Black Star returns to Denver for a show at Red Rocks.EXPAND
Black Star returns to Denver for a show at Red Rocks.
Brandon Marshall

The 21 Best Events in Denver, July 31 Through August 6

Books, breaking barriers, Mexican rodeo, National IPA Day. What isn't being celebrated in Denver this week? The 21 best events calendar is your guide to all the fun and funky happenings in town, and this one's loaded with so much you might have to rethink your social calendar. Keep reading for it all!

Tuesday, July 31

Hip-hop heads will nod in unanimous approval when a trio of living legends — Pusha T, Black Star (the duo of Mos Def and Talib Kweli) and Nas — descends upon Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 West Alameda Parkway in Morrison, on Tuesday, July 31. Nas and Pusha T are coming off zeitgeist-seizing collaborations with Kanye West, and Black Star has become a legend in hip-hop, making the triple bill a toast to the endurance of some of the game's most lyrical MCs, as well as an overdue reunion show. The stellar lineup also includes Brother Ali, Royce da 5'9" and the Reminders. The early show starts at 5:30 p.m.; get details and tickets, $59.50 to $89.50, on the Red Rocks website.

Monkey Barrel, the hip, happening bar at 4401 Tejon Street, is more fun than a barrel of monkeys any day of the week, but the action should be particularly entertaining on Tuesday, July 31, when the night goes Westeros during Game of Thrones Trivia. This is a team-based trivia contest, hosted by Excalibur Entertainment, with a themed dinner menu, Game of Thrones-inspired cocktails, geeky giveaways and more. There’s no cover, but admission is limited to those 21 and over, and sword battles are strictly prohibited. Trivia tip-off is at 7 p.m.; find out more on facebook.com/monkeybarrelbar.

If Oprah Winfrey likes something, Cherry Creekers are sure to give it the thumbs-up too. The celebrity, actor and media mogul recently threw her financial clout behind True Food Kitchen, one of which is located at 2800 East Second Avenue. Experience what Oprah finds so extraordinary at the restaurant's Taste & Toast to Summer Community Dinner on Tuesday, July 31. Executive chef Chase Wilbanks will harness the season's bounty in a five-course tasting of off-menu dishes. The dinner, at $60 per person before tax and tip, runs from 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.; make your reservation by calling 750-509-7661.

Celebrate this state's splendor on Colorado Day!
Celebrate this state's splendor on Colorado Day!
Kenzie Bruce

Wednesday, August 1

On August 1, 1876, Colorado became a state. In honor of this august occasion, History Colorado celebrates Colorado Day every year with free admission to not just the History Colorado Center, but the seven community museums around the state. But the main event will be at 1200 Broadway on Wednesday, August 1, when you can drop by to make adobe bricks, watch pigs perform tricks and have your photograph taken in front of one of the new postcard-worthy backgrounds in the atrium. You can also see any of the exhibits, including LEGO-rado, a display of Colorado landmarks (including Casa Bonita!) made out of LEGOs; Play Ball, a winning collection of baseball memorabilia, and Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects. You’ll get to meet the members of the new State Historians Council, as well. For hours and more information, go to historycolorado.org.

Thursday, August 2

It's National IPA Day, and several local craft breweries are celebrating on Thursday, August 2. Comrade Brewing, at 7667 East Iliff Avenue, will have four variations of its flagship Superpower IPA on tap. Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project will re-release Trellis Buster Double IPA as its third limited canned beer for 2018. "It's a ridiculously smooth and drinkable double IPA," the brewery promises, and you can grab some at the Crooked Stave taproom in the Source, 3550 Brighton Boulevard. For IPA Day, Resolute Brewing in Centennial taps a 2.0 version of the Transparently Trendy Hazy IPA. This version features an added hop variety — Citra — and a new ABV of 6 percent. Upslope Brewing in Boulder will tap a special double dry-hopped version of our 2018 Experimental IPA (with twice the hops) at both of locations. The brewery will also hand out 150 free National IPA Day glasses starting at 4 p.m. (buy a beer, get a custom glass).
Friday, August 3

