Coloradans take more vacation days than residents of any other state: an average of twenty every year. Coincidentally, there are just twenty more days until Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. It's not too late to pack your bag full of some of the season's hottest events, including the Boulder Fringe Fest, the New Worst Fest, Velorama and, yes, the third Tacolandia. Keep reading for the 21 best events around town this week.
Tuesday, August 14
After forty years, members of the legendary Gipsy Kings are still going strong. This Spanish group comprises brothers from the Reyes and Baliardo families, who'll play a mix of salsa, funk and Catalán flamenco at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 14, at Boulder's Chautauqua Auditorium. The show will include solo sets by members Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo. Tickets are $62.50 to $80.50 ($59.50 to $77.50 for members) and can be purchased at chautauqua.com.
Wednesday, August 15
The Boulder International Fringe Festival is Colorado’s only fringe fest, a unique entity bringing performance artists, dancers, monologuists, physical comedians and other eccentric performers to multiple Boulder venues for twelve days each year. Now in its fourteenth year, the fest feels particularly fresh, with founder Dave Ortolano back in the executive director’s chair after a sabbatical and more than twenty revolving performances by artists from around the world as well as here. BIFF kicks off with an opening-night party and All-You-Can-Artist Buffet of performance teasers at 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 15, at this year's Fringe central, Pine Street Church, 1237 Pine Street in Boulder. Performances and satellite events continue daily through August 26; event tickets range from free to $15. See the full schedule, pick your performances and reserve seats at boulderfringe.com.
Thursday, August 16
DIME Denver, the music institute that got its start in Detroit, then opened a Mile High branch in concert with Metropolitan State University of Denver, is hosting a student performance at the Denver Performing Arts Complex Galleria, and you won't have to part with so much as a dime to catch the show. From 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, DIME Denver will present an innovative acoustic lineup including artists such as Dusty Rose and Samantha Jo at the pop-up bar in the Galleria; enter at 14th and Curtis streets. Admission is free (although drinks are not); the showcase is part of the Next Stage NOW program, which is looking to the future of the complex. The final installment of the summer concert series is set for the third Thursday of September; find out more about the series by searching Next Stage NOW at eventbrite.com.
What started as a Rube-Goldberg-machine pipe dream of the Buntport Theater crew is now a reality with the debut of This Machine Has a Soul, a community project kick-started by Warm Cookies of the Revolution founder Evan Weissman and an army of creatives and Denver City Council District 9 movers and shakers. Their goal? To explain how neighborhood-generated budgeting works and why communities should decide how their tax money is used. “The idea is that budgets should have souls and have people involved in them,” says Weissman. The resulting installation/performance/spectacle will be open to the public for five days only at 4335 Thompson Court in the beleaguered Swansea neighborhood. Visit on Thursday, August 16; Friday, August 17; and Monday, August 20, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., or August 18 and 19, from 2 to 7 p.m. Admission is free, and it will change your mind about everything. Find more information at thismachinehasasoul.com.
The Downtown Aquarium is making the end of summer great again at its Back-to-School Bash on Thursday, August 16, from 5 p.m. to close. The festivities will include arts and crafts, games, raffles, animal appearances, a "Mystic Mermaid Show" and more fun to get the kiddos excited for the new school year. Price of admission covers the event, and kids ten and under can add a meal for $3.99 with the purchase of an adult entree. Find more information at downtownaquarium.com.
Any trip to the Molly Brown House Museum, the historic Capitol Hill mansion at 1340 Pennsylvania Street, can evoke the glory of Denver's formative years, but "The Art of Dancing and the Love of a Geisha" offers a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the cross-cultural exchanges of yesteryear. The latest edition in the museum's bi-monthly Thirsty Thursday Speakeasy series, the program will immerse guests in Japan's Meiji era (1868 to 1912), a time of cultural upheaval and imperial grandeur. Sip signature cocktails while noshing on savory and sweet taste treats and exploring the Matsuri festival traditions from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, August 16. For registration and tickets, $15, go to mollybrown.org and click on Upcoming Events.
Denver's love of dogs is well known: Just visit any park to see pooch owners merrily walking their fur babies. Immortalize Fifi and Fido at CheesmanBark, a fundraiser that includes pet portraits for a $35 donation — all of which goes to the MaxFund Animal Shelter. Dog photographer Alex Hopes will be at Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, ready to make your sweet boy (or girl) smile. Reservations can be made on the event's Facebook page, but walk-ins (wag-ins?) are welcome, too. Find out more about MaxFund, a nonprofit no-kill shelter for dogs and cats, at maxfund.org.
