You had a blast on the Fourth of July, but the fun doesn't have to stop. The next seven days are packed with worthwhile events, from the return of Mixed Taste to another chance to revision the 16th Street Mall to a celebration with DJ Shadow. Keep reading for the 21 best events in Denver this week.
Wednesday, July 5
Mixed Taste, the lectures on mismatched subjects that have been a linchpin of MCA Denver’s community programming since Adam Lerner took charge, is changing, thanks to a new partnership between MCA and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Off-Center. To begin with, the new season will be in a larger venue — the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Complex — to accommodate the SRO crowds of the past; also, as a way to extend the good times, a weekly Mixed Taste Garden Party in the Galleria will precede every show, with foodie fare, a bar and live music courtesy of the Swallow Hill Music Association. The inexplicable combo of “Wild West Mail Delivery” and “Post-Conceptual Art” is first on the 2017 schedule, with speakers Nataki Garrett and Adam Lerner himself; the Galleria party starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, followed by Mixed Taste at 6:30 p.m. The series will continue every Wednesday through August 23 (watch for “Air Traffic Control” and “Drag Queen Activism”); tickets are $20 at denvercenter.org.
Thursday, July 6
Verse will come to worse when Colorado poets take on social issues in the Trump era at an in-your-face Night of American Verse at Syntax Physic Opera. The Colorado Springs-based duo of queer activist/spoken-word artist Nico Wilkinson and award-winning playwright Idris Goodwin will introduce their collaborative chapbook, Inauguration, from Haymarket Books; joining the powerful pair will be Denver’s Minor Disturbance youth poets and the cast of How I Got Over: A Journey in Verse, performing excerpts from the original choreo-poem staged last year at the DCPA's Off-Center. That’s a lot of poetry for a $5 donation at the door: Pay up at Syntax, 554 South Broadway, at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 6. Learn more on the Facebook event page; for a head start, get a free digital e-book of Inauguration at haymarketbooks.org.
Friday, July 7
Enjoy some Las Vegas-style showmanship at WonderLust: A Show for Dreamers, spearheaded by Showgirl extraordinaire Gazella and Mentalist Magician Professor Phelyx. A finely curated variety show that features a rotating cast of artists from every discipline, WonderLust immerses viewers in top-quality entertainment that includes jugglers, musicians, comedians and burlesque performers. The show, which begins at 9 p.m. Friday, July 7, at the C Squared Ciders beer hall at 2875 Blake Street, is a perfect way to cap off a First Friday art walk through the River North Arts District. Admission is $15 pre-sale and $20 at the door; visit WonderLust’s Ticketfly page to buy your tickets.
Maybe it’s not a dog-eat-dog world, after all. To make that point, Ink Lounge’s July First Friday party and vendor showcase will celebrate how pooches enrich our lives (and vice versa) with a Summer Dog Barket, inspired in part by Squeegee, the darling shelter mutt adopted from MaxFund by the screen-printing shop’s owners, Stu and Nicky Alden. Everyone’s welcome to enjoy dog art, artisan treats and toys, pupsicles, dog-themed cocktails, a valet pooch lounge and adoptable dogs available in the MaxFund van, from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 7, at Ink Lounge, 29 South Fox Street. Arrive early, and you might be one of the first twenty attendees who will receive doggie gift bags; arrive any time and be assured that your drink tips will benefit the MaxFund. Your well-behaved, leashed pups are invited, too. For details, visit the Barket Facebook event page or go to inklounge.com.
Though RiNo’s Ironton Studios held its official last hurrah in February, after the property was sold to the incoming Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse, sculptor Yoshitomo Saito, a longtime Ironton studio-holder, is sneaking in one more show before the facility morphs forever. Bemsha Swing in Denver #2 is phase two of Saito’s 2013 Bemsha Swing show, which was inspired by the Thelonious Monk composition. This time around, the focus has shifted to metamorphoses in jazz and in life: “Life swings like a pendulum in between good and bad, sometimes quite drastically, and the push that creates momentum for swinging often comes from outside. But as long as our secret place can provide the very key for discernment, we would thrive just fine,” Saito writes in his artist’s statement. Say goodbye one more time at Ironton’s absolute last and final show from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 7, in the gallery space at 3636 Chestnut Place.
Chilean-born cult-figure filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky burst into the cinema scene in 1970 with El Topo, a psychedelic mind-blower of a movie for which critic Pauline Kael devised the label “acid western.” At times a poet, a mime, a Zen Buddhist, an absurdist and a writer of comic books in addition to being a filmmaker, Jodorowsky has now come full circle to release the autobiographical Endless Poetry, which opens July 28 at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Leading up to the premiere, the Sie will present a late-night Alejandro Jodorowsky Film Series hosted by Denver character and film buff Andrew Novick, beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, July 7, with El Topo, naturally. Screenings, which include posters and Jodorowsky-themed temporary tattoo giveaways, continue at the same time weekly with The Holy Mountain, the trippy Santa Sangre and Endless Poetry prequel The Dance of Reality. Admission is $7 to $11 per screening; visit denverfilm.org for details and tickets.
