Love is in the air, but you certainly don't have to take a whiff if you don't want to. We have plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine's Day in Denver — or distract yourself from that most wretched day (depending on who you ask). Keep reading for the best things to do in Denver this week!
Monday, February 10
Part of what makes Denver Film so special is that instead of bringing in whatever movie some national chain thinks is profitable, on-the-ground programmers make decisions — sometimes controversial ones — about what films deserve to be on the silver screen. Inside the Programmer’s Mind will give fans exactly that: a peek inside the thinking of Denver Film's programmers, who will follow specific screenings with discussions of why they decided to champion the film shown. On Monday, February 10, Denver Film Festival Artistic Director Matt Campbell will discuss why he picked Krisha, the story of a woman who returns to a family she once abandoned. Screenings and talks will start at 7 p.m. at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; tickets are free for Denver Film members, $5 for their guests, and $7 for the general public; get yours at denverfilm.org.
Tuesday, February 11
Always wanted to grow your own cannabis but haven't learned how? The Cannabis Sustainability Lighting Workshop is a free course in sustainable lighting techniques for cannabis and how they stack up with local building codes. Representatives from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, LivWell dispensaries and several growing technology companies will speak and hang around to answer questions starting at 1 a.m. at Vicente Sederberg, 455 Sherman Street. Light breakfast will be served, so an RSVP is requested on Eventbrite.
Podcasts rule the world, so no one would blame you for wanting to start your own. Learn the basics of audio editing and conceptual sound design at a free workshop hosted by House of Pod, Colorado's first podcast incubation hub, on Tuesday, February 11, starting at 6 p.m. House of Pod intern Lizzie Goldsmith will dive into the basics of Adobe Audition, including everything from file organization to setting up multi-track sessions, basic editing, managing workflow and more. Bring your laptop! House of Pod is at 2565 Curtis Street; find more information at houseofpod.org.
Fun fact: Back in 1974, Denver hosted the first foosball world championship. That might be why Foosballers, a new documentary that chronicles the history of underground table soccer and follows six of the world’s best players as they get ready for the Tornado World Championships, is screening at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, on Tuesday, February 11. Players Todd Loffredo, Cindy Head and Robert Mares, who participated in the film, will be on hand (no pun intended) to discuss the sport. The action starts at 7 p.m.; find tickets, $7 for members and $12 for everyone else, at denverfilm.org.
Wednesday, February 12
During this centennial celebration of women's suffrage, the History Colorado Center is hosting the speaker series "Bold Women. Change History." At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12, New York Times best-selling author and human-rights advocate Carol Anderson will get bold as she discusses her book, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, which outlines the history and politics of disenfranchisement up to today. Her talk, in the Anschutz Hamilton Hall at 1200 Broadway, will be followed by a Q&A and book signing. Tickets are $25, or $15 for History Colorado members ($10 students); find out more at h-co.org/boldwomen.
The sudden and tragic death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter accident on January 26 stunned not only the sports world, but many people who came of age during Bryant's dominant tenure with the L.A. Lakers. The team will take on the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, February 12, giving local fans and those who want to pay their respects a place to commune and grieve while watching the game and the team that Bryant loved so much. Doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets start at $75 at altitudetickets.com. The Nuggets will always be Denver's team, but that night, we'll all be Lakers.
Thursday, February 13
Celebrate Valentine's Day early without a date on Galentines Day, a female-identifying-only event full of food, swag, activities and weed inside the beautiful International Church of Cannabis, 400 South Logan Street, on Thursday, February 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. The pot-friendly party will be an intimate one, so spots are limited. Register (21+) on Meetup for free.
America, what took you so long? It wasn’t until 1919, more than 130 years after the United States Constitution officially became the law of the land, that the 19th Amendment was signed and women won the right to vote. The League of Women Voters, which formed not long after that, is celebrating its centennial this year, and the Arvada Center is chipping in with a year of related programming, starting with a free party: On Their Shoulders We Stand: Centennial Kickoff Celebration, an evening of looking back and forward, with sash- and button-making, music and cocktails. Be a modern-day suffragette and raise a glass to advances in gender equality on Thursday, February 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada. Learn more and RSVP at arvadacenter.org.
Planning a solo Valentine's Day? That could change if you head to Grandma's House, 1710 South Broadway, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 13, for Introvert Speed Dating. Yes, it's open only to (self-identifying) introverts, who will be provided a list of introvert-friendly conversation prompts (no small talk required). And then there's the beer, which always helps smooth socializing. With any luck, you might make a date for the next day. Tickets — limited to twenty men at $20 apiece and twenty women at $15 per — are available at eventbrite.com. Find more information about the group behind the event at introvertunbound.com.
Nearly everyone has a star-crossed love story in their past — a deep, dark, painful tale locked up, untold, in the closet of the heart. But there’s a cure for that: Mortified Live: Doomed Valentine’s offers sweet release through a program of confessional storytelling/diary reading, enhanced by music from a throwback cover band. The ’fessing up starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, February 13, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue; find advance tickets, $16, at theorientaltheater.com, or pay $20 at the door. Partial proceeds benefit the animal welfare nonprofit PawsCo.
Friday, February 14
New Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul D. López is continuing a sweet tradition: his office's Valentine’s Day Celebration. From 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 14, judges and clergy members will be at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office for the thirteenth straight year to perform free marriage ceremonies for couples. Refreshments will be available, and drawings will be held for gifts from local businesses, elected officials and other city agencies. But this isn't entirely about free love: Marriage licenses are $30. Want to get hitched? Head to the Webb Building, 201 West Colfax Avenue; find out more at 720-865-8400.
