Now that all but the memories of the bomb cyclone have melted away, you can get out and enjoy this city. Coming through town over the next few days is a show that puts the spotlight on Larry Laszlo's photos of celebrities; Billy Idol and Steve Stevens's Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged tour; the Colorado Symphony's take on the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack, and more! Keep reading for the 21 best events on the calendar this week.
Tuesday, March 19
With a leader who can’t tell fact from fiction, it’s no wonder this country is in such turmoil. Coming to the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design to artfully sort things out for us is Kevin Young, author, New Yorker poetry editor and director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Local journalist Tina Griego will interview Young in RMCAD’s Mary Harris Auditorium, 1600 Pierce Street in Lakewood, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, about his new book, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, which “catalogs American hucksters from P.T. Barnum to Donald Trump.” Young is the fifth artist to take part in the school and Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Fictions lecture series; find more information, including tickets, $10 to $20, at lighthousewriters.org.
Still in a partying mood after St. Paddy's? Brain Reaction Trivia’s It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Trivia Night at Chain Reaction Brewing Company should fill in that blank, in a beery celebration of the wildly popular TV show that revels in pub culture and bad people doing bad things. Pull together a team and show up on Tuesday, March 19, by 7:30 p.m. to compete (earlier will allow you more time to belly up) at Chain Reaction, 902 South Lipan Street; prizes will be given out for the best team names. Organizers suggest that you S you in your A's, don't wear a C, and J all over your B’s — and if you know what that means, you’re a shoo-in. Admission is free; learn more at the Always Sunny in Philadelphia Trivia Night Facebook page.
Spike your hair and sound your best rebel yell when Billy Idol and Steve Stevens's Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged tour rolls through Boulder to raise a little hell. Responsible for a string of hard-rocking hits in the golden era of MTV — including "White Wedding," "Dancing With Myself" and "Eyes Without a Face" — Idol maintains a busy touring schedule and recently presided over the remastered re-release of his debut album with the band he fronted, Generation X. Want more, more, more of the ’80s great? Head to the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, for a dose of mid-week mayhem; find tickets, $75 to $425, at ticketfly.com.
Wednesday, March 20
ButtFest may have the worst name of any festival in Colorado, but its cause — honoring people, especially artists, trying to solve community issues while shining a light on waste sent to waterways and landfills — is quite noble. This festival’s particular hobgoblin is cigarette butts, the most frequently littered object (and one that refuses to biodegrade). ButtFest starts at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 20, with an opening ceremony at Circus Collective, 2041 Lawrence Street, followed by a massive group street cleanup. Music and festivities begin at 1 p.m. and wrap up around 8:30 p.m. Admission is free; go to the event's Facebook page for details and more ways to donate to the cause.
The Colorado Festival of Horror, which plans to launch in 2020, has been busy creating a horror-themed coloring book, raising funds and hosting live interviews through the Colorado Festival of Horror: Live and Undead program. The next in the series, hosted by Daniel Crosier, will include comic-book and horror illustrators Jolyon Yates, who makes anime-style posters, and Joe Oliver, whose kitschy, gory comics will make you simultaneously cringe and chuckle. The free event takes place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, at Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway; for more information, visit the Colorado Festival of Horror Facebook page.
Thursday, March 21
Denver civic health club Warm Cookies of the Revolution never stops finding ways to bring people together on community talking points, but the organization really shines when municipal elections draw near. This year’s Own This City: How to Own the Government is a candidate forum of a different stripe, getting folks loosened up with collaborative LEGO play, locally made videos and live comedy before digging into the issues with candidates for mayor, city council and other offices. You will learn a lot, and it will be painless. Join the throng on Thursday, March 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, and be ready to ask hard questions. A $5 donation is suggested at the door, but no one will be turned away — and cookies will be served. Get more information at warmcookiesoftherevolution.org.
Museo de las Americas goes modern this spring for Espacio Liminal/Liminal Space, a forward-looking exhibition curated by Frank Lucero that parses the changing contemporary Latinx experience from culturally specific points of view. The show, which focuses on seven Latinx artists currently working in Colorado, opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 21, at the Museo, 861 Santa Fe Drive, and runs through August 24; additional programming includes an artist talk on March 28 and a workshop on April 18, both starting at 6 p.m. Museum admission is $5 to $8, or free for members and children ages twelve and under; learn more at museo.org.
