The 21 Best Events in Denver, March 13-19

The 21 Best Events in Denver, March 13-19
Kenneth Hamblin III
Let the luck of the Irish rub off on you this week at the St. Patrick's Day parade, which takes over downtown on Saturday. If your luck is already in good standing, visit MCA Denver's launch party for Octopus Initiative, a program that allows residents to essentially rent art; the kick-off party will include a lottery to become one of the first renters. Rummage through treasure at the Beautiful Junk Sale, or tell your story at Gay Church. All this and more are included in our 21 best events in Denver this week!

Tuesday, March 13

The Denver Architecture Foundation is building for the future with a new, yearlong lecture series, Catalytic Denver, which will kick off at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, in Sharp Auditorium at the Denver Art Museum, with a discussion of the Denver Civic Center as a panel of experts addresses how new development should contribute to the civic architecture of the city. The series is designed to further DAF's mission "to inspire people to explore our dynamic city, experience the importance of design to our quality of life, and envision an exceptional future for Denver," says Pauline Herrera Serianni, DAF executive director. Admission is free; learn more at

Wednesday, March 14

World War I ended a century ago, but it lives on in War of Words. At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, the Arvada Center for the Arts, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, will host a special evening in the Black Box Theatre, where members of the company will share the voices of poets who wrote during and about the Great War. Colorado Poet Laureate Joe Hutchison composed War of Words from works by a dozen North American poets; he'll lead a discussion about the production and the role of poets and poetry in dealing with historic events after the show. The evening is part of "Where Do We Go From Here?," a series of events produced by the Arvada Center to commemorate the war. For more information on the series or for tickets to War of Words, $15, call 720-898-7200, or go to

With one of the busiest concert schedules in Denver, it's easy to see (and hear) why Annie Booth is in such high demand on local stages. In addition to fronting the ever-popular Annie Booth Trio, she's also an award-winning pianist and composer; her original compositions are as notable for their eclectic influences as they are for their sonic beauty. Booth's latest composition, Flowers of Evil, is her most ambitious project yet; inspired by the works of nineteenth-century French poet Charles Baudelaire, it was written as a background for the verse, to be performed by a ten-piece ensemble of classical and jazz musicians. Join Booth for the world premiere of Flowers of Evil at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at the Gordon Gamm Theater in the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Tickets are $10 to $24; get them and find out more at

Some of Denver's best restaurants will raise money for the National Kidney Foundation. - NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION
Some of Denver's best restaurants will raise money for the National Kidney Foundation.
National Kidney Foundation
Thursday, March 15

Great Chefs of the West will be back at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 15, for another year of dazzling your tastebuds and raising money for the National Kidney Foundation. This is the 35th year of the event, and the roster of participating restaurants is perhaps the best yet: The Populist, Ototo, Sushi Den, Rioja, Mercantile Dining & Provision, Izakaya Den, Hop Alley, Fish N Beer, Beast + Bottle and Hop Alley, among others, will compete at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, to see who can create the best dish. Add to that an open bar with signature cocktails and a live auction, and the night can't get any more fab. Get your ticket for the fest, $200, at the National Kidney Foundation website.

Midway through its epic twentieth season, Curious Theatre Company tackles Tony Kushner with a rare staging of The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures, his latest. It's a family drama with a dying patriarch at its center, confronting his disappearing past in politically and socially reconfigured times. Curious brings the central character, Gus, once a longshoreman and union activist, into an imperfect world where his personal past has no bearing on the future, as his grown progeny, their families and their secrets crowd into his house. The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide opens for previews on Thursday, March 15, and Friday, March 16, at Curious, 1080 Acoma Street, and runs through April 15; for information and tickets, $18 to $50, visit

Mortified is a storytelling night that asks audiences to embrace the horror of shame through hilarious, painful and often poignant personal tales. The project started in San Francisco and has since come to Denver; this month’s edition will showcase an all-mom lineup and attempt to raise thousands of dollars to support the local chapter of Moms Demand Action, which pushes for “common-sense gun legislation.” The benefit takes place at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 15, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. For tickets, $16 to $25, and more information, go to

