The 21 Best Events in Denver, January 30-February 5

Chiho Aoshima’s work comes to life at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

If you’re ready to take your homemade movies (not that kind, perv) to new heights, consider Open Screen Night’s 16-Bit Challenge. Create a short film around the theme (a post-apocalyptic world in which tribes “compete in a virtual wasteland of pixels and sprites” — hence the 16-bit reference) and submit it digitally up to a week before the Tuesday, January 30, Open Screen Night show at the Bug Theatre via submissions@openscreennight or you can bring a Blu-Ray or DVD to the event. The winner gets a $50 Amazon gift card from the guys at Reel Nerds Podcast. The Bug is at 3654 Navajo Street; find more information at openscreennight.com or the event’s Facebook page. See you at the movies!

Wednesday, January 31

PlatteForum is launching a series of programs dubbed Temple Tattle — named in part after the Temple, which houses the arts group and many other stalwart Denver arts organizations and artists. The series will pair creatives and “rabble-rousing change agents of our great city” to inform and inspire audiences through art. The first event, Sounds of Revolution, will be an evening with painter and Temple resident artist Thomas Evans, better known as Detour, and poet Panama Soweto. Evans plans to turn fruit and paintings into musical instruments with which he will perform, while Soweto will deliver spoken-word poems about everything from bullying and being a single parent to sexual abuse and discrimination. The free event takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31, at PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street. For more information on the series, go to platteforum.org.

Sure, you could sit at home with a bottle of tequila and pretend you’re at the beach, but that would be pretty boring — and you’d have to make do with that stale box of Old El Paso taco shells in your pantry if you wanted some food. Instead, let La Sandia do the cooking and pouring. On Wednesday, January 31, the Stapleton outpost, at 8340 Northfield Boulevard, will host Casamigos tequila for a three-course pairing dinner at 7 p.m. for just $30 per person (not including tax and tip). Seating is limited, so register on eventbrite.com or call 303-373-9100 for reservations and details. Beats hanging out on the couch in flip-flops any day!

When you said you would kill for a plate of pasta, let’s hope nobody was listening. But if murder and meatballs are your thing, Maggiano’s Little Italy has an evening of dastardly deeds in store. On Wednesday, January 31, Maggiano’s in the Denver Tech Center, 7401 South Clinton Street in Englewood, presents a night of dining and an interactive murder mystery — where you could be the prime suspect. Tickets, available at eventbrite.com, are $65 each, and the fun runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Will it be just what you’re looking for? One cannoli hope.

Dana Crawford at Larimer Square in 1966, after she saved the historic block.

Thursday, February 1

How do arts organizations get the word out when they host events? And when they do, are they reaching every audience in every part of the city? How can they do that better? These questions and more will be addressed at Imagine 2020’s Data Snacks: Satisfy Your Hunger for Fresh Insights, a daylong workshop hosted by Denver Arts & Venues in conjunction with the Imagine 2020 Denver Cultural Plan, using survey data provided by marketing research firm Corona Insights. Open to arts administrators and citizens alike, the structured event, fueled by solution-making, runs from 8 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 1, at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Admission is free; find more information and RSVP at eventbrite.com.

Long before the #MeToo movement, women were pioneers in all sorts of fields, from science to engineering to real estate development. Celebrating the achievements of some local greats, the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and Rocky Mountain PBS are debuting a five-part television series about Colorado women and “their little known, under-reported achievements,” with episodes that will highlight such accomplished locals as Marion Downs, Dana Crawford, Penny Hamilton, Jill Tietjen and Marilyn Van Derbur Atler. The first episode of Great Colorado Women, “Marion Downs: Mother of Pediatric Audiology,” premieres Thursday, February 1, at 8 p.m. on Channel 6, with four more episodes slated to air every Thursday through March 1. “We want to help others to know about those who have gone before us, and in doing so, we believe the stories about the women in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame will inspire women to play a bigger role in shaping Colorado’s history,” says Janina Martin, corporate sponsorship manager at RMPBS. Find more information about the women highlighted in the series and the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame at cogreatwomen.org.

On Thursday, February 1, the Children’s Museum will host its inaugural adults-only extravaganza, Ales, Apps & Barrels of Fun, an event full of childhood-inspired snacks, music, games and the opportunity to play in museum exhibits. Oh, yes, and to drink craft beer, from Epic, Prost, Little Machine, Briar Common, Ratio, FATE, Horse & Dragon, Declaration and many more. The fun runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at the museum, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive; tickets are $35 in advance at mychildsmuseum.org, or $40 at the door.

Cleon Peterson, Victory, 2017. Acrylic on Canvas, 128 x 84 inches.

