As restrictions around the state slowly loosen, a few in-person events are springing up, including the season finale of the Colorado Ballet. But many of the best activities remain virtual, including three important film festivals. Even Itchy-O, Denver's amazing performance troupe, is taking its show off the road and to a screen near you with a new series that will immerse you in noise.
Keep reading for ten of the best events in and around town (and, yes, online), this weekend. And don't miss more great options on our current list of Free Things to Do in Denver.
30th Aspen Shortsfest
Through Sunday, April 11, online
Celebrating three decades of shorts, the 30th Aspen Shortsfest is Oscar-qualifying in the three categories of animation, documentary and live-action narrative film. This year’s Shortsfest features filmmakers exploring unique and timely themes in the festival’s five categories: Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama and Short Short. The 2021 slate of eighty films includes six world premieres and fifteen U.S. premieres, as well as a conversation with filmmaker Reinaldo Marcus Green at 5 p.m. April 10. All programs are virtual; learn more and get tickets (and prices) here.
XicanIndie XXIII Filmmakers Festival
Through April 17, online
Su Teatro’s XicanIndie, now in its 23rd year, makes a big deal out of being small, and this year it’s all going down online with a largely open schedule, allowing viewers to choose when to watch most of the films and accompanying filmmaker and panel discussions. The exceptions — foodie film Truly Texas Mexican (as well as a cooking lesson with its star, chef Adan Medrano) and the immigration documentary Missing in Brooks County — each screen only once. Learn more and register for the free fest here.
Alzheimer's: From Horror to Hope
Friday, April 9, 5 to 6 p.m, online
MALINAE, the debut novella of Josh Schlossberg, biological horror author and Denver Horror Collective co-founding member, will be released by D&T Publishing this month, with an e-book available from Godless.com on April 9. During this virtual launch, Schlossberg will read an excerpt from MALINAE and share the real-life inspiration for his work’s exploration of Alzheimer’s disease. D&T Publishing editor Dawn Ellis Shea will relate her experiences working as a nurse with dementia patients, and Huntington Potter, director of the University of Colorado Alzheimer's and Cognition Center, will discuss the latest scientific progress toward a cure. Their talks will conclude with a Q&A. It's free to participate; sign up here.
Zen and the Art of Profit
Available starting Friday, April 9, online
Luke Sorge's Zen and the Art of Profit, a play that premiered in a production before a small audience at Miners Alley on April 2, will offer a livestream of that performance on demand. It features two knockout performances by Bill Hahn (Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune) and Heather Lacy (Fun Home). Sorge's play explores a question at the very heart of capitalism: Do the ends justify the means? On demand and single livestream tickets are available on a pay-it-forward basis at minersalley.com/zen-art-profit; read more about Sorge's work here.
Emerge: Annual CSU Fashion Show
Friday, April 9, 7 p.m., online
The Colorado State University Department of Design and Merchandising is hosting a virtual, one-night-only fashion show, complete with silent auction and door prizes. “Emerge” is defined as “moving out or away from something and coming into view,” a theme that illustrates the determination of the students to use the dark time of the pandemic as an outlet for creativity and light. The designs, all by seniors, include men's collections, plus-size, women’s protective gear, and even a multicultural bridal collection. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 others; get them here.
Stories on Stage: "Color Plates"
Friday, April 9, 7 p.m., online
Great paintings inspire some strange and wonderful tales in this Stories on Stage performance, part of the twentieth-anniversary season, streaming live from Boulder’s Nomad Playhouse. With the paintings' imagery as their backdrop, Randy Moore, Anne Penner and Geoffrey Kent will read from Adam Golaski's “Color Plates,” a series of interrelated stories set in a mysterious art museum curated by a Mary Cassatt type. Tickets are $15 at storiesonstage.org.
Saturday, April 10, and Sunday, April 11, online
If you’ve ever had a hankering to write speculative fiction, now's the time: The literary niche, stuck somewhere between sci-fi, fantasy and highbrow fiction, is on the rise. Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Spec Fest will set you on your literary path, with help from Stephen Graham Jones and Henry Lien, both experts in every angle of the imaginative genre. Options include morning intensives and afternoon seminars, available à la carte or as a discounted seminar four-pack. You’ll also have a chance to Zoom with your fellow wannabes, and shmooze some more during a Sunday-afternoon happy hour. Find all the info and register here.
Colorado Ballet: Through It All
Saturday, April 10, and Sunday, April 11
Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons Street, Lone Tree
“While this year has presented unprecedented challenges, our dancers have persevered," says Colorado Ballet artistic director Gil Boggs. “Though we have grieved with our artists for the year of their careers which has been lost, we know that there is light at the end of this tunnel and feel incredibly blessed to be able to celebrate their return to the stage with this season finale.” That stage is at the Lone Tree Arts Center, which will host a program with pieces offering everything from choreography by Marius Petipa to new works choreographed by Colorado Ballet’s dancers, ranging from classical variations to pas de deux and contemporary ensemble pieces. The performances continue next weekend, and a livestream will be available. Find out more here.
Itchy-O's Noise Bath Series
Sunday, April 11, 6 p.m., online
With a driving drum-corps battery, taiko drummers and an arsenal of electronics, Itchy-O — Denver's 57-member, avant-ceremonialist art collective — invites audience members to join in a virtual experience of radical, transcendental musical celebration through dance. The six-week sequence utilizes different brain-entrainment frequencies, stroboscopic visuals and structured breathwork, all set to the cacophonic catharsis from the troupe’s Noise Division. Tickets are $15 per session, and the series runs from April 11 through May 16; find out more here.
And plan ahead:
Women + Film Fest
Tuesday, April 13, through April 18, online
The thirteenth annual Women + Film Festival will be virtual this year. It opens April 13 with Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It, which follows the actress from her humble beginnings in Puerto Rico to her success on Broadway and in Hollywood. This year's fest includes fifteen premieres; see the full schedule here.
Know of a great event in Denver (or online)? We'll be updating this list through the weekend; send information to email@example.com. See more things to do for free here.
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