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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
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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 boulderbookstore.net 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 artsandvenuesdenver.com.

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 ispress.bigcartel.com.

Find Heidi Neubauer-Winterburn's "The Universe" at the Arvada Center.EXPAND
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 arvadacenter.org 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 whatajokefest.com.

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 coloradocowboygathering.com; call 888-718-4253 for tickets.

Keep reading for more events.

Clyfford Still (middle) with Julian Schnabel (left) and painer Ross Bleckner in New York in 1977.
Clyfford Still (middle) with Julian Schnabel (left) and painer Ross Bleckner in New York in 1977.
Clyfford Still Museum

Friday, January 20

The Clyfford Still Museum’s Artists Select Series gains traction in 2017 when Artists Select: Julian Schnabel, the first of three artist-curated exhibitions scheduled this year, opens on Friday, January 20, for a run through April 2. Schnabel, the twentieth-century phenom whose wild plate mosaics of the late
’70s shattered the overriding minimalist traditions of the time, has selected sixty abstract works for the show, a portion of which have never been displayed in public. In addition to a group of works made during Still’s twilight years, the show also includes a salon-style collection of earlier paintings from the ’40s. Visit the Still Museum at 1250 Bannock Street; admission is $6 to $10, free for youths under eighteen. Selections by artists Mark Bradford and Roni Horn will round out the 2017 Artists Select series later this year. For information, go to clyffordstillmuseum.org or call 720-354-4880.

Herman’s Hideaway is turning 54, and the Denver venue will celebrate its birthday as part of the National Western Stock Show, with an evening of live country music from the Railbenders, Gerald Collier, the Federalists and National Wire. The Denver-based Railbenders, who’ve opened for acts such as Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels and the Doobie Brothers, bring outlaw-country flair to the stage. The concert takes place at 7 p.m. Friday, January 20, at Herman’s, 1578 South Broadway; doors open at 6:30, and ticket prices range from $14 to $198. For more information, go to hermanshideaway.com or call 303-777-5840.

A two-person show of textural abstractions by Chris Oatey and Dylan Gebbia-Richards takes over the main room at David B. Smith Gallery, 1543 A Wazee Street, beginning this month, but don’t miss Donald Fodness in the gallery’s project room, where he’ll unleash some of his weird and wonderful comic imagery to start 2017. Meet the artists at a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, January 20; both shows run through February 18. Visit davidbsmithgallery.com for more information.

Saturday, January 21

For over thirty years, the CU Wizards have welcomed young minds into the world of science with informative lectures hosted by renowned CU professors built on fun themes that capture young imaginations and drive learning. From 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 21, CU professor James Thompson will examine the physics of comic-book superheroes and villains using the principles of explosions and derring-do to instill a lifelong interest in the STEM fields. The Physics of Superheros! and Villains will be held in room G1B30 of the Duane Physics building on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. For more information about the free event, visit colorado.edu/cuwizards.

Bacon goes with everything — and for that matter, so does bourbon. But what happens when the two collide? Perhaps a hole in the space-time continuum caused by an explosion of joy? Actually, it’s just the Bourbon & Bacon Fest, which is all set to sizzle from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 21, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, on the edge of Civic Center Park. Now in its fourth year, the collision of whiskey and pork belly promises dozens of choices of spirits, from big-name producers to small-batch artisans. On the food side, twenty Denver restaurants and food vendors will cook up bacon mac and cheese, bacon cupcakes, bacon-whiskey milkshakes and plenty of other tasty, smoky grub. Grab your tickets for $55 each at denver.bourbonandbaconfest.com. VIP passes are already sold out, but a First Glance ticket for $75 will get you in the door half an hour early.

Most entertainment directed toward adolescents is inherently patronizing, a marketer’s outmoded notion of what the kids these days might be into. But the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver’s 21 Below: A Winter Carnival promises to shift the paradigm. From 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, January 21, teens will have a chance to take over the MCA and engage in art in a personal and tactile way. In addition to interactive art-installation exhibits, visitors under 21 can enjoy live music, gorge on cotton candy and ramen, play with installations from Boxwood Pinball and strike poses in a photo booth. The fun is free at 1485 Delgany Street; call 303-298-7554 or visit the Facebook event page to learn more.

