Plays, pugs and pop-up zines: This week's happenings are as diverse as they are entertaining. Colorado poet laureate Bobby LeFebre's incredibly popular The Northside, a play about gentrification in Denver, will spill over from Su Teatro to his alma mater, North High School. The Colorado Rapids take on the L.A. Galaxy for one of Major League Soccer's most exciting match-ups since the 2019 season began. Pugs will take over Stapleton's Central Park, and the Far East Center lights up with a celebration of the Asian harvest season. All that and more on this week's list of the 21 best events in Denver!
Tuesday, September 10
Any time a Ken Burns flick comes out, it’s a major event. The master documentary filmmaker behind Baseball, Jazz and The War takes on the history of country music in the aptly named Country Music, which will debut on September 15. To celebrate, Rocky Mountain PBS is throwing a shindig on Tuesday, September 10, at Stampede, 2430 South Havana Street in Aurora, headlined by Denver country favorites the Hang Rounders. Learn a few line-dancing moves, strum a banjo at Swallow Hill Music’s Instrument Petting Zoo and catch a preview of the film; food trucks and a cash bar will round out the evening, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, but space is limited; reserve your spot at eventbrite.com.
Wednesday, September 11
Artist Jonathan Saiz keeps amazing people with his novel marketing innovations and accessible art, some of it so small that it fits into a tiny plastic display box. How does he do it — and why? Get the whole story from the horse’s mouth at the Denver Art Museum’s next Logan Lecture, from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 11, on the lower level of the DAM’s Hamilton Building, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. A reception will follow the talk, and Saiz’s circular installation of 10,000 of those tiny paintings in boxes will be on view on the fourth floor until 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $20 at denverartmuseum.org.
Don your kits and hit the pitch when the Colorado Rapids take on the L.A. Galaxy for one of Major League Soccer's most exciting match-ups since the 2019 season began in early August. With a roughly equal number of wins and losses, the Western Conference teams seem evenly matched despite the formidable presence of MLS bad boy Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the Galaxy roster. Fortunately, the Robin Fraser-led Rapids will enjoy a high-altitude home-field advantage at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, 6000 Victory Way. The game kicks off — pun intended — at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 11 (rescheduled from September 12). Get tickets, $25 to $96, and more information at altitudetickets.com.
Thursday, September 12
The comprehensive tome Colorado Abstract: Paintings and Sculpture, by Mary Voelz Chandler and Westword’s Michael Paglia, remains vital ten years after its release. In celebration, the Kirkland Museum is covering the history side of Colorado Abstract with a show that opened a week ago; now it’s time for the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities to weigh in with Colorado Abstract +10: A Survey, an update on the continuing tradition of abstraction in Colorado since the book's publication. The unparalleled exhibition opens with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, September 12, that includes a discussion with Chandler and Paglia. The show runs through November 17 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; find details and information about related events this fall at arvadacenter.org.
"Dad jokes" may be little more than groan-worthy puns intended to embarrass one's offspring. But stepdad jokes are a brave new frontier, and Mike E. Winfield is leading the way into uncharted comedic territory. Winfield's blended family figures prominently in his latest one-hour special, StepMan, which recently premiered on Amazon Prime to critical acclaim; elsewhere, he's performed on Brad Paisley's Comedy Rodeo, Comics Without Borders and The Late Show, and has appeared on The Office and in the movie Satanic Panic. Clearly at the top of his game, Winfield is headlining four nights at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village, starting with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 12, continuing with shows at 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. Friday, September 13, and Saturday, September 14, and wrapping up with a 7 p.m. gig on Sunday, September 15. Find tickets, $17 to $25, and more information at comedyworks.com.
Cheryl Strayed zoomed to fame with her 2012 memoir, Wild, the story of her solo trek along the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. But many readers might not know that Strayed was also an Internet advice columnist who went by “Sugar." She pulled her columns into a book, which became a play, Tiny Beautiful Things, adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos. The result is a wide-open weeper with a message straight from the heart, brought to life in these parts by the Boulder Ensemble Theater Company. BETC's run begins with a preview at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 12, then continues through October 12 at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street; learn more and purchase tickets, $22.50 to $38, at betc.org.
Friday, September 13
Colorado is a sporty state by default, encouraging athletic extremes with its beautiful weather and scenic landscape. Intensive sports such as wingsuit flying, ice and rock climbing, parkour and free diving are all Colorado-style endeavors, making the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s new exhibit, Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits, a home run in the making with outdoor fitness fans. And the exhibit goes beyond hands-on; in fact, you'll use your whole body to navigate the American Ninja Warriors course (sturdy shoes required). Be inspired by Extreme Sports from Friday, September 13, through April 12 at the DMNS, 2001 Colorado Boulevard; it's included in the daily admission price of $14.95 to $19.95 ($1 less if purchased online; museum packages also available). Chart your course at dmns.org.
