For the entire second half of the 20th century and beyond, most Americans were presented with one perspective on the island nation of Cuba. Thanks to governmental changes in both nations, many are gaining a better understanding of the nation than ever before.
That all important cultural and environmental exploration can begin at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s, 2001 Colorado Blvd., new exhibition, “¡CUBA!” This family-friendly exhibition — presented in English and Spanish — is free with general admission entry.
“The exhibits covers many aspects of Cuba, both as a natural ecosystem and as a culture,” said Hugo Valdez, museum programs specialist at the museum. “It is important we provided new perspectives on the island. We want people to know how vibrant the culture is there.”
The island nation is actually an archipelago of more than 4,000 islands and keys, and home to 11 million people. Cuba is also one of the region’s most ecologically diverse countries, with the Caribbean’s healthiest coral reefs, most significant wetlands and largest rainforest.
The main feature of the exhibition is a replica plaza, which gives attendees the chance to learn more about day-to-day life in a Cuban town. By wandering through the plaza, visitors can learn about everything from dominoes, foods and coffee and music that can be heard on a local radio station. There’s also information on the nation’s 16 baseball teams and the vintage cars that make Cuban streets such a colorful and nostalgic means of travel.
On the more natural side, visitors can explore re-creations of the island’s habitats, with lifelike models representing its distinctive wildlife, both modern and extinct, and live lizards. About 50 percent of Cuba’s plants and 32 percent of its vertebrate animals are endemic, found only on the island.
As is the case with every exhibit, the museum has integrated the Denver community into the proceedings, adding live musical and dance performances at various times during the exhibition’s run, and contributing to exhibits with profiles and personal mementos from local Cuban Americans.
“Cuba is not a stagnant country with a lot of movement on a lot of fronts, especially recently,” Valdez said. “We hope the exhibit will bring down some of the walls people have and to ignite their curiosity. I want attendees to say, ‘What else is there in Cuba?’”
Find more information at www.dmns.org/cuba.
You’ve got mail — from Polynesia
Who better to give audiences a window into a new culture than one of the demi-gods that helped create it in the first place.
That’s the plan at The BiTSY Stage, 1137 S. Huron St. in Denver, with their new production of “Aloha: Postcards from Polynesia.” This family-friendly show runs through Nov. 18. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and noon at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. All performances are free, but donations are accepted.
Written and directed by Samantha McDermott, “Aloha” is the 10th adaptation of international folk tales presented by The Bitsy Stage. The show takes audiences on a tour of the islands of Polynesia with demi-god Maui, while he shares of the islands’ creation.
The theater’s adaptations of international folk tales celebrate the things all people have in common while exploring the differences that make the world so rich.
Reservations can be made at www.bitsystage.com.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Pusha T at Summit Music Hall
“If you know, you know.” That’s the song Virginia-born Pusha T begins his masterful third solo album “Daytona” with, and the title also doubles as the rapper’s ethos. While others are making flashy videos and stage shows and living outsized personal lives, Pusha has quietly built one of the most bulletproof discographies in the business. From there, he’s let rap fans come to his music based on his skills.
“Daytona” is most his most concise and hard-hitting release yet, and is the rap album to beat in 2018. In support of this killer release, Pusha T will be swinging by the Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake St. in Denver, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
He initially gained recognition as part of the duo Clipse, and signed on at GOOD Music in 2010. He’s one of the best voices rap has right now, and you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to see him perform in small venue like Summit.
For tickets, visit www.summitdenver.com.
Going ‘Skyward’ with Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson is the type of fantasy author who writes big books. Books that take place in thoughtfully and immaculately created worlds, full of characters that leap off the page into readers’ hearts.
So, it’s exciting to when Sanderson decides to get a little more succinct in his young adult novels. His latest work is “Skyward,” the first book in an epic new fantasy series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a world at war.
Sanderson will be coming to the Tattered Cover Colfax store, 2526 E. Colfax Ave., for an evening from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15.
The event includes a presentation and singing, and the cost of admittance includes a copy of “Skyward,” and a place in the signing line.
Get your tickets at www.tatteredcover.com/events.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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