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The 21 Best Events in Denver, July 24 Through July 30

The Underground Music Showcase returns on July 27!
The Underground Music Showcase returns on July 27!
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As usual, there's plenty to do in Denver this week. If music is your thing, don't miss the Underground Music Showcase, which kicks off on July 27, or Halsey performing at Red Rocks on July 30. Parkour gets a nod at the Parkour Festival, as does burlesque at the Burlesque As It Was Twentieth Anniversary Party. Find more things to do in this week's 21 best events calendar!

Tuesday, July 24

The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is spilling all over town this week, but the action moves indoors — to Bellco Theatre in the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street — on Tuesday, July 24, for A Night of Stoke, presented by 5Point Film Festival. This year's Night of Stoke theme is "Our Stories, Our Lands," and the evening will showcase some of the outdoor industry’s most impactful adventure films programmed by 5Point Film, along with stories from industry experts and personalities; Luis Benitez, director of Colorado's Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, will host alongside 5Point emcee Paddy O'Connell. “Coming together to listen to the storytellers, adventurers and people all making such an incredibly positive impact is what makes this industry so inspiring," says Jennifer Holcomb, senior marketing director for Outdoor Retailer. "A Night of Stoke is an opportunity, when the entire industry is together for just a few days, to celebrate the people who evoke the pursuit of adventure in all of us.” Pursue some adventure when doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a program that begins at 7:15; tickets are $20 at axs.com. Find out more about A Night of Stoke at 5pointfilm.org.

Can kink and BDSM help heal people who've had traumatic experiences? That’s the question raised by A Kink in the Cure, a Vagina Monologues-style play written by Tim Murray, a queer, polyamorous therapeutic kink practitioner who spent ten years interviewing hundreds of people about their experiences with how BDSM did — or didn’t — help them overcome sexual trauma and abuse. The play will be presented by Radical Intimacy, a Colorado-based group that hosts workshops about kink, sex, relationships and intimacy. The performance begins at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, at 3 Kings Tavern, 60 South Broadway. Find tickets, $15 to $50, at kinkinthecure.com.

Wednesday, July 25

If you’ve ever wondered what goes on at the youth-arts organization Youth on Record, here’s your chance to look in on one of its big projects, the Youth on Record Fellowship, which awards creative young participants with micro-grants of $500 to $2,000 to follow their dreams after completing ten months of mentorships and professional development. Mentor Molina Speaks and the latest group will host If they let us... / NO Permission Needed, a public afternoon and evening with panel discussions and workshops led by fellows, a pizza dinner, artist performances and a culminating party, on Wednesday, July 25, from 4 to 10 p.m. at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Admission is free, and people of all ages are encouraged to come and see what’s up at one of Denver’s coolest nonprofits. Come as you are and bring the kids. Get more info at youthonrecord.org.

Thursday, July 26

The Colorado Music Festival continues its longstanding tradition of welcoming the finest musicians from all over the world to Boulder with a concert from Grammy Award-winning classical violinist Augustin Hadelich, who will perform at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road in Boulder, on Thursday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. After a house fire left him badly scarred and unable to perform for over a year, Hadelich fought through unimaginable pain to regain his mastery of the violin. Under the guidance of conductor Peter Oundjian, Hadelich will work through a centuries-spanning program that includes Paul Hindemith's "Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber" and George Walker's "Lyric for Strings," among others. Visit the Colorado Music Festival's box-office page to buy tickets, $14 to $55, and get more details. The 2018 Colorado Music Festival concludes on August 4.

DIY spaces come and go, but a few leave their mark forever. Such is the case with Monkey Mania, a much-missed Denver DIY venue that closed around 2006. Syntax Physic Opera will celebrate the space and its creative culture at I Heart Monkey Mania, a concert that will reunite the performance artists/musicians in legendary local band Mr. Pacman with others who played at Monkey Mania, including the members of Cyclo-Sonic, a local supergroup of sorts comprising musicians from the Fluid, the Rok Tots, the Choosey Mothers and the Frantix; some newer bands will round out the bill. Chris Bagley will produce visual art for the concert, which starts at 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, at Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway. Tickets are $7. For more information, search "I Heart Monkey Mania With Mr. Pacman at Syntax" on Facebook.