The Internet gives us the ability to meet people from all over the world who are interested in the same things we are, a fact that rings true for creative writers and the small presses that support them. That’s the foundational reason for Next Lit Fest, a four-day gathering of like-minded literati in the creative underground that includes readings, performances, parties and a small-press book fair. The free fest runs from Thursday, August 16, through Sunday, August 19, mostly at a private Englewood location, with additional events at the White Whale Room, 415 South Cherokee Street, and the Whittier Cafe, 1710 East 25th Avenue. Visit the Next Lit Fest Facebook event page for all the details.
Friday, August 17
Velorama rolls back into RiNo for another weekend full of beer, bikes and a music lineup every bit as ambitious as last year's debut. Headlining bands such as Matt and Kim, Modest Mouse, the Kills and the Growlers, as well as local favorites like Wildermiss and Tracksuit Wedding, make the urban festival an indie rocker's dream. And cyclists have as much to celebrate as music lovers, with two-wheeled festivities including a beer relay and a race against the A Line train, not to mention the chance to catch the culmination of the Colorado Classic. Even more delights await in the festival area, with art installations courtesy of Crush Walls; beer, wine and cider from Drink RiNo-affiliated brewers and vintners; and snacks from a small fleet of food trucks. Velorama runs from Friday, August 17, through Sunday, August 19, at 27th and Blake streets. Get tickets, $10 to $600, and more information at veloramafestival.com.
Do you believe in magic? All sorts of sorcery abounds this weekend, when MagicFest returns for a second celebration of the dark arts with a hatful of ticketed theater shows and free outdoor performances. From family-friendly variety shows to the adults-only Masquerade to a couple of chances to see two-time World Magic Champion Shawn Farquhar work his wonders, MagicFest is an ideal opportunity to take in all the sleight-of-hand, mesmerism, street magic and grand illusions that your non-magical mind can handle. The fest runs Friday, August 17, through Saturday, August 18, at the Northglenn Recreation Center and DL Parsons Theatre (both located at 11801 Community Center Drive in Northglenn); see the complete schedule and get tickets, $4 to $15, at themagicfest.com.
Last year’s inaugural Unseen Festival hosted an unprecedented two weeks' worth of experimental-film screenings and readings, bringing the world of artful moving pictures to Denver at the small press and event space Counterpath. Because the fest will be back in September for a second run, expanded to a full month of screenings, Counterpath will warm up the crowd with a free Unseen Festival Sneak Preview showcasing films by Ecuadorean filmmaker Jean-Jacques Martinod and readings/performances by Andy Martrich, J. Gordon Faylor and Scott Adams. And if you go, not only will you meet Martinod in person, but you can purchase a half-price, $50 full-access pass to the fest, which runs September 1 through 30 at Counterpath and a few like-minded satellite locations. Get prepped and take advantage of a great deal on Friday, August 17, from 7 to 10 p.m. at 7935 East 14th Avenue; visit counterpathpress.org for details.
Saturday, August 18
The documentary film All Mixed Up: Our Changing Racial Identities, a project of Denverites Rebekah Henderson and Trish Tolentino, explores what it means to be a mixed-race person in the melting pot of America. Encouraged by her experience making the film and meeting other folks like her in the process, Henderson, who is of mixed race herself, has organized More Than One Box, a collaborative daylong gathering for mixed-race/ethnic families, friends and supporters. The event, on Saturday, August 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cube, 8371 Northfield Boulevard in Stapleton, offers a full schedule of interactive activities, performances and panels, as well as a screening of All Mixed Up; full-day admission is $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Learn more at eventbrite.com.
Nearly everything you've ever wanted to know about your pet will be explained at the Denver Pet Expo. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 18, and then again from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 19, pet owners and those in the market will get to adopt; find vaccines, microchipping and more at a discounted rate; attend seminars about everything from pet grooming to training; and even enter their furry friend in a costume contest! The expo will be held at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street; tickets are $3 to $10 at denverpetexpo.com.
Movies by Minutes is pretty much what it says it is: The podcast series, first dreamed up by Star Wars nuts Pete "The Retailer" Bonavita and Alex Robinson, breaks popular films into minute-long chunks with hilarious results. Movies by Minutes: Denver brings the concept to town for a live show and national MxM fan meet-up with Bonavita and a host of other podcasters in person on Saturday, August 18, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street. The MxM marathon will mix it up with live podcasts, trivia, interviews and crossover episodes that only a true fan can appreciate. Admission is $20 at brownpapertickets.com.
