for plenty of fall and not-fall-at-all events on this week's calendar!
Tuesday, October 16
Back in 2002, Jake Adam York, a gifted poet and professor at the University of Colorado Denver, started the school-backed Copper Nickel literary journal as a serious student-produced publication with national reach. The magazine went on hiatus after York’s death in 2012, only to rise again in the hands of poet Wayne Miller, who will preside over the Copper Nickel Launch Party for Issue 27, which includes a splendid cover by Denver photographer Kristen Hatgi Sink, on Tuesday, October 16, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at K Contemporary, 1412 Wazee Street. The free party includes readings by Elaine Feeney, Conor O’Callaghan and Jessica Traynor, a trio of Irish poets with work in the new issue, as well as guest artists Sink, Rebecca Berlin, Daisy Patton and Mario Zoots. Copies of Issue 27 will be available for $10; learn more on the Copper Nickel’s Facebook page.
Wednesday, October 17
Looking for a family Halloween spectacular? Pumpkin Nights Denver, a national attraction, is coming to Colorado for the first time this year. It's a massive, after-dark, light-strung crazy layout of carved-pumpkin lunacy, with eight separate pumpkin-themed lands constructed from more than 3,000 cucurbits and intricately carved jack-o’-lanterns. But that’s not all: Once you’ve wandered through the site, you'll find a fire show, carving demos, scavenger hunts and a screening of Coco, not to mention food trucks and seasonal beverages. Pumpkin Nights runs from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. nightly from Wednesday, October 17, to Sunday, November 4, at the Adams County Fair and Regional Park Complex, 9755 Henderson Road in Brighton. Find info and tickets, $12 to $60 (kids under three get in free; discounts apply after 8 p.m.), at pumpkinnights.com.
Thursday, October 18
A pioneer in Denver’s immersive-performance explosion, Tara Rynders began seeking creative ways to connect a multi-disciplinary spread of artists with the public — face-to-face, in an environment without social walls — as a dancer, and then, starting in 2011, with You & Me, a touring, site-specific interactive performance. Later, Rynders created The Clinic, a similar performance and community-dining experience with a theme of mind/body healing, inspired by her work as a registered nurse at Rose Medical Center. Picking up where that left off, she’s back with an updated version of The Clinic: First, Do No Harm, a storytelling adventure wrapped around the caregiver-patient relationship that explores “loss, love, life and death” in the hospital environment. Be ready to move and be moved. First, Do No Harm runs Thursdays through Sundays October 18 through 28, at 7 p.m. nightly at Rose, 4567 East Ninth Avenue; comfortable shoes are recommended. Tickets are $35 at brownpapertickets.com.
The Denver Public Library is always scouting new neighborhoods; RiNo could be one of them, which explains why the library-less area has become a satellite location for DPL outreach programs, particularly those with an artsy edge. For the Halloween season, the library’s Chris Gyorgy will host a campy, culty Beautiful Monster Film Presentation: From Hell It Came, at home-accessory mall Modern Nomad, housed in the shell of the long-gone Empire Theatre at 2936 Larimer Street. The film rolls at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, and will be served up with movie-house goodies and Crema coffee; admission is free, but registration is recommended in advance. Learn more about this and other DPL RiNo pop-up events at denverlibrary.org/rinopopup.
Giving a damn and getting a laugh need not be mutually exclusive. After taking a one-month hiatus between the abdication of founder Cody Spyker and newly minted host Caitie Hannan, eTown Comedy Live will roar back to gut-busting life at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 18. Sprinkling some levity on eTown Hall's 25-year legacy of socially conscious broadcasting will be mirth merchants Michael Seyedian, Geoff Tice, Gabby Gutierrez-Reed and headliner (and Fine Gentleman) Sam Tallent. In addition to the rib tickling, there will be noshes and tipples at one of the Front Range's most sustainably delightful venues. eTown Hall is located at 1535 Spruce Street in Boulder; buy tickets, $10, and find out more at eventbrite.com.
Friday, October 19
Back in 1969, a group of sci-fi fans gathered to create an event that would promote reading and writing science fiction. Over the next five decades, the volunteer-run con grew into the biggest sci-fi/fantasy/horror celebration in the Rockies. This weekend, MileHiCon 50 will celebrate reaching fifty with a program that spotlights more than 100 science fiction/fantasy/horror authors, artists and other celebs, many of them favorite guests at past cons. The festivities include over 200 programs, as well as round-the-clock gaming; a vendors' room full of science fiction-, fantasy- and horror-related items; and a cosplay contest, critter crunch (robotic sumo wrestling) and critter floatilla (yacht race). All MileHiCon activities are at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, 7800 East Tufts Avene; doors open at noon on Friday, October 19, and again at 9 a.m. Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21. A three-day membership is $50 at the door, where you can also get daily passes; full weekend memberships can be purchased in advance at milehicon.org, where you'll also find a complete schedule. Con one, con all!
