Spring events are busting out all over, with events this week ranging from an attempt to break a Guinness Book of World Records kickball award to the debut of Divisions, which juggles the hip-hop of The Flobots with Wonderbound's choreography. There are a lot of balls in the air in Denver; here are 21 events you should catch.
Tuesday, April 11
There’s a first time for everything. Remember your first kiss? Your first period? Your first time eating a raw jalapeño? The Denver Zine Library and the Narrators are hosting The Narrators Presents: Firsts, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan Street. The evening will open with a handful of zinesters sharing their first experiences. Which ones? As of now, the subjects are secret, but we know that after those performances, the Zine Library will present a hands-on mini-zine-making workshop. Audience members will have the chance to make their own zines, while those who feel inspired can take to the stage to share their stories. Rumor has it that there will be free beer from Renegade, too. A $5 to $10 donation at the door is suggested; for more information, go to denverzinelibrary.org.
Add a dash of genial wackiness to your week with Much Apeel About Nothing!, a new sketch comedy show at the Bovine Metropolis Theater, 1527 Champa Street. With a zany mythos that includes precociously gifted Girl Scouts, killer whales and an overzealous softball enthusiast, Much Apeel About Nothing! revels in its own defiant silliness. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11, with an additional performance on April 25. Tickets are $10 online from bovinemetropolis.com and $12 at the door.
Wednesday, April 12
Thanks to the steadfast efforts of first-wave feminists, Colorado became the first state in the Union to ratify women’s suffrage with a historically unprecedented popular vote. That was in 1893, a full 27 years before the 19th Amendment made suffrage the law of the land (but after the territory of Wyoming gave women the vote). During the Progressive Era, which lasted from roughly 1890 to 1920, Denver women leveraged their voting rights to enact legislation regarding such issues as child labor, welfare rights and Prohibition. Join historian Tom Thomas for an enlightening tour through the achievements of such feminists as Molly Brown and Baby Doe Tabor at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, at Chautauqua Community House, 900 Baseline Road in Boulder. Tickets cost $9 for Chautauqua members and $12 for the general public; they’re available at tickets.chautauqua.com.
Any time you eat a grilled cheese sandwich is a cause for celebration, but if you want a real sandwich party, head to the Denver Grilled Cheese Festival on Wednesday, April 12, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. The cheesiest event in town comes courtesy of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides free books to children under five. Ticket sales and a silent auction will raise money for the Denver branch of Imagination Library, and an award for Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich in Denver will be given to the local chef who can wow the judges. The fun starts at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. for VIPs) with passed appetizers before the sandwich grilling gets under way; tickets are going fast, so get yours soon — $45 for general admission or $175 for VIP — at denvergrilledcheesefest.com.
Central Christian Church is hosting the Ugandan Kids Choir, a project of Childcare Worldwide, an international group that provides education for children in developing nations. The ten-person choir, which has traveled around the world performing at schools, churches and even Disneyland, will offer traditional African songs and dances while raising money for its parent organization. This free, donations-encouraged event starts at 5:30 p.m.Wednesday, April 12, at the Central Christian Church, 3690 Cherry Creek South Drive. After the performance, the audience will have a chance to speak with the singers. For more information, go to centralchristiandenver.org.
Thursday, April 13
Back in 2003, a group of friends who wanted to organize some laid-back summer competitions started the KIFAC (Kick in for a Cause) Denver Kickball League. While the league is still all about fun and games, it has serious ambitions. Over the years, it’s become the city’s largest kickball league and has donated over $120,000 to charity. For the first time this season, teams will be able to pick their own charities — but first, the league is going to pass some bucks to Children’s Hospital Colorado at the same time it takes on an Official Guinness World Record: Most Kickballs Simultaneously Kicked Into the Air. Want to get in on the action? Head to City Park at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 13; all participants are asked to kick in at least $10 for Children’s Hospital. For more information, go to kifac.org.
Get ready for a boozy battle for the ages at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at Lola Coastal Mexican, 1575 Boulder Street in LoHi. Whiskey expert Jake Norris and Lola “tequila guru” Alex Terry will debate the finer points of their favorite spirits at the Tequila vs. Bourbon Dinner, at which Jamey Fader will serve a three-course Kentucky Fried Mexican feast with such tasty mashups as achiote shrimp and grits, BBQ carnitas and Mexican-style hot chicken; the dishes will be paired with spirits. Seats are $45, and reservations are required; call 720-570-8686 to make yours. And remember: When tequila and bourbon compete, everyone wins. — Byron Graham
Evan Weissman’s civic health club, Warm Cookies of the Revolution, brings power to the people through constructive discussion of community issues wrapped in fun — and served with cookies. At Pies, Pie, & Pie Charts, you’ll learn how taxes work and, in turn, how to make those taxes work for you and your neighborhood. While speakers discuss tax reform, war-tax boycotts, bond projects and participatory budgeting, slices of pizza and pie à la mode will serve as metaphorical pieces of the tax-revenue pie. Get a piece while you speak your piece from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue; admission is a $5 donation, but no one will be turned away, and Spanish/English interpretation and child care are available by request. Learn more and RSVP at warmcookiesoftherevolution.org.
