Halloween is still a week away, but Denver's cultural calendar is getting so full, it's downright spooky. This week you can see the new Monet exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, get lit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, dance with the Living Dead, and much, much more. Keep reading for our 21 best events this week.
Monday, October 21
The long-awaited Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will open at 10 a.m. Monday, October 21, at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, and continue through February 2. The most comprehensive Monet show to grace the nation in decades, The Truth of Nature comprises more than 120 works by the leading French impressionist in a career retrospective for the ages, encompassing everything from sun-drenched haystacks to the artist’s beloved and deeply layered water lily paintings. Timed-entry tickets are already few and far between for the first weeks of the exhibition, so reservations are a must; find information and secure your tickets, ranging from $22 to $27 ($5 for youth ages six to eighteen, and free for children ages five and under), at denverartmuseum.org/exhibitions/claude-monet.
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Glow at the Gardens at the Denver Botanic Gardens might be the boisterous cousin of the venue’s
Blossoms of Light holiday spectacular. Whereas one is a virtual wonderland, Glow is upbeat and full of surprises, including this year’s virtual-reality add-on feature for patrons wanting to really get into the Halloween spirit ($8 for ages five and older). Luminarias and lighted pumpkins line garden walkways, while more detailed lighted sculptures loom. Class it up at Glow, which runs by timed entry only through Friday, October 25, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the DBG, 1007 York Street. Reserve tickets, $15 to $21 (free for children ages two or younger), and learn more about additional Halloween-season events at the DBG and Chatfield Farms at botanicgardens.org/events.
Tuesday, October 22
Out-of-town guests are great, as long as they don't empty your liquor cabinet or talk politics when they're drunk. Even better when the out-of-towner is a chef, because you'll probably get some great cooking thrown in. Restaurateur Troy Guard knows the benefits of inviting guests into the kitchen at his RiNo restaurant, Mister Tuna, 3033 Brighton Boulevard, so on Tuesday, October 22, he's hosting chef Khai Vu of Mordeo and District One in Las Vegas. Highlights include 120-day aged wagyu beef, salt cod croquettes with coconut and galangal, and oak-grilled pork meatballs and shrimp on rice noodles. Make your reservations, available between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m., and find more information at mistertuna.com.
Wednesday, October 23
The Clocktower Cabaret comes alive at Night of the Dancing Dead, a sexy pre-Halloween celebration on Wednesday, October 23. Starting at 8 p.m., the Bella Divas will transform into belly-dancing witches, samba "zombistas" and skeleton "Boo-llywood" performers, all for your spook-tacular delight. Wash it all down with crafted witches' brews from the bar, and come in costume for a chance to win prizes. Find tickets, $20 to $30, and more info at clocktowercabaret.com.
Thursday, October 24
The story of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s battle for independence and the assassination of Patrice Lumumba is a messy one, with world powers interfering and Lumumba's death resulting in a long-term dictatorship. Denver playwright Brenton Weyi has managed to turn that story into a play-in-progress, and the first act, the musical My Country, My Country, will be performed as part of Living History: A Concert in the Wildlife Hall, an evening in the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Botswana Hall hosted by Groupmuse. You’ll hear two sonatas by forgotten eighteenth-century African composer Chevalier de Saint-Georges, with a performance by Stephen Brackett of the Flobots, followed by part one of Weyi’s work; shows are at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Thursday, October 24, at the museum, 2001 Colorado Boulevard. Admission is $30 to $35; learn more at groupmuse.com.
Feast, Westword's annual celebration of the Denver restaurant scene, returns to the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 24. That's a new night and time for Feast, but like the local restaurant scene itself, this event has evolved over the past two decades. Still, our mission has remained constant: to showcase some of the very best food and drink this city has to offer, one delicious bite or sip at a time. This year's lineup includes Aloy Modern Thai, Angelo's Taverna, Cattivella, El Coco Pirata, GQue BBQ, Ivy on 7th, Jackdaw, Latke Love, Little Man Ice Cream, The Lobby, Logan Street Restaurant, Lucky Mary's Baking Company, Roaming Buffalo BBQ, Rose & Thorn, Snooze: an AM Eatery, Sushi Cup, Turtle Boat, the Veggie Whisperer, The Way Back, Uchi, Voodoo Doughnut, Woodie Fisher and more. All eateries will be serving up samples of some of their most popular dishes, which you can wash down with sips and samples of spirits, beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks. Doors open at 6 p.m. for VIPs, who get a special menu from Matsuhisa; the feasting for all continues until 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 general admission, $65 VIP at westwordfeast.com.
