Coming Attractions

Archtop guitar fans to gather in Arvada

Recommended activities for the coming weeks


For me, autumn sounds like acoustic guitars. It’s something about their warmth and crispness, but also their fragility. And if you’re the type of person who spends a lot of time thinking about the characteristics of guitars, you’re going to want to be in Olde Town Arvada this weekend.

From Friday, Sept. 9 through Sunday, Sept. 11, the city will host the International Archtop Guitar Music Festival, which includes the well-known Blue Guitar exhibit. The archtop guitar is one of the most difficult to build and has been traditionally used by jazz musicians before being embraced by players in all genres.

The festival will take over Olde Town, with events happening at venues ranging from the Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor and Silver Vines to the Hilton Garden Inn and Harkins Movie Theater.

“For one weekend in September, Olde Town Arvada will become the center of the archtop guitar universe,” festival organizer Peter Henriksen said in a provided statement. “This unique music festival is the only one of its kind and features more than 30 of the world’s premier guitar builders showcasing their work, along with world-class players, teachers and clinicians offering workshops and concerts.”

There will be a mixture of free and paid events for visitors to select from. Some of the activities include:

  • The Blue Guitar Collection at Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor, 7515 Grandview Ave.
    • According to provided information, this is the first time the entire collection has ever been on display outside of the Smithsonian and it will be the first time half a dozen or so of the original guitar builders will be reunited with their guitars. In 1995, famed guitar collector Scott Chinery commissioned 22 of the world’s premier luthiers to build a blue archtop guitar. As part of the festival, audience members can check out a performance and discussion forum with the attending luthiers whose work is a part of this collection.
  • “The Chisels Are Calling” screening at Harkins Theater
      • The film “The Chisels Are Calling” will have its Colorado premiere at the Harkins Arvada movie theater during the Archtop Festival. According to provided information, this documentary featuring David Grisman, Ben Harper, Mark Knopfler and others, is a profile of John Monteleone, one of the world’s greatest guitar builders and a living artist on permanent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Over 60 hours of music and more than 30 different workshops and clinics will be hosted by various local businesses in Olde Town Arvada, all within walking distance, creating the most unique guitar-focused music festival in the world,” Henriksen said.

For all the details on the festival, visit


A pair of Latin jazz concerts with the CJRO Sextet

Summer might be cooling off (theoretically, at least) but the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra Sextet is heating things up with two evenings of Latin jazz — one in Northglenn and the other in Parker.

“Samba and Mambo — It’s a Latin Fiesta with the CJRO Sextet” will be held at the Parsons Theatre in Northglenn, 1 E. Memorial Parkway, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. And “An Evening of Latin Jazz” will be hosted at The Schoolhouse, 19650 Mainstreet, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.

The group is made of some of the metro area’s best musicians, so these performances will be top-notch. For information and tickets, visit


Go into the mind of the theater

One of Denver’s biggest cultural events of the year has recently kicked-off at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) with David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar’s “Theater of the Mind,” an immersive theatrical experience.

To provide some insight into the creation of the event, and creativity in general, DCPA Off-Center and WNYC Studios’ Radiolab are hosting a conversation between Byrne and neuroscientist Thalia Wheatley at the Seawell Ballroom in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex, 1050 13th St. in Denver, at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12, moderated by Radiolab co-host Latif Nasser.

There are both streaming and in-person tickets available for the discussion. For more information and to purchase tickets visit


Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Dave ­Matthews Band at Fiddler’s Green ­Amphitheatre

Among the numerous quintessential summer bands, Virginia’s Dave Matthews Band has established itself as one of the top over its 30-year career. They’re just so darn good at it — they have a killer catalog to pull from, all the musicians are stellar and they have a dedicated fanbase I’ve seen them half a dozen times and they always put on an extremely fun show.


It also doesn’t hurt that the band is much beloved here in Colorado, so their two performances at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd. in Englewood, are certain to be a great time.

Get your tickets at


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

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