The weather may be chilly, but the cultural calendar is heating up, with the opening of the Denver Film Festival on October 30, followed by the start of Denver Arts Week on First Friday, November 1. And in between, there are still plenty of spooky Halloween activities. Keep reading for the 21 best things to do around town this week.
Monday, October 28
Union Station was once a scary place to find yourself at night, but that was back before the massive 2014 remodel and the arrival of the Terminal Bar (as well as many other great bars and restaurants). Things are going to get spooky from 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday, October 28, though, as the train station's main bar hosts Carving + Cocktails on its patio. You'll get to star in your own slasher movie — or at least carve up your own Jack-o-Lantern — for $30, which includes the pumpkin, carving tools and a fall-themed cocktail. Get tickets in advance at unionstationindenver.com, then leave the kids at home for this adults-only Halloween guts-and-gore (of the pumpkin kind) fest.
Tuesday, October 29
The intoxicating aroma of Italian truffles is enough to make us wish we were pigs, but at least we can make pigs of ourselves on Tuesday, October 29, at Liberati Restaurant & Brewery's first-anniversary Truffle Dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. Join executive chef Marta Biasotti at 2403 Champa Street as she presents four courses of classic Italian cuisine, all enhanced by the treasured fungus flown in especially for the dinner. Courses include beef tartare with truffles from Alba, fettuccine with porcini and truffles, filet mignon with foie gras and truffles, and even a dessert of panna cotta with chocolate and truffle flakes. Tickets are $110 each at eventbrite.com, and supplemental wine and beer pairings are available. You'll be in hog heaven!
Photographer, author and explorer Jonathan Waterman will discuss his new book, Chasing Denali, which combines personal narrative and history to explore an enduring myth surrounding the Alaskan mountain. A book sale and signing will follow the talk at 7 p.m. at Lowry Student Center Theatre, Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Part of the Morgan Library Evening with an Author Series, the event is free; no tickets are required. Find out more here.
Wednesday, October 30
The 42nd edition of the Denver Film Festival, which runs October 30 to November 10, will be the first iteration since the death of Brit Withey, the event’s former artistic director, who died in a one-car crash in late March. To celebrate his life, Denver Film will open the festival on Wednesday, October 30, with screenings of three of Withey's favorite films: Frownland at 6:30 p.m., Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at 7 p.m. and American Movie at 7:30 p.m. For information and tickets, $13 to $16, go to denverfilm.org.
Thursday, October 31
Perhaps you've already been through the long-running Natura Obscura spectacle at the Museum of Outdoor Arts — but have you experienced the immersive journey in costume? Here’s your chance: The MOA will host an All Hallow's Eve Adult Costume Viewing on Halloween, with lobby entertainment including spooky music and mini-readings by Quinlan Tarot to augment the main attraction. Timed-entry tickets are $15 to $20 in advance, but suiting up in a costume will earn you a half-price discount on walk-in tickets. The Halloween fun runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (tarot readings from 5 to 8 p.m. only) on Thursday, October 31, at the MOA, located on the second floor at 1000 Englewood Parkway in Englewood; learn more at naturaobscura.org.
Vaudeville, burlesque and a circus sideshow vibe all rub elbows in Arts Caravan’s Halloween-season variety offering, A Wicked Radio Porno, an evening full of allure and the arcane hosted by local musician/barker Ukulele Loki. Be left hot and bothered by the troupe’s sexy diva Zia Pixie and amazed by feats of mentalism, magic and escape arts performed in tandem with the murder mystery Quill the Clown's Sixth Red Light Radio Hour on Thursday, October 31, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Roxy on Broadway, 554 South Broadway. Get information and tickets, $16 in advance, at artscaravan.org.
Some people deserve a skewering for the way they fall over backwards trying to be “woke” — without ever getting the point. That’s the thinking behind Curious Theatre Company’s new production of playwright Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play, a full-on satire about an elementary-school holiday pageant designed by two earnest actors intent on gaining fame by covering all the political-correctness bases. The horror! The Thanksgiving Play opens for previews at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 31, and runs through December 15 at Curious Theatre, 1080 Acoma Street; admission is $20 for previews and ranges from $25 to $44 thereafter. Find tickets and more information at curioustheatre.org.
Friday, November 1
Denver Restaurant Week proved such a success when Visit Denver introduced it almost two decades ago that the tourism/booster group soon followed with Denver Arts Week. As with DRW’s recognition of this city’s dining industry, there’s so much to celebrate in Denver’s arts and culture scene that the event always spills well beyond a week. This year's Denver Arts Week, the lucky thirteenth, starts Friday, November 1, and runs for nine days, a span that incorporates not just First Friday, but much of the Denver Film Festival and even the start of Denver Fashion Week on November 9. In between are hundreds of special reasons to get out and see some art, including Free Night at the Museums on November 2. Find a full list of activities on denverartsweek.com.
