Adventures With Twang | April 28

Childhood friends Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing developed a zeal for adventure while rafting down their neighborhood creek in southwest Denver and daytripping to the Rockies. As the pair grew up and began dabbling in kid-friendly music as a career, they felt the need to merge that early love of exploration with their new passion—and to inspire other youngsters to experience the wonders of the wilderness. The duo, known as the Okee Dokee Brothers, has now won a Grammy Award for its bluegrass- and folk-inspired family tunes, which touch on experiences ranging from canoeing on the Mississippi River to riding horses along the Continental Divide. This month, fans can catch them playing new ditties and past favorites at L2 Church near City Park. Expect audience participation, video projections of real destinations featured in the songs, and plenty of encouragement to keep exploring.

Photo Illustration by Amanda Croy

Pushing Buttons | April 6-8

Most of us think of buttons as a means to an end: a way to keep your pants up or your blouse closed. But the members of the Colorado State Button Society have a fondness that extends beyond function. They’ve been collecting buttons—and sharing them with the public annually—for 50 years. The first day of this year’s anniversary Button Show and Sale, held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Northeast Park Hill, comes with a competitive edge, as enthusiasts compare their collections in quirky categories such as heart-themed buttons and ones made out of rubber. Each hobbyist displays 20 to 25 buttons on trays; judges then assess them on a variety of criteria, including age and type of material, and award prizes up to $50. The second and third days will feature vendors selling thousands of trinkets and a kids corner where your tykes can make button-related crafts.

Long Story Short | April 3-8

From April 3 to 8, see movies about topics ranging from climate change to modern love at Aspen Shortsfest, one of the foremost short-film festivals in the world. In the past, the Oscar-qualifying competition has debuted flicks, including the animated film Bear Story, that have gone on to snag major accolades.

Photo Courtesy of Mike Whiting

Back To Square One | April 28-Sept. 23

Although Denver Botanic Gardens is best known for its natural creations, the organization has developed a reputation for displaying man-made art, too, with renowned sculptors loaning pieces to the gardens for months at a time. The latest example is Pixelated: Sculpture by Mike Whiting, an exhibit of 13 steel forms—a gnome, a cactus, a deer—that look, well, pixelated. Through these modern pieces, the California artist reveals the similarities between arcade video games and minimalist art. 

If Memory Serves | April 25

Besides being hell, war is complicated—and remembering it even more so. This month, delve into memory’s tricks at the Complexities of Commemoration, a talk at the Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities about how our nation remembers World War I and World War II. Regis University professor Nathan Matlock leads historians Adam Hochschild and Alex Kershaw and Denver radio personality Rick Crandall in a discussion of myths versus reality in the context of the 20th century’s most significant conflicts.

This article was originally published in 5280 April 2018.
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan is the former digital editor of and teaches journalism at Regis Jesuit High School.