Things to Do

The 21 Best Events in Denver, May 20 Through May 26

Denver Day of Rock returns!
Denver Day of Rock returns! Brandon Marshall
Denver, it's time to get your rock on. Not only is the Denver Day of Rock returning, but this year the concert will include a rock-star-worthy replica of Mount Rushmore, courtesy of the South Dakota Department of Tourism. If that isn't enough for you, keep reading for all the best happenings in Denver this week!

Monday, May 20

Throughout history, people have looked toward the sky to understand our world. When the ancient Puebloans built their ancestral homes at Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon, they used their understanding of light, shadows, the stars and the lunar cycle to define time and create many cultural foundations. This will be the subject of "Ancient Light," a lecture by University of Colorado professor Erica Ellingson, who will discuss how studying the night sky ties us to people who lived on this land more than a thousand years ago. The talk takes place at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 20. Find tickets, $9 to $11, and more info at

Tuesday, May 21

Central City Opera’s production of Billy Budd won’t open until July 13, but it’s not too early to plunge into the work of Herman Melville. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth, CCO is offering a series of free events exploring his life. At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, Melville scholar Dawn Coleman will lead a discussion of Billy Budd, the novella that inspired the opera; she’ll be joined by Pelham G. Pearce, CCO general/artistic director, and music director John Baril. The talk will be held in the Gates Room of the Denver Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue; get the complete CCO schedule at

The beauty of Fbomb is that it’s short and sweet, yet so fulfilling. Originally designed as a showcase for flash fiction, the popular reading has branched out to include other forms of poetry, prose and memoir, which could be seen as condensed narratives of a different stripe. This month’s event, Fbomb: Show Your Bones, inspired by Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones,” begins with an open mic to warm things up (sign up at 7 p.m.) before segueing into readings from queer perspectives by Mairead Case and Byron F. Aspaas, a Diné tribe member. Jay Halsey hosts from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street; admission is free. Learn more at

Wednesday, May 22

For the past month, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art has hosted MediaLive, which it describes as a "new media festival bringing together art, technology and digital culture" that incorporates digital performances, workshops and events by contemporary artists working in media art. The festival will end on Wednesday, May 22, with a performance and reception that organizers promise will mirror one of those listening parties you used to host when new music dropped (remember those days?). The event runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the museum, 1750 13th Street in Boulder, and includes a virtual concert by the duo Matmos, which makes music from the sounds of plastics, including police riot shields, grocery bags and medical equipment. The performance will reflect on environmental issues and include sonic and visual elements. For more information about this free party, go to

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