February may be almost over, but the month still has plenty of entertainment opportunities. You can catch the new Rauschenberg show at the Museum of Outdoor Art, or Shiki Dreams, an extension of the immersive experience that just left the MOA. You can celebrate Ziggie Stardust, give a hand to some puppets, or wander through RiNo, catching the next installment of Side Stories. Keep reading for the 21 best events in and around town this week.
Monday, February 24
Being a mom can be downright hilarious, and that's what Moms on the Mike: Broadsided Comedy, an open mic for mothers with side-splitting stories to tell, is banking on. Billed as a "mom-centered space where we can share and laugh and take risks, or not share and just watch and support," Moms on the Mic will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, February 24, at Hope Tank, 64 Broadway. Tickets, $10, benefit both Hope Tank and Weecycle, and if you bring a donation of new diapers, you'll get a 10 percent discount on a Hope Tank purchase. Learn more and buy tickets at Eventbrite.
Tuesday, February 25
Now that Prismajic's long-running immersive hit Natura Obscura has left the Museum of Outdoor Arts to make way for a Robert Rauschenberg blockbuster, it's time for something new: Shiki Dreams, an independent, multi-sensory installation that picks up where Natura Obscura left off. Focusing on the dream of the spiritual guide Shiki, leader of the forest sprites featured in Natura Obscura, the new experience can be found at 2219 East 21st Avenue near City Park beginning on Tuesday, February 25, and running daily except Mondays through March 31. Timed tickets are $14 in advance; reserve a spot and learn more at prismajic.com.
Wednesday, February 26
Traces of Home, an exhibit by archaeologist and photographer Thomas Carr, is now up at the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology, and on Wednesday, February 26, Carr will discuss his work documenting homelessness along the Front Range during the lecture "Looking at Homelessness: Through the Lens of Archaeology." A reception (with refreshments) at 6:30 p.m. will precede the free talk at 7 p.m. in Sturm Hall 286, 2000 East Asbury Avenue. (The exhibit, which runs through March 27, is in room 102 of the same building; while the gallery is usually open only until 4 p.m., hours will be extended on February 26.) For more information, go to du.edu.duma.
Thursday, February 27
“There had always been an uneasy truce between black and white folks in the South," says actor and scholar Becky Stone. "Emancipation granted citizenship to black Americans, but white Americans ended all progress by returning to slave-master protocol that was enforced by Jim Crow law. These laws went beyond segregation. They were designed to make black people feel inferior and whites superior. By 1955, black Southerners had been oppressed as much as they could allow. They needed the right person to say ‘No more.’ That person was Rosa Parks.” Stone will offer a living-history portrayal of Rosa Parks at a series of free performances that begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, February 27, at Koelbel Library, 5955 South Holly Street in Centennial, and run through March 3. For the complete list, go to coloradohumanities.org/programs/black-history-live.
Life imitates fiction and vice versa in Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, a soapy opera that has it all: love, comedy, drama, adultery and violence, filtered through the eyes of a clown who must go through life miserable, with a big smile pasted on his face. In 2020, Opera Colorado is expanding its season from two to three productions, with a three-performance run of this circus-themed spectacle starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 27, then continuing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 29, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Purchase tickets, starting at $35, at my.operacolorado.org.
When David Bowie created his Ziggy Stardust persona, the intergalactic rocker was the first of his kind. Today, the orange-mulleted character remains an unforgettable icon. In celebration of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and other parts of Bowie's musical legacy, Fiske Planetarium is hosting Laser Bowie at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, February 27. This 360-degree laser light show will present stunning visuals alongside tracks such as "Starman," "Space Oddity," "Life on Mars," "Let's Dance," "Under Pressure," "Modern Love" and other fan favorites. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $7 for children, seniors and veterans. Fiske is at 2414 Regent Drive on the University of Colorado Boulder campus; learn more at colorado.edu/fiske.
Friday, February 28
Eight Colorado artists are taking over outdoor surfaces in RiNo for another year of Side Stories, a walking exhibition of projection art paired with a trendy restaurant crawl. Large-format animated art and experimental film footage will show up on building walls and industrial towers from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly beginning Friday, February 28, and continuing through Friday, March 6. The shows are free to see, and participating eateries, breweries and distilleries will offer food and drink deals along the way, on both sides of the railroad tracks in the area between 33rd and 38th streets and Walnut Street and Brighton Boulevard. Find a map and a list of participating businesses at sidestoriescolorado.com.
