There's plenty on this week's calendar to stimulate your mind, body and soul. First up is the Conference on World Affairs, a symposium that brings social justice and world politics to Boulder. The Women + Film Festival at the Sie FilmCenter highlights the work of female auteurs, and the Paper Fashion Show will be a treat for your eyes (no paper cuts!). Find all that and more on our list of the city's 21 best events.
Tuesday, April 9
The University of Colorado Boulder’s Conference on World Affairs keeps rolling in its 71st year, bucking funding woes to bring a five-day symposium on everything in the world, from social justice and world politics to the arts and sciences to Boulder in 2019. More than 100 local and international guests and speakers will sit on panels, deconstruct movie screenings, deliver lectures and perform live at 200 mostly free events. It’s mind-boggling, but navigable with online help from a complete schedule app; learn more about the conference, which runs from Tuesday, April 9, through Saturday, April 13, on the CU Boulder campus, and accessing the app at colorado.edu/cwa.
Women are in the spotlight at the Sie FilmCenter’s growing annual Women + Film Festival, a welcome product of the Denver Film Society’s commitment to celebrate diversity through its offerings. In 2019, the six-day fest presents sixteen programs around film by and about women, beginning with a Tuesday, April 9, opening-night screening of Knock Down the House, a documentary about four women — Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paula Jean Swearengin and Amy Vilela — who are tipping the apple cart in social and gender politics, and ending on Sunday, April 14, with To the Stars, an empowering coming-of-age story. Find a complete schedule of films and events, as well as tickets, starting at $12.50 (opening-night tickets are $20 to $25), at denverfilm.org/women-plus-film-festival.
Old-school aficionados were finally "Paid in Full" for their 23 years of patience when Erik B. and Rakim reunited at long last in 2016. After boldly deviating from the simple rhyme schemes that dominated late-’80s rap, the duo recorded a quartet of critically acclaimed albums before calling it quits in 1992. The two sharpest lyricists of hip-hop's first golden age return to Denver with a party-rocking performance at the Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway in Englewood. The show starts at 9 p.m.Tuesday, April 9, and tickets are $43.50 to $79.50; learn more at gothictheatre.com.
Wednesday, April 10
Brits are known for their dry sense of humor, which might explain why a group of English architects who championed raw-concrete construction in the 1950s named the style the very unsavory "brutalism." While the mode fell out of favor by the ’80s, it's back in vogue and can be seen locally in such buildings as the Clyfford Still Museum, which will host "Brutalism Tamed: An Architectural Reading of the Clyfford Still Museum" from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 10. Bob Nauman, a professor in the Department of Art and Art History at CU Boulder, specializes in architectural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and will be on hand to discuss the museum and the inspiration for its design; find tickets, $10 to $15, and more information at clyffordstillmuseum.org.
Thursday, April 11
Do you know your Biggie from your 2Pac, your Wu-Tang Clan from your Tribe Called Quest, your East Coast from your West Coast rappers? Show off your knowledge of hip-hop from 1990 to 2010 at the Wild Corgi Pub, 1223 East 13th Avenue, during Can I Kick It? Hip-Hop Smart Mouth Trivia, which will crown the king or queen of hip-hop (at least in Denver). The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, and freestyling wizards can even compete in an MC battle at the end of the night; find more info at facebook.com/playsmartmouthtrivia.
Friday, April 12
Paper dresses were a thing in the swingin’ ’60s, but they were throwaway fashion and probably inconvenient in a rain shower. One Club for Creativity’s annual Paper Fashion Show, now in its fifteenth year, puts a whole new artistic spin on the concept: Teams of designers and artists have created more than fifty stunning gowns for this year’s event out of paper that’s been cut, curled, slit, fringed, folded, glued and otherwise transformed into drop-dead gorgeous fantasy costumes and elegant attire. Marvel at human ingenuity when paper-clad models take to the runway on Friday, April 12, at the Hangar at Stanley, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora; doors open at 5:30 for cocktails, and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $105 at paperfashionshow.com, with proceeds benefiting Downtown Aurora Visual Arts.
Three might be the charm when Delia LaJeunesse and Noah Kaplan of Stain’d Arts and Danny Mazur of Soul Stories team up for a third and final round of Liminal, an epiphanous storytelling series with a core of self-discovery, sometimes achieved the hard way. For Liminal: Expectations, eight storytellers will recount their experiences with expectations, beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Find more information and tickets, $15, at the event's Facebook page.
