The 21 Best Things to Do in Denver, May 30 Through June 5

Mark Penner Howell's work at the Chalk Art Festival.
Courtesy of Larimer Square Facebook
Mark Penner Howell's work at the Chalk Art Festival.
Memorial Day is over, and a whole summer full of fun stretches ahead. Get a jump on the hottest season of the year at some of the very cool events this week, which range from a celebration of Buffalo Bill's burial to a Bboy festival to the return of the People's Fair. Here are the 21 best, in chronological order.

Tuesday, May 30

Celebrate Denver’s often underappreciated and almost always underpaid filmmakers at Open Screen Night, a shorts showcase open to local DIY films in need of an audience. Although the celebration is technically a month early, the annual event will celebrate six years of fun and films at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street. A partnership of Denver Open Media and Sexpot Comedy, Open Screen Night is a gift to Denver’s creative community and a bargain for audiences. Admission is just $5 at the door, and there’s no submission fee for filmmakers (the submission period ended on May 23, though, so make a note for next year). Go to for more.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts ends its 2016-’17 season with a step off the grid by presenting the National Theatre of London’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Simon Stephens’s Tony Award-winning play based on the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon. The story of Christopher Boone, a fifteen-year-old math savant with an Asberger’s-like syndrome, takes audiences on a mystery-solving tour from the youth’s uncomfortable point of view, using unique staging, effects and choreography as he solves problems in his own special way. The Curious Incident premieres on Tuesday, May 30, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and runs through June 18; for tickets, starting at $30, visit

The Landmark Theatre group’s A Film for All Seasons series not only reintroduces classic movies to viewers who may be catching them on the big screen for the very first time, but presents selections with a deep thematic resonance. The films in the current program, “Revolutionary Classics,” examine some of the thorniest issues in American politics. On Wednesday, May 31, the weekly series will present Norma Rae, a reminder of the importance of labor unions. The 1979 film, which famously earned leading actress Sally Field an Oscar, has retained its relevance since its initial release, particularly as unions are increasingly marginalized by corporations and politicians alike. Showtimes are at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Landmark Esquire, 590 Downing Street; admission is $8.50 at
click to enlarge DragOn! brings summer camp to the DCPA. - COURTESY OF OFF-CENTER, DENVER CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS
DragOn! brings summer camp to the DCPA.
Courtesy of Off-Center, Denver Center for Performing Arts
Thursday, June 1

It’s camp season at the Garner Galleria Theatre, where the comedy DragOn! opens on Thursday, June 1, with a talented cast of queens led by local favorite Stuart Sanks, aka Shirley Delta Blow. Written by Denver improv expert Jessica Austgen and directed by Dallas choreographer Joe Ferrell, DragOn! celebrates the serendipitous convergence of PrideFest and Denver Comic Con this month with its take on all forms of dressing up — from traditional drag to comic-book cosplay — which one young man encounters in a fantasy rite of passage that trots out one hilarious role model after another. DragOn! performances continue Thursday to Saturday through June 25 (with select Sunday shows, too) at the Garner Galleria in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. For tickets, starting at $25, visit or call 303-893-4100.

click to enlarge Peter Yumi, "Mark Of The Beast SOS (Society of the Spectacle)" - PAPER.WORKS, ARVADA CENTER
Peter Yumi, "Mark Of The Beast SOS (Society of the Spectacle)"
Paper.Works, Arvada Center
They’re papering the walls at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, where three exhibits focusing on work using paper-based mediums — Stan Meyer: Poetic Presence, Paper on Paper: The Art of Chine-Collé and a large group show, Paper.Works — open to the public with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 1. Stan Meyer’s elegant wall pieces woven from roofing paper will fill the Upper Gallery, while examples of chine-collé, a printmaking technique in which imagery printed on a sheer, lightweight paper is superimposed on a heavier background, take over the Theatre Gallery. And downstairs in the Main Gallery, Paper.Works displays a cross-section of paper pieces that have been cast, cut, folded, collaged or birthed from pulp by twenty artists; it includes monumental pieces by Ray Tomasso and Peter Yumi, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy’s cut-paper drawings aided by trails of snail slime, and Richard Kallweit’s geodesic forms shaped from cardboard. The Meyer show runs through August 6, the other two through August 20, at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard; learn more at, or call 720-898-7200.

