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The 21 Best Events in Denver, January 31-February 6

The Nile Project represents the diverse cultures that live along the river's shores.
The Nile Project represents the diverse cultures that live along the river's shores.
Peter Stanley
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Celebrate cultural diversity at the Nile Project's concert at Macky Auditorium, shop for your Valentine at Ink Lounge's Fancy Pants, or attend a lively Super Bowl party. They're all in our 21 best events list this week.

Tuesday, January 31

Violin virtuoso Yumi Hwang-Williams has performed with musical groups all over the world, including Austria’s Bruckner Orchestra and the Basel Symphony Orchestra in Switzerland. Concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra since 2000, Hwang-Williams has dedicated her career to celebrating the works of modern composers and breathing new life into the classics; as a faculty member of the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, she’s also helping to shape the next generation of artists. Get schooled in how contemporary classical music can sound when Hwang-Williams joins pianist Susan Grace at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, for a recital at DU’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. Tickets, $10, include parking in the Newman Center garage; buy yours and get more information at du.edu or 303-871-7720.

Want to explore the growing marijuana industry? Join more than 2,000 cultivators, dispensary operators, extraction artists, product providers and infused-product manufacturers at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Seed to Sale Show, which opens Tuesday, January 31, and runs through Wednesday, February 1, at the Colorado Convention Center. The show is two days of learning, listening and sharing ideas as panelists talk about everything from pot products and sales strategies to emerging technology. Register online for the early-bird price of $695, or pay $895 at the door (NCIA members pay $545 or $745). Admission isn’t cheap, but it could be your ticket to a new career. For more information, go to seedtosaleshow.com.

Wednesday, February 1

With this state’s physical history disappearing every day, the reasons for Colorado Preservation’s Saving Places Conference are more solid than ever. The twentieth annual edition runs Wednesday, February 1, through Saturday, February 4, at the Colorado Convention Center, with a full lineup of educational workshops, tours and other sessions aimed at preserving and promoting Colorado’s past. This also marks the twentieth anniversary of the Most Endangered Places Program, and before the next class of endangered spots is announced on February 2, the recipients of the Stephen H. Hart Awards for Historic Preservation will be honored at 6 p.m. Wednesday, February 1, at the History Colorado Center. For more on the conference, go to coloradopreservation.org.

The Nile Project unites the river's regional diversity.
The Nile Project unites the river's regional diversity.
Habi Girgis

Thursday, February 2

Humans do more than just pollute the ocean — apparently, we mess with the mating rituals of marine life, too. Starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 2, scientist and author Marah J. Hardt will be at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to discuss her book Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection With Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep. Hardt uses the “sex sells” theory to draw attention to the fragile state of our oceans, “where life’s been perfecting procreative creativity the longest.” If perfection means “lively threesomes” and “full-moon sex parties,” we want nothing less out of life. For tickets, $8 to $10, and more information, go to dmns.org.

The Uncondemned chronicles the struggle of global activists and attorneys in their attempt to change international law to designate rape as a crime of war in the wake of the Rwandan genocide. Billed as a courtroom thriller, the documentary takes viewers to the front lines of this legal fight and tells the stories of women who were sexually assaulted during the war. Director Michele Mitchell will present a one-night-only screening of the film in person at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 2, at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets, $7 to $11, can be purchased at denverfilm.org.

The Nile knows no borders as it flows out of Lake Victoria in Uganda to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt. The river, which travels through eleven African nations, not only crosses cultural boundaries but also fires up environmental concerns based on the world’s most precious resource — water. Touring concert The Nile Project, an ambitious melding of the region’s diversity and a call to unify the river’s meandering ecosystem, beautifully pieces together music from the eleven rich cultures that thrive along its banks. Thirteen musicians join hands in the concert, which comes to the University of Colorado Boulder’s Macky Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 2, for an expression of goodwill and collaboration between nations. A lecture by CU assistant professor of ethnomusicology Austin Okigbo precedes the concert at 6:45 p.m. in CU’s Old Main Chapel. For information and tickets, which range from $15 to $75, go to cupresents.org/events/nile-project.

Friday, February 3

The Road to WrestleMania is long, hard and beset by muscled warriors, all trying to claim victory from their opponents’ brawny grasp. World Wrestling Entertainment is back with another action-packed live event, one whose roster boasts appearances from pro-wrestling superstars such as The New Day, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Goldut and many more vying for WrestleMania glory in the ring. In true WWE fashion, Road to WrestleMania promises to lay the smackdown on the foothills: This event hits the mat on Friday, February 3, at 7:30 p.m. at 1STBANK Center, 11450 Broomfield Lane in Broomfield. Tickets start at $20 and can be found at altitudetickets.com.

World issues and cultural differences come into play in Presence: Reflections on the Middle East, a major Month of Photography exhibit at Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Center for Visual Art. A dozen artists and children of the diaspora from the U.S. and throughout the Middle East grapple with traditions lost and found while navigating change and modernity. “What makes Presence really interesting is that it offers a glimpse into the artists’ creative thinking and practice informed by cultural heritage more so than geography or age,” says CVA curator Cecily Cullen. “Each artist can share a story about how geopolitical issues have affected their families and customs and ultimately informed their artistic work.” The exhibit opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, February 3, at the CVA, 965 Santa Fe Drive, and runs through April 8. For information about related talks and events, visit msudenver.edu/cva.

