March is off to a roaring start, with celebrations in ski country, Westword's High Style, a slew of Women's History Month activities in Denver, and spring (or spring events, at least) busting out all over. Keep reading for our 21 best things to do in and around town this week.
Monday, March 2
When Naropa graduate Tom Peters opened Boulder’s Beat Book Shop in 1990, his proximity to the literary milieu of On the Road author Jack Kerouac and Beat poet Allen Ginsberg — as well as a loan from his father — were all he needed for inspiration to start a new chapter. Thirty years later, the store, upstairs at 1209 Folsom in Boulder, still hosts “So, You’re a Poet” poetry readings while peddling an oddball combination of Beat-era literature, collectors’ items, vinyl records and posters. Peters and his fans will celebrate the big Beat Book Shop anniversary with an evening of readings and music on Monday, March 2, from 8:45 to 11 p.m.; admission is a $5 suggested donation toward keeping the store open for another thirty years. Visit facebook.com/beatbookshop for information.
Tuesday, March 3
Not all youth performance poets get on the stage to slam. For Poetry Out Loud, a national initiative, they embrace the old-fashioned tradition of recitation in a program that encourages focused public-speaking skills and educational advancement among students in grades nine through twelve. Colorado’s state finals, where winners will be selected to compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C., in April, will run from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 South Allison Parkway in Lakewood. Admission is free; register at lighthousewriters.org to attend and cheer on our Colorado kids.
Wednesday, March 4
Spring is still weeks away, but the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation is ready to start a new chapter: Its inaugural Spring Used Book Sale runs from Wednesday, March 4, through Saturday, March 7, at the Denver Central Library Conference Center, 10 West 4th Avenue Parkway. (And, yes, there will be the usual summer and fall sales, too.) The sale is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily in the conference center; find out more at dplfriends.org.
Hip-hop legend Rakim’s intellectual contributions to the art of rapping incorporate jazz rhythms, spiritual musings and poetic structure, but his gift is also a state of mind — a creative extension of the self — and something to which he’s given a great deal of thought. Hear the result of Rakim’s brainstorms when MCA Denver hosts An Evening With Rakim: Revelations on Creativity From the Lyrical Genius, a combined performance of personal stories and raps, introduced by Adam Bradley, founding director of the Laboratory for Race & Popular Culture (RAP Lab) at the University of Colorado Boulder. The program starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue; tickets, $15 to $75, are available (but will go quickly) at mcadenver.org.
Thursday, March 5
Westword continues to push the boundaries of Denver culture and cannabis with High Style, an evening of interactive programming focused on style, substance and sustainability on Thursday, March 5, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park. All three floors will be filled with fashion shows, educational presentations and panels, and an open marketplace where the canna-curious can interact with hemp, CBD and cannabis brands. There will be hors d'oeuvres and samplings of CBD and spirits throughout the event. (Sorry, no cannabis consumption on site.) General admission tickets (21+) are $30; a $75 VIP ticket gets you early entry, special seating for the fashion shows, and access to the VIP lounge throughout the event, with unlimited cocktails and a gift bag. Get your tickets now at westwordhighstyle.com.
See the next stars at the school that produced Don Cheadle and Pam Grier when the students of East High School present their spring musical, Sister Act, the tale of a disco diva who witnesses a murder and is placed in protective custody in a convent. The curtain rises on this divine comedy at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5, with performances at the same time Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 8. The show is in the auditorium at East High, 1600 City Park Esplanade, and tickets run from $8 to $15. Get yours and more information at easttheatrecompany.com.
The big award shows are over and the year is still young, making this the perfect time for the 2020 Boulder International Film Festival, a four-day affair that starts Thursday, March 5, and continues through Sunday, March 8. The fest will be packed with Colorado premieres and other screenings, along with a return engagement of the CineCHEF foodie fundraiser — which pits male chefs against female chefs this year — and the BIFF Noir Speakeasy party at the Hotel Boulderado. Though single tickets to BIFF’s opening-night red-carpet screening of Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band are sold out, there’s plenty more to enjoy; admission starts at $15 to $16 for individual screenings and tops out at $475 for a full festival pass. Find a complete schedule with venues, tickets and special-event passes at biff1.com.
