Lists

The 21 Best Events in Denver, September 19 through September 25

Get in gear at the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride.
Get in gear at the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride. META
Fall begins this week, so there's not a minute to waste. Head for the hills if you want to see the aspen glowing gold or some hot fashion in Vail. Out on the plains, you can learn all about this state's agricultural industry and pet a donkey, too. And here in town, you can catch comedy shows, movies, lectures and exhibits...and drink a lot of beer, too. Here are the 21 best events in and out of town this week.

Tuesday, September 19

The Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design’s Visiting Artist, Scholar and Designer Program Series is already known for bringing incisive artists and cultural celebrities to the area to lecture on challenging themes each school year. For the 2017-18 edition, dubbed “Collapsing Time,” series director Gretchen Marie Schaefer has created the Collapsing Time Film Series, a collaboration with Alamo Drafthouse Sloan’s Lake that will serve as a laid-back companion to the lectures. The first show, a special 21-plus benefit screening of 12 Monkeys, unspools at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 19, at the Alamo, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, and includes Stem Ciders beverages and a vegan dinner for $45. Screenings of other favorite films with temporal twists will continue monthly through next April; admission to those is $7, or free at the door for RMCAD students, faculty, staff and alumni with a valid RMCAD ID. Learn more at drafthouse.com/theater/sloans-lake or vasd.rmcad.edu.

In May 1974, Neva Romero, a University of Colorado student and Chicano activist, was killed along with two of her peers in a horrific car bombing at Colorado Chautauqua. Two days later, three more activists were murdered in another car bombing. These tragic events sent shock waves throughout the Chicano Rights Movement, yet no one was ever convicted for the crimes. Filmmaker Nicole Esquibel explores the horrific events — a scar on the conscience of an entire community — in Neva Romero: Jamas Olvidados, a documentary that highlights the efforts of the young woman and struggles to uncover the truth behind her death. Esquibel will introduce the film (whose title translates to “the never forgotten”) at a screening at 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 19, at the Chautauqua Community House, 900 Baseline Road in Boulder; she'll also participate in a post-film Q&A session. Tickets are $9 to $12 at chautauqua.com.
"Ascent/Descent I," by Meredith Feniak, is part of Water Line at the Center for Visual Art.
Curtis Tucker, CVA
Wednesday, September 20

We often don't realize how underserved a particular demographic has been until someone comes along and fills that niche. Witness Pump and Dump, a unique evening of comedy and music that creates a friendly space where moms can bond in cathartic laughter and dance their cares away. The brainchild of Shayna Ferm and co-host MC Doula, aka Tracey Tee, Pump and Dump has grown from a neighborhood bar show into a phenomenon that delights crowds of breeders all over the country. Moms everywhere deserve a night out, and Tee and Ferm are there to provide one. Currently on a national tour, they're bringing Pump and Dump back home to the Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 20. Tickets are $22 at comedyworks.com.

Artist Matt Jenkins, who specializes in performance and environmental art, turned his attention to the water woes in Flint, Michigan, for his piece in Water Line: A Creative Exchange. With help from Lynna Kaucheck of the grassroots nonprofit Food & Water Watch, he was able to obtain Flint tap water, direct from the home of a fellow water activist, and incorporate it into his piece. Jenkins and Kaucheck will explain the how and why of the installation during an artist talk titled "Art, Democracy and Water" from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 20, at the Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive. Admission to the talk is free, but registration is recommended at msudenver.edu/cva.

click to enlarge
Warm Cookies of the Revolution
Thursday, September 21

In times of political unrest, it pays to get educated, and Warm Cookies of the Revolution, Denver’s earnestly positive civic-health club, is here to help. At Case Studies: The Year 1939, billed as a mini-World’s Fair, you’ll review grassroots twentieth-century history through exhibition stations exploring the rise of fascism, the early civil-rights movement and the heyday of the labor movement, among other things, all through the entertaining eyes of such presenters as Flobot Stephen Brackett, letterpress guru Rick Griffith and Jewish historian David Shneer. Munch on those signature warm cookies as you wander through the fair, learning a little about how we got to where we are today, from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 21, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Admission is a $5 donation at the door, but no one will be turned away; learn more at warmcookiesoftherevolution.org.

Dutch filmmaker Faiyaz Jafri, a pioneer of digital animation, has spent his career exploring Jungian archetypes based on global myths. Over the past few years, he’s been a familiar presence in Denver’s film community, producing shorts for various Denver Digerati events; he’s also launched Hong Kong’s first independent film festival, Third Culture Film Festival. Jafri, who is in town as part of the Supernova Outdoor Animation Festival on Saturday, September 23, will be presenting a selection of his work in a program titled Faiyaz Jafri on Neo-Archetypes & Hyper-Unrealism at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 21. For information and tickets, $12 for Denver Film Society members and $15 for non-members, go to denverfilm.org or call 720-381-0813. 