Friday, February 2

When MCA Denver debuts a new exhibition cycle, you just know there’s going to be a party — and some fabulous art. Be the first on your block to see what’s new at the MCA — Cleon Peterson’s Shadow of Men, Diego Rodriguez-Warner’s Honestly Lying and Arthur Jafa’s Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death — during the Winter Opening Celebration on Friday, February 2. First access is the main goal, with eats and drinks on the side — including a free beer from Ratio Beerworks (or a non-alcoholic beverage). In addition, VIP ticket holders get in even earlier — at 6:30 p.m., for an artist meet-and-greet — and docent tours get you up to speed on all three shows before anyone else. The all-inclusive section of the party warms up afterward, from 8 to 11 p.m., at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street. For tickets, $15 to $20 general admission or $50 to $55 VIP, visit eventbrite.com — and hurry: These events usually sell out. Learn more about the artists and exhibits at mcadenver.org.

Todd Barry is a veteran standup best known for his appearances on such TV shows as Flight of the Conchords and Louie, as well as films like Pootie Tang and The Wrestler. His last special, Spicy Honey, marked a return to punchline-driven form for the dulcet-voiced comic; before that, The Crowd Work Tour — which consisted of nothing but riffs and good-natured audience mockery — demonstrated Barry’s quick thinking and a particular facility for ego-deflating burns. To celebrate his thirtieth year in the industry, Barry is back on the road with another tour devoted to the art of extemporaneous joke-writing, and he’s rolling through the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, on Friday, February 2. Doors open at 7, and the show starts at 8 p.m. Readers in the Fort Collins area can also catch a completely different hour from Barry the following evening (Saturday, February 3), starting at 7 p.m. at the Aggie Theatre, 204 South College Avenue in Fort Collins. Admission to the shows is $20; visit the Oriental and Aggie websites to get tickets and learn more.

Okay, Groundhog Day isn’t a serious holiday, but that’s no reason not to celebrate the moment when an over-sized rat in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, forecasts what remains of winter. Realizing the utter ridiculousness of this American-bred holiday, Broken Shovels Farm will host a screening of the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day on Friday, February 2, at 7:30 p.m., and again on Saturday, February 3, at 6:30 p.m. at LFX Filmworks, 1701 31st Street. Of course, no Broken Shovels event would be complete without goats, so expect those (and maybe some puppies), because why the hell not? Petting starts at 6 p.m. on Friday and 5 p.m. on Saturday. Price of entry is $10, and don’t forget your own chairs. Popcorn, various other treats and a food truck will be available, as will booze and non-boozy beverages for purchase. Find more information on the event’s Facebook page.

Valentine’s Day is still weeks away, but readers can get into the loverly spirit early at a trio of concerts from the esteemed Colorado Symphony. Conductor Brett Mitchell welcomes the Colorado Symphony Chorus (under the direction of Duain Wolfe) and soprano Jessica Rivera to bring Maurice Ravel’s “choreographed symphony,” Daphnis et Chloé, to thrillingly balletic life. Romantic interpretations of the Greek mythos thematically bind a music program that also includes Claude Debussy’s “Syrinx” and “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” as well as Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Five Images After Sappho.” Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 2, and Saturday, February 3, with an additional 1 p.m. matinee performance on Sunday, February 4; all performances will be at Boettcher Concert Hall, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Visit the Symphony’s box-office page for tickets, $15 to $89, and more details.

Dreams spawn rich inspiration, especially for artists, writers and musicians. With that in mind, it’s not much of a stretch to combine those disciplines into something rapturously beautiful — the exact goal for the Stratus Chamber Orchestra’s multi-disciplinary performance Dreams and Aspirations, mounted in collaboration with Lighthouse Writers Workshop and Picture Me Here, a Denver storytelling program for refugees. Along with the orchestra and its repertoire of music by Beethoven, Borodin, Aaron Copland and Ives, a cast of storytellers will respond to the music in spoken word against a backdrop of projected imagery. See it all on Friday, February 2, at First Plymouth Congregational Church, 3501 South Colorado Boulevard, or Saturday, February 3, at Augustana Lutheran Church, 5000 East Alameda Avenue; both shows start at 7:30 p.m. For information and tickets to either show, $10 to $25, visit augustanaarts.org.

If you participated in last fall’s Denver Talks community-reading series, you’ve probably read MacArthur Foundation Fellow Claudia Rankine’s 2014 treatise Citizen: An American Lyric , a book on social-justice issues that’s more than relevant in 2018. Now you can respond and listen to others at Poetry, Race and Policing: A Community Conversation, a forum with the city’s Citizen Oversight Board. If you haven’t read the book, speed-reading is recommended: Join the conversation on Friday, February 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, 1515 Race Street, and bring your copy of Citizen with you. Admission is free and space is limited; RSVP in advance at eventbrite.com. For more information, go to the event’s Facebook page.