From Edward Abbey to Kevin Fedarko, most mythologized adventurers have been men. Now the No Man's Land Film Festival is sharing the stories of women in the outdoors in hopes of empowering female-identifying athletes and explorers. Started in Carbondale in 2015, the festival is moving to Denver for 2020. From Thursday, March 5, through Sunday, March 8 — International Women’s Day — No Man's Land will screen 65 films and offer activist workshops, panel discussions and a variety of additional programming. Screenings will be at Cultivated Synergy, 2901 Walnut Street; tickets for each event range from $18 to $22 and can be purchased at nomanslandfilmfestival.org. If you'd like to celebrate women, adventure and film but can't make it this weekend, see an abbreviated screening in Denver on March 25, or catch the festival on tour in Durango on March 26, Paonia on March 27 and Fort Collins on April 6.
Friday, March 6
The Town of Pagosa Springs commemorates Kingsbury and Charity Jane Pitcher, who have operated Wolf Creek Ski Area for nearly 45 years, with a celebratory Pitcher Day. March 6 of each year is a nod to Kingsbury and Charity Jane and what they have done to better the ski area, environment and surrounding local communities. Wolf Creek will further the Pitcher Day festivities with discounted, all-mountain lift tickets for just $54 on March 6. Find out more at wolfcreekski.com.
Dig this: Echter's Nursery & Garden Center will hold its biennial Spring Gardening Event starting Friday, March 6, and running through Sunday, March 8, at the company at 5150 Garrison Street in Arvada. Vendors and professionals from all over the gardening industry will be on hand for a trade show type of event with vendor booths, classes, demonstrations, kids' activities and food. This year, Echter's will be kicking off its new Kids Club; it's also partnered with local breweries to sample their products, talk about growing hops, and educate about the brewing process. Except for the keynote, it's all free. Find out more at echters.com.
Denver’s Westwood community and its main drag on Morrison Road have seen lots of changes over the past few years, including positive development on the strip, now formally designated a Denver creative district. And last year, neighborhood social-justice activist Jamie Torres was elected to Denver City Council representing District 3, where she continues her good work. In Torres's honor, artist Santiago Jaramillo of the Westwood Creative District will unveil three paintings of inspirational west-side citizens at Past Present Future, a celebration of artivists and muralists who’ve made the neighborhood a more beautiful and united place to live. Join D3 Arts and Denver band the Coastal Wives on Friday, March 6, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Re:Vision, 3738 Morrison Road; admission is free. Search "Past Present Future Re:Vision" on Facebook to learn more.
Jazz is back in Five Points, a historically African-American neighborhood that was once dubbed the Harlem of the West. For decades, clubs throughout the neighborhood brought in jazz luminaries; now, on the first Friday of every month, some of the city’s best players are bringing music back to venues in the area. During the new but already popular First Friday — Five Points Jazz Hop series, restaurants and bars along Welton Street are resurrecting the neighborhood’s glorious tradition. The music starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 6, and the concerts are free; participating venues along Welton Street include Coffee at the Point, Spangalang Brewery, the Welton Room, Dunbar Kitchen and Tap, the 715 Club and Goed Zuur. For more information, go to milehighfestivals.com/first-friday-five-points.
For its 38th annual spring concert, the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus will be taking on a half-century of the best African-American pop music, covering classics by Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross and the Supremes, along with newer songs by the likes of Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Lizzo. With 120 singers, the choir promises two hours of hip-shaking hits at Motown and More! This year's run of performances starts at 8 p.m. Friday, March 6, at the Armory Performing Arts Center, 300 Strong Street in Brighton; tickets are $18. There will also be performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, and 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, as well as at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, at the Waring Theater at Arapahoe Community College, 5900 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton. For tickets and more information, go to DGMC.org.
Saturday, March 7
There is really no difference between art and prayer, the current and final show in Union Hall Gallery’s pop-up series Rough Gems, showcases works by queer-identifying artists, with a twist: All of the works reference the reverent qualities of religious art without necessarily being religious in intent. The Heavenly Bodies Queer Brunch Social, happening on Saturday, March 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Union Hall (Suite 144 inside the Coloradan, 1750 Wewatta Street), camps up the religious theme of the art on display in a style inspired by 2018’s Met Gala exhibit, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Participants will come in costume, turning the space into a reasonable facsimile of heaven...complete with food and mimosas. Play along for $30; get tickets and learn more at unionhalldenver.com.