WalkDenver activated an interesting project in Denver’s Little Saigon neighborhood in June: a showcase of local businesses and culture in the parking lot of a South Federal Boulevard strip mall. Its success encouraged the organization to team up with another South Federal landmark — the vibrant Far East Center at Alameda Avenue — for the Mid-Autumn Festival, a local rendition of the Asian harvest celebration known for its colorful lantern festivals, lion dances and delicious mooncakes. Gather at the Far East Center, 333 South Federal Boulevard, from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, September 13, for a family-friendly evening of food tasting, entertainment and Asian-themed vendor booths. Admission is free; RSVP at eventbrite.com.
The refugee community of metro Denver is large and widespread, and receives a healthy dose of support from Project Worthmore. Now you can show your support for this increasingly necessary nonprofit at the "Our Neighbors, Ourselves" Art Gallery and Fundraiser, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, September 13, at the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora. The annual fundraiser includes a juried art exhibit comprising the work of dozens of artists, live music from Grande Orquesta Navarre and DJs Jonny DeStefano and Christy Thacker, food from Phoenician Kabob, beer and wine, a silent auction, and a presentation on Project Worthmore. Find tickets, $60, at eventbrite.com; learn more about the organization at projectworthmore.org.
This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Pop-Up Zine: Denver will pop up on Friday, September 13; it’s a one-night-only local version of Pop-Up Magazine, the acclaimed “live magazine” that tours the country, sharing true multimedia tales. Organizers include Denverite’s Ashley Dean and Kevin Beaty, as well as former Westword staffer Chris Walker; they’ve gathered a crew of storytellers and journalists for the program. I’m part of that lineup; I’ll be interviewing Brother Jeff. The show starts at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, at 7 p.m.; get tickets, $15, at eventbrite.com.
Colorado poet laureate Bobby LeFebre is going back to school: his alma mater, North High School, which will host a special run of The Northside. LeFebre's play about two couples vying to buy a home in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood was such a hit this summer at Su Teatro that it enjoyed several encore engagements. And since those still weren’t enough, the production is coming to the actual northside of Denver for two performances, at 7 p.m. Friday, September 13, and again at 7 p.m. Saturday, September 14, at North, 2960 Speer Boulevard. General admission tickets are $20, students and seniors $17; get them at suteatro.org or call 303-296-0219.
Denver’s Neustadt Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music Festival (aka JAAMM Fest) covers all its bases — and more — throughout the fall season at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center and other satellite locations. But a multi-dimensional program of that size has to start somewhere, and Dancing With Giants, a play based on the pre-WWII friendship between three boxing legends — American Joe Louis, German Max Schmeling, and boxing manager Joe “Yussel the Muscle” Jacobs — written and directed by Pulitzer Prize finalist David Feldshuh, fills the bill; Feldshuh's wife, actress Tovah Feldshuh, is a bonus in the gender-bent role of Yussel. Dancing With Giants opens at 8 p.m. Friday, September 13, and runs through September 15; admission ranges from $29 to $150, with varying levels of perks. Buy tickets and learn more about JAAMM Fest at jccdenver.org.
Experience something the region’s dance and new-media communities have already discovered: the power and ingenuity of multiple grantee Michelle Ellsworth, a pioneer in both areas who happens to instruct in both disciplines at the University of Colorado Boulder. Find out what everyone’s talking about at [UN] W.R.A.P. Dances That Don't Look Like Dances, a collaboration of Ellsworth and filmmaker Brian Rogers that will open your mind about dance performance. Dances runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 13, and Saturday, September 14, and 2 p.m. Sunday, September 15, at the Irey Theatre in the University Theatre Building on the CU-Boulder campus; learn more and purchase tickets, $20, at cupresents.org.
The art cars are back for one wacky, unforgettable weekend of fun in Trinidad at the ArtoCade parade and festival and CarDango costume gala. ArtoCade tips off with an appetizer: Lights and Fire on Main Street, an art-car light show at 6 p.m. Friday, September 13 (weather permitting), that gives you time to get small-town cozy before Saturday's big art-car parade at noon and all-day family fun with vendor booths, street performers, kids' activities and meet-the-artist opportunities. Then the adult CarDango soirée, $20 at the door, wraps it all up from 6:30 p.m. to midnight September 14 at the Art Cartopia Museum, 2702 Freedom Road in Trinidad. Get road-ready at artocade.com.
