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More than sixty distillers will represent their homegrown liquors at the Colorado Spirits Trail Festival.EXPAND
More than sixty distillers will represent their homegrown liquors at the Colorado Spirits Trail Festival.
Brandon Marshall

The 21 Best Things to Do in Denver, May 13 Through May 19

This week marks the return of a few Denver favorites (and telltale signs that summer is approaching): the Colfax Marathon and the Five Points Jazz Festival. Also returning, albeit after a brief hiatus: Fem Fest at MCA Denver. Want more? Keep reading!

Monday, May 13

Was it good for you? The Colorado Sun and the University of Denver will host A Conversation With Governor Jared Polis, with a panel of top lawmakers from both parties discussing the recently completed legislative session. The Sun’s John Frank, CBS4’s Shaun Boyd and DU’s Seth Masket will moderate the event and take audience questions; the event starts at 6 p.m. Monday, May 13, at Davis Auditorium in Sturm Hall, 2000 East Asbury Avenue on the DU campus. Admission is free, and a reception follows at 7 p.m.; register and submit questions at du.edu/americanpolitics.

The yuks stop here on Tuesday.EXPAND
The yuks stop here on Tuesday.
Danielle Lirette

Tuesday, May 14

Brews, brawls and buffoonery will all be on tap when Lucha Libre & Laughs weighs in for another round of quick riffing and ringside thrills at Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street. Catch a free preview of what Denver's favorite comedy/wrestling hybrid has in store for the rest of the summer when producer Nick Gossert and a cadre of spandex-clad gladiators transform Ratio's inviting patio into a battlefield for choreographed bloodsport. While the full lineup has yet to be announced, the show seldom disappoints no matter who's in the ring, largely thanks to hilarious color commentary by local comedians Nathan Lund and Sam Tallent. The fists start flying at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14; admission is free but seating is limited, so arrive early. Visit the Lucha Libre & Laughs Facebook page.

Wednesday, May 15

An open flame in the back of a truck doesn't sound like a good idea, unless that fire is inside a mobile brick oven...cooking up pizzas with chewy crusts and gooey cheese. Mountain Crust Pizza has been dispensing wood-fired pies from the back of a 1955 Ford F-600 for the past three years, and just landed a permanent spot at Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse, 3636 Chestnut Place. Come to Ironton on Wednesday, May 15, and get half-price pizzas during Mountain Crust's Grand Opening Celebration. The party runs from 3 to 10 p.m., with beer, wine and Ironton cocktails at the bar, plus live bluegrass from the Ghost Town Drifters from 7 to 10 p.m. Learn more on Ironton's Facebook page: This pizza party will be on fire!

Around the world on Wednesday, May 15, people will gather for the Ride of Silence, to honor the memory of bikers and pedestrians killed in traffic accidents and to raise awareness about the dangers of urban planning that values speed over safety. Denver's event, the Vision Zero Ride & Walk of Silence, starts at 5:30 p.m. at the City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street. From there, participants will head to Sunken Gardens Park, 800 Delaware Street, where they will listen to speakers and remember the dead. Register for this free march and rally at eventbrite.com, and find more information at facebook.com/pg/People4Streets.

Thursday, May 16

The national New Leaders Council blends business and progressive politics through extended leadership training programs for young professionals with a focus on change. The initiative has local traction, given Denver’s strengthening political shades of blue, and chapters from across the nation will join the Mile High contingent to raise funds for next’s year’s fellowships at Change on the Front Range 2019. The event will celebrate hardworking Denver progressives Lisa Raville of the Harm Reduction Center and former Colorado House majority leader Crisanta Duran over drinks, bites, and a side of live art and other entertainment on Thursday, May 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, 222 Santa Fe Drive. Find more information and tickets, $25 to $100, at newleaderscouncil.org.

Prepare for your mind to get blown at Science Lounge: Reality Bites, an evening guaranteed to make you question your perceptions. Ponder human existence with virtual- and augmented-reality experiences at this brain-bending party at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard. An adjunct event of the museum's Our Senses: Creating Your Reality exhibit, the evening will offer persuasive evidence that our senses of sight, smell, sound and touch may not be as reliable as expected; think of it as a Philip K. Dick story with a cash bar. The program (21+) goes from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16; find tickets, $15, and more information at dmns.org.

