The temperature's dropping and the fall calendar is filling up with a cornucopia of cool events, from comedy shows to art extravaganzas to boozy bashes to flannel fests. And since we're just a few weeks from the scariest day of the year — no, not Election Day, but Halloween — there are plenty of frights in store, too. Keep reading for the 21 best things to do in and around Denver this week.
Tuesday, October 9
There will be plenty of food for thought when LiveWell Colorado presents its inaugural Taste & Talk breakfast at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 9, at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora. "There isn’t a person on this planet who isn’t impacted by the food we grow and distribute," says Gabriel Guillaume, president and CEO of LiveWell Colorado. "Food is life; food is health; and while we may all struggle to eat healthy, there are a lot of people here in Colorado who simply can’t access it, can’t afford it, can’t make it available to their own kids." So on the menu for Taste & Talk will be some of the state's most knowledgeable experts on food justice; they'll lead conversations throughout the course of the morning, which includes a Snooze-catered breakfast. To learn more and purchase tickets, $50 (proceeds go to organizations fighting for food justice), go to livewellcolorado.org/about/events/taste-talk-breakfast-fundraiser.
Wednesday, October 10
Marijuana Deals Near You
Get an inside look at the thriving studios of Denver artists Tiffany Matheson and JD Pruitt at an Open Studio Party and Art Night hosted on the city’s edge, at the Lumenati film and video production company, 3839 Jackson Street in the Clayton neighborhood. Matheson, a current resident at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, will show off her sculptural and multimedia works, while Pruitt, an illustrator, tattoo artist and writer, will introduce his Art Night concept, which invites other artists to gather in the space regularly to talk about, share and make art. The free party runs from 6 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, October 10; bring yourself and, if you like, your art supplies. Learn more at the Tiffany Matheson Fine Art Facebook page.
Thursday, October 11
Nothing draws folks together better than food. It’s a language that everyone understands, and it’s delicious, to boot. That helps explain the popularity of the Flatirons Food Film Festival, which moves into its sixth year with a strong schedule anchored by an October 13 tribute to Anthony Bourdain that begins with a street-food reception (Bourdain would approve) and ends with a screening of Babette’s Feast, one of his favorite food-themed films. But there’s much more to do and see, including the opening-night craft-beer extravaganza built around a screening of the documentary Brewmaster on Thursday, October 11. The four-day fest runs through Sunday, October 14, at the Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder, as well as satellite locations. Purchase a Festival Film Pass for $70 or find tickets to individual events at flatironsfoodfilmfest.org.
Artifacts of adolescence step out of your parents' attic and onto the stage at Mortified Live!, an evening of storytelling that gently mocks youthful earnestness from the comfortably ironic perch of adulthood. The show's premise is so simple and direct that it's easy to see why Mortified has inspired a Netflix special and established regular outposts in over twenty cities: Who doesn't have a record of their teenage musings that they're unwilling to dispose of or let anyone see? During the show, which returns to the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, performers share such embarrassing relics of high school angst as diary entries, love letters, artwork and poetry — the poetry is especially brutal — while a throwback-specializing cover band provides a soundtrack to the shame. Find tickets, $16, and more details at theorientaltheater.com.
Autumn means different things to different people, but sometimes they converge — at the Denver Zoo’s Taps and Tails Bier Hall, for example, a 21-plus evening mashing up changing colors, harvest-season eats and Oktoberfest brews with spooky, Halloweenish touches. Visit the zoo, on the north side of City Park, to enjoy an all-Colorado pop-up bier hall with brewer meet-and-greets, live entertainment nightly hosted by comedian Janae Burris, food vendors and a chance to explore the spirits in an immersive Enchanted Hollows night walk. The fun runs from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, as well as the next two Thursdays; find information and tickets, $12 to $20, at denverzoo.org. But act fast: These evenings are sure to sell out.
