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Denver native and historical-raconteur-about-town Phil Goodstein probably boasts the most encyclopedic mind for local history that you've ever encountered: Whereas other Denver experts expound on it, Goodstein gushes, spouts, lives, breathes and obsesses about its every detail, whether aloud on his well-known history walking tours or in print in any of the growing pile of twenty or so books he's written on the subject. Plus, Goodstein doesn't just cover his tracks and move on once he's covered one annal or another. Nope, he comes back often, re-examining and repackaging his knowledge of the Mile High City in ever deepening ways, delving both underground and up into the supernatural world of local spirits. And his muckraking streak makes it all the more entertaining, as he spins out yarns about dirty politics, houses of ill-repute and general mayhem from the past.
His latest historical tome, The Haunts of Washington Park, a continuation in what will eventually be a trilogy of books on the history of South Denver, focuses on the park, its surroundings and whole chunk of the city's southern sector, including Belcaro, Bonnie Brae and the stretch of South Colorado Boulevard that was once home to the memorable Celebrity Sports Center and Cooper Cinerama theater. Sandwiched between last year's The Spirits of South Broadway and the yet-to-be-published The Ghosts of University Park, Platt Park and Beyond, Haunts is guaranteed interesting reading for anyone with yen to know more about Denver's urban evolution.
Goodstein's on the stump all this summer, but this evening's book-signing stop at the Washington Park Pavilion seems particularly poignant. He'll offer entertainment and autographs from 7 to 9 p.m., as the sun goes down over the legendary park. And if you miss this one, his itinerary continues, with additional book events on July 14 at the Tattered Cover's Colfax Avenue branch on July 26 and August 1 at the Castle Marne. Call 303-333-1095 for information.
For more ways to rock the night and kill the day, go to westword.com/calendar.