The end of summer is near, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy every last bit of the season this week. Pair the best in local beer and food at the Chef & Brew competition, rock out to Weezer, or eat, drink and dance your way through A Taste of Colorado. Find all that and more on this week's list of the best things to do in and around Denver.
Monday, August 26
Elizabeth McCourt came west to Central City in 1878, so that she and her new husband could work their gold mine. A year later, she was abandoned, pregnant and left to work the mine alone. But her luck changed, reports author Rebecca Rosenberg, when she met Horace Tabor, the married miner who’d struck it rich at a silver mine in Leadville. What happened next is the subject of Rosenberg’s novel Gold Digger, The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor, which she’ll discuss at 1 p.m. Monday, August 26, at History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway. Tickets are $4 members, $5 non-members at 303-447-8679 or historycolorado.org.
Tuesday, August 27
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Whether you’re a seasoned scribe or a dilettante diarist, if you aim to put words on a page, you can always use some inspiration. That’s what you can expect when Lighthouse Writers Workshop executive director Michael Henry leads an informal writing session at the Denver Art Museum on Tuesday, August 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. This month's edition of the drop-in workshop will focus on local artist Jonathan Saiz’s #WhatIsUtopia installation, which comprises 10,000 tiny paintings that focus on social justice and environmental issues. Meet on the first level of the DAM’s Hamilton Building for the writing session, which is included with admission to the museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway; learn more at denverartmuseum.org/calendar/drop-in-writing-program.
Wednesday, August 28
Nothing brings out the best in chefs like a good competition, which is how Chef & Brew sets itself apart from other beer and food festivals. On Wednesday, August 28, at Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, twenty pairs of Colorado cooks and beer makers will throw down their best efforts for a panel of judges and ticket holders, who get to vote on their favorites. Dishes are prepared to match perfectly with each beer, and food trucks go head-to-head with fine-dining establishments, so guests can sample the entire spectrum of Denver's food scene. Will the winner be a street taco or foie gras, dumplings or dessert? You get to decide — so wear your judging pants (the ones with the elastic waistband). Choose general admission tickets for $49 and show up at 7 p.m., or go VIP for $69 and get a souvenir beer glass and admission an hour early; find both options, plus more information, at chefandbrew.com.
Released just weeks before author Toni Morrison passed away on August 5 at the age of 88, the documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am is the definitive telling of her life story and development as an icon of American literature, viewed through the lens of her work. If you missed it in theaters in July but want to catch up with the nuts and bolts of Morrison’s legacy, the University of Colorado Boulder’s International Film Series snagged a copy for a one-night pre-season screening, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 28, in Muenzinger Auditorium on the CU Boulder campus. Admission is $7 to $9 (free for CU students with ID); learn more at internationalfilmseries.com.
Thursday, August 29
Fan of the vinyl? Drop your needle at the 10,000 Vinyl Records Sale starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 29, at the Black Box, 314 East 13th Avenue. One section of the sale will be dedicated to 99-cent records, while another will offer premium, individually priced, buy-one-get-one albums. Vinyl maven Ryan Dykstra promises every sort of genre under the sun, from classic rock and hip-hop to jazz, new wave, comedy, classical, holiday, novelty and more. Admission is free, but bring your wallet; learn more at eventbrite.com.
Load up your "Hash Pipe" with a hit of ’90s nostalgia when Weezer rocks the Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop Street, at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 29. Three decades into a career characterized by catchy power-chord progressions and earnest harmonizing, the Rivers Cuomo-fronted quartet continues to surprise and captivate fans. Fresh off the unexpected release of the Teal Album — a collection of covers including Toto's "Africa" — early this year, Weezer embarked on an international tour; this Denver date precedes a gig at Aspen Jazz Snowmass that has already sold out, so hurry over to axs.com to buy tickets, $49.95 to $99.50.
Friday, August 30
The Yiddish literary figure Sholem Asch didn’t mean to be a rabble-rouser when he wrote The God of Vengeance around the turn of the twentieth century. But the play, about a taboo lesbian love affair between a young girl and a prostitute, eventually led to the arrest of the cast of a Broadway run in 1923. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company digs up the commotion around Asch’s story by opening its season on Friday, August 30, with Paula Vogel’s Indecent, which chronicles the fallout from the play. Indecent runs through October 6 at the Space Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, offering a fitting segue into a more inclusive High Holiday season. Find showtimes and tickets, starting at $30, at denvercenter.org.