Director Susan Lyles and And Toto too, a Denver theater company dedicated to showcasing women playwrights, get topical in a personal way this spring with the regional premiere of E.M. Lewis’s The Gun Show. The play channels Lewis’s own experiences with guns through a single male actor — in this case, Mark Collins — who raises the issue of gun control without taking sides. The Gun Show opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa Street, and runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through April 29. For information and tickets, $22 to $25, visit andtototoo.org. Note: April 20 is Cheap Date Night, when admission is just $15.
Friday, April 14
Two of Denver’s strongest independent cultural machines — dance company Wonderbound and hip-hop stars/social-justice pioneers the Flobots — will make beautiful music together in Divisions, a collaborative effort that pairs tunes from an upcoming Flobots album release with Garrett Ammon’s interactive choreography. Ballet meets the immediacy of hip-hop when Divisions premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 14, at the Performing Arts Complex at Pinnacle Charter School, 1001 West 84th Avenue in Federal Heights, with additional shows at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 15, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 16. Tickets range from $22 to $50 at wonderbound.com. Can’t make those dates? There will be more performances on April 22 and 23 at the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue in Parker, and on April 29 and 30 at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue; tickets for those shows are also on sale at the Wonderbound website.
The landslide of entries that inundated the Colorado Center for the Book for the 26th annual Colorado Book Awards competition have been pared down to three or four finalists in each of fourteen categories for 2017; the winners won’t be announced until May. What to do until then? Get familiar with all the authors and entries when BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, hosts a series of readings, beginning with genre gold: Finalists in the Mystery, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Thriller categories will kick off the series at 7 p.m. Friday, April 14. Readings continue on April 21, 23 and 28 and May 4 and 12; winners will be announced at 4 p.m. May 21 at the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue in Parker. For more information and award-ceremony tickets, visit coloradohumanities.org.
Most comedians have packed plenty of embarrassing stories and painful memories under their belts long before they first pick up a microphone, but they tend to keep them to themselves or enshroud ugly truths in punchlines. At We Still Like You, however, performers are encouraged to dredge up their very worst tales and lay the truth bare for a supportive crowd that chants, “We still like you” at the close of each story. Based on Chicago’s live storytelling show and podcast of the same name, the current iteration of Denver’s We Still Like You is hosted by Rachel Weeks of the Pussy Bros at El Charrito, 2100 Larimer Street. At 7 p.m. on Friday, April 14, she’ll be joined by local comics Jeff Albright, Lizzy Wolfson, Harris Alterman and Nancy Norton, along with Buntport’s Hannah Duggan and Squire/ Matchbox bartender Cam Omlid (who will probably have the best story), all revealing their darkest secrets to Denver’s least judgmental audience. Admission is free, but donations are strongly suggested.
Keep reading for more of Denver's best events this week.
Saturday, April 15
Denver is a great city, but it won’t be for much longer if we keep up our abysmal recycling habits. At last count, our recycling rate was at an embarrassing 18 percent — half of the U.S. average. We can do better, and we can start on Saturday, April 15, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Electronics Recycling Collection Event at Metech Recycling, 500 West 53rd Place. Bring your unwanted electronics and pay significantly less than you usually would to recycle TVs, computer monitors, laptops, printers and other small electronics. Visit eventbrite.com to make an appointment and see the list of acceptable recyclables.
Celebrate both Earth Day and National Robotics Week on Saturday, April 15, at Recycled Robots. At this free event, young engineers and their families can design and build robotic prototypes using completely recycled materials, merging the technology of the future with the sustainable practices of today — and nurturing creativity at the same time. Recycled Robots runs from 10 a.m. to noon at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora; visit exllearning.com for more information.
Fill your Easter baskets with fun at Legacy Chapel’s fifth annual Eggstravaganza Carnival and Egg Hunt. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, kids of all ages can enjoy activities including toddler-friendly games, free grilled lunches, face- and egg-painting stations, and a raffle for a Nintendo Switch. The highlight, though, is the massive Easter egg hunt, which includes at least 10,000 eggs and requires a throng of volunteers to facilitate. Join the fun at Civic Green Park, 9370 Ridgeline Boulevard in Highlands Ranch. Get details at legacychapel.org.
