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The 21 Best Events in Denver, August 21-27

After taking last year off, Tour de Fat returns to Denver.EXPAND
After taking last year off, Tour de Fat returns to Denver.
Ken Hamblin
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Alas, the days are growing shorter and the nights longer, and a faint chill blankets mornings in Denver. That means you better soak up the last of summer with events that round out the season, including outdoor movie screenings, Tour de Fat and the Denver Zoo's much-beloved Caturday Night Fever party. For all that and more events in Denver, keep scrolling!

Tuesday, August 21

Loss is a heartbreaking but undiscriminating reality for everyone, even people who make strangers laugh for a living. Comedian Adam Cayton-Holland, co-creator and star of TruTV's Those Who Can't, founder of the High Plains Comedy Festival and former Westword scribe, was enjoying the early stages of what would turn out to be game-changing opportunities when tragedy struck. After a lifelong struggle with severe depression, his sister Lydia took her own life. Cayton-Holland explores this traumatic chapter of his own life in Tragedy Plus Time: A Tragi-Comic Memoir, which pays tribute to his unique family and tells their story with fearless candor and plenty of gallows humor. Tragedy Plus Time will be released on Tuesday, August 21, when Cayton-Holland will appear at 7 p.m. at the Tattered Cover at 2526 East Colfax Avenue for a reading, discussion and signing. Admission, $26, guarantees a copy of the book and a spot in the signing line. Learn more at the Tattered Cover's Eventbrite page.

The sun is about to set on Sunset Cinema, the summer film series in the Denver Performing Arts Complex Galleria dedicated to the works of Wes Anderson. Starting at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21, enjoy trivia from Geeks Who Drink, and snack and sip on food and cocktails from the pop-up bar, watch (or join in) an Anderson-inspired contest. And then at 8:15 p.m., settle in for a free screening of The Royal Tenenbaums, presented by the Denver Film Society (remember to bring your own lawn chair or other seating to the space at 14th and Curtis streets). Find out more on the Denver Arts & Venues website, which is hosting the series as part of its Next Stage Now program exploring the future of the complex.

Not far from DPAC, another Wes fest will take place, this one at Avanti Food & Beverage, which boasts a spectacular patio where patrons can chill with eats, a beer and a beautiful view. This summer, Avanti is upping the patio's cool factor by partnering with Alamo Drafthouse Denver and Dogfish Head Brewery to host late-night cult-movie screenings with a Drafthouse spirit — meaning costumes, raffles and other nonsense are de rigueur. Wes Anderson’s Rushmore will be your inspiration on Tuesday, August 21, beginning at 9 p.m. at Avanti, 3200 Pecos Street. Admission is free and seating is first come, first served, so early arrival is suggested. Learn more at drafthouse.com/denver.

Wednesday, August 22

The Boulder Fringe Festival, an annual entertainment extravaganza, will mark reaching the midway point of the 2018 fest on Wednesday, August 22, with MidFringe Night's Dream, a mixer and gala party that starts at 5 p.m. at Fringe Central, in the Lounge at the Pine Street Church, 1237 Pine Street in Boulder. Mingle with Fringe artists while enjoying food and other refreshments (this is sponsored by Hazel’s Beverage World, after all). Admission is $10 at the door; find out more about this event and remaining Fringe performances, which run through Sunday, August 26, at boulderfringe.com.

Sam Barsky memorializes famous places with a needle and some yarn.
Sam Barsky memorializes famous places with a needle and some yarn.
Courtesy of Sam Barsky

Thursday, August 23

Denver becomes the country's funniest city per capita during August's final weekend, when the High Plains Comedy Festival floods local stages with more than 100 of the best local and national comedians. Founded by Adam Cayton-Holland, a former Westword scribe and star of the TruTV sitcom Those Who Can't, and coordinated by no-nonsense producer Karen Wachtel, the festival — now in its sixth year — allows Denver standups to share a stage with some of the country's most prominent comedy creators. Heavy on returning favorites like Solomon Georgio, Baron Vaughn and Amy Miller, the 2018 edition will also see debuts from the likes of James Adomian and Jackie Kashian, along with co-headliners David Cross and How Did This Get Made? podcasters June Diane Raphael, Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas. Programming begins on Thursday, August 23; venues include the Paramount Theatre, Mutiny Information Cafe, 3 Kings Tavern and the hi-dive. Visit highplainscomedyfestival.com for tickets for individual shows, $10 to $45 (festival passes have already sold out).