ViewHouse wants to turn your Labor Day into a four-day party, with food, drinks and festivities at its Littleton (2680 West Main Street) and Centennial (7101 South Clinton Street) restaurants. Start out at both locations at 6 p.m. Friday, August 30, with viewing parties for the Rocky Mountain Showdown (the annual CU/CSU football game), then go old-school on Saturday, August 31, with a retro dance party beginning at 9 p.m. On Sunday, September 1, dress in all white for an all-you-can-eat buffet brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Centennial ViewHouse, or go to Littleton for an à la carte brunch that includes a White Out Work Out beginning at 9 a.m. in the courtyard. And if you're not worn out by Monday, September 2, there's a special à la carte brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at both spots. Visit the events page at viewhouse.com for more details.
Women's cannabis group Tokeativity wants to take you down a rabbit hole, throwing an Alice in Wonderland-themed party for you and your ganja-loving girlfriends. The first 25 women to register will get a gift at the door, and dressing for the theme is highly encouraged. The fun begins at 7 p.m. Friday, August 30; request an invitation and the location at firstname.lastname@example.org, then find tickets, $20, at tokeativity.com.
The CU Buffaloes and CSU Rams will go head-to-head for the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown on Friday, August 30. Bolstered by a trio of promising seniors, Colorado State University's defense will give the University of Colorado Boulder’s struggling team its first challenge of the 2019-2020 season. Watch the Buffs take on the Rams starting at 7:30 p.m. at Broncos Stadium at Mile High; find tickets and more information at ticketmaster.com.
Saturday, August 31
Any day is a good day for bacon. But on Saturday, August 31, Snooze is giving us a good reason to eat even more pork belly than usual, because the a.m. eatery has designed a few special plates that will benefit your own belly while contributing to a local charity. For its Bacon a Difference celebration that day, Snooze is rolling out a smoky bourbon cocktail called Bacon It Easy; a Bacon a Difference Benny with habanero bacon and bacon-espresso jam; and the Sweet Swine o' Mine, a pancake platter loaded with whipped bacon mascarpone and bacon crumbles. And 100 percent of sales of all three items will be donated to Cooking Matters Colorado, an education and advocacy nonprofit focused on nutrition for families and communities. Drop in during regular hours at your favorite Snooze and help beat last year's total of $31,000; find more information on Snooze's Facebook page.
For do-gooders eager to be healthful and helpful, the Food Rescue Ride offers altruism at its very finest. The annual event has become a vital source of funding for Denver Food Rescue, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing food waste, providing food security and promoting health equity in the city's underserved communities. A non-competitive race on either the fifteen-mile or thirty-mile track that runs through Cherry Creek State Park, the Food Rescue Ride welcomes cyclists of all ages to enjoy a day of fun in the late-August sun while paying tribute to the bike-bound volunteers who keep Denver Food Rescue pantries stocked. The day starts at 9 a.m. and winds down at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, at the park, 4201 South Parker Road in Aurora. To register as a rider or spectator, $15 to $30, go to eventbrite.com. If you can't attend but still want to donate, search for Denver Food Rescue at mightycause.com.
Whet your appetite for A Taste of Colorado, serving up treats for your tastebuds and your ears throughout Labor Day weekend. Find fare from over fifty of the city's finest restaurants and food trucks and browse wares from over 175 arts and crafts vendors when the annual party takes over Civic Center Park. The nostalgia-heavy music lineup includes KC and the Sunshine Band, Kool & the Gang, Grand Funk Railroad, Dwight Yoakam, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Taylor Dayne, to name a few. And don't miss the KidZone, a wonderland replete with magic shows, family-friendly comedy, crafting stations and interactive play areas. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, August 31, and Sunday, September 1, and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, September 2. Admission is free, but bring cash for the food and crafts, or splurge on a VIP pass, $119, at atasteofcolorado.com.
