One Day in Denver invites filmmakers to document the city for a collective film

On April 26, filmmakers across the city are invited to take part in One Day in Denver. Novice camera-phone auteurs and skilled movie-makers alike will be capturing their unique perspectives on Denver and then submitting the footage to the multi-faceted documentary project. The project is a spin-off of One Day on Earth, a 2010 project involving films from thousands of participants around the world; Denver is one of eleven U.S. cities putting together its own metro version of One Day.

See also: Filmmakers race through Denver this weekend in 48 Hour Film Project

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Petco in Arvada will push "adoption first" at this weekend's opening

Categories: Activism

Arvada will welcome a new Petco at 8031 Wadsworth Boulevard this weekend, and the store will host a series of pet-friendly events April 12 and April 13 to celebrate the grand opening and to promote Petco's "think adoption first" philosophy.

See also: DIA now has "Dog Diety" -- "Blucifer" be damned!

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GRASP hosts Fruits of War screening and fundraiser for gang-tattoo removal

Categories: Activism, Events

The documentary Fruits of War tells the story of four former members of Mara Salvatrucha 13, who are all now part of the social justice organization Homies Unidos. GRASP, the Gang Rescue and Support Project, is hosting a screening of the documentary at Su Teatro on April 8 to raise funds for its gang tattoo removal program.

See also: Can refugees seek asylum from drug gangs?

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Favianna Rodriguez talks sexual liberation, immigration, racial justice and art

Courtesy of Favianna Rodriguez
For Favianna Rodriguez, the monarch butterfly's wings signify the beauty and resilience of migration.

When she was in high school, Favianna Rodriguez's parents wanted her to study to become a doctor. They supported her creativity, but subjected her to a string of math and science camps that monopolized her time. As an A+, super-star student, she went to college, found herself pregnant, had an abortion and decided to quit letting other people tell her what to do. So she dropped out, invested in herself as an artist and an entrepreneur, and worked tirelessly. Now 35 years old, she has become an internationally renowned political artist whose iconic work is synonymous with the food justice, immigrant rights and sexual liberation movements. This weekend, Rodriguez will be in town participating in the theatrical extravaganza Dreaming Sin Fronteras, at North High School. In advance of her appearance here, Westword spoke with Rodriguez about her creative practice, social justice and sexual liberation.

See also: Queer undocumented artist Julio Salgado speaks out

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Ozomatli's Raul Pacheco on collaboration, creativity and Dreaming Sin Fronteras

Categories: Activism, Theater

Courtesy of Shawn King
Dante Pascuzzo plays guitar on a recording for Dreaming Sin Fronteras.
When DeVotchKa'sShawn King approached Raul Pacheco to collaborate, he accepted the invitation with open arms. Despite being in the middle of recording, releasing and then touring for Ozomatli's new album, Place in the Sun, Pacheco carved out time to work on Dreaming Sin Fronteras: Stories of Immigration and American Identity, a multimedia, theatrical exploration of the true stories of dreamers: undocumented youth seeking a clear path to U.S. citizenship. The show opens Friday, March 21 at North High; in advance of Dreaming Sin Fronteras's two-day run, Westword spoke with Pacheco about creativity, Place in the Sun and the new production.

See also: DeVotchKa's Shawn King on Dreaming Sin Fronteras, art and immigration

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DeVotchKa's Shawn King on Dreaming Sin Fronteras, art and immigration

Categories: Activism, Theater

Courtesy of Shawn King
In Dreaming Sin Fronteras, Raul Pacheco, Cesi Bastida and Shawn King use the power of music.
DeVoktchKa's Shawn King may not think too highly of didactic protest songs, but he has devoted himself to Dreaming Sin Fronteras: Stories of Immigration and American Identity, a massive theatrical collaboration about "dreamers": undocumented students who have been in the United States since they were children and are seeking a clear path to citizenship. Working with local director José Antonio Mercado and fellow music director Raul Pacheco of Ozomatli, King has curated a lineup of nationally renowned musicians to bring their talents to the stories of undocumented youth. In advance of the March 21 opening, Westword spoke with King about the project.

