There’s never been an entirely safe time to live life as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but some historical moments are more difficult than others. But no matter what the national mood is, its always important to celebrate the lives and loves of the community members.
That’s just what Denver Film’s annual CinemaQ Film Festival has been doing for the last 14 years and that commitment remains as strong as ever in its first in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re very excited to be doing this in-person after two virtual events,” said Keith Garcia, artistic director at the Sie FilmCenter. “Though we were able to present some really great films virtually, there’s nothing like sharing the screen space with other people, experiencing the story at the same time and talking about it afterward.”
The 14th annual CinemaQ Film Festival runs at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave., from Thursday, Aug. 11 through Sunday, Aug. 14. Both passes and individual tickets are available.
One of the most exciting about this year’s event is that for the first time, the festival will be presenting the inaugural CinemaQ — LaBahn Ikon Film Award to actor, writer and producer Colman Domingo (“Zola,” “Euphoria” and “Fear the Walking Dead”). The award is named after presenting sponsor William LaBahn.
“We’ve always been caught in a little box being a `small’ festival, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Garcia explained. “We want to celebrate future icons in the queer community.”
Domingo will be on hand for the screening of “New Moon,” the animated short film which he wrote, produced and stars in. The screening will be held at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12, and will include a reception, career clips package tribute to Domingo and an in-depth conversation between the actor and arts writer Lisa Kennedy.
The festival proper features 14 films, which run the gamut from comedies and dramas to documentaries and restored films. The event kicks off with “The Sixth Reel,” including a post-screening Q&A session with co-writers and directors Charles Busch and Carl Andress.
Other highlights include the documentary “Jeannette,” which tells the story of Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor Jeannette Feliciano, and “Loving Highsmith,” which examines the life of American novelist Patricia Highsmith and the challenges she faced leading a double life in the public eye.
“I hope the festival serves as a reminder that we all have more in common than differences,” Garcia said. “For me, the roots of CinemaQ are the three v’s’ — queer vision, queer voices and queer visibility. When you put all three together, you get stories that are as much for the recognition and identification of the community as they are opportunities for exploration for the non-queer audience.”
Get the full schedule and tickets at www.denverfilm.org.
Spend an evening at the park with the LSO
The Lakewood Symphony Orchestra is celebrating the wonders of summer with its second annual “Pops in the Park,” concert, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at Belmar Heritage Park, 801 S. Yarrow St. in Lakewood.
Much like last year’s successful event, the concert will feature a variety of pop, movie, classical and patriotic music. Em’s Ice Cream truck will be onsite for the purchase of delicious ice cream treats, and the combination of a perfect outdoor setting, delicious food and top-notch music makes this the quintessential summer activity.
Secure tickets for this great show by calling 303-987-7845 or visit www.lakewoodsymphony.org.
Japanese restaurant in RiNo
Metro-area residents looking for the latest in delicious dining won’t want to miss the Japanese sandwich pop-up Sandoitchi, which will be setting up shop at RiNo’s Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee St., through Aug. 27.
Founded in 2020 by chef Stevie Nguyen, previously with Momofuku Ko, Morimoto and Uchi, Sandoitchi has opened a string of pop-ups over the past year in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Orleans, according to provided information. During its run, diners can sample the Egg Salad, Hot Truffle Chicken Katsu and Fruit + Cream Sando, among many others.
Pre-orders can be placed at www.sandoitchi.menu, so don’t miss this chance.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — The Decemberists at Mission Ballroom
The Decemberists are one of the more interesting success stories in indie rock. You don’t often expect a successful group to be one that creates epic ballads on historical events and deep dives into ancient folklore. And yet, that’s just what the group has done over its 20-year career. For me, albums like “The Crane Wife” and “What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World,” are bulletproof classics, and those are just two of the band’s eight albums.
As part of their wonderfully named “Arise from the Bunkers” tours, the group will be stopping at Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St. in Denver, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12. They’ll be joined by Jake Xerxes Fussell, making this a night of alternative folk you won’t soon forget.
Get tickets at www.axs.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.