Mixed Taste, the lectures on mismatched subjects that have been a linchpin of MCA Denver’s community programming since Adam Lerner took charge, is changing, thanks to a new partnership between MCA and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Off-Center. To begin with, the new season will be in a larger venue — the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Complex — to accommodate the SRO crowds of the past; also, as a way to extend the good times, a weekly Mixed Taste Garden Party in the Galleria will precede every show, with foodie fare, a bar and live music courtesy of the Swallow Hill Music Association. The inexplicable combo of “Wild West Mail Delivery” and “Post-Conceptual Art” is first on the 2017 schedule, with speakers Nataki Garrett and Adam Lerner himself; the Galleria party starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, followed by Mixed Taste at 6:30 p.m. The series will continue every Wednesday through August 23 (watch for “Air Traffic Control” and “Drag Queen Activism”); tickets are $20 at denvercenter.org.
Verse will come to worse when Colorado poets take on social issues in the Trump era at an in-your-face Night of American Verse at Syntax Physic Opera. The Colorado Springs-based duo of queer activist/spoken-word artist Nico Wilkinson and award-winning playwright Idris Goodwin will introduce their collaborative chapbook, Inauguration, from Haymarket Books; joining the powerful pair will be Denver’s Minor Disturbance youth poets and the cast of How I Got Over: A Journey in Verse, performing excerpts from the original choreo-poem staged last year at the DCPA's Off-Center. That’s a lot of poetry for a $5 donation at the door: Pay up at Syntax, 554 South Broadway, at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 6. Learn more on the Facebook event page; for a head start, get a free digital e-book of Inauguration at haymarketbooks.org.
Friday, July 7
Enjoy some Las Vegas-style showmanship at WonderLust: A Show for Dreamers, spearheaded by Showgirl extraordinaire Gazella and Mentalist Magician Professor Phelyx. A finely curated variety show that features a rotating cast of artists from every discipline, WonderLust immerses viewers in top-quality entertainment that includes jugglers, musicians, comedians and burlesque performers. The show, which begins at 9 p.m. Friday, July 7, at the C Squared Ciders beer hall at 2875 Blake Street, is a perfect way to cap off a First Friday art walk through the River North Arts District. Admission is $15 pre-sale and $20 at the door; visit WonderLust’s Ticketfly page to buy your tickets.
Barket Facebook event page or go to inklounge.com.
Though RiNo’s Ironton Studios held its official last hurrah in February, after the property was sold to the incoming Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse, sculptor Yoshitomo Saito, a longtime Ironton studio-holder, is sneaking in one more show before the facility morphs forever. Bemsha Swing in Denver #2 is phase two of Saito’s 2013 Bemsha Swing show, which was inspired by the Thelonious Monk composition. This time around, the focus has shifted to metamorphoses in jazz and in life: “Life swings like a pendulum in between good and bad, sometimes quite drastically, and the push that creates momentum for swinging often comes from outside. But as long as our secret place can provide the very key for discernment, we would thrive just fine,” Saito writes in his artist’s statement. Say goodbye one more time at Ironton’s absolute last and final show from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 7, in the gallery space at 3636 Chestnut Place.
Chilean-born cult-figure filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky burst into the cinema scene in 1970 with El Topo, a psychedelic mind-blower of a movie for which critic Pauline Kael devised the label “acid western.” At times a poet, a mime, a Zen Buddhist, an absurdist and a writer of comic books in addition to being a filmmaker, Jodorowsky has now come full circle to release the autobiographical Endless Poetry, which opens July 28 at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Leading up to the premiere, the Sie will present a late-night Alejandro Jodorowsky Film Series hosted by Denver character and film buff Andrew Novick, beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, July 7, with El Topo, naturally. Screenings, which include posters and Jodorowsky-themed temporary tattoo giveaways, continue at the same time weekly with The Holy Mountain, the trippy Santa Sangre and Endless Poetry prequel The Dance of Reality. Admission is $7 to $11 per screening; visit denverfilm.org for details and tickets.
Lucha Libre & Laughs, the multiple Best of Denver award-winning mashup of professional wrestling and standup comedy, returns to its home at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, with A Winner Is You!, an exceptional lineup of performers both on the mic and in the ring. Featuring a title bout between LLL Tag Team Champions the Left Coast Guerillas and Handicapped Heroes Gregory Iron and Zach Gowen, the ringside action should be more than enough to slake the blood lust of rowdy fans. Also featuring color commentary from Nathan Lund and Aaron Urist during the matches, along with performances from local favorites Geoff Tice and Phil Palisoul, Lucha Libre & Laughs is like no other show in town. Showtime is at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 7; visit theorientaltheater.com to learn more and buy tickets, $10.
The west end of Denver’s City Park will come alive with a pan-African-American spread of food, culture, music and commerce this weekend at the Colorado Black Arts Festival, which will celebrate its 31st year with an “Art in Motion” theme. Highlights include the Watu Sakoni marketplace, a cross-section of live music and performances on the Kuumba Stage, a Saturday-morning Boogaloo Celebration Parade and car show, and a traditional Gospel Sunday wrap-up. Hit the fest from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, July 7, or 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and July 9; admission is free. Find more information at colbaf.org.
Last July, local comedian Ben Bryant took a big gamble on a new venture, a monthly standup-and-sketch comedy showcase called Guest List at the Bakery Arts Warehouse, 2132 Market Street, a DIY-friendly venue that had never hosted comedy before. Investing large sums of time and money (scarce resources for comedians) in the space, curating the lineups and attracting a crowd, Bryant weathered the dizzying highs and dispiriting lows of producing a comedy show, persisting until he reached the milestone of a one-year anniversary. To celebrate, he’s inviting forty local comics (including Westword’s own Byron Graham) to perform streamlined three-minute sets; he’ll then compile the results into an album that’s essentially a mixtape of Denver’s best comedians circa 2017. The evening is divided into two shows, one at 8 p.m. and another at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 7. Visit Guest List’s Facebook events page to learn more and follow the Eventbrite link to buy tickets, $10.
Keep reading for more events this week.