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The dead come alive at the Día de los Muertos Celebration/First Friday Art Walk.
The dead come alive at the Día de los Muertos Celebration/First Friday Art Walk.
Courtesy of Art District on Santa Fe

The 21 Best Events in Denver, October 30-November 5

This year, Halloween lovers were blessed in a way: The holiday falls on a Wednesday, meaning the weekends on either side of October 31 are fair game for celebrations. There's plenty of spooky stuff to do this week, as you'll see in our events calendar, but there's plenty of non-holiday-themed happenings to keep all you Halloween haters happy, too. Keep reading for more!

Tuesday, October 30

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Although most Civil War battles took place east of the Mississippi River, the 1860s were still a turbulent decade for Denver, which was losing its male population to the war and experiencing both natural and man-made disasters. Learn more about that tumultuous time from those who were there — or illusions of them, anyway — when magical entertainment duo Anthem and Aria present Three Ghosts: A Theatrical Seance at 10 p.m. Tuesday, October 30, at Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway. As its name implies, the evening will include a seance and a retelling of three ghost stories from back-in-the-day Denver; the proceedings will be sufficiently spooky to require that attendees sign a waiver. Celebrate Halloween the real way (and for only $15); only twenty tickets are available for Three Ghosts, so buy them now at anthemandaria.wellattended.com.

Wednesday, October 31

Yarn-bombing is by nature a community activity, and a decidedly underground one at that. But it’s also a harmless and beautiful form of street expression that invites participation. That’s the basis for Yarn-fiti: A Community Takeover, a participatory exhibit opening on Wednesday, October 31, and running through
November 21 in the Canyon Gallery at the Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder. Produced in part through a series of in-house knitting workshops, the show consists of tapestries of sewn-together squares and other knit-crochet work made by community members. Tear down the walls! Learn more at boulderlibrary.org/featured/yarn-fiti.

Come one, come all: The Denver Film Festival returns on Wednesday, October 31, for eleven days of cinema magic that have put the Mile High City on the map for production companies looking to make a splash with their newest offerings. The festival begins at 8 p.m. at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House with a screening of The Favourite. Starring DFF darling Emma Stone, the film takes viewers back to eighteenth-century England, where a distressed Queen Anne looks to her companion Lady Sarah to help with her duties. Sarah recruits her cousin Abigail (Stone), who tries to noodle her way into upper-crust society. The film festival continues until November 11 with screenings at various DFF-participating venues around town; find a full schedule, festival passes and tickets to individual screenings at denverfilmfestival.org.

Thursday, November 1

Día de los Muertos, a holiday dedicated to people who have passed on, has been celebrated in Mexico for over 3,000 years, but it’s just beginning to pick up speed in Denver, where there will be Day of the Dead festivities along the Front Range all weekend. Get a quick tutorial in the tradition when Aurora’s Office of International and Immigrant Affairs, in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Center, presents a Día de los Muertos celebration from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, November 1, at the People’s Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue. In addition to the altars remembering the dead, there will be music, food and drinks, face-painting and a workshop conducted by Adrian Marban on how to make felt Catrina dolls. Admission is free; find out more at mccdenver.org.

On its surface, Stephen Karam’s The Humans is a classic family drama in which generations, from the independent daughters to their grandma in the throes of dementia, gather for a Thanksgiving dinner that deconstructs into a human disaster. But the Tony Award-winning dramedy’s immediacy — unveiling a world where it’s hard for young people to get a leg up financially and older generations are running out of opportunities — is what makes it so interesting. Curious Theatre Company, 1080 Acoma Street, brings The Humans to its well-respected local stage beginning with a preview at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 1, appropriately aligning with the Thanksgiving season for a run through December 22. Find showtimes and tickets, $20 to $50, at curioustheatre.org.

