Denver has got some esteemed guests coming through town this week, from a gaggle of wizards in Potted Potter, a Harry Potter spin-off, to Dolly Levi of Hello, Dolly! fame and, for the first time, the NoCo Hemp Expo. And if the hills are calling, head to Winter Park for TheBigWonderful Beerfest.
All that and more is in this week's 21 best events calendar!
Tuesday, March 26
The wizarding world of Harry Potter is coming to Denver — sort of. Starting Tuesday, March 26, and running through March 31, Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, A Parody by Dan and Jeff, flies to the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue, on the wings of owls, giving Harry Potter fanatics all seven books and one game of Quidditch condensed into seventy minutes of fun. The show has sold out worldwide and will leave town faster than you can say expecto patronum, so get your tickets now at pottedpotter.com. The show is appropriate for Muggles ages six to Dumbledore.
Wednesday, March 27
Yes, Dolly Levi is back where she belongs: on a Denver stage. Hello, Dolly!, the Tony Award-winning best musical revival starring Betty Buckley, opens Wednesday, March 27, at the Buell Theatre, where it will run through April 7. This story of the persistent matchmaker who takes Yonkers by storm is a toe-tapping, tuneful, old-time show, full of familiar songs and impressive dances that revive the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion. For times and tickets, which range from $45 to $185, go to denvercenter.org.
Women candidates are flooding elections at every level in unprecedented numbers, but how much do you know about the battles suffragettes waged for the right to vote, let alone run? Author Elaine Weiss will fill you in on all the details of the epic women’s-rights movement discussed in her new book, The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, at a talk and book signing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street. Admission is free, and The Woman’s Hour will be available for purchase for $18; find more details at tatteredcover.com.
A mother’s love knows no bounds. That’s the theme of Félicité, the story of a woman whose fourteen-year-old son is badly injured in a car accident. Doctors refuse to operate on him unless she pays for the surgery first, so she sets out on a humbling journey through the streets of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to try to raise the money. The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; a post-viewing discussion in Henderson Lounge will include light appetizers and wine. Find tickets, $7.50 for members and $11.50 for all others, at denverfilm.org.
Thursday, March 28
Hemp is all the rage at the moment, and it's likely to get even bigger now that industrial hemp has been legalized at the federal level. (We're still waiting for the FDA to figure out the whole CBD thing.) What better place to learn about hemp, CBD's legality and everything else about pot's tempered cousin than the NoCo Hemp Expo, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 28, and runs through Saturday, March 30? The expo has moved from Loveland to Denver's Crowne Plaza DIA, 15500 East 40th Avenue, because of growing attendance; this year's edition will offer more than 225 vendors, discussion sessions, workshops and networking forums, and plenty of fashion, food and other products made from the plant. Find tickets, $15 to $69, and a complete schedule at nocohempexpo.com.
Eugene Chadbourne, an avant-jazz guitarist with roots in Boulder, followed in the inspirational footsteps of Anthony Braxton and Derek Bailey, playing with Henry Kaiser and John Zorn along the way; he's also taken side trips into rockabilly, world music and the electric rake, an instrument of his own invention. That makes him a perfect poster boy for local experimental-music champion Creative Music Works, a nonprofit group that educates and provides opportunities for musical innovators. See Chadbourne rip it up with a band of CMW all-stars at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at Mighty Fine Productions, 5235 East 38th Avenue, during a fundraiser you won't soon forget; find tickets, $15 to $50, and more information at brownpapertickets.com.
Friday, March 29
Denver artist Suchitra Mattai, who just returned from a spectacular exhibition of massive sari weavings at the international 2019 Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates, will pay tribute to her family's story of being Indian immigrants in post-colonial Guyana for this month’s Untitled Final Friday event at the Denver Art Museum. Under the theme of "Homeward Unbound,” Mattai’s art evening will include a Bollywood film screening, tabla and sitar music, and a slew of hands-on projects inspired by the idea of achieving cultural identity by claiming your roots — including a chance to chip in on weaving two large-scale fiber works. Hit the museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 29, so you don’t miss a thing; admission is included in the regular DAM entry fee of $8 to $13 (free for members and youth ages eighteen and under). Find more information at denverartmuseum.org.
