Activism, film, music and a little rodeo: The days ahead are full of Denver-ish things to do. Don't miss free grounds-admission day at the National Western Stock Show today, January 15; the MLK tribute performed by the Colorado Symphony is tonight, too. Then ignite your inner activist at this weekend's Womxn's March or at Punk Against Trump, a dance-floor release of all your presidential anxiety. Find all that and more in this week's 21 best events calendar.
Tuesday, January 15
In case your New Year’s resolutions have faded less than two weeks into 2019, GoodCinema wants to jump-start your sense of purpose. This group of big-hearted movie buffs is screening Tom Shadyac’s autobiographical film I Am, which tells the story of a bicycle accident that almost killed the filmmaker and how it sent him on a mission to understand what’s wrong with the world and how we can fix it. After the screening, Good Cinema’s Bill Byrnes will lead a conversation between Sarah Jackson of Casa de Paz, Danny Mazur of Soul Stories, Carlyn Shaw of Strangers to Friends and Rett Kearbey of Gaia, who will explore the movie’s themes. The film rolls out at 6 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan’s Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue. Tickets are $15 in advance at eventbrite.com and $20 the day of the show.
The Visiting Artist, Scholar and Designer program at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design fires back up in 2019, continuing this academic year’s ongoing “Fictions”-themed lecture series with Cécile B. Evans: Feeling for You, an often-updated talk on the artist’s multi-disciplinary practice that's inspired by society’s delicate relationship with technology and machines. Evans speaks at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, in RMCAD’s Mary Harris Auditorium, 1600 Pierce Street in Lakewood; admission is free. Advance registration at eventbrite.com is recommended; learn more about the VASD series at rmcad.edu.
In a political climate where the unifying dream of Martin Luther King Jr. seems to recede further out of reach with each new hateful tweet, it's perhaps more important than ever to honor the civil-rights leader's commitment to peaceable resistance. Pay homage along with conductor Bertie Baigent at the Colorado Symphony's MLK Tribute, a community concert and ceremony for recipients of the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award. The performance enlists a large roster of musicians working through an evocative program that conveys the spiritual foundations of King's quest for social justice. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Admission is free, but interested guests must register for a ticket, and seating is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis for ticket holders. Visit coloradosymphony.org for more details.
Wednesday, January 16
Think, drink, debauch and debate when Nerd Nite Denver returns on Wednesday, January 16, with "Debt, Comedy, and Coffee," another boozy and brainy evening of TED Talk-style lectures from a wide array of experts. This latest edition consists of a trio of unrelated presentations, including "Debt and You: The Most Boring Nerd Nite Talk of 2019" from Ian Kimsey; "Serious Lessons From the Masters of Comedy" from Dr. Peter McGraw, University of Colorado professor and co-author of The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny; and "Death Before Decaf" from Ethan Menendez. Doors open at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. show in its new home at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street. Tickets are $10; visit nerdnitedenver.com to find out more.
Megan Nyce’s long-running Denver series My Teenage Angst focuses on adults revisiting and reflecting on their tender and funny teen diaries and writings in front of a supportive audience. This time around, she’s bringing it to the Denver Public Library's Park Hill branch, 4705 Montview Boulevard, for a PG-13 version on Wednesday, January 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. If you care to share your own deepest secrets, there might be a space or two left on the docket; inquire by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission to this almost-all-ages performance is free; learn more at the My Teenage Angst Facebook page.
Thursday, January 17
Collin Parson’s crowning glory as gallery director and curator at the Arvada Center is surely Art of the State, a massive triennial survey of work by Colorado artists. In its third iteration, opening with a reception and award ceremony on Thursday, January 17, from 6 to 9 p.m., Art of the State comprises 154 works by 135 artists, chosen from a pool of 1,555 entries by Parson and fellow jurors Joy Armstrong and Daisy McGowan. A tribute to homegrown talent in every medium under the sun, the exhibition will fill the venue’s three gallery spaces through March 31 at 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada. Admission is free; find information and a schedule of linked events at arvadacenter.org.
