Things to Do

The 21 Best Events in Denver, May 29 Through June 4

Morbid Curiosities, a chilling show for a hot week.
Morbid Curiosities, a chilling show for a hot week. Jake Holschuh
Although the start of summer is still officially weeks away, summer activities are now in full swing, with outdoor art shows, festivals, concerts and other activities popping up all over metro Denver and beyond. Of course, there's plenty of entertainment indoors, too. Keep reading for the 21 best events of the week.

click to enlarge DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Tuesday May 29

School of Rock, a 2003 film starring Jack Black, is all about chaos in the classroom, as Black’s character, Dewey, a substitute teacher (and aspiring rock star) with too-perfect students, turns the class into a shredder’s dream. Turns out it morphed into a pretty swell — and surprisingly inspirational — Broadway musical, which comes to Denver this week as part of a national tour. Perfectly timed to kick off summer vacation for your own students ages eight and older, School of Rock opens Tuesday, May 29, and runs through June 10 at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Tickets start at $25; reserve yours and learn more at denvercenter.org.

Wednesday, May 30


Virtual reality is beginning to play out on unexpected stages, including the Denver Botanic Gardens, where Cyberscapes by Serenity Forge brings video-game vistas and images of landscapes to the DBG’s Gates Court Gallery. It’s a far cry from the peaceful garden grounds, but the imagery shares a certain sense of tranquility with the venue. Created by Boulder-based game developer Serenity Forge, Cyberscapes opens with a reception on Wednesday, May 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and runs through August 5 at the Gardens, 1007 York Street. The reception, which includes a 6:30 p.m. artist talk, is free, but an RSVP is requested by emailing [email protected] Learn more by searching for "Cyberspace" at botanicgardens.org.


The remarkable Colorado nonprofit Think 360 Arts has been serving up intergenerational arts education programs for 55 years while helping local artists with paid positions as workshop leaders. That’s a tall order for an organization that depends on donations and grants, but Think 360 Arts continues to bring hands-on creative experiences to the people — and especially children — who need it the most. You can lend a hand and have a good time, too, by attending the Think 360 Arts 55th Anniversary Party, a traditional fundraiser with food, drinks and a silent auction that’s also a showcase for Think 360 artists, who will provide entertainment and pop-up activities. Join the party on Wednesday, May 30, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Cultivated Synergy, 2901 Walnut Street; admission is $35 at eventbrite.com.

click to enlarge See Mark Penner-Howell's "Vitruvian Pink" at Pink Progression. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST.
See Mark Penner-Howell's "Vitruvian Pink" at Pink Progression.
Courtesy of the artist.
Thursday, May 31

In its latest and last iteration in 2018, Pink Progression, a large, morphing, community-oriented group exhibit inspired by the solidarity of recent women’s marches, is going big for the finale after two earlier shows this year at the main libraries in Boulder and Denver. Organizer Anna Kaye says some artists created new, sizable installations for this show, while others worked together in fresh collaborations, but all did so with the same objective: to celebrate common ground, universal struggles, feminism, compassion and inclusivity. The final exhibit opens with a reception on Thursday, May 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. and runs through August 18 at the Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive. Find more information and a schedule of related panels and workshops at sites.msudenver.edu/cvaelo, and learn more about Pink Progression at pinkprogression.wordpress.com.

Until you’ve seen WAVE: Light + Water + Sound, Breckenridge’s groundbreaking arts festival and summer kick-off, you haven’t really experienced the full width and breadth of what an arts fest can be. Over just four days, the BreckCreate arts organization brings a world of art to the mountain town, with monumental and interactive outdoor installations and indoor artworks, pop-up music performances, films, bike rides and workshops featuring a cast of artists both local and international. Highlights range from Interphase, a musical light sculpture crafted by Denver multimedia artist Cacheflowe and AudioPixel, to Place/d, a series of large-scale, outdoor installations made from umbrellas and lit from within by Berlin-based artist Stephanie Imbeau; other installations will light up the area and water around the Blue River Plaza and downtown Breckenridge throughout the fest, and especially at night. WAVE events run daily from 3 to 11 p.m., Thursday, May 31, through June 3. Event admission is free, but you might want to make a long weekend of it. Learn more at breckcreate.org.


click to enlarge Breckenridge lights up on May 31. - BRECKCREATE
Breckenridge lights up on May 31.
BreckCreate
Love it or leave it, Denver’s got plenty of public art — in fact, Denver Public Art has placed more than 400 pieces around town since its inception thirty years ago. To celebrate three decades of making Denver a more interesting place to walk down a street, DPA overseer Denver Arts & Venues invites the public to An Evening Celebrating Denver Public Art, a free party with food and beer, music and artist meet-and-greet opportunities at which the slick new Denver Public Art website will also be unveiled. Join in on Thursday, May 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. While admission is free, you do need to register in advance at eventbrite.com. And who knows? You might get to dance with a big blue bear or a demonic blue stallion if you go.

In 2006, author Michael Pollan changed the way we think about the food we eat with his book The Omnivore's Dilemma. Now he’s doing the same for the psychedelic experience with a new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, a study of new research on the use of psychedelics in the treatment of depression and other forms of mental disorders. Along with the scientific and historical background of hallucinogens, Pollan writes in first person of his own experience as a human guinea pig, something that’s sure to trigger conversation when he speaks and signs copies of How to Change Your Mind on Thursday, May 31, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Colfax Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets for the event are $33 at eventbrite.com and include a copy of the book ($28, Penguin Press); learn more at tatteredcover.com.

A sugar-fueled journey through childhood nostalgia, Cartoons & Comedy is settling into its new home at the Black Buzzard, 1624 Market Street, with one of its biggest shows yet. Hosted, curated and edited by cherubic comedy fan Chris Baker, Cartoons & Comedy is a Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque presentation of Saturday morning favorites like Muppet Babies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spliced with vintage toy commercials and anti-drug PSAs, nimbly riffed upon by some of Denver's funniest comics. The next show, on Thursday, May 31, at 10 p.m., features a trio of heavy hitters including Jim Hickox and Christie Buchele, plus the C&C debut of Adam Cayton-Holland. Help yourself to a heaping bowl of Boo Berry, kick back, and enjoy one of Denver's most amiably goofy comedy shows. Admission is free; find more details on the Black Buzzard's Ticketfly page.

Join Colorado Symphony music director Brett Mitchell and concert pianist Natasha Paremski for their stage debut at the state's most iconic venue, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 West Alameda Parkway in Morrison, on Thursday, May 31. Enjoy an evening of song under the stars as the symphony honors the centennial anniversary of treasured American composer Leonard Bernstein with a rendition of the overture from Candide, showcases of Paremski's virtuosic skills with Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's crowd-pleasing Symphony No. 4. The concert will be a feast for the ears and eyes alike, as the music will be accompanied by "Happy Clouds," an installation from sculptor Stuart Semple that's part of his Happy City Denver takeover. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.; get tickets, $29.50 to $69.50, at axs.com.

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