Events around town this week take you far from the city — from the RiNo-based activities that explore the habitat of real rhinos, to the cat-occupied alleys of New York, to the celebrations of this planet on Earth Day, to the out-of-this-world activities of StarFest, still going strong in its fifth decade. Keep reading for the 21 best things to do in Denver right now.
Monday, April 22
No, your eyes aren’t crossed: When the denizens of RiNo plan a seven-day celebration of place, art and things to come, they call it Rhino Week. But the homonym isn’t just a play on words: The fun is mixed with awareness-raising for the plight of the rhino and other species fighting a losing battle against poachers and disappearing spaces. Things rev up with a launch party and City Nature Challenge at RiNo Made, inside Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street, where you can meet Matt Lindenberg of Rhino Week’s charity recipient, Global Conservation Corps, as well as browse wildlife-themed art and silent auction goods from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 22. Or volunteer and take off on a City Nature Challenge with Rocky Mountain Wild from 5:30 to 6 p.m. (sign up at eventbrite.com). Find a complete Rhino Week schedule and details about next weekend’s Art Safari at rinoartdistrict.org/visit/rhino-week.
Drag Queen Shirley Delta Blow will be the host with the most when Give 5 Productions' Fabaganza variety show returns to the Clocktower Cabaret at 7 p.m. Monday, April 22 (doors open at 6). A benefit for Rainbow Alley, the GLBT Community Center of Colorado’s youth division, Fabaganza promises a stellar lineup of drag, circus and musical numbers with performers including Gregory Treco, an Aurora native who starred in Hamilton on Broadway; aerialist Staza Stone from Phantom Circus; drag queen Jessica L’ Whor; The Beverly Belles, a vintage-inspired female singing trio performing numbers from their new 1960s rock show; and Shelvis, a female Elvis performer, among others. Silent and live auction items will add to the fun, and Male DJs from TH Entertainment will slowly shed clothing throughout the evening based on donations from the audience. Find out more at give5productions.com; get tickets, $20, at clocktowercabaret.com.
Tuesday, April 23
Denver’s creative community has a lot on its mind: Housing prices are steep, pay rates are low, and the city is bleeding venues. Get together with fellow artists, writers, designers, makers, musicians, photographers, fans and more to hash out what’s going on and figure out how to support one another all while having a good time, and enjoying drinks and music. Head to American Bonded, 2706 Larimer Street, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, for Creative Juices, a free meeting of the creative minds. For more information, go to the American Bonded Facebook page.
Wednesday, April 24
What’s better than Cats? No, not Hamilton — Cats! Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical based on T.S. Eliot’s charming and profound cat poems never seems to die — and why should it, when cats have nine lives? The Denver show, a re-visioning of the original, opens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the Buell at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 1101 13th Street, and continues through April 29. Tickets run $35 to $150 plus fees and can be purchased at denvercenter.org. If you’ve seen the show a million times, fear not: This one has all new choreography, lighting, sound design and direction, so the musical should appeal to both newcomers and those who were there for the first run on Broadway.
Thursday, April 25
Hey Hue, Deanne Gertner’s alternative art-marketing venture, will pop up this week with Home/Maker, an exhibit of work by local artists, mostly women, that comments on the idea of “home” and what it takes to make one. Home/Maker opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at 1432 Market Street, and will remain open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. or by appointment through May 5. The reception is free, but donations are welcome, and proceeds benefit Mercy Housing, a nonprofit providing services and housing to families, seniors and people with special needs. RSVP in advance at mercyhousing.org.
As Denver residents contemplate Initiative 300, the final, polished version of the documentary The Right to Rest will screen at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Landmark Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway. Co-directed by Sarah Megyesy and Guillermo Roqués, The Right to Rest focuses on the plight of Beloved Community Village, a tiny-house village in limbo after losing its temporary spaces in Curtis Park and RiNo. In the process, the film reveals reasons to decriminalize the city’s homeless population while providing compassionate counterpoint to current ad campaigns and op-eds against I-300. Tickets are $12 at landmarktheatres.com/denver/mayan-theatre/private-screenings, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Punch Drunk Press, a small press started by local literato Brice Maiurro in 2017, both champions the Denver poetry underground and links the city’s creatives with an online global community. Now in the hands of editor-in-chief Sarah Rodriguez, Punch Drunk Press will celebrate its second anniversary with Punchapalooza 2019, an evening of readings, live music and art on Thursday, April 25, from 8 to 11 p.m. at Tennyson’s Tap, 4335 West 38th Avenue. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 to benefit the release of the upcoming 2019 Punch Drunk Anthology; submissions are being accepted through April 30. Learn more about the birthday bash and the new book at punchdrunkpress.com.