Do you ever find yourself standing slack-jawed in front of a painting, plagued by the question “What does this mean?” Before you decide that art — particularly in its contemporary forms — is too baffling (or downright pointless), consider that you may need to give your art-appreciation muscles a workout. That’s where MCA Denver’s Art Fitness Training comes in. This participatory workshop is billed as a chance to build the skills it takes to look at and appreciate any work of art, even the most challenging pieces. This month’s edition starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 17, at the MCA, 1485 Delgany Street; tickets are $10 to $15 at eventbrite.com.
If you're a tech wizard looking for a new industry to bless with your talents, consider pot. Learn how to apply your coding skills — or harness some new ones — for the benefit of tokers everywhere at the Coffee Joint's Canna-Coding Session on Thursday, January 17. Industry professionals from Flowerhub and Vangst recruiting will be there to answer your questions, network and maybe even take a few dabs. The session takes place at Denver's only licensed pot lounge, at 1130 Yuma Court, from 7 to 8 p.m.; entrance (21+) is $5, or free with a purchase from the 1136 Yuma dispensary next door. Learn more at thecoffeejointco.com.
Friday, January 18
Proving that lighthearted situational hijinx will always be there for you — even after more than a decade off the air — Friends! The Musical Parody descends on Denver with a song in its heart. Nostalgia hounds won't want to miss the song-filled sendup of the ’90s network classic, which also lovingly re-creates the vibe of Central Perk — primary gathering place of the titular friends — on the stage at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. The show's three-night stand runs from Friday, January 18, through Sunday, January 20; find tickets, $35 to $40, and showtimes at comedyworks.com.
Though it seems at the outset like a story about an unpleasant visit from relations, the dynamics in the 2017 Colorado New Play Summit hit Last Night and the Night Before, by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, dig deeper as the drama progresses, telling the story of what happens when one family’s Southern roots and New York City lifestyle, represented by two sisters living divergent lives, collide with grace, humor and insights. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company premieres Last Night at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 18, at the Ricketson Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, for a run through February 24; for tickets, starting at $30, and showtimes, visit denvercenter.org.
Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies references the killing of Trayvon Martin — a turning point in American race relations — as a backdrop for lessons in what it means to grow up black in the U.S., told in broad satirical slashes. Two black teens — Marquis, a prep-schooler with a white adoptive mother, and the street-smart Tru, who aims to educate his friend in the rules of black culture — meet by coincidence in jail to drive the plot forward in this fast-moving and uncomfortable comedy. Directed by Betty Hart, Hooded makes its regional premiere at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 18, at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora, and continues through February 10. Learn more and buy tickets, $18 to $37, at aurorafoxartscenter.org.
Recounting the 1899 newsboy strike against the predatory business practices of bulletin barons Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, Newsies went from the big screen to the stage with the 2012 Broadway adaptation of the 1992 movie musical. Brimming with grand song-and-dance numbers like "Santa Fe," "Carrying the Banner" and "The Bottom Line" — not to mention a cornucopia of timelessly stylish flat caps — the revival of the muckraking musical by Parker Arts and Inspire Theater Company is a headline-worthy affair. The production debuts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 18, at the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue in Parker, and continues every Friday through Sunday through February 10. Find tickets, $29 to $34, and more information at parkerarts.org.
Antonín Dvorák's storied sojourn to North America culminated in one of the Czech composer's most recognizable works, Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, B. 178, commonly known as "From the New World." Dvorák's masterpiece takes musical and poetic stock of the cultural upheaval that followed the Civil War. Conductor Brett Mitchell leads a Colorado Symphony program that also includes Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait," Joseph Schwantner's "New Morning for the World (Daybreak of Freedom)," and spoken-word interludes from actor Damon Gupton. The orchestra strikes up at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 18, and Saturday, January 19, with a 1 p.m. matinee on Sunday, January 20, at Boettcher Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Visit coloradosymphony.org for tickets, $20 to $94, and to learn about the Bringing Music to Life program, for which symphony guests are encouraged to donate lightly used instruments.
Leading the vanguard of Bay Area raptivism since 1996, Zion I has always aspired to supply more than catchy beats and clever rhymes. The group is currently kept afloat by founding member and perennially underrated MC Baba Zumbi, who proves on his latest collaboration with DJ Fresh, The Tonite Show With Zion I, that longevity doesn't diminish vitality. Zumbi rolls through Colorado with his reinvigorated rhymes for a pair of concerts guaranteed to rock the Front Range along with opening acts Illuminati Congo, Thin Air Crew, Luke Hightree and Babah Fly. Head north to the Aggie Theatre, 204 South College Avenue in Fort Collins, on Friday, January 18, or to Cervantes' Other Side, 2637 Welton Street, on Saturday, January 19, for a hip-hop-head-approved blend of old favorites and fresh fire. Showtime is 8:15 p.m. each night; visit aggietheatre.com or cervantesmasterpiece.com for tickets and more information.
