Summer might be over, but there are plenty of days of warmer weather left to celebrate in the great outdoors. Raise money for worthy causes — and risk a sprained ankle — at the Running of the Gays, or sip some wine and nosh to your heart's delight at the Denver Food and Wine Festival. Want more? Keep reading!
Tuesday, September 4
It seems like food festivals these days offer more than just tasty bites. Attendees expect more, and more they'll get at the Denver Food and Wine Festival, which returns on Tuesday, September 4, for six days of dining, drinking, mingling with fellow foodies and more at various locations around the city. The festival kicks off with a collaboration with the Denver Film Society for a screening of The Goddesses of Food, a 2017 documentary about established and rising female chefs and the mark they're making in the kitchen. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with food, wine and cocktails, and the screening starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; admission is $20 for DFS members and $25 for non-members and includes food and drinks. Find tickets at denverfilm.org and more information about the Denver Food and Wine Festival at denverfoodandwine.com.
Wednesday, September 5
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Comedy Works Denver is on a mission: to find the best new faces in comedy in the state. In that vein, it's hosting the New Faces Contest, which whittles down more than 100 comedians to just one grand prize winner. The contest continues at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 5, with the Wild Card Round, in which the runners-up from the first round compete for the last two spots in the semi-finals. The blood-bash of laughs goes down at the downtown Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street, and tickets are $14 at comedyworks.com. See Andrea Vahl, Ben Duncan, Dylan Dean and more in action — and may the best funny guy or gal win!
Thursday, September 6
Former Sie FilmCenter programmer Ernie Quiroz brought CineLatino — an idea he first tested while coordinating film programs at the Phoenix Art Museum — to Denver when he arrived in 2013. With the support of the Denver Film Society, what began as a film series blew up to become a full-fledged festival, one that continues to thrive in 2018. The CineLatino Film Festival opens its fifth season on Thursday, September 6, and runs through Sunday, September 9, at the Sie, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, with a slew of premieres, comedies, dramas and documentaries from the pan-Latin universe and even a ¡Viva Kid Films! program for families; it begins with a 7 p.m. screening of Constructing Albert, a documentary that follows renowned Spanish chef Albert Adrià (brother of Ferran) in and out of the kitchen. Tickets range from $10 to $12 per program to $70 to $85 for a full-access pass. Find a complete schedule and reserve seats at denverfilm.org.
Immersive theater is all the rage right now, possibly because modern audiences tired of being dumbed-down by the Internet are looking for head-on experiences. Enter Broken Bone Bathtub, in which a naked woman in a bathtub pours out the subtext of her journey from trauma to healing after a serious bike accident upends her life. It does, indeed, take place au naturel in a real bathtub in a real bathroom, with the audience standing in for friends sharing a tale of pain and redemption. The production, presented by immersive artist Lonnie Hanzon’s Enchantment Society, opens with shows at 7 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, and runs through September 23 in the Lakewood Glens neighborhood, at a location that will be revealed to ticket holders the morning of their chosen performance. Tickets are $36; get yours at brokenbonebathtub.com.
Friday, September 7
Feast your eyes on all the shiny things Earth has to offer at the Colorado Mineral and Fossil Show, Friday, September 7, to Saturday, September 15, at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center, 15500 East 40th Avenue. Vendors will be on hand with minerals from around the world, brilliant gemstones, meteorites, moldavites and museum-quality fossils. Buy in small quantities or wholesale — or just do some window shopping. The show is free to attend, but ready your wallet for some meteor-sized dents. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday for wholesale shopping and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for retail, with varying hours on Sunday and closing day. For details, go to coloradomineralandfossilshows.com.
Furniture looking a little dated? Bathroom in need of a redo? Head to the Colorado Fall Home Show, where more than 250 vendors will offer the latest in home renovation and sustainable living — as well as furnishings for every room in your home — from Friday, September 7, to Sunday, September 9, at the Colorado Convention Center. Interior designers will be available to answer questions and give advice at free forums held throughout the weekend. The show goes from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors. Find more information, including a list of vendors and a forum schedule, at coloradogardenfoundation.org.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and its own rebirth in a new location, the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council returns to its roots with A La Reconquista: Homage to La Chicanidad in Denver, an exhibition of works inspired by pioneering Colorado Chicana artist Carlota Espinoza, whose mural “A Tribute to Three Mexican Heroes” adorned Corky Gonzales’s Crusade for Justice headquarters in the ’60s. Show participants include veteran CHAC artists Meggan De Anza and Carlos Frésquez, gallery co-founder (and show curator) Carlos Santistevan Sr., santero Frank Zamora, street artist Josiah Lopez and painter Alejandra Lujan. See it during an opening reception at 5 p.m. Friday, September 7, at CHAC’s new digs, 222 Santa Fe Drive, or catch up with the show through September 28. Search "CHAC Gallery-Denver" on Facebook for more information.
