A tiny, but mighty, instrument
Through Saturday. Need proof of the enduring appeal of the modest-but-mighty ukulele? Look no further than Ukefest. Put on by Swallow Hill Music, the May 9-11 event is celebrating a dozen years of all of things ukulele-related with live performances, workshops and jams. A “musical Rorschach test,” as Swallow Hill calls it, with performers including Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins (Wild Child), Troy Fernandez (Ka’au Crater Boys) Stuart Fuchs, Aldrine Guerrero, Victoria Vox and The Council. Various times and events. Tickets: $31 per show; $37-$85 per day; $120 festival pass. 71 E. Yale Ave. 303-777-1003 or swallowhillmusic.org
Dancing across borders
Saturday. “Écho D’Afrique,” a dance- and music-rooted celebration of diverse African culture, will premiere this weekend at Su Teatro (721 Santa Fe Drive). The brainchild of Kevin Gael Thomas (Colorado Ballet) and Colorado NeXt Music Fest organizer/CU professor Gregory T.S. Walker, the show will also feature live music, storytelling and fashion to bring traditions of the African diaspora and the Western canon together. Also running at the Alliance Francaise (a co-sponsor; May 22), Denver African Community Center (May 26) and at the Armstrong Theater (June 1-2). $25. Visit echodafrique.com for tickets, times and locations.
Denver comedy block party
Saturday. If you missed the Southwest Chief Bicycle and Comedy Festival in Trinidad last week, this weekend offers another chance to sample some of Colorado’s best stand-up. The Denver Comedy Block Party arrives May 11 with 50 comics and 10 showcases across three outdoor tents. A quartet of shows at the Street Tent offers headliners Nancy Norton, Adam Cayton-Holland, John Tole and Andrew Orvedahl, while themed shows at the North and South Tents from “We Still Like You,” “Designed Drunkard” and others bring Ben Kronberg, Sam Tallent, John Novosad and more (and yes, there will be lots of other women comics there, despite the list of headliners). 3300 block of Cook Street. $11 online or $15 at the event. 2-10 p.m. 21 and over. bit.ly/2V52RIt
Saving Colorado’s past
Wednesday. Who’s behind the preservation of Colorado’s physical history, from high-country fire towers and mining complexes to slave dwellings and African-American schoolhouses? HistoriCorps, in part. The 10-year-old, Morrison-based organization’s work is detailed in the new documentary “Savings Places,” narrated by Peter Coyote. It premieres at 7 p.m. May 15 the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Sloan’s Lake, 4255 W. Colfax Ave., preceded by a 6 p.m. reception with a free taco bar and drinks, and followed by a Q&A with director Joseph Daniel. It’s all free, but register now at historicorps.org.
Saturday. Former Rocky Mountain News illustrator John Kascht was smart to get out of newspapers, given the way his career has gone. Since leaving journalism to work full-time on his caricatures, his art has adorned Broadway billboards and magazine covers on its way to being enshrined in documentaries and the National Portrait Gallery. See his work for free when his exhibition, “Making Faces,” runs on the second floor at McNichols Civic Center Building alongside paintings by Homare Ikeda and Sandy Kinnee (3rd floor) and Cambodian artist Leang Seckon (1st floor). Kascht will be on hand at 6 p.m. May 11 at 144 W. Colfax Ave. RSVP for the free event at evenbrite.com.