This weekend: Hispanic Top Chef, burlesque and a wacky Trinidad festival

Hispanic Top Chef serves up national names

Saturday. The Hispanic Restaurant Association brings back its annual Hispanic Top Chef competition and event featuring food, wine, mezcal and tequila tastings. Six chefs from around the country will compete, and their dishes will be judged by a slate of well-known culinary artists, including locals Manny Barella, formerly of Bellota, and Dana Rodriguez, James Beard Award nominee and Denver-based restaurant owner/executive chef.

“Latinos make up a majority of the restaurant community and are considered to be the backbone of the food service industry, particularly the labor or back of the house. We are here to give them a voice and get them out of the shadows and into leadership roles,” said John Jaramillo, co-founder of the Hispanic Restaurant Association, in a statement.

Hispanic Top Chef runs 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the CSU-Spur Terra Building, 4817 National Western Drive, in Denver; tickets are $65 (or $125 for VIP). Get details and tickets at — Jonathan Shikes

PopUP Denver’s spooky family fun

Sunday. Families looking to kick off their Halloween season in style can swing by Pop Culture Classroom’s latest event on Sunday, Oct. 16. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PopUP Denver 2022 will feature two floors of workshops, meetups, games, comics and more targeted toward kids aged 5-15 and their families, organizers at the Denver nonprofit said.

That includes zombie-makeup tutorials and Halloween cosplay, head-to-head Augmented Reality Mario Kart, and Pokémon-trading sessions. Developers like Level 7 Games and Deck Nine Games, local cultural icons (Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens), children’s authors Beth Anderson and Joshua Margolis, and others will also be on hand. McNichols Civic Center Building, 144 W. Colfax Ave. $20 per person; free for kids under age 5. — John Wenzel

Spaghetti and Westerns? Only in Trinidad (and Raton)

Friday-Saturday. Amid a quiet yet multimillion-dollar push to rebrand it as a cultural haven on the New Mexico border, the city of Trinidad will host another ambitious, quirky event this weekend in the form of the The Colexico Experience: Spaghetti and Westerns Fest.

Taking its name from the overlap of programming in Trinidad and nearby Raton, N.M., the festival is just what it sounds like: a weekend of scenic train rides, western films and a pasta-palooza, according to festival director Wally Wallace. It kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, with a “Sauce Off & Pasta Party” at the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art in Trinidad. Cowpoke poets, country/western karaoke, and a hybrid music-film-dance program (“Fistful of Tango”) are all on tap.

See the full schedule of events, screenings and dinners at the second annual fest — including the Honky-Tonk Hootenannies at Trinidad Lounge and a Western-themed drag show (free!) — at Film screenings and most individual events are $10, while an all-access pass is $100. Train tickets are sold out. — John Wenzel

Carnivale de Sensuale marks burlesque birthday

Friday-Saturday. For its 10th anniversary, Colorado’s largest burlesque and variety show, Carnivale de Sensuale, has lined up an all-star cast of boundary-pushing performance artists for a Halloween-themed extravaganza. Things will no doubt get weird and wicked with headliners Tigger, Kitten N’ Lous, Tansy tan Dora and Red Rum. There will also be a magician and mentalist. Carnivale founder Scott Happel will emcee under stage name Hagbard Celine.

“For each show we bring in the best national headlining talent from around the country, as well as highlighting the best local performers,” said Happel, who is also the general manager and partner at the Oriental Theater. Doors to the 21-and-up shows open at 6:30 p.m. on both Friday, Oct. 14, and Saturday, Oct. 15, and the performances run 8-11 p.m. at the Oriental, 4335 W. 44th Ave. in Denver. Tickets are $25-$35 (VIP includes a merch item) and are available at — Jonathan Shikes

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