KGNU Community Radio will host its annual CD and Record Sale on Friday, September 7, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Denver Open Media headquarters, 700 Kalamath Street. It’s the perfect place to find used records and discs to beef up your collection — or if you’re looking to get rid of some CDs and vinyl, call 303-825-5468 to arrange a donation for the sale. When you're done shopping, head outside to the street party KGNU is throwing from 6 to 9 p.m. to celebrate fourteen years of broadcasting on AM channel 1390 in Denver; festivities will include a performance by the funk band Wild Love Tigress. For more about this free event, go to kgnu.org, and don’t forget to bring money to shop!
While the Unseen Festival, a showcase for experimental film from around the world, is up and running daily through September, fest satellite location Peralta Projects, 747 Elati Street, will host an independently curated companion program: Solares: Eight Experimental Films by Colectivo Los Ingrávidos. After Unseen organizers invited Esteban Peralta, who runs the garage gallery, to show films by the Colectivo — a group of Mexican filmmakers whose work is so politically sensitive that they release it anonymously — he decided to produce this side program, which opens at Peralta on First Friday, September 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. If you like what you see, come back on September 25 for a one-night-only Unseen Festival screening of the collective’s masterpiece, The Sun Quartet (visit counterpathpress.org for more information). Solares screenings are free; learn more at peraltaprojects.com.
Leave it to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company to present a classic musical with a twist: In the hands of new company artistic director Chris Coleman, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! gets a 75th-birthday makeover with an all-black cast. Choreographed by Dominique Kelley, who previously danced in La La Land and Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk, the fresh production opens at 7 p.m. Friday, September 7, at the Stage Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and runs through October 14. Find showtimes and tickets, starting at $35, at denvercenter.org
Saturday, September 8
As it crosses the Mile High City, the High Line Canal serves as both a historic reminder of this area’s agricultural past and proof positive of its current status as a recreational mecca...a very pet-friendly recreational mecca. From 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 8, Dogs & Donuts will put some bite in that reputation when pets and their owners gather at mile marker 56, 16000 East Centretech Parkway in Aurora, for a community celebration complete with coffee, doughnuts and Santiago’s breakfast burritos to fortify you for taking your pooch along a two-mile loop around the historic DeLaney Community Farm. The free event is hosted by the High Line Canal Conservancy; find out more at highlinecanal.org/dogs-donuts.
An annual gathering that's endured for 29 years, the Friendship Powwow and American Indian Cultural Celebration is one of the Denver Art Museum's oldest and proudest traditions. A tribute to the richness of American Indian cultural heritage, the free program will entertain visitors with Native art, drum circles and a competition of nimble dancers. Nibble on tasty fry bread while perusing the DAM's permanent collection of American Indian art, or participate in one of many hands-on activities. The powwow begins at 10 a.m. and wraps up around 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 8. Find out more at denverartmuseum.org.
The Running of the Gays, a riotous fundraiser for LGBTQ+ youth empowerment programs, might be the shortest race you’ve ever seen, but the sporting event, which demands that racers run for three blocks in stiletto heels, is also side-splitting good fun, whether you participate or cheer from the sidelines. This year’s event gets under way at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 8, in front of Ace Eat Serve, 501 East 17th Avenue, and ends with an after-party at X Bar, 629 East Colfax Avenue, that includes mimosas, goody bags, T-shirts and professional foot massages for registered runners, plus poetry readings, a drag show and gag awards for all. Race registration (or just a T-shirt, if you’re not up to making a fool of yourself in heels) is $40, and spectating is free. Learn more and register at artfromashes.org/rotg2018.
Feel like kissing summer off with a road trip? All the better if your chosen destination is Trinidad, where the ArtoCade extravaganza and 100 art cars, or "movable sculptures," from across the country will take over the sleepy, arty southern Colorado town on Saturday, September 8. Festivities get going at noon with a parade, followed by a “cartist” meet-and-greet (including international art-car superstar Harrod Blank, this year's King of ArtoCade) and an evening CarDango costume gala in downtown Trinidad ($20 at the door). The whole thing wraps up on Sunday, September 9, with a pancake breakfast and art-car farewell from 8 to 11 a.m. Learn more at artocade.com.
