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The 21 Best Events in Denver, July 17 Through July 23

Get to know Denver's dance scene at the Mile High Dance Festival.
Get to know Denver's dance scene at the Mile High Dance Festival.
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance
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There are plenty of opportunities to get to know Denver just a little bit more this week. The Cleo Parker Robinson Dance studio is hosting the Mile High Dance Festival, a glimpse into the scene that will include movers and shakers from across the city. You can also pay homage to Buntport Theater at a fundraiser, help send the Slam Nuba slam-poetry group to the National Poetry Slam in Chicago, and dine outside at Larimer Square. All that and more is in this week's calendar of the 21 best events in Denver!

Tuesday, July 17

Suicide isn't something that's generally talked about unless a celebrity or high-profile dignitary takes his or her own life. But in 2017, Foothills Art Center in Golden was awarded a grant to create and bolster projects that highlight the stigma of mental health issues and how they affect young adults in particular; the center funded five initiatives, including an art-therapy workshop, an improvised theater production at Golden High School, a mental health fair at the school, a 600-foot mural on Washington Avenue painted by Denver artist Jolt, and a documentary showing how leaders and students alike in Golden are tackling suicide. Created by local film producer extraordinaire Britt Chester and F4D Studios, Wall of Hope: A Source of Strength will premiere Tuesday, July 17, at 6 p.m. at Foothills, 809 15th Street in Golden. Find more information on the event's Facebook page or at artsweekgolden.org.

When it’s too hot to write more than a page a day, what do savvy authors do? They write flash fiction — short-short stories that come to a punchline in as little space as a single paragraph. Denver’s FBomb flash-fiction reading series plays along with that conceit for its Bad Dog Days FBomb #4, a summer-themed session suitable for listeners with sweat on their brows. Led by hottie host Roseanna Frechette and including authors Carolyn Reed and Jamey Trotter on Tuesday, July 17, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, Bad Dog Days will host an open mic where you can deliver your own scorching words. Admission is free; learn more on the event's Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 18

Federal prohibition aside, the pot industry is booming, with one recent market report forecasting that it will reach $23.4 billion in earnings by 2022. Take your chance to get in before it's completely flooded at the Vangst Cannabis Career Fair, taking place Wednesday, July 18, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street. Over fifty licensed cannabis businesses and ancillary pot companies will be at the conference to recruit and network with pot-industry professionals. Areas for hire include cultivation, extraction, lab staff, retail, management, finance, sales, customer outreach, IT, human resources, marketing and more. Tickets are $10; learn more at 303-468-5443 or vangst.com.

Thursday, July 19

In the art and music scenes, stripes tend to stick with stripes, right? Not necessarily, says defiantly lowbrow Lakewood art gallery Sally Centigrade, which is hosting Mile High Mixtape Vol. 1, described as "a group show of Denver artists inspired by Denver bands." Organized by curator Alicia “Bruce” Trujillo, who based the pairings on visual aesthetics and sound, the exhibit will showcase the wide variety of music and artistic styles represented in Colorado. Among the musicians are Wheelchair Sports Camp, Colfax Speed Queen and the Velveteers; the artists include Kaitlin Ziesmer, Elena Thunderson and Kristen Easthope, for starters. The exhibit opens with a party on Thursday, July 19, from 5 to 10 p.m. and runs through August 18 at Sally Centigrade, 445 South Saulsbury Street, Unit E, in Lakewood. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.

When Doors Open Denver started in 2005, the free two-day architectural extravaganza was hosted by the City of Denver every April. Thirteen years later, it's still free, still two days long, but now those two days are in September and the event is organized by the Denver Architecture Foundation...which is depending on volunteers to help with this year's edition. So on Thursday, July 19, the DAF will host the Doors Open Denver 2018 Volunteer Social from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at OZ Architecture, 3003 Larimer Street. Come for pizza and beer as well as all the details about how to help out at this annual celebration of Denver's built environment, this year set for September 22 and 23. Like Doors Open Denver, the social is free, but registration is encouraged on eventbrite.com; find out more about the event as well as special tours on the Denver Architecture Foundation Facebook page.

Adventure's the name of the game at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's Mindbender Mansion exhibit.
Adventure's the name of the game at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's Mindbender Mansion exhibit.
Courtesy of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Friday, July 20

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science exhibit Mindbender Mansion is like an all-ages puzzle room on steroids. An installation filled with brain-teasing new challenges at every turn, it’s a great way to keep bored but curious young summer vacationers — and possibly yourself — busy for a day. On tours led by “Mr. E” of the mysterious Mindbender Society, museum-goers gather clues and complete activities at puzzle stations and in secret vaults for a chance to become full-fledged members of the society. Mindbender Mansion opens at the DMNS, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, on Friday, July 20, and runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (Christmas Day excepted) through January 6; entry is free with regular museum admission. Learn more about the exhibit at dmns.org.

