Reach for the last bits of summer at various outdoor events happening this week, like the Colorado State Fair, Open Streets Denver and a birthday bash for Lakewood, or keep cool inside at or Denver ModDesign After Dark: Play at the Denver Art Museum. Find all that and more in our list of the 21 best events in Denver!
Monday, August 19
Dancer and CU Boulder educator Ondine Geary has developed Radius of Transmission, an ambitious immersive multimedia project that breaks down into three parts, two of which require driving a car to various sites. With a theme of grief inspired by Geary’s own experiences, Radius kicks off on Monday, August 19, with "Part I (Objects)," a free interactive installation in a secret Boulder County location (it’s a storage unit) that you can visit at reserved times through September 16. The performative segments, "Part II (Absent)" and "Part III (Abraded)," take place September 4 through 7, per instructions available at radius.dance, where you can also reserve a time to view the installation. Tickets are $55 at radius.brownpapertickets.com and includes the car tour and the performance.
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Post-traumatic stress disorder affects all demographics, but military veterans have become an unfortunate face of the affliction. A qualifiable condition for medical marijuana in Colorado and several other states, PTSD is the center of the next 21st Century Cannabis chat on Monday, August 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at WorkAbility, 1576 Sherman Street. The free monthly educational series will host former United States Air Force staff sergeant Morgan Sneed, along with other veteran and disability advocates, to talk about alternative PTSD treatments and options, and where cannabis fits in (or doesn't), depending on the patient. Register to attend (21+) at eventbrite.com.
Tuesday, August 20
Sure, paintings in museums look nice, but how intimate do you really get with a piece as you stroll past it? The Denver Art Museum invites you to "slow down and spend time with a single work of art" during its Mindful Looking series. On the third Tuesday of every month — including August 20 — the DAM focuses on a piece of art, and someone with expertise in its subject area guides observers through the work's nuances. This month, the spotlight is on Colorado painter Don Stinson's High Beams and Starlight: Beyond Absence - Double Negative, July 2003 PM, an eerie desertscape that will get more context from Meg Erickson of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art. The program goes from 1 to 1:45 p.m. at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, and is included in general museum admission, $8 to $13; get more information at denverartmuseum.org.
Wednesday, August 21
The sights and sounds of Mexican culture will come alive at México en el Corazón, a free concert hosted by Museo de las Americas, the Colorado Symphony Association and the Mexican Cultural Center on Wednesday, August 21, starting at 7 p.m. at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. A thirteen-piece band and more than a dozen dancers and singers will perform authentic Mexican song and dance, "reinforcing community recognition of the great contribution and presence Mexican art and culture has in the United States," event organizers say. Find more information, including how to reserve your seat, at tickets.coloradosymphony.org/5372.
Thursday, August 22
Take a trip into the future during Feral Assembly’s The Never Summer, a new play by Denver playwright Ellen K. Graham set in the Mile High City circa 2040, where working girl Lee roosts on an underground train platform while saving her pennies to rent an apartment. Learn what happens when a mysterious woman shakes up her routine with dreams of the uncharted wilderness. The show opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 22; performances continue through August 31 at Theatre 29, 5138 West 29th Avenue. Find a complete schedule and tickets, $20, at eventbrite.com.
One reason that immersive performance has taken off in the second decade of the 21st century is that it provides an antidote to the flat world of the Internet, where you can easily turn an experience on and off with the touch of a button. With that in mind, think of Zabiti: An Immersive Circus Adventure, a new Rainbow Militia production, as a three-dimensional fairy tale where you choose your own adventure among roaming forest creatures and aerial dancers swinging from trees. Get lost in your own imagination (and come dressed in your own costume, if you like) during a run of performances from Thursday, August 22, through September 8 at Denver Rock Drill, 1717 East 39th Avenue. Ticket options with varying levels of participatory perks range from $45 to $250; purchase yours and learn more at zabiti.com.
Want to climb a fourteener but don’t know where to begin? The 14er Mindset, a meetup of some of the state’s leaders in hiking the high peaks, will offer much of what you need to know at the group's next get-together, from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, August 22, at Arc’teryx Denver, 250 Columbine Street, Suite 110. Learn about CORTEX, a new free app from Colorado Parks and Wildlife that lays out 39,000 miles of public trails across the state, and the physical, mental and emotional skills you’ll need to make the climb. And don't miss tall tales from Gerry Roach, a Colorado fourteener expert who will highlight some of his favorite hikes. Find tickets, $10, at eventbrite.com.
