It doesn't get much more whimsical than a puppet show of Rupunzel. The production's run is being extended, so go catch the prince's heroic attempts to rescue the maiden. After the show, step out onto the theater's patio for some juice and a discussion surrounding the play's themes. Wed-Fri 10 a.m.; Sat 1 p.m.
Take your little one to watch their peers perform in this kid's classic. Children ages 8-12 make up the entire cast, working together to craft fun scenes that show adults something they all-too-often forget: What it’s like to be a kid. Thu-Sun, times vary.
Forget the mint juleps. Saddle up for the Kentucky Derby with a classic Colorado craft brew. The Fort Collins' brewery's temporary tasting room will offer sips of their staples and some special beers, as well, with all proceeds benefitting the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado. Thu-Fri 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
The lights and cameras of high fashion have come to seven Colorado high schools. Benefiting Mothers Against Drunk Driving, students from each school will model the latest fashion trends spotted in the hallways, styled by area retailers. Come early for the red-carpet arrival, and be sure to pick up a gift bag on the way out. Thu 7:30 p.m.
Built on a familiar foundation—four 30-something friends struggling with love and loss—This takes surprise emotional twists that turn typical theater conventions into believable depictions of what real life is like. Thu-Sat 7:30 p.m.; Sun 4 p.m.
A frustrated director struggles to find his star until a seductive young actress proves she's the perfect fit. This sexually charged drama about balance and power takes a cue—and its name—from a 19th century novella that coined the term "masochism." Thu-Sat 8 p.m.; Sun 2 p.m.
All aboard for this locomotive-themed spring festival. Ride from Durango to Silverton in one of the town's steam engines and listen to the history of these legendary workhorses. The festivities kick off at the Durango depot with a free picnic. Fri-Sat, times vary.
Tobias Fike is a multi-disciplinary contemporary artist. This exhibition will include photography, sculpture, and video works. Fike finished his masters of fine art only a few years ago, but he already has solo shows and exhibitions in Germany. Tue-Sat noon-6 p.m.
Pause your RiNo First Friday gallery hop to refuel at this market featuring artisan foods and ingredients. Sample locally-made chocolates, cheeses, breads alongside olive oils from Giuliana Imports, and complimentary cocktails and wine at this culinary stop before exploring more of the colorful art scene. Fri 5-9 p.m.
Calling all yogis: Destress with a weekend of stretching, strengthening, and breathing exercises led by the first certified American Ashtanga Yoga teacher, Tim Miller. Try one or two individual sessions including the Physics and Metaphysics of Practice and the Art and Practice of Breathing, or commit to a whole weekend of physical and spiritual enlightenment. Fri 6-8 p.m.; Sat-Sun 9-11:30 a.m., 3-5 p.m.
Two families attempt to pick up the pieces of shattered lives after domestic abuse sends a young woman to the hospital. The severe beating leads to brain damage, dysfunction, and an exploration of each family's conflicting perceptions of reality. Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m.; Sun 6:30 p.m.
Ellie Goulding's got the fire—the festival darling's blend of folk and electronic pop has brought her to the top of the charts in the U.S. and her native England. Two short months after being named best female solo artist at this year's BRIT Awards, she's bringing her Halcyon Tour to Colorado's mecca of music. Fri 7:30 p.m.
A bird? A plane? Nope. Just a handful of dancers suspended from the ceiling. Catch the Frequent Flyers' premiere of their latest show, which explores the nature of migration and the freedom of flight, aptly named after those who call the sky their home. Fri 8 p.m.; Sat 2 p.m., 8 p.m.; Sun 2 p.m.
With or without training wheels, learning to ride a bike isn't always easy. At this hands-on educational event, kids will navigate two training courses: One for intermediate riders and another for brand new pedalers. Parents: Bring the family bikes in for a tune-up and find out how-to repair a flat tire or rusty chain. Sat 9 a.m.
The possibilities are endless when high-tech inventors, DIYers, and tinkerers join together to display their creations. After browsing, take part in workshops and demonstrations on everything from laser technology and blacksmithing to fiber arts and welding. Seek out Westminster’s Ryan Edwards, who will showing off a robot he programmed to take out the trash. Who doesn’t need one of those? Sat-Sun 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Multiple sclerosis affects the brain function and mobility of about 2.3 million people worldwide.
