The 21 Best Things to Do in Denver This Week

Dazzle is moving into the Baur's building downtown.
Dazzle is moving into the Baur's building downtown. Brandon Marshall
Denver, good news: We can finally cheer for the Rockies and actually mean it! The winning team squares up against the Seattle Mariners on Monday. If baseball isn't your thing, Ballet5280 is performing its inaugural piece on Friday, and goth kids can bust out the black for Goth Prom. Keep reading for more of the best events in Denver this week.

Tuesday, May 23

Chef Leah Eveleigh has been touting the virtues of Filipino cuisine in Denver for years, and she’s proven her cooking chops as a contestant on the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. From 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, and Wednesday, May 24, she’s teaming up with chef Chris Jakubiec to unveil the specialties of her home country at two pop-up dinners dubbed It’s Lechon Time! at Carbon Cafe, 1553 Platte Street. Eveleigh and Jakubiec will combine traditional Filipino cooking with modern culinary style, so this multi-course meal — which culminates with lechon (a whole roasted suckling pig) served with adobo fried rice — goes way beyond street food. Tickets are $85 for each night (alcoholic beverages are extra) and can be purchased at As they say in the Philippines, mabuhay!

After more than a decade in the Golden Triangle, Dazzle is moving downtown, where it will host several opening events and fundraisers this week at its new digs at 1512 Curtis Street, in the historic Baur’s building. The lineup kicks off with a Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts Benefit Jazz Jam at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 23 (tickets are $30); that will be followed at 9 p.m. by a Jazz Jam With Todd Reid that benefits the University of Colorado Denver College of Arts and Media (tickets are $20). Reserve your seat and see the rest of the lineup at

Wednesday, May 24

If walking through a well-planned garden can clear your mind, walking through a well-planned garden filled with well-chosen art can clear your mind and fill it with amazing images. Credit Denver Botanic Gardens curator Lisa Eldred with recognizing that Teresa Booth Brown’s orderly mixed-media paintings are an ideal fit for the DBG’s Gates Garden Court Gallery; they’re layered with paint and collaged materials on mix-and-match wood panels that echo the way that the adjacent garden beds connect in neat diptychs and triptychs. Color: Works by Teresa Booth Brown opens with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24 (there’s an artist talk at 6:30 p.m.), and runs through August 6 at the Gardens, 1007 York Street. The show is included with the regular DBG admission of $9 to $12.50; go to or call 720-865-3500 for more information.

Thursday, May 25

The old saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is fine advice when you’re in Denver, too. Join conductor Lawrence Golan, pianist Wei Luo and the Denver Philharmonic on Thursday, May 25, for When in Rome, a jaunty evening of classics inspired by the Eternal City. The performance, which will include Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien,” Felix Mendelssohn’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor” and Ottorino Respighi’s “Fountains of Rome” and “Pines of Rome,” marks the conclusion of the Denver Philharmonic’s 69th season. Doors open at 5:30 for the 7:30 p.m. concert on the Antonia Brico Stage at Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman Street; tickets are $20 at

There’s a chicken fight happening in Denver, but it’s completely legal. This fight is between Colorado chefs to see who can come up with the best fried chicken, chicken wings, chicken sandwiches and other fowl dishes — all to be judged by ticket holders and a panel of poultry experts. Chicken Fight! gets down and dirty on Thursday, May 25, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the River North Festival Grounds, 3715 Chestnut Place, with unlimited food tastings and equally unlimited samples of craft cocktails. General admission is $65, or pay an extra $14 to storm the doors at 6:30 p.m. and score extra fried chicken and wing samples. Or for a full VIP experience, lay down $125 for additional beverages, private bars and exclusive chicken-based cuisine from eight of Denver’s best chefs. Tickets are available at It’s the most cluck for your buck anywhere in town.
click to enlarge Ethelyn Freind's "____________", An Opera. - COURTESY OF
Ethelyn Freind's "____________", An Opera.
Courtesy of
Audience immersion is the going thing in theater these days, but Ethelyn Friend’s “____________,” An Opera goes even further, by stepping inside a fictional librettist’s brain while telling the outward story of a writer who aims to hide her terrible past, with the performers sticking to a script while pianist Gary Grundei makes up the music as they go. “The opera is about the opera she’s trying to write and all the subconscious forces that are working on her to bring something else out,” says director Erica Terpening-Romeo. “And that’s why the opera is improvised — which means that we, the audience, as well as the performers, get to witness an act of creation that’s happening in real time.” Throw the cast, including Friend herself, into a Victorian home in Old Town Lafayette, where they and their audience wander, and you’ve got a different kind of evening out, to say the least. “____________,” An Opera premieres at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 25, and runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through June 10 at the Singing House, 507 West Baseline Road in Lafayette. Tickets are $15 to $25, and seating is extremely limited; reservations are required in advance at

Silent horror movies tend to fall flat with today’s audiences. That’s because the only soundtracks provided are whatever overwrought classical scores the distributors slap onto the films. The Invincible Czars, an Austin-based music ensemble, is out to change that. The group resurrects silent relics from the dustbin of history and performs live alongside them, mixing it up with electric and acoustic instruments, sound effects and vocals that make old horror movies actually horrifying. The act will perform alongside Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, one of the oldest full-length horror films, at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 25. Tickets are $15 at