Dateline gallery honors Black History Month with Witnessed, a loaded topical installation by Boulder-based artist Lionel Bumbakini, aka BUMBAKiNi. Touching on the roots of the Black Lives Matter movement, Witnessed is a participatory investigation of a shooting involving a young black man and a white police officer, where viewers can sift through clues in a life-sized papier-mâché mockup of the crime scene and make decisions about who is ultimately at fault. But Bumbakini, of Congolese descent, was also inspired by his own parents’ culturally fractured journey from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the South Side of Chicago. The healing power of art is also part of the package: “I believe that it is time that we deconstructed the walls we have built between ourselves and that art through history has always been a bridge, a highway of information for which knowledge of our very selves and the world that surrounds us is attainable,” writes Bumbakini in a statement. Enter the artist’s murder scene and face the facts at a reception from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, February 3, at Dateline, 3004 Larimer Street. For more information, visit ddaatteelliinnee.com or Dateline’s Facebook page.

Keep reading for more of the 21 best events in Denver.

The Zeus Problem highlights current events through mythological beings.
The Zeus Problem highlights current events through mythological beings.
Buntport Theater

Buntport Theater, now in its sixteenth season, turns its collaborative creative genius toward mythological beings and current events in The Zeus Problem, an original play that grew out of a last-minute decision to look our new politics directly in the eye instead of moving ahead with the originally scheduled show. Whatever was left simmering on the burner will have to wait for its turn on stage while Zeus needles the new regime in Washington, D.C., in a script based loosely on Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound. Join the protest beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 3, at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan Street. Tickets for the opening-night performance, which includes a reception with refreshments, are $25. Shows continue Thursdays through Saturdays through February 25, with matinees on February 12 and 19 and a pay-what-you-can performance on February 13; regular tickets are $17 to $20 at buntport.com.

The joy of cosplay is already a central part of any fan convention, but for some folks, it’s everything. The cosplaying faithful spend months creating their elaborate costumes, sometimes for only a few hours in the limelight, and then they start all over again for next year. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a convention just for them, without any distractions to cut into their fun? Enter Project Cosplay, which hits the Embassy Suites Denver Stapleton, 4444 Havana Street, beginning Friday, February 3, for two and a half days of pure, unadulterated costumed voguing, parties, workshops and photo ops galore. Highlights throughout the weekend include a 3-D scanning booth, a fashion show and pool and pajama parties, all with specific themes, as well as “nerd karaoke,” a glamour shoot and the Iron Cosplay Challenge. General admission for the weekend is $40, or $25 for a single-day pass. For a complete schedule and to buy tickets in advance, go to cosplaydenver.wordpress.com.

Aurora’s Theatre Esprit Asia typically pursues Asian and Asian-American themes on stage, but in its newest production, Yohen, TEA crosses the culture line for Black History Month. The story of an African American ex-GI, James, and his Japanese wife, Sumi, the play by Philip Kan Gotanda metaphorically compares their thirty-year marriage to “yohen,” or transformational kiln effects in the art of pottery. James must woo Sumi back after the couple separates, and both contemplate the evolution of their personal culture clash. Local actors Maria Cheng and Don Randle take on the roles of Sumi and James, and Su Teatro’s Anthony Garcia directs. Yohen’s run kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 3, and runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through February 26 at the ACAD Gallery Theatre, 1400 Dallas Street in Aurora. Purchase tickets, $26, at teatheatre.org.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and that’s a perfect tie-in for Ink Lounge’s first First Friday Micro Market of 2017: Fancy Pants, an evening of hands-on Valentine printing, drinking and shopping for tokens of love from a handpicked quartet of local vendors. Items suitable for your favorite man and/or woman will be available from jewelry makers Crow Jane Jewelry, the Gold Bug, Lux and Luca, and the nifty vintage menswear tailors at HIM Clothing; Divino Wine & Spirits will be pouring the wine, or you can choose beer or a festive cocktail. Party at Ink Lounge, 29 South Fox Street, from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, February 3; admission and beverages are free. Learn more at the Facebook event page or go to inklounge.com.

Saturday, February 4

Teach your children all about the under-explored history of local female artists with a free children’s art workshop, on Saturday, February 4, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the CU Art Museum, 1085 18th Street in Boulder. Part of a Dairy Arts Center partnership with the museum, the workshop focuses on the exhibit Pioneers: Women Artists in Boulder, 1898-1950, which celebrates these artists’ formative contributions to the Boulder art community while showcasing their finest works. Help cultivate a love of art in your child with an event that not only contextualizes the exhibit, but allows kids ages six through twelve to participate in a project inspired by the landscapes from the pioneers’ canvases. Register in advance at tickets.thedairy.org.

