For the cultured (or wannabes) among you, there's no time like the present to immerse yourself in art, film and everything in between. JAAMM Fest, a celebration of Jewish cultural phenoms, returns this week, as does the Denver Oddities & Curiosities Expo. The legendary Mel Brooks will be in Denver to discuss his classic Blazing Saddles, and the Sie FilmCenter will dive into Alejandro Iñárritu's Birdman. All that and more are in this week's 21 best events calendar!
Tuesday, October 2
History buffs will have a ball at the Center of the American West’s An Evening With Ken Burns, an on-stage interview with the celebrated documentarian by the center’s main brain, Patty Limerick. Burns, this year’s CAW Wallace Stegner awardee, will discuss his contributions to the American canon through series exploring such historical subjects as the explorations of Lewis and Clark, the genesis of our national parks system and the hardships of the Dust Bowl. Learn from a master on Tuesday, October 2, at 7 p.m. in Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. Tickets are $6 to $12 at centerwest.org.
Wednesday, October 3
Start your morning with Mozart at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, where the Coffee Concerts series with pianist Jeffrey Siegel continues on Wednesday, October 3, with a program of sonatas that demonstrate Siegel’s expertise on the keys. A knowledgeable lecturer as well as a piano virtuoso, Siegel offers brief but informative introductions, giving listeners valuable context for the performances. Tickets for the 11 a.m. show are $17 and include complimentary refreshments. Aficionados can also join Siegel at 7:30 p.m. for Keyboard Conversations: Music From the Time of War 1914-1918, when he’ll perform works by Ravel, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev (tickets are $29 to $35). Visit arvadacenter.org for tickets and more information.
If the recent publication of his heartbreaking (and heartwarming) memoir, Tragedy + Time, or the full season of Those Who Can’t episodes in the can are any indication, it’s safe to say that nearly all of comedian Adam Cayton-Holland’s considerable successes have been hard won. A former Westword scribe who went on to appear on Conan, The Late Late Show With James Corden and Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents, record three standup albums and start the High Plains Comedy Festival, Cayton-Holland has been a steadfast supporter of the local comedy scene throughout his career. Support the comic who helped put Denver comedy on the map while laughing the night away when ACH headlines the Comedy Works Downtown, 1226 15th Street, on Wednesday, October 3, at 8 p.m. Visit comedyworks.com to buy tickets, $15, and learn more.
Thursday, October 4
Eager for some civilized discussion of the issues in next month's election? Head to Our Lady Mother of the Church, 6690 East 72nd Avenue in Commerce City, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 4, for the 2018 Election Colorado IAF Assembly.The Industrial Areas Foundation, a network of congregations, unions, schools and nonprofits, is hosting the non-partisan gathering to discuss education funding, affordable housing, humane immigration, refugee policies and more; candidates for governor and attorney general have been invited and will be asked to support the CO-IAF agenda — if they appear, that is. But there's no excuse for you not to show up and get ready for November 6: Register at tinyurl.com/COIAF-Oct4Reg.
Movies envelop viewers in the stuff of life, but we don’t always comprehend the depth of what we’re watching; sometimes a little background is necessary. With that in mind, Metropolitan State University philosophy professor Adam Graves will dig up the roots of Alejandro Iñárritu's Birdman at a screening and lecture that will dive into the Raymond Carver story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” a minimalist’s take on thinking originally expounded by Plato that is central to the Academy Award-winning film's plot. The program, titled "Birdman and Philosophy: Love, Madness and Immortality," will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 4, at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; learn more and get tickets, $12 to $15, at denverfilm.org.
JAAMM Fest sticks to the diversity on display in its acronym, which stands for Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music. In 2018, JAAMM Fest goes gracefully in all those directions and more, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 4, with a keynote speech by Oscar-winning director and Denver native Bryan Fogel (Icarus, 2017) at the Elaine Wolf Theatre, 350 South Dahlia Street (tickets are $20 to $125). The lineup also includes performances by local dance troupe Wonderbound, a screening of last year's documentary about violinist Itzhak Perlman, a concert with modern klezmer innovator David Krakauer and a book talk with clips by Simpsons writer Mike Reiss — and that’s just a smattering of what’s on the roster. JAAMM Fest runs through November 18 at the Wolf Theatre and satellite locations throughout Denver. Find a complete rundown of events and ticket prices at jccdenver.org.
In a fast-growing city like Denver, developers might focus more on their bottom dollar than on the good of the community. But the team behind S*PARK — Sustainability Park, a new residential development at 25th and Lawrence streets — is forging ahead with a plan that pays homage to the plot’s original purpose as a testing ground for sustainable practices by including green amenities, with a solar community garden and a working urban farm integrated into the project. In the same vein, S*PARK will host Local Home Colorado, a showcase of local makers and businesses offering home wares, furniture, art, clothing and food products, on Thursday, October 4, through Monday, October 7, inside one of the development’s condo units. Times vary and admission is free; learn more at the Local Home Colorado Facebook page.