The Mile High Parley, with its rebellious Pirate Radio undertones, began as a concurrent alternative to the Underground Music Showcase annual takeover on Broadway each summe, ostensibly to show the true face of music being made in Denver. After taking a break last year, the Parley is regrouping and blasting off a week earlier than the other fest. The Mile High Parley raises its black flag over Broadway beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 20, and runs daily through July 22 at Parley central, Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway. The festival will also take over six stages and include an all-ages street fair up and down Broadway, where vendor booths, poetry readings, comedy and mural painting will augment the music. Admission is free. Keep up with developing news and a complete schedule at milehighparley.com or at facebook.com/milehighparleydenver.

Celebrate Buntport at the One Grand Dance Party: A Benefit for Buntport.EXPAND
Celebrate Buntport at the One Grand Dance Party: A Benefit for Buntport.
Courtesy of Buntport Theater

Small cultural organizations stick together by cross-programming, sharing spaces and generally sticking up for one another, because that’s just what creative people do. And sometimes, one will go the extra step for another to show its appreciation for all the supportive symbiosis. Ron Doyle of Narrators Denver, which shares space with Buntport Theater, will do just that by dedicating his day of birth to One Grand Dance Party: A Birthday Benefit for Buntport, a kid-friendly shindig with dancing, food, DJs, a raffle and birthday party treats. Extend birthday wishes and help out Buntport, which stands to receive a matching donation from the Olson-Vander Heyden Foundation for whatever funds it can raise in July. The birthday bash goes down on Friday, July 20, from 6 p.m. to midnight at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan Street; a $5 to $10 donation is requested at the door. Learn more on the Narrators Denver Facebook page.

An acrobatic and theatrical form of professional wrestling with deep roots in Mexico's pop culture, lucha libre is operatic bloodsport at it very finest. Celebrate all things lucha at Museo de las Americas' Third Annual Lucha Libre Bash with a coterie of eight to ten local and international luchadores provided by Hugo's wrestling. Join the throngs of bloodthirsty fans ringside at the Museo, 861 Santa Fe Drive, for an evening of high-flying physical prowess, grand drama and goofy humor. In addition to ringside thrills, guests can gain insight into the lore and pageantry of lucha libre at Museo's small but informative exhibition of photographs and signed masks. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the action starts at 6 on Friday, July 20. Admission is $8 to $15 at eventbrite.com.

Cinema and symphony unite in glorious harmony at the Colorado Symphony's presentation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, an appealing hybrid of concert and film screening. For the fourth entry in the generation-defining Harry Potter series, Scottish composer Patrick Doyle had the unenviable task of taking over for living legend John Williams (who'd scored the first three movies). Fortunately, his work dovetailed nicely with Williams's while achieving a uniquely evocative tone. Relive one of the franchise's most exciting big-screen displays with a live orchestra led by conductor Jeffrey Schindler at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21, or during a 1 p.m. matinee on Sunday, July 22. Visit the Colorado Symphony box-office page for tickets, $25 to $104, and information.

Things will be looking bright in the Curtis Park neighborhood on Friday, July 20, thanks to Lights Out Lights On, a block-wide collaborative evening of light-based and new-media art installations hosted by nearby art hives RedLine and the Temple. More than twenty artists will participate in the immersive event (names are still being added), which will turn on with everything from video screenings and projection mapping to one installation with a “smell-o-vision” component. Everything will be on view from 8 to 11 p.m. both at and between RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, and the Temple, 2400 Curtis Street; food trucks will be on the street to keep the crowd full. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested when you RSVP at eventbrite.com. And in case you miss the party, installations will stay in place through July 21.

Move and be moved at the Mile High Dance Festival.
Move and be moved at the Mile High Dance Festival.
Courtesy of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

Saturday, July 21

There’s so much going on dance-wise in the Denver area, but hardly anyone knows about it, which is one reason that Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, one of the cornerstones of the local dance community, throws the annual Mile High Dance Festival. The free day of sample classes and dance performances with a Denver-centric view runs this year from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, 119 Park Avenue West. Highlights include a hip-hop battle at 3 p.m. and a 7 p.m. performance highlighting a diverse roster of local companies working in different styles, all outdoors in the CPRD amphitheater. Learn more about the fest at cleoparkerdance.org.

We live far from Provence, the lavender capital of the world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our share of the dusty-scented, purple-hued herb here in our own back yard. It turns out that, like its spiky cousin rosemary, lavender doesn’t require much pampering and grows pretty well in Colorado’s dry climate. As living proof, Chatfield Farms, a subsidiary of the Denver Botanic Gardens, keeps a lovely and lush lavender garden that hits its peak in July, just in time for the annual Lavender Festival. Visit Chatfield Farms, 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road in Littleton, on Saturday, July 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a day of workshops, free tours, bluegrass music and kid-friendly activities, along with local vendors of lavender products and handmades. Admission is $5 to $7 (free for children thirteen and under). Find more information at botanicgardens.org.

