The 21 Best Events in Denver, July 18-24

Get weird at the Denver County Fair.
Ken Hamblin III
Get weird at the Denver County Fair.

It may not be April, but Denver can celebrate 4/20 anytime it wants to. Take, for example, the 420 Games, which take place on July 22. Don't miss plenty of more action on this week's event's calendar, including outdoor movie screenings, art shows aplenty, and some axe throwing.

click to enlarge Iggy Pop and Joshua Homme star in American Valhalla. - ANDREAS NEUMANN/EAGLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT
Iggy Pop and Joshua Homme star in American Valhalla.
Tuesday, July 18

Recently resurrected by Netflix with a new cast and storyline, the return of Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a boon to movie geeks and comedy nerds alike. The show’s influence on both cinema and joke-telling is hard to overestimate; even locally produced shows like the Mile High Movie Roast or Cartoons and Comedy couldn’t exist without the example of the ’90s basic-cable staple. While the Meltdown’s Jonah Ray fits comfortably into the Joel/ Mike role, Tom Servo (voiced by Baron Vaughn) and Crow T. Robot (Hampton Yount) still manage to land the best jokes. Luckily for local fans, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live tour will swing through Denver on Sunday, July 18. Jonah and all the robots are crashing the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place, to provide their special brand of mocking commentary during a screening of fan favorite Eaargh, in addition to a secret surprise movie and a boatload of new jokes and riffs. The show starts at 8 p.m.; get tickets, $39.50 to $49.50, and more information at

When Iggy Pop and Queens of the Stone Age’s Joshua Homme teamed up to record Pop’s album Post Pop Depression at Rancho De La Luna studio out in the Mojave Desert, a camera was rolling to catch every spark set off by their collaboration. The result, American Valhalla, tells the seminal story of rock and roll all over again through a new lens, as the duo, joined by Matt Helders of the Arctic Monkeys and QOTSA’s Dean Fertita, bond and go on tour. The film, and its footage of the group’s defining performance at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall, comes to the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue, for a one-night-only screening at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 18. Tickets are $10 to $12; purchase yours in advance at

Two of Denver’s best literary reading series, At the Inkwell and Fbomb, join forces for a night with a very special guest: author Manuel Ramos, a retired Denver lawyer and Chicano community voice whose mysteries and novels ooze Denver street smarts and smart turns of phrase. At the Inkwell’s Monique Antonette Lewis hosts the evening from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 18, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street; admission is free. Get details at, and learn more about Ramos at

click to enlarge See The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at Red Rocks as part of Film on the Rocks and CinemaQ. - METRO GOLDWYN MAYER
See The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at Red Rocks as part of Film on the Rocks and CinemaQ.
Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Wednesday, July 19

The 32nd Annual Chautauqua Silent Film Series continues this week with Harold Lloyd Comedy Night, a double feature of classic yukfests at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19. Screening two of the silver screen funnyman’s classic shorts, A Sailor-Made Man (1921) and Grandma’s Boy (1922), the series does its best to replicate that old-time picture-house ambience, including live musical accompaniment from pianist Hank Troy. We can think of no finer environs for such an event than Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road, which was operational and screening second-run movies at the height of Lloyd’s heyday. Visit for tickets, $6 to $12, and more information.

The Denver Film Society has linked two of its crowd-pleasing summer series, Film on the Rocks and the 2017 CinemaQ LGBTQ film festival, which kicked off on July 19, for a screening of everyone’s favorite drag-queen film classic, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, on Thursday, July 20, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. To hype up the crowd for the campy-sweet Priscilla, the movie will be preceded by spins from DJs Markie and Stone Cox, as well as A Cock in a Frock on a Rock, a live stage show with a bevy of Denver’s best drag stars. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the film starts at dusk at Red Rocks, 18300 West Alameda Parkway in Morrison. For tickets, $15, visit (CinemaQ festival-goers can get in with their passes.) Learn more about the full fest, which continues through July 23 at the Sie FilmCenter, at

Francophiles, rejoice! The Fortieth Annual Colorado Music Festival is celebrating the work of famous French composers, beginning with world-renowned pianist Benedetto Lupo performing works by Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy on Thursday, July 20. The French Mini-Festival continues on July 21 with an encore performance by Lupo, and on July 22, the pianist joins members of the CMF chamber orchestra and caps off a Debussy-heavy program with a rousing performance of Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 15. The series concludes the following evening with “Fauré’s French Soirée,” comprising works by Fauré, Paul Dukas, Camille Saint-Saëns, Jacques Offenbach and Cécile Chaminade. We can think of no finer guide to the splendors of French music than Lupo, a Van Cliburn competition medalist. See him tickle the ivories at Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road. Visit for details and tickets, $9 to $54 for individual concerts.

Get wild at the Denver Zoo's Food Truck Safari. - COURTESY OF THE DENVER ZOO
Get wild at the Denver Zoo's Food Truck Safari.
Courtesy of the Denver Zoo
Lions and tigers and food trucks, oh my! The Denver Zoo is hosting Food Truck Safari, which it describes as the “wildest happy hour” in the Mile High City. Call the babysitter and bust out your pith helmets, monocles and khaki clothes, because this adult-only food-truck feast is going to be a bestial affair — or, er, something like that. The party runs from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 20, at the zoo, 2300 Steele Street. You’ll have more fun than a barrel of monkeys, drinking and eating into the night and listening to acoustic acts croon. Tickets are $17 and include a Great Divide beer of your choice and a tour of the zoo’s newest traveling exhibit, DINOS!. Get tickets and info at

Luenell Campbell may be billed by her first name only, but that’s because there’s no mistaking her for anyone else. A prolific character actress and standup veteran, Luenell rose to national prominence as the opening act on Katt Williams’s American Hustle tour and concert film of the same name. In addition to performing in Snoop Dogg’s Bad Girls of Comedy and Stand-up in Stilettos, Luenell has had memorable roles in such comedies as Borat, Think Like a Man and the Hotel Transylvania series and action thrillers like The Rock and Taken 2. She’ll be headlining all weekend at the Denver Improv, the Stapleton stalwart at 8246 East 49th Avenue, so locals will have six opportunities to see her perform starting on Thursday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m. Get tickets, $20, and a list of showtimes at

Keep reading for more of the best events this week.