Wander down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass to the Alice in Wonderland Circus Adventure, an evening of three-ring theatrics inspired by the enduring appeal of Lewis Carroll's fantastical tales. Jugglers, contortionists and aerial acrobats present a thrilling new interpretation of the timeless children's story, complete with its cast of outlandish characters. Don't be late for the 7:30 p.m. performance on the very important date of Friday, March 29, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Tickets are $35 to $65, with a portion of the proceeds going to Adam’s Camp Colorado; learn more at artscomplex.com.
Join violin soloist Augustin Hadelich and the Colorado Symphony, led by conductor Brett Mitchell, for a trio of performances that breathe new life into the canvases and compositions of yesteryear with Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. A fantasia of sight and sound, the piece originated as a tribute to the Russian revivalist painter Viktor Hartmann and has since become a staple of the classical canon. One of five members of the "Mighty Handful" of the New Russian School, Mussorgsky is an enduring inspiration to both his countrymen and his fellow composers — including Samuel Barber and Charles Ives, whose Violin Concerto, Op. 14 (Barber) and Symphony No. 3 (Ives) round out the concert. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30, and 1 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; buy tickets, $15 to $94, and learn more at coloradosymphony.org.
The hi-dive and Off the Wall, the legendarily wild all-eras dance party with DJ Jason Heller on the turntables, both debuted on the same night in 2003, and the club and high-energy dance night operated in symbiosis once a week until parting ways in 2007. Maybe you were there — or maybe you weren’t but have heard the stories. Either way, you’ll have a chance to relive or experience it for the first time at Off the Wall Reunion, Round 2!, a one-night rerun with Heller — who’s gone on to host Mile High Soul Club, Funk Club, Whip It and other period-centric spin sessions when he isn’t making his own music or writing books — picking the tunes. Be there or be square at 9 p.m. Friday, March 29, at the hi-dive, 7 South Broadway; admission is $6. Get more info at hi-dive.com.
Although the #MeToo movement certainly set things in the right direction, cinema — especially certain genres of film, like sci-fi — is still ruled by men. School yourself on female contributions to science fiction when the Sie FilmCenter hosts The Future Is Female, a trio of screenings of short sci-fi films directed by women from the U.S., Canada, Spain, Japan and other foreign lands. Included in the program is The Garden, which tells the story of a rebellious human from 2089 who "would rather die than integrate into A.I." The screenings start at 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 29; Saturday, March 30; and Friday, April 5. A portion of ticket sales will go to women-focused organizations; get tickets and information at denverfilm.org.
Saturday, March 30
Colorado has long been ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to women's rights: Not only was it the first state to legalize abortion, in 1967, but it was the first state to grant women the right to vote, in 1893 (shortly after Wyoming did the same as a territory). Now Colorado is again getting the jump on the rest of the nation in advance of the hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment (ratified in August 1919) with Women/Work/Justice, an exhibition that explores human, civil and economic rights for women through the stories of Colorado organizations active between 1914 and the 1980s. The show opens on Saturday, March 30, at the Center for Colorado Women’s History at the Byers-Evans House Museum, 1310 Bannock Street. Admission is free (tours of the house are extra); find out more at 303-620-4933 or at historycolorado.org.
Winter Park will stretch out its last month this season with four solid weekends of spring skiing and Spring Splash & Bash events, beginning with TheBigWonderful Beerfest, a high-country brew-centric party from the Denver marketplace. Enjoy live music and tastes from ten Colorado breweries and cideries while browsing local vendor booths at the Winter Park base from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 30; it might be just what you need after a morning of maneuvering the resort’s Uphill Battle poker run in costume. Beerfest tickets are $30 in advance at eventbrite.com; learn more about the Uphill Battle at winterparkresort.com.
Get a shot of the feminine side of horror writing when the burgeoning Colorado Festival of Horror and the Bookies Bookstore team up to present a book signing and discussion of More Deadly Than the Male, a new anthology from game designer, editor and author Graeme Davis that focuses not only on such obvious figures as Mary Shelley, but also on classic writers who dabbled in horror, including Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Edith Wharton, and forgotten Victorian practitioners like Alice Rea and Charlotte Riddell. Meet Davis at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at the Bookies, 4315 East Mississippi Avenue, and buy a copy while you’re there for $26.95; learn more at thebookies.com.
