This is a big week for Denver. Well, Colorado, really. On Tuesday, August 1, the state is celebrating its (141st!) birthday, an annual celebration marked by Colorado Day. Governor John Hickenlooper will toast all things Colorado wine at the Governor's Cup Wine Competition, and Telluride will kick off its annual Jazz Festival. Of course, there's plenty to do in Denver, too. Keep reading for the best events in and around the Mile High City this week.
Tuesday, August 1
Colorado became the 38th state on August 1, 1876, and it’s looking pretty good for 141. On Tuesday, August 1, you can join in the party when the History Colorado Center and associated museums across the state offer free admission in honor of Colorado Day. “By empowering Coloradans in understanding and celebrating our rich history, we can all work together and look to building a better future,” says Steve Turner, director of History Colorado. The center at 1200 Broadway will have special events all day, including cake, a mountain man rendezvous and live performances; find out more at historycolorado.org.
America Divided is a documentary series hosted by actor and outspoken activist Jesse Williams, who explores the systemic issues that drive this country apart. The episode screening at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, August 1, at Open Media Foundation focuses on how enforcement of unjust laws has re-segregated not only the justice system, but educational opportunities as well. While privileged children enjoy every advantage a good education can provide, too many struggling kids in racially and economically segregated schools get swept up in a tacit “school-to-prison pipeline.” Join the Community Resource Center at Open Media, 700 Kalamath Street, for a screening of the episode followed by a sure-to-be lively discussion led by RISE Colorado and various community leaders. Free admission includes complimentary beverages and light snacks. Visit crcamerica.org to learn more.
Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar owns the camp genre of filmmaking, as proven by a catalogue of work drenched in quirky humor, sex, satire and, at times, deep pathos, produced over nearly forty years of filmmaking. Now you can celebrate a career of note, in depth, when the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, hosts Almodóvar en Total, a twenty-film retrospective curated by former Denver Film Society programming manager, filmmaker and Westword contributor Keith Garcia and presented by CU Boulder film studies director Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz. Organized into four weeklong segments — Pedro Finds His Voice, Almodóvar’s Sexy Stride, Pedro Remembers and Neo-Modovar — the series starts at the very beginning, with a screening of Almodóvar’s first film, 1980’s Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 1, and ends a month later with the filmmaker’s most recent work, Julieta. Full series passes are available for $100 to $140 at denverfilm.org; check the website for tickets to individual screenings.
Wednesday, August 2
Denver’s Warm Cookies of the Revolution civic health club and Boulder’s Square Product Theatre both have a knack for pulling together themed community-building discussions about sensitive issues. That said, a collaboration between the two, bringing Warm Cookies programming to mingle with Square Product’s in Boulder, makes perfect sense. The resulting event, Show ’n Tell Mixtape: Privilege Is REAL and Here’s What We’re DOING About It, invites people to bring a personal item that represents their privilege to stir up the conversation. Get talking about the meaning of privilege from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, August 2, at Wesley Chapel, 1290 Folsom Street on the University of Colorado Boulder campus; admission is free, and cookies will be served. Learn more at warmcookiesoftherevolution.org/.
Mixed Taste is a lecture series that brings together two speakers who explore unrelated topics. After the presentations, the audience mixes it up, asking questions and drawing comparisons between the subjects. This month’s discussion — on asparagus and money laundering, presented by Carol O’Meara and Micah Schwalb — takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 2, in the Seawell Ballroom in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Show up at 4:30 for cocktails and food from Centerplate and local music from Swallow Hill in the DPAC’s Galleria. Tickets to the lecture are $20. For more information, go to denvercenter.org.