Friday, October 12
Horror-film fans can enjoy a final fall adventure wrapped up in a scream fest at the Telluride Horror Show, which touts itself as Colorado’s first and longest-running event of its kind. Head for the hills and get a head start on Halloween from Friday, October 12, through Sunday, October 14, at three Telluride locations: the Nugget Theatre, the Palm Theatre and the historic Sheridan Opera House. Twenty feature films and fifty shorts will roll throughout the weekend; a highlight this year is the thirtieth-anniversary screening of the cult classic Killer Klowns From Outer Space, with director Stephen Chiodo on hand. Advance admission is $150 for a three-day pass or $75 for a six-pack; you can also take your chances and vie for $15 tickets for individual events, available at the door after pass-holders have been seated. Learn more at telluridehorrorshow.com.
Nearly a century after Germany and the Allied Powers signed the armistice that brought an end to what was then called the Great War, the Colorado Wind Ensemble joins forces with Voices West to present Songs of Democracy: A Commemoration of World War I. Howard Hanson’s rousing "Song of Democracy," which pairs Walt Whitman verses with a soaring neo-romantic score, forms the centerpiece of a concert program rounded out by Gustav Holst's First Suite in E Flat, David Gillingham's "Heroes Lost and Fallen" and Robert Spittal's "Hymn for Peace." Let your spirits soar at a pair of remembrances: at 7: 30 p.m. Friday, October 12, at Denver's Central Presbyterian Church, 1600 Sherman Street, and at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 13, at Littleton United Methodist Church, 5894 South Datura Street in Littleton. Get tickets, $15 to $18, at coloradowindensemble.org.
Saturday, October 13
As the 40 West Arts District continues to grow, the resident artists of the Glens, Lakewood's oldest neighborhood — just a mile and a half west of 40 West along Colfax Avenue — invite you to meet them in their natural habitat during the fourth annual Glens Art Walk and Open Studios. Visit with 27 artists in ten home studios in the area from Kipling Street to Wadsworth Boulevard between Colfax and 20th avenues, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 13. Wares on view, which vary in style and medium, include Halloween folk art, hand-painted silk scarves, jewelry, collages, illustrations, locally sourced honey and even handmade violins. Admission is free; learn more at the Glens Art Walk Facebook page and email email@example.com for a printable map.
Pupusas originated in Salvadoran home kitchens, where the simple ingredients — pancake-like griddled corn-masa tortillas and a selection of stuffings ranging from melted cheese to beans or meat — are combined by hand, with a little love thrown in. Topped with a heaping pile of curtido (pickled cabbage slaw) and a thin, fiery salsa, pupusas are comfort food of the highest degree: Mom’s home cooking elevated to perfection. To celebrate this earthy national dish, the Salvadoran dance troupe Eco Folklorico Cuscatlan is hosting Pupusa Festival 2018, a cultural and gastronomic event for all ages, on Saturday, October 13, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Aurora Cultural Art District headquarters, 1400 Dallas Street in Aurora. Admission is free, but every penny you spend on pupusas will benefit the troupe; find information on the Pupusa Festival 2018 Facebook event page.
Brunch simply wouldn't be the same without the hangover-abating spiciness of the Bloody Mary, one of the few classic cocktails that thrives — and remains socially acceptable — in the daylight. Celebrate the endless recipe variations inspired by this timeless libation at the Bloody Mary Festival, where some of the city's most innovative bartenders will vie for the People's Choice award. Enjoy sample sips of all the contenders from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, when the tri-city tribute to breakfast booze (sister fests take place in Austin and San Francisco) alights upon Denver for a boozy battle royal. Gather your buddies and try all the Bloodys; tickets are $45 plus fees at thebloodymaryfest.com/denver-co-10-13-18.