click to enlarge WAVE: ‘Substation Transformation’ by Andrew Wade Smith - ANDREW WADE SMITH
WAVE: ‘Substation Transformation’ by Andrew Wade Smith
Andrew Wade Smith
The town of Breckenridge doesn’t take its designation as a Colorado Creative Industries-certified arts district lightly, thanks to the efforts of BreckCreate, a high-energy, nonprofit arts-programming machine that produces world-class, multidisciplinary happenings that keep Breck buzzing during the summer season. WAVE: Light + Water + Sound, which debuted last year, is a prime example. It’s a four-day adventure during which you might find yourself listening to music while wandering among Australian artist Amanda Parer’s giant inflatable rabbits, or playing with MICRO, an interactive installation of suspended globes from Purring Tiger, a New York performance group, or experiencing any number of multimedia installations around town, from exterior wall projections to pop-up performances.WAVE runs from 3 to 11 p.m. daily, June 1 to 4, in downtown Breckenridge, and it’s all free, except for food and lodging if you choose to stick around for the long weekend (check for deals). Get more fest information at

Friday, June 2

Brady Plays the Fiddle, Melissa Auell’s colorful children’s book, tells the story of a raccoon who wants to learn to play a musical instrument, studies up on genres ranging from rock to pop to swing, and ultimately falls in love with bluegrass and the fiddle at a summer music festival. Auell is throwing a shindig in Brady’s honor at Tomari’s Coffee Shop, 6328 South Turkey Creek Road in Morrison, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 2, as part of an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to print the book. For more information on the event, call 720-335-7844; find out more about Auell’s crowdsourcing efforts at

If traditional art walks seem too stuffy but you still want your First Friday art fix, jump into your clown costume and get in the center ring on Friday, June 2, at the 40 West Arts District’s Circus Art Walk. Gather with your fellow jokers at 5 p.m. at the 40 West Gallery, 1560 Teller Street in Lakewood, to collect your clown nose and balloons; performers will wow the crowd with tricks, and there will be live music and free popcorn. The parade will take off at 6 p.m., winding through traditional gallery openings filled with art for sale and free beer and wine. For more information on this and other events included in Lakewood’s annual INSPIRE! Arts Week, go to

Lighthouse Writers Workshop is about to start a new chapter with the twelfth annual Lit Fest, a two-week literary celebration that includes classes, parties, book signings and appearances by authors ranging from Andre Dubus III to Elizabeth McCracken and Sarah Manguso. The festival opens with a party from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 2, at Lighthouse, 1515 Race Street; Cuba Cuba is catering, and there will be live music, on-the-spot poetry and tarot card readings. The bash is $30 for members and $40 for non-members. For more information on both the party and Lit Fest, which runs through June 16, go to

Denver co-ops have been scrambling to find new homes after being priced out of the old ones by development and rising rents. But at least Edge Gallery is safely ensconced in new digs at Prism Studios, 999 Vallejo Street in the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood. Help Edge artists celebrate at their inaugural reception for Change, a gallery-wide group exhibition inspired by transition, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 2. Prism will host a semi-annual open-studio event to coincide with Edge’s debut, giving art lovers a chance to discover work by more than forty artist and maker tenants. Change runs through July 9, and the gallery is open Friday through Sunday; go to for information.

click to enlarge Treasury of Terror, Twilight Zone: The Movie - WARNER BROS
Treasury of Terror, Twilight Zone: The Movie
Warner Bros
Scream Screen is back at the Sie FilmCenter for another month of terrifying fun. Denver scream queen Theresa Mercado, known for her blood-soaked treasury of cosplay characters and wicked imagination, will kick off Treasury of Terror: A Decade of Horror Anthologies, at 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 2, with 1983 classic Twilight Zone: The Movie, with segments directed by Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller and Stephen Spielberg. The weekly series continues with Nightmares on June 9, Cat’s Eye on June 16, and a 35mm print of Tales From the Darkside: The Movie on June 23; a short film of Mercado’s choosing will precede each feature. All showings are at the Sie, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. For information and tickets, $7 to $11 per screening, visit

For a jaunt through creative anachronism that’s less about commerce and more about character, the Colorado Medieval Festival might be just the ticket, especially since that ticket is a lot less expensive than one for the Renaissance Festival. This three-day blast from the past, which opens Friday, June 2, in Loveland, will bring together wandering faeries and sword players in chain mail, huge men hurling stones and hammers for prizes, an open Battle of the Bards contest, artisan vendors, and hearty food and drink, for an experience that feels more like a family picnic than a tourist trap. The fest runs from 3 to 8 p.m. June 2, with an evening of live music by Wendy Woo, the Stubby Shillelaghs and Shawn Wright and the Tribe; it continues from 10 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. June 3 and 4 at the Savage Woods, 1750 Savage Road in Loveland. For more information and to purchase tickets, $8 (parking is $5 per car, and children five and under get in free), visit

Keep reading for more events this week.