Larry Laszlo has been a photographer about town for decades; he's often seen more than some of his photos. Many of his assignments are for pop-culture magazines, Laszlo notes, "and no one gets to see those except at the doctor's office, perusing magazines while waiting for your appointment." That will change at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 21, when Stars in a Flash: Celebrity Photos by Larry Laszlo opens with a reception at the Sie FilmCenter Gallery, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, where it will hang until April 18 as part of Denver's Month of Photography. Admission is free; find out more at mopdenver.com.
Get ready to giggle, Boulderites! A gaggle of Colorado's funniest people will stay green while working blue when eTown Comedy Live returns to the underground cafe at eTown Hall, 1535 Spruce Street in Boulder, on Thursday, March 21. Host and producer Caitie Hannan has enlisted openers Brian Flynn and Georgia Rae Comstock to set the stage for headliner Zoe Rogers, a comedy veteran and working mom who's channeled her struggles with child-rearing into a robust touring schedule and appearances on Disney Babble. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the jokes star flying at 8; visit eventbrite.com to buy tickets, $10, and learn more.
Friday, March 22
If you find yourself dreaming about life in the age of the dinosaurs, head to the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, for Jurassic Quest, billed as the world’s largest traveling dinosaur exhibit. Organizers boast of having the skull of Stan, the "best and most complete T-Rex skull ever found," as well as themed rides and more than eighty dinosaur models, some built to move, walk and breathe. Enjoy a fossil dig, a dino petting zoo and dino scooters (yes, the scooter craze has even ruined the Jurassic era). The event roars to life from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24. For more information and tickets, starting at $20, go to jurassicquest.com.
Local activist and theatrical mover and shaker donnie l. betts started dramatizing episodes of Richard Durham's mid-century Destination Freedom radio program on stage more than twenty years ago. He’s still at it, hell-bent on taking the concept to the next level. But betts’s latest production, Black, uses contemporary material — a play about the police shooting of a young black man written by Lamaria Aminah as part of Curious Theatre Company’s New Voices Summer Playwriting Intensive — to stir up a community talkback with a panel of Denver activists through its portrayal of a frank conversation between two mothers, one black and one white. Monique Brooks Rogers and friends will be in the house for an upbeat musical finale. See Black on Friday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue; get tickets, $27 to $29, and more information at newmancenterpresents.com.
Bay Area baron Andre Nickatina has reigned over the niche but fiercely competitive Northern California hip-hop scene for well over three decades, even if you don't count his early work under original nom-de-mic Dre Dog. After dropping Cocaine Raps, one of the most fully realized debuts of the genre's golden era, Nickatina released an onslaught of heavy-hitting followups, including Tears of a Clown, A Tale of Two Andres — a collaboration with fellow Bay Area phenom Mac Dre — and his most recent album, 2018's Pisces. Hip-hop heads shouldn't miss the chance to nod along with Nickatina, as well as opening acts Old Man Saxon, RimeS, LØS and A.W.A.R.E, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street. Tickets are $22.50 in advance at cervantesmasterpiece.com, $25 at the door.
Saturday, March 23
When Joyride Brewing first announced it would be opening at 2501 Sheridan Boulevard in Edgewater, a rooftop patio was part of the plan. That was back in 2013. Joyride has now been open for five years — and it's finally unveiling that deck. The big day is Saturday, March 23 (just three days after the first day of spring), starting at 11 a.m., when guests will be able to grab a beer and climb the stairs to the rooftop, which affords views of Sloan's Lake, downtown Denver and even Pikes Peak. If you want to ensure a table, Joyride is auctioning one for ten beer drinkers during two time slots: from noon to 2 p.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. Each includes a $150 bar tab, and proceeds will be donated to the International Myeloma Foundation. Bid on the VIP experience under the Shop tab at joyridebrewing.com, then pray for blue skies. Time to raise the roof in Edgewater!