Hit the road: What's the worst that could happen? The third annual New Worst Fest, a music festival benefiting local charity Neighbor to Neighbor and highlighting bands from Fort Collins and Denver, will fill Music City Hot Chicken's parking lot in Fort Collins from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, August 18. Admission is free, although donations to Neighbor to Neighbor are encouraged. Find out more on the New Worst Fest Facebook page.
Westfax Brewing, 6733 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood, welcomes its fellow Lakewood breweries for a Lakewood Beer Collective Beer Block Party from noon to 11 p.m. It's a chance to taste beer from all of the Lakewood breweries at one place and time, including Green Mountain Beer Company, Great Frontier Brewing, Ironworks Brewery & Pub and LandLocked Ales. There will be free limited pint glasses for the first seventy attendees, live music by Larry Nix from 6 to 8 p.m., and beer and swag giveaways all day long from all five breweries. Go to westfaxbrewingcompany.com for more information.
The Firehouse Art Center and ArtWalk Longmont are teaming up this weekend for a family art fest that’s a built-in benefit for both organizations. Centered around a spectacle of live artists at work, Canvas Carnival is all that and more, with interactive family art activities, food and drink, music and more from 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 18, at Grossen Bart Brewery, 1025 Delaware Avenue, Unit A, in Longmont, all for a $5 suggested donation at the gate. And if you’re feeling generous, there's an option to support a participating artist for $150. Learn more and register in advance at firehouseart.org/special-events.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on at Denver Open Media — a nonprofit media studio with community-programmed television channels in the Lincoln Park/La Alma neighborhood — or what Denver’s Open Screen Night raucous video open mic is all about, the free Hot August Nights: An OSN Showcase is your chance to find out. The collaborative evening will highlight what both organizations do on Saturday, August 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. at DOM, 700 Kalamath Street. OSN is contributing a curated program of shorts in Studio A, and DOM is kicking in with party eats and drinks from Sexy Pizza and the Cutting Room Floor brewery, plus a Neil Diamond tribute. For more info, go to the Open Screen Night Facebook page.
The Black Cube Drive-In series, which started a year ago in a vacant lot in RiNo, was designed to give free rein to local conceptual and installation artists in an experimental, alternative setting, using cars as, excuse the pun, a vehicle of expression. Drive-In: House of Cars, the third and final iteration, opens (and closes) on Saturday, August 18, in a two-story parking garage at 720 Grant Street, which serves as a metaphor for our rapidly changing car culture and how we view our vehicles as necessary entities in a modern world. To view the exhibit of works by eleven artists, enter the garage through a ramp in the alley from 7 to 10 p.m.; admission is free. Learn more at blackcube.art/exhibition/drive-in.
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Sunday, August 19
Tacolandia, Westword's annual celebration of street tacos, returns to Civic Center Park from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, August 19, for a tasty celebration that should be the taco the town. Enjoy unlimited samples from forty-plus taquerias and Mexican restaurants, including Lola Coastal Mexican, El Taco de Mexico, Garibaldi Mexican Bistro, Yareth's, Contreras Panaderia y Taqueria, Chuey FU's, Los Mesones, Antojitos La Poblanita and Los Chingones. The afternoon includes plenty of spicy entertainment, too, with performances by Mariachi America and iZCALLi, plus luche libre matches and the Saints & Sinners Car Club show. A VIP ticket, $65, includes early entry at 3 p.m., as well as access to the VIP lounge, which includes a special dining area with food from Lola. General admission tickets are $35 — but for a real fiesta, grab three friends and buy a 4-pack of general admission tickets for just $100. Find out more at westwordtacolandia.com.
Monday, August 20
Enjoy one of the best traditions in Denver when Bistro Vendôme, the charming French restaurant in Larimer Square, hosts another installment of Monday Movie Nights, dedicated to films focusing on food, or France, or both. The main event on Monday, August 20, promises to be more raucous than other offerings, since it's a showing of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But while both the wedding and the cuisine in that film are Greek, the three-course meal served with the screening will be classic French. Dinner and a movie runs $56.10 (gratuities, tax and drinks extra); reserve your spot at 303-825-3232.
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