Few sports speak to the Western ethos as directly as fly fishing, and from Ernest Hemingway to Norman Maclean, it has long been an inspiration to writers, artists and filmmakers. The Fly Fishing Film Tour, now on its eleventh trip across North America, will showcase independent movies about fly fishing worldwide, from Bolivia to Saskatchewan, Virginia to Montana. The screening takes place from 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 21, at City Hall Amphitheater, 1144 Broadway. For more information and to buy tickets, $18, go to flyfilmtour.com or call 303-832-2383. Discounted tickets are available at Trouts Fly Fishing, 1303 East Sixth Avenue.

Party like a Storm Trooper at the DAM.
Party like a Storm Trooper at the DAM.

It’s hard to imagine that there’s a Star Wars fanatic in Denver’s radius who hasn’t yet taken in the Denver Art Museum’s Star Wars and the Power of Costume blockbuster, but you never know: Some of them might have been waiting for the CultureHaus “party of the year,” Art of the Force, hosted by the museum’s young philanthropists’ group from 7:30 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, January 21. The tony gala invites guests to don “intergalactic cocktail attire” for the night, with dancing, food, drink and a silent auction, as well as a chance to ham it up in a photo booth and after-hours access to the exhibit. The DAM is at 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; get tickets, $80 for CultureHaus members or $95 for non-members, in advance at denverartmuseum.org.

Sunday, January 22

For many in the LGBTQ community, Donald Trump’s inauguration isn’t exactly a reason to bust out the glitter. But on Sunday, January 22, at the Clocktower Cabaret, Shirley Delta Blow and other performers will be celebrating — or, rather, protesting — the incoming chief with a sexy night of fun. Art Trumps Hate, a fundraiser for the Dorian De Long Arts and Music Scholarship, takes place at 1601 Arapahoe Street at 6 p.m. (doors open at 5). Admission is a $10 donation; for more information, call 303-293-0075.

Calling all pinball wizards: Retro arcade Hyperspace’s all-ages Pinball Event starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 22. The lighthearted monthly event includes wacky games, like Baby Pac-Man and Atari Video Pinball, and dodges the competitive pressure of more formal pinball competitions. Admission to the event is included with a $12 day pass at Hyperspace, 1601 Reed Street in Lakewood. For more information, call 303-993-5583 or visit hyperspace80s.com.

Freestyle-rap-battling M.C. Michael “Eyedea” Larsen was a guitar player, breakdancer and leader of a punk band until his death in 2010. The award-winning, crowdfunded documentary The World Has No Eyedea chronicles the Minneapolis-based M.C.’s life and death, his community, fans and family, and his contributions to the DIY music scene. The film will screen for audiences eighteen and older at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 22, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. For information and tickets, $10, go to theorientaltheater.com or call 720-420-0030.

Monday, January 23

Regular book-club meetings can be a steep commitment for busy people. Fortunately for the busily bookish, Denver’s BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, offers BookSocial, a low-stakes monthly gathering of readers joining together for drinks and discourse. At 7 p.m. on Monday, January 23, participants can enjoy a free drink and discuss January’s title, Maria Semple’s Today Will Be Different, which recently made the American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next List. Visit bookbardenver.com for more information.

Evolution can be defined as growth, according to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, and Evolutions 2017 certainly pushes the boundaries of quilting. Anyone who considers quilting a staid art form hasn’t seen the fiber-art pieces in this juried show, which include landscapes and cityscapes, all done in cloth. Evolutions 2017 opens Monday, January 23, and runs through April 22 at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, 200 Violet Street in Golden, where the museum has been doing some growing of its own. Go to rmqm.org or call 303-277-0377 for hours and more information.

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