The Reptilian Nation Expo slithers back to the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street, for another wiggly weekend of creepy-crawlies and heebie-jeebies. This two-day summit of nationally renowned reptile, amphibian and arachnid breeders, vendors, rescuers and experts will offer fun and informative seminars as well as glimpses of their menageries. Whether you fancy snakes, lizards, frogs or tarantulas, the Reptilian Nation Expo is an unforgettable experience that'll leave you with nightmares — or a collection of strange new pets. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 21, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 22. Visit the Reptilian Nation Expo home page for tickets, $6 to $25, and more information.

Slam Nuba's Grand Slam champ, Toluwanimi Obiwole.
Slam Nuba's Grand Slam champ, Toluwanimi Obiwole.
Riley Cowing

Award-winning slam-poetry organization Slam Nuba has had it tough in the past year or so after losing its longtime Five Points venue, Crossroads Theater. But it's far from done: Slam Nuba is ready to send another slam-poetry team to the National Poetry Slam in Chicago in August, led by its own 2018 Grand Slam Champion, Toluwanimi Obiwole. The group has been fundraising up a storm to help the team along, and this week, members will be manning a Slam Nuba Baked Sale table at the weekly Black Dollar Saturday vendor event at Brother Jeff's Cultural Center, 2836 Welton Street, loaded with sweet treats and high hopes. Visit Brother Jeff’s and check the group out on Saturday, July 21, from noon to 4 p.m.; learn more on the event's Facebook page.

Tacos and beer, tacos and beer, tacos and beer! Yeah, it's heaven. Sanitas Brewing, 3558 Frontier Avenue in Boulder, will bring back its Taco Fest on Saturday, July 21. Starting at noon, Sanitas will begin pouring twenty different beers made just for the event, and longtime food partner McDevitt Taco Supply will offer up at least forty different kinds of tacos. There will also be live music all afternoon and evening, lucha libre wrestling on a stage and piñatas for all ages (including some with adult treats). Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door (kids twelve and under get in free) and include one beer and one taco, along with the music and wrestling. Additional beer and tacos will be available for purchase. Learn more at sanitastacofest.com.

A history lesson unlike any other, The Dollop is the brainchild of comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, who mine overlooked incidents of yore for absurd riffs and disbelieving belly laughs. In each of the podcast's episodes, history buff Anthony explains an event or personage of historical significance to the riff-happy Reynolds, who generally has little to no advanced knowledge of the subject. Anthony and Reynolds have also collected some of their favorite discoveries in a book titled The United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories From American History, but their unique repartee is still best captured in the podcast itself. Join Reynolds and Anthony for a live taping at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, at Gates Concert Hall in the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. Visit newmantix.com for tickets, $35, and information.

According to Johnny Morehouse — filmmaker, Westword MasterMind and foundational member of the currently homeless Deer Pile comedy club — shorter is better. One of his longtime projects, the Five Minute Film Fest, is back for another spin, with mini-movies from filmmakers here and around the globe. And since Morehouse’s Deer Pile cohort, comic Ben Kronberg, will share hosting duties, you can expect a humor-fueled evening on Saturday, July 21, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street. Admission is $5 at the door; visit the Deer Pile Facebook page for more details.

With Denver's supposed 300 days of sunshine per year, you'd think eating outdoors in our town would be a no-brainer — and it is...until it isn't. We've had meals outside that have been suddenly and unexpectedly submerged in inches of rainwater, and barbecues that have been bungled by sub-sixty-degree temps in June. But even given the risks you run eating without a roof over your head, Larimer Square's Dining al Fresco on Saturday, July 21, is one of the most appealing summer restaurant events around, as the street is blocked off, lights are strung up, and everyone gathers in a collegial atmosphere for dinner under the stars. This year's participating restaurants (Bistro Vendôme, Ted's Montana Grill, Corridor 44, Capitol Grille, TAG, Osteria Marco, Cru, Rioja, Green Russell and Ocean Prime) are taking reservations directly, so call your first pick to see if they can get you in. Too late? No worries: The party continues on August 18 and September 15. Find more information at larimersquare.com.

Sunday, July 22

Walking around looking at flowers isn't usually an activity that children enjoy, but the Denver Botanic Gardens does things just a little differently than everyone else. The DBG will host a Family Garden Party starting at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 22, that will use story readings, crafts and games to educate youngsters about gardening and healthy eating. Bloomers Island book series author Cynthia Wylie will be on hand to read from The Great Garden Party. Tickets for adults and children alike are $8 for non-members and $6 for members; find more information at botanicgardens.org.

Monday, July 23

Feel like getting a dance refresher from one of the top companies in the region? You can do that during Wonderbound’s Dance Mixology 2018, a sampler week of fun hour-long dance sessions with Wonderbound hares Sarah Tallman and Morgan Sicklick. Every class, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. daily beginning Monday, July 23, and running through July 27 at Wonderbound, 1075 Park Ave West, is different, and there’s no rule that says you have to take them all. Admission is $18 per class with a punch card or $20 per class without. Learn more at wonderbound.com.

In order for an event to be considered for 21 Best, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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