Music therapist and visual artist Sarah Fulton led PlatteForum’s first artist-mentor residency, which culminated with a youth junk jam at Riverfront Plaza at Confluence Park way back in 2003. After fifteen years of subsequent residents working on creative projects with youth interns, PlatteForum is still at the top of its game — a good reason to celebrate with an invitational exhibition bringing back mentors from over the years. The resulting show, UnRuly, an Exhibition Celebrating 15 Years at PlatteForum, gathers a who’s-who from Denver’s artist community, selected by PlatteForum founder Judy Anderson and current artistic director Rebecca Vaughan, into one gallery for some golden memories and a fresh outlook on the future. Meet the artists at the reception on Thursday, March 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street at the Temple; UnRuly runs through April 7. Learn more at

click to enlarge MCA Denver gets into the (art) library business with Octopus Initiative. - COURTESY OF MCA DENVER
MCA Denver gets into the (art) library business with Octopus Initiative.
Courtesy of MCA Denver
MCA Denver is upping the ante in its quest to bring art to new audiences and support local artists by launching the Octopus Initiative, an art-lending library that’s also an experiment in mutual trust. The octopus reference translates into MCA’s goal to “put art in the hands of many” — specifically, art commissioned from six notable local artists: Sierra Montoya Barela, Molly Bounds, Suchitra Mattai, Chris Oatey, Laura Shill and Derrick Velasquez, who will create 25 works each to kick off the library concept. Acquaint yourself with the project at the Octopus Initiative Launch Party on Thursday, March 15, from 4 to 9 p.m., with penny admission, an artist meet-and-greet and a chance to sign up for and win a lottery to be among the first to take home a work of art for a ten-month hang. Oh, and the first 100 people (21+) through the door get a free beer from Ratio. MCA Denver is at 1485 Delgany Street; find more information on the Octopus Initiative at

A sonic bridge between the Baroque and classical eras, Johann Sebastian Bach had an impact on his followers that's impossible to overstate. The Boulder Bach Festival — a months-long tribute to the Old Wig — continues on Thursday, March 15, at Boulder Adventist Church, 934 Mapleton Avenue in Boulder, with Eternal Spirit, a one-night-only concert highlighting some of Bach's loveliest sacred compositions. The Boulder Bach Festival Orchestra, chorus and esteemed soloists will perform highlights from the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis under the steady guidance of conductor Zachary Carrettin. The program will include four of the great composer's liturgical cantatas, including "Christ lag in Todes Banden," "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland" and "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft." The performance begins at 7:30; a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m. will help contextualize the music. Visit the Boulder Bach Festival's box-office page or call 720-507-5052 to buy tickets, $10 to $40, and learn more. Guests can also buy passes to the entire festival (which concludes on Thursday, May 24) for $20 to $75 at the same website.

click to enlarge Meet the god himself at Tattered Cover. - PICADOR BOOKS
Meet the god himself at Tattered Cover.
Picador Books
Friday, March 16

As its successful presentation with Bruce Springsteen in 2016 suggests, the Tattered Cover is fully down with rock-star readings, but how about one with a hip-hop giant? At this week’s Evening With Lamont "U God" Hawkins, the Wu-Tang Clan founding member will introduce his memoir, Raw: My Journey Into the Wu-Tang ($27, Picador); the special program takes place on Friday, March 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. To play, purchase a signing-line ticket for $27 (a copy of the book is included in the cost) in advance at; the tickets will be issued in sequential groups. Arrive beginning at 6 p.m. to check in and pick up your book; find details at

The national initiative Dancing for Solidarity promotes letter-writing campaigns reaching out to inmates living in solitary, without access to prison enrichment programming of any kind. The Denver branch, which meets to write pen-pal letters twice monthly at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, is initiating the performance side of the group’s quest — to raise awareness of social-justice issues and speak out against the state of mass incarceration — with Solidarity Dance: Transcend Punishment, an evening of dance, spoken word and conversation on Friday, March 16, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Admission is $5 to $15 on a donation-based sliding scale, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds; learn more at the event's Facebook page.

The United Kingdom has produced a glut of popular music over the years that has dominated airwaves across the United States. In a nod to our sibling across the pond, the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus will perform a selection of hits from British artists including Elton John, Eric Clapton, Adele, George Michael, Culture Club, the Spice Girls and — harking way, way back — George Frideric Handel. The 135-men choir will be joined by the Mountain Aires, an all-male ensemble from the Denver Children’s Choir, at 7:30 Friday, March 16, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1385 Curtis Street. For tickets, starting at $31, and more information, go to

A real blast from the past will hit on Friday, March 16, when Dead Sea Scrolls opens at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The traveling exhibit includes authentic Dead Sea Scrolls, manuscripts that include the oldest known biblical documents, dating back over 2,000 years; the first was discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin goatherder. For preservation reasons, the ten scrolls on view will change midway through the run; the display also includes 600 ancient artifacts from the Middle East. The exhibition, which runs through September 3, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; timed tickets run $25.95 for adults, $21.95 for seniors (age 65+), $17.95 for junior/students (ages three to eighteen or with a student ID) and include general admission (museum members get discounts for Dead Sea Scrolls). For tickets and information, visit or call 303-370-6000.