The Rocky Mountain Book & Paper Fair, a celebration of fine, rare and valuable books and ephemera, is back for its 34th lit-centric gathering of collectors of antiquarian books from across the region. Along with endless browsing opportunities offered by vendors from around the country, the fair’s special events include programs dedicated to On the Road author Jack Kerouac’s literary ties to Denver and Colorado, the history of travel to national parks of the West, and horror queen Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Shelley’s Frankenstein). The fair runs from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, August 3, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, August 4, at the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue; arrive early on Friday and be greeted at the door by Shelley and her big green stitched-together friend. Admission good for both days is $5 in advance at rmaba.org (under "Visitor Information") or $7 at the door.

After a successful Breaking Barriers premiere in February, the Movement Society of Denver is back with a second installment of street dance theate titled Breaking Barriers Immersion. The three-day festival, at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park, starts on Friday, August 3, with a lineup of professional-development and movement workshops presented by choreographers Dana Wilson and Kim Holmes. The fest concludes on Sunday, August 5, with a 7 p.m. performance starring local dancers from the street and classical communities, as well as the premiere of an original dance piece, under the direction of Wilson and Holmes. Tickets to that show are $10; an all-inclusive weekend ticket is $50, and single workshop tickets are $15 each at eventbrite.com.

Emilie Luckett, “You Don’t Get To Tell Me Who I Am,” embroidered hoop with red and orange abstraction.
Emilie Luckett, “You Don’t Get To Tell Me Who I Am,” embroidered hoop with red and orange abstraction.
Thread/Bare

Denver artist Drew Austin is the ultimate collaborator in action: Not happy to just make and promote his own work, he instinctively gives a boost to others in the art community by working on cooperative endeavors and curating displays that showcase local talent. Such is the case with Thread/Bare, a group show he put together with work by five women — Robyn France, Erica Green, Jordan Lyn, Emilie Luckett and Kaitlyn Tucek — who incorporate textiles and embroidery into mixed-media explorations of the feminine. The exhibit opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, August 3, at ReCreative Denver, 765 Santa Fe Drive, and runs through August 31; come back on August 12 for an expanded artist talk, "Connecting the Threads," from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. For additional information, visit the Thread/Bare at ReCreative Facebook page.

First Friday in Denver's Art District on Santa Fe is always a blocks-long party, especially in the summer. But the event on Friday, August 3, will be a real bash, since the normally staid Center for Visual Art-Metropolitan State University of Denver will throw an all-ages Party in the Lot at 965 Santa Fe Drive from 6 to 9 p.m., in partnership with the Titwrench Collective. You can keep your cool indoors while taking in the CVA’s latest shows, Pink Progression and Reclamation, both of which end on August 18, or you can hang in the parking lot for beverages and pizza by Tony P’s, live music and vendors of the artsy variety. And then you can move on to the next First Friday party on Santa Fe. Learn more at msudenver.edu/cva.

Boulder’s Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance flies high with concerts and classes throughout the year, but it really soars during the company's annual Aerial Dance Festival, which is celebrating its twentieth year. Serious aerial dance students come to the fest for its intensive workshops with specialists from around the globe, but for the rest of us, the highlight is the Showcase Performance, a blend of performances by guest artists and new debut pieces from Frequent Flyers. See the best of the best in aerial dance starting at 8 p.m. Friday, August 3, at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder; Showcase performances continue through Sunday, August 5. Find details and tickets, $27 to $30, at thedairy.org; learn more about Frequent Flyers and the Aerial Dance Festival at frequentflyers.org.