Nottingham Park in Avon will be overflowing with mountain men during the tenth annual Man of the Cliff. “Nothing says fall like flannels, Carhartts and lumberjacks," notes Amanda Williams, co-organizer of the event. "Man of the Cliff is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the changing of the seasons in the mountains." And also do a little speed-chopping, ax-throwing or keg-tossing — or just sample some of the contents of that keg. Pay $85 in advance (or $100 at the gate) and join in all the competitions you want from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, and Sunday, October 14, or just watch for free. And everyone — flannel-clad or not — can enjoy a free concert starting at 5 p.m. Saturday with Drunken Hearts and the Rebirth Brass Band. All proceeds benefit First Descents; sign up and find more information at manofthecliff.com. And as the organizers urge, "Gentlemen, start your beards!"
The egalitarian DIY maker revolution is upon us, pushing hobbyists and professionals in all sorts of creative enterprises, from robot labs and basement inventors to artists and gearheads. Maker Faire Denver 2018 showcases all of the above, plus dozens of other maker niches in a grand display that shows off the pliability of the human mind with immersive experiences, ever-popular robot wars, drone races, hands-on activities, classic cars, electric cupcake rides, tinkering demonstrations, LEGO workshops and more, ad infinitum. Enter the family-friendly world of makers at the National Western Complex starting at 11 a.m. daily on Saturday, October 13, and Sunday, October 14. Ticket options range from free to $40 in advance at eventbrite.com through October 11, with slightly higher general admission tickets available at the door. Find more info and a complete rundown of attractions at denver.makerfaire.com.
Denver may not be as big of a melting pot as New York, but it's still home to large communities of people hailing from all around the globe. Don't believe us? One local nonprofit, Project Worthmore, has served refugees from more than twenty countries over the past nine years, and it will celebrate that diversity at 6 p.m. Saturday, October 13, at Our Neighbors, Ourselves at the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora. This year's theme is "The World Within," and the evening will include art, music and theatrical performances that reflect the various cultures represented in Colorado. Tickets are $60, with all proceeds supporting Project Worthmore; learn more at projectworthmore.org.
Some of Denver's top Latino chefs (many of whom started at the bottom) will be at RISE Westwood, 3738 Morrison Road, on Saturday, October 13, for the inaugural Buen Provecho, a farm-to-table-style dinner to benefit Re:Vision, a nonprofit that works with low-income communities to cultivate a healthy food system. The evening will include dishes from Dana Rodriguez (owner/chef of Work & Class and Super Mega Bien), Jose Avila (co-owner/chef of the three Machete restaurants), Adriana Rondón (El Camino de la Arepa), Edwin Sandoval (owner of XATRUCHO and resident chef at Invisible City), Keigh Crespo (owner of Dos Abuelas @ Finn’s Manor) and Matayas Urban (chef at Leña), among others. “By shining a spotlight on the stories of these successful chefs and immigrants, we are also bringing the focus back to our community in Westwood,” says Joseph Teipel, executive director at Re:Vision. We'll drink to that — and we can, during the 6 p.m. cocktail reception that precedes the dinner. Tickets are $100, or $175 per couple, at buenprovecho.eventbrite.com.
A decade ago, a group of friends and local musicians in Denver decided to harness the power of music and the people who love it, taking that vision to stages, open-mic nights, coffee shops, street corners, peace marches, protests and, ultimately, classrooms and youth residential treatment centers. The vision of what started as Flobots.org and is now Youth on Record is stronger than ever today, and on Saturday, October 13, community members will celebrate the work of the past decade at 10 Years Strong: A Decade of Amplifying the Voices of Our Youth. Festivities include a gallery retrospective, a silent auction, food and drink and, of course, live performances, including from the Flobots. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for general admission (5 p.m. for VIP) at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park; tickets start at $15 at youthonrecord.org.
Local authors are on a roll with small-press releases this fall, and Counterpath has gathered up four of them for a group book launch. Jason Arment, Steven Dunn, Julia Madsen and Nancy Stohlman are all part of Denver’s close-knit literary community, and each has something completely different to offer: Arment’s Musalaheen is an Iraq War memoir; Dunn follows up his acclaimed novel Potted Meat with water & power, a new work that takes on military culture; Madsen offers The Boneyard, The Birth Manual, A Burial: Investigations Into the Heartland, a volume of poetry; and flash-fiction maestra Stohlman introduces Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities, the written representation of a live performance. Hear them read from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, October 13, at Counterpath, 7935 East 14th Avenue; admission is free, and books will be available for purchase. Learn more at counterpathpress.org.