Knitter and artist Sam Barsky, a social-media celebrity in a small corner of the Internet, earned his fame by knitting travel mementos into sweaters — homespun depictions of the Golden Gate Bridge, Stonehenge and Niagara Falls, to name a few landmarks — and posting pictures of himself wearing said sweaters on Facebook and Instagram. Barsky will soon commemorate the sights of Boulder while in town to kick off Wish You Were Here: The Sweaters of Sam Barsky, an exhibit that runs through October 14 in the Canyon Gallery of the Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue. An opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 23, will include a talk from Barsky at 6:30 p.m. The artist’s Boulder-centric sweaters will also be available to peruse at the library during the show’s run. Admission is free; learn more at boulderlibrary.org.

Boogie down on the disco round on Thursday, August 23, when Food Truck Safari: Caturday Night Fever returns to the Denver Zoo from 6 to 9:30 p.m. for an evening of frivolity and feline fundraising. Support the zoo's lion, tiger and fishing-cat exhibits while quaffing drinks and noshing treats from a squadron of some of the best four-wheeled eateries or marveling at the adorable antics of the "DeCathalon." Festivities also include live-animal demos, field-expert presentations, a silent disco and a headlining performance from old-school funksters Jakarta. Guests can even adopt a furry friend of their own from the MaxFund Animal Adoption Center. Visit denverzoo.org to buy tickets, $25, and learn more about this 21+ event.

Breathing vital new life into classical music, Boulder-based ensemble Green Room Artists explores a more daring side of the genre by commissioning new works or filling its repertoire with hidden gems. Join the ten-piece chamber ensemble for a pair of concerts that evoke the sounds of nightfall at Night Spaces, which premieres at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 23, at the Boulder Seventh Day Adventist Church, 345 Mapleton Avenue in Boulder. The program reflects the musicians' forward-thinking ethos with dynamic works from groundbreaking composers Toru Takemitsu, Chen Yi, Kaija Saariaho and Bohuslav Martin. Tickets are $15 to $18 at greenroomartists.org. Green Room Artists will present an encore performance at 7 p.m. Friday, August 24, at Caffe Sole, 637 South Broadway in Boulder, with a suggested donation of $12 at the door.

The Denver Modernism Show is back with the Andy Warhol Silver Factory Party!
The Denver Modernism Show is back with the Andy Warhol Silver Factory Party!
Courtesy of Denver Modernism Show

Friday, August 24

Lovers of all things retro, rejoice! The Denver Modernism Show is back at the National Western Complex's Expo Hall, with a salute to Andy Warhol’s ninetieth birthday that will include mid-mod vendors, a tiki lounge, fashion shows, slide presentations and an Airstream trailer village. The show starts with an Andy Warhol Silver Factory Party — complete with a Warhol photo booth, a Velvet Underground cover band, a Warhol look-alike contest and other Factory-esque touches — from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, August 24, and continues through Sunday, August 26. Highlights include the Miss Modernism pageant, also on Friday; a fashion show and retro-food spectacle on Saturday; and a vintage car show on Sunday. Tickets are $20 to $50 for opening night (weekend admission included) and $10 daily thereafter; purchase yours in advance and see the entire weekend lineup at denvermodernism.com.