Josiah Hesse digs into his evangelical Christian upbringing in Carnality: Sebastian Phoenix and the Dark Star, volume two.
Josiah Hesse digs into his evangelical Christian upbringing in Carnality: Sebastian Phoenix and the Dark Star, volume two.
Suspect Press

Former Westword contributor Josiah Hesse, who grew up in the evangelical Christian culture, drew from experience for his first novel, Carnality: Dancing on Red Lake, which follows Jacob Sloan, a boy not unlike Hesse, growing up under the earthy sway of the Pentecostals. Three years after that book's release, Hesse is back with Carnality: Sebastian Phoenix and the Dark Star ($15, Suspect Press), volume two in what will eventually be a series, in which a conflicted Sloan begins to question his religious roots. Instead of a regular book signing, Hesse is throwing a release party with comedy, additional Suspect Press readings and live music, from 9 p.m. until midnight on Friday, August 3, at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. Admission is $15, which gets you a copy of the book in addition to all the fun. Learn more and purchase tickets in advance at eventbrite.com or visit tatteredcover.com.

Apart from genre fare offering up samurai and hollow-eyed ghosts, Japanese films tend not to reach subtitle-phobic American movie-goers. The Batsu Japanese Film Festival, Friday, August 3, through Sunday, August 5, at Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, could change that with a thoughtfully curated tour through the overlooked masterpieces from the Land of the Rising Sun. Guests can enjoy a wide swath of screenings, including recent releases like Rage and Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops, contemporary classics like Getting Any? and such bonkers shorts as "Matou" and "Crying Free Sex." The theater is located 4255 West Colfax Avenue; visit batsufest.com to buy tickets, $10 for individual screenings and $80 for a comprehensive festival pass, and learn more about a unique celebration that brings cinephiles and Japanophiles together.

Saturday, August 4

The waterlilies in the Monet and Four Tower ponds (and other water gardens) at the Denver Botanic Gardens are favorites with the summer crowds strolling through the gorgeous venue or having a cold drink at the poolside Hive Garden Bistro. But have you ever thought about how the lilies got there and what it takes to keep them blooming? All your questions will be answered at the DBG’s annual Water Blossom Celebration, which includes docent-guided water-garden tours, demonstrations of the tricky art of dividing and repotting aquatic plants, a touch-me educational cart and even a display of carnivorous plants. Learn everything you've ever wanted to know about waterlilies on Saturday, August 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gardens, 1007 York Street. All activities are included in the regular DBG gate admission of $9 to $12.50 (members free); find more information at botanicgardens.org.

Find Sue Crosby Doyle's work at TrueArt West Fest.
Find Sue Crosby Doyle's work at TrueArt West Fest.
TrueArt West Fest

The growing 40 West Arts District is not only bringing new life to Lakewood’s West Colfax corridor, but it’s also raised awareness of the artists who call Lakewood home. Reed Art & Imaging, a recent Denver transplant to the area at 8000 West Colfax Avenue, is lending a helping hand to that mission by serving as the hub for the first annual TrueArt West Fest, a small-scale, affordable arts fest with a local focus that includes photographers, painters, jewelry-makers, sculptors and even members of the Pirate co-op, who will man a table. See and support what’s going on in the Lakewood art community at Reed Art & Imaging on Saturday, August 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; food trucks and a live mural project will round out the day. Learn more at reedphoto.com.

Eureka! If you're looking for something to do with the kids, head for the hills and Family Fun Day at Boom Days. From 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 4, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in the historic town of Leadville will be hosting special activities both inside and outside the facility. The big draw outside are the gold-panning stations, where kids get to try their panning skills in search of $500 in real gold. Inside, kids can create a crystal, paint a peace rock, dress up like a miner, and learn about rocks from geologists. This year, they'll also have a chance to "Meet a Real Hero"; members of the Front Range Mine Rescue Team will demonstrate what they do to save lives when miners are trapped in a mine. Admission to the museum is $12 for adults, and children under twelve get in free with an adult. For more information, go to mininghalloffame.org.

At 110 years of age, Lakeside Amusement Park, the star of our July 19 issue, is looking good (if you don't look too closely). But from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 4, you'll be distracted from any signs of deferred maintenance by the fashionable folk attending HaberDashing: A Style Society's Lakeside Strut. Inspired by Dapper Day at Disneyland, members of the group will be wearing their finest vintage or retro duds to the event, and hats are encouraged (although if you ride the Cyclone, hold on tight!). Meet inside the south entrance at 6 p.m. for a history tour, at the Tower of Jewels at 7:30 p.m. for a photo op, and at the Merry-Go-Round at 8 p.m. for a group ride. Lakeside is located at 4601 Sheridan Boulevard; standard gate admission is $4. Find out more on the Lakeside Strut Facebook page.