Occasional Westword geek scribe O’Brian Gunn has written Furies: Thus Spoke, a sci-fi novel about six people who stumble into superhero life and have to figure out their powers — ultimately realizing their potential by discovering what it means to be human. To celebrate, Gunn will host a book signing and talk at Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway, at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 23. Copies will be available for $14.95, and the evening will include a giveaway of a poster of the Furies book cover by Denver artist Scorpio Steele. For more information, go to m.facebook.com/events/2190556994540234. Copies will be available to purchase at readspaceboy.com starting March 19.
Consistently shirtless but seldom seen without some sort of jaunty cap, comedian Bert Kreischer literally leads with his gut. Host of the Travel Channel's Trip Flip and Bert the Conqueror, Kreischer's debauched persona belies an impressively productive career that includes a series of hit one-hour specials, including Comfortably Dumb and Bert Kreischer: The Machine, and the best-selling book Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child. Bear witness to Kreischer in all his barrel-chested glory at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place; find tickets, $39.50, and more details at altitudetickets.com.
Never heard of native fashion? Get ready for an introduction at Native Fashion in the City 2019, an expo and interactive runway showcase of fresh, culture-focused fashion by designers of indigenous descent, running from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the National Western Complex, Gate 5 — just across the road from the Denver Coliseum, site of the concurrent Denver March Powwow. Doors open at 5 p.m. to allow for leisurely seating (VIP options, including pop-up shops and meet-and-greets, start at 3 p.m.); get tickets, $20 to $50, at eventbrite.com.
You don't need Jedi mind tricks to encourage your youngster's enthusiasm for classical music; just sneak a little high culture into her sci-fi canon at the Colorado Symphony's presentation of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert. The force in John Williams's rousing score for the second chapter of George Lucas's space opera reawakens when a live orchestra accompanies the drama unfolding on the big screen. Join the Colorado Symphony players, along with an enthusiastic audience full of Hans, Leias and Chewies, for a pair of 2 p.m. performances at Broomfield's 1ST BANK Center, 11450 Broomfield Lane, on Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24; buy tickets, $46 to $85, at altitudetickets.com.
Sunday, March 24
Let the spring freak-quinox commence! The "kitten girls" of Chateau Purrlesque are back for Purrlesque: The Rite of Spring, an annual celebration of the year's friskiest season. An old-school variety show with a furry modern twist, the burlesque company's sparkly spectacle is like catnip for local entertainment-seekers. The performers aren't the only ones who'll don ears and tails for the evening; guests are encouraged to come in costume, too. The claws come out at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 24, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue; get tickets, $30, and more information at theorientaltheater.com.
Time to party like it's 1993: Indie-rock ingenue Liz Phair is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her landmark debut album, Exile in Guyville, with a worldwide tour. The career retrospective traces Phair's musical journey from her early work under the name Girly Sound to her poppy mid-aughts Billboard hits. The fittingly named Girl Sound to Guyville tour lands at the Ogden Theatre, 935 East Colfax Avenue, on Sunday, March 24, starting at 8 p.m. with a performance from Phair's opening act, Califone; tickets are $35 in advance at axs.com, $38 at the door.
Monday, March 25
Don't let his stage name fool you: Lil Baby spits hot fire with no pacifier. The Atlanta-based rapper's relatively short career has been full of hits, including the monster smash "Drip Too Hard." Impressively prolific despite his youth, Lil Baby has recorded high-profile collaborations with hitmakers like Drake, dropped five mixtapes, and achieved gold-album status with his debut, Harder Than Ever. His New Generation Tour will hit the stage at the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson Street, with an array of dynamite openers, including City Girls, Jordan Hollywood and Blueface. Showtime is 8 p.m. Monday, March 25 (doors at 7); find tickets, starting at $29.50, at livenation.com.
Swing your partner — no matter your sexual orientation. Aurora’s first inclusive Community Square Dance will start do-si-doing at 7 p.m. Monday, March 25, at the People’s Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue. “There is something magical that happens when everyone, no matter their color, creed, religion or orientation, are in friendly community with each other,” says Aaron Vega, curator for the venue. Adding to the magic will be legendary square-dance caller Larry Edelman and a live band. No experience is necessary for this family-friendly, gender-neutral event, and admission is a suggested $10 cover at the door; for more information, go to thepeoplesbuilding.com.
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