Talk is cheap, but the subject will be invaluable when the Imagine 2020 Speaker Series hosts an evening of film clips and a discussion on "The Color of Conversation: A Chronicle of Racism in America" with director Jeffery Robinson, a social-justice superstar whose work with the ACLU includes leading the Trone Center for Justice and Equality. He'll trace the systemic roots of racism in the United States in an essential, audience-humbling presentation that runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, February 28, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Admission is free, but a reservation is requested at eventbrite.com; learn more about Robinson’s project at thewhoweareproject.org.
A regional band of puppeteers will explore every aspect of their often-ridiculed art form at the 2020 Spring Rocky Mountain Puppet Slam, a surprisingly sophisticated showcase of curated short-form puppet and object theater bits, from sweet hand-puppet silliness to artful shadow-puppet scenes, at 7 p.m. Friday, February 28. Backed by Denver Arts & Venues’ Next Stage NOW, the once-lowly event has found a lofty home: the Chambers Grant Salon at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Admission is free, but donations are requested at the door to cover costs and benefit the slam and the Denver Actors Fund; learn more and reserve a seat at the event's Facebook page.
A talented group of staffers and habitués of the Mercury Cafe will bring back the primal Ballet of Masculine and Feminine Divinities, an interwoven night of dance, narrative and original music performed by a live ensemble and inspired by the modern threat of environmental breakdown in the natural world. The piece, which premiered last November, returns for one night only, at 8 p.m. Friday, February 28, at the Merc, 2199 California Street; admission is $20 at the door. Find details at mercurycafe.com.
The Dairy Center’s latest art exhibit, Foreign Born, explores the perspectives of female immigrants from Asia, South America and Europe. The show, part of the Mo’Print month of printmaking, showcases works inspired by various artists’ paths to U.S. citizenship, with a mix of paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs and monoprints by Danqi Cai, Taiko Chandler, Eriko Tsogo, Erin Hyunhee Kang and Roberta Restaino; there are also prints from Shark’s Ink by Dianna Frid, Hung Liu and Ana Maria Hernando. Hobnob with the artists at an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, February 28, at the Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder, where Foreign Born runs through April 5. Learn more at thedairy.org.
Bloodsuckers, delight! This year’s Denver Vampire Ball — Moulin Rouge — a Bohemian Experience is a nod to 1890s cabaret culture, so sharp-toothed party-goers must don Victorian attire, showgirl outfits, steampunk wear and more (no regular ol' street clothes admitted). The festivities include three events: a Vampire Salon at 6 p.m. Friday, February 28; a Vampire Castle Banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday, February 29; and the Vampire Ball at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 1. It all goes down at the Church, 1160 Lincoln Street; tickets (18+) for the various events range from $60 to $300 at eventbrite.com.
Best of Denver winner Collective Misnomer has built its reputation programming one-off experimental media screenings with strong themes. But over the years, curator Adán De La Garza has found that some excellent films and videos don’t fit neatly into any particular theme...even though they're definitely worth showing. At Making Taste 2, Collective Misnomer will screen a mishmash of standout works that haven’t quite fit into any of the group’s programming. The screening takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 28, at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue. Tickets are $10 at the door (or pay what you can); for more information, go to the Collective Misnomer Facebook page.
Denver's independent cinema will show some serious cattitude at CatVideoFest 2020, a three-day feline frenzy of the cutest, craftiest cats around, as captured in a compilation reel of home videos, animations, music videos and, of course, clips found on the Internet. Described by organizers as "a joyous communal experience," the fest opens with a showing at 9:30 p.m. Friday, February 28, and continues with additional screenings on Saturday, February 29, and Sunday, March 1, at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; tickets are $7 to $12, and part of the proceeds go to the Feline Fix. Learn more at denverfilm.org.