Vintage Theatre has scared up a new play festival with a twist this year: All five offerings in what’s been dubbed the Mystery Suspense Thriller Play Festival bring the dark edge of ghost stories, whodunits and even mysterious comedies to the stage over four days. The fest, which is also a contest, opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 22, with Colin Speer Crowley’s Few Thy Voice, a thriller about an Alzheimer’s patient with a recurring memory of murder; it continues through August 25 with performances of Wake, Cross Words, The Snowmaker and Shady Manor. The best-received play will premiere next summer for a regular run. Vintage is at 1468 Dayton Street in Aurora, and tickets are $5 per show at vintagetheatre.com.
Friday, August 23
Bring on the funnel cakes! The Colorado State Fair, which says it’s been “horsin’ around in Pueblo since 1869,” returns to that southern Colorado city for eleven days starting Friday, August 23. The fair’s fare includes the usual carnival and concerts, among them the Beach Boys and 38 Special, along with monster trucks, the ranch rodeo, livestock auctions, a demolition derby, cooking and craft competitions, and more tacky vendors than you can shake a pork chop on a stick at. Find the complete lineup at coloradostatefair.com, where you can also buy tickets (prices vary depending on events), or call 1-800-514-3849.
Lakewood is celebrating its fiftieth birthday all year, and you can join the fun at Party on the Plaza, a free birthday bash from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 23, at Civic Center Plaza, 470 South Allison Parkway in Lakewood. The Modniks will offer hits from 1969 while you play lawn games, watch magicians and buskers, and marvel at the Canine Stars Stunt Dog Show. Yes, there will be free cake, but food trucks will also be around if you want a more substantial meal, and Colorado wine and beer will be available. For more information, call 303-987-7845 or go to lakewood.org/plaza.
The Denver Modernism Show, now streamlined to Denver Mod, is back with everything retro and mid-century, from Airstream trailers, a bikini fashion show and the Motorama Car Show to a fully appointed tiki bar and the annual Miss Modernism pageant. The expo, which boasts dozens of vendors peddling mid-mod treasures, takes off with a blast of a preview night apropos of this year’s Atomic Age theme: The Glow-in-the-Dark Radioactive Opening Party will get things rolling from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, August 23. Denver Mod continues on Saturday, August 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, August 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street; admission is $20 to $50 for opening night (full weekend pass included) or $10 daily for Saturday and Sunday. Find tickets and a full schedule of events at denvermodernism.com.
Levitt Pavilion offers great free concert deals, but music and a show? That's what you'll get on Friday, August 23, from 6 to 9 p.m., when some of the best Latin musical and dance performers this side of the Rio Grande join forces for one big party. The dancers in the Fiesta Colorado Dance Company, a Denver nonprofit whose mission is to present and preserve Hispanic dance arts, will perform alongside the locals in Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra and the Santa Fe-based Shiner's Club Jazz Band. The show is free, but a $30 donation gets you access to the VIP patio, two complimentary drinks and early entry at 5:30 p.m. at Levitt, 1380 West Florida Avenue in Ruby Hill Park. Details are at levittdenver.org.
Penn & Teller have been part of the cultural zeitgeist for forty years, elevating magic shows to the heights of stadium tours. They've sold out on Broadway and around the world, and have performed on Emmy-winning TV specials, captivating audiences with their unique brand of magic mixed with off-color comedy. They're as famous as rock stars and as quintessentially American as Elvis, so don't miss them when they come to the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Friday, August 23; doors open at 7 for the 8 p.m. show, and tickets are $54 to $300 at axs.com.
Denver civic health club Warm Cookies of the Revolution continues its informative Own This City series of events espousing community-driven governance with Own This City: Power, a behind-the-scenes look at the city’s power supply and how it might be better — and more ecologically — handled in the future. Following the standard Warm Cookies plan, the event blends information and a good time to make the learning stick; to that end, you’ll enjoy live music from Ramakhandra and participatory fun with energy experts and energy-efficient toys. And, yes, there will be cookies. Get smart on Friday, August 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park; admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested at the door to help finance Warm Cookie events. Learn more at warmcookiesoftherevolution.org.
