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The 21 Best Things to Do in Denver, August 7 Through 13

Get down with Deviant at its Heroes vs. Villains night!EXPAND
Get down with Deviant at its Heroes vs. Villains night!
Aaron Thackeray
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The days might be growing shorter and the nights cooler, but event season in Denver is still red-hot. Take a home tour, hit up a food festival or catch the last leg of Film at the Rocks. All that and more is in this week's 21 best events calendar!

Tuesday, August 7

Start building your appetite for the Flatirons Food Film Festival this October at Shake It Up: Cocktails and Cuisine, a fundraiser on Tuesday, August 7, at the Boulder Brands office, 1600 Pearl Street in Boulder. The event includes small bites and custom cocktails from Blackbelly, Bramble and Hare, Emmerson and Pastificio Boulder; Fortuna Chocolate will end the evening with a dessert cocktail. But first, Bryan Dayton, award-winning mixologist and co-owner of Corrida and Oak at Fourteenth, will offer up a cocktail presentation complete with two more cocktails. There will also be a screening of short cocktail films, live music from Harmony Music House, and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $75 in advance at eventbrite.com or $85 at the door; learn more at flatironsfoodfilmfest.org.

Celebrate Guillermo del Toro's fishy fantasia, The Shape of Water, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Celebrate Guillermo del Toro's fishy fantasia, The Shape of Water, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Wednesday, August 8

As Central City Opera wraps up its 2018 season, the high-drama operas that dominate the stage will give way to a showcase of some of the best songs from musical-theater history at Encore: A Musical Revue. Expect Broadway and off-Broadway hits from newer musicals as well as classics like West Side Story, Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music, sung by Central City favorites Curt Olds, Will Liverman and Jennifer DeDominici and talent from the 2018 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. Hear all your favorite show tunes starting at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 8; additional performances take place on August 9 and 11 at the Central City Opera House, 124 Eureka Street in Central City. For more information, go to centralcityopera.org.

Make movie night just a little bit brainier by hitting the Denver Museum of Nature & Science sci-fi film series, which pairs fan-favorite blockbusters with an analytical lecture from a relevant scientific expert, who often ends up debunking the central premise of the film. Hosted and curated by Metropolitan State University at Denver associate professor Vincent Piturro in the museum's Phipps Theater, the Wednesday, August 8, edition starts at 7 p.m. with a showing of Guillermo del Toro's fishy fantasia, The Shape of Water. Winner of last year's Best Picture Oscar, the story of a mute woman's love affair with a lanky fish-man hybrid who's quarantined in a top-secret government facility should offer plenty of points for discussion. Stick around after the screening for Piturro's lighthearted yet informative talk with zoologist Jeff Stephenson, who'll examine the scientific accuracy of this interspecies romance. Admission is $12 to $15 on the museum's box-office page.

Window shop at the Denver Parade of Homes.
Window shop at the Denver Parade of Homes.
Courtesy of Parade of Homes

Thursday, August 9

These days, buying a home is beyond the reach of many metro Denver residents. But you can dream, can't you? And there's no better place to explore your fantasies than at the Denver Parade of Homes, a summer tradition hosted by the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver. To mark the HBA's 75th anniversary, this year's edition includes 75 newly designed model and custom homes by 23 area residential builders, five luxury "Dream Homes" among them. The houses stretch from Windsor to Castle Rock, Arvada to Aurora; starting Thursday, August 9, you can take a self-guided tour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through August 26. And it's free to look! Find out more at paradeofhomesdenver.com.

The Museum of Boulder, which focuses on telling the town's ongoing story, is getting off to an exemplary start in its new digs. The latest exhibit, Listening Together: An Exploration of 40 Years Making Community-Powered Radio, looks back on KGNU’s origins in countercultural Boulder while also looking at the future of the successful station. To emphasize that future, the show is filled with interactive sensory displays and listening kiosks, as well as KGNU artifacts. Listening Together opens Thursday, August 9, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. (and tunes by the station's DJ Segue), and runs through September 17 at the Museum of Boulder, 2205 Broadway in Boulder. The exhibit is included with museum admission of $8 to $10; learn more at museumofboulder.org.

The documentary Boys With Bigger Hearts tells the story of Trey Purcell and Jack Fowler, two boys diagnosed with the genetic disorder MPS II, also known as Hunter syndrome. The film follows Purcell as he undergoes a successful experimental treatment, and Fowler as his body and mind fall apart when his parents are unable to get him access to that same treatment mid-trial. The film, directed by Joey Howell, will screen at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 9, at the Landmark Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway. The suggested donation for admission is $10; for more information, go to boyswithbiggerhearts.org.

Pipedream Productions, a young troupe with innovative ideas, spent months brainstorming the interactive #BESTYOU, a game show that’s also a play satirizing the impossibly perfect surface of social media, where everyone puts their best face forward. Three fictitious Internet celebrities pretty up their lives during three challenges to propel the live action, and it’s up to the audience to decide which one does it best, based on such traits as strength, resilience and mental health. Wanna play? #BESTYOU opens on Thursday, August 9, at the JMAC Studios White Box, 1903 East Iliff Avenue on the University of Denver campus, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays through September 1. Tickets are $23 in advance and $25 at the door; for reservations and details, visit bestyou.brownpapertickets.com or hashtagbestyou.com.

