Warm weather is finally here, and the events calendar is heating up with outdoor movies, outdoor concerts and outdoor food fests. And then there's PrideFest, one of the biggest celebrations in the country, which will keep Denver jumping all weekend. Keep reading for the 21 best events around town this week.
Monday, June 10
Marijuana Deals Near You
Poisoned wine standoffs, rodents of unusual size, and feats of cinematic derring-do are on glorious display in the Princess Bride, a highly quotable and endlessly re-watchable mashup of Tolkienesque fantasy and vaudevillian comedy. The arguable apex of Rob Reiner’s filmmaking career, the adaptation of William Goldman’s novel has enchanted generations of movie lovers with its uncanny blend of swoony romance and sharp wit. Revisit the inconceivably delightful 1987 film (or behold it for the first time) in the company of an appreciative audience when the BRUN (Berkeley-Regis United Neighbors) movie night returns to the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, with a 7:30 p.m. screening of the 32-year-old classic on Monday, June 10. Admission is free; get more information at theorientaltheater.com.
Tuesday, June 11
Feel like being at one with nature without leaving town? Denver Botanic Gardens makes it easy on Tuesday, June 11, during a Guided Meditation Walk. As the name suggests, an instructor will lead participants through the gardens, 1007 York Street, so they can utilize the beautiful natural surroundings to heal the body, mind and spirit. The hour-long walk begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are $15 for members and $18 for everyone else; find them and more info at botanicgardens.org.
Wednesday, June 12
Cartoons meet the salt of the earth in 68 Voces, 68 Corazones, a series of beautifully animated stories, each narrated in one of the many indigenous languages of Mexico. Eventually, the makers hope to animate one story for all 68 known language families, but for now, the Indigenous Film & Arts Festival, in partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico, will show 22 completed animations as part of its ongoing film series at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard. See the screening and participate in an after-show discussion beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12; the presentation is free, but a $5 donation is suggested to help fund the annual film fest. Learn more at dmns.org.
Thursday, June 13
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Rezendes, who led the Boston Globe's Spotlight team in its investigation of the Catholic Church abuse coverup, will talk with KGNU's Maeve Conran in a special fundraiser for the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, which will return to Colorado this fall. What's certain to be an illuminating conversation about one of the great journalistic projects of our time will start at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at the home of Keele Burgin, 1810 Hillside Road in Boulder; tickets are $100 in advance at eventbrite.com, $120 at the door.
Back in the wild and woolly 1970s, artist Red Grooms created what he called a “sculpto-pictorama” from craft materials, complete with larger-than-life bucking broncos and rodeo queens inspired by the Fort Worth Stock Show’s rodeo. The resulting pop-art installation, “Ruckus Rodeo,” commissioned by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth for a 1976 exhibition, is still kicking up dust more than forty years later, and will be at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center through the end of 2019. The related show, which in modern terms would be called “immersive,” opens with a celebration from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 13, that invites viewers to don their Western duds and two-step to live music to welcome the Grooms extravaganza to town. Future special events include a public chuckwagon dinner on June 29. Admission to the museum, 400 Quail Road in Longmont, is $5 to $8; learn more at longmontcolorado.gov.
It's a basic tenet of barbecue: Hurry up and wait. Whether you're babysitting the meat while it soaks up all those smoky flavors or sitting in a car on I-70, you've got to pay your dues for good ’cue. But the wait is worth it at our favorite barbecue festival, the Colorado BBQ Challenge, which starts with a concert (no ’cue) at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 13, and continues with the meaty main event at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 14, and again at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 15, in Frisco. Along Main Street of this mountain town, you'll find piles of pork, brisket, ribs, chicken and sausage, alongside chef demos, bands and road races like the Bacon Burner 6K (in which both humans and porcine participants try to outrun their impending mortality). Admission is free, but you'll have to buy Hogbacks to cover your food; find out more at townoffrisco.com.
Pride Month festivities have an extra resonance in 2019 as activists mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a culture-shifting flashpoint for equality crusaders like the Gay Liberation Front and the LGBTQ community at large. Colorado's own Playground Ensemble joins the tribute to the legacy of Stonewall with Resist. Rebel. Rewrite., a presentation of four new chamber music pieces dedicated to fostering a personal connection with queer history. In addition to premiering works from Madelyn Byrne, Egemen Kesikli, Anthony R. Green and S. Wellington, the evening will include an art installation from Adri Norris of Afrotriangle Designs and beer and wine for sale. The band strikes up at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at Invisible City, 1545 Julian Street. Tickets are $15 in advance at brownpapertickets.com, $20 at the door; visit playgroundensemble.org to learn more.
