The 21 Best Events in Denver, June 5 to June 11

A Taste of Puerto Rico returns for a celebration of the Caribbean's charms.
Bettina Wilhelm
A Taste of Puerto Rico returns for a celebration of the Caribbean's charms.
It's summer in the city, which means one thing: festivals. From music festivals to Shakespeare to a celebration of Puerto Rico, there are plenty of festivals to go around this week. That's on top of the art shows, film lectures, sports games and just about anything else you could want to do. Here are our 21 best events this week.

Tuesday, June 5

As any literature fan will tell you, Hollywood doesn’t always do the best job of adapting books for the big screen. But sometimes the two mediums cross paths so perfectly, it’s as if they were made for each other. The Sie FilmCenter has been highlighting the best adaptations of novels in its Great Adaptations series, and its program on Tuesday, June 5, might be the best yet. Starring Harrison Ford and based on the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner is a sci-fi classic from 1982 about a dystopian future — set in 2019! — about a cop named Rick Deckard (Ford) who reluctantly accepts a mission to hunt down a fugitive group of synthetic humans. Touching on the film’s themes, Colleen Donnelly, a professor of English at the University of Colorado Denver, will lead a pre-film lecture titled “What Makes Us Human?” The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Sie, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Get tickets, $7 for Denver Film Society members and $10 for non-members, and information at

Travis Hetman, whose motto as an artist is “In man’s struggle against the world, bet on the world,” a quote from Franz Kafka, created 35 major drawings inspired by musician Tom Waits and Instagrammed them every Tuesday for a year. A fine draftsman with a thing for the Waits persona, Hetman has now turned all 35 into affordable limited-edition prints, which go on view in Tom Waits Tuesdays, a one-week pop-up exhibition that opens on Tuesday, June 5, and runs through Tuesday, June 12, at Leon Gallery, 1112 East 17th Avenue. We have a sneaking suspicion that there are plenty of folks out there who share Hetman’s obsession, so we’re putting out the word. Get ’em while they last; Leon will host opening and closing receptions on the exhibit’s bookended Tuesdays, or visit during regular gallery hours. Find more information on Leon Gallery’s Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 6

Boulder does summer right, and on Wednesday, June 6, our neighbor to the north kicks off its famed ten-week summer concert series Bands on the Bricks with headliners the Long Run, an Eagles tribute band, who will take over the 1300 block of the Pearl Street Mall starting at 7 p.m. But skip work early and give yourself enough time to hit up Bricks’ other main events, which begin with a beer garden at 5:30 serving up Rio Grande margaritas and brews from a rotating local brewery, followed by the opening act at 6 and the headliner at 7. Best of all? The music’s free! Visit for more information about future lineups.

For PlatteForum, Denver’s nonprofit artist/mentor program for at-risk youth, the best possible outcome of the project is if its workshop students continue to pursue the arts after their time there is done and gone. As a finale to PlatteForum’s 2018 fifteenth anniversary celebration, the organization will shine a spotlight on PlatteForum’s ArtLabalumni artists with unCANNY, a exhibit curated by alumni cohorts Ariana Romero and Harris Schweiterman. Comprised of works inspired by current topics, the show mirrors a non-traditional artistic approach to said concerns. UnCANNY goes on view on Tuesday, June 5, and runs through June 16 at PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street; attend the official opening reception on Thursday, June 7, at 6 p.m. Learn more at

Carol Burnett might not have invented improvised comedy, but she certainly mastered it during The Carol Burnett Show, an Emmy Award-winning variety program that aired weekly between 1967 and 1978. One of the show's quirkier bits was its opening, when she would take questions from her live studio audience. The comedy queen will reprise that engaging format when she comes to the Bellco Theatre, 700 14th Street, on Thursday, June 7, for Carol Burnett Live: An Evening of Laughter and Reflection Where the Audience Asks the Questions. The all-ages show begins at 7:30 p.m.; find tickets, $59 to $175, and more information at

The stereotypical image of a graffiti artist looks something like this: an unruly tank-top-wearing, testosterone-fueled adolescent boy half stoned on Krylon climbing around in a train yard or abandoned building and throwing up a piece before cops chase him away. Access Gallery, which aims to give arts opportunities to people with disabilities, has been hosting a street-art workshop led by artist Josiah Lopez with students who fall far from the graffiti-artist stereotype, including elderly students suffering from dementia. Lopez will join his students in presenting their large-scale murals and showing some of his own work in STREET ART: Graffiti Gives Back, which opens with a reception from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, at Arts Brookfield, 1801 California Street. For more information, visit the events page on

click to enlarge Boulder celebrates the Bard during the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. - ZACHARY ANDREWS, COURTESY OF COLORADO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Boulder celebrates the Bard during the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
Zachary Andrews, courtesy of Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Friday, June 8

Everyone should experience the Colorado Shakespeare Festival at least once in his or her life — it’s a sixty-year Boulder tradition bringing elegant Shakespeare stagings to the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre at the University of Colorado Boulder. Other fest offerings, some Shakespearean and some not, are staged indoors at CU’s University Theatre Building to fatten the repertory, and you can generally expect every play to be a gem. The 2018 season includes the Bard’s own Love's Labour's Lost, Richard III and Edward III, with Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac and the great screwball comedy You Can't Take It With You, by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, filling things out. CSF kicks off with Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Rippon, 277 University Avenue in Boulder, on Friday, June 8, at 8 p.m., and continues in repertory through August 12 on the CU Boulder campus. Individual tickets start at $20, with season-ticket packages priced from $36 to $188; learn more at

Rediscover the wonder of Hans Christian Anderson's beloved fairy tale as the Danse Etoile Ballet Company presents a new interpretation of The Little Mermaid. A bold reimagining of the classic story, the ballet has an intriguing blend of classical and contemporary music, plus a new original score composed by Bruce Klepper. Journey beneath the waves on a voyage of sound and movement brought to life by Danse Etoile's graceful dancers starting on Friday, June 8, at the Dairy Arts Center's Gordon Gamm Theatre, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday. Visit the Dairy Center's box-office page for tickets, $20 to $25, and more details.

Is there anything better than a weekend of playing pinball, retro console and old-school arcade video games? From Friday, June 8, to Sunday, June 10, the Ultimate Colorado Pinball + Gamer Festival invites gamers of all stripes to play their favorites, including Big Buck Hunter World, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Atari 2600s, Nintendos and more at the Denver Marriott South at Park Meadows, 10345 Park Meadows Drive in Lone Tree. The festival will also include tournaments, guest stars in the gaming world and meetups for gamers to chat about their passion. Find more information and get tickets, starting at $33 for adults, at And start stretching those thumbs!

click to enlarge Prepare to use your senses to take in Colorado Springs installation artist Matt Barton's Soft Something. - COURTESY OF MATT BARTON
Prepare to use your senses to take in Colorado Springs installation artist Matt Barton's Soft Something.
Courtesy of Matt Barton
If you’ve never seen the work of Colorado Springs installation artist Matt Barton, you’re in for an altogether different kind of experience. Get ready to use all of your senses when his exhibition Soft Something opens at Understudy for a run through June. A satellite event in conjunction with Stuart Semple’s Happy City art takeover, Soft Something is Barton’s idea of an idyllic rest stop from city life, where vibrating beds and burbling aquaponics systems will help participants loosen up, have some fun and emerge with a feeling of lightness and psychic engagement. Soft Something opens on Friday, June 8, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. at Understudy, 890 C 14th Street in the Colorado Convention Center plaza, and runs Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, through June 29. Admission is free, and the experience is all-ages; learn more at