The Boulder Creek Hometown Festival will dive into hip-hop culture for the Clone Wars Concept Battle, hosted by the Colorado Hip Hop Collective’s Block 1750 community dance nonprofit on Saturday, August 31, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Avenue. B-boys and -girls will jam the afternoon away with a “Clone the Enemy” concept battle between teams of two; winning teams will “absorb” the losers, eventually ending with a mass battle by all. Admission is free, and music and sign-up begin at noon; learn more at facebook.com/block1750.
Polofest gets bigger and better every year. The massive all-ages party at the Denver Polo Club, 6359 Airport Road in Sedalia, combines live music and the elegant sport to raise money for the Equine Partnership Program, a nonprofit in Elizabeth that provides mental health services through therapy horses. This year's festival will include a match between some of the best polo players in the world; live music from Kygo, Sofi Tukker and more; horses for riding; and food and drink. So pony up: Polofest runs from 2 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, August 31; buy tickets, $45 to $150, at axs.com.
Barr Lake State Park is famous for its fishing and wildlife viewing, but you might not know about the area’s historical heritage as an agricultural center on the plains, where farmers like Swedish immigrants Andrew Bergman and his wife, Augusta Carlson, settled in 1917. All that’s left of their time there is the ramshackle Bergman Barn and Corral, which the members of Friends of Barr Lake hope to restore and turn into a historical attraction for park visitors. You can help by attending Concert on the Prairie, an evening of music under the stars with the Colorado Southern Band, from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, at the Barr Lake Nature Center, 13401 Picadilly Road in Brighton. Purchase tickets in advance at the center for a suggested donation of $15; call 303-659-6005 or visit friendsofbarrlake.org for more information.
It’s time for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver to put its superlative homage Clark Richert in Hyperspace to rest, but not without a bang: The Clark Richert Closing Party promises a chance to “dance in another dimension” to tunes spun by DJs Pictureplane and EA$$IDELUPITA. As one of the artists featured in the show’s companion exhibition of works by Richert’s students, Pictureplane (aka Travis Egedy) is the perfect choice to top off an unforgettable run. Wear your dancing shoes on Saturday, August 31, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the MCA, 1485 Delgany Street; find tickets, $17 to $22, at eventbrite.com.
Sunday, September 1
Who doesn’t secretly want to feel what it's like to be a sports hero at Broncos Stadium at Mile High? You can have that experience, or a fun facsimile thereof, at the Broncos Fit 7K and Expo, a run/walk event on Sunday, September 1, that begins at the stadium, winds around the Sloan’s Lake neighborhood and finishes on the fifty-yard line after an entrance through the Broncos horse-head tunnel. Waves start leaving at 8:30 a.m., a kids’ fun run tips off at 11:30 a.m., and the expo goes until 2 p.m. Learn more about registration, $10 to $50, at denverbroncos.com/fit.
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Denver Digerati’s always-growing Supernova Digital Animation Festival arrives downtown in just a few weeks. For a sneak peek at what’s to come, the Understudy art incubator will host local digital animator Ryan Wurst's Mouth Breather Broadcasting Systems, an artificial-intelligence-driven installation that opens on Sunday, September 1, and will be on view all month. MBBS, the "first ever infinitive television network," will comprise three AI-oriented shows that can be accessed 24/7 at themouthbreathers.com or by visiting the MBBS headquarters at Understudy, 890 C 14th Street, Thursdays through Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. through September 28. A party and reception for the exhibit will take place during Supernova, from noon to 10 p.m. on September 21; learn more at understudydenver.com.
Laze your way through Labor Day eve in the quippy company of Doug Benson, who returns to Denver for a one-night-only performance on Sunday, September 1, at the downtown Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street. The undisputed stoner laureate of standup comedy, Benson hosts the Doug Loves Movies podcast, the Getting Doug With High web series, and Comedy Central's High Court With Doug Benson — but the appeal of his addled witticisms also draws fans from outside the 4/20-friendly arena. Get high on Doug when the Last Comic Standing veteran and star of the comedy documentary Super High Me takes the stage at 7 p.m.; visit comedyworks.com to buy tickets, $22, and learn more.
The official end of summer may be September 23, but the season starts winding down after Labor Day weekend. Bid farewell with Elitch Gardens’ annual Labor Day fireworks display, which starts at closing time — 10 p.m. — on Sunday, September 1. If you're outside the park, find the best view of downtown that you can and get ready for a show. Check Elitch's fall schedule at elitchgardens.com.
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