Ever since the vaudeville era, comedians have prided themselves on their unparalleled ability to alchemize superficial details into golden nuggets of mockery. The proud tradition continues when You Look Like: A Roast Battle makes its Denver debut on Thursday, May 16, at Oskar Blues' downstairs venue, the Black Buzzard,1624 Market Street. Founded in Memphis, the show pits comic against comic in a competition to determine who can make the most fun of their opponent's appearance. Imported to the Mile High by former Memphis comics Lila Bear, Sammy Anzer and Piper Shepard, the first local edition of verbal evisceration includes Christie Buchele, Steve Vanderploeg, Zach Welch, Gabby Gutierrez-Reed, Jonny Bratsveen and Roger Haak, with standup by Elliot Broder. The roasts start heating up at 7:30 p.m.; admission is $3 in advance and $5 at the door. Visit Black Buzzard's Facebook page to find out more.

Lace up — it's Colfax Marathon time!
Lace up — it's Colfax Marathon time!
Brandon Marshall

Friday, May 17

The Colfax Marathon has a little something for everyone, with events happening throughout the weekend. Festivities begin with a free Health and Fitness Expo at Broncos Stadium at Mile High that goes from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 17, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18; if you happen to be participating in Saturday’s 5K or any of the races on Sunday, May 18 — the marathon, the marathon relay, a half marathon or the Urban 10 Miler — you can pick up your race packet there. On both days, there will be live music along all the routes, and the roster concludes with a giant after-party Sunday afternoon in City Park. Get all the details at runcolfax.org.

You don’t have to trek all over Colorado to follow its vast network of craft distillers, which have linked arms to create a statewide map of tasting rooms: The Colorado Spirits Trail Festival does it for you, all under one roof. More than sixty distillers will represent their homegrown liquors on Friday, May 17, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, during an evening of craft-cocktail samples and competitions. Drink, drink and be merry: Admission ranges from $45 to $65 at twoparts.com.

See Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf at the People's Building.
See Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf at the People's Building.
Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

Ready to get down and dirty, but need some inspiration? Plant the Seed Project and the People’s Building, a new cultural events space that’s been hosting some of the metro area’s most innovative programming, are teaming up to offer a free screening of Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf at 6 p.m. Friday, May 17, as part of the Dirt! educational series. Director Thomas Piper followed the influential Dutch garden designer and author through four seasons in his own gardens, and then a fifth as Oudolf created a new garden in England. The People’s Building is at 9995 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora; find out more at thepeoplesbuilding.com.

Saturday, May 18

In the botanical world, the title of Master Gardener commands infinite cachet. Anyone who’s reached that pinnacle not only boasts the greenest of thumbs, but has also ascended to a peak of knowledge worth imparting to gardeners of all skill levels. Reap the benefits at the CSU Extension Denver Master Gardener Plant Sale, where said Master Gardeners will be at the ready to steer you in the right direction when choosing and caring for your flora. Line up for plants and advice from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, at the CSU Denver Extension in Harvard Gulch Park, 888 East Iliff Avenue. Admission is free, but the plants are not; find more information at denver.extension.colostate.edu.

Spring was made for old-fashioned car shows, and Northsiders of Denver are on it: From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, the local car club will host the Berkeley Bash 7 Charity Car Show — with more than 250 custom vehicles, from bikes to trucks, on display for automotive oglers and the grease-monkey community — in Berkeley Lake Park, 4544 West 46th Avenue. Food and drink will be plentiful, and vendor booths will be open for business. Admission is free for spectators; learn more at facebook.com/NorthsidersofDenverCO.

Get girly at Fem Fest.EXPAND
Get girly at Fem Fest.
Brandon Marshall

What’s up in the feminist/riot grrrl Denver underground? Find out when MCA Denver brings back Fem Fest, the annual symposium/celebration of women, DIY culture and gender politics under the continuing direction of local rabble-rouser and Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? podcaster Bree Davies. A blend of work and play, the 2019 iteration is a carnival of vendor booths in the Femme Bazaar; DIY workshops where you can learn to press a record or raise your consciousness through art, movement and/or enlightened sex; live music; and a ticketed comedy show in the evening. Fem Fest runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the MCA, 1485 Delgany Street; base admission is $2 to $8, with added fees for workshops, tarot readings and comedy. Buy tickets and chart the course of your day at eventbrite.com.

Fill your fruit baskets with history and handfuls of garden treats alike when the Strawberry Festival: Vintage and Antique Market returns with a fresh harvest of good times. Sponsored by the St. Vrain Historical Society, the festival has been running for 49 years, delighting generations of visitors with historical curios and toothsome forkfuls of shortcake. Peruse jewelry, artwork, clothing, toys and baubles galore from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, at the Boulder County Fairgounds Exhibit Building, 9595 Nelson Road in Longmont. Admission is $5 at the door (children under twelve get in free); go to stvrainhistoricalsociety.com for more details.