Thursday, August 3
Colorado’s governor may be a former brewery owner, but that doesn’t mean the office ignores the state’s great wineries. Every year, the Governor’s Cup Wine Competition, sponsored by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, selects the best Colorado-made wines. This year, judges — local and national wine experts, sommeliers, chefs and writers — evaluated 324 wines from 46 wineries and handed out medals, reserving double-golds for only the best of the best. You can sip the winners at the Governor’s Cup Wine Tasting on Thursday, August 3, at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway. Taste a dozen wines, ciders and fruit wines selected for the Governor’s Cup Case (a twelve-pack of the state’s finest) alongside small plates from some of Denver’s top restaurants from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. for $45. If you want to dodge the crowd, choose a $75 VIP ticket to gain entry at 6:30 p.m.; you’ll also get additional food pairings and tastes of previous Governor’s Cup winners. For a complete list of the winning wines and to purchase tickets, go to coloradowine.com.
For Denver-based comedians, there’s no greater reward for their years of efforts than a headlining gig at Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street. And few comics have worked more or crushed harder than local favorite Stephen Agyei, who steps into the spotlight for his second-ever full-length set at the home club at 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 3 (the first show sold out). Agyei, a perennial New Faces contest finalist who co-hosts the monthly Propaganda! showcase, recently made his television debut on the Denver episode of Viceland’s Flophouse. He’s also appeared with Roy Wood Jr. on NPR’s All Things Considered and participated in the prestigious RIOT L.A. Festival. A devilishly funny performer who can sell the bejesus out of a punchline with a simple facial expression, Agyei is one of the leading lights of the local scene, and bound for greater success on one of the coasts. Don’t miss the opportunity to see him perform while he’s still a local. Visit comedyworks.com for tickets, $14, and information.
Exhibit curation is an art in itself, one that Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum director Cortney Stell has perfected over years of study and practical application. This summer, Stell has been coaching ArtLab youth interns, using artists at the Temple as guinea pigs for a student-curated show in PlatteForum, which shares space within the Curtis Park studio enclave. It’s all part of PlatteForum’s continuing collaborative programming showcasing artists and creatives in the Temple community. The Temple Artists Group Exhibition, for which the students delved into big themes of stereotyping, identity loss and feeling one’s way through life, opens with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, August 3, at PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street inside the Temple, and runs through September 1. Learn more at platteforum.org.
Georgetown is one of Colorado’s quaintest mountain towns, but as with all things quaint and cute — think clowns, kids and pets — it has the potential to be terrifying. That notion is not lost on the dozens of horror writers and aficionados who will climb their way up I-70 and take over the town for the Ghost Town Writers Retreat. For three days starting Thursday, August 3, participants will hone their craft and enjoy all the local splendor. Guests can take a steam-train trip through the Rockies, tour a haunted Victorian manor, learn about Georgetown’s haunted history, visit a power station constructed by Nikola Tesla that runs the town, participate in panel discussions and more. The whole weekend costs $157, but one-day tickets are also available, at ghosttownwritersretreat.com. For more information, call 303-518-3082.
Levitt Pavilion will host roughly thirty free shows in 2017 at the nonprofit’s stunning 7,500-seat venue in Ruby Hill Park, 1380 West Florida Avenue. If you haven’t visited the new pavilion yet, don’t miss its next show, with The Suffers, a Houston-based, eight-piece Gulf Coast-soul act that will bring a mix of rock, Latin ska, hip-hop, country, Cajun and R&B to Denver. “When I think of the Gulf, I think of good food, humidity and diverse cultures — and this is all reflected in The Suffers,” says lead singer Kam Franklin. “We come from different backgrounds, but it all comes together in our band, and we create a gumbo of music.” Also on the roster: the Mile High’s own The Other Black. The concert, on Thursday, August 3, at 7:30 p.m., is free, but attendees should RSVP
Friday, August 4
The Telluride Jazz Festival may be entering its fourth decade, but the mountain-town hootenanny shows no signs of slowing; if anything, the festival is growing more open-minded as it ages. Though it’s continuing the time-honored tradition of inviting the finest jazz musicians to Telluride’s Town Park, 500 East Colorado Avenue, for three delightfully jazzy days, the organizers are also offering “Jazz After Dark” showcases scattered throughout music venues downtown. This year’s festival lineup includes New Orleans-inspired funk and jazz from the Cha Wa Mardi Gras Indian Band and the Hooligan Brass Band, but many of the headliners — including Mavis Staples, Macy Gray and the Funky Meters — hail from R&B, funk and soul. The weekend of fun and funk starts at noon on Friday, August 4. Single-day tickets start at $60, and three-day festival passes at $160. Visit telluridejazz.org to buy yours and see the full schedule.