Folks who grew up watching Happy Days will fondly remember the Fonz, but these days actor Henry Winkler authors a successful series of children's books about a boy named Hank. Catch up with Winkler, get an autograph or a signed copy of his latest book. Sat 10 a.m.
There's no age requirement to invent the next must-have. Take your kids to rub elbows with what could be the makers of the next, next big thing. Young innovators will sell projects like a screen printing service and customized greeting cards at the marketplace and meet potential future classmates (and maybe coworkers). Sat 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
This Cinco de Mayo party is so big, one day couldn't hold it. Whip up your best batch of verde for the green chile cook-off, root for your favorite pup at the chihuahua races, and listen to Montez de Durango and other live bands play throughout the weekend. Sample as much of the traditional Mexican fare as you can, but save room for the taco eating contest. Fri-Sat 10 a.m.
What rhymes with "the winter of our discontent"? Your kids will find out in this hip-hop-inspired Shakespeare workshop. Guided by CU drama teacher Karen Dabney, students will keep the beat with iambic pentameter and use the Bard's own language to craft their raps. Recommended for ages eight to 18. Sat 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
A young soldier defies his mother's wishes and falls for a seductive Gypsy woman in this classic French opera. His pursuit of an exotic love ends as most moms can probably predict. Hint: It isn't happily ever after. Tue 7:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m.; Sun 2 p.m.
What's the most fun you can have at A-Basin without boards strapped to your feet? Throughout May, this live concert series features five Colorado acts ranging from rhythmic afro-funk to '80s rock anthems. Listen to tracks from Euforquestra, Funky Johnson, the Congress, and more. Sat 1-4 p.m.
The horses, the seersucker, and of course the hats—there’s nothing quite like the Kentucky Derby. Without the oppressive heat and fewer monocles (here's hoping), Denver’s Derby Party is the Mile High City's take on the Louisville event’s infield experience. Sip mint juleps and watch the biggest horse race of the year in realtime on two Jumbotrons with hundreds of other Denverites. The proceeds benefit the Sean “Ranch” Lough Memorial Scholarship. Sat 1 p.m.
Watch world class kickboxers jab, hook, and bob and weave during this 15 bout spectacle. The event features a heavyweight contender tournament, whose winner will compete in the Glory world heavyweight championship later this year. Don't miss the feature fight as Nieky Holzken (Netherlands) and Marc De Bonte (Belgium) will duke it out in the welterweight world championship. Sat 2 p.m.
Get a headstart on fall's GABF with this summertime micro-version, lakeside. Sample more than 120 beers from some 60 local breweries and distilleries (like Elevation, Oskar Blues, and Zephyr Brewing) and vote for your favorites in a variety of categories. Your most important decision besides the best beer: the moustache contest. Sat-Sun 2 p.m.
This annual rock concert is like the cool older brother of elementary school fund-raisers.
Some kids’ batteries never run out. Put their little motors to the test with this monthlong running series. Competitive events include the 50-yard dash and one-mile run, but the emphasis is on fun rather than first place. All athletes will receive a medal on the final race day. Sat 5:30 p.m.
Don your hat and boots for a boot-scootin' evening including a barbecue dinner from Tin Star Smoke House and Granny Scott's pies. Bid in the silent and live auctions to benefit the youth 4-H programs before hitting the dance floor to the tunes of the Tyler Walker Band. Sat 6 p.m.
If your first thought is, "Simon Who?" then you've already made a pretty close guess. Simon Townshend has toured with The Who as a guitarist and vocalist since 1996. He's also appeared with Jeff Beck, Pearl Jam, and Eric Clapton. You'll likely hear new material from his April-release album, DENIAL. Sat 8 p.m.
Your kids don’t have to live on Tatoine to hang with their favorite Star Wars characters. Young Jedis will recreate famous Star Wars scenes with on-site green screens, zap stormtroopers with blaster pistols, and even create their own space creature in the Galactic Zoology Nursery. Register early for a chance to sit in a life-size X-Wing jet. Sun 9 a.m.