Bruce Cameron, former Rocky Mountain News columnist and the author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, among other books, returns to Denver at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 24, when he'll be at the Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, to talk about his new novel, A Dog's Promise (A Dog's Purpose #3). Admission is $26.99 and includes a copy of the book, which Cameron will sign for those who get in line early enough (doors open at 5 p.m.). Get tickets at eventbrite.com; find out more at tatteredcover.com.
Hold on to your seats: The politics of the racial divide get a real workout in Local Theater’s world premiere of Rodney Hicks’s much-anticipated satirical string of fifteen pointed vignettes, Flame Broiled. or the ugly play, with four actors playing more than thirty roles. Though it sounds exhausting, it also sounds exhilarating; you might exit the theater feeling a little more woke. Hop on the Flame Broiled roller coaster when it opens for three nights of previews at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 24; performances continue Wednesdays through Sundays through November 17 at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Find information and tickets, $20 to $40 (two-for-one on Wednesdays), at localtheaterco.org.
It’s things-that-go-bump-in-the-night season, the perfect backdrop for Benchmark Theatre’s third annual Fever Dream Festival, a four-day compendium of original staged play readings on the themes of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Catch one or all of the fest’s fourteen plays, written by local and national playwrights, as they unfold over five unique performances between Thursday, October 24, and Sunday, October 27, at Benchmark, 1560 Teller Street in Lakewood. Find more information, showtimes and tickets, $10 per performance or $40 for a festival pass, at benchmarktheatre.com/fdf.
Ready to learn how to incorporate CBD into your massage and body rubs? Led by licensed massage therapist and physiology instructor Katie Uveges, CBD Partner Massage 101 will teach you how to use CBD lotions and balms on yourself and others, as well as how to relieve tension in areas where people commonly suffer tightness and pain. Hosted by Colorado CBD company Stratos on Thursday, October 24, the free class takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mudra Yoga Studio, 1550 South Pearl Street. Learn more and register (space is limited) at eventbrite.com.
Friday, October 25
Every year, the Ski & Snowboard Expo fills the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, with the latest news, products and experiences for the 2019/2020 winter season. The expo includes a pre-season retail sale, plus interactive activities and exhibits by mountain resorts, industry manufacturers and a host of winter travel and tourism companies. The show opens at noon on Friday, October 25, and runs until 10 p.m.; it's open again from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 26, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, October 27. Tickets, $15, are available at skisnowexpo.com.
Leave it to the Denver Art Museum’s Untitled series to save the best for last: Untitled Final Friday: in/visible will cap the 2019 season with programming facilitated by artist/activist Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, whose current practice involves collaborations with snails and bees. Activities include a honey tasting, a botanical selfie station, poetry confessionals, shadow theater, snail-trails shadow drawing with Murphy and other pursuits to be announced. She'll be the queen bee from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, October 25, at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Admission is $8 to $13, or free for members and those eighteen and under; learn more at denverartmuseum.org.
Saturday, October 26
Everyone — including the family pet — gets into the Halloween act at the annual Tennyson Trick-or-Treat Street, Fall Festival and Pet Parade, while the kids get in some safe, daylight trick-or-treating at businesses up and down the commercial street. Festival central is at César Chávez Park, 4131 Tennyson Street, where you’ll find kids’ activities and adult goodie bags (for the first 500 visitors) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 26, with the pet parade and costume contest revving up in the park at noon. Events are free, but donations are requested for pet parade contestants registering at eventbrite.com; proceeds will benefit Moms and Mutts. Learn more at exploretennyson.com.
If you want to treat your kids to an evening of trick-or-treating adventure all their own — one that’s not too scary, but where they might actually hear the hoot of a real owl — the Barr Lake Halloween Trail tradition is just spooky enough to keep them intrigued. And once they've had their fill of frights, things will be warm and cozy back at the Barr Lake Nature Center, with hands-on crafts, face painters and seasonal refreshments like hot cider and cookies. Hit the trail on Saturday, October 26, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Barr Lake State Park, 13401 Picadilly Road in Brighton; admission is free, but an $8 parks pass (or $80 annual pass) is required for entry into the park. Learn more at the event Facebook page and RSVP in advance at 303-659-6005.