The aftermath of the Great Depression wasn’t all bad: In Colorado, for example, the dismal economy reinvigorated gold panning. V. Larry Frank Jr.’s new book, Colorado’s Great Depression Gold Rush: The Oliver Twist Tunnel, tells the story of the Elders, a prominent family in Colorado who invested their savings into reopening the Oliver Twist Tunnel, atop Mosquito Pass. The book follows the aftermath of the investment and the challenges the family faced during President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum will host a presentation on the book and the Elder family at 2 and again at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, at the museum, 120 West Ninth Street in Leadville. Admission is free, but reservations are required; make yours and get more information at 719-486-1229.
click to enlarge Derrick Velasquez's Obstructed View. - COURTESY OF DERRICK VELASQUEZ
Derrick Velasquez's Obstructed View.
Courtesy of Derrick Velasquez
Though MCA Denver’s witty, people-friendly programming is often delivered with a sprinkle of silliness, its ten-year-old Feminism & Co.: Art, Sex, Politics series takes itself seriously, but in uncompromisingly insightful, straightforward and sometimes playful ways — no apologies needed. Co-directors Elissa Auther and Gillian Silverman will reflect on the changing face of feminism over the past decade at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, to kick off MCA’s tenth-anniversary Feminism & Co. Weekend and a couple of summer shows. The discussion will conclude with a dance performance titled XX: Where’s the Power? An opening reception for new exhibits by Jenny Morgan and Derrick Velasquez follows on Friday (see May 26) before everything wraps up and parties down with a two-part Fem & Co. Festival on Saturday, May 27. All events are at the MCA, 1485 Delgany Street; visit for information, admission prices and tickets.

Keep reading for the best events in Denver this week.

click to enlarge Ballet5280 aims to be an inclusive school that encourages its dancers instead of putting them down. - ROBIN CAIN PHOTOGRAPHY
Ballet5280 aims to be an inclusive school that encourages its dancers instead of putting them down.
Robin Cain Photography
Friday, May 26

Ballet dancers are too often treated like dirt, says dancer Briana Selstad Bosch. Artistic directors chide them for being fat (sometimes when they’re already struggling with eating disorders), call them lousy dancers, and squelch their individuality and creativity in myriad ways. In response to such conditions in the conventional ballet world, Bosch launched a new company, Ballet5280. As the troupe’s artistic director, she has one goal: “to shatter the usual demoralizing company experience for dancers.” The group’s inaugural performance will be an interpretation of Vivaldi’s iconic Four Seasons and will take place over two nights starting Friday, May 26, at Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Park Road in Broomfield. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. each night, and tickets are $15. For more information, go to

Get ready for a wild ride, Denver. Untitled: True Grit, the Denver Art Museum’s next First Friday bash, marks the start of The Western: An Epic in Art & Film, an exhibit that promises to be this summer’s blockbuster. Or is that bronc-buster? Although you’ll need an extra ticket to get into The Western itself, yeehaw activities will be spilling out all over the place, with Steve Weil of Rockmount Ranch Wear talking about Western clothes and culture, Central City Opera offering excerpts from Carmen, DAM Native American artist-in-residence alums talking about their work, and champion roper Craig Ingram sharing his tricks. See how the West was fun from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 26, at 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; a general-admission ticket is $10 for Colorado residents, $13 for non-residents, and free for members. Find out more at

This summer, MCA Denver opens its galleries to solo shows from a couple of familiar artists with Denver ties, both of whom have a global presence. The first, painter Jenny Morgan, who’s gone on to find success in New York City since her Denver days as a Plus Gallery artist, gets a first-floor retrospective, SKINDEEP, which shows the evolution of her startling portraiture, including a room of color-washed, full-frontal self-portraits. Denver-based Derrick Velasquez will present Obstructed View, an exhibit that’s part gilded architectural installation and part photography, all with intermingling themes about boundaries both physical and existential, and the push-pull of history and new development. The shows open with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 26, and run through August 27 at the MCA, 1485 Delgany Street. Admission is free for members (RSVP required) and $5 for all others; all proceeds benefit the Women’s Bean Project and the Center. Learn more at
Courtesy Lucha Libre & Laughs
We’re running out of accolades to shower upon Lucha Libre & Laughs, and frankly, we’re beginning to resent its unrelenting delightfulness. However, it’s still worth noting that the Westword-lauded showcase is celebrating its fourth anniversary on Friday, May 26, with a lineup that will make you tap out for mercy. In the ring, fans can expect to see bouts with such favorites as Martin Casaus, Lonnie Valdez and Mike Sydal, as well as a special return appearance by Japanese wrestling legend Kikutaro and “enough flown-in wrestling stars to ruin my life if everything goes wrong,” producer/ bumbling referee Nick Gossert assures us. There’ll be brawn aplenty on the mic, as well, with emcee Bobby Valentino crooning and mooning between performances by heavy hitters Christie Buchele and Aaron Urist, who’ll whet the crowd’s appetite for headliner John “Hippieman” Novosad. Doors open at 7 p.m., showtime is at 8 p.m. at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. Tickets are $10 at