Denver artist Jerry De La Cruz is always surprising fans with his morphing techniques and styles of painting, but none of that could have prepared audiences for his new show, Reliquary: The Conquest of Time, a found-object tour de force of sculptures constructed entirely of thrift-store finds and inspired by elaborate church reliquaries. Appropriately, De La Cruz’s artistic trip back in time is on display at Goodwill Industries of Denver, 21 South Broadway, where he found many of his transformed relics; the store will host an opening reception on Friday, August 24, from 7 to 9 p.m. Reliquary will stay up through September 1; learn more on the exhibit's Facebook page.

Comedian and character actor Mike Epps will light up the stage at the Denver Improv, 8246 East 49th Avenue, from Friday, August 24, through Sunday, August 26. A versatile performer who got his start in the talent crucible of Def Comedy Jam, Epps never strayed far from the stage, despite a thriving on-screen career that includes the still-popular Friday, Hangover and Resident Evil franchises and starring roles in television's Uncle Buck and Survivor's Remorse. Epps has released four one-hour standup specials, most recently 2015's Don't Take It Personal; after making the world funnier for years, he'll now do the same for your weekend. Showtimes are at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m.; tickets, $35 to $50, are available at denver.improv.com.

Can you feel autumn in the air? The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company kicks off a new season with Vietgone!, playwright Qui Nguyen’s dramatic comedy based on the romance and American odyssey of his own parents, Vietnamese refugees who met at a relocation camp in the heart of redneck Arkansas during the Vietnam War. Vietgone! opens on Friday, August 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ricketson Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and runs through September 30. Find more show dates and tickets, starting at $30, at denvercenter.org.

The sixth annual New Kids on the Block beer fest returns to the Lobby, 2191 Arapahoe Street, from 8 to 11 p.m. on Friday, August 24, to celebrate Colorado breweries under two years old — and this year, NKOTB is adding young distilleries and restaurants to the mix. The brewery lineup includes Alternation, Intrepid Sojourner, Banded Oak and Woods Boss, among many others; the Family Jones, Block Distilling and Archetype Distillery are a few of the distilleries represented; and eateries like Brewed Food, Mario's Ocean and the Whiskey Biscuit will be on hand to show off their goods. Cocktail demonstrations, live music and lawn games will round out the fun. Find tickets, $35, and a complete list of participants at twoparts.com.

Rebel Girl Productions makes brunch great again at Rise & Grind Burlesque Brunch.
Rebel Girl Productions makes brunch great again at Rise & Grind Burlesque Brunch.
Rebel Girl Productions

Saturday, August 25

Brunch was never as much fun as it is at the Rise & Grind Burlesque Brunch, which struts its stuff on the last Saturday of every month at Highland restaurant There..., 3254 Navajo Street. Like a female version of the late, great Bump & Grind cafe shows on Colfax, which included a crew in drag, this brunch is a sassy showcase for the burlesquers of Rebel Girl Productions, who will next be slowly taking it off while you eat on Saturday, August 25, during two brunch-tastic shows at 10 a.m. and noon. Admission is $10 for one show or $15 for both, but be prepared to pay for the food and bottomless sangria and mimosas. Learn more and get tickets in advance at the Rebel Girls Productions Facebook page or eventbrite.com.

Blissfest might seem like a funny name for a film festival, but the overarching goal of the Blissfest333 International Film Festival is to find and celebrate a harmonious international film community, aka pure bliss, while helping out a local cause. This year’s fest boasts 47 new films from here and around the world; they'll screen in the friendly confines of the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 25, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 26. Admission ranges from $12 to $60, with proceeds benefiting the Historic Elitch Theatre, which is still rebuilding after extensive wind damage to the structure last spring. Learn more and purchase tickets, $12 to $60, at blissfest333.com.