Friday, August 10

RedLine Denver will be open around the clock — or close enough — during its annual 48 Hours of Socially Engaged Art & Conversation Summit, a two-day meeting of the minds inspired by the City of Denver’s Imagine 2020 Cultural Plan that touches on such topics as social responsibility and giving back to the creative community. Local artists and arts nonprofits have a major presence at the summit, through performances, workshops, ten-minute talks, demonstrations, panels, roundtables and the Socially Engaged Art Projects exhibit. Programming runs from 7:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, August 10, and from 8:15 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street. Admission is free, but donations are welcome; learn more and register in advance at redlineart.org.

The circus is back in town with the return of the Union Station Buskerfest, an annual carnival drawing buskers from around the world to the plaza outside Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street, where they entertain people of all ages. Get ready to be amazed by acrobats, hula-hoopers, fire performers, clowns, unicyclists, giant puppets, street dancers and other downright funny folks, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, August 10 (the first fifty people who show up in costume will be invited to a special after-party at 9 p.m.), and again from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, and Sunday, August 12. Plan to make a day of it: Eateries abound in the area, and kids can cool off in the plaza's interactive fountain. Admission is free; visit unionstationbuskerfest.com for the lineup and more information.

How Breckenridge Creative Arts and BreckCreate director Robb Woulfe manages to program and cram so many cultural experiences into ten days in one little mountain town, we’ll never know, but the annual Breckenridge International Festival of Arts just gets bigger and better with age. The 2018 edition kicks off Friday, August 10, and is packing the days through August 19 with art installations and exhibits by international artists, workshops, culture hikes, film screenings, concerts, skateboarding action and musicians performing in the treetops (among other things). BIFA events happen at various downtown Breckenridge locations and even on local trails; most are free. Plan your attack at breckcreate.org/bifa.

Sometimes a soundtrack plays the most important role in a movie, setting the tone and accentuating the action, and that’s never been more true than in Sergio Leone’s iconic spaghetti Westerns starring Clint Eastwood;  Ennio Morricone’s compositions announce every move made by the Man With No Name. Alamo Drafthouse Denver, at 4255 West Colfax Avenue, pays homage to the cinematic pairing this weekend with The Good, the Bad and the Devine: Dave Devine & Friends Play Ennio Morricone's Spaghetti Westerns. Screenings of A Fistful of Dollars on Friday, August 10, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on Saturday, August 11, will be preceded by performances by The Good, the Bad, and the Devine, guitarist Dave Devine’s Morricone tribute band, in the theater’s BarFly lounge. Music starts at 7 p.m., followed by screenings at 8:30 p.m.; the $12 admission includes both. Get tickets in advance at drafthouse.com/denver.

Deviant does it again, this time at Heroes vs. Villains!EXPAND
Deviant does it again, this time at Heroes vs. Villains!
Aaron Thackeray

Are you a hero or a villain? Pick your side, then head to the dance floor and battle for the universe at Deviant on Friday, August 10, at Tracks Denver. Heroes vs. Villains is one of the monthly night's favorite themes, bringing together the worlds of cosplay, comics, fantasy, science fiction and more in creative community. Although costumes are not required, they are encouraged (dress-up ideas include Marvel and DC characters, politicians, you name it). DJ Slave1 and DJ Sante will be performing in the main room; other entertainment includes live interactive community stages, the Deviant Art Walk with local alternative artists, and Four Square and Ping Pong hero and villain tournaments in the alley. The Deviant fun runs from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Tracks, 3500 Walnut Street; admission is just $5. Find out more at deviantnight.com.

Saturday, August 11

The 40 West Arts District is throwing itself a party, and you won't want to miss it. At the fourth annual West Colfax MuralFest, artists both local (Thomas Evans and Shay Davis) and international (Steven Teller and Pepe Gaka) will transform walls throughout the district from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 11. While they work, you can enjoy live music, food trucks, art vendors and fun family activities, all centered around the Lamar Station Plaza, 6501 West Colfax Avenue, in the shadow of Lakewood’s favorite tourist trap, Casa Bonita. Admission is free; learn more at westcolfaxmuralfest.org.

When was the last time you shopped ’til you dropped? Every second Saturday throughout the year, the Denver Handmade Homemade Market (Denver HaHo) offers an opportunity to do just that, and if you haven’t been this summer, this is your chance. At least two dozen vendors of local wares will be setting up tables from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, at Forge 970, 970 Yuma Street. That's also where Denver HaHo runs its Spindle incubator — a space worth checking into if you’re on the lookout for a shared studio space, member-driven workshop and commissary. It’s the real deal in a town where creatives are having a tough time finding an affordable place to work. Admission to the market is free, and children and dogs are welcome; learn more about the market and the Spindle at denverhaho.org.

