MCA kicks off its Holiday Theater programming with performances by Chicano Batman, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Bobby LeFebre and more

The museum hopes to expand its programming with live performances, screenings, artist talks and lectures staged out of the historic Holiday Theater’s 400-seat performance space. 
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The Museum of Contemporary Art, Feb. 15, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The MCA is launching a new events series out of the old Holiday Theater next month.

Last fall, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) announced it would take over the historic theater in the Highlands, converting the space into a community-oriented cultural hub. The move would allow the MCA to expand its programming beyond its gallery space in LoDo with live performances, screenings, artist talks and lectures staged out of the 400-seat theater.

MCA said it will kick off its Holiday Theater programming this spring, starting with two nights of live performances on April 7 and 8. The launch will include performances by Grupo Tlaloc Danza Azteca, Denver Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre, the North High School Jazz Band, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, poet Eleanor Perry Smith, Chicano Batman, Los Mocochetes, DJ Lengua and more.

"We're at the beginning of our journey at the historic Holiday Theater. In the months and years ahead, our goal is to create a new, long-term hub for the arts in Denver's Northside neighborhood and generate new opportunities for innovative, community- and artist-driven programming and creative partnerships," said Nora Burnett Abrams, MCA Denver's Mark G. Falcone Director.

Built in 1914 and expanded in 1926, the Holiday Theater building at 2644 West 32nd Ave. has operated as a movie theater, a shop, a restaurant and, most recently, the Highlands Church. The building was originally named The Egyptian Theater for its Egyptian Revival style, a type of architecture that attempts to imitate the appearance of Egyptian temples.

Today, the space is owned and operated by the Denver Cultural Property Trust (DCPT), and rented out by the MCA.  The DCPT is one of four Denver organizations to receive a Community Revitalization Grant from Colorado Creative Industries this month. The group plans to spend its allotted $1 million in state funding to redevelop the building to provide rental spaces for the MCA, artist studios and 15 below-market apartment units to support creative-industry workers.

Here's the full lineup of spring programs and performances:

Thursday, Apr. 7, 6 p.m.

Holiday Theater Opening Party, featuring Grupo Tlaloc Danza Azteca, Denver's Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre, North High School Jazz Band, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Poet Eleanor Perry Smith and more. Free to attend.

Friday, Apr. 8, 6 p.m.

Chicano Batman Performance with Special Guests Los Mocochetes, Afterparty with DJ Lengua. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased online.

Tuesday, Apr. 12

MCA Denver Presents: Bill Frissell Trio with Thomas Morgan and Rudy Royston

Friday, Apr. 22

Anti-Hero Film Festival: Short films made by teens, for teens

Thursday, Apr. 28

Artist Eamon Ore Giron in conversation with  MCA Senior Curator Miranda Lash

Saturday, Apr. 30

Failure Fair Scholarship Awards Presentation

Saturday, May 14

Abstraction Symposium with Eamon Ore-Giron, Dyani White Hawk, Joyce Tsai, and more.

Friday, May 27

MCA Denver and Lighthouse Writers Present: An Evening with Sheila Heti

Tuesdays, June 14 - July 5, 2022

Deep Space Film Series with artist Clarissa Tossin and Alexandre Philippe

Wednesday, June 15

Artist Clarissa Tossin in conversation with MCA Senior Curator Miranda Lash

Wednesdays, July 6 - Aug. 17

MCA Denver and DCPA Off-Center Present: Mixed Taste: Tag Team Lectures on Unrelated Topics

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