This is a time for civic engagement, starting with celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, continuing through Inauguration Day and Dr. Justina Ford Day, honoring Denver's first African-American female doctor, and concluding with weekend citizenship activities and the MLK "We Will Not Forget" program on January 25.
Along the way, there are many opportunities to become involved and engaged...and even have some fun. Here are twelve free events to fill all your free time over the next week:
Womxn's March Denver
Wednesday, January 20
While there will be no in-person march this year, Womxn's March Denver will host a one-day, interactive event to celebrate the community through art and the digital #MotivationMural, where you can answer these two questions: What’s your 2021 motivation? And what motivates you to move forward? Sign up here for the link, which will be shared early on January 20. JustUs: Stories From the Frontlines of the Criminal Justice System Wednesday, January 20, 5 p.m.
Four members of Motus Theater's JustUs, formerly incarcerated monologists, will offer autobiographical monologues about the racism and injustice of the criminal justice system; their monologues will be woven together with musical responses by Spirit of Grace. The free program is presented as part of the new MCA Denver Citizenship: a Practice of Society exhibit; sign up here.
Wednesday, January 20, 6 p.m.
Musicians are storytellers, and their songs allow the community to remember our struggles and triumphs. In honoring this democratic, storytelling musical tradition, Su Teatro is hosting the Resistance Jam, a celebration and call to action. Sign up for a performance time slot before noon, and tune in at 6 p.m. Find out more at suteatro.org. Clyfford Still Instagram Takeover With Artist Ron Hicks Wednesday, January 20, and Thursday, January 21
Follow @still_museum for a takeover by renowned artist Ron Hick, a painter who lives and works in Denver, and ranks among BuzzFeed’s top 100 artists working right now. Traditionally a figurative painter, Hicks has begun to blur the line between abstraction and realism. “I’m trying to sort of play with abstract, non-objective worlds of realism, to strike a harmonious balance between disciplines and place them on canvas or boards I paint on,” he says. Follow here. Tree-Ring Dating and the History of Archaeology in the American Southwest Wednesday, January 20, 7 p.m.
Tree-ring dating transformed Southwestern archaeology on June 22, 1929, when Andrew Ellicott Douglass of the University of Arizona and his colleagues discovered specimen HH-39, the piece of charcoal that “bridged the gap” in his tree-ring chronology and allowed him to date archaeological sites at Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon and elsewhere. Over the past nine decades, tree-ring dating has been refined, expanded and matured into a full-blown science, which Denver Museum of Nature & Science curator of archaeology Stephen E. Nash will examine in this free program. Sign up here.
The Narrators: Expiration Date
Wednesday, January 20, 8 p.m.
During this hour-long virtual show on Inauguration Day, three performers, along with hosts Ron Doyle and Erin Rollman, will tell stories that foster empathy and celebrate our common humanity. "We intend to keep that mission this year, even when the world at large seems determined to tear people apart," promise the hosts. RSVP at buntport.com. Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company Science Shorts Thursday, January 21, through Sunday, January 24
Join BETC for readings of four short plays by Colorado playwrights, as well as four short talks by the scientists who inspired their work. The free Science Shorts will be streaming online starting January 21; at 4 p.m. on January 24, the scientists and playwrights will discuss the work. Register here for the free programming.
The Iran Nuclear Deal in a Rapidly Changing Middle East Thursday, January 21, 5:30 p.m. What have been the impacts of the U.S. abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA)? Find out during this virtual program held by the Colorado chapter of the National Iranian American Council in partnership with the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. Sign up here. Dr. Justina Ford's 150th Birthday Friday, January 22, noon to 2 p.m.
The Black American West Museum celebrates Dr. Justina Ford's contribution to the state with a two-hour livestreamed tribute on now what is officially Dr. Justina Ford Day. The program includes interviews with some of her remaining patients, as well as a re-enactment of Ford's only known interview and the first public display of her handwritten letter to the Colorado Medical Society that documents her delivery of 7,000 babies in her fifty-year career. Watch it on Denver Community Media on Comcast Channel 56, 57, 881 HD; find out more about the museum here.
Teen Anti-Hero Short-Film Festival
Friday, January 22, 6 to 8 p.m. MCA Denver challenged high school filmmakers to make and submit micro-films, no longer than five minutes long, for its Teen Anti-Hero Short-Film Festival, emphasizing the voices of marginalized women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA “anti-heroes” through creative storytelling. A committee of teens, staff and community members juried the entries for a virtual screening; the chosen filmmakers, who each earn a $50 stipend for their trouble, will be in attendance to discuss their winning works. The all-ages program is free for all; register in advance at Eventbrite.
Virtual Civic Saturday Saturday, January 23, 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Anythink will host its fourth Civic Saturday, bringing the community together through civic engagement and tradition. The theme this round is "Facing Conflict," which will be explored through readings, poetry, music and discussion. Performers include the Reminders and poet Franklin Cruz, Participating families will be provided materials to encourage young children to engage in the conversation. Find out more here.
Who Is Jane Doe?
Saturday, January 23, 12:30 p.m. If all these months of living on social media or bingeing on back-to-back TV series has left you with a bad case of short attention span, "Who Is Jane Doe?" is made for you. Hosted by local flash-fiction master Nancy Stohlman, who will read along with Jesse Coley, Claire Polders, Sally Reno, Meg Tuite and Francine Witte, the curiously titled event is an online literary celebration focused on micro-fiction: short-short stories that range in length from five to about a thousand words. It’s free to watch; RSVP on Facebook for the Zoom code.
And an anytime bonus:
In Defense of Justice in Denver, a documentary on the protest leaders charged after they demanded justice for Ellijah McClain, premiered last weekend. You can now see it here, along with a post-premiere Q&A panel with the filmmakers and protest leaders.
Do you know of a great free event around town? We'll update this list through the week; send information to [email protected]
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.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.