See also: Poet Yosimar Reyes on the power of personal narratives

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Poet Yosimar Reyes on the power of personal narratives

Categories: Activism, Poetry

Courtesy of Yosimar Reyes
Yosimar Reyes is an award-winning poet bringing the stories of undocumented queer people to audiences across the United States.
Your story matters, says poet Yosimar Reyes, who denies the dominant narrative of United States citizenship, that "real Americans" are blue-eyed, blond-haired, white, upper-middle class men fully assimilated into the American Dream.

This isn't historical; this isn't reality, he says:This is a nation founded on immigrants. Living in the United States is about more than having a social security number; it is about connecting to a rich cultural tradition. For Reyes, that cultural heritage spans the stories that his grandmother passed down about Mexico all the way to James Baldwin's writing. Reyes is a constant reader who rejects the idea that poetry requires training; poetry is accessible. Anyone can write it. Despite risking arrest and deportation, he travels across the country performing and teaching others to connect with their own histories, and he will be in Boulder today for Undocuqueer Voices: Stories of Growing Up Queer and Undocumented. In advance of his appearance, Westword spoke with Reyes about his journey as a writer, performer and teacher.

See also: Queer undocumented artist Julio Salgado speaks out

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Queer undocumented artist Julio Salgado speaks out

Categories: Activism, Art

Courtesy of Julio Salgado
Julio Salgado's art bridges issues of immigration and queer identity.

Artists often choose to take big risks: In 1971, Chris Burden made art history when he had his assistant shoot him in the arm; just last November, Petr Pavlensky nailed his scrotum to Moscow's Red Square cobblestones. These artists' transgressions were aesthetic choices; when Julio Salgado, who migrated to the United States from Mexico when he was eleven, creates art, his choices go further. When he dares to illustrate his experience as an undocumented, queer person living in the United States, he risks arrest and deportation for existing on this side of the border without state-sanctioned papers. To Salgado, the risk is worth it. The very same activists who inspired him to come out of the closet as both queer and undocumented have used his posters in migrant justice campaigns across the United States. Westword spoke with Salgado about his story, his art and his free workshop, Undocuqueer Voices: Stories of Growing Up Queer and Undocumented, which he will lead with with poet Yosimar Reyes on March 18 in Boulder.

See also: Immigration activists deliver photos to ICE detainees

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Sister Helen Prejean fights the death penalty with opera

Categories: Activism, Opera

Courtesy of Sister Helen Prejean
Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking.
Standing outside the Angola State Penitentiary after witnessing the execution of Patrick Sonnier, Sister Helen Prejean struggled to wrap her head around what she had just seen. After all, in the United States, executions are hidden from the public, and few people ever witness the state killing a person -- much less deal with the complexity of advocating for a murderer who's about to be executed at the same time they're trying to support the victims' families. As one of the nation's leading advocates in the fight to abolish the death penalty, Sister Prejean faces these tensions daily and uses the power of story to advance a nationwide dialogue about the immorality of capital punishment. The memoir of her work on death row, Dead Man Walking, was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film and, most recently, an opera, written by Terrence McNally and Jake Heggie. Sister Prejean will be in Denver for a screening and book signing on Wednesday, March 12, and a death-penalty symposium on Thursday, March 13, as part of Central City Opera's Prisons, Compassion and Redemption Project, a series of public events leading up to the July performance of Dead Man Walking. In advance of those appearances, Westword spoke with Sister Prejean about the opera, the death penalty and the role of art in addressing social issues.

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Filmmaker Alison Klayman talks about her doc on Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei.
When Alison Klayman began filming artist and activist Ai Weiwei for a short introduction to be included with one of his exhibitions, the filmmaker had no idea it would become the beginning of a feature documentary about the controversial Chinese figure. But after shooting the initial footage, she kept filming and 2012's Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry was the result. Exploring Ai Weiwei's embodiment of the fluidity between the roles of artist and activist, Klayman builds a profile of one of the most fascinating sculptors/painters/installation artists/filmmakers and political dissidents in recent global history.

In advance of Never Sorry's screening on Tuesday, March 11 in Boulder as part of the University of Colorado's International Film Series, Klayman spoke with Westword about meeting Ai Weiwei and how she filmed, edited, produced and directed a documentary about one section of his fascinating life.

See also: Best of Denver 2013 - Best Celluloid Holdout: International Film Series

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