Burton Bar Denver, Jack O Lanterns and More Immersive Art | Westword

Immersive Art

The Must-See Immersive Art in Denver Right Now

Spookadelia is coming back to Spectra, and more Halloween pop-ups have arrived.
Spectra Art Space's immersive installation, Spookadelia opens October 7.
Spectra Art Space's immersive installation, Spookadelia opens October 7. Timothy Johnstone
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Denver's immersion in immersive arts experiences continues, with the Museum of Illusions opening September 29 on the 16th Street Mall, where it will be a permanent fixture. Other additions are more temporary. Spectra Art Space is resurrecting its annual Halloween-themed immersive adventure, Spookadelia, starting October 7. Winner of a 2023 Best of Denver award for Best Seasonal Immersive, Spookadelia is just what you need to get in the Halloween spirit.

Of course, there's also Hallowmass, an annual ritual for Denver's famed sixty-member drum troupe, itchy-O. This year marks the ninth iteration of the immersive, experiential concert in its most intimate venue yet — the Mercury Cafe — on October 27, 28 and 31, as well as November 3 and 4. The group will play two sets each night, with one beginning at 6 p.m. and the next at 9 p.m., and the run has already been extended because tickets ($37) to the all-ages show, which are going fast.

In the meantime, here are more spooky, psychedelic and/or family-friendly immersive options right now:
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An installation seen in Spookadelia.
Timothy Johnstone
Closing date TBD
Spectra Art Space, 1836 South Broadway

Spectra Art Space is a pioneer of Denver's growing immersive art scene, and each year it mounts a psychedelic, ghostly experience in Spookadelia, which won a 2023 Best of Denver award for Best Seasonal Immersive. Make your way through a labyrinth of immersive installations and rooms, and follow along the narrative storyline, which works like a puzzle, with augmented reality and clues throughout the show. Because of its popularity, Spookadelia's run is inevitably extended each year; last year's show was up through this past March. Tickets are $12 to $30.
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Sensatia has been extended through October 14.
Courtesy of Quixotic
Sensatia Cirque Cabaret
Through December
The Arch, 3001 Walnut Street

Kansas City performance collective Quixotic is finding a home in Denver with its Sensatia Cirque Cabaret, which it opened in June and extended through the end of the year, after having already extended its run once before. The show has become immensely popular, and once you go, you'll see why. Enter into an immersive, Art Deco-style bar that serves wickedly good cocktails before heading in to one of the best cabaret shows you'll see. From sensual burlesque acts to jaw-dropping aerial feats, fire dances and musical numbers, Sensatia is a show audiences will never forget — and want to see more than once.

There will be a Dark Desires Halloween Ball at 8:30 p.m. on October 28, as well, with costume contests and a late-night dance party in addition to more tantalizing festivities. Tickets to the ball are $49; tickets for all other Sensatia productions are $39-$104.

Fang Bang
Through October 28
Denver Sports Castle, 1000 Broadway

Non Plus Ultra is getting in on the Halloween pop-up game, with its immersive Fang Bang vampire bar taking over the Sports Castle. The club is promising gothic, ’80s new-wave vibes as well as performances from drag and burlesque artists and, of course, vampires galore. Fang Bang will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, with performances at 8 and 10 p.m. each night. Tickets are $25.

The Burton Bar
Through October 31
Denver Pavillions, 500 16th Street

An immersive experience filled with references to Tim Burton's beloved spooky films, the Burton Bar is returning to the Venue at Denver Pavillions after having sold out in 2022. Each ticket to the 21+ speakeasy pop-up is $25 and includes one beverage. Visitors will have 90 minutes to take in all the activations and games the space has to offer, and follow clues to go on quests. Just remember: Don't say "Beetlejuice" three times!
You won't believe the shapes pumpkins can take at Magic of the Jack O'Lanterns.
Courtesy of Samantha Bryant

Magic of the Jack O'Lanterns
Hudson Gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton
Through October 31

Presented by the haunted powerhouse 13th Floor, this is the third iteration of Magic of the Jack O'Lanterns in Denver at Hudson Gardens. Perfect for a family evening or a date night, Magic of the Jack O'Lanterns takes over the gardens with the glow of carved pumpkin displays. From nautical themes to dragons and monsters, each installation is unique and provides the perfect photo-op. Timed-entry tickets to Magic of the Jack O'Lanterns are available now at $14.99.
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Courtesy 13th Floor
Thirteenth Floor
3400 East 52nd Avenue
Through November 11
Enter if you dare! Arguably Denver's most famous haunted house experience, 13th Floor opened for its sixteenth season on September 15 and runs at selected times through November 11. There are three new themes to explore this season: Fairytale Nightmare, the Deadlands and Repossessed, all of which promise to provide the screams, thrills and chills the haunt is known for. Thirteenth Floor has also created add-on experiences, including a tiki bar called the Sacred Skull: A Tiki Tarot Experience, a spot to shoot zombies and an experience called No Name's Clown Chaos. Ticket prices begin at $19.99, and you can always reserve your timed spot online to skip the lines.

Verse Immersive: The Unreal Garden
Southwest Plaza, 8501 West Bowles Avenue, Littleton
Through February 25, Wednesday through Sunday

Verse Immersive's The Unreal Garden works differently from other immersive spectacles in that it relies on augmented reality via headset to blow minds and lead viewers into an imaginary world, serving up personal experiences in a video-game environment. The visual expedition includes artwork by fantasy artists Android Jones and Scott Musgrove, and even gives you a choice of several adventures at the box office. The Unreal Garden opens Friday at Southwest Plaza and runs at least through February; tickets start at $24.99 at Eventbrite.

click to enlarge light sculptures in a warehouse
Let the Lumonics experience light the way.
Lumonics Immersed
Lumonics Light and Sound Gallery, 800 East 73rd Avenue
Saturdays, 8 to 10:30 p.m.
The Lumonics art collective started offering immersive experiences decades ago, long before the immersive concept was exploited by companies that realized it was the perfect way to capitalize on iPhone-wielding influencers. Lumonics Light and Sound Gallery, which is devoted to the light sculptures of the late Mel and Dorothy Tanner, now offers weekly editions of Lumonics Immersed, an event designed to provide healing while the sculptures' glowing lights pulsate to ethereal music produced by Dorothy and composer Marc Billard, the Lumonics studio's creative director. "Dorothy used to call it a vacation from yourself," Barry Raphael, the gallery's archivist, told Westword last year. Tickets are $20.
click to enlarge a geodesic dome
"Enter the Hive Mind," by Aleesha Anderson.
Courtesy of the Beacon
2854 Larimer Street
This dance bar is known as much for its immersive installations as it is for its nightly DJ sets from Denver's best. There's the "Stardust Wagon" room, by Sidney Connell, an installation of woven branches covering the bar area called "Willow Weave Bar," by Jon Medina, and a golden, honeycomb-style room called "Enter the Hive Mind," by Aleesha Anderson. Stop by on First Friday for a local artist market, or check out one of the Beacon's many concert offerings on its website.
click to enlarge an artful swamp room
Numina is the ethereal swamp world found in Convergence Station.
Meow Wolf
Meow Wolf's Convergence Station
1338 First Street
Ever since the Santa Fe art collective opened its Denver location in September 2021, it's become one of Denver's biggest draws, immersive or not. The behemoth installation contains four worlds to roam, where you'll uncover many secret spots each time you go. As one of the spot's creative operators told us, "I have been working a Convergence Station since the day it opened, and I am still discovering new things literally every day." Before you go, read about some secret spots in Convergence Station here. Tickets to Meow Wolf are $40.
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