The Sie FilmCenter is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with CineLatino, a four-day film festival that goes far beyond Mexican film (sadly, what many Americans think of as the beginning and end of Latino filmmaking). From a trio of Cuban documentaries that address economic and social changes — such as the ability to sell a home or go online — to an Argentine film about a Nobel Prize-winning author living in exile from his homeland, the thirteen films in the series, which starts Thursday, September 21, cover a broad swath of geographies, experiences and aesthetics. Tickets for individual screenings range from $12 to $25; all-access passes are also available. Find tickets and a complete schedule at denverfilm.org.

click to enlarge
The gang's all beer at Denver Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest Facebook
Friday, September 22

While Denver enjoys a reputation as a tolerant and forward-thinking city, its dearth of LGBT-friendly spaces is striking, and the recent closures of such cherished haunts as Crown Social and the Denver Eagle can make it seem like the very people who once made this city so interesting are in danger of disappearing. Fortunately, Queer Invasion is here to fight for your right to party, with monthly pop-up gatherings for the LGBT community and allies in unlikely settings. At around 8 p.m. on Friday, September 22, Queer Invasion’s Gay Guerilla Group will be invading the straight bars of LoDo, a neighborhood known for its historic architecture and insufferable throngs of bros. Though the invasions aren’t intended as a protest, there’s something quietly revolutionary about a queer crowd of revelers descending on straight bars and demonstrating how much livelier the city is for their presence. Visit the Facebook event page to learn more (specific locations will be announced in the days before the event) and to RSVP. 

Roll out the barrel — and the tubas, steins, lederhosen and dirndls — as Denver Oktoberfest ushers in another season of festive Bavarian tradition. Since 1969, the German celebration has been part of Denver’s history, beginning on Larimer Square and then moving to Larimer Street between 20th and 22nd streets. The gemütlichkeit (that’s good vibes to you) will start flowing at 11 a.m. Friday, September 22, with food, music, competitions, polka and, of course, plenty of German and American beer. The fun continues until 9 p.m., then repeats during the same hours on Saturday, September 23. Can’t find the wiener dogs? Come back on September 29 and 30 for the Long Dog Derby, more pretzels and sausages, and live music from the Milk Blossoms and DJ Chonz. The party is free, but you’ll need to purchase tickets to exchange for beer; food vendors will accept cash and credit cards. VIP tickets, which cover a T-shirt, mug, unlimited food and other goodies, can be purchased at thedenveroktoberfest.com. Prost!

click to enlarge
Head for the hills for Slow Fashion Vail.
Courtesy Slow Fashion Vail
You’ve heard of slow food and slow cities, movements that emphasize sustainability and a better quality of life. Now it’s time to experience slow fashion at Slow Fashion Vail, a two-day town fest in praise of local, ethically made and ecologically sound Colorado brands, all in the heart of Vail Village. Savor the good life at the al fresco Designer Market at International Bridge, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, September 22, and Saturday, September 23; then duck into Vail’s boutiques and shops for a sustainable Fashion Scavenger Hunt with potential prizes. A free Slow Fashion Show brings an edge to the event at 6 p.m. Friday at the Slow Fashion Vail tipi on Gore Creek Drive; bring your gently worn cast-offs to the tipi from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday for a clothing swap. Get additional details at slowfashionvail.com.

Among George Gershwin’s most celebrated compositions, the jazz-inflected “Rhapsody in Blue” is perhaps his most groundbreaking, with a freewheeling syncopated piano leading a full orchestra. Since its debut in 1924, “Rhapsody” has become one of the most frequently performed works of classical music, and its influence is felt on everything from ragtime to film scores. While everyone recognizes the tune from just a few notes, only music lovers and history buffs know that it was originally commissioned by bandleader and Denver native Paul Whiteman. Hear the wonder for yourself when conductor Brett Mitchell and pianist Kevin Cole lead the Colorado Symphony through Gershwin’s masterwork, as well as Missy Mazzoli’s “These Worlds in Us” and Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, at Boettcher Concert Hall, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Ticket prices range from $20 to $99; performances are on Friday, September 22, Saturday, September 23, and Sunday, September 24. Find tickets and information at tickets.coloradosymphony.org.

click to enlarge
Celebrate community at Our Neighbors, Ourselves.
Courtesy Project Worthmore
Project Worthmore creates community for local refugee populations in the most personal of ways, offering medical and dental assistance, English and citizenship classes, women’s empowerment sessions and more. The annual Our Neighbors, Ourselves Art Gallery and Fundraiser, now in its fifth year, helps keep the nonprofit going financially while throwing a good party — this year sporting music by DeVotchKa’s Tom Hagerman and Bluebook, DJ sets by Jonny DeStefano and Christy Thacker, and a live virtual-reality experience by DenVR. But the centerpiece of the evening is the juried art show (with a “Faces of Us” theme this year), along with a silent auction and refugee stories. Become part of the community from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, September 22, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue; for tickets, $60, visit axs.com. Learn more at projectworthmore.org.

Denver’s Collective Misnomer microcinema reels in big fish Lydia Moyer, an experimental video artist based in Charlottesville, Virginia, for State Change, a program of alternative works addressing issues in America and the forces that pull us together and tear us apart — among them, environmental concerns, systemic inequality and polar politics. Moyer will be there in person, ready for questions after the screening, which begins at 8 p.m. sharp Friday, September 22, at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan’s Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue. Admission is $10 in advance at drafthouse.com, or pay what you can; no one will be turned away, and no one will be admitted after 8:15 p.m. Visit collectivemisnomer.com for information. 

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.