Rocky Mountain Storytelling has a few decades of old-fashioned yarn-spinning under its belt, quietly putting on its annual workshops and family-friendly shows. The 2019 Story Seeds Conference and Concert brings a bit of both to the American Mountaineering Center, 710 Tenth Street in Golden, including performances by seasoned members of the network. The story concert starts at 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, and the touted Story Slam competition gets under way at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13. Tickets for each are $15, or $45 for a family of four or more; get yours and read up on the lineups at rmstory.org.
You don’t need to hold your horses until the National Western Stock Show gallops back into town next January. Rodeo’s elite will return to Denver for the Rodeo All-Star Weekend, two days of bronc riding, barrel racing, bull riding and mutton bustin’. The first round of semi-finals runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 12, followed by a concert with country superstar Chase Bryant and an after-party (all included with a $45 ticket); the action continues on Saturday, April 13, with more semi-finals at 2:30 p.m. and the finals at 7. The events are centered in the National Western Events Center, and tickets start at $25; for a complete schedule and more information, go to rodeoallstar.com or call 866-464-2626.
If you think magic is just for kids, you haven't seen the Illusionists in action. This group of rotating magicians, who each specialize in a different branch of magic, puts on a show that would impress Houdini, so bring your imagination and prepare to be wowed. The Illusionists — Live From Broadway will be at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex for three days; performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 12; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13; and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14. Find tickets, $30 to $105, and more information at denvercenter.org.
Saturday, April 13
Take a spin on Record Store Day! Shops around the country will be celebrating on Saturday, April 13, but Twist & Shout has something very special in store: KBCO Studio C Groove Show Volume 1, seven new songs on vinyl from the KBCO Studio C archive. Every year, the legendary radio station handpicks a variety of songs from artists who donate their time and talent for its annual Studio C release; this limited-edition LP includes tracks recorded over the past two decades by Warren Haynes, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler and John Butler, among others. You’ll want to be at Twist & Shout, 2508 East Colfax Avenue, by 8 a.m. to get yours; the record is $20, and proceeds benefit Take Note Colorado, the statewide initiative to provide musical instruments and instructions to all K-12 students.
As the snow continues to fall, mountain resorts have been extending their ski season — but while Eldora is now looking at an April 21 close, its Annual Pond Skim remains scheduled on Saturday, April 13. Pond skims — where skiers and boarders try to launch themselves over a very chilly pool at the bottom of a slope — are fixtures at most mountains, but this one is conveniently close to town. The Pond Skim is open to anyone eight or over with a lift ticket (a bargain at the end of the season) or pass; sign-up is at 9 a.m., and the contests, which include best costumes and best wipeout, begin at 10 a.m. Then the real party gets started, with live music by Onda from noon to 3 p.m. at 10 Barrel Snow Beach; find more information at eldora.com. After all, life’s a beach.
Independent comic artists both local and national have their day with the return of the Denver Independent Comics & Art Expo, aka DiNK 2019, which turns four this year with a three-floor indie-centric blowout at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Along with such special guests as animator Ralph Bakshi, underground comix pioneer Denis Kitchen, Foxtrot creator Bill Amend and podcaster Travis McElroy, more than 250 comic and graphic-novel artists, zine-makers, publishers and other niche vendors will be manning booths at the event, which also offers lectures and programming ranging from a Bakshi tribute screening to a dog cosplay contest. DiNK opens at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. VIP) on Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14. VIP passes and upgrade packages vary in price; find those, plus general admission tickets, $15 to $25 (free for kids ages seventeen and under) in advance at dinkdenver.com.
The Denver Flea is dead. Long live Fetch Market! You heard right: The popular event has upgraded to a new name and a modern look that sheds the flea label. The two-day Fetch Spring Market, chock-full of wares from hundreds of vendors, debuts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at the Coors Field Parking Garage, 2701 Blake Street in RiNo. The $5 entry fee, good for both days, gets you access to piles of stuff, including artisan foods, T-shirts, handmades and home decor, as well as live music, food vendors, craft beers and pop-up cocktail bars. Fetch your ticket in advance at eventbrite.com and learn more at thisisfetch.com. Next on the horizon? Watch for the brick-and-mortar Fetch Shop, scheduled to open in May at the Dairy Block.
