Jonathan Castner
WEEKEND IN DENVER: Five Points Jazz Festival, Improv on Bikes and Costume-Con

I f you were raised in the Denver Metro area, you may have grown up with an altered perception of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood.

Well now you’re all grown up, kids.

Five Points, one of Denver’s oldest historic neighborhoods, is full of culture, soul and delicious cuisine. Delicious, deep-fried soul cuisine. (Seriously, get your ass over to Tom’s Home Cookin’, 800 E 26th Ave, Denver; 303-388-8035; or Coleman’s Soul Food, 2622 Welton St., Denver; 303-296-3389.)

It’s a neighborhood where mansions sit next to shacks. Where Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie performed on Welton Street. Where the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center resides. And most importantly, where the church, Word Up Christian Center, lives. (Word Up, Jesus.)

Saturday, from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., on 27th and Welton (and surrounding streets) in Denver, the neighborhood is hosting the Five Points Jazz Festival. Going on for a decade now, the fest celebrates the music, history and culture of Five Points.

There will be nonstop music on six different stages — from the likes of The Hazel Miller Band, Park Hill Brass, Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra and Buckner Funken Jazz.

There will also be break dance lessons (break dancing!), jazz guest lectures, free admission to the African American Heritage Center, a jazz exhibit at the African American Research Library, an improv jam session (bring your axe), chalk art by professionals and an Ol’ Skool Street Rollers Car Show. (Rad!)

The festival is free and will also have food and art vendors.

Info: Saturday at 11 a.m.; complete list of events:


Improv on bikes

I know you like bikes.

I also know you like music, beer and improv.

Handy. Tonight and Saturday night at 8, Denver improv group Off-Center is hosting Sweat: Improv On Bikes.


It actually sounds quite neat. The show has cyclists incorporating improv on stage, alongside improv music — a one-man band on a tricycle with a ukulele, harmonica, keys and percussion.


It’s all at the Jones Theatre, 1101 13th St., Denver — in the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

Get there early, at 7 p.m. there will be a block party with Denver’s favorite gourmet hot dogs from Biker Jim’s, “a mobile boutique presenting the local and the unique” with a Tour de Fashion and a courtesy bike valet provided by Bike Denver.

Info: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; 303-893-4100;; $12-$14


Alter egos

Denver’s Costume-Con 31 is calling all you creative cats. (That does not = me. Sad.)

Today through Tuesday, the Red Lion Denver Southeast, 3200 S. Parker Rd., Aurora, is hosting a four-day weekend conference for those who fancy costumes.

Whether you make your own, wear them on occasion, or just like to look at the neat creations, this conference will feature workshops, forums, displays, competitions, parties and lectures.

Learn about various costume genres and tips on creating costumes — from the likes of armor, steampunk, military, law enforcement, making fairy wings, jewelry, sci-fi, leather, lace, knotting and more.

Info: Today from 9:30 a.m. to Monday at noon; full schedule at

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