Friday, October 5
Artist Frankie Toan’s boundless imagination took a side trip from gallery walls when he came up with the idea for the interactive murder-mystery game/scavenger hunt he calls A Simple Lie. Though he’s mounted the concept on a smaller scale in the past, this fall Toan is throwing it open to the public via the Internet for a pre-Halloween run of three weeks. Here’s the plan: Register in person at a one-night-only event on Friday, October 5, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Vertigo Art Space, 960 Santa Fe Drive, and choose one of five roles (Toan suggests pulling together a team of five). The first set of clues will be released within a day, with subsequent releases on October 10 and 17. Final accusations are due October 24, for a chance to win a mystery grand prize. Game for this game? Get more information and register ($15, or $60 for a group of five) at asimplelie.com.
The early evenings of fall are fertile ground for mischief and mystery, and the Denver Zoo is seizing upon the spooky charms of October twilight for Enchanted Hollows, a moonlight amble through the grounds' increasingly skeletal trees. Spectacles include a gallery of illuminated jack-o'-lanterns, a pumpkin-carving demonstration and the immersive "Woodland Hollow" path. However, Enchanted Hollows isn't just a feast for the heebie-jeebies; guests can also partake in an array of seasonally themed cuisine, beers, wines and cocktails and visit trick-or-treat candy stations on October 26 and 27. Enchanted Hollows opens from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, October 5, and continues on select dates through October 27. Get an early start on the Halloween season: Find tickets, $12 to $18, and more information at denverzoo.org/events/enchantedhollows.
Take a bloody bite out of local history at Cannibal! The Musical!, a tuneful and mostly true account of the only American ever convicted of cannibalism, Alfred (aka Alferd) Packer. A student film that eventually blossomed into a cult classic, the early effort from Trey Parker and an uncredited Matt Stone (creators of South Park and The Book of Mormon) was adapted for the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, is mounting a production of the gleefully irreverent show just in time for the year's most ghoulish month. Mining laughs from a grisly tale of pioneer-era hardships was an early sign that the two CU students were destined for greatness. Cannibal! The Musical! premieres at 7 p.m. Friday, October 5, and returns every Friday and Saturday through October 27. Visit bugtheatre.info/cannibal to buy tickets, $20, and learn more.
The Arvada Center's Black Box theater begins a new season on a high note with Willy Russell’s Pygmalion-esque Educating Rita, the enduring tale of a blue-collar housewife and hairdresser’s return to school and subsequent affair with a disillusioned professor. The cherry-picked two-person cast will be aptly filled by local favorites Emily Van Fleet and John Hutton. Educating Rita opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 5, at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; shows run Wednesdays through Sundays through November 11. Find information and tickets, which start at $45, at arvadacenter.org/educating-rita, or sign up for a four-week behind-the-scenes salon and October 25 performance by calling 720-898-7200.
Embark on a voyage that melds expressionist lighting and set design, a compelling original score interpreted by the Colorado Symphony, and a captivating narrative that reckons with life's most perplexing questions at A Light in the Void, a marvel of storytelling that starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 5, at Boettcher Concert Hall. The production stars Hana Hayes as a young woman grappling with an existential crisis who turns to the methodical ways of science for answers. Co-starring Troy Baker and spotlighting cello soloist Tina Guo, A Light in the Void is presented in conjunction with the University of Colorado and counts the California Institute of Technology's Maria Spiropulu, the University of Birmingham's Alice Roberts and CU's own Carolyn Porco among its prestigious consultants. Visit the Colorado Symphony's box-office page to buy tickets, $15 to $89, and find more details.
Tap into centuries of wonder as age-old fairy tales come to life at the Colorado Ballet's production of Sleeping Beauty. Choreographer Marius Petipa thoughtfully interprets Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's adaptation of the timeless tale, which is replete with the Russian master's most indelible music. Originally published by French folklore collector Charles Perrault in the 1600s, the story of a slumbering damsel awakened by the kiss of a dashing prince may be overshadowed by the Disney film it inspired, but the Sleeping Beauty ballet stands out even amid Tchaikovsky's illustrious repertoire. The Colorado Ballet Orchestra will provide a fitting soundtrack for the company's dancers; performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 5, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, and continue through October 14. Visit the Colorado Ballet events calendar to buy tickets, $30 to $155, and learn more.