Latino/a designers will be in the spotlight when the Museo de las Americas unveils Latin Fashion Show: Written in the Stars, a stylish fundraiser with heavenly ties to the museum’s latest exhibit, El Infinito, which connects images from modern space science with symbols from ancient Aztec cosmology. Dress up in semi-formal garb, enjoy the exhibit and the fashion, and shop for jewelry and clothing by local designers on Friday, October 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Museo, 861 Santa Fe Drive; food vendors will have delectable eats and drinks to fuel you through the evening. Get info and tickets, $15 to $40, at eventbrite.com.
During the day, the Denver Botanic Gardens is a sunny and cheerful place to park yourself for a relaxing day in paradise. But once the sun goes down, it can be another story entirely — a very dark story, since the Gardens top what was once a cemetery. Curious? The DBG’s Ghosts in the Gardens tours will spill all kinds of ghostly lore as you explore spooky pathways, beginning Friday, October 19, and running twice nightly at 6:30 and 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October 28. Venture to 1007 York Street if you dare; tours are for adults and children ages twelve and up. Find details and scare up some tickets, $27 to $31, while they last, at botanicgardens.org.
Historians and musicologists have been theorizing for centuries, but no one knows for sure why Franz Schubert never completed his Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, a groundbreaking composition. The composer's "Unfinished Symphony" is the centerpiece for a series of concerts by the Colorado Symphony, led by guest conductor Carlos Kalmar and spotlighting horn soloist Michael Thornton. Other works span continents and generations, ranging from Morton Gould's "Spirituals for Orchestra" to Reinhold Glière's Concerto for Horn in B Flat major, Op. 91, and Richard Wagner's "Prelude to Die Meistersinger." Unravel a musical mystery with the Colorado Symphony at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Friday, October 19, and Saturday, October 20; both of those shows are at 7:30 p.m., and there's a 1 p.m. matinee on Sunday, October 21. Get tickets, $15 to $89, and more details at tickets.coloradosymphony.org.
Sashay away from outdated gender constructs at Drag Eye for the Straight Guy, an evening of wonder that transforms five stereotypically heteronormative dudes into glamorous queens of the stage. A dolled-up riff on the recently revived Queer Eye, the stage show pushes its titular straights even further out of their comfort zones with pageant-ready makeovers, challenges such as strutting the catwalk in high heels and evening gowns, and a spotlight-stealing lip-sync contest. Join emcee Nuclia Waste along with the good-natured and admirably game contestants as they vie for the title of "Miss Bear to Make a Difference" at 8 p.m. Friday, October 19, at the Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 East First Avenue. Admission is $50, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Tickets are selling out fast, so make haste to buy yours at ticketfly.com.
Expect all kinds of weird, with a side of va-va-voom, at Carnivale de Sensuale: Illuminati, touted as a naked and carnivalesque paean to “secret societies, conspiracy theories and all things dark and macabre.” The troupe will offer two completely different performances with headliners BonBon Bombay, Tigger and Red Rum on Friday, October 19, and Saturday, October 20, at 8 p.m. at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue; tickets start at $25 for general admission, with VIP and two-night options up to $50. They're certain to sell out, so reserve a seat now at theorientaltheater.com.
Saturday, October 20
For an impressive 34 years, Boo at the Zoo has been Denver's favorite way to dig up some seasonal family-friendly fun. Outfitted with trick-or-treat stations and a gauntlet of activities and entertainments for youngsters, the Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele Street, is transformed into a Halloween wonderland populated by costumed characters. Starting on Saturday, October 20, readers can shudder through "creepy-crawly" animal demonstrations and reward themselves with candy and a stroll through the zoo's inviting grounds, which are particularly lovely beneath a canopy of changing leaves. Boo at the Zoo returns on Sunday, October 21, and again on October 27 and 28; it opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. each day. Assemble a costume — the organizers request no masks or fake weapons — and then head over to the Denver Zoo box office to buy tickets, $14 to $20, and learn more.
The HSBC World Rugby Women's Seven Series is coming to Infinity Park at 4599 East Tennessee Avenue in Glendale on Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21. During the two days of matches, a dozen national women's rugby sevens teams, including several 2016 Rio Olympians and recent World Cup Champions, will compete to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. A single-day pass for all the action you can handle is just $15; find the complete schedule at usarugby.org.