Gear up for three days of action, adventure and triumph at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, a cinematic world tour stopping in Denver for a three-night run. From a look at the endangered art of ice-climbing in Kentucky to a tale of a reindeer herder living in the largest forest on Earth, the festival's offerings will inspire your inner explorer. Passes are $22.50 per day, and all proceeds from the Denver leg of the tour will benefit the Colorado Mountain Club, an organization dedicated to adventure, recreation, conservation and education. Screenings start at 7 p.m. Friday, February 28, and continue at the same time on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1, at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place; get the full schedule and tickets (fair warning: They sell out fast) at banffcentre.ca.
Saturday, February 29
At the Audi Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race, athletes put their endurance to the test as teams race across all four Aspen Snowmass mountains, covering a whopping 24 miles and more than 10,000 vertical feet. (Participants also have the option to race a shorter course, the Power of Two, beginning at the base of Aspen Highlands and finishing at the Gondola Plaza in Aspen.) Think you have what it takes? The race begins at 6 a.m. on Saturday, February 29, at Snowmass Base Village in Snowmass. To find out more and register with your team, $205 to $290, go to my.raceresult.com/142424.
Several local organizations, the City of Denver and the marijuana industry will tackle the topic of cannabis social equity on Saturday, February 29, during the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative's free record-clearing and employment resource event, A Better Choice & 2nd Chance. Colorado lawmakers and expungement advocates will talk about local and state record-clearing efforts for past cannabis offenders, after which there will be a record-sealing clinic with the city's Turn Over a New Leaf program. Denver business officials and cannabis industry representatives will participate in roundtable chats and Q&As about employment opportunities in legal pot, as well. The talks start at 9 a.m. and run through 1 p.m. at Zion Senior Citizen Center, 5151 East 33rd Avenue; the record-sealing clinic begins at 10 a.m. Find out more at denvergov.org.
If you’ve been to a hip-hop concert since mid-November, there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself shaking it to Tyga’s “Ayy Macarena.” The rapper’s hip-hop remix of the 1993 song is as irresistible as it is foul-mouthed. So when Tyga headlines the KS107.5 Snow Show along with rapper Doja Cat and Denver’s own rising star Kayla Rae, expect to move — especially when Doja Cat and Tyga join forces on “Juicy.” The concert will light up the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson Street, starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, February 29. Details and tickets are available at livenation.com.
The rare date of February 29 has spawned dozens of weird traditions, superstitions and celebrations involving everything from turnabout marriage proposals to extreme bad luck for sheep farmers, but at the Art Cartopia Museum, 2702 Freedom Road in Trinidad, it’s the fortuitous date of the Trash N' Fashion Show, an audience-participation adjunct to the town’s huge ArtoCade art-car parade and festival every September. The eighteen-and-over runway contest invites the public to arrive dressed in original costumes created from recycled materials and be part of the show, or to simply spectate. This is an anything-goes party inspired by the serendipity of Leap Year. Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday, February 29, for the 8 p.m. fashion show; participants must be runway-ready by 7:30 p.m. General admission is $5 at the door or in advance at artcartopia.com.
Sunday, March 1
The dead of winter may not be the best time for running, but that’s not stopping the RunDenver Race Series from hosting That Dam Run — a half-marathon, 10K, 5K and kids' race at the Cherry Creek Dam. Participants will receive Dam Run shirts, free photos with Justin Beaver (yes, you read that right…), and finisher medals for all. All races take place at the Cherry Creek Dam, East Cherry Creek Dam Road in Greenwood Village, starting at 8 a.m. Sunday, March 1. Registration ranges from $30 to $65 (the kids' fun run is free); sign up at rundenverseries.com.
Denver’s music scene has been mourning the recent passing of Billy Bunting, frontman of Under a Blood Red Sky, the U2 cover band that once re-created the 1983 Red Rocks concert that put the Irish rockers on the map. From 1 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, local musicians will team up for One Love — a Musical Tribute to Billy Bunting to celebrate Bunting's life and raise funds for his favorite charity, Love Hope Strength, a music-centered cancer organization, and the Billy Memorial Fund. It’s an all-ages show with no cover, but donations will be accepted at the door at Mile High Station, 2027 West Colfax Avenue. For more information, go to the event's Facebook page.
To be considered for our list of the 21 Best Events in Denver, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.