The 21 Best Things to Do in Denver, May 30 Through June 5

Mark Penner Howell's work at the Chalk Art Festival.
Mark Penner Howell's work at the Chalk Art Festival. Courtesy of Larimer Square Facebook

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click to enlarge Buffalo Bill's grave in a circa 1930 postcard. - U.S. ROUTE 40
Buffalo Bill's grave in a circa 1930 postcard.
U.S. Route 40
Saturday, June 3

On June 3, 1917, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody was buried atop Lookout Mountain. He’d actually died on January 10, but the ground was too frozen to dig a grave at the time, and Cody’s body was kept on ice at Olinger’s Mortuary (today the home of Lola). But Denver hadn’t forgotten the legendary Westerner in the meantime; 20,000 people attended the burial. At noon on Saturday, June 3, the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, 987 ½ Lookout Mountain Road, will commemorate the anniversary with a re-creation of that day, complete with a cannon salute and a musical tribute by Jim Salestrom and Susie Knight. The ceremony is free; then head into the museum ($5 admission) to hear music historian Rex Rideout discuss Western music of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and also see the new permanent show A Visit to the Wild West as well as a second exhibit devoted to Cody’s burial. For more information, call 303-526-0744 or go to

Breakdancing master Ian Flaws has been teaching moves and supporting the hip-hop community at his Bboy Factory for the past five years, and that means it’s time for a party. Whether you take a chance on the floor or just spectate from the sidelines, the Bboy Factory Fifth Anniversary Jam, beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at the Beat, 1221 Pecos Street, is going to be a mind-blower, complete with a national-level two vs. two breakin’ competition for a $1,000 prize and contests in individual categories, including one for the over-thirty set, and king-and-queen dance-downs for kids fifteen and under. DJs A-L and Prominent will be spinning, and Motown will wield the drumsticks. Jam judges and world b-boy icons Neguin and Born will also teach workshops at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4, back at the Factory; registration is $20 for one or $30 for both. Get all the facts at or learn more at

Larimer Arts Association
Nothing says summer is here more eloquently than the Denver Chalk Art Festival in Larimer Square; after fifteen years, it’s now a bona fide Denver tradition. There’s nothing quite like it: You can stroll along and watch art being made in real time, right on the street. The colorful flat murals created throughout the fest, which range from funny to charming to jaw-droppingly gorgeous, are made even more beautiful by their ephemeral nature. Here today, gone tomorrow: Enjoy street art, live entertainment and food and drink from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 3, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 4, on the 1400 block of Larimer Street. Admission is free; go to for details.

Thirty-five years is a long time, especially in one of Denver’s rapidly changing neighborhoods. But despite the growth and development in West Highland, one thing hasn’t changed: the annual Highlands Street Fair, which first brought music, food, drinks and crowds to Highlands Square in 1982. Join the neighborhood festivities on Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for live bands on three stages — Whitewater Ramble, Ragged Union and Selasee & the Fafa Family on the main stage, plus Papa Juke battling John Weeks Band and the Megan Burtt Band taking on Jen Korte & the Loss in a battle of the bands on side stages — as well as a bike parade, kid-friendly activities, a beer garden and plenty of eats and drinks from restaurants on the block. West 32nd Avenue will be shut down between Julian and Perry streets, so bring your comfortable shoes and peruse the vendors while saying howdy to your neighbors. The best thing of all? It’s free! See for complete details.

Have you seen the best minds of your generation starving, hysterical, naked, and so forth and so on? Allen Ginsberg did. And he wrote about it in his poem “Howl,” a work of such force that it defined the Beat Generation just as much as On the Road or Naked Lunch. The poem also brought gay identity (albeit not a manicured version) into the forefront of the public imagination. To celebrate the late poet’s birthday, Anne Waldman will headline Howl: A Ginsberg Birthday Party, at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th Street in Boulder. Waldman will be joined at the bash by Boulder Burlesque, Jessica Pearl Down, Megan Heise and Band of Toughs. For tickets, $10, and information, go to

Brandon Marshall
The more things change, the more they stay the same. What was established in 1972 as the Capitol Hill People’s Fair is now the People’s Fair, a free-for-all festival that returns to Civic Center Park from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. The park will be full of family-friendly events, homemade arts and crafts, mural painting, nonstop music and other performances, as well as community booths, presentations and food and drink vendors (don’t forget those turkey legs). Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods has contracted with an event company for the first time, so there will be plenty of People’s Fair-watching by fans of the original. Join them! For more information, go to

Sunday, June 4

The Front Range boasts an incredibly strong group of sci-fi writers, and Ed Bryant is the major reason why. An award-winning science-fiction and horror writer who’d lived in Denver since 1972, Bryant passed away in February after a long illness. Fans knew Bryant for his writing, but he was a beloved and legendary mentor, too. Hear Bryant stories and swap tales of your own at a celebration of the writer’s life at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 4, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. For more information, call 303-294-9281.

Who needs the Ringling Brothers Circus when you have MOTH Poetic Circus, a group of world-class international performers and all-stars from Denver’s bustling circus scene? At 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue, MOTH will present Cinema: Circus in Black & White, taking the audience on a journey through black-and-white film while colorful characters perform overhead and all around. The last time this troupe performed, it was a sellout, so grab your tickets, $32.50, now at

Monday, June 5

As Denver’s population swells, new and old residents alike worry about the changing cityscape, where affordable housing, livability and basic aesthetics are subsumed by rapid development and historic buildings are razed, only to be replaced by overpriced boxes. Join local historian and author Phil Goodstein at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 5, at City Stacks Books and Coffee, 1743 Wazee Street, for a free discussion titled “Denver’s Density” that will address such provocative questions as “What part does Denver’s energy economy and its boom-and-bust cycles play?” and “How does Denver’s sports fixation affect its future?” Goodstein’s answers will leave listeners feeling informed, if not necessarily comforted. Learn more at

For more events, see the Westword calendar.
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