Lucha Libre & Laughs, the multiple Best of Denver award-winning mashup of professional wrestling and standup comedy, returns to its home at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, with A Winner Is You!, an exceptional lineup of performers both on the mic and in the ring. Featuring a title bout between LLL Tag Team Champions the Left Coast Guerillas and Handicapped Heroes Gregory Iron and Zach Gowen, the ringside action should be more than enough to slake the blood lust of rowdy fans. Also featuring color commentary from Nathan Lund and Aaron Urist during the matches, along with performances from local favorites Geoff Tice and Phil Palisoul, Lucha Libre & Laughs is like no other show in town. Showtime is at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 7; visit theorientaltheater.com to learn more and buy tickets, $10.
The west end of Denver’s City Park will come alive with a pan-African-American spread of food, culture, music and commerce this weekend at the Colorado Black Arts Festival, which will celebrate its 31st year with an “Art in Motion” theme. Highlights include the Watu Sakoni marketplace, a cross-section of live music and performances on the Kuumba Stage, a Saturday-morning Boogaloo Celebration Parade and car show, and a traditional Gospel Sunday wrap-up. Hit the fest from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, July 7, or 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and July 9; admission is free. Find more information at colbaf.org.
Last July, local comedian Ben Bryant took a big gamble on a new venture, a monthly standup-and-sketch comedy showcase called Guest List at the Bakery Arts Warehouse, 2132 Market Street, a DIY-friendly venue that had never hosted comedy before. Investing large sums of time and money (scarce resources for comedians) in the space, curating the lineups and attracting a crowd, Bryant weathered the dizzying highs and dispiriting lows of producing a comedy show, persisting until he reached the milestone of a one-year anniversary. To celebrate, he’s inviting forty local comics (including Westword’s own Byron Graham) to perform streamlined three-minute sets; he’ll then compile the results into an album that’s essentially a mixtape of Denver’s best comedians circa 2017. The evening is divided into two shows, one at 8 p.m. and another at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 7. Visit Guest List’s Facebook events page to learn more and follow the Eventbrite link to buy tickets, $10.
Saturday, July 8
Make your weekend infinitely more twee at the Altoids Box Dioramas seminar at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 8, at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, 1880 Gaylord Street. Fostering an appreciation of both painstaking precision and the innate beauty of tiny things, the museum invites guests to create their own little worlds that fit in tin mints boxes out of on-hand supplies. Sweet! Tickets are $10 for museum members and $15 for non-members, and include all the supplies you’ll need; visit the SmallTalk Facebook events page to learn more. Only a few spots remain, though, so snag your seat now from Eventbrite.
Head to the shadows of Mile High Stadium for the EarthLinks Garden Fest, a good time for a good cause. Ukulele Loki is presenting this celebration from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, at an urban farm at 2746 West 13th Avenue in the heart of Denver's Sun Valley, with performances by the Milk Blossoms, Wesley Watkins, Danette Hollowell, Niyankor and more. There will be local beer, cider and food trucks on hand, along with some surprise guest appearances. Tickets are $15 or $20 for a VIP ticket, which includes two cans of the new products from Colorado Cider Company. Get tickets here; gind out more about Earthlinks here.
You’ve heard of pop-up dinners and pop-up cocktail bars, but how about a pop-up park? Great Divide Brewing takes advantage of the new Square on 21st Street between Larimer and Lawrence streets (which will only be around this summer) wi th a slightly different take on its annual Block Party. Beers, music and lawn games will be the order of the day from 2 to 6 p.m., Saturday, July 8, and Great Divide is offering different ticket prices depending on your level of commitment. “Put a Ring on It” $40 tickets are already sold out, but $10 “Going Steady” passes are still available at greatdivide.com, which will guarantee admission and get you a pint of Denver Pale Ale upon entry, with additional beer tokens available for purchase inside the gates. If you’re undecided but happen to be in the neighborhood, you can take your chances at the gate; day-of tickets are only $5 but the tiny pop-up park may be full. Whichever ticket you choose, you must be 21 or older to enter; proceeds will benefit Levitt Pavilion Denver. Get your tickets on the Great Divide website.
Every week, it seems like someone’s trying to tame or transform the 16th Street Mall. But this time it’s serious: From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday from July 8 through August 26, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District will host the My 16th Street: 2017 Meet in the Street Community Prototyping Series, which will include community-designed installations, outdoor cafes, concerts, exercise classes, impromptu performances and more. The concept behind the project is that the public can actively create what the 16th Street Mall is evolving into — even on a day-to-day basis. Enjoying this exercise in participatory planning is free; find out more at downtowndenver.com.
While there’s never a bad reason to bring your dogs to scenic Sloan’s Lake Park (at Sheridan Boulevard and West 17th Avenue), few events offer the same blend of fun and altruism as the Walk, Run & Wag 5K that starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 8. Featuring over twenty different vendors as well as food trucks and a digital goodie bag for guests, there’s entertainment aplenty even for people who don’t care to participate in the officially-timed footrace or the dog-friendly yoga. All proceeds from ticket sales, $20 to $35, go to benefit International Hearing Dog Inc., a service dedicated to training rescued shelter dogs to assist people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Visit hearingdog.org to learn more, register and buy tickets.
