So often festival experiences are centered around a particular kind of creation - film, music, books, etc. The JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center’s 14th annual Neustadt Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music (JAAMM) Festival blends all of them in an event that spans almost two-and-a-half months.
“The event was originally conceived as more of a literary festival, and from there other things started to grow,” said Rich Cowden, general manager of the culture center. “We started asking how there could be more arts and culture involved and that’s how it expanded to where we are now.”
The festival, which began on Oct. 6 and runs through Tuesday, Dec. 21, features more than 20 events in all kinds of areas - film screenings, author talks, local theater performances, comedy performances and more. Typically, there are more live music elements, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has been scaled back for this year’s festival.
The JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center’s, 350 S. Dahlia St., COVID-19 policy is that attendees 12 years old and older must be fully vaccinated and all attendees, regardless of age, will also be required to wear a mask at all times. As such, there will be three options for participating in the JAAMM events: in-person, virtual and hybrid.
“This is a great opportunity to engage in a really participatory way over a relatively short period of time,” Cowden said. “We’re not just interested in showing people these things and asking them to go home. There’s a level of involvement we want to achieve so people feel like they’re part of the experience.”
Some upcoming highlights from the festival include:
The Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture will showcase Batalion and her book, “The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos.”
National Book Award-winning and bestselling author McCann will discuss his monumental novel “Let the Great World Spin,” his latest work, “Apeirogon,” and more about life as an author.
Rabbi Lawson will speak on the topic “Black, Jewish & Queer: Navigating Judaism with Multiple Identities and Building Bridges.”
“This festival is really about building community and conversation, building a place to have constructive, creative and challenging conversations,” Cowden said. “A lot of people might be reluctant to come to an event because they don’t know if they’ll like it. But if you come into a space which is accessible, friendly, not intimidating, not elitist and not off-putting, then you can take that leap of faith and maybe walk away changed in some way.”
For more information and tickets, visit www.jccdenver.org/jaamm.
Thornton commemorates Dia de Los Muertos
Every year Thornton’s Dia de Los Meurtos celebration gets bigger and more fun, and for its fifth year the city is pulling out all the stops.
The fifth annual event will be from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6 at McAllister Park Center, 750 W. 96th Ave. in Thornton. The free family-friendly event features food trucks, live entertainment, an art market, Katrina costume contest and more.
From 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13 the city is also hosting a free Mexican Film Festival at the Thornton Active Adult Center, 11181 Colorado Blvd. The festival will screen “The Book of Life” and “Macario.”
Information for both events can be found at www.artsthornton.com.
Welcome to Jurassic Quest
Listen, if you aren’t completely fascinated by dinosaurs, I really don’t know what to tell you. I mean, have you seen dinosaur bones? You can see more than bones at Jurassic Quest, a touring exhibit that brings more than 100 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs to audiences all over the country.
The event will be stopping by the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th St. in Denver, from Friday, Nov. 12 through Sunday, Nov. 14. The show includes the opportunity to see baby dinosaurs, an interactive raptor show, dinosaur rides, giant fossil dig, inflatables, craft stations and more.
Visit for the details www.jurassicquest.com/events/denver-co.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — SZA at the Fillmore Auditorium
It’s been four years since R&B sorceress SZA released her major-label debut, “Ctrl,” and the album has held firm as one of the best records of any genre from the 2010s. Aside from a few singles and features, it’s mostly been quiet from her during that time. What I’m trying to say is, we need more SZA, and we need it now.
Hopefully, the fact that she’s hitting the road is a good sign of new music on the horizon. SZA is embarking on a relatively short west coast tour and Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., is fortunate enough to be one of the stops she’ll be making. She’ll perform at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9.
For information and tickets, visit www.livenation.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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