Coming Attractions

Annual Dragon Film Festival roars in return

Recommended activities for the coming weeks

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Asia’s dynamic and varied cultures have histories and stories that go back thousands of years, and as “Parasite” thrillingly displayed at this year’s Oscars, there are many, many stories still to tell. As the only all Asian and Asian-American film festival in the state, the Colorado Dragon Film Festival is committed to telling some of these stories.

“We want to ensure Coloradoans are able to view unique films from Asian and Asian-American talents,” explained Sara Moore, executive director of Dragon 5280, which is hosting the festival for the first time with Denver Film. “This is definitely a needed festival here in Colorado, which provides a unique opportunity to view cinema that most normally wouldn’t have access to.”

The fifth annual Colorado Dragon Film Festival runs from Thursday, Feb. 20 through Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver.

The theme for this year’s festival is “Wellness in the Community,” and as such, the films shown over 10 screenings explore the ways that wellness expresses itself in community relationships, food, identity, healthcare, LGBTQ health, and the arts, according to provided information.

To organize the festival, Dragon 5280 worked with Denver Film’s Matthew Campbell on a lineup that features an exciting blend of films and informative events.

Notable highlights including opening night film, “The Wandering Chef,” which follows celebrity chef Im Ji-ho as he explores Korea in search of interesting culinary and medicinal ingredients, and “Koshien: Japan’s Field of Dreams,” which lets viewers in on the way Japan approaches the great American pastime.

On the interactive side, the festival is hosting fascinating “Creative Conversation” events, the majority of which are free, regardless of if an attendee sees the corresponding film or not. Examples include the “Best Tasting Wild Foods of Colorado,” event held at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, which serves as an introduction to foods and medicines found in the backcountry of Colorado; and a Chinese opera mask making event held at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.

At 2 p.m. on the 23rd the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts and Media is hosting a Colorado showcase and filmmaker talkback. The event includes narrative and documentary shorts exploring wellness in a variety of areas, all of it connected to Colorado.

“The main thing we want to communicate is that everybody has a story, and it’s important to share those stories,” Moore said. “By sharing, we’re able to appreciate and understand different cultures and backgrounds. The festival is a chance for us to come together as one and celebrate all the cultures in our state.”

For tickets (both individual and packages) and information, visit www.cdfilm.org.

Saluting those who air guitar

Lakewood’s Benchmark Theatre is kicking off its new season with some serious laughs, courtesy of the regional premiere of Chelsea Marcantel’s “Airness.”

The show runs through Feb. 29, with performances at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings and 2 p.m. on Sunday at The Bench at 40 West in the 40West Arts District, 1560 Teller St. There will also be one Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. on the 29th.

Directed by Marc Stith, the show focuses on Nina, as she enters her first air guitar competition. The show is the first taste of the 2020 season’s theme of “Hopes and Fears,” and you can learn more and get tickets at www.benchmarktheatre.com.

A new light on a yoga class

Highland Ranch’s Recreation Center at Southridge is providing one of the more unique approaches to yoga I’ve seen with its Adult Glow in the Dark Yoga event.

Held at the rec center, 4800 McArthur Ranch Road, from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, this event is only for those 21-years-old and older.

A ticket for the event includes glow paint, necklace, one glass of wine or beer, with additional available for purchase, and light appetizers. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 303-791-2500 or visit www.HRCAonline.org/Events.

Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Rapsody at the Marquis Theater

Since about 2008, North Carolina’s Rapsody has proven herself to be one of rap’s most thrilling voices, earning her a notable feature on Kendrick Lamar’s seminal album, “To Pimp A Butterfly.”

She released one of the best albums of 2019 with “Eve,” a tribute to important women of color throughout history. It’s full of songs that celebrate their vitality and societal contributions, like the soulful closer, “Afeni,” which features lines like, “I don’t know where I would be/If you weren’t here with me./If you don’t hear anybody else sayin’,/Please know you’re appreciated.”

Rapsody will be performing at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer St. in Denver.

Get tickets for the show at www.themarquistheater.com.

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

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