As winter turns to spring, our thoughts move from the mountains to the garden. Stories on Stage's latest production applauds green thumbs with readings of four pieces about finding beauty in the dirt. Performed by Broadway actors, these stories create a range of scenarios, supplemented by poetry and music. Sun 1:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
Start your young ones' musical journey off right with the sounds of what's often called the greatest rock band of all time. Beatles tribute band Doctor Robert will be on hand to play a sampling of the more than 100 Beatles songs in their repatoire, including kid friendly sing-alongs like "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and "Yellow Submarine." Sun 3 p.m.
Join renowned comic and actor Michel Boujenah for a hilarious night of conversation. The French film star is best known for roles such as the original Three Men and a Baby, but his storytelling talent has endeared him to small audiences the world over. While you delight in Boujenah's tales, your little ones can hone their own comedy chops at the Kids' Comedy Workshop. Sun 4-6 p.m.
Lovers of soul and jazz will be scrambling for tickets to this one-night-only performance by the Rhonda Ross—daughter of Diana Ross. She performed at President Obama's second inaugural ball last year, and will perform at festivals and galas for the rest of 2014. Take advantage of your rare chance to listen to her modern Motown vocals. Sun 6:30 p.m.
Age does not define the ability to jam out. From rattling egg shakers to high-energy, educational songs that reinforce capacities for counting and motor skills, these parent and me-based classes are highly interactive and intended to give a new layer of love to you and your little one's relationship. Mon 11 a.m.
Fans of felines will appreciate this collection of statues and cat-covered canvases. Cats statues this year include a tiger, a sphinx, a cat covered in mountains and aspen trees, a "Purrlock Holmes," and more. The pieces will also make a short stop at the Mainstreet Gallery in Evergreen before they're auctioned off to benefit the Cat Care Society, a nonprofit cat shelter. Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Make the ultimate street taco meal at this Cinco de Mayo themed class. Start with made-from-scratch tortillas, before adding skirt steak tacos, asian pork belly tacos with slaw, chicken with mole, and all the extras. The only part you'll be missing is the margarita. Mon 5:30 p.m.
Help pave the way for a brighter future for women, one plate at a time. Enjoy bite-size delights from Denver's most heralded female chefs—including Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Euclid Hall, Bistro Vendôme) and Samm Sherman (Root Down and Linger)—while supporting the efforts of Work Options for Women, a nonprofit dedicated to educating women and helping them break the cycle of poverty by finding jobs in the restaurant industry. Mon 6 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Burke Raby.
This Holly Golightly doesn't spend her days on Moon River or at Tiffany's. The English singer-songwriter's garage rock sound has taken her far beyond carports—in addition to creating more than a dozen albums of her own, Golightly has been featured on tracks with artists like The White Stripes and generated acclaim at the Independent Music Awards. Mon 8:30 p.m.
Big dreams, unrequited love, and a broken vacuum set the stage in this tale of an aspiring Irish musician and the woman he cannot love. Based on a 2007 film of the same name, the musical received universal acclaim to the tune of eight Tonys, four Drama Desk Awards, and a Grammy. Tue-Fri 7:30 p.m.; Sat-Sun 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Robert Buelteman ditches traditional photography tools in favor of something more electric: jumper cables. As the only known artist creating high-voltage photograms, the California-based artist runs 80,000 volts of power to nearly tranlucent plants, then illuminates them with fiber optic light. The reaction: bright blue electrons play across maple leaves, sunflowers, thistles, and twigs for Buelteman to "hand-paint" around some of nature's most basic plants. Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fi Rust, who has been an avid wildlife photographer for nearly 25 years, was a 2012 winner of Audubon Magazine's Photography Awards. Rust allows her photographs to provide an insider's perspective into the expansive mountain ecosystem of moose, wild horses, and wolf pups. Mon-Wed 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Thu-Sat 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Have you ever seen a cow wearing boots? Denver artist Judi Mitchell uses this type of playful imagery to create one-of-a-kind ceramic sculptures with found materials. From raku to saggar, Mitchell utalizes many different firing techniques to create her critters with fun personalities. Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Join a fallen Icarus as he explores an ethereal world, deep in a forest where mysical creatures live. In true Cirque du Soleil style, expect elaborate costumes, acrobatic dancing, and a host of unusual characters. Wed-Thu 7:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m.; Sun 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m.