For country-music fans looking for a mega-dose of boot stomping, line dancing and singing along to giants of the genre, the nearly three-decade-old Country Jam music festival — which runs Thursday, June 13, to Sunday, June 16, on the Western Slope — will fill the bill. Little Big Town headlines Thursday night, Sam Hunt on Friday, Luke Bryan on Saturday, and the festival wraps with a performance by Alabama — but those are just the biggest of more than 25 acts. If you’re ready to chug a beer, party and camp out, tickets start at $129 for one day and $185 for the full weekend at Jam Ranch, 1065 Highway 6 & 50 in Mack, just outside Grand Junction. Learn more at countryjam.com.
Friday, June 14
Akihabara Arcade and Bar is hosting a tournament that will bring professional gamers from across the country to Westminster's new downtown for Brews n' Battles. Gamers of all levels will compete for prizes that include a trip for two to national tournament Community Effort Orlando in Florida; but the action should be fun (and free!) for spectators, too, especially since the bar stocks everything from a wide range of energy drinks to Colorado craft beers to Japanese whiskey and Colorado Sake Company Strawberry Mint Sake. The play begins at 6 p.m. Friday, June 14, and resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 15, at Akihabara, 8901 Harlan Street in Westminster; register ($20 in advance, $30 at the door) at akihabaraarcade.com.
Light-based art is hot this summer in Denver (the Denver Art Museum’s The Light Show comes to mind), but Curtis Park artist/neighbors at the Temple and RedLine got a head start on the concept a year ago when they introduced Lights Out Lights On, a one-night collaboration celebrating art driven by light and new media. They’ll light up the neighborhood again this year on Friday, June 14, from 7 to 11 p.m. at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, with bright, shiny work by thirty artists, curated by Drew Austin, Ashley Frazier and Michael F. Sperandeo, a team that represents both organizations. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested to help finance the exhibition; learn more and RSVP at eventbrite.com.
While there won't be a bar in sight, music will flow freely at Recovery Unplugged Denver's Sober Open Mic, a free community gathering at 7 p.m. Friday, June 14, at the Guild, 3435 South Inca Street, Suite C, in Englewood. You can sit back and listen to the acts, jump up and show off your dance moves, or even perform for the crowd (get there by 6:30 p.m. to sign up). For information about becoming a featured artist, email email@example.com, and learn more about the program at recoveryunplugged.com.
Saturday, June 15
Denver PrideFest isn't just the largest LGBTQ celebration in the region; it’s one of the top ten pride events in the nation. This year’s fest, running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 15, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 16, in Civic Center Park, offers three stages of live entertainment ranging from drag shows to special appearances by YouTube sensation Todrick Hall and RuPaul's Drag Race runner-up Peppermint; more than 250 exhibitors; and Denver artist Lonnie Hanzon’s "Stonewall 50: Progress and Reflection" history installation. Sunday’s PrideFest Parade brings tradition to the proceedings, stepping off from Cheesman Park at 9:30 a.m. and marching down East Colfax Avenue to the fest proper, with thousands of spectators lining the route and plenty of rainbow colors. For a complete rundown of events, visit denverpride.org.
Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival, one of the largest in the nation, celebrates the abolition of slavery in the United States, but it also highlights modern African-American culture after more than 150 years of freedom. To that end, this year’s commemoration brings it all together in a big way, beginning with three stages of live music — headlined by pop star Ashanti — and including a tournament for NBA 2K19 gamers, youth-zone activities, a beauty market and more than 150 vendors, all over two days of free festivities on Saturday, June 15, and Sunday, June 16. The party gets started with the annual Juneteenth Parade, which leaves Manual High School (1700 East 28th Avenue) at 11 a.m. Saturday and makes its way to 27th and Welton streets in Five Points, with Grand Marshal Dr. Daddio leading the way. Get all the details at juneteenthmusicfestival.com.