What better place to spend Valentine's Day than Loveland? Start out by watching (or joining, at $95 per couple) Loveland’s Valentine’s Day Group Wedding, at 4:30 p.m. Friday, February 14, in Foundry Plaza in downtown Loveland. The candlelight ceremony will feature music and readings voted on by the lucky couples, who'll get keepsake photos, gift bags, signature wedding cupcakes, a chance to win a huge gift basket, and a marriage certificate with a special “Sweetheart City” designation. The festivities then move into the Loveland Sweetheart Festival, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on February 14 and continues from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, February 15, with a laser light show, a Tunnel of Love, the Palace of Sweets and more delights, many of them free. Find all the lovely details at lovelandsweetheartfestival.com.
Looking for the feline intimacy of a cat cafe without the price tag to get in? The Cat Care Society’s free Catty Hour is a sound solution, offering wine, noshes, mingling with cat people and lots of kitty love — and you might even come across the adoptable love of your life on Valentine’s Day. Join the society on Friday, February 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. (and throughout the year on the second Friday of every month) at the safe-haven shelter, 5787 West Sixth Avenue in Lakewood. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. Find more information at facebook.com/catcaresociety.
Opera and chocolate go together like caramel and cocoa: They’re rich, luscious and sexy, and if you happen to love both, put Opera on Tap: Songs Sweets Love on your Valentine’s Day docket ASAP. Expect a sensual, aphrodisiac evening of operatic love songs and chocolate to die for, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, February 14, at Chocolaterie Stam, 103 North Public Road in Lafayette; wear something silky. Admission is free, but an RSVP is recommended at eventbrite.com.
The History of African-American Music concerts have a lofty goal: to illustrate a musical heritage spanning centuries. The first part explores that history from the roots of the slave era in the U.S. starting in 1619 all the way up to the ragtime, stride piano, jazz and blues of the Prohibition era. The collaboration between the Colorado Black Arts Festival and the Source Theatre Company will unfold over three parts in as many years, with future installments advancing into contemporary times. Get schooled on the first on Friday, February 14, at 7 p.m. at Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Drive in Broomfield. Find more information and tickets, $13 to $15, at colbaf.org/history-of-music-event.
Discover the driving rhyme and meter of love poetry — mushy and otherwise — with your sweetie at the Mercury Cafe’s late-night Friday poetry mic, this week tailored to Valentine’s Day with a theme of When Poets Speak of Love and presenting poet Sophie Cardin reading from her book, Lust Poems for No One in Particular. Reading your own verse is always an option, too; just sign up with the host fifteen minutes before the mic goes on at 10 p.m. Friday, February 14, at the Merc, 2199 California Street. Snuggle up; it’s free. Learn more on the When Poets Speak of Love Facebook page.
Saturday, February 15
You know how some fairy tales don’t live happily ever after? That’s the premise of Shockheaded Peter, a Grand Guignol-style punk-opera horror story inspired by the circa 1845 German children’s book Der Struwwelpeter, a comic-book precursor about misbehaving children meeting grisly ends. Boulder’s Catamounts goes immersive with the material, with original music and lyrics by British cabaret trio the Tiger Lillies. The production opens on Saturday, February 15, and continues through Saturday, March 7, at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder; find dates, times and tickets, $25 to $35 ($50 for community meal performances), at tickets.thedairy.org.
When you were a kid and needed a little love and comfort, it often came in the form of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. But now that you're all grown up, you can ditch the Campbell's in favor of beer. There's even a festival for two of the world's greatest inventions: the Mile High Grilled Cheese & Beer Fest, which takes place on Saturday, February 15, at Runway 35, 8863 East 47th Avenue. Choose between a 12:30 or 5 p.m. session (noon and 4:30 p.m. if you go VIP), then get tickets, $59 to $99, at eventbrite.com. Local and national beers will be poured to pair with gooey creations from the likes of Maine Shack, the Brutal Poodle, Post Oak Barbecue, Dunbar Kitchen + Tap, and many other Denver eateries. Even general admission tickets come with unlimited (a most magical word!) samples of food and beer, but go with the Big Cheese package for early entry and full-sized pours.
Hosted by Metropolitan State University of Denver and the Latino Cultural Arts Center of Colorado, the 2020 Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival will bring together kids of all ages and mariachi professionals for a day of workshops and rehearsals on Saturday, February 15, concluding in the evening with a big concert showcase. Support the students and see the fruits of their labor at 7 p.m. at the King Center, 855 Lawrence Way on the Auraria campus; call the box office at 303-556-2296 for tickets, $15. Vouchers for free parking in Auraria’s Seventh Street garage will be available to guests upon exiting; learn more at msudenver.edu/music/events/vivamariachi.
It's a question as old as, well, most millennials: Which is better — music from the ’80s or the ’90s? Our question is, why deprive yourself of either? Dress from your favorite of the two decades for the 80s vs. 90s Dance at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard. From 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, February 15, all ages are welcome to groove the night away as three DJs spin all the good old-school jams. Performers from the Bboy Factory will keep things legit, as will arcade games, a silent disco, competitions for prizes and more. Find tickets, starting at $30, at wingsmuseum.org/event/dance.
Sunday, February 16
Alamo Drafthouses around the U.S. are giving a contemporary twist to Rupert Julian's classic 1925 silent film Phantom of the Opera by offering screenings with original scores by local composers. Denver gets its turn at 6 p.m. Sunday, February 16, at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, where Phantom will be accompanied by a score composed by Christine Palmer, who'll perform it live with fellow musicians Kate Hannington and Dan Nusz. Tickets are $15 at drafthouse.com.
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