Prepare for Perseverance, which is slated to land on Mars on Thursday, February 18. The mission has plenty of connections to Colorado, which you can learn about through Denver Museum of Nature & Science coverage.
Learn more about that and nine other free events around town this week:
Our Wishes | Nuestros Deseos: Pearl Street Mall
Through March 15
Pearl Street Mall, Boulder
This installation — recently seen on Denver's Art District on Santa Fe — extends Our Wishes | Nuestros Deseos by Alejandra Abad and Román Anaya from One Boulder Plaza onto the Pearl Street Mall; it displays flags created by the artists with community input, and delivers messages of hope. Find out more here.
Taste of Culture: Exploring the African Diaspora
Wednesday, February 17, noon to 1 p.m.
As part of Black History Month, the Denver Public Library is hosting a virtual cooking demonstration with Konjo Ethiopian Food, a fast-casual restaurant at Edgewater Public Market. Co-owners Joseph Assefa and Fetien Gebre-Michael will walk viewers virtually through the preparation of an authentic Ethiopian meal while sharing their history and knowledge. Sign up here.
Ragtime & the Music of Scott Joplin
Wednesday, February 17, 1:30 p.m.
Join Active Minds for a musical journey into the world of ragtime and Scott Joplin that will explore African-American traditions, the emergence of Tin Pan Alley tunes, and the surge in popularity of Scott Joplin's music over a century ago. The free program will follow his career from piano rags to other progressive compositions as he paved the way as one of the most successful African-American composers of his day. Find out more here.
Leaders as Readers: Albus Brooks
Wednesday, February 17, 6 p.m.
In this Tattered Cover series, former Denver City Council president Albus Brooks will discuss the books and stories that have influenced him. Next week: Tay Anderson. Find out more about the free series here.
We're Better Than This: Congressman Cummings's Political Memoir
Wednesday, February 17, 5 to 6 p.m.
Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings was known for saying "We're better than this," and repeated it up until his passing in October. James Dale, co-author of Cummings's book We're Better Than This, and his widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the founder, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, will discuss the book with moderator Derrick Hudson, teaching associate professor of International Relations in the Division of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences at the Colorado School of Mines. The virtual program, part of the Denver Public Library's Black History Month celebration, is free; register here.
Perseverance Landing Event
Thursday, February 18, 10:30 a.m. (estimate)
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science will celebrate the landing of NASA's Perseverance on Mars. It was launched in July and is scheduled to set down the morning of February 18; experts will set the stage at this virtual museum program, then show live NASA TV coverage. Keep an eye out for updates on the DMNS Facebook page, and watch for coverage YouTube page.
Behind the Lens: The Story Behind the Story
Thursday, February 18, 6 to 7 p.m.
Emily Taguchi is the director and producer of After Parkland, a documentary that details the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting when a former student killed seventeen students and faculty members. Taguchi, a producer at ABC Nightline, will join a conversation about how documentaries can spark dialogue and focus on the humanity at the core of important issues. The program is free on Zoom; register here.
BreakBeat Poets: A Night of Poetry and Performance
Thursday, February 18, 6 p.m.
Enjoy a virtual poetry reading and performance by some of the BreakBeat Poets: Idris Goodwin, Alexa Patrick, Lisa Marie Rollins and Marcus Wicker. Register for the Zoom at bookbardenver.com.
An Evening With Artemisia and Nathan
Friday, February 19, 7 p.m.
It’s been exactly one year since they last performed on the Buntport stage for a live audience. Instead of keeping the anniversary to themselves, they’re inviting folks to an online party with Artemisia and Nathan, the two characters of Cabaret De Profundis, or How To Sing While Ugly Crying, a show that unwound virtually in January (you can still watch the taped show online for a minimum of $20 here). The duo of Buntport’s Hannah Duggan and Denver composer Nathan Hall will appear in character to answer questions, sing songs and engage in general silliness; register online in advance for the free Zoom link (donations welcome) here.
Third Annual Petite Parade
Saturday, February 20, 10 a.m. to noon
Dairy Block, 1800 Wazee Street
The Dairy Block celebrates Mardi Gras family-style by inviting families to build child-sized floats (two-feet square, with a shoebox base) and show them off in a short parade through the block’s heated alley, joined by a brass band and circus sideshow performers the Handsome Little Devils. There will be prizes for floats in a variety of categories (including best coordinating team costumes). It’s free to participate, but space is limited for proper social distancing, and pre-registration is required; RSVP online in advance at Eventbrite; find float registration information here.
And three anytime bonus events:
Daily through February, 6 to 10 p.m.
The History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway In collaboration with the Denver Theatre District, Side Stories has moved from RiNo this year and will be lighting up the History Colorado building through February with its greatest hits, five at a time. Find out more here.
Five Points Historic Cultural District Walking Tour — With a Puzzle!
In celebration of Black History Month, Puzzah! has created a puzzle activity to accompany the Five Points Historic Cultural District walking tour. This self-guided tour uses markers to tell the story of the artists, educators, business owners, activists and spiritual leaders who helped build the culturally rich community. The full tour is just under a mile in length and takes one to one and a half hours to complete — now with puzzles to solve at various stops. Download the maps here; find out more from the Five Points Cultural District here.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Justina Ford
The Black American West Museum celebrated Dr. Justina Ford's contribution to the state with a two-hour livestreamed tribute on January 22, officially Dr. Justina Ford Day in Colorado, complete with interviews of some of her remaining patients, as well as a re-enactment of Ford's only known interview and the first public display of her handwritten letter to the Colorado Medical Society that documents her delivery of 7,000 babies in her fifty-year career. Sylvia Lambe created this dedication to the first female Black doctor in Denver; if you missed it, you can watch it here anytime this month.
We'll be updating this list through the week. Do you know of a great free event around town? Send information to email@example.com.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.