Scientists and standup comics might seem like they have little in common, yet both of their fields require repeated experimentation and empirical truth. Comedian, podcaster and avowed psychonaut Shane Mauss finds the commonality between the two pursuits in Stand Up Science, a show that endeavors to tickle your ribs and expand your mind. Join the host of the Here We Are podcast along with a cavalcade of lab-testing thinkers and joke-telling stinkers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at the Black Buzzard showroom at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, 1624 Market Street; tickets are $15 to $22 at ticketfly.com.
Sunday, March 31
Nimesh Patel has enjoyed a swift ascendance to stardom since he was discovered by comedic authority Chris Rock at a New York City comedy club in 2015. The first Indian-American staff writer in the history of Saturday Night Live, Patel likes writing jokes for other people — including Rock's monologue at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony and Hasan Minhaj's keynote roast at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. But he's a formidable standup in his own right, appearing on Comedy Central's @midnight, Late Night With Seth Meyers and Comedy Knockout. The Emmy-winning Patel steps out of the writers' room and onto the stage for a pair of performances at the downtown Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street — at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 31, and 8 p.m. Monday, April 1. Go to comedyworks.com to buy tickets, $15, and find out more.
Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Boulder’s hardy Band of Toughs indie theater ensemble during Boulder Arts Week, at a workshop performance of the troupe’s 2018 Boulder International Fringe Festival hit Nirvamlet (which will lead to a new, revitalized presentation this summer in Denver). Join BoT for Collaboratory: Nirvamlet, the last chord, at Galvanize, 1023 Walnut Street in Boulder, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 31, and come prepared to help craft the piece’s ultimate version during a discussion and feedback session after the show. Admission is a $5 donation (no one will be turned away), but reservations are recommended in advance at brownpapertickets.com.
There’s no better place in Denver to feed your retro fantasies than at this year’s combined Toy & Doll Supershow and Vintage Voltage Expo, where the spoils will include collectible toys, fashion dolls, comics, LEGO kits, games and popular minutiae on one side, and analog hi-fi electronics, classic guitars, vinyl records and antique radios on the other. Bring your wish list and sharp eye to the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 31; the $5 admission fee includes both shows, with $10 early-bird shopping tickets also available for entry at 10 a.m. Learn more at danacainevents.com.
It isn’t always easy being transgender, but with better public awareness comes change and understanding. The Celebrating Trans Voices: Narratives, Reflections and Building Alliances symposium, a working celebration of Trans Day of Visibility for the trans community and allies alike, will include reflections on navigating the trans life and discussions on how to bridge the societal gap, with personal stories from a youth panel and presentations by Colorado State Representative Brianna Titone and trans veteran/activist Laila Ireland. Gather and listen 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at the University of Denver's Sturm Hall, 2000 East Asbury Avenue. Tickets are $17 to $25 in advance at eventbrite.com or $30 at the door; a portion of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to a charity serving Colorado's transgender community.
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Monday, April 1
The gloves are coming off at Mile High Spirits, 2201 Lawrence Street, on Monday, April 1. But this battle will be fought with booze, not boxing gloves, as the distillery hosts ten top Denver mixologists for the second annual Bartender's Brawl. Round one will see the pros present their best Mile High Spirits recipes to a panel of judges, and round two is a free-for-all with a secret ingredient. The stakes are high, as the winner will walk out with $1,000. The throwdown is free for bystanders, though you'll need to buy your own drinks. Show up at 7 p.m. for three hours of shaking, pouring and sipping; for more details on what the contestants are in for, visit eventbrite.com. This will surely be an Old Fashioned fight to the finish!
A rising star who blossomed from teenage country fame to a prominent role on the TV drama Nashville, Lennon Stella steps out into her own spotlight for a nationwide tour that comes to the Ogden Theatre, 935 East Colfax Avenue, at 8 p.m. Monday, April 1. Serenading her way through the country in support of her latest solo album, Love, Me, Stella — buoyed by the success of her earwormy singles "Bad," "Bitch," and "La Di Da" — has gotten so popular that this concert was moved from the smaller confines of the Bluebird Theater (all Bluebird tickets will be honored). General admission is $25.75, and VIP passes are $159 at axs.com.
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.