In an era when lawmakers are deliberately trying to restrict or roll back civil-rights protections for LGBTQ citizens, Elise Forier Edie's The Pink Unicorn resonates in a profound way. The heartstring-tugging tale zooms in on a deeply religious widow struggling to support her teenage daughter, a blossoming genderqueer activist who bristles against the restrictions of life in small-town Texas. The award-winning play comes to Colorado in a stunning adaptation directed by Susan Lyles and anchored by a powerful solo performance from Missy Moore. Presented by And Toto Too Theatre Company in coordination with Next Stage NOW, The Pink Unicorn premieres at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 1, with reprise performances every Thursday through Saturday until November 17, at 1245 Champa Studio, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. For tickets, $22 to $25, and more information, visit andtototoo.org or call 720-583-3975.

Shortly after her 2013 late-night appearance on The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson, Cameron Esposito was hailed as "the future of comedy" by no less an authority than fellow guest Jay Leno. Following subsequent appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang!, Maron and We Bare Bears, Esposito has become a big name in the comedy world; she'll bring her Person of Consequence tour to the downtown Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street, from Thursday, November 1, to Saturday, November 3. An outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community, Esposito is fearless in her on-stage performances and off-stage activism, endeavors that fuse with her Queery podcast and her 2017 special, Rape Jokes (released for free online with a prompt to donate to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network). Esposito's latest hour is more on par with her prior album, Same Sex Symbol, and Marriage Material special, so expect plenty of cutting insight among the charm and wit. Showtimes vary; visit comedyworks.com to buy tickets, $20 to $28, and learn more.

Friday, November 2

How are you spending your Day of the Dead this year? Two art districts, 40 West in Lakewood and the Art District on Santa Fe, and three anchor galleries — Pirate: Contemporary Art to the west and the Museo de las Americas and the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council on Santa Fe Drive — are throwing First Friday celebrations on November 2 that highlight the holiday’s custom of welcoming one’s ancestors. Led by Pirate, 7130 West 16th Avenue in Lakewood, where the gallery’s Day of the Dead show of community altars — a thirty-year tradition at its old spot on Navajo Street — is on display through November 11, 40 West’s Colfax Art Crawl & Día de los Muertos Celebration will go district-wide with more themed exhibits, Aztec dancers, piñatas and face painting from 5 to 9 p.m. On the 200 to 1200 blocks of Santa Fe, there will be more of the same for a Día de los Muertos Celebration/First Friday Art Walk, including face-painting stations, a procession and a Catrina costume contest, from 4 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit the 40 West Arts District and Art District on Santa Fe Facebook pages.

In the past year, The Bindery, 1817 Central Street, has established itself as one of the most creative eateries in Denver — and one of the few places we know of where you can always find rabbit on the menu. And on Friday, November 2, the kitchen is celebrating its first birthday with an epic dinner party. Starting at 6 p.m., apps will start coming out of the kitchen as a live band takes the stage. Tickets, $125, are on sale at eventbrite.com; if you don't want to commit to a full meal (why not, though?), show up between 3 and 6 p.m. for a community happy hour, with complimentary apps and the bar's excellent cocktails for sale.

Eager to hop onto the Yuletide train, even before Thanksgiving? The Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show serves up an early helping of Fezziwig-worthy festivities from Friday, November 2, to Sunday, November 4, at Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue. Fill your family's stockings at a gift gauntlet boasting 450 different vendors and displays that offer one-of-a-kind jewelry, toys, antiques, clothing and various crafts sure to delight anyone on your Secret Santa list. (Speaking of whom, guests can enjoy a photo op with a fully bearded Father Christmas.) With cooking demonstrations, a model-train display by the Denver Garden Railway Society and an amble through Hammond's Candy Wonderland sweetening the considerable shopping deals, the show is a ring-ting-tingly way to welcome the holiday season. Get details, including hours, and tickets, $11.50 to $15.50, at coloradochristmasgiftshow.com.