The expanded 2018 Crush Walls might be entertainment enough as artists work on murals along the streets and alleys of RiNo the first week of September. But on Saturday, September 8, from 5 to 9 p.m., Crush will also give a nod to Denver authors and poets by hosting Lit Crawl Denver, a local offshoot of the national Litquake Foundation initiative, at various art-district locations. More than thirty writers representing At the Inkwell, BookBar, Colorado Humanities, F-Bomb, Lighthouse Writers Workshop and Regis University’s Mile-High MFA program will read in RiNo galleries, businesses, wineries and pocket parks, and it’s all free. Find information and a complete Lit Crawl schedule at litquake.org/lit-crawl-denver.
Angela Astle’s Athena Project celebrates women in the arts during a dedicated festival each spring. But the project doesn’t stop there: Athena events, like this month’s production of Sarah Bierstock’s Honor Killing, pop up year-round to remind us that women have a huge voice in every discipline. Honor Killing, the story of a New York Times reporter overcoming political obstacles to investigate the honor killing of a Pakistani woman, debuted during the 2017 Athena Project Plays in Progress development series; now it's hitting the stage in polished form, beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, September 8, in the Elaine Wolf Theatre at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 South Dahlia Street, and continuing through September 30. For tickets, $15 to $25, visit athenaprojectarts.org.
Have you noticed that spicy perfume in the air lately? It’s the smell of chiles roasting, and that means it’s time for the folks in Denver’s Westwood community to rev up the roasting drums (filled with chiles harvested from the local community garden), along with artisan vendors, food trucks, live music, kids’ activities, a pepper-eating contest and an art exhibit, for the annual BuCu West Chile Fest. This year’s cultural street festival, which will also present a nicho installation in collaboration with Denver Botanic Gardens, runs from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 8, in the vicinity of 3738 Morrison Road. Admission is free; learn more at bucuwestchilefest.com.
Sunday, September 9
Celebrate marijuana and the counter-culture it inspires during the Joint Smoke Shop's second annual Cannabis Culture Carnival in Fort Collins. This afternoon and evening of games, music and food will feature a live performance from Afroman as well as over a dozen pot-centric carnival games. Food trucks, giveaways, live glass-blowing and local music will go on all day, with plenty of opportunities to win pipes, bongs, vaporizers and more. Check it out for free from noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 9, at the Joint Smoke Shop, 2427 South College Avenue, Fort Collins. Learn more at the event's Facebook page or by calling the Joint at 970-482-0441.
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The hundred or so years after the birth of masterful composer, conductor, songwriter and television presenter Leonard Bernstein has been especially blessed with a bounty of great music, thanks to the late maestro's prolific and consistently delightful career. The Colorado Symphony, led by conductor Brian Buerkle, will pay tribute to the great American composer with a free performance of classics from Bernstein's illustrious repertoire, including the overture to Candide, "Fanfare" for the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy, selections from West Side Story, and many more. Celebrate Bernstein's centennial with the Colorado Symphony on Sunday, September 9, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Levitt Pavilion, 1380 West Florida Avenue. Admission is free, though an RSVP is requested, and VIP passes are available for $30. Find details at levittdenver.org.
Many Colorado charities have hit hard times; Project Careaoke is here to help cure that. A brand-new, all-volunteer organization, Project Careaoke plans to sponsor karaoke-themed events on behalf of underfunded nonprofits. First up: a Sunday, September 9, benefit for the Denver Actors Fund, which offers help for members of the theater scene. The program, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m., includes a friendly competition among musical-theater performers who have all received DAF assistance; there will also be a live-painting exhibition with Hayley Steiner, a silent auction, and a concert by Float Like a Buffalo at 9 p.m. It all goes down at the Venue, 1451 Cortez Street; tickets are $12 ($15 day of the event) at projectcareaoke.org.
Monday, September 10
Just a day after after the hungry-for-victory Denver Broncos open their season against the Seattle Seahawks, the team will open Mile High Stadium, 1701 Bryant Street, to Denver diners hungry for food, booze and NFL stars. On Monday, September 10, Taste of the NFL will welcome more than thirty of the town's top eateries (Mister Tuna, Beast + Bottle and Stoic & Genuine are just a few), which will take the field from 7 to 9 p.m. to offer unlimited food and drinks to ravenous diners. Current and former players will be mingling (and resignedly accepting your sports analyses and coaching advice); cheerleaders and chefs will also be on hand. Tickets start at $100, with proceeds benefiting Food Bank of the Rockies; purchase yours at ticketmaster.com.