A slew of warm-weather-happy events, including jazz in the park, Independence Day celebrations and outdoor art exhibits, are sure to get you in the summer mood. Keep reading for more of our best events in Denver over the next week.
Tuesday, June 27
Denver’s City Park is a delight throughout the summer, popular with locals for its vast green expanses, shimmering lakes and lively pavilion. Far from being merely a scenic place to walk your dog, City Park also maintains a thriving cultural calendar throughout the warmer months. At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27, the Mile High Freedom Bands’ Freedom Swing will take to the pavilion stage for A Midsummer Night’s Jazz. It’s a perfect opportunity to cuddle up with your loved ones on a lawn blanket and enjoy the splendor of a Colorado sunset soundtracked by jazzy jams. Admission is free; visit mhfb.org to learn more.
Wednesday, June 28
MCA Denver’s summer shows have plenty of admirable local angles, including Denver artist Derrick Velasquez’s Obstructed View, a fascinating eye-twister that makes you think about architecture and out-of-control development by playing with both in a site-specific installation that turns visual space upside down. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28, Velasquez will sit down with Metropolitan State University of Denver communication design professor Peter Miles Bergman for a conversation about the politics and personal aesthetic behind the art. Doors open at the museum, 1485 Delgany Street, at 6 p.m. for a pre-talk reception with beer and whiskey; admission to the talk is $5. Buy tickets in advance at mcadenver.org.
For decades, Colorado film fans have flocked to the Chautauqua Silent Film Series, which starts its 32nd season on Wednesday, June 28, with eight weeks of the best — if sometimes slightly obscure — classic films from the bygone silent-film era, all with live musical scores courtesy of the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, pianist Hank Troy and the Silent Cinema Trio. Launching the season in swashbuckling fashion is the 1921 action classic The Three Musketeers. In following weeks, the series will showcase films by Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and more; all screenings start at 7:30 p.m. at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road in Boulder. See the schedule and get tickets, $6 to $12, at chautauqua.com.
The Museum of Outdoor Arts was originally conceived as a gallery without walls, and spent much of its formative years popping up with installations in open spaces. But since MOA moved into its brick-and-mortar galleries in Englewood nearly two decades ago, most of its major exhibits have been indoors, even though parts of its collection still thrive in site-specific locations. The Palazzo Verdi in the Denver Tech Center is one of those satellites; through April 2018, it will host MOA’s Sculpture on the Green, an exhibit of outdoor sculptural work by local sculptors Patricia Aaron, Virginia Folkestad, Erick C. Johnson and Dmitri Obergfell. The show opens with a reception with the artists from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 29; opening festivities will include music, libations, a food truck and pop-up art, as well as self-guided walking tours. Admission is free at the site, 6363 South Fiddler’s Green Circle in Greenwood Village; visit moaonline.org for more information.
If you’re looking for the beat, you’ll want to drink in the latest from Red Bull Sound Select. The energy drink company’s artist-development program is teaming up with Souls in Action, a Denver-based social-justice music, art and activism collective, for a night of electronic music, rap and soul that starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 29. Canadian electronic-music producer Pomo will headline; Seattle rapper/singer Dave B and local R&B electro-funk soul sensation CRL CRRLL will provide support. Doors at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax Avenue, open at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $5 for those who RSVP at win.gs/JuneDen; they’re $15 at the door.
The Denver Art Museum will unveil a ninety-foot temporary interactive installation called “La Musidora” at Untitled: Action on Friday, June 30, as it continues to explore new ways to move art outdoors onto the plaza in the summer. Created by Mexico City artists Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena, the work generates musical tones while doubling as seating, and is activated when people sit on the rocking panels; the installation can accommodate up to twenty people at a time. “La Musidora” will debut during Untitled, which will run from 6 to 10 p.m.; watch for unexpected art encounters that tie in to the museum’s current ticketed exhibit, The Western: An Epic in Art and Film. The DAM is at 100 West 14th Ave Parkway; admission ranges from $8 to $13 (ages eighteen and under are admitted free) and includes Untitled activities. Learn more at denverartmuseum.org.
Denver Comic Con, the second-largest con in the country, flips back into the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, for a three-day celebration of all things nerdy. Featuring legendary comic-book artists such as Neal Adams, stars of beloved comic-related films and TV shows including Luke Cage’s Mike Colter and X-Men’s Famke Janssen, and headlined by “Weird Al” Yankovic, this year’s con is positively teeming with geek royalty. The show floor is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, June 30, and Saturday, July 1, with panels and screenings offered until 11 p.m. both days; this and other events run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 2. Three-day adult passes and speed passes have already sold out, so make haste and buy your tickets from popcultureclassroom.org/dcc/tickets, where you’ll also find the full schedule.
Final Fridays are the new First Fridays. At least that’s the word in the Golden Triangle, which will host its first Final Friday Art Walk from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 30. To celebrate the area’s creative class, shops, galleries, restaurants, studios and museums in the triangle bounded by Speer Boulevard, Lincoln Street and Colfax Avenue will host talks, tours, games and more. The free monthly series will run through the last Friday in September; find more information at goldentriangleofdenver.com...or just wander around the neighborhood and discover what’s solid golden in Denver’s own back yard.
The Cherry Creek Arts Festival returns to its namesake ’hood all weekend long, starting with an exclusive preview from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 30, before beginning in earnest at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 1, continuing Sunday, July 2, and wrapping up at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 3. With 260 jury-approved artists from all over the world, the festival presents the perfect opportunity for art lovers to add to their collections or merely gawk at the staggering array of jewelry, ceramics, paintings, photographs and sculptures on display. Aside from all the artwork, attendees of this free event can also enjoy live music on the main stage along with pop-up performances and the Janus Henderson Investors Art Experience. Gather with artists, spectators and other fun-loving locals for four days of tony fun in Cherry Creek North; visit cherrycreekartsfestival.org to learn more.
Ah, the smells of summer: food cooking on an outdoor grill, freshly mown grass — and lavender? That will be just one of the herbs perfuming the air at Colorado Aromatics Farm’s Farm-to-Skin Dinner at 6 p.m. Friday, June 30, at 13651 North 115th Street in Longmont. The farm grows the herbs, which it uses in a line of natural skin-care products; chef Grant Buchanan of GB Culinary will use some of those herbs in the food he’s cooking for a meal that includes hors d’oeuvre and three courses. Get your tickets, $85, at eventbrite.com before the day of the dinner and then drive out to the Boulder County farm in plenty of time to stop and smell the roses...and everything else. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but you can bring your own. Just be sure it’s something that pairs well with lavender.
The Dairy Center’s Friday Night Weird series continues its Quentin Tarantino-inspired programming with an overlooked classic from the Hong Kong action-movie canon, Ringo Lam’s tense 1987 heist movie City on Fire. While delivering the bullet-riddled spectacle genre fans have come to expect, this Chow Yun-Fat vehicle is also rich with double-crosses, shifting alliances and thrilling suspense, and its influence on Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs is unmistakable. Gather with a gaggle of fellow cinephiles at Boedecker Theater, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder, on Friday, June 30, for an 8:45 p.m. screening of a film that demands to be watched on a giant screen. Tickets, $6 to $11, are available from tickets.thedairy.org.
Keep reading for more of the best events in Denver this week.