Saturday, September 14
The Sloan’s Lake Fall Bazaar will usher in a new season in one of Denver's most idyllic neighborhoods. This block party and marketplace will include more than 100 local makers, food and fashion trucks, fall-themed activities, DJs and live bluegrass on the streets around Sloan's Lake Tap & Burger, 1565 Raleigh Street, just a block from the lake itself. Want to imbibe while you shop? Opt for the $20 Shop and Sip pass, which includes beer and cider tasting at various stations throughout the market. The festival runs from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, September 14, and Sunday, September 15; learn more and load up on drinking options at eventbrite.com.
At the Inkwell Denver has always been an equal-opportunity concern, which makes September’s free Indigenous Writers Night par for the course — but the lineup isn’t ordinary, by any stretch: Organized by Hillary Leftwich and Erika T. Wurth, who also reads and hosts, participants will include Apache/Navajo tribal member Crisosto Apache, Navajo Byron F. Aspaas, Boulder author Stephen Graham Jones, Navajo Technical University adjunct faculty member Manny Loley and author David Heska Wanbli Weiden. Readings begin at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, September 14, at BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street; find more info at bookbardenver.com.
For over 25 years, the Bug Theatre has been a cornerstone of the city's performing arts scene, hosting shows you won't see anywhere else. Celebrate the Bug's auspicious legacy while laying a foundation for its future at the Bug Theatre Silver Anniversary Fundraiser. The party kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, at the theater, 3654 Navajo Street, with a silent auction for collectible items you'd willingly buy for non-altruistic purposes, and continues with a 7:30 showcase of artists who've found their home at the Bug. The program includes shorts from the Emerging Filmmakers Project, performances from Equinox Theatre Company and the Bug's long-running Freak Train, as well as standup comedy and burlesque. Buy tickets, $20 to $30, and donate at bugtheatre.info.
Last September, we published a cover story about Friends of Horses, a rescue in Centennial that had been plagued by years of mismanagement and seemed to be in need of rescue itself. Since then, two horse lovers, Emily Klimas and Maria Lawson, have taken over the property and started the brand-new Mile High Rescue. Together, Mile High and Drifter’s Hearts of Hope, a rescue in Franktown, are putting on Hope Reins, a fundraiser whose proceeds will go toward rescuing more horses and finding them forever homes. The party, which includes a silent auction, food and drinks, a mechanical bull, giveaways, raffles and a scavenger hunt for the kids, gets going at 6 p.m. Saturday, September 14, at D'Amore Interiors, 475 South Broadway. Cowboy-casual attire is strongly encouraged; find tickets, starting at $40, and more info at hopereins.eventbrite.com.
Sunday, September 15
From their wrinkled, Joe Pesci-like faces to their charming personalities, pugs are one of the canine kingdom's most lovable breeds. Celebrate their evolution-defying cuteness at Pugs in the Park, an annual benefit hosted by Colorado Pug Rescue. Running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, September 15, at Stapleton's Central Park, 8801 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Pugs in the Park is a free gathering for proud pug parents, aspiring owners and dog lovers of all ages that will include pug parades, races, costume contests, kissing booths and hot-dog-eating competitions. Whether you adopt a pug at the event, bid in the silent auction, treat your pet to a grooming "spa" or ensure their security with a $25 microchip locator, all proceeds go to Colorado Pug Rescue and its affiliated organizations. Visit copugrescue.org to donate and find out more.
Treat yourself to a trip through European classical music without packing your bags at Rick Steves' Europe: A Symphonic Journey With the Colorado Symphony. Steves, a travel writer and host of the eponymous series Rick Steves' Europe, will lead a cultural tour through the career highlights of the continent's greatest composers, including maestros from France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Austria and the Czech Republic, offering cultural insight into the history of the places that Mozart, Dvorak, Beethoven, Vivaldi and more called home. Eye-popping video will accompany each composition as Steves takes the stage at 2 p.m. Sunday, September 15, at Boettcher Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Visit coloradosymphony.org to buy tickets, $10 to $104, and find more information.
Some local slam poets might enjoy a cult-like following, but lesser known is the seasoned, bohemian crew that’s been running the Jam Before the Slam for twenty years. Co-hosted by deeply rooted leaders SETH (aka Art Compost) and Roseanna Frechette, this anniversary jam will up the ante with a lineup of Jam Before the Slam All-Stars and a special tribute to the late Lenny Chernila, a stalwart of the series and the poetry community at large. Enjoy poetry, music by Art Compost and the Word Mechanics Jam, eats and camaraderie from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, September 15, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Admission is free; get the full scoop at the event's Facebook page.
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