Dystopian stories are big these days, from Mad Max and The Hunger Games to Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, which ate up the small screen — and the nation’s imagination — in Hulu’s recent series. Yeah, there’s a lot of doom and gloom in the world, which is why New Mexican burlesque gals Joy Coy and Parker Go Peep have joined forces to fan-dance that flame in Dyshowpia: A Burlesque Tribute to the End of the World, a send-up of all of the above and more. But there’s more: Because these burlesquers have a feminist streak and also want to shine a ray of hope on their end-of-the-world bump-and-grind, proceeds from the performance will benefit the Dyshowpian Scholarship for a Better World, a scholarship to be granted to a female student entering a STEM-related major. Go, women! Catch Dyshowpia at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 8, at the Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street; for more information and tickets, $30, visit clocktowercabaret.com.
Halfway through its summe-rlong second-Saturday A Movable Feast series, RedLine lands at the intersection of 26th Avenue and Washington Street in Five Points for an evening of community-building that blends a site-specific table sculpture, food and face-to-face dialogue with neighborly fun. After a discussion with Tracy Jenkins Winchester of the Five Points Business Improvement District, RedLine resident artist Thomas Evans decided to design his table with a feel for Five Points history and rolling changes in the district; the evening will get started with a procession to the table site from the Gem Food Store, 2958 Downing Street, led by the mighty Montbello Drumline. Party on the street with the people of Five Points from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 8; remaining dates in the series include August 12 and September 9. Learn more at redlineart.org.
Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, Central City Opera will open its 86th season at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 8, with Georges Bizet’s tragic opera Carmen, about a gypsy who longs for love and freedom. “It’s a blockbuster opera and certainly has a bigger selection of hummable tunes than any other opera I can think of,” says conductor Adam Turner, who will be bringing the classic to life in the historic opera house at 124 Eureka Street in Central City. Carmen runs through August 6; also on the bill are Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte, The Burning Fiery Furnace, Cabildo and Gallantry. Buy tickets, $31 to $108, for Carmen, and find out more at centralcityopera.org.
Sunday, July 9
Though the weather outside is sweltering, winter has finally arrived in Westeros. Season seven of HBO’s zeitgeist-seizing fantasy series Game of Thrones premieres on Sunday, July 16, after an interminable hiatus, and beforehand Stoney’s Bar & Grill, 1111 Lincoln Street, is celebrating by resurrecting its Sunday night watch parties, starting with a pre-party, Melisandre-style, from 6 to 9 p.m. Featuring all the jokes, trivia and blood shots that Stoney’s regulars have come to expect, the Game of Thrones pre-party also heralds the return of house band Daenerys and the Targaryens. The festivities continue every Sunday throughout the bifurcated seventh season. Admission is free, so there’s really no excuse not to show up and party like a Wildling. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Monday, July 10
For children of all ages, the heroics of firefighters will always hold a certain fascination. Before now, however, very few children ever had the opportunity to experience the allure of the firehouse for themselves. That all changes with the Junior Firefighters Summer Day Camp at the Denver Firefighters Museum, 1326 Tremont Place. Children will learn the ins and outs of Denver’s finest, culminating with a fun and informative visit to a working fire station. Classes for children ages five to seven begin on Monday, July 10, and run through Friday, July 14, with another series for children eight to twelve starting on July 17. Registration is $55 for the first series and $65 for the second series; visit denverfirefightersmuseum.org to learn more.
Louisiana poet Kim Vodicka kicks the door wide open with her sex talk and spoken word, and then puts it all to music in the guise of the duo Psychic Privates, with performance partner Josh Stevens providing the soundscapes. The whole multimedia melange, aka the Psychic Privates Buckwild West Tour, lands in Colorado this week, bringing fellow poets from everywhere to share the stage and promising an “all-encompassing experience designed to leave the listener feeling somewhere between post-coital and post-human.” Oh, yeah! Catch Vodicka and Stevens at 7 p.m. Monday, July 10, at Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway, with help from Lisa A. Flowers, Elwin Michael Cotman and Stina French, or at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue in Boulder, with Anna Elizabeth Wilson. Visit the Facebook event page for information.
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Tuesday, July 11
While aging hipsters may find this hard to believe, it’s been over twenty years since DJ Shadow changed electronic music forever with his groundbreaking debut album Endtroducing, a masterpiece of the genre that still sounds like the future despite its age. A forward-looking pioneer with an old-school turntablist’s skills and a hoarder’s record collection, DJ Shadow — born Joshua Davis — is currently in the midst of the Mountain Will Fall Tour, named for his acclaimed recent album that manages to be a return to form while still breaking new ground. Catch the tour when it lands at the Ogden Theatre, 935 East Colfax Avenue, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 11. Tickets, $29.95, are available here.
Find more events around town in the Westword calendar.