In place of gearing up for another big musical, Phamaly’s talented troupe of actors with disabilities will display their versatility during the Come to Your Senses One-Act Play Festival. The series of one-acts is written by playwrights who live with disabilities and directed by a rotating band of locals. The human senses are a common theme among the plays, including an inscrutable sixth sense accessed by people who can’t, for instance, see or hear. Interactivity figures into the show as well, which runs for nine performances between Friday, November 1, and Sunday, November 10, in the open spaces of RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street — not your typical theater venue. Check all assumptions at the door; find details and tickets, $25, at phamaly.org.
All up and down the Art District on Santa Fe, galleries and institutions will be celebrating Day of the Dead on First Friday, from the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council on the south end to the Museo de las Americas on the north. But in the middle, Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, a stalwart of the drag at 721 Santa Fe Drive, hosts one of the biggest family-friendly parties: Altares Vivos: Amor Eterno Día de los Muertos Carnival, complete with Grupo Azteca Huitzilopochtli dancers, dancing calacas, music by Mariachi Sangre Mexicana and Los Mocochetes, and further performances in a mock Campo Santo (Mexican cemetery) accurately decked out with marigolds and candles. Festivities at Su Teatro, which include face painting, sugar-skull decorating and traditional goodies, run from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, November 1, and admission is free. Learn more at facebook.com/suteatro.
Lakewood's 40 West Arts District is tossing its Day of the Dead sombrero into the ring with a Colfax Art Crawl celebration on First Friday, anchored by Pirate: Contemporary Art’s annual Día de los Muertos Show and Muertos Mart, a 37-year tradition that the co-op brought with it to Lakewood from its former Northside home on Navajo Street. In addition to 40 West’s Aztec dancers and fire-spinners, Pirate will be ground zero from 6 to 10 p.m. for community altars, face painting, vendors and piñata-bashing, as well as the touch-off point at 7:30 p.m. for a costumed procession through the district. Join Pirate, 7130 West 16th Avenue in Lakewood, in welcoming the dead as they pass through. Activities are free, and the exhibition runs through November 3; find more info at pirateartonline.org/dod.
Have a happy hip-hop Halloween with Ian Flaws at the Bboy Factory Halloween Party. The family-style costume party includes awards for the best get-ups, live art, a little competitive cyphering and other performances, with DJ Awhatta on the turntables to keep things interesting. Into making moves? Be at the Bboy Factory, 6401 Broadway, on Friday, November 1, from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission is a suggested $5 donation to the dance studio; find details at facebook.com/thebboyfactory.
Rhea Butcher is good at making strangers laugh. So good, in fact, that Butcher has proudly claimed a space in the cultural spotlight, bringing along like-minded queer and gender non-conforming comedians. Co-creator and star of the gone-too-soon sitcom Take My Wife, Butcher has also appeared on Adam Ruins Everything, Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ and HarmonQuest, and has told jokes on shows like Conan and The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail. After a commanding performance at this year's High Plains Comedy Festival, Butcher is back in the Mile High City for a weekend of stage time at the downtown Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street. Shows are at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2, and 7 p.m. Sunday, November 3; find tickets, $15 to $23, and more info at comedyworks.com.
The foibles of lovemaking have offered a bottomless well of material for standup comedians ever since the vaudeville era, but rarely have funnies and fetishes collided as spectacularly as they do at First Friday FÜKD Up Comedy and Kink. Curated and hosted by local comic and "rogue sex educator" Chris Wellman, the show spices up the joke-telling with elaborate BDSM demonstrations, light floggings and cheeky public nudity. Silly, sex-positive and unlike anything you'll find in the Queen City comedy scene, the show returns to Dangerous Theatre, 2620 West Second Avenue, at 11 p.m. Friday, November 1. Sample some cider — thanks to the theater's new partnership with the Colorado Cider Company — while watching local favorites Jake Cambron, Wes Williams and Anthony Crawford, along with a performance from Albuquerque's Cat Savage. Visit dangeroustheatre.ticketleap.com for tickets, $10, and more information.
Saturday, November 2
Give them a hand! Knitting4Peace creates 25,000-plus hats, scarves and more every year for people in need around the world, including Colorado. On November 2, the Denver-based group is hosting Craftivism! (Handcrafts used for activism = "Craftivism.") Help celebrate fourteen years of this community's compassionate and creative work, and help raise funds to carry it forward! There will be a silent auction, live music, Peace Pal Q & A, yarn swap, tours, refreshments, guest speakers, and a Peace Pod meet & greet! The celebration runs from 2 to 5 p.m. at Park Hill United Congregational Church, 2600 Leyden Street. Get tickets (donation of $10) at eventbrite.