The cult of coffee runs deep among foodies, who will catch a buzz at Coffee Fest: A Celebration of Coffee and Culture, a two-day sipping extravaganza from the Flatirons Food Film Festival and Erie Coffee Roasters that includes a screening of the documentary Caffeinated, tastings, lectures, demos and esoteric pastimes such as a latte art workshop and a coffee painting exhibition by artist Craig Peterson. From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 13, the fest will be at the Arts Hub, 420 Courtney Way in Lafayette; it continues from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at Erie Coffee Roasters, 3000 Airport Drive, Hangar #307, in Erie. Admission is $15 daily or $26 for the weekend (free for kids twelve and under); bring your own mug and receive a $1 rebate or ticket discount. Learn more at flatironsfoodfilmfest.org.
The folks at eat/drink/work space Improper City, 3201 Walnut Street, are putting their faith in Colorado weather by kicking off patio season with the Improper City Can Fest, a celebration of canned beer from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. Taste the liquid gold (and all the other beer colors) pouring from more than twenty craft breweries across this great canned-beer nation while enjoying live music, patio games, food trucks and live-art creations that you'll be able to vote on. Get tickets in advance at eventbrite.com; general admission is $30, but $45 will land you a VIP pass that includes a food voucher, door swag and early admission. Don't procrastinate: Tickets go up by $5 if you wait to buy them at the door.
When you put booze in an oak barrel and forget about it for a few months or years, something magical happens: You can sell it for several times the price! Save some money by skipping the pricey bottles; instead, taste vintage libations from 22 distilleries and 14 breweries at the Barrel Aged Beer & Whiskey Festival on Saturday, April 13. Your $49 ticket, available at eventbrite.com, will get you unlimited samples from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Number 38 event center, 3560 Chestnut Place. For $20 more, you can start tasting at 2:30, or go VIP for $89 to enter at 2 p.m., get a special VIP-only cocktail, and go home with an engraved rocks glass. To attend the festival, you must have been aged for at least 21 years yourself (hopefully not in an oak barrel).
If the creative possibilities of this universe aren’t enough, head to the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13, for Live From the Multi-Verse, an all-ages showcase of artists involved with FreeMusicforFreePeople. FM4FP, a community organization that gives artists opportunities to express themselves, will host a who’s-who of Denver’s underground music scene, including Lady Gang; Reed Fox; Definitely, maybe; Twin Flame Medicine; and Smiley Gatmouth. MO SPKX will host the show, and Random Temple will provide the soundscape. A $5 to $15 donation is suggested, and $20 gets you a T-shirt; for tickets and more information, go to fm4fp.com.
Sunday, April 14
Twice a year, all hell breaks loose in the record-collecting community, bringing vinyl-hoarders and the overly obsessed out of the woodwork to peruse the Denver Record Collectors Expo, a pop-cultural tradition that’s been peddling collectors’ items in Denver for more than 25 years. This year's spring spectacular opens for business at 10 a.m. sharp on Sunday, April 14, at a new location: the Radisson Hotel at 3155 South Vaughn Way in Aurora. Admission at the door is a mere $2. Get more info at the Denver Record Collectors Expo Facebook page, then swing your sharp elbows into the collectors’ melee.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Denver’s 2019 mayoral race has gotten crowded with hopeful politicos of the more traditional sort, but Wheelchair Sports Camp star and upstart activist Kalyn Heffernan’s campaign as an official candidate is totally for real, with a slate of entertaining and purposeful events planned to gather her fans. Heffernan’s Kalyn4Mayor Battle of the Bands: Pay2Play Politics will go overboard for the cause by delivering an all-star group of performers, including Venus Cruz, Felix Fast4ward, Church Fire and Tammy Shine, who'll get political in a contest judged by comedians Josh Blue, Christie Buchele and Chris Fonseca. Politics was never this much fun; join in at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at the hi-dive, 7 South Broadway. Tickets are $10 in advance at ticketfly.com and at the door.
Monday, April 15
Green space is increasingly hard to find in this growing city, which is why a new park should be celebrated. You can do just that from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday, April 15, when the RiNo Art District and Denver Parks and Recreation break ground on RiNo Park, 1930 35th Street. Learn more about the future park — which will benefit the surrounding neighborhoods, including Globeville and Elyria/Swansea — while meeting city brass and indulging in light refreshments; neighborhood haunts Mockery Brewing and Great Divide Barrel Bar are even offering buy-one-get-one beers after the ceremony! What have you got to lose? Find more information at the event's Facebook page.
In order for an event to be considered for 21 Best, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or 969 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203.