Friday, April 26
Boldly go where thousands of enthusiastically sweaty nerds have gone before when StarFest beams back up to the Mile High for another weekend of Vulcan-eared merriment. Initially dedicated to Star Trek, the festival has embraced and encompassed the full spectrum of genre fandom over the course of its thirty-year history, and currently includes concurrent celebrations of Harry Potter, model building, real-world science, cosplaying and much more. With special guests such as Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner, it would be highly illogical for Muggles to miss out on this opportunity to mingle with their sci-fi and fantasy favorites. It all happens at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse Street, from 1 p.m. Friday, April 26, to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 28; find tickets, $25 to $175, and details at starfestdenver.com.
Thanks to seed money from billionaire music lover Pat Stryker’s Bohemian Foundation, Fort Collins has become an unlikely independent-music paradise, a destination city an hour north of Denver filled with music-themed hotels, venues and organizations. In that environment, a Colorado-focused music festival can boom, and that's certainly the case with the Fort Collins Music Experiment. The eleventh annual festival, put on by the Fort Collins Musicians Association, begins at 3 p.m. Friday, April 26, and runs through Saturday, April 27, at more than thirty venues throughout Fort Collins. FoCoMX showcases more than 350 local artists, including the Patti Fiasco, the Velveteers and Los Mocochetes, making it one of the largest Colorado-focused music fests in the state. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at coloradoboxoffice.com, where you'll also find the schedule.
The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra is dreaming big this weekend, starting with a free talk by Michael Beckerman, "Was Dvorák's American Dream...a Nightmare?" at 4 p.m. Friday, April 26, in the CASE Building Auditorium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. The action moves to Macky Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27, for the Boulder Philharmonic's The Dream of America, including Peter Boyer’s Grammy-nominated Ellis Island, monologues by seven actors interwoven with a full orchestral score and projected images from Ellis Island archives. The performance will be preceded by a free 6:30 p.m. talk by Marilyn Cooley of Colorado Public Radio, with music director Michael Butterman and Beckerman; at 9:30 p.m., Motus Theater's UndocuMonologue, with Cristian Solano-Córdova, will offer a post-concert talkback in Macky 102. Tickets to the concert start at $15; find out more at boulderphil.org.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage found the drama in fading blue-collar life in the Rust Belt for Sweat, a lens on layoffs and dying opportunities among close-knit factory workers in Reading, Pennsylvania. More than relevant in a time when red state/blue state Americans are at odds, the DCPA Theatre Company’s production of Sweat opens for a week of previews at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, and runs through May 26 in the Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex. Find details and tickets, starting at $30, at denvercenter.org.
The Denver Silent Film Festival, now in its eighth year, is an annual homage to early moving pictures by Colorado film scholar Howie Movshovitz, who has knowledge to spare as well as the right connections to reel in live accompanists. This year’s fest opens at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan’s Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, with Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail, the filmmaker’s bridge between silent film and talkies (Hitchcock filmed Blackmail in both mediums) and an excellent thriller that hints at things to come. Before the screen goes dark at the end of Sunday, April 28, you'll see everything from a Felix the Cat Saturday morning marathon to Yasujiro Ozu’s silent gangster flick Dragnet Girl. Find the complete schedule, which squeezes in every aspect of silent film, and tickets, $8 to $13 for individual programs or $110 for a weekend pass, at denversilentfilmfest.org.
Boettcher Concert Hall will resound with ringing bells and cannon fire all weekend when the Colorado Symphony presents a quartet of masterworks from the Russian classical repertoire, starting with Sergei Prokofiev's brilliant score to Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 epic Alexander Nevsky. The program also includes Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture, the "Polovtsian Dances" from Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin's opera Prince Igor, and the grand bombast of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27, with a repeat at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 28; tickets run from $20 to $99. And if you're left wanting more, stick around for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra's season-ending performance of Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major at 6 p.m. April 28; tickets are $15 to $20 (free for students and children twelve and under). Find tickets and information for both concerts at coloradosymphony.org.