The Boulder County Fair's (Charreada) Mexican Rodeo doesn't horse around. You'll see serious displays of equestrian mastery like horse-dancing, reining demonstrations and bronco-riding, as well as more traditional elements such as performances of the Escaramuza and Banda Santa, plus a colorful Paso de Muerto. Museo de las Americas will be on hand to provide free children's activities before the show goes into a full gallop at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 4, at the Jack Murphy Outdoor Arena, 9595 Nelson Road in Longmont. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children; go to the Boulder County Fair events calendar for ticketing links and more information.

Come party with Paranoid Image during the Denver band's Burning Paint CD release on Saturday, August 4. Festivities include a concert that starts at 8 p.m., but the fun will continue until 2 a.m. at intimate new Denver venue Your Mom’s House, at 608 East 13th Avenue. Colorado bands Echoes in Reverie, Black Canaries, Shower Me Blue and Slightly Overdressed will open for Paranoid Image. Burning Paint is a genre-bending album that combines elements of grunge, disco, bachata, bossa nova and more; appropriately, bachata, tango and belly dancers will perform alongside the group. Tickets, available at yourmomshousedenver.com, are $8 in advance and $12 the day of the show.

Sunday, August 5

On a normal day, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is an informal, drop-in life-drawing session with a twist: The models — burlesque girls, drag queens, cosplayers and other colorful characters — pose in costume. But once in a while, a pop-culture celebrity of great magnitude makes an appearance at the monthly session, and that’s the case in August, when the Sketchy’s crowd will be treated to Andy Warhol's Birthday Party, an evening with the King of Pop Art, or at least a reasonable facsimile of him. Bring your drawing materials if you’re an artist— or just show up because you’re curious — on Sunday, August 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee Street, where there will be cake, an art show in the RiNo Made Store (Sketchy’s monthly home), Candi Warhol ice cream from Gelato Boy...and Andy. Learn more at facebook.com/dr.sketchys.denver.

Black in the wind at High Plains Chautauqua.
Black in the wind at High Plains Chautauqua.
High Plains Chautauqua

Monday, August 6

Two out of Three Amigos ain't bad. Following their quippy, banjo-strumming muse wherever it may take them, comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short will reunite at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for an evening of bluegrass and belly laughs starting at 8 p.m. on Monday, August 6. Combining an almost vaudevillian level of showmanship with a showbiz-skewering comedic sensibility, the duo's recent Netflix special, An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, brought the comparatively private funnymen back onto screens and stages on their own terms. Martin and Short's comedic hijinks also include plenty of songs accompanied by bluegrassmen Steep Canyon Rangers and Jeff Babko. Visit stevemartin.com for links to tickets, $59 to $200 on AXS, as well as more tour details — and a delightfully absurd online user experience.

The chautauqua movement began as a summer school for Sunday school teachers in 1874, but it quickly morphed into a more secular and widespread adult-education platform that crashed with the stock market in 1929. While the concept might seem a little old-fashioned in the 21st century, a chautauqua is now more of a living-history pageant, where scholars take on the personalities and mannerisms of their famous and carefully researched subjects to tell stories and bring past eras and ideas into focus. The theme of this year's High Plains Chautauqua is "Blowin’ in the Wind: The ’60s," and over the course of four days it will revisit political figures, writers, activists and journalists from that turbulent decade, including Maya Angelou, Water Cronkite, Nikita Khrushchev, Robert Kennedy, Rachel Carson, George Wallace and others. The event runs from Monday, August 6, through Thursday, August 9, at Aims Community College, 5401 20th Street in Greeley; all programs are free. For a complete schedule and more information, visit highplainschautauqua.org.

In order to be considered for the 21 Best Events, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to editorial@westword.com or Westword, 969 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203.

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