More than a few diehard Denver bicyclists were bereft when the annual traveling Tour de Fat beer, music and bike fest failed to make an appearance in town last year. But the dust has settled, making way for Tour de Fat 2018, which is returning to the city — at a new location, the Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex — on Saturday, August 25, from noon to 5 p.m., with a live-music roster headlined by Jamestown Revival and sideshow comedy from Handsome Little Devils, Daredevil Chicken and others. The Fat Tire will be flowing, and costumes and decorated wheels are encouraged; for tickets, $15 (free for kids ages twelve and under) and more details, go to newbelgium.com.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Scotland at An Evening Under the Stars with the Colorado Ballet, a delightful preview of the company's upcoming season. The program will commence with a medley of classical excerpts before going into a full-fledged performance of Brief Fling, a tale of whirlwind romance expressed through bold interpretations of traditional Scottish dance. Clad in tartans designed by Isaac Mizrahi, dancers will bring Twyla Tharp's iconic choreography to dazzling life in a rare performance highlighting the original score by Michel Colombier and Percy Grainger. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 25, at the Arvada Center; admission is $15 for a spot on the center's spacious lawn or $36 to $46 for a covered seat. Purchase tickets and learn more at coloradoballet.org.

Before it was a nuclear weapons plant, the Rocky Flats property hosted a homestead.
Before it was a nuclear weapons plant, the Rocky Flats property hosted a homestead.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Sunday, August 26

If all goes according to plan — the government's plan, at least — over 5,000 acres of open space will be available to the public a month from now, when the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge will officially open its gates. But first, for a refresher course on the history of what was once the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant and is currently the focus of a lawsuit aiming to keep the place closed, stop by the Central Branch of the Denver Public Library before October 31 to see Facing Rocky Flats, a group exhibition that uses art and oral history to explore the past, present and future of the site. This year marks the fortieth anniversary of mass arrests of protesters outside the plant, which was built in 1951 to make plutonium triggers for every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal; although Rocky Flats was closed in 1989, the fallout continues. As they say, plutonium lasts forever. The exhibit opens with a reception at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 26; find out more at denverlibrary.org/event/facing-rocky-flats.

Get ready to wiggle, bookworms: The Mutiny Book Club podcast returns for another goofy literature discussion at Mutiny Information Cafe, 2 South Broadway, starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 26. Co-hosted by Jen Kolic, editor at My Word! Publishing and Cherry magazine, and Westword scribe and contributing comedian Byron Graham, Mutiny Book Club provides all the accountability and camaraderie of a monthly discussion group, with plenty of hot takes and irreverent jokes. Join Kolic and Graham, along with August's guest, local standup and roller derby dynamo Gabby Gutierrez-Reed, for a cheeky chat about Ottessa Moshfegh's recently published novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. A darkly funny tale of a pharmacologically induced hibernation, Moshfegh's inimitable prose and likably unlikable protagonists should leave guests with plenty to mull over. Admission is free; visit Mutiny Information Cafe's Facebook page for more details, and listen to previous episodes at mutinytransmissions.libsyn.com.

Monday, August 27

Block 1750, the Colorado Hip Hop Collective’s all-inclusive dance community center, is inviting hip-hop dance fanatics to Boulder for Block Party International Week 2018, which will include workshops, B-boy battles and heart-stopping breakdance performances. Workshops with leaders in the genre begin on Monday, August 27, at Block 1750, 1750 30th Street in Boulder; a high-energy performance goes down at 7:30 p.m. August 31 at Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus, and the whole thing wraps up with a party on September 2. See the schedule and register for classes, $22.50 in advance ($25 at the door), at block1750.com, and get tickets for the performance, $20, at calendar.colorado.edu.

CU Boulder’s International Film Series rolls into a new season with a free evening of films and clips by IFS friend Alex Cox. The night begins with a talk by producer Tod Davies, who will explain the links and contradictions between two documentaries: the celeb-studded homage Kurosawa: The Last Emperor (Francis Ford Coppola, Bernardo Bertolucci and John Woo are among the high-profile interviewees), and Emmanuelle: A Hard Look, a study in bad filmmaking. Welcome the repertory series back on Monday, August 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Muenzinger Auditorium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. See the full IFS fall schedule and learn more at internationalfilmseries.com.

In order for an event to be considered for Night & Day, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to editorial@westword.com or 969 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203.

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