Literary events aren’t always book-signings and they don’t always happen in book stores. This week you can get your fill of Chicano poetry and theater at two concurrent festivals in Denver or be inspired by an Iranian immigrant’s transformational words.
Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center
April 20 through 26
$10 per performance
Su Teatro launches its first-ever Wordfest, a full week of theater performances, readings and films that bring alive the written word in multicultural colors, as penned by local and national poets, performers and storytellers. Bonus: The reasonably priced tickets make it easy to attend more than one evening. Program details follow.
Jimmy Santiago Baca: A Place to Stand
7 p.m. Monday, April 20
Jimmy Santiago Baca, who began his journey as a writer when he was illiterate and in prison at the age of twenty, will screen and discuss the film A Place to Stand, which is based on his memoir of the same name and details the story of Baca’s metamorphosis into an award-winning poet of stature from dirt-poor beginnings in New Mexico. Baca will sign his books, including the anthology Singing at the Gates, after the screening.
Bobby LeFebre: Northside
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 21
Local slam poet Bobby LeFebre tries his hand at playwriting with the topical Northside, a new drama about growing pains and gentrification happening right now as redevelopment changes the face of Denver’s northwest neighborhoods. LeFebre will workshop the piece with a dramatic reading featuring Su Teatro actors at Wordfest; see it and join in the discussion.
Albert Ramirez: Remember the Alamo
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22
Su Teatro’s ensemble will also take the stage for a reading of Albert Ramirez’s re-examination of American history through a multicultural lens. The musical, written from the perspective of a man whose family settled in the borderlands long before the Alamo, revisits the iconic battle with a fresh eye.
Maria Cheng: Spirit & Sworded Treks
7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23 and Saturday, April 25
Maria Cheng, co-founder of Denver’s Theatre Esprit Asia, brings an Asian perspective to Su Teatro in the form of her one-woman Spirit & Sworded Treks, a piece that blends martial arts movements, storytelling, cooking and sharp humor. This is not-to-miss theater!
Carlos Manuel: La Vida Loca
7: 30 p.m. April Friday, April 24 and Sunday, April 26
Manuel’s dynamic one-man show patchworks together his own crazy life through vivid storytelling and monologue, touching on word-play and language, immigration, pop culture and cultural identity.
Ruben C. Gonzalez: La Esquinita: USA
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24 and Sunday, April 26
Performance artist Ruben C. Gonzalez both plays God and shape-shifts on stage in this character-laden solo show, which focuses on barrio life in America from eleven different perspectives.
Motus Theatre: Do You Know Who I Am?
7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26
Scripted by Kirsten Wilson, who pulled together excerpts from monologues written and performed by undocumented immigrants, Motus Theatre’s Do You Know Who I Am? is the stuff of real life, packed with stories from the immigrant experience.
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Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival
St. Cajetans Event Center, Auraria campus
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 21
Jimmy Santiago Baca also headlines this annual fest, which honors the memory of celebrated Colorado poet Lalo Delgado, now in its eighth edition. Baca will be joined by fellow poets Jessie Ramirez, Dr. Ramon Del Castillo, Ricardo La Fore, Antonio Vigil and Freddy Rodriguez Jr.’s Poetry Jazz; the fest kicks off with an Aztec blessing and includes a special reading by Delgado’s great-grandchildren.
Sahar Paz, Find Your Voice: The Life You Crave is a Conversation Away
Fashion Denver Headquarters
3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 25
Sahar Paz, whose family escaped persecution in Iran by immigrating to the U.S. when she was still a little girl, spent years reclaiming her freedom, bit by bit, in an American odyssey. She both tells her own story and offers readers concrete models for personal transformation in her book Find Your Voice, which debuts at this event at Fashion Denver.
What's on the next page in Denver's literary world? Visit Westword's Literary Event listings for this week.