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street slices through the University of Colorado Boulder's Macky Auditorium for a weekend of the blood-soaked ballads and cutting wit of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. Presented by the Eklund Opera Program, the popular musical tells the devilish tale of a scorned and murderous barber and an unscrupulous baker with a ghoulish recipe for meat pies. With guest conductor Caleb Harris and guest vocalist Wei Wu, the production makes full use of the CU Symphony Orchestra, bringing Sondheim's wicked words to life. With a cast decked out in Victorian finery and elaborate penny dreadful-esque set design, music lovers shouldn't miss the opportunity to see a local production of the Tony-winning Broadway and West End favorite. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 18. Call 303-492-8008 or visit to buy tickets, which start at $20, and find more details.

Some of Colorado's most interesting emerging artists, performers, fashion designers, chefs and musicians will all gather under one roof during the kickoff of Spectra Art Space's second Colorado Vibes Art, Music, Fashion Showcase, from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, March 16, at Spectra, 1836 South Broadway. Over-21 creatives will be in the spotlight during the 420-friendly event, which will include art from more than twenty artists, a fashion show and live music on the inside stage. Tickets (21+) are free, but RSVP at

If nothing gets you going like getting elbow-deep in junk, don't miss the two-day Beautiful Junk Sale starting Friday, March 16, at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 West Sixth Avenue Frontage Road in Golden. From 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, bargain hunters, junk lovers and flea-market aficionados can sort through 10,500 square feet of jewelry, collectibles, household items, decor and more. Tickets are $4 for adults, while children fifteen and under get in for free; take a dollar off the admission price with a donation of two non-perishable food items. For hard-core shoppers, an early-bird sale begins at 7 a.m. on Friday (the $30 ticket covers Saturday's entry, too). Proceeds benefit the Action Center; visit its website for more information.

click to enlarge KENNETH HAMBLIN III
Kenneth Hamblin III
Saturday, March 17

Since St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday this year, there will be plenty of partying all over Denver, which happens to boast one of the biggest parades in the country. The 2018 edition includes Kelly Brough, CEO of the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, as grand marshal, and kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 17, at 19th and Wynkoop streets. The parade will wind through LoDo before ending at Coors Field, where the parade committee is hosting The Dublin House: A Tribute to Irish Heritage, a cocktail party that will include classic Irish dishes. Tickets to that event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., are $125, but the parade route is also conveniently located near many bars where you can have a beery, beery good time without parting with too much green. See the parade route and find more on the Dublin House at

The underlying purpose of Denver’s Month of Printmaking is exposure for the artists, from monotype wizards to those who toil over complicated lithos and etchings in an umbrella medium that’s sometimes overlooked. Mo’Print’s Open Portfolio day is a chance for printmakers of all ages and skill levels to meet the public and give an overview of their work. This year’s strictly print-centric show-and-tell presents portfolios from a cavalcade of forty printmakers, from students to Colorado’s top practitioners, on Saturday, March 17, from 2 to 5 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street. Have a look and pick up some affordable artworks; get information at

click to enlarge Kenzie Sitterud will take you to church. - KENZIE SITTERUD
Kenzie Sitterud will take you to church.
Kenzie Sitterud
Sunday, March 18

Queer community-building offers support, shelter and encouragement to be who you are, all healthy directions for getting out of a society-imposed closet. Artist Kenzie Sitterud’s Gay Church follows through by encouraging togetherness and sharing coming-out stories over a potluck brunch and a trip through Sitterud’s immersive installation The Wardrobe, a literal closet where self-discovery opens doors. Tell your story at the open mic, or dance away your fears during “intermittent mini-dance parties," on Sunday, March 18, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, where Sitterud is a current resident. Admission is free, but donations will be collected for a nonprofit cause TBA; visit the Gay Church event page on Facebook for more information.

The Vintage Voltage Expo is an annual event that's part antique-radio swap meet, part record collector's show, part electronics flea market, part vintage guitar show and all gear, all the time. It returns to the Ramada Plaza Denver North, at I-25 and 120th in Northglenn, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18. Kids under twelve get in free; everyone else pays $5 — and for another $5, you can get in an hour early. Vintage Voltage is being held in conjunction with the annual show of the Colorado Radio Collectors Club, which will be displaying hundreds of old radios. Find out more about the club at, and get more information on the Vintage Voltage Expo at its Facebook event page or at 303-347-8252.

Monday, March 19

Hollywood has long had a reputation as a breeding ground for immorality (which is a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective). Learn more about the history of naughtiness in film and its industry headquarters at a lecture by Clay Haskell, assistant professor of film and media studies at Colorado College, on Monday, March 19. Haskell's lecture, which will zoom in on censorship in the film industry from the ’20s to the ’60s, gets started at 7 p.m. at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Find tickets, $5 to $7, and more information at

In order for an event to be considered for the 21 Best Events This Week, we need information at least three weeks in advance of the vent. Send it to [email protected]

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.