Elevate your senses at the Parkour Festival.
Elevate your senses at the Parkour Festival.
Tranquil Movement

Friday, July 27

Jump Fest brings the international parkour community together for a week every summer in Colorado Springs, where everyone camps out and bonds while bouncing off walls and vaulting over obstacles. But the outdoor convention also involves training for the main event: the culminating Parkour Festival, with competitions including speed battles, tech races and ten-minute team-style events. Spectators won’t have to stay on the sidelines all day, as the fest also hosts all-ages activities, parkour-related games and challenges, and music and food for all. Catch the action from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28, at Acacia Park, 115 East Platte Avenue in the Springs; competition prelims are on Friday, and finals follow on Saturday. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for the National Breast Cancer Foundation; visit jumpfest.events for more details.

Hard to believe, but it was twenty years ago this week that Michelle Baldwin, aka Vivienne VaVoom, set off Denver’s new-burlesque boom at the Bluebird Theater with Burlesque As It Was, a nostalgic update of the girly shows of old, complete with elaborate costumes, vaudeville, fan dances and mermaids on the half-shell. So it's a fitting time, says Colfax Museum director Jonny Barber, to honor Baldwin with induction into the Colfax Avenue Walk of Fame, which he’ll do on Friday, July 27, with a ceremony and a Burlesque As It Was Twentieth Anniversary Party. (There'll be a little bumping and grinding on the side, too.) Join the fun from 5 to 9 p.m. and get a look at the museum’s new digs, at 6851 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood. Learn more at the Colfax Museum Facebook page.

Modern Nomad, a Denver-based retail and design collective, has hit the road this summer to team up with the Amigo Motor Lodge in Salida on Modern Amigo, a pop-up showroom of new and vintage furniture, home accessories and clothing. The project runs Thursdays through Sundays through August 8, but Friday, July 27, is a particularly auspicious time for a road trip, because Modern Amigo will be hosting a free happy hour from 5 to 9 p.m. with spirits from Deerhammer Distillery of Buena Vista, live music and special giveaways from Modern Nomad. It’s all at the Amigo Motor Lodge, 7350 West U.S. Highway 50 in Salida; find out more at modernnomaddenver.com or stayamigo.com.

Artists like Adán De La Garza have a hard time finding venues for their difficult work in Denver, but Sommer Browning’s garage gallery, Georgia Art Space, turns the tables on what’s acceptable gallery fare. De La Garza will take over Georgia for The Politics of Frequency, a rare local performance of his audio experiment with noise and frequencies that border on sounding like military weaponry. The performance includes a new, ten-minute composition that explores the boundary where noise crosses over into warfare (as well as other examples of his sonic repertoire). Hear it all this weekend at Georgia, 952 Mariposa Street, beginning with an opening reception on Friday, July 27, from 7 p.m. to midnight, and continuing on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Experimental films by Andrew Busti will be also screened on Friday night. For more information, visit sommerbrowning.com/georgia.

Each year, the sounds of Denver’s best bands — some emerging and others well-established — can be heard blasting from venues along South Broadway during the Underground Music Showcase, a weekend-long celebration of the local music scene. In a summer that seems to have exploded with music festivals, UMS stands out as among the best to offer a comprehensive view of what’s happening in Colorado’s booming music community. In UMS’s first year under the ownership of forward-thinking events producer Two Parts, the festival promises more cultural and culinary options than ever. It kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 27, and runs through Sunday, July 29; for a full schedule and venue information, visit undergroundmusicshowcase.com.