Saturday, April 27
Celebrate Earth Month and become a novice naturalist, too, at BioBlitz 2019, Barr Lake State Park’s annual participatory field study of all its natural bounty, from weeds to wildlife. The event is part of an international data-collecting initiative for the worldwide City Nature Challenge, a competition to see which city or region can gather the most information in a four-day period. Get in on the counting, bird banding, guided surveys and kite festival from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Barr Lake, 13401 Picadilly Road in Brighton; you might even get lucky and see some nesting bald eagles while you’re there. BioBlitz is free, but a daily or annual Colorado State Parks vehicle pass is required for entry into the park; learn more at the BioBlitz at Barr Lake! Facebook page or cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/barrlake.
The Denver Botanic Gardens’ Chatfield Farms is a perfect backdrop for Stickwork, a show of sculptural work by Patrick Dougherty, who weaves tender saplings into larger-than-life shapes, arches and forests, which then decompose naturally over time. After the artist spent three weeks creating new pieces using chokecherry and other saplings harvested at Chatfield, 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road in Littleton, the site-specific installation opens to the public on Saturday, April 27, and remains on view for as long as nature allows. Chatfield Farms is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and admission to Stickwork is included in the gate fee of $9 to $12.50 (free for children ages two and under); learn more at botanicgardens.org.
Dr. PJ Parmar founded Mango House to assist recent immigrants with medical and dental needs as well as to provide a "shared space for resettled refugees." That space just got larger with a move from the original location to 10180 East Colfax Avenue, which has room for a big bash at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Local musicians Kuf Knotz, Los Mocochetes and Kiltro will perform at the Mango House Refugee Benefit show, hosted by Anthony Ruptak; the six food vendors who now call Mango House home will be selling their authentic fare. Admission is free, but donations are welcome; proceeds will go toward a playground for refugee children in the neighborhood. Find out more on the Mango House Facebook page.
Denver’s Wayfaring Band nonprofit provides experiential travel and learning opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the year, raising awareness and emphasizing a direct interface with the world. And so everyone is invited to join the band while supporting its mission at the
Rockabilly Roadhouse fundraiser, an all-ages, ’50s-themed shindig. Dress the part and come ready for dancing, drinking and snacking at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the fascinating Forney Museum of Transportation, 4303 Brighton Boulevard, Building 1. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages twelve and under at the Wayfaring Band Facebook page or at the door.
X gon' give it to ya, indeed: DMX, the gruff-voiced and scandal-plagued MC responsible for a series of anthemic ’90s bangers, is stopping, dropping, shutting ’em down and opening up shop in the Queen City for the twentieth anniversary of his scorching debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot. Bask in the beats, breaks and bars of nostalgic tough-guy jams when DMX joins DJ Chonz for a rap retrospective at Summit, 1902 Blake Street. Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27; admission is $32.50 in advance at ticketfly.com and $37 at the door — if tickets are still available. Get more details at summitdenver.com.
Local comedy nerds may be dutifully tuning in and tweeting about the TruTV sitcom Those Who Can't, but few would deny that the Grawlix Returns comedy show represents a silver lining for the pedagogical comedy's uncertain future. Hometown hilarity heroes Ben Roy, Adam Cayton-Holland and Andrew Orvedahl have resurrected their widely acclaimed and perpetually sold-out standup showcase at its former home at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street. Forget about the whims of mercurial television executives for one fanciful evening when the Grawlix three take to the stage at 10 p.m. Saturday, April 27, accompanied by co-headliners Brad Wenzel and Lizzy Cooperman and an as-yet-unannounced coterie of local favorites. Visit the Grawlix Nightout page for tickets, $12, and more information.
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Sunday, April 28
The Denver Art Museum is hosting its eighteenth annual Día del Niño Celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 28, with hands-on bilingual art making; performances by Comparsa Morelos (Chinelos), ARCINDA, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico, the Montbello Drumline, and the Denver Children’s Choir, along with celebrity guest readers and a book giveaway. At the bash, children can also drop off entries for the Consulate General of Mexico's Éste Es Mi México (This Is My Mexico) drawing contest. General admission is free today at the museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; find out more at denverartmuseum.org.
Scorched earth and shattered egos will abound when Sultan of Insultin' Brian Moses brings the Roast Battle back to Denver. Forged in the unforgiving laboratory of Los Angeles's renowned Comedy Store (the famous launching pad for many starry careers and site of a labor dispute that changed comedy history), the often-imitated but never-duplicated Roast Battle goes for the verbal jugular but always concludes with a jocular hug. Join Moses, along with a dais of L.A. all-stars and local favorites, when the roasters turn up the heat for a mockery marathon at the downtown Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street. Showtime is 7 p.m. Sunday, April 28; get tickets, $22, and learn more, at comedyworks.com.
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