Arts and Culture

The 21 Best Events in Denver, November 15-21

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Friday, November 18

Five years ago, on November 18, 2011, the Clyfford Still Museum made its debut on Denver’s cultural scene — where its clean, elegant design and impressively comprehensive collection made it an immediate standout. Since then, the museum has been celebrated locally for its involvement with the arts community and internationally for its innovative exhibitions that allow visitors to explore their own creativity. To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the museum has planned an entire weekend of free events designed to showcase its achievements and reward its members. The festivities kick off on Friday, November 18, with a members’ breakfast, and continue through November 20 with live music, readings, family-friendly entertainment from the Colorado Children’s Theater and even a date night. Find the full schedule at clyffordstillmuseum.org.

Once the enfant terrible of American food writers, Anthony Bourdain has mellowed since he got married and became a father. Or has he? The author and chef will reflect on his travels, which have turned exotic stops into an endless all-you-can-eat buffet, opine on what he loves and hates about the restaurant world, and share thoughts from his new book, Appetites, at 8 p.m. Friday, November 18, at the Bellco Theatre, 700 14th Street. This is the last stop in the twelve-city Anthony Bourdain: The Hunger Tour, so by now he could be running on fumes or gassed up and ready to take on Denver. Bourdain had previously voiced disappointment in Denver’s food scene, but that was more than a decade ago — and he’s since discovered the pleasure of Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs. Want to hear about his new discoveries? Tickets, starting at $71.50, are available at AXS.com.

Seu Jorge
is a Brazilian musician, singer-songwriter and actor who is well known in his home country for reinvigorating pop samba with his band Farofa Carioca. Jorge became an international star, however, through an unlikely vehicle: the soundtrack to a Wes Anderson film. His stripped-down, Portuguese-language covers of David Bowie songs appeared in Anderson’s 2004 offbeat comedy The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Jorge will bring his Bowie catalogue to Denver on Friday, November 18, celebrating the life of the late pop icon in his singular style beginning at 9 p.m. at the Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway in Englewood. Tickets to the sixteen-and-up show run $35 to $40; for more information, call 303-788-0984.

Creativity counts. The Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, is inviting “local movers and makers” — everyone from artists to entrepreneurs to crafters to chefs — to Meet Here: An Evening of Untitled Idea Brewing and Creative Criss-Cross, a free, one-night-only gathering where they can help brainstorm the museum’s next Untitled Final Friday Season as well as other projects. The mini-think-tank session takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 18; to get creative juices flowing, complimentary snacks and a cash bar will be available. The themes for next year’s Untitled sessions have already been chosen, and nights like “Power Suit” (February 24) and “Homewrecker” (October 27) should provide plenty of inspiration, too. Although the event is open, you should RSVP to Lauren Hegge at [email protected] or call 720-913-0077.

Saturday, November 19

Throw on your Iron Man suit or hop in your TARDIS and head down to the Speakeasy Vape Lounge and Cannabis Club, 2508 East Bijou Street in Colorado Springs, for the third annual Chromic Con. The first-ever marijuana comic-book convention started in 2014 and continues to push its simple goal of bringing together people who enjoy cannabis and comics. From 2 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, November 19, you can dress as your favorite fantasy character and enjoy some weed with like-minded people; there will also be live music performances, rare artwork and a celebrity comedy lineup. Find more information at 719-445-9083 or here.

Even a craggy, seductive, tough-talking adventurer like Dirk Pitt, the star of a long-running thriller series by Clive Cussler, needs a hobby. Pitt happens to collect classic cars — just like his 85-year-old creator. Their mutual passion eventually led to the creation of the Cussler Museum at 14959 West 69th Avenue in Arvada, home to more than a hundred rare and vintage automobiles. Although closed for the season, the museum will be open on Saturday, November 19, in celebration of the release of the latest Dirk Pitt novel, Odessa Sea, co-authored by Clive and his son, Dirk Cussler. Dirk (Cussler, not Pitt) will be on hand to sign books, along with Clive’s daughter, actress and screenwriter Dayna Cussler, who will be signing (with photographer Jason Toft) Built to Thrill, a photographic tribute to the cars prized by Cussler and Pitt. The family affair runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at the museum; for more information, call 303-420-2795 or go to cusslermuseum.com.

Freedom Archives, a Bay Area collective, has saved roughly fifty years of footage and archival papers from social struggles around the world, using the material to produce documentaries chronicling COINTELPRO and the history of government repression of black-liberation activism. The group’s most recent effort, Symbols of Resistance, looks at the history of the Chicano movement in Colorado, profiling organizers and those who died in the struggle. The filmmakers will be in Denver at 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 19, for a sneak peek at the rough cut of their documentary at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive. Tickets are $10 to $12; find more information here.

Denver will get the chance to vet Chris Thile, the new host of A Prairie Home Companion, when he brings the show to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, at 3:45 p.m. Saturday, November 19. This is Prairie Home’s first road tour since Thile took the helm, and there’s reason to be optimistic: Not only was Thile hand-selected by Garrison Keillor, but he’s a Grammy Award-winning musician who promises to bring a fresh sound to the NPR institution while maintaining its down-home heart and soul. Hear for yourself; tickets, $45-$75, are available at axs.com.

