The Modern World

Event promoter Dana Cain puts on a lot of shindigs every year, but to date, none have been as magnificent as the Denver Modernism Show, an enormous flea market, juried art show, pop culture and design expo, tiki lounge and love paean to mid-century style and shlock that she stages each August at the National Western Complex. And every year, Cain tries to outdo herself by inviting high-profile special guests and pop-culture experts and turning the spotlight on something new or different from the year before. This year, she's going for spectacle (with an exclamation point!) and big attractions.

That aspect gets off the ground with a bang at tonight's Miss Modernism Pageant, part of the opening preview party, which begins at 7 p.m. “The bulk of it will focus on the introductions and questions, like 'How would you make the world a better place?' And then there's the talent competition,” Cain teases. She says to expect the retro, campy and kitschy in that area, possibly including balloon animals, hula-hooping, sketch comedy and a Barbarella striptease by local burlesque queen Michelle Baldwin (aka Vivienne VaVoom). Winner gets a $500 shopping spree at the expo.

Saturday brings out a special edition of Cain's Vintage Voltage Expo, featuring classic electronic gear and lots of vinyl records, and on Sunday, the expanded Denver Modernism Car Show: Stylish at Any Speed will park itself in the complex, showcasing a retro fleet of post-atomic vehicles dating from 1947 to the present. Fins and candy colors: You can't beat it. Plus, Beatles tribute band Fables will provide tunes.

Denver Modernism is open to the public from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at National Western, I-70 and Brighton Boulevard; admission is $15 on Friday, $5 Saturday and $8 Sunday (includes car show tickets). For information, visit
Fri., Aug. 27, 7-10 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 28, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 29, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 2010

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