Coming Attractions

‘Uncanny Valley’ poses questions for audience

Recommended activities for the coming week


The best science fiction isn’t just concerned with cool technology and chilling or thrilling plot twists. It makes the audience consider the effects that science, technology and other futuristic creations will have on humanity and society.

This is the kind of story that Benchmark Theatre is far more interested in telling, and they’ve stuck pay dirt with the regional premiere of Thomas Gibbon’s “Uncanny Valley.”

“This isn’t really your typical science fiction ‘robot’ play,” explained director Rachel Rogers. “It’s much more philosophical, dealing with the questions of the accountability of the creator for the creation, what it means to be conscious and human, and how to treat synthetic beings. In many ways, it’s an update on the Frankenstein story.”

“Uncanny Valley” is wrapping up its run at Benchmark Theatre, 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood, but there’s still time to catch a show through Saturday, Oct. 13. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m.

The show takes place in the not-so-distant future, where a neuroscientist (Anne Meyers) pushes the limits of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics. When the creator/creation dynamic becomes blurred with her latest creation (Neil Truglio), she discovers emotional wounds that hadn’t healed nearly as well as she’d hoped.

“I’ve always loved plays that pose more questions than answers, ones that leave you discussing what you’ve seen for days afterwards. This particular one brings up a lot of ethical issues that are important for us to think of now as the development of A.I. is becoming more rapid,” Rogers. “I found the storytelling fascinating, and I loved that it tackles the subject in a different way than most films and television shows do today. It’s more quiet and unobtrusive, which not the normal take when we’re dramatizing the future of robotics.”

Fans of shows like “Black Mirror” and “Westworld” won’t want to miss this one. Visit to purchase tickets.

Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Nathaniel Rateliff at Leavitt Pavilion

Nathaniel Rateliff is one of the handful of Colorado musicians who have really made names for themselves on the national stage. He easily sells out Red Rocks and is sure to be a draw whenever he comes swings by the state.

On Saturday Oct. 13, Rateliff is taking that fan dedication and directing it to a cause he is passionate about — reducing gun violence.

Rateliff’s foundation, The Marigold Project, is hosting two events in Denver to support the prevention of gun violence. The non-partisan event kicks off on Oct. 13 with a selection of workshops, panels and training sessions at INDUSTRY, 3001 Brighton Blvd. in Denver. That same day, Rateliff will be joined by his band, The Night Sweats, as well as Fantastic Negrito, Los Mocochetes and the Denver Children’s Choir, at the Leavitt Pavilion, 1380 W. Florida Ave.

According to information from Marigold, the goal for the events is to unite communities in developing solutions to the issue of gun violence, particularly in cities/towns, schools, workplaces and in homes. Local organizations like Colorado Public Radio, Mental Health Colorado and more will be a part of the event.

For more information on the events, visit

Bill Coors’ cinematic ‘Will to Live’

At the Vail Film Festival in April, Scott Coors, the oldest son of Bill Coors, told a story about coming out to his father on the road to Aspen for Thanksgiving, and the empathy and understanding the elder Coors showed at this important moment for his son.

In Kerry David’s documentary, “Bill Coors: The Will to Live,” audiences are gifted with many such moments into the background of such a well-known Colorado figure. The film will be enjoying a limited one-week run in Denver beginning on Oct. 19 at the Harkins Northfield Theatre, 8300 E. Northfield Blvd. in Denver.

This is a film that will appeal to Coloradans because of the familiar locations, but reaches a deeper level thanks to Coors’ wisdom, which comes shining through. In addition to getting a look behind the scenes at the Coors world, it’s also a heartening exploration about overcoming anxiety and depression.

Learn more and find screening information here

History class with Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin is one of the few historians that large numbers of people may actually recognize by name. Her studies of leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson and Theodore Roosevelt have provided illuminating looks at history-makers ahead of their time.

Goodwin has distilled her knowledge and channeled it into her new book, “Leadership: In Turbulent Times.” So, history aficionados won’t want to miss the chance to spend an afternoon with the author, courtesy of the Tattered Cover.

Goodwin will be at the Tattered Cover Colfax, 2526 E. Colfax Ave., at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21.

This work provides an accessible road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field. She’ll be speaking and then signing her book. Tickets to the event include a copy of “Leadership” and guarantees you a spot in the singing line.

For tickets, head to


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


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