When Boxyard Park pops in RiNo, be ready to party.
When Boxyard Park pops in RiNo, be ready to party.
RiNo Boxyard Park Project

As density rises and breweries keep multiplying in RiNo, the busy creative district has lots of high life, but no place to kick back in public. Until now, that is: Boxyard Park will pop up, at least temporarily, at the intersection of Blake Street and Broadway for a season of mixed programming, from yoga classes to tipsy adults-only ice-cream socials, with a dog park, art installations, food trucks and other outdoor diversions in the inner city, thanks to community fundraising efforts. If it catches on, RiNo hopes to collaborate with the city to make it a full-time public park, but for now you can check it out at a grand-opening celebration on Friday, July 27, with live music, an art market and food vendors from 7 to 10 p.m. at 2500 Broadway, in conjunction with the RiNo-wide Final Friday summer block party. Admission is free; keep up with ongoing events at Boxyard Park at boxyardpark.com.

Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 in August, a milestone that has inspired dozens of revivals and concerts all over the state. But few tributes can claim to be as tactile or tiki-flavored as Denver Immersive Opera's presentation of the Bernstein-composed Trouble in Tahiti. Sponsored by Meow Wolf, this Trouble in Tahiti is a tuneful tale of a tiki party gone awry when hosts Dinah (Nicole London) and Sam (Tony London) begin singing about their troubled marriage, with snarky yet lovely accompaniment from a jazz trio. Join stage director Corinne Denny along with music director and pianist Jessica Niles at BarFly, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, and surround yourself with the sounds of one of America's greatest songwriters. The show opens at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 27, and continues through August 5. Get details and tickets, $20, at the Denver Immersive Opera website.

Thaddeus Phillips returns to Denver with his Inflatable Space.
Thaddeus Phillips returns to Denver with his Inflatable Space.
Thaddeus Phillips

Thaddeus Phillips grew up in Denver, graduating from East High and going on to Colorado College, where he fell in with that gestalt of humans we now know as Buntport Theater. Although Phillips has gone on to new heights in bigger cities as a one-man performance artist who pulls together powerful themes with a few chaotic props and a pinpoint imagination, he still checks in at Buntport with a new show every few years. This time around, it’s Inflatable Space, a space-age parable inspired by the Golden Record, a now-famous extraterrestrial package of culture sent by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan into the universe in 1977, on board the Voyager space probes. The show opens at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 27, and continues through August 4, with eight performances in all. Tickets are $15 online at buntport.com or $20 at the door at Buntport, 717 Lipan Street.

Saturday, July 28

If your walls are looking a little bare, head to the Cheesman Park Art Fest, where 130 juried artists and craftsmen and -women from across the U.S. will bring their best work to sell. Peruse the work of potters, painters, jewelers, sculptors, glass artists and more in one of Denver's loveliest parks. The celebrated annual art festival runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 28, and  9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 29, in the southwest corner of the park, East Eighth Avenue and Downing Street; admission is free. There will also be musical performances, plus plenty of food trucks to keep you full. Find more information at dasheventsdenver.com/cheesman — and happy hunting!

Looking for color, culture, entertainment, delectable eats and a well-run fest? The annual pan-Asian Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is a best bet for all that and more, considering that the main event — the dragon boat races themselves — adds a sporting element to the fun. This year, the CDBF celebrates the Year of the Dog and Mongolian culture; other highlights include an upbeat opening ceremony with dragon dancing and a parade, spicy-ramen-eating contests, a marketplace, a bungee trampoline, a cosmological origami workshop and a Japanese Obon dance. Immerse yourself in Asian culture on Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29, at Sloan’s Lake Park, 1700 Sheridan Boulevard; boat races begin at 8 a.m. each day. Parking and a free shuttle service are available at the Fifth Street parking garage, 650 Walnut Street on the Auraria campus. Find more information at cdbf.org.