Saturday, January 19
Back in 2017, the Women’s March attracted tens of thousands of people to downtown Denver for one of the biggest events in the country. On Saturday, January 19, the mission continues under a new name, Womxn’s March Denver, but convenes in the same place, Civic Center Park, at 9 a.m. for a pre-rally with speakers and artists. The actual march begins at 10:30 a.m. and will wind its way through downtown before returning to Civic Center at 11:45 for a post-rally with more speakers and artists. After that, various venues around town will continue to push the cause. For details, go to womensmarchdenver.org.
Pump your fists at Punk Against Trump, a release valve for your oi-oi-outrage returning just in time for the third year of America's ongoing political nightmare. Mosh away the indignity of life under the presidential administration with other local music lovers and an unimpeachable lineup made up of No Takers, Sorry Sweetheart, Over Time, Cheap Perfume and headliners Allout Helter. The third edition of the festivities may have relocated to the Moon Room, 1902 Blake Street, but the onslaught of hedonism-fueling outrage has increased tenfold, so punks and partiers should take note. The Doc Marten-stomping fury gets started at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, and tickets are $12 at ticketfly.com, where you'll also find more details.
Known for its off-the-wall programming, the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake has tapped none other than Jello Biafra to host Incredibly Strange Theater, a new film series in which the Boulder-born former lead singer of the legendary punk band Dead Kennedys gets to screen and discuss films of his choosing. First up are his two favorite films ever: The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T and Two Thousand Maniacs!, the former about a kid who rises up against his piano teacher (written by Dr. Seuss!) and the latter a 1964 horror film by Herschell Gordon Lewis about ghosts of Civil War soldiers who haunt a Southern hamlet. Get your weird on starting at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, January 19, at the Drafthouse, 4255 West Colfax Avenue; find tickets, $15, at drafthouse.com.
If you’re certain you once wore flapper frocks or knickers with argyle socks in a past life, here’s a chance to relive those high times from the Prohibition era: Dive into the fourth annual Speakeasy Soiree, a one-night immersion into the Roaring Twenties, on Saturday, January 19, from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora. The evening includes Charleston lessons, gypsy jazz by Lapompe, era-appropriate tunes from songstress Hazel Miller and other retro musicians, and food truck fare and cash-bar cocktails. Learn more and find tickets, $25 general admission and $60 for VIP perks, at speakeasysoiree.com.
If you haven't supported the Nuggets this season, shame on you. Denver's professional basketball team sits atop the Western Conference, and power forward Nikola Jokic was recently named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week (with more accolades sure to follow). Watch the Nugs in action as they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who've fallen to the end of the Eastern Conference rankings after losing star LeBron James to Los Angeles last year. The game starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, at the Pepsi Center; find tickets at altitudetickets.com.
Sunday, January 20
A lot has changed in the United States since The Blot came out in 1921, but one thing remains the same: Educators aren't paid enough. That’s the subject of director Lois Weber’s silent melodrama about the struggling family of a professor, an over-the-top depiction of the ills that can fall upon the learned class. The Denver Silent Film Festival will screen the movie, accompanied by a live score from Niki Tredinnick of the Dollhouse Thieves, at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, at 6 p.m. Sunday, January 20; find tickets, $12, at drafthouse.com.
Monday, January 21
In 1985, Governor Dick Lamm signed legislation that made Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a state holiday. Shortly thereafter, Denver hosted its first Marade, now a longtime tradition honoring the civil-rights leader's life and legacy. The 2019 holiday falls on Monday, January 21, six days after King's birthday; the Marade will kick off at 10:45 a.m. at King's "I Have a Dream" memorial in City Park, then head down Colfax Avenue to the State Capitol before ending at Civic Center Park, for a total distance equaling a 5K. A program on King's life will follow the Marade in Civic Center Park's Greek Amphitheater; for more information about the parade, visit drmartinlkingjrchc.org.
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