The weather is cooling down, but the summer calendar is heating up. There's plenty to do around Denver, from celebrating Union Station's fifth birthday to getting in the swim at the Dragon Boat Festival to marveling at the antics of Saltarin at the Peruvian Festival. And the Invisible Circus is back in town, too. Keep reading for the 21 best things to do around town this week.
Monday, July 22
At 75 years old, Diana Ross is making Red Rocks Amphitheatre history as the performer with the widest gap between her first and second shows at the storied venue. The time span: fifty years. Ross, whose career dates back to the ’60s, when she dazzled the world as a founding member of the Supremes, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and the voice behind classic songs like “I’m Coming Out” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 22, at Red Rocks, 18300 West Alameda Parkway; tickets, $46 to $251, are available at axs.com.
This is not a drill! The Rainbow Militia will present a special Invisible Circus event benefitting Zabiti: An Immersive Circus Adventure at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 23. The evening will include beer by Ratio Beerworks, barbecue and gravity-defying acts, all inside the magical Zabiti Circus Wagon. And that's not all: You'll also get a sneak peek walk-through of the magical world inside Denver Rock Drill, 1717 East 39th Avenue, where you can explore the the witchy's house, an underwater world and more, all created by Tom Varani and Andrea Pliner of the Unbuilt Library. Tickets are $30; get them here.
From releasing a string of hit records — including indisputable classics Come Home With Me and Purple Haze — to designing fashion-forward ebola masks, the perpetually purple-clad Cam’Ron brings an equal level of effortless finesse to all of his endeavors. The flamboyant MC, who began his career under the nom-de-mic Killa Cam, was originally discovered by the Notorious B.I.G., who helped the young artist secure a record deal. Though he hasn't released a proper studio album since 2009's Crime Pays (which shares a name with his directorial debut on film), Cam’Ron has remained active on camera and on the mic, appearing on two seasons of VH1's Love and Hip Hop: New York and recording a steady stream of mixtapes. The charismatic rapper will visit Englewood's Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 23. Go to gothictheatre.com for tickets, $25.95 to $30, and more information.
Wednesday, July 24
Plenty of things at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science will scare the bejeezus out of you: asteroids, the giant Tyrannosaurus rex, and all manner of creepy animals. But few are as terrifying as Jordan Peele’s satirical indie horror movie Get Out, which will screen in Ricketson Auditorium, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, as part of the museum's Sci-Fi Film Series. The movie, which tells the story of a black man who visits his white girlfriend’s family, will send chills through the crowd, all while provoking important conversations about race. But it’s not just identity that’s cause for conversation: Ella Maria Ray of Metropolitan State University will be there to talk about the science behind the film. The screening starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 24; for more information and tickets, $8 to $15, go to dmns.org.
This is a tough time for creatives in Denver, with many galleries moving out of the core city (or closing altogether) because of rising costs, even as the artists themselves struggle with skyrocketing rent. But somehow, Spark Gallery has persevered; this month, Denver’s oldest active arts co-op is celebrating its fortieth anniversary. Among the festivities is a panel discussion, “Co-ops: Past, Present and Future,” from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at Spark, 900 Santa Fe Drive. Tackling the topic will be a handful of artists and critics, including Westword’s Michael Paglia. Admission is free, but come early to see the Spark Gallery 40th Anniversary Show, Part 1, which runs through July 28. (The second installment goes up August 1.) Find out more at sparkgallery.com.
When the Denver Museum of Nature & Science proclaims that a unique experience is coming to its Gates Planetarium, it isn't kidding. Viscerality is a "live immersive full-dome performance" designed by artist Synthestruct, aka Ginger Leigh, in which the audio and visuals are controlled by sensor-enabled gloves. "Each scene explores different methods of interaction and control, so that each show is unique and the audio and visuals are created in real time," organizers say. Curious? You should be. Head to the planetarium, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, on Thursday, July 25, at 7 p.m., and don't miss the cash bar! Tickets are $8 to $15; find more info at dmns.org.
Rustle up a whole herd's worth of good times when the Arapahoe County Fair returns for another weekend full of live music and livestock. The festivities begin on Thursday, July 25, with a "Boots Not Suits" kick-off dinner, and continue over the next three days, running from 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27, and from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 28, at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, 25690 East Quincy Avenue in Aurora. New attractions at this year's fair include the Butterfly Encounter exhibit, roving costumed characters like Shane the Copper Cowboy, and a tribute to the hacienda heritage and ongoing thrills of Mexican rodeo, while regulars can count on such favored traditions as the petting zoo, carnival rides and mutton bustin' challenges. Visit arapahoecountyfair.com to buy tickets, $10 to $50, and find out more.
Hard-rocking comedy duo Tenacious D joins the Colorado Symphony at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for a grand tribute to the "greatest band in the world"...which just so happens to be Tenacious D. Founded by metal-loving actors Kyle Gass and Jack Black,Tenacious D began as a goof on Metallica's "One" that blossomed into a short-lived HBO series and a platinum debut album. While their misbegotten foray into film comedy, Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny, was a critical and box-office disappointment, Gass and Black continued touring with bands like the Foo Fighters and releasing popular albums. They'll soon embark on their Post-Apocalypto tour in support of an album and YouTube series of the same name, kicking the whole thing off with this special orchestral collaboration at Red Rocks, 18300 West Alameda Parkway in Morrison, at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 25. For tickets, $55 to $89.50, and more information, visit coloradosymphony.org.