Coffins full of funereal fun await when the thirteenth annual edition of HearseCon rolls into Colorado for four days of "Dames, Death and Depravity" starting Thursday, June 13. While similar events are usually private gatherings intended solely for hearse drivers, the public can get in gear from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, when HearseCon joins unholy forces with the Morbid Curiosities Carnival at Stampede, 2430 South Havana Street in Aurora. The con and carnival will be replete with live music, evil clowns, specialty vendors and, of course, a lot-enveloping array of tricked-out funeral coaches. Eager to join the action next year? Enter a free hearse give-away to win the corpse-conveying car of your dreams. Admission is free; visit hearseclub.com for further details.
In a world where people connect more to their phones than themselves, getting in touch with our bodies and the way they relate to our minds and emotions can be a challenge. Here to help are dance instructor Lisa Engelken and musician Kalya Marque, who are co-hosting Instinct Workshop, a guided-movement workshop at Denver’s innovative arts space Understudy, 890 C 14th Street, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Expect to move for an entire hour and to explore whatever thoughts come to mind through your body. While the event is free, there is a $10 suggested donation; for more information, go to facebook.com/understudydenver.
Professional wrestling tends to be dominated by steroidal muscle men, but women have been clamoring for a place in the pantheon of spandex-clad gladiators for decades. The struggle against the patriarchy heads to Herman's Hideaway, 1578 South Broadway, on Saturday, June 15, for Respect: Women's Wrestling, an all-female league of brawlers and devastating divas. The ringside action will comprise a thrilling opening bout between Allie Gato and Su Yung before the main event, wherein reigning champion Bentley Powell must defend her title against Solo Darling. WWE legend Jeff Hardy will also be on hand for an acoustic performance and a meet-and-greet following the matches. Get ready to rumble at 7 p.m.; get tickets, $17 to $160, and more information at eventbrite.com.
Comics in Colorado have been known to get too high and end a show early (look it up) — and that’s exactly the challenge for the participants in the Gateway Show, a standup set built around stoned comedy. The fully baked program will be hosted by Billy Anderson and the International Church of Cannabis, 400 South Logan Street, from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 15; comics will do a partial set, after which they'll be taken to an undisclosed location to smoke a bunch of weed before coming back and attempting to finish up with red eyes and a burnt mind. No cannabis consumption will be allowed by guests, but there will be an intermission to go mind your own business. Admission (21+) is $10 to $25 on eventbrite.com; learn more by calling the International Church of Cannabis at 303-800-5644.
Music and art meet at the Bedlam Art Showcase, a party at Thought//Forms Gallery with an underground vibe, collage and street art on the walls against a wide musical backdrop that includes noise, punk, hip-hop and Americana. Want to see some emerging talent before it even emerges? Bedlam runs from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, at 99 Kalamath Street. For more about this show and a schedule of upcoming events at Thought//Forms Gallery, go to the Thought//Forms Gallery Facebook page.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Sunday, June 16
Looking for a less frenzied, indoor way to celebrate Juneteenth? The Source Theatre Company, Denver’s ground zero for the development of African-American theater locally, bows to the cultural advancement of people of color with its sixth annual Celebrate African-American Theatre Day, an afternoon of forgotten theater history and play excerpts acknowledging traditions that date back to minstrel shows and vaudeville. Programming runs from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, at the Source’s home in the Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive; admission is free. RSVP in advance at thesource.wellattended.com, and learn more about the Source at thesourcedenver.org.
Denver has seen an uptick in classic country-music shows in recent months, mostly thanks to the efforts of Queen City Country & Western, a group of country, roots and folk bands that have teamed up to promote each other’s work. These bands, including Casey James Prestwood and the Burning Angels, Extra Gold, Grayson County Burn Ban, Hang Rounders, High Plains Honky and Whippoorwill, will play a free Father's Day show at Levitt Pavilion, 1380 West Florida Avenue in Ruby Hill Park, starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 16. RSVP or upgrade to VIP for $30 at levittdenver.org.
If you're having trouble finding the old man a gift for Father's Day on Sunday, June 16, then show him how times are a-changin' during a cannabis-friendly yoga session with Bend & Blaze. And don't worry if Pops is a little intimidated by the whole yoga-and-weed thing: The special evening session, taught by a certified yoga instructor, will be accompanied by the music of Bob Dylan. Relax and unwind from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. at Cultivated Synergy, 2901 Walnut Street, after registering (21+) at cultivatedsynergy.com; learn more about the event and session rules on Bend & Blaze Yoga's Facebook page.
For an event to be considered for 21 Best, we need information three weeks in advance. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.