RiNo will become a living mural when artists descend upon the arts district for Crush Wall 2018, the arts festival that's just getting bigger and better. Other much-beloved festivals return to Denver over the next few days, including Summer Scream and Nan Desu Kan.
But there's much more fun to be had in the Mile High City — keep reading for more of it in this week's 21 best events calendar!
Tuesday, August 28
Science nerds will undoubtedly recall the day in July 2014 when NASA launched New Horizons — a tiny space craft filled with the world's best technologies — three billion miles from Earth into space, past the mysterious Pluto system, to gather information about the ends of our solar system. The mission's lead, Alan Stern, and astrobiologist David Grinspoon collaborated after the mission to co-author New Horizons: Inside the First Mission to Pluto, which takes readers through the political struggles surrounding the project. Stern and Grinspoon will be at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's Phipps Theater starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 28, to discuss the book and the project. They did all the work; you'll pay just $15 at dmns.org to learn about it.
Wednesday, August 29
Su Teatro does informal and neighborly like nobody’s business, especially with events like Art on Film, an outdoor summer screening series with live music, food and drink, and films projected onto a wall. The series concludes this year on Wednesday, August 29, with a delicious free screening of Like Water for Chocolate, Alfonso Arau’s classic dip into magic realism, in the Su Teatro parking lot, 721 Santa Fe Drive. Bring your own lawn chair for music at 7 p.m. and the film at dusk; visit the Art District on Santa Fe Facebook page for details.
Thursday, August 30
Who says industry mixers can't be scenic and delicious? Organized by Yellow Scene magazine, the Cannabis Symposium and farm-to-barbecue dinner on Thursday, August 30, is a non-consumption event for industry members and cannabis stakeholders to discuss current and upcoming issues in the legal-cannabis industry. The night begins at 5 p.m. and includes a happy-hour networking session, product vendors, and discussions led by industry influencers such as Ebbu's Jon Cooper, Evo Hemp's Ari Sherman and Colorado NORML's Ashley Weber. The talks will be followed by a hearty meal from Georgia Boys BBQ — all under a sunset at the beautifully rustic Lone Hawk Farm, 10790 North 49th Street in Longmont. Tickets are $45 for the happy hour and speakers, $59 with dinner; learn more at Yellow Scene's Facebook events page.
Summer’s nearly over: Have you had at least one great warm-weather fling to remember it by? The Denver Film Society’s Summer Scream, celebrating eight years of thrills and chills at Lakeside Amusement Park, is the perfect way to fill that empty space in your social life, with unlimited rides, an open bar and brews by Ratio Beerworks on a waning summer evening under the stars. Be fancy-free with friends new and old at the adults-only park takeover and DFS fundraiser on Thursday, August 30, from 6 to 11 p.m. Lakeside is at 4601 Sheridan Boulevard; learn more and buy tickets, $35 to $40, at denverfilm.org.
Denver artist Suchitra Mattai makes contemporary paintings that reference her Indian and Guyanan roots, sometimes incorporating embroidery, vintage plates, textiles, collaged imagery and other unexpected materials. For sugar bound, her new solo that runs through October 20 at the MSU Denver Center for Visual Art, Mattai comments on the British colonial sugar trade, the struggles of her indentured ancestors in Guyana, and her own globe-trotting cultural background. Join Mattai at the opening reception on Thursday, August 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the CVA, 965 Santa Fe Drive; a companion exhibit, Pluralisms: Contemporary Prints From India, adds a layer to Mattai’s international themes in the 965 Student Curated Gallery. Learn more at msudenver.edu/cva.
In a timely turn, L.A. playwright Bekah Brunstetter, the lead writer for television’s This Is Us, drew inspiration for her comedy The Cake from a gay-rights squib that started in Colorado: the Lakewood-based Masterpiece Cakeshop case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. In Brunstetter's story, a New York lesbian asks her mother’s friend in North Carolina to create her wedding cake, resulting in havoc brought on by the Southern baker’s moral beliefs. In the hands of Denver’s Curious Theatre Company, The Cake will surely rise to the occasion; it opens for previews on Thursday, August 30, at 7:30 p.m. at Curious, 1080 Acoma Street, and runs through October 13. Tickets range from $20 to $44; see the full schedule and buy tickets at curioustheatre.org.
Gary Burden wears many hats. He’s dabbled in standup, done time as a comedy host, fixed bicycles and danced, always, to the beat of his own drum. But what he really loves to do is draw attention to special people in the community, and that’s the basis for InterSECT, a new live talk show with a musical element that debuts with a trial run at Seventh Circle Music Collective, 2935 West Seventh Avenue. Burden will host Enoch Jackson, whom he describes as a “poet, musician, elder, herbalist and visionary,” for a chat and performance on Thursday, August 30, at 8 p.m.; admission is a $5 to $10 donation at the door. If you pedal in, even better: All bicyclists will be admitted for free.