As glaciers and ice caps melt, weather patterns shift and lakes and rivers dry up, there’s going to be too much water or too little, and artists worldwide want to join the conversation about what we’re all going to do about it. To that end, director/curator Cecily Cullen of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Center for Visual Art handpicked nineteen of them to explore every aspect of mankind’s feast-or-famine water predicament for Water Line: A Creative Exchange, a multimedia exhibit combining responses through photography, mixed-media installation, film and video, ceramic, sculpture and even music to critically drive home the zillion conjoined issues arising around our dwindling supply of clean H2O. Water Line opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on First Friday, August 4, and runs through October 21 at the CVA, 965 Santa Fe Drive; accompanying the main exhibit is a student-curated show, Propagate: A Backyard Revolution, that brings the issue down to the local level. Related artist talks are scheduled at 6 p.m. September 14 and 20 and October 4; get complete information at msudenver.edu/cva.
Dea Webb, Denver’s longtime unofficial cheerleader for outsider, lowbrow, graffiti and vinyl collectible art, has a few chops with the paintbrush herself, expressed on canvas with a spoonful of dark humor and wicked whimsy. On rare occasions, she shows her quirky work. Webb’s collection of new paintings, Animals Are Stupid, will go on display Friday, August 4, at Abstract, Indyink’s retail store at 84 South Broadway. Hang with Webb and her entertaining menagerie during a reception from 6 to 10 p.m.; visit Indyink’s Facebook page for more information.
Saturday, August 5
303 Magazine’s Denver Fashion Weekend returns for a concentrated one-two punch of style — with a side of culture — at Wings Over the Rockies, 7711 East Academy Boulevard in Lowry. First up, on Saturday, August 5, is a glitzy evening topped at 9:30 p.m. by a runway show spotlighting top Denver boutiques, stylists and designers, and on Sunday, August 6, DFW does the same for the local children’s-apparel community with a kiddie fashion show at 6:30 p.m. The culture part — an adults-only cocktail reception starting at 7 p.m. Saturday and a kid-friendly one at 4 p.m. Sunday, followed by a walk through the interactive DaVinci’s Machines exhibition currently on display at the hangar — will precede the fashion shows both days. Admission ranges from $18 to $60 (or $400 for a VIP table for six) and includes entry into the DaVinci exhibit; children ages six and up are welcome — and admitted free if they’re under ten — on Sunday. For information and tickets, visit 303magazine.com/dfw.
Smoke and suds will flood Five Points on Saturday, August 5, for Five Points Brew & BBQ, a festival and competition that will give pit masters and brewers a chance to show off their best. In turn, attendees will get to partake in barbecue and beer samples from a dozen restaurants and a dozen more breweries, along with funk, soul, bluegrass and blues from local musicians. The fun runs from 1 to 8:30 p.m. at the intersection of 27th and Welton streets, with ticket packages running from $49 to $99, depending on your level of hunger and thirst; there’s also a $5 general admission ticket for those who just want to enjoy the vibe. Go to eventbrite.com for tickets and details, including a complete list of food and beverage vendors.
The Denver International Festival is at heart a bona fide family affair, offering heaps of food, music, art, vendor wares and dance to a crowd looking for a quick daylong trek around the world, as represented by the metro area’s hundreds of ethnic communities. Festival partner Youth on Record is chipping in with a concert to benefit youth programs, while the kids’ village provides hands-on activities, face painting and live characters to keep the youngsters occupied; El Javi, Cicely O’ Kain, Orquesta La Brava and Irie Still will hold down the main stage all afternoon, while thirty food trucks and vendors, along with a beer garden, keep customers fortified and satisfied. Enjoy the colors, sounds and tastes of the fest from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, August 5, at Civic Center Park, Colfax Avenue and Broadway. Admission is free, but there will be a ticketed beer and wine tasting available for adults from 3 to 6 p.m. Get tasting tickets, $25 and up, and more information at internationalfest.org.