Save water, drink beer. That time-honored order isn’t easy to execute in places that are short of water in the first place, which is where Water for People comes in. Starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, the Denver-based nonprofit — which helps the nine countries hit hardest by water-borne illnesses to get fresh-water infrastructure — will host Thirsty Fest at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park. All three floors as well as the outdoor area will be overflowing with a family-friendly beer festival, full of live music, beers from around the state, games, food trucks and more. Admission is $25 (and includes three tickets for three-ounce tasters); designated drivers pay $15. Find out more about this Water for People fundraiser and get tickets at thirstyfestdenver.com.

Deafies in Drag will dress up the 258 Deaf Street Festival.
Deafies in Drag will dress up the 258 Deaf Street Festival.
Deafies in Drag

Deaf culture is testament to the human drive for community, though hearing folk don’t always understand it. But whether you’re a member of that group, a non-deaf American Sign Language whiz or just curious, the 258 Deaf Street Festival offers a look inside the culture and a goodwill opportunity for the deaf to share sign-language culture with each other and the world. Activities at the fest, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street, will include exhibits, Deaf Got Talent programming, and a meet-and-greet with Deafies in Drag. Stick around for a 5:30 p.m. screening of Hedy and Heidi: The Lost Sister Movie, a comedy about twins, both played by deaf actress and Internet sensation Heidi Branch, who will appear in person. General admission is $5, and movie tickets are $10 to $20 at eventbrite.com. Learn more at 258deafst.com.

Lighthouse Writers Workshop works year-round to help writers network, introduce new work and improve their skills. But that mission also includes high-profile author events that go beyond a typical bookstore reading and often tie a workshop or salon to the public appearance. To that end, Lighthouse presents Inside the Writer’s Studio With Carmen Maria Machado, a fresh author whose 2017 debut short-story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was nominated for a long list of national honors. Machado will be at the Holiday Theater, 2644 West 32nd Avenue, on Saturday, July 28, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The next day, Sunday, July 29, at 10 a.m., the author will give a more intimate craft talk back at Lighthouse, 1515 Race Street. Admission is $10 to $20 for Saturday's event and $65 to $75 for Sunday's; all-access passes are also available. Get details and tickets at lighthousewriters.org.

An Oz-stravaganza for the ages, the Colorado Symphony's Wicked Divas concert is a showcase of gravity-defying vocal talents expressed through a variety of song styles. Divas Nicole Parker and Alli Mauzey, who portrayed Elphaba and Glinda, respectively, in the Broadway production of Wicked, will contribute three songs to an era- and discipline-spanning evening that will include selections from Carmen, Les Misérables, Cabaret and many more. Conducted by Christopher Dragon, the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada. Tickets are $20 for a spot on the lawn and $35 to $50 for a seat in the covered area. Get yours, along with more information, at arvadacenter.org.

Sunday, July 29

Atlas Obscura Society Denver often digs into Denver's underground, ferreting out secret spaces and buried treasures in (and under) the city. But on Sunday, July 29, things will be looking up for the adventurers: Lost Theaters will take them to the exclusive fourteenth-floor observation deck of the Clocktower, 1601 Arapahoe Street, for a program discussing the history of not just that structure, but lost theaters and entertainment palaces that once stood around Denver. Afterward, Atlas Obscura will return to its roots, exploring the basement cabaret at the bottom of the Clocktower. There are tours at 1 and 3 p.m.; tickets are $55, include a drink, and are available only in advance at atlasobscura.com/events/denvers-lost-theaters.

Monday, July 30

Halsey is bad at love, but don't hold that against her. The electro-pop artist born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane is the first to admit her faults, as she did in "Bad at Love" on 2017's Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, her second studio album and the one that catapulted the New Jersey-bred singer-songwriter to radio fame. Halsey doesn't just bare her soul in her music; the astonishingly introspective 23-year-old has been involved with mental-health and suicide-awareness campaigns from the onset of her career. Expect a moody night of millennial musing when Halsey performs at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 West Alameda Parkway in Morrison, on Monday, July 30, at 8 p.m. Get tickets, $29.50 to $75, at redrocksonline.com.

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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