A new programming partnership between the Atlas Obscura Society Denver, a group dedicated to uncovering little-known treasures in our city, and Evergreen artist Jess Webb of Cedarbox gets an auspicious start with a screening of Sergei Parajanov’s gorgeous and nearly wordless 1969 film The Color of Pomegranates, augmented with live musical accompaniment by ex-Paper Bird musician Paul DeHaven. The film, based in part on the life of eighteenth-century Armenian poet-monk Sayat Nova, is a Soviet classic and a landmark in film history; see it at 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 30, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. Tickets are $15 in advance at eventbrite.com or $20 at the door.
Friday, August 31
Though it may be difficult for aging otakus to believe, it's been 21 years since a handful of anime fans founded Denver's Nan Desu Kan in the Tivoli Student Union. The surroundings will be swankier and more spacious for 2018's NDK, which takes over the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place, for three days of fan-friendly festivities starting on Friday, August 31. Weave through crowds of gussied up cosplayers (whose commitment to crafting their meticulous ensembles is truly stunning) while shopping for art prints, models and one-of-a-kind items. Vocal performers, artists and creators will also be appearing on informative panels and will sign autographs, and the fan-favorite costume contest is sure to draw a standing-room-only crowd. Pre-registration passes are sold out, but $55 day passes will be available at the door. Visit ndkdenver.org for more information.
Station 26 Brewing welcomes Phish fans as the band returns to Denver for its annual series of shows. To celebrate, the brewery, at 7045 East 38th Avenue, will release two Phish-themed beers for Phish Dicks at Station 26. The first is Palley’s Comet, a Vermont-style pale ale brewed with Apollo, Galaxy and Comet hops, and the second is Divided Rye, a crisp and drinkable ale brewed with rye malt that's lightly dry-hopped; there are a limited number of Crowlers of each available for purchase before the shows. Whether you're looking for a place to pre-game or just want to enjoy some fine Denver brews (along with live music and food trucks), the beers should be on tap through the weekend starting Friday, August 31, at 11 a.m. Visit the event's Facebook page for more details.
On the last Friday of every month, the Denver Art Museum turns over its building to local artists who explore themes of their choosing for Untitled Final Fridays. On Friday, August 31, Flobots MC Stephen Brackett, aka Brer Rabbit, will host an evening of hip-hop freestyling and workshops that focus on migration. The event is billed as a chance for participants to embrace their inner creatives without being trapped in the prison of expertise, so get ready to practice freestyling, dancing, writing and improv without fear of judgment. The evening starts at 6, and the last workshop is at 9 p.m. Untitled is included in general museum admission, which is free for people under eighteen and $10 to $13 for adults. Visit denverartmuseum.org for more information.
Few movies capture the joys and terror of the psychedelic era better than the Beatles classic Yellow Submarine, the animated 1968 film jam-packed with some of the band's most famous songs, including “All Together Now,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “All You Need Is Love.” If you love those songs and the movie, as most Beatles fans do, you’ll be happy to know that the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake, 4255 West Colfax Avenue, is hosting a Yellow Submarine Sing-Along at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 31. Tickets, $12.50, are available at drafthouse.com.
The whole family can celebrate the end of summer in the best of all kid-friendly settings — the plaza at Little Man Ice Cream, 2620 16th Street, where the beloved Highland creamery’s Flick Fridays outdoor summer screenings come to an end with a Final Flick Friday Celebration, pairing the upbeat dance movie Footloose with a silent disco hosted by Sound Down. Put on your headphones, get footloose and dance the night away on Friday, August 31, beginning at 8:45 p.m. — and don’t forget to make room for ice cream. The collaboration with Alamo Drafthouse Denver is free; get details at Little Man's Facebook page.
Whether you missed out on the summer-camp experience as a kid or simply want to re-create it, it’s not too late to pack your bags and live (or re-live) the glorious sleep-away days of summer. Camp No Counselors offers a weekend summer camp for grownups that includes all the fun, sports and activities of kids' summer camp — think Capture the Flag, lanyard making, archery and nature hikes — along with adult pleasures like an all-weekend open bar, parties every night and tasty treats. The fun rolls out at a TBA location in the Black Forest from Friday, August 31, to Monday, September 3, and costs $625 to $725, which includes lodging, food, fun and booze. Find out more at campnocounselors.com.
Saturday, September 1
Looking for a way to fill up your long weekend on the cheap? A Taste of Colorado calls itself the largest free food and music festival in Colorado. With more than 500,000 anticipated attendees, 50 food vendors and 25 bands and artists — including REO Speedwagon, LeAnn Rimes, Smashmouth and George Thorogood — cramming into Civic Center Park, that sounds about right. The family-oriented festival will also have 175 arts and crafts booths and a Kids Zone replete with crafts and games and a children’s stage. A Taste of Colorado runs from Saturday, September 1, to Monday, September 3. Admission is free, with food and drink tickets available for purchase. For more information, visit atasteofcolorado.com.
