There’s a name for the enormous leap in quality that television programs have seen since the turn of the century — Peak TV. Thanks to streaming options like Netflix and Hulu, the emergence of premium channels like HBO, AMC and Showtime and more diversity on the networks, we’re practically drowning in quality programming.
This deluge of top-notch storytelling is a large part of what led Randi Kleiner and Kaily Smith Westbrook to start SeriesFest here in Denver five years ago.
“Series give creators the opportunity to construct elaborate worlds with complex characters and integrated storylines, allowing audiences to immerse themselves in their favorite adventures week after week …” explained Kleiner, who now serves as CEO of SeriesFest. “Television series can often be thought of as 10-hour films.”
SeriesFest allows fans of episodic storytelling to immerse themselves in a week of events and programming, including premiere screenings, conversations with creatives and industry insiders and samples of exciting pilots.
The theme of this year’s event, which runs from Friday, June 21 through Wednesday, June 26 at the Sie Film Center, 2510 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver, Red Rocks Amphitheatre and more, is the “Year of Innovation.”
In recognition of that theme, three Innovation Talks will be held during the event, with important behind-the-scenes people like Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos, film critic and host of NPR’s “The Treatment” Elvis Mitchell, and CEO of All3Media Jane Turton.
Those more interested in the entertainment side of things can attend the Shondaland panel, which will feature actresses Anna Deavere Smith and Katie Lowes and the premiere screening of STARZ’s new supernatural spy thriller, “The Rook.” In attendance will be series stars Emma Greenwell, Joely Richardson and Olivia Munn.
Screening of pilots and shows of all kinds - ranging from drama, unscripted shows and digital shorts - will be happening all week for those who want to learn more about the most exciting new talents.
There are numerous options to take part in the six-day event. Passes offer different levels of access to all six days of the festival, including exclusive parties, screenings, panels, workshops and more, according to Kleiner. There are also individual tickets to screenings available.
“Our main mission is to provide a platform for artists and give them access to other creators and executives they would have never had the chance to meet,” said Smith Westbrook, SeriesFest’s CCO. “I hope people walk away feeling inspired and connected.”
Get your information and passes at www.seriesfest.com.
Political role models for the next generation of girls
A new book, entitled “Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House” collects advice and inspiration from some great young women who can be role models for girls and women of all ages.
In celebration of the book’s release the Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue, 2526 E. Colfax Ave., is hosting a talk and signing with contributors like Jenna Brayton, Noemie Levy, Molly Dillon, and Elle Celeste at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 22.
It will be a chance to hear firsthand the advice they would share with their younger selves, the importance of getting girls and women involved in government and more. Go to www.tatteredcover.com for all the details.
Steal the good stuff at Stranahan’s
An aphorism some ascribe to Mark Twain says “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” That maxim will be put to the test at the fourth annual Cask Thief event, held at Stranahan’s, 200 South Kalamath St., from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 22.
Participants will be able to steal a taste directly from six distinctly aged casks — as the event description describes them, “the rare, the misplaced and the forgotten, all pulled from the depths of our rack-house for the first time.”
There will also be a pig roast on used Stranahan’s barrel staves by Blackbelly Catering, Stranahan’s Brickle Ice Cream by Sweet Action, live music from the band Funk You and The Hip Replacements, games, an interactive photo booth, and more. Click on the News & Events link on www.stranahans.com for event details.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Death Cab for Cutie at Red Rocks
Washington’s Death Cab for Cutie, fronted by Benjamin Gibbard, has released some straight-up classics over the years and has become one of the last bands standing from the halcyon days of early 2000s indie rock.
Last year they released the extremely solid ninth effort, “Thank You For Today” and have been touring at a steady pace ever since. As part of that tour they’ll be playing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25. Opening is one of the best indie rockers we have right now, Mitski.
As someone who has seen Death Cab nearly 10 times in all venues of all sizes, I can tell you they know how to play Red Rocks. Get your tickets at www.redrocksonline.com so you don’t miss it.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.