After a star-making turn as Aaron Burr in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. continues to gather accolades. In addition to landing prominent roles in the ensemble casts of Murder on the Orient Express and One Dollar, the multi-talented Odom recently penned the inspirational memoir Failing Up and recorded his debut solo album, Without You. Odom's songs will sound even sweeter when the Grammy- and Tony Award-winning quadruple threat joins conductor Brett Mitchell and the Colorado Symphony for An Evening With Leslie Odom Jr. at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 13, at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Learn more and get tickets, $29 to $99, at coloradosymphony.org.
Sunday, October 14
There’s more to art collecting than meets the eye, though it's a habit that often gets started by pleasing your peepers. But once you find something you love, how do you continue capturing an artist’s creative effort through ownership? The hardest part is getting started, experts say, and that's the reason for JuiceBox Gallery’s Practicing Collecting workshop, the first in a series of events aimed at demystifying the art-collecting ethos with practical, common-sense advice. Join JuiceBox artist/gallerist/entrepreneurs Lucía Rodríguez and Aaron Mulligan and collectors Krista Hanley and Stephanie Edwards for brunch and conversation at 10 a.m. Sunday, October 14, at JuiceBox, 3006A Larimer Street, for a $10 fee; a second workshop will follow on November 9 at Mai Wyn Fine Art. Register in advance for one or both at eventbrite.com; find details at juiceboxdenver.com or @juiceboxdenver on Instagram or Twitter.
Gather with fellow green thumbs at FarmFest 2018, a fun (and furry) way to ring in the harvest season. Packed with such time-honored autumnal diversions as guided hayrides and a pumpkin market, FarmFest is an ideal introduction to the Urban Farm at Stapleton, 10200 Smith Road. Curious kids will enjoy the Denver Public Library-sponsored storybook farm, where farm animals join storytellers for pastoral children's tales; the day also include a performance by country singer Jesse Cornett for their parents. Support the Urban Farm's efforts to educate its community on the finer points of horticulture and animal husbandry while having a ball in the fall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, October 14. All proceeds from ticket sales benefit Urban Farm's outreach programs, garden maintenance and livestock care; visit theurbanfarm.org or eventbrite.com to buy tickets, $8 to $40, and learn more.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
To heck with corn mazes: Folks looking for a rustic family experience need drive no further than Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary, a safehouse for abandoned and neglected animals at 8640 Dahlia Street in Commerce City. Enjoy some seasonal agritainment and support the sanctuary at the Open Sanctuary Snuggle Day and Projectile Pumpkin Party, an event that's as much fun for the animals — who love to gobble up broken pumpkins — as it is for you. The fun runs from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, October 14; bring a ripe pumpkin and pay a $5 donation at the door for entry to the farm. Learn more at the Broken Shovels Facebook page.
Monday, October 15
Even the constantly expanding universe can hardly contain its love for Neil deGrasse Tyson, a Columbia-educated astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium who's emerged as an unlikely yet ubiquitous pop-culture figure. Tyson, who humbly assumed the mantle of his late mentor, Carl Sagan, with Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (a companion piece to Sagan's mind-blowing 1980 miniseries of the same name), is also a reliably quippy fixture of late-night talk shows and always willing to show up for an amusing cameo in such movies as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and The Last Sharknado: It's About Time. Cosmos may not return until 2019, but you don't have to wait to see Tyson: At 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 15, he'll be at the Bellco Theatre, in the Colorado Convention Center, to present An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies, a good-natured fact-check of cinema that doesn't necessarily hold up to scientific scrutiny. Get ready to quibble, Star Wars nerds; get tickets, $59.50 to $95, and learn more at denverconvention.com/events.
In order to be considered for the 21 Best Events, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or Westword, 969 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203.