Denver’s indie art, performance and music platform Titwrench furthers feminist and queer perspectives in an inviting atmosphere for fringe groups otherwise living on the edge, but it costs money to make the festival work, so fundraising is a must. Happily, Titwrench makes donating painless with events like the Clothing Swap and In Bed by Ten Dance Party/Crafternoon, a hands-on, alcohol-free, safe community gathering with live screenprinting, sewing and crafting that wraps up on a joyful note with a free-to-be dance party. Bring an open mind and clothing items to swap from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at ReCreative Denver, 765 Santa Fe Drive; a $5 to $10 donation and/or blank item suitable for printing as Titwrench merchandise is requested at the door. Learn more at facebook.com/titwrench.
As Jewish holidays go, Purim might be the most family-oriented. Centered on the retelling of the Old Testament's Book of Esther — the story of how bad guy Haman’s plot to rid Persia of Jews was foiled by Queen Esther and her cousin and crony, Mordechai — Purim is marked by religious pageantry, a wine-soaked meal, yummy hamantaschen and costumed kids acting out the good-and-evil melodrama behind the holiday, with noisemakers (or groggers) to announce Haman’s presence. Shalom-Entaschen 2020 is a Purim festival open to all, Jewish or not, with live music, groggers, hamantaschen by Rosenberg’s and carnival games. It runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, at the People’s Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora. Costumes are encouraged; learn more and get tickets, $15 to $25, at flombergcreative.ticketspice.com. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society (HIAS).
Last year, Stories on Stage turned the spotlight on women’s stories for Wild Women, a by-and-for-women-themed program of staged dramatic readings that unleashed the feral side of the female experience. That went over so well that SOS is upping its game in 2020 with Wilder Women, a similar program, but with extra super-powers. Hold on to your hats: Actors Rhonda Lee Brown, Jada Suzanne Dixon and Allison Watrous will get loud and rowdy at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Nomad Playhouse, 1410 Quince Avenue in Boulder, and at 1:30 and again at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive. Admission is $15 to $28 at either location; find tickets and information at storiesonstage.org.
Sunday, March 8
The nonprofit archive ArtHyve will host its third annual Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, with a focus on digging up facts about female, non-binary and queer artists, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, with a very special guest to cheer on the endeavor: Guerrilla Girls founding member Käthe Kollwitz, who will give a talk at 1:15 p.m. Other breaks from the editing work will come periodically in the form of live music, DIY button- and zine-making, and a ticketed workshop with Kollwitz, “Aestheticize ur Activism w/The Guerrilla Girls.” Admission, which benefits ArtHyve, ranges from $10 to $45, plus $25 for the optional workshop; buy tickets and find a complete schedule at eventbrite.com.
Seeking fellow goths? Share the darkness at Broadway Roxy’s Sunday Brunch Macabre, a mid-day meal and gloomy goth, dark-wave and synth-pop dance extravaganza with DJ Sara Splatter at the deck. Don your leather and lace on Sunday, March 8, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Roxy, 554 South Broadway; there's no cover, but you’ll surely want to wash away the pain with a spiked coffee cocktail or two. Find information at broadwayroxy.com.
International Women’s Day falls on Sunday, March 8, and the Block Distilling Co., at 2990 Larimer Street, is throwing a Get It, Girl! celebration of women-owned businesses. Co-owner and head distiller Michelle Weaver invites you to the RiNo distillery between noon and 6 p.m. for specialty cocktails, a food truck and goods for sale from Awakening Boutique (a sex-positive boutique and community resource run by Tory Johnson and Rose Kalasz), Temper Chocolate (with Anna Martinez as head chocolatier) and other local shops. Get your $10 ticket (which includes one free cocktail) in advance at eventbrite.com.
Denver-based Irish-music trio Avourneen has a lot to chirp about: The group’s first full-length album, Sparrow, is already drumming up media interest from as far away as the Emerald Isle itself. And no wonder: While guitarist/vocalist Adam Goldstein, bassist Kenny Martinez and violinist/pianist CL Morden might make music rooted in lilting folk tradition, they aren’t afraid to venture further afield, tossing in some notes from vintage jazz, orchestral music and classic rock. Be the first to get a copy of Sparrow at Avourneen’s CD Release Show, where special Celtic-music guests from around Colorado will join the fun, at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at the Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street. Admission is $20 at clocktowercabaret.com.
The deadline to be considered for this list of the 21 best events in Denver is three weeks prior to the event date. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.