Stroll the streets of Olde Town Arvada with someone you love while still carrying on a passionate affair...with chocolate. On Saturday, February 4, A Chocolate Affair takes over downtown Arvada with more than fifteen different chocolate samples (at $1 each), a chocolate treasure hunt (which won’t cost you a dime), and a baking contest to celebrate chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Tickets for samples can be purchased beginning at 11 a.m. in Olde Town Square or at the Rising Church, 7500 West 57th Avenue, and the delicious event runs until 2 p.m. To enter the baking contest, bring six brownies or cookies on a paper plate to the Rising Church gym between 11 a.m. and noon; winners will be announced at 1:30. And even if you don’t enter, with this much chocolate, everyone wins. Proceeds of the event will be donated to the Ralston House in Arvada, an organization dedicated to survivors of child abuse. For more information, visit oldetownarvada.org.

Sunday, February 5

In these uncertain times, the threat posed by climate change is more grave than ever. Debut playwright’s Tira Palmquist’s new play, Two Degrees, seizes the zeitgeist with the tale of Emma, a grieving climate scientist preparing for a vital Senate hearing and struggling to overcome her adversity and spread a message that falls on deaf ears all too often. A jewel of the Colorado New Play Summit, Two Degrees runs from through March 12, with a special 1:30 p.m. matinee showing on Sunday, February 5, at the Jones Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Visit denvercenter.org for more information.

Some women — and most likely some men — swoon over the Gothic accoutrements of Victoriana and the art of mourning, from romantic silver lockets, tear bottles and trinkets woven from human hair to sepia-toned photographs. Sound like someone you know? Missy Rhysing’s Ritualcravt, an emporium of potions, crystals, candles and other metaphysical and curious items, will suit that taste with a pre-Valentine’s Day Victorian Mourning Trunk Show offering all of the above along with thimblefuls of absinthe and, we can only hope, fainting couches for drunken consumptives. Well, maybe that. Drop by Ritualcravt, 2842 West 44th Avenue, for shopping and moping from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, February 5; get more info at Ritualcravt’s Facebook page.

The Denver Broncos fumbled their chance at going to this year’s Super Bowl — but that’s no reason for you to drop the ball. You can still party hearty at Tavern Hospitality Group’s Big Game parties, which start at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, February 5, and continue until a half-hour after the game ends at the TV-heavy Tavern Downtown, 1949 Market Street, and Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 East First Avenue. The $35 package ($40 at the door) gets you access to an all-you-can-eat buffet and all the Bud and Bud Light drafts you can drink, along with free square pools with quarterly winnings and raffle prizes. Find out more at tavernhg.com.

Composer Caitlin Gilmore will perform at (de)composition.EXPAND
Composer Caitlin Gilmore will perform at (de)composition.

Monday, February 6

Famed American Romanticist painter Ralph Albert Blakelock is fondly remembered for his Western landscapes, his infamous travels with Native American tribes, and for inspiring more forgeries than nearly any other American painter. Less fondly remembered, however, is how a lifetime of economic struggles, marital strife and swindlers left Blakelock broken and paranoid, confined to an asylum for his final years. Fortunately for fans and curious neophytes alike, the American Museum of Western Art, 1727 Tremont Place, has assembled an impressive collection of works from Blakelock’s Western era, when he broke from the Hudson River style and developed his own aesthetic, creating a series of masterpieces that went unappreciated in his own time. Join the experts from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Monday, February 6, at the museum for Artful Insight, a discussion about his work. Tickets, $10, are limited; find yours at anschutzcollection.org.

February marks that most joyous time of the year: Girl Scout cookie season. If you’ve been craving Samoas and missing your Thin Mints, now is the time to restock. But this year, ditch the tired combo of cookies and milk: Renegade Brewing Co. has something a little more mature in mind. On Monday, February 6, head to Renegade’s taproom at 925 West Ninth Avenue for a Beer and Girl Scout Cookie Pairing. From 5 to 10 p.m., the brewery will pour four of its beers chosen to bring out the best in four different Girl Scout cookies. Buy tickets at eventbrite.com for $12 and then Do-Si-Do on in anytime during the event. And the news just gets better: If you can’t make it on Monday, Renegade has extended this year’s tasting until February 11, so you can choose the perfect day for beer and cookies —or just go every night to quell your craving. Visit the Renegade Facebook page for more information.

Down in the dumps on a Monday night and looking for something completely different to do? RedLine Contemporary Art Center and Toxoplasma Arts LLC invite you to participate in Make/Shift Monday: (de)composition, a participatory, multi-disciplinary salon where everyone is both performer and audience member. Librettist Katelyn Geary and composers and performers Caitlin Gilmore, Griffin Candey, Cristin Colvin and Joshua Fenner get things started by encouraging participation while deconstructing the performance framework of music, poetry, improvisation and dance — and before long, everyone jumps into the act. Mondays suddenly got cool again. Join in from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, February 6, at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street; admission is free, but donations will be happily accepted. Reserve a seat in advance at toxoplasmaarts.yapsody.com or go to redlineart.org for details.

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