With another late-summer weekend just around the corner, many Denverites are heeding the call of the changing seasons and soaking up every last bit of available sunlight until the arrival of Autumn. While enjoying the best of what the city has to offer can be as simple as a trip to the nearest public park, Colorado's cultural offerings can be every bit as delightful as its scenery. Whether readers are keen on live music, comedy or magic, the days ahead offer a variety of performances on stages of all sizes. If your tastes skew more specific, check out a Mushroom Festival or Demolition Derby rally. Best of all, the events listed below are decidedly affordable; admission to any of the following is around ten dollars (five of them are free).
Anthem and Aria Magic Show
Thursday, August 9, 7 to 8:15 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
$9 to $10
Behold mystical and mesmerizing wonders at Anthem and Aria's monthly magic show at Syntax Physic Opera. Combining old-school showmanship, quick-witted comedy and mind-bending illusions, Anthem and Aria (aka the Empowertainers) present one of the city's most interesting evenings of entertainment, one that stands out even at a venue dedicated to letting local creatives run wild. The highly interactive show is not to be missed, nor are the tasty vittles and tipples from Syntax's bar and kitchen. Admission is $10 at the door and $9 via Anthem and Aria's Well Attended page, where readers can also find more information.
B-Side Music Fridays with Olive Party and Grass
Friday, August 10, 5 to 10 p.m.
With only a few weeks of outdoor concert season left, readers should seize every remaining opportunity to enjoy fresh sounds under open skies. MCA Denver's B-Side Music Fridays concert series invites artsy Denverites to boogie away beneath the setting sun to a soundtrack of some of the finest up-and-coming musicians in the city, continuing this week with a double bill featuring Olive Party and Grass. The first hundred age-appropriate guests receive a complimentary brew courtesy of Ratio Beerworks. Admission is $5; visit MCA Denver's Facebook events page to learn more.
Family Night Concert and Fireworks
Friday, August 10, 5 to 10 p.m.
Independence Day may have come and gone, but that doesn't mean that starry-eyed Coloradans can't enjoy another fine fireworks display before the summer ends. A kickoff celebration for the Rotary Club of Littleton's Western Welcome Week, the evening begins with a Rotary Club barbecue, followed by a concert from the Denver Municipal Band and a dazzling but drought-conditions-safe fireworks extravaganza. Take full advantage of the remaining summer nights at this fun and family-friendly event. Admission is free; find out more on the Western Welcome Week events calendar.
Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra and Shiners Club Jazz Band
Friday, August 10, 6 to 10 p.m.
Livening up the Denver music scene for nearly twenty years, Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra reinvigorates musical traditions with lively performances and experimental collaborations. The talented octet, expanded from the four founding members over the years, is sure to bring down the house at one of Levitt Pavilion's free summer concerts, sending listeners into the weekend with an extra swing in their step. Join the Denver music-scene mainstays, along with opening act Shiners Club Jazz Band at a Telemundo-sponsored evening under the stars. Although admission is gratis, VIP tickets available for $30. Visit Levitt Pavilion's Eventbrite page to learn more.
Comedy Night at Chain Reaction
Friday, August 10, 8 p.m.
Chain Reaction Brewing Company
Peals of laughter are available on tap at Denver's longest-running brewery-based standup showcase, Comedy Night at Chain Reaction. Hosted and curated by Steve Vanderploeg, Chain Reaction stands apart from its frothy hordes of competitors by presenting the best in local and traveling standups to the Athmar Park brewpub's loyal and beery crowds. August's lineup includes a host of visiting mirth merchants, including Chicago's Chris Higgins, Los Angeles's Zoe Rogers, Kansas City's Aaron Naylor, Boston's Alex Dragicevich, prodigal Denverite Stephen Agyei and headliner Heather Thomson. Guests can also soak up their brews with deliciously melty raclette from the Sweet Cheesus food truck. Admission is free; learn more on Chain Reaction Brewing Company's Facebook events page.
Deviant Presents: Heroes vs. Villains Dance Floor Battle
Friday, August 10, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Springing forth from comic-book pages and multiplex screens onto the dance floor, a coterie of costumed characters will engage in a battle of the boogie at Track's Deviant night. Blending comic-book culture with art and fashion in one of the city's most delightful parties, Deviant's Heroes vs Villains dance-off unites characters from the Marvel, DC, Disney, or whatever-attendees-can-imagine worlds in a beat-driven conquest for dance domination. While costumes are certainly encouraged, they're not required. Visit Deviant Night's box-office page to buy tickets, $5, and find more details.
Union Station Busker Festival
August 10 to 12, hours vary
Buskers are the unsung heroes of the music world. Generally ignored by passersby and eager for an audience, street performers hone their skills in the most unforgiving circumstances. Denver is paying tribute to these sidewalk troubadours with three days of music, magic, dance and comedy at the Union Station Busker Festival (Buskerfest), an event that unites buskers of different disciplines from all over the country. Providing free entertainment for an often unwilling public is a noble and thankless endeavor, so a celebration of the street-side talents who liven up everyone's morning rail commute is long overdue. Admission is free, but readers had better damn well pay up when performers pass the hat. Visit Buskferfest's home page for more details.
Sloan's Lake Art and Music Festival
August 11 to 12, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sloan's Lake Park
While any day is a fine day to visit Sloan's Lake (Denver's second-largest public park), it'll be an especially lively scene this weekend when the Sloan's Lake Art and Music Festival returns for three days of community unity. Encourage young minds at the creation station, or stock up on paintings, ceramics, jewelry and apparel created by local vendors at one of Denver Days' artiest parties. The main stage will also host concerts from celebrated local musicians like Band on the Fence, Scarecrow Revival, the Hazel Miller Band and more. The festival is both dog- and family-friendly, so guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets and 3.2 beer. Admission is free; visit the Creative Resources and Venues Eventbrite page to register.
Saturday, August 11, 5 p.m.
Jack Murphy Outdoor Arena (Boulder County Fairgrounds)
$10 to $20
Nothing delights the lizard brain quite like the automotive destruction on display at the Boulder County Fair's Demolition Derby. A thrilling contest that pits car against car, the derby promises a smashingly good time for crash-happy gearheads of all ages. The entire afternoon will be filled with revving engines and thrilling crashes. General admission is $10 to $20, and pit passes will run you $35. Visit the Boulder County Fair events calendar to find out more.
Sunday, August 12, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Free with gate admission, $9 to $12.50
Have fun with fungi at the Colorado Mycological Society's 41st Annual Mushroom Fair. Guests can admire a vast collection of recently picked mushrooms, learn how to identify particular species in the wild, and even bring in their own samples for expert identification at a friendly gathering of fungi-philes. Enjoy informative presentations and mingle with like-minded green thumbs while shopping for mushroom-capped T-shirts and helpful guide books. Free with admission to the gardens. Find out more on Denver Botanic Gardens' Facebook events page.
Bonus: Get Thee to a Nunnery
Wednesday, August 15, 8 p.m.
Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
$7 to $11
While the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet is nobody's idea of a laugh riot, local comedians Elise Kerns and Jodee Champion have turned to the bard for inspiration with their new(ish) showcase "Get Thee to a Nunnery." Hamlet utters those fateful words to Ophelia, who lends her namesake to Ophelia's Electric Soapbox, an erstwhile brothel and porn emporium that's been refurbished into one of the city's hippest performance venues. Join Kerns and Champion along with August's lineup, which includes local standups Cody Spyker, David Rodriguez and Adam Cayton-Holland. Admission is $7 to $11 via the Ophelia's Electric Soapbox Ticketfly page.
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