Colorado and rock gardens have a thing for each other: Plants that survive on hardscrabble slopes in a dry climate have a way of surviving against the odds here. If you’d like to cultivate your own beautiful survivors, head to the North American Rock Garden Society and Colorado Native Plant Society Show and Sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens, where a selection of 10,000 plants will include everything from old favorites to hard-to-find novelties and rarities. Looking for xeric and Plant Select® seedlings? They’ll have those, too, along with advice from experienced gardeners and a potting station to keep the kids busy. The show and sale run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, at the DBG, 1007 York Street; admission is included in the regular gate fee of $9 to $12.50. Learn more at botanicgardens.org.
Strangely, books about water policy tend to be a lot like the Mojave Desert — deadly dry and half-baked. Not so in the case of David Owen’s new book, Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River, which handles its sprawling subject with deftness and quirkiness. A New Yorker staffer who writes frequently about thorny environmental issues, Owen delves into the history and politics of the much-dammed, over-allocated river, as well as the arcana of Western water law and the weirdness of RV culture, without losing sight of larger questions about the sustainability of America’s efforts to make the desert bloom. Owen will speak about his journey and sign books at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at the Tattered Cover Colfax, 2526 East Colfax Avenue; for more information, call 303-322-7727.
Mutiny Information Cafe already has a fine mural by Patrick McGirr and Joshua Finley, which spells out the word “mutiny” in heavily illustrated letters facing Broadway. Now Mutiny owners Jim Norris and Matt Megyesi have solicited the talents of artists Vincent Cheap, Jake Fairly and Daniel Crosier to wrap new murals right around the corner of the book store and into the back alley. As the artists work, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 15, and continuing on Sunday, April 16, the public is invited to watch them paint at the free Mutiny Mural Melee, which, like a mini-Colorado Crush, also encourages people to discover what’s inside not just this store, but other businesses in the surrounding neighborhood. Drop by Mutiny, 2 South Broadway, and see art in action; go to mutinyinfocafe.com for details.
In this town, people work together, and that goes for our art museums and other cultural organizations, too. For Basquiat Weekend, a three-day celebration drawing attention to MCA Denver’s current exhibit, Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980, three institutions — the MCA, the Clyfford Still Museum and the Denver Film Society — have teamed up on programming that ends on Saturday, April 15, with a trio of films that evoke the early-’80s downtown New York milieu in which Basquiat lived and worked, where the punks of CBGB rubbed elbows with progenitors of the city’s hip-hop scene. The Blank Generation screens at noon and The Foreigner at 2:30 p.m.; musician and filmmaker Fab 5 Freddy will be on hand for the 6 p.m. screening of Wild Style. All screenings are at the SieFilm Center, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; for tickets, ranging from $7 to $15, visit mcadenver.org.
Sunday, April 16
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Fresh off its successful XicanIndie Film Fest, Su Teatro dives straight into the 3rd EVER WordFest, a twelve-day extravaganza of performance and staged readings presented in collaboration with the Source Theatre Company. There’s a lot going on throughout the fest: Ric Salinas of San Francisco’s Culture Clash performance troupe headlines in a coming-of-age story, ’57 Chevy, while comedian and actress Lauren Poole offers the point of view of a New Mexican Latina in La Burqueña. Readings include new plays by Rudolfo Anaya and Su Teatro’s Tony Garcia (Ask a Mexican!, adapted from the popular column by Gustavo Arellano). The Source chips in with a workshop presentation of its upcoming premiere, A Good Child Too Soon, and A Tribute to Gil Scott-Heron. The fest begins on Sunday, April 16, and all performances will be at the Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive. Tickets are $10 for readings and $17 to $20 for full performances; find the complete schedule at suteatro.org.
Monday, April 17
After decades in the comedy business, participating in countless contests and festivals such as the World Series of Comedy and the Las Vegas Comedy Festival, Denver comic Bob Meddles is finally realizing his overdue dream: headlining at his home club, the downtown Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street. Meddles, whose “slap the stupid people” catchphrase has taken on a life of its own, has a laid-back observational style and a former newspaperman’s knack for turning a phrase, which is also demonstrated in his book A Hacker’s Guide to Golf. Don’t be one of the slap-worthy simpletons Meddles rails about in his act; call 303-595-3637 or visit comedyworks.com to buy tickets, $14, for the 8 p.m. show on Monday, April 17.
For more events around Denver, see the Westword calendar.