The Globeville Riverfront Art Center, commonly known as GRACe, has been buzzing with activity ever since RiNo’s Wazee Union met its demise in the name of redevelopment and its many art-and-entrepreneurial studio denizens regrouped in the Globeville warehouse. It’s still in the neighborhood, but as organizers put it, a new event called AXIS is designed to “collapse boundaries” and increase public awareness of the growing concerns of residents who live north of I-70. The GRACe artist collective Bloc Presents is teaming up with curator Corianne Wells of Odessa Denver for an open house with legs, combining artist "speed dating," large-scale installations, 2-D work, food trucks and live music into one big First Friday celebration on November 2. If you haven’t experienced GRACe yet, here’s a perfect opportunity: The super-charged fun runs from 6 to 10 p.m. at 888 East 50th Avenue. Learn more at studiosatgrace.com.

Boulder’s Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance has been footloose and fangs-y free with vampiric themes for a long time, making a connection between bloodsucking mayhem and soaring through the air with silky ropes in acrobatic twists and turns. This year’s nod to the Halloween season comes in the form of an All Souls/Vampires Masquerade Ball in the Dairy Arts Center’s MacMillan Family Lobby, with dark excerpts from FFAD’s fan-favorite Theatre of the Vampires performed in the Dairy's Gordon Gamm Theater. Along the way, enjoy a costume contest and photo ops with a hearse and coffin, all demonically sponsored by Crist Mortuary & Mountain View Memorial Park. The ball runs for two nights — Friday, November 2, and Saturday, November 3 — starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Dairy, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder; admission is $40 in advance at thedairy.org. Learn more at frequentflyers.org.

It's been nearly a century since a treaty brought an end to World War I on November 11, 1918, and in the intervening years, few works of art have managed to honor the fallen without tacitly glorifying combat. Benjamin Britten's War Requiem is a shining exception to that militaristic framework. The composition emphasizes the tragedy of warfare by weaving the impassioned verses of pacifist poet Wilfred Owen (himself a WWI veteran) into the liturgy of a traditional Latin mass for the dead. Commissioned to commemorate the reopening of a cathedral destroyed by German bombs, Britten's War Requiem brims with the ethos of a staunch conscientious objector while making a stirring musical argument that wars amount to nothing but a senseless loss of life. Join conductor Brett Mitchell as the Colorado Symphony honors the upcoming centenary of Armistice Day with three performances of Britten's masterful plea for peace at Boettcher Concert Hall, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 2, and Saturday, November 3, with a 1 p.m. matinee on Sunday, November 4. Visit coloradosymphony.org to buy tickets, $15 to $89, and learn more.

Visiting Roe Green artists — translator Diane Rayor and artist and mask-maker Jonathan Becker — teamed up with director Tamara Meneghini, musician/composer Jesse Manno and students at the University of Colorado Boulder Department of Theatre & Dance to produce a world-premiere adaptation of Euripides’s Hecuba with an ancient look and a modern take. “Hecuba is a journey into something very unfamiliar, into a world that's not really known,” says Meneghini. “That's why I do theater. I like to be transported to somewhere else. For audiences, it's something a little different, and you're going to walk out thinking about things a little bit differently.” Hecuba opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 2, in the University Theatre on the CU Boulder campus and continues on select dates through November 11; find details and tickets, starting at $20, at cupresents.org.

Get down with Breakin' Convention.
Get down with Breakin' Convention.
Belinda Lawley

Saturday, November 3

The brain- and body-child of U.K. hip-hop-theater pioneer Jonzi D, Breakin’ Convention returns to the Denver Performing Arts Complex with an international scope and some of the best crews and companies not just from around the world, but from Denver’s own thriving hip-hop scene, as well. Groove to the moves beginning with a free 303 Jam — a hodgepodge of performances, workshops and an interactive graffiti display by Denver street artist Chris Haven — on Saturday, November 3, from 1 to 5 p.m. inside and outside the Buell Theatre, and come back from 7:30 to 10 p.m. for Breakin’ Saturday performances. Live art and music resume at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, November 4, with the day's main performance taking place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $45 daily at denvercenter.org; learn more at breakinconvention.com/denver.

