Get your costume ready: The Colorado Anime Festival will return for a third year this week! If cartoons aren't your thing, don't miss the Hug Huddle... and if hugs aren't your thing, well, you probably need one.
For all your dark-hearted folk who still want to have a good time this week, don't worry: There's plenty in this edition of 21 best to fill your social calendar.
Tuesday, March 20
The Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design’s Visiting Artist, Scholar, and Designer program wraps up a year of artist lectures on the theme of “Collapsing Time” with an evening presentation by artist/animator Lilli Carré, a giant in the world of experimental animation who also excels in more traditional avenues as a comic artist and magazine illustrator. Carré’s lecture, “Ghost in a Loop,” reveals her relationship with physical and virtual life as an animator and the integrated nature of her interdisciplinary practices. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, for the lecture at 6:30 p.m. at RMCAD’s Mary Harris Auditorium, 1600 Pierce Street in Lakewood; admission is free, but an RSVP is recommended in advance at rmcad.edu/vasdp/rsvp.
Wednesday, March 21
Sound off on the horrors of human trafficking at Hope Lives, a program that combines music, spoken word, dance and visual art. “The concert will be set in three parts — truths, facts and hope — with music performances and revelations about the difficult subject matter,” explains Sharon Park, music curator at the Dairy Arts Center, which is hosting the event at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21. “The music selections are related to the topic or about life taking an unexpected turn; it’s going to be really powerful to hear these works in this context, and will definitely make a deep impact on our audience, helping us bring the awareness through these artistic expressions.” At the Dairy, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder, you can also catch the art show Through Their Eyes? — paintings by Kema Miriam Berry focusing on slavery and oppression — which runs through April 15. Hope Lives tickets are $10 to $24; buy them and find more information at tickets.thedairy.org.
The jokes will fly as fast as the hadoukens as Jay Gillespie, Roger Norquist and Jeremy Pysher return to Mutiny Information Cafe for another Video Games livestream. Presented by Sexpot Comedy, March's tournament pits pixel against pixel in Capcom's outlandish Street Fighter II, among the first arcade-style crawlers to be adapted for console play. In addition to glory on the digital battlefield, players are also eligible to win fabulous prizes, including a $25 Mutiny gift card. Select your champion and vie for the title starting at 7 p.m.; each contestant pays a $5 buy-in. Find more details on Video Games' Facebook events page. Get ready...fight!
Thursday, March 22
Culinary Quick Start is a free four-week training program for potential service-industry employees. Offered at the Emily Griffith Technical College and funded primarily through a State of Colorado Workforce (WORK Act) Grant, the program still needs additional funding to keep going...and so local restaurateurs are helping out. On Thursday, March 22, participating Denver restaurants will donate 10 percent of their sales to the organization as part of Culinary Quick Start Giveback Day. Go to emilygriffith.edu/culinary-quick-start for a list of participating eateries, which include Illegal Pete’s, Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs, Vesta, Osteria Marco, Vesper Lounge, Green Russell, Russell’s Smokehouse, French 75 and Bones.
If you've eaten at the awarding-winning SAME Cafe on East Colfax Avenue, you know it's not the same old story: This is an eatery devoted to treating people with real dignity. Because of SAME's mission to provide healthy food to people of all income levels, the menu doesn't include prices; customers pay what they can or swap volunteer hours in exchange for a meal. Help feed the concept at the So All May Eat Gala from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at Space Gallery, 400 Santa Fe Drive. The bash includes small plates and beverages from Que Bueno Suerte, City, O' City, The Corner Beet, Renegade Brewing Co., Woody Creek Distillers and more, and while you don't get to name your price, the night is still a bargain at $60. Get details on the SAME Cafe Facebook page and snag your tickets at eventbrite.com.
Executive opportunities for minorities in the cannabis industry are few and far between, so the Minority Cannabis Business Association has partnered with the University of Denver Daniels College of Business and Hoban Law Group of Colorado to host the MCBA Cannabis Opportunity Summit at the Daniels College of Business, 2101 South University Boulevard. Running from Thursday, March 22, through Saturday, March 24, the summit will include a wide range of speakers and work groups, with a keynote session by former Denver Bronco and Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis. Find the complete schedule and get tickets, $119, or $99 for MCBA members, at minoritycannabis.org.