Yoshitomo Saito’s work will be on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

Saturday, February 3

Get a crash course in Colorado’s skiing history on Saturday, February 3, when Western State Colorado University hosts a lecture by professor Duane Vandenbusche on “The History of Skiing in Colorado,” complete with old-school photos, not to mention newfangled hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The event runs from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway; it’s a fundraiser for Western’s Mountain Sports Program, and tickets are $25 at westernalum.org. While you’re at the center, don’t miss Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects, which includes several items from the early days of Colorado skiing — including Aspen’s first chairlift. It’s all downhill from here!

Two very different takes on Japanese aesthetics take over the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College this winter in Chiho Aoshima’s Takaamanohara, an ultra-contemporary immersive video installation, and Yoshitomo Saito’s millionyearseeds, a collection of the Denver-based artist’s beautiful bronze sculptures of objects derived from the natural world. Aoshima’s work tells a Shinto creation myth, while Saito approaches nature with reverence and a sneaky sense of humor; both shows open on Saturday, February 3, at CSFAC, 30 West Dale Street in Colorado Springs, and run through April 29. Museum admission is $5 to $10; learn more at csfineartscenter.org.

You’re not truly a Coloradan until you’ve sung John Denver’s classic “Rocky Mountain High” with a group of people. You’ll have that opportunity at a John Denver Musical Tribute on Saturday, February 3, at the University of Denver’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. Played through the guys in the John Adams Band, Denver’s music will be accompanied by photographs of this great state by John Fielder, who will be on hand to sign his famous books and calendars. The program starts at 7:30 p.m.; get tickets, $15 to $47.25, at johnfielder.com.

If vinyl’s your thing, you won’t want to miss Ryan Dykstra’s weekend blowout sale, where thousands of records will be liquidated for 99 cents each and the better stuff will go two-for-one. Whatever the genre, Dykstra’s pop-up boutique — on Saturday, February 3, from 2 to 5 p.m. on both floors at Lincoln St. Station, 776 Lincoln Street
— will have something to catch your ear. Listening stations will be provided upstairs and downstairs, and the taps will be flowing at Lincoln Street, too, for a better-than-average vinyl-shopping experience. Admission is free; get all the details on the Ryan Dykstra Records Facebook page.

Mardi Gras isn’t for another ten days, but get into the celebratory spirit early when KGNU Community Radio and CFCZ host the Louisiana-grown Cajun group The Jesse Lége-Ed Poullard Band on Saturday, February 3, at the Avalon Ballroom, 6185 Arapahoe Road in Boulder. A lesson in zydeco dancing starts at 7 p.m., the music starts at 8, and the benefit for KGNU will also include Cajun fare from Oskar Blues, wine, beer, king cake and a Mardi Gras-themed costume contest. Get your fill of debauchery before the Lenten season begins!

Sunday, February 4

Between the chips and dip, chicken wings and pizza, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the least-healthy days in the United States. Sure, the athletes run around tackling each other — but we sit and stare, like the professional couch potatoes we are. To reverse this trend, runners are going to be lining up, dressed in wacky football gear, at Washington Park, South Downing Street and Louisiana Avenue, for the annual Super Bowl 5K Run and Walk. The event takes place before the game, on Sunday, February 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.; registration is $25 to $35 in advance, $30 to $40 on race day. Find more information at rundenverseries.com.

Monday, February 5

The Rocky Mountain Bus Riders Union has been raising hell about transportation equity issues with Denver’s RTD. The group’s next actions will be anchored to the birthday of Rosa Parks. Parks is perhaps history’s most famous transit activist; nicknamed the “First Lady of Civil Rights,” she was arrested for taking direct action against segregation laws, walking from the back of the bus, where African-Americans were forced to sit, to take a seat in the whites-only front, in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. Her action was used by civil-rights organizers as a symbol in the fight for desegregation. The Bus Riders Union will evoke Parks’s memory at a free birthday celebration hosted by 9to5 Colorado, 1634 Downing Street, on Monday, February 5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Tuesday, February 6, from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 303-628-0925 or visit the event’s Facebook page.

Poet and theorist Fred Moten, a professor of black studies, performance studies and poetics at New York University, has been honored by Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics as the latest Allen Ginsberg Visiting Fellow. Moten has written about black radical aesthetics, dance and revolutionary politics. As part of his fellowship, he’ll speak and read from 7 to 10 p.m. on Monday, February 5, at the Nalanda Events Center, 6287 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder. Find out more about the free event at naropa.edu or by calling 303-546-3508.

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