Over the past year, the Navajo Street Art District has lost many of the arts enterprises that made the 3600 block of Navajo one of the hippest spots in town. But the Bug Theatre remains, which is reason to celebrate. And that’s just what you can do on Saturday, November 3, at the 24th annual Save the Bug Theatre Fundraiser, an extravaganza that includes entertainment by Freak Train, the Emerging Filmmakers Project and Equinox Theatre Company, along with standup comedy, burlesque, a silent auction and a bake sale. Doors open at 6 p.m. at 3654 Navajo, and the show starts at 7:30; tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the Bug, which reminds you: “We don’t want to turn into condos, either.” Find out more at bugtheatre.info/calendar.

When Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata premiered at Venice's Teatro La Fenice opera house in 1853, it was greeted by a chorus of scandalized critics. In the centuries henceforth, however, Verdi's adaptation of Alexandre Dumas's La Dame aux Camélias — a semi-autobiographical account of the author's affair with the notorious courtesan Marie Duplessis — has become a staple of the operatic repertoire, breaking and emboldening the hearts of audiences around the world. Verdi's masterpiece comes to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House for a quartet of stirring performances, at 7:30 p.m. November 3, 6 and 9, and 2 p.m. November 11. The opera is sung in the original Italian but includes English and Spanish subtitles. Buy tickets, $25 to $225, and learn more at operacolorado.org.

Join a bunch of real swingers at the Five Points Stomp, a “meet-the-scene ball” on Saturday, November 3, at the Savoy at Curtis Park, 2700 Arapahoe Street. Newbies needn't be nervous; you can get in the mood with tasty cocktails and a basic swing lesson hosted by Swingin’ Denver instructors at 8:30 p.m., then be ready to step out when Jeremy Mohney & His Big Four take the floor at 9. The music and merriment will continue until midnight. General admission tickets are $15; get them at swingindenver.com.

Sunday, November 4

The singers of Cantabile are celebrating thirty years of choral excellence by doing what they do best: lifting their voices in song at a pair of anniversary concerts. A 45-member vocal ensemble known for stirring interpretations of classical choral works as well as gospel, folk and jazz standards, the Cantabile singers hail from different backgrounds, age groups and experience levels, yet they never fail to cohere in glorious harmony. The concerts, which kick off Cantabile's 2018 season at Boulder's First Congregational Church,1128 Pine Street, will also honor pianist Stella Pradeau's twentieth year with the company. Music lovers have two opportunities to join the tuneful party — at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 4, and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 9. Admission is $5 to $15 in advance at cantabilesingers.org, or $20 at the door.

Eileen Roscina Richardson's new work will be on display at Archives as Muse: Orphan Films.
Eileen Roscina Richardson's new work will be on display at Archives as Muse: Orphan Films.
Courtesy of the artist

After a successful Art as Muse symposium a year ago, Denver nonprofit ArtHyve, an organization dedicated to documenting the work of Colorado creative communities, is bringing back the event, this year with a film-based theme in a partnership with the concurrent 2018 Denver Film Festival. Archives as Muse: Orphan Films centers around the notion of home movies as a source for growing creative ideas, and will highlight new work by juried local artists Serena Chopra, Kasey Ferlic, Lares Feliciano, Esther Hernandez and Eileen Roscina Richardson. International Home Movie Day founder Snowden Becker will also be in the house to deliver a keynote address, and a dance party will wrap up the event, which runs from 7 to 11 p.m. Sunday, November 4, at the McNichols Building. Admission is $5 for a lot of information and new insights; learn more and reserve a seat at denverfilm.org.

Monday, November 5

Everyone’s a winner at Charity Ham-Bingo on Monday, November 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Hamburger Mary’s. That’s because this edition of Drag Queen Bingo, aka Ball Bustin’ Bingo with Mona Lott, benefits Words Beyond Bars, a nonprofit that encourages reading and discussion in Colorado prisons; over the past eight years, it’s introduced programs at six facilities, serving both incarcerated men and women. Hamburger Mary’s is located at 1336 East 17th Avenue, and admission is free, though you’ll have plenty of chances to fork over cash for bingo cards ($10 each), snacks and Jell-O shots. Find event details on the Words Beyond Bars Facebook page, and learn more about the charity itself at wordsbeyondbars.org.

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