Just a couple of months ago, someone defaced the Denver Art Museum’s iconic, now-being-rehabbed Ponti Building with graffiti, a move that raised the hackles of art and architecture lovers throughout the city. This Is Modern Art, a play by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval, follows a similar scenario, but in this case, it’s the Art Institute of Chicago that’s tagged, setting off an examination of social-justice issues and the nature of art as a form of self-expression. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Off-Center wing premieres a new staging of the play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22, directed by Goodwin himself, who is preparing to leave his teaching post at Colorado College to become the artistic director of Stage One Family Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky. This Is Modern Art runs through April 15 at the Jones Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Tickets start at $25 (or $15 with a valid student ID); reserve seats and find more information at denvercenter.org.
Are nerds funny? Learn the definitive answer to that question when the Denver Museum of Nature & Science hosts Peer Revue: Stand-Up Comedy for Science and local scientists take their chances on stage at the geekiest open mic ever. Although Mother Nature often has the last laugh, we’re rooting for science this round. Peer Revue runs from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at the DMNS, 2001 Colorado Boulevard. Tickets to the eighteen-and-over event, which includes a cash bar — because, you know, comedy — are $12 to $15 at dmns.org.
Friday, March 23
Back in 2016, a group of friends and con colleagues saw potential in a spring convention that served cosplaying constituents; now the Colorado Anime Festival is back for a third round. Along with the usual video screenings, anime music videos, cosplay competitions, panel discussions, photo shoots and Artist Alley and Vendors' Hall, this year’s con is bringing in well-known voice actors. Also new in 2018 is a series of all-ages sessions with the Albuquerque-based Kirei Cosplay Cafe, a Japanese “maid cafe” with changing themes. COAF starts at 2 p.m. Friday, March 23, and runs through 6 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at the Denver Renaissance Stapleton Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street. Ticket options include daily, full-weekend and VIP passes; for more information and to order online, go to coanimefest.com.
Colorado loves watching homegrown talents succeed in the wider world, particularly when they're as vociferously pro-Denver as comedian, Mile High ambassador and former Westword scribe Adam Cayton-Holland. While Those Who Can't fans eagerly await the show's third season on TruTV, Cayton-Holland is on the road to preview his material on the Comedy Central Records release Adam Cayton-Holland Performs His Signature Bits, which hits the proverbial shelves on Friday, March 23. Celebrate this career milestone on the same day in the most characteristically Denver way possible: at an album-release party at Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street, with a standup show highlighting such local luminaries as Ian Douglas Terry, Kyle Pogue, Caitie Hannan, Christie Buchele, Greg Baumhauer and, of course, ACH in the headlining spot. The free festivities begin at 8 p.m.; find more information on Ratio Comedy's Facebook events page.
Cosi Fan Tutte, which roughly translates from Italian to "Women Are Like That," remains one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's most fondly remembered and frequently performed comedies. The romantic farce is full of stirring songs and dramatic switcheroos, adeptly satirizing how love makes fools of us all. Under the guidance of stage director Ron Ben-Joseph and musical director Sara Parkinson, the Boulder Opera Company's talented cast is breathing new life into a work that first premiered in 1790. Catch the show at Stewart Auditorium, 400 Quail Road in Longmont, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 23, or at a 3 p.m. matinee performance on Sunday, March 25, at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. For more information or to buy tickets, $25 to $35, go to boulderoperacompany.com.
Boulder Arts Week showcases local arts organizations and artists doing what they do all year long, much as Denver’s version does every November — but Boulder is small enough to be able to host a free preview of the rush of art shows, performances and cultural events that will start officially on March 30. Have a brew and get a clue to what's ahead at the Boulder Arts Week Warm-Up: Party With a Purpose on Friday, March 23, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Twisted Pine Brewing Company, 3201 Walnut Street in Boulder. The preview includes performances by Orbiting Olympia, Betsy Tobin’s Now or Never Theatre and the Blue Moon Dance Company, as well as a hand-printed card demo by Black Dog Press. A portion of all drink proceeds will benefit Boulder Arts Week; learn more at boulderartsweek.org.
Saturday, March 24
Give winter a proper sendoff when the Left Hand Brewing Foundation brings Hops + Handrails Beer Fest & Rail Jam back to Longmont's Roosevelt Park, 700 Longs Peak Avenue, for a sixth round. The fun begins at noon Saturday, March 24, with a forty-foot-high snowboard ramp and rail-jam competition; watch the action while sipping unlimited samples from more than 55 breweries, then rock out to a concert by Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. On Sunday, March 25, the focus will be on family activities — and beer, of course — from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $125 for the complete experience; get them at lhbfoundation.org/hops-handrails.