The magic of Denver DIY will expand drastically over Labor Day weekend with the arrival of Temple Tantrum, a two-day Curtis Park arts and music festival that wraps a funhouse of art installations, live bands and comedy, artist vendors, a nonstop cosplay ball, and a broad representation of the experimental and interactive milieu of the DIY universe together into one smashing block party. Yes, it’s really all that and more: Temple Tantrum gets down on Saturday, September 1, and Sunday, September 2, from 1 to 10 p.m. daily at the corner of 24th and Curtis streets; admission ranges from $25 to $55. Get tickets and learn more at tantrumfest.com.
Bid farewell to summer with some of the best food trucks in town at the fourth and final Truck Stop: Food Truck Rally this season, an event that will also celebrate that much-beloved RiNo winery Infinite Monkey Theorem's tenth anniversary. From 1 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 1, the rally will take over Larimer Street from 31st to Downing and the Infinite Monkey Theorem, 3200 Larimer Street, offering tasty bites from forty food trucks and live music from the Mile High Soul Club and more. The rally is free, but be prepared to pay for food and drinks; learn more at truckstoprally.com/rino.
Many locals are utterly unaware of the history beneath their feet, an oversight the Atlas Obscura Society Denver aims to correct with Denver's Forgotten Underground. Massive networks of subterranean tunnels fan out from the city's historic quarter; back in the day, they offered clandestine connections between the State Capitol building and various downtown bars and brothels. Join local historian Tracy Beach, author of The Tunnels Under Our Feet: Colorado's Forgotten Hollow Sidewalks and host of the Science Channel's Secrets of the Underground, for a tunnel-spotting tour through Colorado's hidden history. Populated by colorful characters and their monocle-dropping scandals, the program will consist of an hour tour and an hour presentation at Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, 1525 Blake Street; tour times are 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Afterward, guests can continue the discussion over the Rio's margaritas. Visit Atlas Obscura's Eventbrite page to buy tickets, $20 to $25, and learn more. Make haste: Tickets are selling out fast.
Last year’s inaugural Unseen Festival, a two-week, locally produced experimental film fest, was a promising event for local fans of offbeat films — so much so that this year's Unseen will take over the entire month of September, bringing an international scope of what’s new in film to Denver, along with a run of literary readings and live performances hosted by Counterpath, the fest’s hub. Opening night, Saturday, September 1, will offer a glimpse of how comprehensive the fest’s lineup will be, with screenings by seven diverse filmmakers and performances by Serena Chopra and Michelle Ellsworth, starting at 7:30 p.m. Screenings continue daily through September 30 at Counterpath, 7935 East 14th Avenue, and various satellite locations in Denver and Boulder. Admission is $100 for a full-access pass or $7 for individual programs; learn more at counterpathpress.org.
Sunday, September 2
Get blinded by the white at the Labor Day All White Attire Party, a unique opportunity for guests to ball out of control while trying their best not to stain their clothes. Hosted by model Amber Rose and boxer Floyd Mayweather, the soirée will be soundtracked by performances from local hip-hop DJs Squizzy Taylor, Hollywood Cook, K-Tone, Simone Says, Top Shelf and KDJ Above. Presented by 3 Deep Productions and Kevin Kain Entertainment, the party gets started at 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 2, and doesn't stop until 2 a.m. Join the throngs of white-clad revelers at Dave & Buster's, 2000 South Colorado Boulevard, and indulge in VIP perks like bottle service, express entry and backstage access. Tickets are $50 to $125 at eventbrite.com.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Monday, September 3
When artist prep on the streets and alleys of the RiNo Art District for mural fest Crush Walls 2018 begins on Labor Day, the first thing you’ll notice is how big the thing’s become. With new controversies rising in Denver over whether or not the murals represent the not-so-slow march of gentrification in the formerly quiet arts district, some people will say Crush has become too corporate as it grows. But the fact remains: There’s something exhilarating about watching a wall transform while you chat with an artist who’s receiving a stipend for the effort. And with growth comes a raft of big names, including pop hero Shepard Fairey, L.A. “mantradala” artist Cryptik, Spain’s Pichiavo, Poni and Smithe from Mexico, and more. Artists will be at work throughout the week, beginning Monday, September 3, and radiating across RiNo from 27th and Larimer streets, a central starting point for mural-walkers, through September 9. Culminating events, from parties to a secret-walls competition and a street fair, go down next weekend. Watch crushwalls.org for details and developing event information.
In order to be considered for our 21 Best Events list, we need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or Westword, 969 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203.