The always-stretching Wonderbound dance company is transported to the swamplands of Louisiana for Wicked Bayou, a world premiere filled with Creole and Cajun regional storytelling and lore. Accompanied by sonic collaborations by the Widow’s Bane, an eerie throwback band in the DeVotchKa vein that’s perfected the zombie polka, the performance takes the stage on Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21, at the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue in Parker, and October 26 through 28 at the Performing Arts Complex at Pinnacle Charter School, 1001 West 84th Avenue. Find showtimes and tickets, $22 to $50, at wonderbound.com.
Party like it's 1699 at an Evening of Baroque Performance and English Country Dance, a collaboration of the Sémplice Baroque Quartet and Best of Denver dance caller Chris Kermiet that invites every guest to participate in bringing centuries-old traditions to toe-tapping life. The quartet, which lovingly interprets Baroque-era compositions on such period-appropriate instruments as the harpsichord, lute and viola da gamba, provides an ideal soundtrack to move-by-move instructions from Kermiet, who has 35 years of experience in this rare field. The party starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 20, at Highlands United Methodist Church, 3131 Osceola Street. Visit semplicebaroque.com to buy tickets, $20, and find out more.
Sunday, October 21
Chef Shellie Kark, whose Fresh City Life cooking series at the Denver Public Library was a fan favorite, is cooking up a new instructional food series in RiNo. For her first course, Kark will host Cider House Rules Culinary Demo, a workshop on how to cook your way through the harvest season with ciders and ales, complete with recipes and, yum, samples. The demos run at 10:30 a.m. weekly on three Sundays — October 21, October 28 and November 4 — at Cultivated Synergy, 2901 Walnut Street; the successive sessions include instruction on making beer-battered veggies and appetizers, using ales in preparing shepherd’s pie, and topping pots de creme with a cider reduction, respectively. Admission is free, but registration is required in advance at denverlibrary.org/rinopopup.
Often called "the viola of love," the beguiling viola d'amore may superficially resemble fellow members of the viol family, but its seven additional strings imbue the instrument with an uncommonly sonorous warmth while challenging the dexterity of even the most nimble-fingered virtuoso. The Colorado Chamber Players continue the celebration of their 25th anniversary season with Salzburg and Venice: That's D'Amore!, a concert of Baroque and modern compositions that demonstrates the range and beauty of the rarely played instrument. Fall in love with the viola d'amore at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 21, at Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Park Road, or at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 24, at the McNichols Building,144 West Colfax Avenue. Visit coloradochamberplayers.org to buy tickets, $12 to $18, and learn more.
The crew at Buntport Theater never does ordinary, and proves it once again with the creative ensemble’s Retro Family Dinner Fundraiser. Chef Andrew Forlines will tell jokes and prepare an old-fashioned dinner spread that will be served by the Buntporters themselves, before they sit down at the table to commune over chow with you. The evening begins with cocktails at 5 p.m. Sunday, October 21, at Buntport, 717 Lipan Street, and runs through 8 p.m. with entertainment, a chef demo and whatever else Buntport has up its sleeve. Seating is extremely limited, so snap up your $85 tickets in advance at buntport.com.
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It’s that time of year when you can’t even go to a literary reading without getting in costume, but then, imagination counts in both fashion and fiction. Dress up and catch up with local lit maven Hillary Leftwich, who'll host At the Inkwell's Bring Out Your Dead — Poetry Night with such notables as Akusua Akoto, Eric Baus, Catch Business, Alexandra Jackson, Julia Madsen and Nico Wilkinson, some of whom will be reading from recent or forthcoming publications. You can get in on the act, too, in a costume contest that's open to everyone; the audience will decide the winner. (With a little luck, everyone won’t show up dressed as a pauper poet in a garret.) At the Inkwell begins at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, October 21, at BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street; admission is free. Learn more at attheinkwell.com.
Monday, October 22
Forty years ago, the Gang of 19 challenged the Regional Transportation District for equal access to buses for the disabled...and won. Learn about their fight at ADA 101: What It Is and Why We Care, a program that includes a panel of arts enthusiasts/advocates with disabilities and a screening of the Rocky Mountain PBS documentary The Gang of 19: ADA Movement. The event, which starts at 1 p.m. Monday, October 22, at Rocky Mountain PBS, 1089 Bannock Street, is free, but an RSVP is required at artofaccessdenver.com.
The Wit Theatre Company, already known for its sloppy-drunk Shakesbeer performances, will kick off the Act V Radio Hour, a new series of live radio plays with a Halloween offering of the Bard’s Macbeth at 7 p.m. Monday, October 22, at the aptly named People's Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue, which brings local theater and dance performances to downtown Aurora. Be a part of the live audience and see how classic radio dramas were made; RSVP in advance via the Brown Paper Tickets link on the Act V Radio Hour Facebook page. Admission is free.