Master storyteller Luis Alberto Urrea often writes about life in the borderlands in books ranging from The Devil’s Highway, his fact-based story about a border crossing by 26 desperate men in the desert between Mexico and Arizona, to The Hummingbird’s Daughter and its sequel Queen of America, a two-part fictionalization of his own great-aunt Teresa’s journey from a dirt-packed village in Mexico to New York City. His latest novel, The House of Broken Angels, travels along the border, too, homing in on a Mexican-American family gathering at a dying patriarch's home in San Diego to explore the clan’s cultural transition from life in Mexico to American ways. Urrea will discuss and sign The House of Broken Angels at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Admission is free, and copies of the book will be available for $27; get more info at tatteredcover.com.
While gallery exhibits abound during Denver Month of Printmaking 2018, the Mo’Print Studio Tour on Saturday, March 24, is a chance to meet, watch and buy from artists at work in their own studios and spaces. A complete listing of participating locations with an interactive map on the Mo’Print home page lets you plan your itinerary from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After that, head to Ink Lounge, a one-stop working screen-printing center at 29 South Fox Street, where from 5 to 8 p.m. the Ink Mixer will allow printmakers from all over the area to kick back with the public over adult beverages and snacks. Ink Lounge will unveil its own Mo’Print show, Embrace the Charm, a celebration of screen-printing, during the mixer. It’s all free; learn more at moprint.org.
Artists, friends, family and neighbors will come together on Saturday, March 24, for the Gathering for the Greater Good hosted by the All Sacred Foundation at Cluster Event Studios, 3881 Steele Street. From noon until 6 or 7 p.m., there will be tattooing along with live painting, photography, tarot-card readings, vendors (including a Ritualcravt pop-up shop) and a raffle spotlighting those vendors. Then the party gets really arty with live music by GriZ at 8 p.m.; get tickets for the show at mynameisgriz.com. Admission to the daytime event is free; proceeds from activities and services benefit a variety of worthy organizations, including Art From Ashes and Rainbow Bridge. Find out more about the Gathering at allsacred.com/foundation.
Sunday, March 25
It's fitting that the day after the March for Our Lives, one of the leading activists of the ’60s will call a new generation to action. Rennie Davis, a founder of Students for a Democratic Society, co-organizer of the 1968 demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention and a member of the legendary Chicago Seven, today runs the Foundation for a New Humanity from his home in Longmont. He also has a new memoir, The New Humanity: A Movement to Change the World, which he'll talk about at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 25, at Shining Lotus Metaphysical Bookstore, 2553 South Colorado Boulevard. Admission is free; find out more at shininglotus.com.
Fashion illustrator Jim Howard made his name rendering sleek advertising campaigns for Neiman Marcus in the ’50s, then continued to follow changing styles and high couture with pen and ink through the ’80s as a freelancer. The Denver Art Museum will celebrate Howard’s trendy legacy with a new exhibit, Drawn to Glamour: Fashion Illustrations by Jim Howard, which captures his career with more than 100 works on paper. To tie its own collection into the show, the museum will bring out a selection of illustrated treasures from the archives. Drawn to Glamour opens on Sunday, March 25, and runs through July 22 on the second level of the DAM’s Hamilton Building, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. The exhibit is included in the museum admission price of $8 to $13 (those eighteen and under get in free); visit denverartmuseum.org for details.
The Wit theater troupe returns with another round of Shakesbeer, presenting a play absolutely, 100 percent written by Shakespeare (maybe) in a bar, with a cast of actors who drink both on and off stage. This time, the show is the oft-disregarded tale of Arden of Faversham and, as the producer notes, "It takes a village to kill a husband." The Wit's Shakesbeer & Woods Boss Brewing will present this frothy comedy in a free performance at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Grandma's House, 1710 South Broadway; it repeats there at 7 p.m. March 29, then moves on to Woods Boss Brewing for free shows in April. Find out more at shakes.beer.
Fia NyXX brings soul, emotional depth and a sense of history to dance-pop music with her Motown-inspired yet utterly unique sound. After touring internationally with girl group SHE, NyXX is branching out on her own with her debut full-length, Everything Girl, which was recorded at the storied FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Celebrate the album's arrival when NyXX comes to Denver for the Everything Girl Launch Party, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at the Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street. Tickets are $20 to $30 at clocktowercabaret.com.
Monday, March 26
If civic leaders haven’t spoiled human contact for you with all their headline-making unwanted advances and you still want a hug, British artist Stuart Semple and the Denver Theatre District are collaborating on a bi-national Hug Huddle, which will give people in Denver and London the opportunity to hug a stranger — consensually. "I'm really excited for the Hug Huddle, and can't wait for friends in London and Denver to come together and share what I hope will be a happy and uplifting moment,” says Semple. The Mile High portion of this free event will take place from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, March 26, in the Galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. For more information, visit facebook.com/artscomplex.
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