Get a real taste of Colorado culture at the second annual Arvada Arts and Ales Festival, which returns to the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 11. Whether you're a serious art collector with deep pockets or merely a beer-loving lookie-loo, you can raise a frothy glass or three with local and regional artists who'll be exhibiting and selling their lovingly crafted creations. In addition to these artsy vendors, Arts and Ales will boast a main stage for performance artists and live music from the Boulder-based Face Vocal Band. Participating brewers including Wynkoop, LandLocked Ales, SomePlace Else, Bruz Beers and many more will be offering special beer tastings throughout the day, so it might be worth springing for a VIP ticket. Tickets range from $5 to $55; get yours at arvadacenter.org.

Did you miss the Westword Music Showcase, the Underground Music Showcase and all the other music festivals sounding off in Mile High neighborhoods this summer? If so, jump in your car and head to downtown Castle Rock for Maddiepalooza V, where Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, a pioneer of the Denver sound, will join up-and-coming act Wildermiss, blues crooner and songwriter extraordinaire R.L. Cole and his band The Hell You Say, as well as the Delta Sonics, SR3 and more for a showcase of some of the area's best acts. This all-ages festival is free and runs from 3 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 11. Beer sales and donations will go to support veterans' groups including Douglas County Veterans Monument Foundation, Veteran Expeditions and Fallen Heroes Honored; for details, visit maddiepalooza.com.

Celebrate all Cherry Creek has to offer at the Cherry Creek North Food & Wine festival.
Celebrate all Cherry Creek has to offer at the Cherry Creek North Food & Wine festival.
Danielle Lirette

How long has it been since you went to Cherry Creek for dinner? Given the massive construction and minimal parking in that neighborhood, chances are it's been a while. But on Saturday, August 11, the Cherry Creek North Food & Wine festival will provide an ideal way to explore the area's many bars and restaurants, getting a breadth of all the available bites without having to leave Fillmore Plaza. More than twenty establishments will have tables at First Avenue and Fillmore Street from 6 to 9 p.m., when they'll serve up tastes of some of their best menu items. Our favorite entries include Hedge Row, Quality Italian, Blue Island Oyster Bar, Del Frisco's Grille and the ever-popular Enstrom Candies. VIP is sold out; get your general admission tickets for $85 at cherrycreeknorth.com.

There's nothing that local comedian and podcaster Anthony Crawford would like more for his birthday than to share a stage with a cavalcade of his funniest friends, which is precisely what he'll be doing at Crawford's Comedy Birthday Bash on Saturday, August 11, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. The birthday boy is giving back to Denver comedy fans, presenting a lineup of local favorites including Christie Buchele and Adam Cayton-Holland — who will both appear earlier that same night in Mortified Live at the Oriental — along with Sam Tallent, Derrick Rush, John Novosad and Louis Johnson. Doors open at 10 p.m. for the 10:30 show. Give yourself the gift of laughter; visit the Oriental Theater's box-office page to buy tickets, $10, and learn more.

Artist and professional framer Justin Maes will open up the Hideout basement gallery at his University Hills Plaza business, ABC Custom Framing, for Saturation, an exhibit in which local artists use video, sculpture, fine art and music to convey how media and technology have saturated the world’s mindscape with too much information. Maes, who curated the show, will also be a part of it, along with Eric Anderson, Dan Becker, Anthony Bruce-Roark, Samuel Mata, Sam Prien and Ivy Whitehead. Can you take any more? Saturation opens with a reception on Saturday, August 11, from 7 to 11 p.m.; the music starts at 9 p.m. ABC is at 2550 South Colorado Boulevard; learn more on the shop’s Facebook page.

Sunday, August 12

Forever Beatles lover Jimi Bernath remembers John Lennon every December, around the anniversary of his 1980 assassination, with an organized Beatles sing-along at the Mercury Cafe. But this summer, he’s rounding out his obsession with a second session focusing on one memorable Beatles album. The White Album 1968 Sing-along will not only conjure up the politics and social unrest of the year that the double LP came out, but will serve as a fitting tribute to such Beatles gems as “Back in the USSR,” “Happiness Is a Warm Gun,” “Blackbird” and “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road,” as well as other key songs from the era. Sing along with Bernath from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 12, at the Merc, 2199 California Street; admission is free, and lyric sheets will be provided. Go to the Denver White Album 1968 Sing-along Facebook page for more.

Chadwick Boseman (left) and Lupita Nyong'o star in Black Panther.
Chadwick Boseman (left) and Lupita Nyong'o star in Black Panther.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Monday, August 13

Film on the Rocks closes out another season on Monday, August 13, with a presentation of one of the year's most exciting superhero sagas, Black Panther. A box-office smash that simultaneously elevated a comparatively obscure comic-book character into one of the leading men of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and handily refuted Hollywood's prejudiced notion that audiences wouldn't support a non-white hero, Black Panther represents a watershed moment in the ongoing cultural conversation about diversity and representation in show business. Inspiration aside, it's simply dynamite entertainment with colorful Afrofuturist costumes, thrilling action set pieces, and the best villain of the entire Marvel film franchise. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for live music and standup comedy prior to the screening at dusk. Get tickets, $15, and more information on the Denver Film Society's events calendar. Wakanda forever!

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