The Denver Punk Rock Flea Market comes back to town Saturday, August 5, decked out in spikes and a black leather jacket at a new outdoor location with plenty of room for live bands, food trucks and a huge spread of more than 100 vendors pushing the punk and retro goods for which the traveling market is famous. Raise a ruckus and shop the Fox Compound at 725 West 39th Avenue from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but save some energy for the All Vinyl After-Party, a pogo-friendly evening of punk, oi!, ska and all the other right sounds befitting the occasion, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Tooey’s Off Colfax, 1521 Marion Street. Admission to the market is $5 and free for kids under twelve, and the after-party is cover-free and 21-plus; get more info at the Punk Rock Flea Market Facebook page.
You can’t drink all day if you don’t start before noon. You’d think Sesh Fest would embrace this philosophy, but alas, the low-alcohol beer festival (all beers on tap will be 5 percent ABV or less) doesn’t start until 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 5. We predict you’ll still get your fill of beer, though, since it runs until 6:30 p.m. Some of our favorite breweries (Baere, TRVE, Ratio and Ska) will be there, and beer pong and cornhole will take over the lawn at the Highland Masonic Center, 3550 Federal Boulevard. Ticket prices range from $24 to $30 per person, depending on how many fellow beer drinkers you can rustle up to accompany you (ticket packages of six or more ensure early entry). Seshfest.com has the tickets and details.
In the pagan world, Lammas Day kicks off the harvest season (technically, it celebrates the wheat harvest), and in the witchy world, that’s as good a reason as any to come on out of the dark woods, bringing fresh wares to sell and barter to a public with new money in its pockets. Denver’s Witch Collective will follow suit with a harvest-themed Lammas Market, bringing a bunch of new member vendors along. For instance, Neither.nor will bring curated vintage and contemporary clothing for larger sizes, and Beedle Farm will contribute embroidered animals and swear words to the collective’s usual mix of potions, artworks, ceramics, soaps and more. Check it out from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 5, at Boxcar Gallery, 554 Santa Fe Drive; 10 percent of proceeds will benefit the Colorado Doula Project. For details, go to the Facebook event page.
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Sunday, August 6
What’s in a name? A lot for Slutwalk Denver, an annual rally in August “based on the premise that rape and sexual violence is in no way ever the victim’s fault.” Sluts of all varieties are invited to reclaim their identities from schoolyard bullies (and presidents) and speak out against victim-blaming. Women-loving performers, musicians and entrepreneurs, including DJ Em, Rebel Girl Production, Siren Sixkiller and Thatcher, will throw a fundraiser for Slutwalk on Sunday, August 6. Revolution Slut Style Now will offer female-focused art, music, dance, speakers and vendors, with 10 percent of proceeds benefiting Slutwalk. The shindig begins at 6 p.m. at Globe Hall, 4483 Logan Street. Find tickets, $8 to $10, at ticketfly.com.
Monday, August 7
Musical styles may vary, but concerts are usually a uniform experience. There’s a dude on a stage with a guitar and a mic, and we’re in the crowd listening to him. We’re the audience; he’s the talent. The lines are clear. RedLine Contemporary Art Center and Toxoplasma Arts LLC’s new “immersive art salon,” (de)composition, blasts the typical concert model by eliminating the borders between performers, musicians and composers. The salon’s third edition, taking place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, August 7, at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, will showcase the work of musicians whose pieces have been arranged by the space-opera band Orbiting Olympia. The event is free, but a $10 tip for the musicians is encouraged. Reserve a spot and donate at toxoplasmaarts.yapsody.com.