Things to Do

The 21 Best Events in Denver, September 9 to September 15

The Mid-Autumn Festival brings the Asian harvest celebration stateside.
The Mid-Autumn Festival brings the Asian harvest celebration stateside. Courtesy of the Walk Denver and the Far East Center
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

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

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

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

"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

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

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

Courtesy of the Walk Denver and the Far East Center
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

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; learn more about the organization at

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

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 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

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