Coming Attractions

Opening Denver’s virtual doors

Recommended activities for the coming weeks


Many of us have spent the majority of the last six months or so in our homes, which means at some point we’ve had to reckon with the design choices we’ve made. There’s a reason so many people have tackled projects around the house during this time.

So, as we head into the colder months (when we’re likely to spending much more time inside) this year’s Doors Open Denver not only provides participants the chance to get some design inspiration from some of the metro area’s most fascinating buildings, it also allows the opportunity to safely, and virtually, explore some new locales.

“This year is all about access,” said Pauline Herrera, executive director of the Denver Architecture Foundation, which presents the annual event. “Doing the virtual experience is a new approach for us, but we’ve had a lot of fun with it. With in-person tours we were limited to how many people could participate, but virtually we can offer more people the chance to see these places.”

Doors Open Denver runs from Monday, Sept. 28 through Thursday, Oct. 15. Virtual tours will be available from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Some of the tours were pre-recorded, but others will be live. And each tour will conclude with a live question-and-answer session.

“It’s important that we offer that continued engagement with people, so we’re excited to have the question-and-answer sessions,” Herrera said. “And with our three-week run someone could do all the tours, which is difficult to do in the one weekend we normally do.”

Over the last 16 years, sites of all kinds have been explored by participants, but Herrera said it’s key that every year there are fresh properties to be explored. That goal was particularly important this year, and it has resulted in some exclusive experiences for those who take part.

Highlights include the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Freyer-Newman Center, which hasn’t been open to the public yet. Virtual visitors will get a look at the Helen Fowler Library, art galleries, herbaria, classrooms and the School of Botanical Illustration. And people will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Museo de las Américas and its exhibit, “Rhythm and Ritual: Music of the Ancient Americas.” Curator Jared Katz will be performing as part of this tour.

Other available tours include Lumina, mansions of the Quality Hill Neighborhood, Denver International Airport’s public art collection and the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.

“We have a really good balance between historic and modern/contemporary locations, as well as a mix of cultural offerings,” Herrera said. “This event really embodies the foundation and our mission: Inspiring people to explore our dynamic city, experience the importance of design to our quality of life and envisioning an exceptional future for Denver.”

For more information and to book a tour, visit


Listen to stories of incarceration, hope

Denver’s McNichols Civic Center Building is bringing unique stories to audiences with their Listen virtual experience, and until Sept. 30 people can get a window into a world many hope not to see — life in prison.

This first series features stories told by men who’ve spent more than 20 years in prison. The participants share honest stories about their childhoods, crimes, surviving prison and attempting to create ‘normal’ lives after their return to society.

Created by sociologist and ex-counselor Maureen Hearty, the series examines the sanctity of life, forgiveness and redemption. Visit to listen.


Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Whitney from Evanston SPACE

Whitney — an indie rock/folk group lead by Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich — specializes in the kind of music that sounds the best when the leaves are changing color and coats come out of closets. The folk side of their music carries just enough warmth and familiarity to pair perfectly with the alt-rock side of the equation.

Their most recent album, “Candid,” is a collection of covers, from a variety of sources — familiar names like John Denver and SWV, and more idiosyncratic artists like Moondog and the Roches. In lieu of touring, the group will be performing a livestreamed show from Evanston SPACE at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30.


For information and a livestreamed seat, visit


Streaming style — ‘John Lewis: Good Trouble’

When Rep. John Lewis died on July 17, the country and the world lost one of the last profoundly decent men. The story of his life defies an easy summation - his civil rights struggles, governmental work and role as the “conscience of Congress” deserve in-depth and careful study.

But the new documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” at least begins to address the impact of his lie. And the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is taking part in a nationwide watch, along with more than 60 arts and cultural institutions. In addition to the film, there’s two extra features: an interview Lewis gave to Oprah Winfrey shortly before his death and a panel discussion between the documentary’s director and some actual Freedom Riders.


The film’s rental fee, $12, includes a $5 donation to the DCPA. Rent it at


Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at


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