Five things to do in Denver and Boulder
I like being scared as much as the next person, but Mexican culture might have a healthier connection to the dead. Witness El Dia De Los Muertos, a five-day festival wherein everyone remembers, prays, and most importantly celebrates those who have left this earthly plane. Though it eventually merged with the Christian All Saints Day, its roots come from an ancient Aztec celebration to Mictlantecutli, their god of the dead, so theres still plenty of pagan fun to be had. Participants build elaborate altars to welcome dead spirits, and somber candlelight vigils are broken up by snacking on sugar skulls and the positively delicious pan de los muertos (yes, that means dead bread). To get the full experience, visit the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, where you can check out other altars, exhibits and art. Sip Mexican hot chocolate and watch traditional Aztec dances to get in a true mood to celebrate the dead.What: Chicano Humanities and Arts Councils Dia De Los Muertos Celebration.Where: Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, 772 Santa Fe, Denver.When: Friday, 6 to 10 p.m. Exhibits and art will stay on display until Nov. 8.Cost: Free.Info: 303-571-0440 or visit http://www.chacweb.org.
Halloween is a week away, sure, but if any holiday deserves to be hyped and celebrated in advance of its actual date, Halloween is it. The Scream Scram gives participants a chance to run in a 5K run through Washington Park; and while there might not be any actual beasties on your tail, you can race in full costume (pity the fool who decided to be a bear this year). This years race benefits the Colorado chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Sean McCauley Hope Foundation. Kids are encouraged to participate in the Spooky Sneak race, a 100-meter race where they will be joined by polar adventurer Erik Larsen pulling tires to simulate dragging sleds to the poles. (Larsen plans to summit Everest and visit the North and South Poles to raise climate change awareness). All participants get a signature Batdog t-shirt created by a local illustrator, and food, Halloween candy and chances to win prizes abound.What: Scream Scram and Spooky Sneak costume race.Where: Washington Park, Denver.When: Friday, 6 p.m.Cost: $29 for adults and $19 for kids 10 and under or seniors 60 and older. Info: http://www.screamagency.com/scram.php.
The members of Parts & Labor hail from Brooklyn, epicenter of all things hipster. And while they may radiate hipster fashion and beards, they stand above them by straddling genres with an effective blend of electropunk sonics, post-rock guitar, and eminently danceable beats. So dont let the hipster appearance fool you: The guys and gal in Parts & Labor can play, and theyre in it for keeps. Now expanded to a four-piece group, guitarist Sarah Lipstate brings even more depth to their blippy rock confections, and shes been known to create fascinating sounds by assaulting her guitar with various implements not intended by the makers. Singers Dan Friel and BJ Warshaw take disaffected chanting to new heights on their latest album, Receiver, which came out this week. Moments of their music sound like a cheery My Bloody Valentine filtered through a busted 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, but while it may contain elements of nostalgia, the music seems to be looking to the future. Also look out for Denvers Alan Alda, an underappreciated post-rock combo with insane chops and surprising tunefulness.What: Parts & Labor perform.Where: Hi-Dive, Denver.When: Monday, 8:30 p.m.Cost: $10.Info: 720-570-4500 or http://www.hi-dive.com.
Sorry, burnouts and lifer-rocker faithful: Stoner metal is finally about to break mainstream. After whiffs of wider acceptance in the early 90s from bands like Kyuss and Sleep, the sludgy, ill-defined genre known as stoner metal seems ready for its closeup with the kids. Leading the way are bands like Miami, Floridas Torche, a band that remains irrepressibly tuneful while also staying crushingly heavy. Their latest, Meanderthal, showcases a wicked talent for burying sugar-sweet hooks in layers of sludge and fuzz, but not even the lowest downtuned guitars in the world can disguise the pop instincts of singer/guitarist Steve Brooks on songs like Grenades and Fat Waves. Not that stoner metal purists need to panic or anything, though: Torche keeps the proceedings heavier than planets even as they reel in the ladies with that sweet, sweet melody. Catch them live at the Larimer Lounge with fellow bruisers and labelmates Coliseum and Clouds.What: Torche performs.Where: Larimer Lounge, DenverWhen: Tuesday, 9 p.m.Cost: $10.Info: http://www.larimerlounge.com.
More than any modern humorist, David Sedaris has struck a chord with readers of all ages, simply from telling frank tales about his life and exceedingly interesting family experience. Concerns that his work was often exaggerated and perhaps even less than true has done little to alter the perception: Across several books and story collections, countless essays, magazine writing, and speaking engagements, Sedaris has proven himself perhaps the closest thing we have to a modern Mark Twain. His latest book, When You Are Engulfed In Flames, continues the telling of his bizarre saga of life, and includes reappearances of classic Sedaris characters like his brother, Rooster, and sister and fellow famous entertainer Amy. While reading Sedaris is undeniably hilarious, hearing Sedaris tell his stories with his nasal voice and vibrant inflection is on another plane. As he lives in France, its also a rare occasion.What: David Sedaris reads and performs.Where: Macky Auditorium, Boulder.When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.Cost: $42 – $65.Info: http://www.ticketmaster.com.
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