The 21 Best Events in Denver, January 17-23

The city's arts, planning and fire departments will host a forum to discuss the future of DIY in Denver.
The city's arts, planning and fire departments will host a forum to discuss the future of DIY in Denver. Tom Murphy
Historic Denver will take on the future of older buildings in Denver, the arts community will meet with the city to discuss the future of DIY, and the Denver Art Museum will host the "party of the year." Find more things to do this week in our 21 best events guide.

Tuesday, January 17

Since David Grinspoon left his stint as curator of astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science a few years ago for Washington, D.C., his cachet has only risen higher. Now senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, the musician, protégé of Carl Sagan, accomplished author and NASA adviser known to hang out with folks like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye has written a groundbreaking new book, Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future, an on-the-money speculation on how humans can still rectify environmental disasters we’ve caused by becoming citizen-scientists working together to adapt, explore and implement new technologies. Grinspoon will discuss his treatise for the times at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 17, at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street in Boulder. A $5 voucher good toward purchase of Earth in Human Hands (or any other book purchased at the store on the day of the event) is required for entry. Go to for more information.

The new year is a time to look to the future, but on Tuesday, January 17, you can celebrate the past at the same time when Historic Denver hosts the next installment in its re:Denver Forum series, Old Buildings, New Tools. The free forum starts at 6:30 p.m. in a place very well suited to the program: the soon-to-open Bigsby’s Folly Winery, in a renovated 1886 warehouse at 3563 Wazee Street. Speakers Brandon Spencer-Hartle, a senior city planner in Portland, Oregon, and Tom Mayes of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will discuss new approaches to preserving old buildings — a hot topic that could become a burning issue in 2017. Find out more on Historic Denver’s Facebook page.

Wednesday, January 18

Since the abrupt closure of Rhinoceropolis and Glob last month, the future of Denver’s DIY venues has been a hot topic in this city. And at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, at the McNichols Building, Denver Arts & Venues, the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs and the planning and fire departments will host Safe Creative Spaces & Artspace Collaboration, “a forum for proactively getting information to potential tenants and/or building owners regarding building and fire safety, and how to make creative space safe for occupants.” Making sure no more surprise inspections occur would be a good start, and that will be just one of the issues on the table. “From what I’ve heard from the DIY community, everyone understands there are legitimate concerns about safety,” says Ginger White-Brunetti, deputy director of Arts & Venues. “The holistic place of artists in a city has been a question that Arts & Venues has been looking at for some time.” And this forum is just the spot to take a good, long look — and maybe find some answers. Find out more at

When he’s not teaching communications design at Metropolitan State University of Denver (and sometimes when he is), Peter Miles Bergman is occupied with dreaming up visual pranks through print and graphics media as a follower of the Institute of Sociometry, a guerrilla art collective rooted in the ’90s-era Culture Jamming movement. And now he’s also the co-author, co-editor (with MCA Denver curatorial associate Zoe Larkins) and designer of is EMANCIPATION, a hand-bound anthology of high points in IS’s 21-year history, with work by Bergman and eleven other artist/authors. Bergman and Larkins will be on hand for a book-release party in conjunction with the MSU faculty show Collective Nouns (currently on view through January 21), beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, at the Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive. Visit the Facebook event page for information; learn more about the book at

click to enlarge Find Heidi Neubauer-Winterburn's "The Universe" at the Arvada Center. - ARVADA CENTER
Find Heidi Neubauer-Winterburn's "The Universe" at the Arvada Center.
Arvada Center
Thursday, January 19

The Arvada Center, at 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada, steps into the March Month of Photography groove a little early this week, unveiling two exhibitions showcasing Colorado photographers — the broad group show Double Exposure: An Exhibition of Photography and Video in the main gallery, and a tribute, Stop/Look/See: Photography by James Milmoe, upstairs. Zoom in on both at a free opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 19. Milmoe will deliver an artist talk during MoP proper, at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 11; learn more at or call 720-898-7200. To schedule a docent tour, call the tour line at 720-898-7255.

In these dubious times, even our most basic civil rights feel threatened, which makes the efforts of organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union more crucial than ever. That’s why New York comedians Jenn Welch and Emily Winter spearheaded What a Joke: A National Comedy Festival, a series of simultaneous standup showcases in cities all over the country (with a European outpost in the U.K.) that will raise funds for the ACLU and help us laugh through Donald Trump’s inauguration. Join co-hosts Timmi Lasley (creative director of El Charrito’s Comedy RoomRoom), Kyle Pogue (co-founder of Fort Comedy) and special guests for Denver’s edition of What a Joke, which stops by Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway, at 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 19. Although the shows aren’t directly affiliated with the ACLU, proceeds from ticket sales and prize raffles will be donated to the organization. To buy tickets, $10, visit

Since its inception on April Fools’ Day in 2015, the Denver FUGLY Facebook forum has argued about, discussed the merits of and made fun of the inundation of new buildings in our town, from ticky-tacky condos invading Denver neighborhoods to elegant high-rises on the city skyline. FUGLY founder Brad K. Evans now wants to take that discussion live and face-to-face with City Spark, a quarterly happy-hour meetup debuting from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 19, at the Taxi Annex (by day, the restaurant Comal), 3455 Ringsby Court. “I don’t have a specific agenda on this so much as putting the people in Denver together into a room and seeing what that can spark,” Evans explains. “If you consider that we’ve got nearly 5,000 people in the Facebook group, who range from local agitators like me to really smart, educated people, it could be the start of something sweet.” For more information, visit Denver FUGLY’s City Spark event page on Facebook. 

The Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering gallops into Golden on Thursday, January 19, and stays through Sunday, January 22, filling the American Mountaineering Center, 710 10th Street, with cowboy poetry, Western singers (including local favorites Liz Masterson and Jon Chandler), old-fashioned yodelers and even a screening of Everything in the Song Is True, a documentary about four iconic characters who define the American West. This is the event’s 28th year, and “the production team is more excited about the lineup than ever before,” promises Gathering spokesman Jerry Cunningham. He is, too: “I go every year, because you go to a show, and within ten minutes you’ll have a lump in your throat, then bust out with laughter. It’s incredibly addicting.” Yeehaw! See the full schedule at; call 888-718-4253 for tickets.

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