While the city is pitching in to make the RiNo ArtPark — a green space with artist studios in two historic buildings along the Platte — a reality, the River North Art District will be doing all the heavy lifting to make the art spaces viable. To help finance the small but promising plan to keep artists in the area, the district is throwing the inaugural RiNo Oxpecker Ball. The fundraiser and concert with electronic-music whiz Robert DeLong begins with an arts gala that includes immersive environments, gourmet eats, a RiNo art sale and a live iron pour at 6 p.m. Saturday, November 2, at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street. DeLong’s show will start around 9 p.m. Admission to the party is $150, $250 for couples — or opt for the concert only for $15 ($25 at the door) at rinoartpark.com.
Disguises, double-crossing and romantic folly abound in Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville, a two-act opera buffa that tells a tale of lovers' schemes and features the wily Figaro, one of the comic opera canon's favorite characters. Even though the historical premiere of Rossini's take on the satirical novels of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was plagued by on-stage accidents and hissing audiences, The Barber of Seville continues to charm opera patrons more than two centuries later thanks to earworms such as "Largo al Factotum" and "Una Voce Poco Fa." Get your Galilean binoculars ready for Opera Colorado's production of Rossini and librettist Cesare Sterbini's masterwork, which debuts at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1385 Curtis Street, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 2. The show returns at the same time on November 5 and 8, and takes a final bow at 2 p.m. on November 10. Find tickets, $35 to $225, and further details at my.operacolorado.org.
Sunday, November 3
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Dip into divinity at the eleventh annual Dark Goddess Festival, where you can commune with thematically resonant yet culturally misunderstood deities such as Hecate, Demeter and Kali. Gather hidden knowledge and explore the freedom of primal instincts when the festival returns to the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, November 3. Costumes are highly encouraged at this spiritual salon, which includes guidance from healers and readers and culminates in a ritual offering to the Dark Goddess. The festivities also feature a DJ, door prizes and surprises. Admission is free, so anyone is welcome to awaken the dark goddess within; find further details on the Mercury Cafe Facebook page.
Every kid's least favorite food, squash, becomes something delicious in the hands of great cooks. Butternut, delicata, kabocha, acorn: These and more will be the main attraction at GoFarm's first-ever Squash Cook-Off, on Sunday, November 3. From 1 to 4 p.m., the American Mountaineering Center, 710 Tenth Street in Golden, will be squash city. Taste — and judge! — soups, salads, entrees and desserts showcasing the versatility of the veggie, and don't miss the music, games and other activities. There will be prizes for the top dishes, and proceeds of the tickets, $5 to $15 at eventbrite.com, will become seed money for new local farmers supported by GoFarm, a nonprofit dedicated to making locally grown food more accessible and affordable. While it's too late to submit your own tasty recipe (so leave your Hubbard in the cupboard), you'll get to enjoy food from other amateur and professional squash chefs.
Where’s Molly Ivins when you need her? The kickass columnist passed away before Donald Trump was elected president, but she’s still raising hell from beyond the grave — or at least helping others do it. At a Womxn’s March Denver fundraiser on Sunday, November 3, you can mix and mingle with other hellraisers at a screening of the documentary Raise Hell! The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue. The film starts at 3 p.m., with a reception at 4:30; popcorn and light bites as well as non-alcoholic drinks are included in the ticket price of $45 in advance, $55 at the door. (An $85 VIP ticket gets you into a special hellraiser happy hour at 2 p.m., and also snags a WMD swag bag and VIP theater seating.) Find out more at womxnsmarchdenver.org, and remember: Her pen was mightier than politics.
Nobody raps like Danny Brown, including a pre-fame Danny Brown. After a few promising mixtapes and fruitless contracts with major labels, Brown discovered his inimitable vocal style on his debut album, The Hybrid, bringing his yowling voice to bear on unpredictable bars replete with sharp punchlines. Critical accolades, hit albums and a string of high-profile collaborations followed Brown's breakout; his latest record, U Know What I'm Sayin?, was produced by none other than Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. Today, the weirdo who wore pants too tight to fit in with G-Unit is seen as a rap fashion icon as well as one of its dopest lyricists. Brown will be at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street, on Sunday, November 3, to rock the house along with openers Ashnikko and Zeelooperz. Doors open at 8 for the 9 p.m. show; find more information and tickets, $25 to $30, at ticketfly.com.
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