While First Friday in November will be given over to Day of the Dead festivities in Lakewood's 40 West Arts District, the combined galleries — Core New Art Space, Edge Gallery, Kanon Collective and Next Gallery — at Pasternack’s Art Hub, 6851 West Colfax Avenue, will mark Halloween on Saturday, October 26, with Nightmare on Colfax, an artsy costume affair from 6 to 10 p.m., with DJ spins and live music by Red Echoes. Costumes are recommended, since there will be a contest; you can also decorate cookies, take selfies at a photo station with props, risk a reading from Madame Bonediva’s Psychic Cartomancymancy, check out all the gallery shows and take your chances on an art raffle. Admission is free; learn more at the event Facebook page.
Paging all pagans: The Denver Witches' Ball, Denver’s premier Samhain masquerade celebration, has been scaring up wizardry and enchantments for 28 years. This is the full pagan experience, with trance and primal roots drumming, a psychic fair, famous witches' trivia, potions and a frenzied, wild midnight ritual; you can bet your life there will also be a costume contest for the ages. The hags and harpies start dancing at 6 p.m. Saturday, October 26, keeping up a nonstop frenzy until 1 a.m. on all three evocative floors of the Highland Masonic Center, 3550 Federal Boulevard; find information and tickets, $25 (the fee goes up to $30 at the door), at denverwitchesball.com.
InterFest Denver, a multicultural offshoot of the original arts and ideas festival at the Harlem School of the Arts in New York, will debut as a three-day, free-ranging symposium touching on issues of sexuality, sense of place and self-care. The first evening, labeled “Pleasure,” runs from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, October 25, at Gypsy House, 1545 South Broadway; “Place” follows from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 26, at Necio Mexican Kitchen, 4001 Tejon Street; and “Praise” caps off the weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, October 27, at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive. Presenters include the Danza Divina BIQTPoC collective, Lady Speech, Tony Garcia, Bobby LeFebre, Tricia Hersey of the Nap Ministry and more. Admission is free with RSVP in advance; learn more at interfestnyc.org.
The Rainbow Militia aerial dance-theater crew joins the Circus Foundry ensemble for A Very Victorian Monster Soirée, a costume-required Halloween immersion evening that’s got it all — sirens, vampires, zombies and monsters galore — and it’s your job to hunt them down...or perhaps go over to the dark side. Be ready for battle on Saturday, October 26, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Denver Rock Drill, 1717 East 39th Avenue, where 360-degree soundscapes and spooky libations will abound. Admission is $65 through October 25, $75 to $85 through October 26, or $192 for a four-pack; pay up and learn more at rainbowmilitiaaerial.com.
Sunday, October 27
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Want to help the Littleton Public Schools? Take it in stride when the nonprofit Littleton Public Schools Foundation hosts The Stride, its 24th annual 5K and 10K run/walk, along with a kids' fun run, on Sunday, October 27. Race-day registration starts at 7 a.m. at the Littleton Museum, 6028 South Gallup Street in Littleton, where you can also walk through a Wellness Expo full of activities and interactive booths and enjoy pancakes by Flippin' Flapjacks. The Expo and family-friendly activities continue through the awards ceremony at 10 a.m.; medals will be awarded to the top three runners in each school-age category, as well as the top three overall winners. To register in advance, go to raceroster.com/events/2019/24737/the-stride-2019.
There are plenty of family-friendly events this Halloween season; DRiNk RiNo has just the thing for adults who'd like to act childish. The third annual DRiNk RiNo Adult Trick-or-Treating extravaganza encourages adults to dress up, drink and romp between fourteen participating locations from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, October 27. Tickets are $25 at eventbrite.com or $30 at the door. (Fair warning: This event often sells out.) Meet at RiNo headquarters, 3525 Walnut Street, to grab your commemorative adult trick-or-treat bag and a punch card good for a day of creepy cocktails. Find out more at facebook.com/drinkrino.
At Stanley Marketplace, the whole family can enjoy a variety of Halloween divertissements, including Trick or Treating, a Zombie Crawl and “Thriller” Flash Mob, and cucurbit-lobbing Pumpkin Wars, all going down concurrently from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 27. The fun starts with a howl when Neighborhood Music Stapleton hosts zombie crawlers and flash mobbers at 2:30 p.m. sharp (learn more at neighborhoodmusicstapleton.com/zombie-crawl); then the crowd can disperse for trick-or-treating at various businesses or head outdoors to observe team pumpkin-pelting (learn more at
kidscompassionproject.z2systems.com). It's all in a day’s works at the Stanley, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora; learn more at stanleymarketplace.com/tag/halloween.
Know of an event that belongs on this list? Send information at least three weeks in advance to email@example.com.