Summer might be gone, but the temperature will rise at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place, when the hunky guys of Magic Men Live! visit on Friday, October 5. The male revue is touring around the West and claims to be "interactive," meaning that ladies are allowed to "dance, sing, scream, let loose" and get hands-on. Let your imagination run wild with that last suggestion! Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $17.49 to $49.99 at altitudetickets.com.
Saturday, October 6
As artists flee the city looking for better studio deals, new art districts are forming to bring arts cachet to overlooked communities. Case in point: the Derby Art District in Commerce City, a two-studio concern hoping to attract more artists to the northern reaches of metro Denver. This weekend’s Art in the Derby will celebrate the new designation and introduce the public to Derby’s grassroots revolution with a family-friendly blend of art displays and vendors, a Derby history exhibit, make-and-take crafts, open studios and a good look at the Magnolia Street Art Space, 6600 East 74th Avenue in Commerce City. Come see what Derby’s all about on Saturday, October 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more at derbyartdistrict.com/derby-art-fair.
If Halloween season brings out the weird in you, the annual Denver Oddities & Curiosities Expo — a national fair specializing in real bones, taxidermy, wet specimens, macabre art and other bizarre items from dozens of local and national vendors — is a must for your annual spooking-hour shopping spree. Sideshow performances will fill out the day on Saturday, October 6, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue. Snake in a bottle, anyone? Tickets are $10 at givebacktickets.com or at the door (no charge for children ages twelve and under). For more information, go to odditiesandcuriositiesexpo.com.
The new Museum of Boulder continues its mission of interactivity at Handmade@The Muse/Letterpress Edition, an atypical hands-on museum activity that involves getting up close and personal with Boulder-centric historic printing plates. Look through early-twentieth-century plates from the museum’s Daily Camera collection, and then Carolyn Sweeney of Black Dog Press will teach letterpress basics and provide the equipment and materials you’ll need to produce a set of six DIY postcards. Attend the workshop on Saturday, October 6, from 10 a.m. to noon at 2205 Broadway in Boulder; the registration fee of $25 to $30 includes materials, snacks and museum admission. Sign up and learn more at eventbrite.com; find general museum information at museumofboulder.org.
Comedy genius Mel Brooks might be 92, but he hasn't lost the outrageous sense of humor that birthed such ’70s comedy classics as The Producers, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, all of which still raise a chuckle — or maybe more of a belly laugh — among cult-film nerds young and old. If you count yourself in that group, lucky you: Brooks will be at the Bellco Theatre, 700 14th Street, on Saturday, October 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. for Mel Brooks Live: Back in the Saddle Again!. The show includes a screening of Blazing Saddles and a conversation and audience Q&A with the man himself. That’s a lotta Mel. Find information and tickets, starting at $49.75, at axs.com.
Sunday, October 7
It wowed them in Dubai. Ibiza. Amsterdam. And now it's coming to Denver. The All Day I Dream party series began on a Brooklyn rooftop back in 2011; since then, it's grown to an international sensation, spurred on by Lee Burridge’s emotive soundscapes and sets that provide a perfect backdrop for the hypnotic, melancholic shades of house and techno by artists ranging from Öona Dahl to Newman. But that's not all that promises to make this special event so dreamy. It starts at noon on Sunday, October 7, in Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, a pretty dreamy spot itself, and throughout the day there will be a host of immersive experiences, including art and yoga, as well as culinary treats to keep you going until the dream fades at 10 p.m. Get tickets, $29.50 to $35 in advance, at livenation.com or axs.com, or at 888-929-7849.
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You can’t approach the Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building without noticing "Big Sweep," the monumental sculpture of a dustpan and broom by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen that graces the museum plaza. Now you can get a more comprehensive look inside the minds of the artists by wandering through Claes Oldenburg With Coosje van Bruggen: Drawings, a new exhibition opening at the museum on Sunday, October 7, that includes pre-sketches of "Big Sweep" and other studies by the duo. “The drawings in this show demonstrate Oldenburg’s agility and wit with his loaded line,” says curator Julie Augur. The show runs through January 6 at the DAM, and admission is included in the general entry fee of $8 to $13 (free for members and those ages eighteen and under). Visit denverartmuseum.org for more information.
Monday, October 8
The goofy New York-based musical duo Polygraph Lounge takes pride in its madcap, self-deprecating songwriting. With Rob Schwimmer on piano and theremin and Mark Stewart on guitar and cello, the group offers a multi-instrumental maniacal show that will surely leave audiences rolling. The duo breaks down its creative methodology in the song “Paper Bag Writers": "Drink a beer, write the song, then go take a piss.” The results are at once sophisticated and downright stupid — in the best way. Polygraph Lounge plays at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 8, at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Tickets, $20 ($18 for Dairy members), are available at thedairy.org.
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