Coming Attractions

Past pays off in Arvada Center exhibit

Recommended activities for the coming week


So many artists first discovered their talent and passion for the arts in school. That might have been in the arts module during elementary school, or maybe a ceramics class in high school.

That was certainly the case for Christopher Nelson, who got his first taste of the art world when he had work displayed in the Arvada Center as part of the Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition.

“I had several great teachers in middle and high school who pushed for me to get past my personal barriers as an artist,” Nelson remembered. “Some of my defining moments happened around this time, and getting my work displayed at the Arvada Center was a major experience for me.”

Green Mountain High School graduate Nelson is part of the foundation’s show again, but this time, he’s got his own exhibit.

For the 47th year, the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., is hosting the Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition, through May 13. Nelson’s exhibition “Shapeshift” is the Alumni Exhibition, and Roy Anneberg’s “Juxtapimages” is the Teacher Solo Exhibition.

The student exhibit this year features more than 400 works from 23 Jeffco high schools, all located in the center’s 6,000-square-foot Main Gallery. Students have created work in a variety of mediums, from traditional painting and photography to 3D printers and sculptures.

A current art teacher at Lakewood’s Carmody Middle School, Anneberg’s exhibit is culled from a variety of mediums, including drawing, collage, acrylics, oils, mixed media, digital imaging, and even ceramics.

As an artist, Nelson explores the process of creation and textures of materials. He said he blends methods like sculpting and painting, and he created a lot of new pieces specifically for the exhibit. He thoroughly enjoys the process, and focuses on putting himself into each piece.

“I don’t work on a piece if I’m not feeling it. That doesn’t mean I have to be enjoying the process, but I have to feel something,” he said. “Being a part of this show is unlike any other for me. I don’t know how this experience can be topped.” For information, visit

Going mad on 4/20 at Equinox Theatre

Over the past few years, Denver has become a hub for all kinds of 4/20 related activities. Some will leave attendees more fragrant than others, but a night at the theater is a pretty safe bet.

This year, the Equinox Theatre Company is bringing back Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney’s “Refer Madness: The Musical.” Performances will be held through April 28, with shows at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights at The Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St. in Denver.

Inspired by the infamous 1936 film of the same name, the musical comedy takes a satirical look at the uproar caused by clean-cut young people getting hooked on marijuana, which leads to the dangers of jazz, sex and fighting. Some of the hilarious tunes include “Down at the Ol’ Five and Dime” and “Listen to Jesus, Jimmy.”

In 2010, Equinox presented the show, and brought it back in 2011 to sold-out shows. And since the Equinox is in its 10th season, the company is bringing back the first musical it produced as a company. Tickets and information at

Craig Robinson at Comedy Works

It’s entirely possible you may not recognize Craig Robinson’s name when you see it on paper, but if you’ve been a fan of comedy movies or television shows for the past decade or so, you’ve had him on your screen. He was one of the secret weapons of “The Office,” and also starred in “Knocked Up,” “Pineapple Express,” and “This is the End.” He is currently fighting the supernatural on Fox’s “Ghosted.” Now Craig Robinson will be spending the weekend at the Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. He will be performing at 7:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14, and 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 15.

Audiences are guaranteed for an evening of laughs, and hopefully Robinson will get to showcase some of his musical talents, because the man can sing. To get tickets, visit

The magic of Mozart’s flute

The opera “The Magic Flute” was one of the last things genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote before he died. The piece premiered on Sept. 30, 1791, and Mozart was gone by Dec. 5 of that same year. Yet the show remains one his most well-known and has inspired everything from literature to film. And now the Arapahoe Philharmonic is taking a swing at the work. “The Magic Flute” will be performed at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at Fisher Auditorium on the Englewood High School Campus, 3800 S. Logan St.

Founded in 1953, the Arapahoe Philharmonic is among the longest-established continuously operating musical resources in Colorado. The orchestra’s musicians are volunteers with a core of compensated section principals who provide technical leadership and help ensure the performances are top of the line. For tickets and information, visit

Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Big Thief at the Bluebird

Last year, Brooklyn’s Big Thief released one of the most quietly devastating albums of the year with their sophomore album, “Capacity.” The group, made up of Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek (guitar), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums), created a sonic world of folk and rock full of warmth and stark melodies. All of this is anchored by Lenker’s songwriting, which is stunningly incisive and personal.

Audiences can hear Big Thief work their magic at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24. Lenker uses her songs to tell stories, and standout tracks like “Mythological Beauty,” exemplify what a startling talent she is. This is a show you really shouldn’t miss. Go to for tickets.

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. A community editor with Colorado Community Media, he can be reached


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