Add some color to your home the easy way with the Denver Botanic Gardens’ annual plant sale. No matter what you’re in search of—herbs, topiaries, roses, perennials, containers already planted with a decorative mix of annuals, and more—the hundreds of options at the plant sale are all you need to create the perfect summer landscape. Fri-Sat 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fourteen monologues from eight men explore what it really means to be gay. Originally a one-man show, this presentation divvies up the drama among eight actors, each providing an additional take on an already-eclectic dissection of meaning. Proceeds benefit the Denver Element, which promotes mental, physical, and social well-being in the gay community. Mon 7:30 p.m.; Thu-Fri 7:30 p.m.
You'll see real results fast from your workout at Pura Vida on Friday when proceeds from all of their classes will benefit Brent's Place, the home for children undergoing cancer treatments. Pura Vida is offering special classes in place of their usual ones (including a Madonna-themed Zumba class), so it's a chance to try something new even if you're a gym and spa regular. Fri 6 a.m.-8 p.m.
Check out whimsical work by two local artists. Kym Bloom works with photography, acrylic gel, and melted candy coated with resin. Her photographs often feature signs that catch her eye, and her recent candy series includes many pieces with old-school video game characters such as Pac-Man and Yoshi. Sara Lou-Klein's drawings and paintings frequently feature feathered friends—especially owls. Fri 6-10 p.m.; Sat-Sun noon-5 p.m.
Brewing and painting: Two entirely different crafts. This beer festival showcases both realms of talent with artwork by Western artists and craft beer from four breweries. Rounding out the shindig will be barbeque, live country music, and the opportunity to pick up your own Western wares from Rockmount Ranchwear. Fri 6-10 p.m.
Tragedy is universal, but through despair comes hope for new beginnings. This play, which makes its debut after 12 years of fine tuning and a successful Kickstarter campaign, depicts a group of friends forced to confront an unfortunate past in order to move forward. Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m.; Sun 2 p.m.
With war waging across the globe and the future of peace far from certain, two Nobel Prize-winning physicists meet in Nazi-occupied Denmark. The subject—uranium and its explosive potential. Based on real events, Copenhagen explores the unknown conversations between Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, a mystery that just might have changed the course of history. Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m.; Sun 2 p.m.
Finally, a boozy brunch you don't have to wake up early for. Not only can you down an unlimited number of pancakes, but there will also be live music, body painting, and pieces from more than 75 artists. Whether you prefer paintings, mixed media, photography, sculptures, drawing, graffiti, or just pancakes in all their beauty, the Pancakes & Booze Art Show is for you. Fri 8 p.m.
After spending most of last year travelling the country opening for bands such as Dr. Dog and Dashboard Confessional, the Colorado-born fivesome is back for a short break in their home state. Expect to hear soulful sing-along folk melodies and foot-stomping blues as the band plays tracks from their latest album, Sweet Honey. Fri 9 p.m.
This Mother's Day, treat mom to an old-fashioned Victorian tea in the home of the Titanic's most famous survior. Enjoy tea, finger sandwiches, and desserts followed by a tour of Molly Brown's home. Sat-Sun, times vary.
Make some mud-spattered memories for the family photo album. Kids ages four to thirteen and parent-and-child teams will compete in a shortened version of the adult obstacle course, tackling steep slopes, vertical climbs and yes, mud pits. After the dirt clears, awards will be handed out for the fastest participants and best costumes. Sat noon.
Mozart and Handel aren't the only ones who have a knack for composing. The Wash Park Center for Music and Arts is teaming up with Opera on Tap—an organization that brings live classical music to bars—for a night of operas and arias. Each of the mini masterpieces was written by a Coloradan. Who knows? You might even find out someone you know is a closet classic composer. Sat 7 p.m.
Set the night aglow with this fund-raiser for CultureHaus, the Denver Art Museum's arts interest group for young professionals. Watch a glow-in-the-dark fashion show courtesy of Art Shoes, and preview Oh Heck Yeah's motion-interactive projection videogames that will be featured in downtown Denver later this summer. Later, dance across the floor to the sounds of Denver's DJ Tower. Sat 7-10 p.m.