How the heck do you get emergency help in the big city? And what exactly constitutes an emergency? Civic health club Warm Cookies for the Revolution will set you straight with the usual fun and games during Own This City: Emergency Services, an all-ages morning session that gets to the heart of the matter with superhero costume-making, fire trucks, a ghostbuster car and fresh, warm cookies. Oh, and information about which number to call for help in any situation. Join the Warm Cookies crew on Saturday, May 18, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue; admission is free, but a $5 donation is appreciated. Learn more at warmcookiesoftherevolution.org.

Put on your dancing shoes for the Five Points Jazz Festival.EXPAND
Put on your dancing shoes for the Five Points Jazz Festival.
Ken Hamblin

Harking back to an era when the neighborhood was known as the Harlem of the West, the Five Points Jazz Festival celebrates the musical legacy of one of Denver's most unique districts. With dozens of jazz, blues, funk and Afrobeat ensembles performing at various venues along the Welton Street corridor (including the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, Cervantes' and a main stage at the 29th Street intersection, to name but a few), the festival offers up a daylong gauntlet of grooves on Saturday, May 18. Whether you post up near your favorite stage or follow the Otone Brass Band as it parades through the historic area, it's impossible to resist this street party's beat. The free festivities kick off at 11 a.m. and the last performance starts at 10:30 p.m.; find out more at artsandvenuesdenver.com.

The biggest strides in our march toward progress in the LGBTQ community can all be traced back to the 1969 Stonewall uprising, the first step for a national gay-rights movement that continues to grow and change fifty years later. Quiet No More: A Choral Commemoration of Stonewall will bring together members of the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus and Denver Women’s Chorus to mark Stonewall’s anniversary with several local performances before the Rocky Mountain Arts Association’s conjoined ensembles make their way to New York City for a culminating WorldPride 2019! national show in late June. Get a musical lesson in LGBTQ history at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at First United Methodist Church of Golden, 1500 Ford Street in Golden; additional shows take place on June 1 at the Broomfield Auditorium and June 7 and 8 at Auraria's King Center. Tickets start at $22; find more details at rmarts.org.

Sunday, May 19

In the history of fine art, light has been everything — the energy source behind high-contrast chiaroscuro paintings, illuminated manuscripts, dappled impressionist landscapes, modern neon and fluorescent sculptures, the photographs of Ansel Adams and so much more. To make the point, the Denver Art Museum will illuminate the flight of light through art history with The Light Show, a new cross-departmental exhibit from the museum’s vast collections that will roll out in two parts over the next month. Part one, focusing on physical light, opens on Sunday, May 19, and part two follows on June 2; both remain on view through May 2020. The Light Show is included in the regular gate admission of $8 to $13 (free for those eighteen and under); learn more at denverartmuseum.org.

Emily Griffith, founder of Denver's Opportunity School, is interred at Fairmount.
Emily Griffith, founder of Denver's Opportunity School, is interred at Fairmount.
Fairmount Cemetery Facebook

People may be dying to get into Fairmount Cemetery, but the Denver landmark at 430 South Quebec Street could still use an economic boost. On Sunday, May 19, the Fairmount Heritage Foundation will host a special benefit with state historian Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel, which will start with a wine-and-cheese meet-and-greet at 1 p.m., then head off on a two-hour tour through the property; along the way, you’ll hear tales from Noel and even meet some of the famous and infamous folks who call Fairmount home. The afternoon concludes with dessert served by the late Louise Sneed Hill, leader of the Sacred 36. Tickets are $100 and benefit the foundation; find out more at fairmountheritagefoundation.org.

Playwright and Palestinian-American Jihad Milhem observed the misguided post-9/11 rise of anti-Muslim sentiment across the nation from a personal vantage point, exacerbated by the Ground Zero mosque controversy in New York City, which escalated while he was living there. Reconciling his own family story and the larger outlook, Milhem subsequently wrote Mosque, a new play being produced by the Black Actors Guild and Emancipation Theater Company at the People's Building, 9995 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora. Mosque opens at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 19, and runs for eight more performances through June 2. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door; learn more at mosquetheshow.com.

And now our watch has ended. After seven and a half seasons, 69 episodes and countless shocking deaths, winter is officially coming to an end with the Game of Thrones series finale on Sunday, May 19. For fans eagerly awaiting the inevitably bloody final chapter of the fantasy saga eight years — or 23, for OG readers of George R.R. Martin's unfinished A Song of Ice and Fire series — in the making, the TV blockbuster deserves a fittingly epic sendoff. While HBO subscribers and clever content pirates certainly have the option of enjoying their last visit to Westeros from the comfort of their own homes, sociable nerds and law-abiding cord-cutters can convene at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, at 8 p.m. for a more communal farewell to a rare instance of pop-cultural consensus. Admission is free; learn more on the Oriental Theater Facebook page.

To be considered for our 21 Best list, we need event information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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