The weekend kicks off with a glamorous bang at the Dairy Arts Center’s 30th anniversary fundraiser, and ends with a brand new festival celebrating the Asian and Pacific islanders of Colorado. Along the way, you can salute StarFest, which explodes after 45 years.
Check out our list of free things to do here; now read on for ten events worth the admission price:
Peek: Glitter, Glam, Give!
Thursday 12 May, 5.30 pm
Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder
After thirty years, the Dairy Arts Center – a former dairy that has been converted into a multidisciplinary center with play areas, a quartet of galleries, classrooms and a cinema – is an example of what a medium-sized cultural center should look like. The Peek fundraiser wants to keep it that way by raising money at an event featuring Boulder panache. On a journey through the Dairy’s spaces, revelers are fed, refreshed and entertained by Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance, comedian Kevin Fitzgerald, the Victor Mestas Trio, the Catamounts theater company and special art installations by local artists. And then it’s a 70s dance party. Tickets are $150, here.
Lunch for women + film prizes
Friday 13 May 11:45 am
South Sturm Pavilion, Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway
Once Denver Film’s Women + Film festival is over, it’s time to rebuild the fest’s treasury to guarantee a fantastic lineup of women’s films next year. That effort kicks off this year with an awards luncheon, recognizing veteran actress Rita Moreno with the Barbara Bridges Inspiration Award, as well as Carlotta Walls LaNier, who will win a Women+Film Impact Award as the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, who will represent Little Rock Central. High School to integrate in 1957. Admission is $125 (VIP tickets are sold out); buy tickets and learn more here.
Friday 13 May to Sunday 15 May
Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, 7800 East Tufts Avenue
StarFest leaves the galaxy after 45 spins around the sun, making this year’s final convulsions at the Hyatt Tech Center a must for all local geeks in love with multiple sci-fi and fantasy genres, a specialty of StarFest. Comics, gaming, sci-fi art, Harry Potter, cosplay, space science, Klingon culture – whatever genre you’re looking for, StarFest has it. Special guests this year include a Star Trek triumvirate of Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax), Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker) and Brent Spiner (Data). Ticket prices range from $25 to $175, with optional add-ons for special events; get them here.
Living in Culture | or something like that Artist flea market
Friday May 13, 5:00 PM to 9:30 PM
Vision Quest Brewing Company, 2510 47th Street, Boulder
This native-owned Livin iN Culture BIPOC flea market is the hippest in the Republic of Boulder, with flying people selling vintage, upcycled and designer clothing, original art, jewelry, crystal infused spice candles and oils, tarot readings, plants and books, just to name a few shopping options. Add to that the promise of Puerto Rican food and Southern barbecue, plus live music and spins from DJ Scoopa, and you’ve got yourself a luxurious house party. A $15 donation will be asked at the door to show appreciation for the artists; learn more here.
grapefruit lab, Pity + Fear: A Crossdressing
Friday 13 May and Saturday 14 May 19.30 pm
Buntport Theatre, 717 Lipan Street
Grapefruit Lab, the theater company of Julie Rada, Kenny Storms and Miriam Suzanne, retakes the stage with a three-weekend run of Pity + Fear: A Crossdressing, a performance written by Suzanne with music and lyrics by Josselyn Cool. The personal myth about life in queer and transculture is explored, with three unrelated Greek myths about princesses named Agraulos – a source of fascination for the playwright – surrounding the central story. Suzanne and Cool are the only performers on a sober stage, with just a guitar, a few props and a deep dive into their queer identity. Performances continue on weekends through May. Grapefruit Lab sells tickets on a name-your-own-price basis; read more here.
DCPA Theater Company, Quixote New
Opening Friday 13 May to 12 June daily except Monday
Wolf Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
If chivalry-obsessed Don Quixote and Pancho Sanchez appeared in search of glory in the modern Texas frontier, what would that look like? Octavio Solis’s Quixote New tells the story with the kind of righteous humor that American immigrants save for their white oppressors, while Cervantes scholar José Quijano and sidekick Manny Diaz, a street palettero, chase an illusion between zoo-fit pachucos and evil border patrol officers. The colorful play will run at the Wolf Theater for a month; find information and tickets here, $10 to $77.
Black Sound Series: Camille Norment, Untitled (red flame)
Friday 13 May to 18 June
Lane Screening Room, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs
CSFAC’s three-part Black Sound Series concludes with a five-week run from Oslo-based Black Sound Artist Camille Norment’s Untitled (red flame)† The multi-channel installation deals with altered recordings of human speech being transformed into something more akin to a human firestorm for justice and positive change. Visit the installation Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm; the required entrance fee to the museum, $5 to $10, includes entry to all other galleries. Reply here.
Comprehensive History: A Symposium on Contemporary Abstract Painting
Saturday 14 May, 9.30 am to 2 pm
Holiday Theater, 2644 West 32nd Avenue
Native artists Eamon Ore-Giron and Dyani White Hawk’s shows at MCA Denver both suggest rich insights into the nature and cultural narratives of abstraction in the American modernist tradition. Discover those inherent revelations with Ore-Giron, White Hawk, Clyfford Still Museum Director Joyce Tsai, and MCA curator Miranda Lash during a half-day symposium at the MCA Satellite Holiday Theater. After a morning of speeches through rotating duets, lunch will be served in the lobby, followed by a final full panel discussion. Admission here is $25 to $30.
Asian-American and Pacific Islander+ Festival
Saturday 14 May and Sunday 15 May from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m
Denver Zoo, 2900 East 23rd Avenue
The Philippine American Community of Colorado (FACC) and Denver Zoo have teamed up to celebrate the diversity of Colorado’s Asian and Pacific island community. Festival events range from a Filipino folk dance to a healing sound workshop, a jewelry making workshop, and Tai Chi performances. The festival is included with regular admission to Denver Zoo; read more here.
Chalklines and Vines
Saturday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 15 May from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m
Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, Central Green Event Center, 25690 East Quincy Avenue, Aurora
More than fifteen Colorado wineries will serve up samples as chalk artists rock the sidewalk during Chalk Lines & Vines, an art and wine pairing event that brightens up the Arapahoe County fairgrounds. Food trucks are lined up, or just bring your own picnic to eat while you consider buying a bottle of your favorite sip, and live music rounds out the bash. Tickets range from $10 to $35 in presale here and go up to $40 at the door.
Know a great event in Denver? We will be updating this list over the weekend; send information to [email protected]