Saturday, August 24
Boulder’s Firefly Handmade is taking a summer vacation this weekend, setting up shop on Old South Gaylord Street in Denver for a change of pace. Mile High denizens can easily peruse the 100-plus hand-picked vendors of the Firefly Handmade Summer Market when it unfolds along the 1000 block of South Gaylord, fitting in perfectly among the restaurants and shops lined up just blocks from Washington Park. Enjoy shopping, live music, libations and free admission from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, August 24, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, August 25. Find more info at fireflyhandmade.com.
Ping-pong the day away at a street party with friends, food and drink at Smash Street, a traveling phenomenon developed by a branch of the International Table Tennis Federation that's coming to the intersection of Walnut and 26th streets in RiNo. Competitive types can register to play for bragging rights and a chance to compete in the Table Tennis World Championship for $30 to $50, but those looking for some friendly ping-pong without the competitive edge can grab a $7 Exhibitionist ticket, which includes a beer and a cool TTX paddle. Spectators, meanwhile, can party for free amid Smash Street's live music and art, food trucks and craft-beverage bars. Hit the pavement from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, August 24; register and get more details at smashstreetdenver.com.
Fashion with a Latin flair hits the runway this week during Latin Fashion Week Colorado, with three big events showing off the diverse talents of style-makers both local and international, along with a flurry of educational workshops and a model search for emerging designers and runway mannequins. The week opens with a local emphasis at the LFWC Colorado Designers Fashion Show, from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, August 24, at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard in Lowry; the focus turns to fashion for kids and teens from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, August 25, at Stampede, 2430 South Havana Street in Aurora; and events wrap up with the LFWC International Designers Fashion Show on Friday, August 30, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street. Admission for each show starts at $35 (children under fifteen admitted free on August 25); learn more at latinfashionweekcolorado.com.
Folks visiting the Denver Art Museum this summer have been having a lot of fun with Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, a sophisticated look at the timeless realm of mid-mod style. The DAM’s Design Council picked up on that wavelength for its fundraiser for the museum’s Department of Architecture and Design, coming up with a gala that riffs on a time when designers imagined the future as a model for their work. Celebrate mid-century in a sparkly throwback atmosphere and peruse artist-made objects for sale at Design After Dark: Play, on Saturday, August 24, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Tickets are $85 at denverartmuseum.org/designcouncil ($100 at the door), but hurry: This event consistently sells out.
Sunday, August 25
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The Colorado Classic, the state’s biggest cycling race, rolls through the mountains and various urban areas from August 22 to August 25. To celebrate, organizers are hosting the free and family-friendly Open Streets Denver on Sunday, August 25. An eight-block area between 20th and 24th and Larimer and Blake streets will be closed off to cars from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., allowing bikers, scooter riders, walkers and just about anyone else not on four wheels to enjoy fun activities — and fans can stick around to watch the Pro Women hit the streets at 1:30. Learn more about Open Streets and the race at coloradoclassic.com.
Chicken, beef and pork rule as the top proteins on the American plate, but lamb is favored by discerning diners for its distinct flavor and versatility. Don't be sheepish: Come out on Sunday, August 25, for the American Lamb Board's Lamb Jam, a festival at Mile High Station, 2027 West Colfax Avenue, designed to show off lamb as prepared by sixteen of Denver's top chefs. For $75, you'll get wine, beer, cocktails and all manner of mutton from 3 to 6 p.m. Or spring for $125 VIP tickets and get early admission, a gift bag and additional artisan bites and sips. Pick up tickets at americanlambjam.com, where you'll also a find a rundown of all the participating restaurants. Lamb Jam is a competition, too, so you can vote for the chef with the best chops!
Every month, Mile High Comics and its founder, Charles Rozanski, aka Miss Jessica, host Drag for All Ages, a joyful, family-friendly drag celebration and fundraiser for the White Rose Scholarship, the Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountains’ fund for aspiring college students across Colorado. This month's show starts at 5 p.m. Sunday, August 25, and will include mostly young drag performers. Cheer them on while having fun for a good cause at the Mile High Comics warehouse at 4600 Jason Street; admission is a $5 donation at the door. Find more information on the event's Facebook page.
Know of an event that belongs on this list? We need information at least three weeks in advance. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.