Saturday, May 27

Celebrate the mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and obsessions of Denver’s funniest standup comedians at Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game. Inspired by Wait, What?, a boozy brouhaha created by New Orleans comics Geoffrey Gauchet and Isaac Kozell, Designated Drunkard prompts the audience and hosts alike to take a drink each time a comic returns to a familiar tic or premise. The second edition opens with a vengeance at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, with a rogue’s gallery of Denver comedy favorites, including Mina Thorkel, Nolawee Mengist, Cody Spyker, Steve Vanderploeg and Zach Reinert. Co-hosted by Caitie Hannan and Westword’s own Byron Graham, Designated Drunkard is a fine addition to the roster of locally produced standup shows at El Charrito’s Comedy RoomRoom, 2100 Larimer Street; find out more on

Cider rules this week with cider tastings all over town, thanks to the Rocky Mountain Cider Association. But the culmination of Cider Week Colorado is the Pressed Conference, an outdoor craft-cider festival from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Highlands Masonic Center, 3550 Federal Boulevard, on Saturday, May 27. For $45 each, fans of fermented apple juice will get unlimited tastings from at least fifteen cider makers from across the Mountain West, including Denver’s own Colorado Cider Company, Stem Ciders and C Squared Ciders. Get your tickets at, and then check out for other juicy events this week. In only its second year, the Pressed Conference is already one of Denver’s core festivals.

Feral Factory, one of Denver’s newest arts projects, is in the midst of its fourth exhibition, Urban Collage, which is a look at how cities change and function. This month, the group is showcasing the work of Denver artist Stephanie Hartshorn, who looks at the histories of cities, their relationship to rural landscapes around them, and what urban areas may become in the future. The show opens at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, at the Crash, 2555 Walnut Street, and includes a multimedia performance from the Grapefruit Lab. For more information, go to

Memorial Day weekend is a time to honor and celebrate those who gave their lives in the service of their country. Old South Gaylord is doing just that with its three-day Memorial Weekend Festival starting on Saturday, May 27. The block party will take place on the 1000 block of South Gaylord Street (between Tennessee and Mississippi avenues), with family-friendly entertainment, lots of food and drinks, rides and local vendors. The event kicks off on Saturday evening with live music from 4 to 10 p.m. and then continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more at
click to enlarge My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult will get dark at Goth Prom. - MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT'S FACEBOOK PAGE
My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult will get dark at Goth Prom.
My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult's Facebook page
Prom season isn’t for everyone, or at least it wasn’t until the Goth Prom debuted last year, with an open invitation to come over to the dark side dressed entirely in black. Black nails? Check. Black lipstick? Check. Industrial beats to dance and crawl to? Double-check: This year’s alternative prom will be headlined by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, along with some of the city’s best goth DJs, fire artists, aerialists and other practitioners of club-worthy dark arts. Drag your chains into the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, May 27, and don’t forget to pony up for the after-party, rocking into the wee hours at Alchemy Arts, 3264 Larimer Street, Suite D. Goth Prom tickets range from $25 to $75, with two VIP levels, and the after-party is an additional $15, available online at

In the buying mood? The Denver Arts Festival will return for two days starting Saturday, May 27, offering attendees the opportunity to buy artwork and listen to live music from Dotsero and Wendy Woo, all while enjoying the (we hope) nice weather. The festival has even added a “make and take” painting station for children, who can paint canvas tiles to take home as souvenirs. The arty party runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Conservatory Green, 8304 East 49th Place in Stapleton. For more information, visit

Saturday, May 28

Revel in the mortal foolishness of the Wit’s Shakesbeer, a beery company of players presenting original adaptations of William Shakespeare’s classic plays. A Midsummer Night’s Dram turns one of the Bard’s goofiest plays into a fleet and funny hour-long show. And in grand Elizabethan fashion, the Shakesbeer players will be quaffing brews right alongside the groundlings in the audience throughout the performance. Premiering at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, and repeating the next two Sundays at Ratio Beerworks (yes, it’s open), 2920 Larimer Street, Shakesbeer’s A Midsummer Night’s Dram will continue to pop up at different venues across town throughout the summer. While “the course of true love may never run smooth,” the same can’t be said of Ratio’s fine craft beers. Admission is free; find out more on the Midsummer Night’s Dram Facebook page or at

Danielle Lirette
Monday, May 29

Although it’s relatively early in the season, the Colorado Rockies have been putting their best feet forward in 2017, leading the National League with 24 wins and 15 losses. They’ll be defending their record against American League rivals the Seattle Mariners at 1:10 p.m. on Monday, May 29. This Memorial Day opener is the first in a series of four games, including an additional match the following day. No matter how the game shakes out, no one will regret a day spent at the ballpark. Both games take place at Coors Field, 2001 Blake Street; tickets range from $9 to $412 at
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