Hinterland has been a bright spot in RiNo since art couple Sabin Aell and Randy Rushton opened their adventurous studio and gallery at 3254 Walnut Street in 2008. But like many art spaces in the area, Hinterland’s home has been engulfed by development, and Aell and Rushton are moving on to a new location-in-process in Morrison. They’ll have one last hurrah in RiNo: Unsafe: New Work by S. Legg, an interesting weeklong exhibit that opens with a reception from 6 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, November 19, and closes a week later, on November 26, with a Big Fat Final Hinterland Closing Party that will start at 6 p.m. and stretch into the wee hours. Help Hinterland end this chapter on a high note; learn more about the exhibit and the free parties at hinterlandartspace.com.
Sunday, November 20

Nothing says the holidays are upon us like a master swordsman using a Napoleonic saber to sever the necks of Moët & Chandon bottles — with celebrants then climbing a two-story cherry-picker to pour the champagne into a pyramid of 6,000 champagne glasses while onlookers ooh and aah (and lick their lips). That’s what awaits at the 2016 Champagne Cascade, the 29th annual presentation of this tradition in the Atrium of the Brown Palace Hotel, 321 17th Street on Sunday, November 20. “The Champagne Cascade is our annual kickoff to the holiday season, offering all the things Denver is known for: delicious food, overflowing drinks and generous, charitable giving,” says Mark Shine, director of sales and marketing for the Brown; this year’s event benefits the Next Objective, which helps vets in the community. “Thankfully, no disasters or spills in previous years, but it is unnerving to be suspended in air above a tower of champagne glasses that took hours to painstakingly assemble,” he adds. “We always advise the person doing the pouring to save their drink until after they pour the champagne!” But there’s no reason for you to wait; in fact, you might want to brunch at the Brown before (or after) the noon ceremony. Many of the good seats for the ceremony are sold out, but there's standing room on the upper levels. Find out more at 303-297-3111 or brownpalace.com.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Afternoon Tea program pairs period-piece classics with a three-course meal of teas and nibbles. At 2 p.m. Sunday, November 20, the theater will show one of Martin Scorsese’s most underrated greats, 1993’s The Age of Innocence, an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s devastating novel. Scorsese’s love of violence shows even in this movie — but this time it’s the hearts of the characters that get beaten to death, as Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder star in a love triangle that’s doomed from the start. The Age of Innocence rarely screens in theaters, so being able to catch it here is a special treat. The Alamo is at 7301 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton; reserve your seat at drafthouse.com.

As music and arts programs for children continue to lose funding, investing in young talent is more important than ever. Fortunately, the Painted Violin Project, now in its thirteenth year, makes that easy. For the project, prominent local artists paint violins, which are showcased at galleries and arts venues around metro Denver and sold to raise funds for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, which just won the Mayor's Award for the arts. Members of that group range in age from seven to 23 and come from schools across the state. You can catch them in a DYAO performance that kicks off this year’s project on Sunday, November 20, at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 Allison Parkway. Tickets are $6-$21; get more information at dyao.org.

Red Ball Denver is both a fashion show and a benefit that supports HIV programs and services throughout the Denver area — so you can look good while doing good. The eighth annual edition runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 20, at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, and includes a “fiery cocktail reception” with fierce entertainers, a silent auction and an extravagant hair and fashion show featuring the styles of Kimono Dragons, Anna Festa and Rachel Hurst worn by over 100 local models. Last year, more than 3,800 men, women and children living with HIV or AIDS were helped through programs and services provided by the Denver Colorado AIDS Project, so get your tickets, $30-$150, now at redballdenver.org.

Monday, November 21

“We believe there is no better sign of welcome and friendship than sharing a meal with members of our community,” says Melissa Theesen, managing director of the ECDC African Community Center, which helps new refugees in the metro area. Since 2006, ACC has hosted a multicultural potluck dinner, the Refugee First Thanksgiving Dinner, to celebrate the spirit of the holiday. This year’s celebration, which includes live music and children’s activities, runs from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 4610 East Alameda Avenue, on Monday, November 21; the price of admission is just a dish to share and a King Soopers gift card that will be given to a newly arrived refugee family. “Please join us this Thanksgiving in making the newest members of our community feel welcome on their journey as a party of Denver’s diverse cultural fabric,” Theesen adds. Hungry to know more? Go to acc-den.org.

Questioning what happened in this year’s election? Get some answers at 1 p.m. on Monday, November 21, at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, during Making Sense of Colorado’s Purple Politics. Tom Cronin, a professor at Colorado College and author of Colorado Politics and Policy: Governing a Purple State, will discuss how Colorado is “in many ways a template of the deeply contrary politics of the nation” and “puts political power into the hands of an ever more polarized electorate.” The discussion promises a deep dive into the state’s election trends and public-policy challenges — and, of course, our tendency toward purple. Visit historycolorado.org for more information, and call 303-866-2394 to buy tickets, $6.50-$10, which will also be available at the door. 


Find still more things to do in our online calendar.

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