Baseball’s objective is to hit the ball and run home. This 5K is for those who don’t have a home to run to. Join the Colorado Rockies Charity Fund and Denver’s Road Home in a trot that finishes with a lap around the warning track at Coors Field. Bonus: All entrants receive a voucher for two tickets to a future Rockies game. Sat 8 a.m.
Photograph courtesy of the Colorado Rockies
Fort Collins is arguably the cradle of Colorado's craft brewing scene. Now the next generation of local breweries, along with Fortified Collaborations and the Colorado Brewers Guild, have launched a community-wide event focused on enjoying the state's sips and the people who make it. The week-long "un-festival" features beer dinners, tastings, and tours at businesses across town, in the name of celebrating community and the craft brewing tradition. Daily, times vary.
Spend a healthy day with Mom (and Dad) at the Mother's Day 5K and brunch in City Park. This family-oriented run is equipped for people of all ages and athletic abilities. Reserve your spot for a fresh, antioxidant-rich brunch catered by the Garden in Park Hill featuring egg casserole, smoked ham and potatoes, and a chili lime quinoa. Sat 9 a.m.
The Gold Rush has gone bronze. Travel back to the Wild West with this collection of sculptures featuring symbols of the American West from 1850 to 1925. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Denver Art Museum co-curated this exhibition, which features works by more than 20 artists. Tue-Thu 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Treat Mom to a lighthearted love story on Mother's Day. This classic French ballet includes life-size animatronic dolls, an eccentric inventor, and choreography that isn't confined to the stage. Sun 11 a.m., 2 p.m.
This noted stoner comic, creator of The Marijuana-Logues, and host of Getting Doug With High, a weekly talk show in which he smokes weed with celebrities, hits the Mile High stage. He'll probably have a marijuana joke or two. Sun 4:20 p.m.
Denver's Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra gives young musicians of local high school jazz bands the opportunity to play alongside a big band ensemble in monthly concerts at local jazz lounge, Dazzle. This month's concert features players from Boulder's Fairview High School. The innovative program gives students the chance to play in a nationally recognized jazz club, where they'll perform standards from the likes of Michael Buble, Mel Torme, and others. Mon 6 p.m.
Denver, prepare to be schooled on sake. From the sushi masters at Izakaya Den, learn how Japan's signature spirit is made and its ideal pairings. Sample various sakes with bite-sized pairings like bincho albacore tuna and a junmaiginjo sake. Mon 6:30 p.m.
Since releasing his debut album in 2004 featuring popular tracks such as "You're Beautiful," James Blunt has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide and received five Grammy nominations. The British singer-songwriter's fourth album, Moon Landing, features the same gentle voice and piano melodies as his earlier works, but with more introspective lyrics about life and love. Mon 8 p.m.
Local artists Pat Isaacs and Lydia Riegle collaborated for this exhibition, focusing on a shared theme of portals—ovoid areas that allow viewers to see through the layers of each piece. Riegle incorporates heavily textured markmaking into her oil paintings. Isaacs paints heated printmaking paints with wax before applying the resulting image to silk or absorbent paper, which she turns into collages on canvas and wood. Thu-Fri 1-4 p.m.; Sat noon-4 p.m.
If you missed its premier at the Boulder International Film Festival, check out Fading Gigolo in theaters now. Directed, written by, and starring John Turturro alongside Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, and Sofia Vergara, Fading Gigolo follows a cash-strapped florist who becomes a male escort to make ends meet. This is all dandy until he gets starry eyed for a potential client. Wed-Thu 1:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.; Fri-Sun 11:45 a.m., 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:45 p.m.; Mon-Thu 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
New York City's indie pop darlings make a stopover in Denver on the day its brand new album, Days of Abandon, debuts. Catch their layered, multi-dimentional pop music. Fear of Men and Ablebody will open. Tue 9 p.m.
Warmer weather is putting Colorado's snowfall to work. Dip into the rushing waters of Gore Creek in a series of whitewater competition heats with course challenges changing from week to week for a chance to win a cash prize. Feeling aquaphobic? Stake out a spot on the banks to watch the action. Days, times vary.
Mission Wear not only provides a second life to old banners and bicycle wheels, but also offers a second chance to women with employment challenges. At its annual fund-raiser, the nonprofit will showcase local models carrying Mission bags and wearing pieces from West Wash Park clothing boutique, Birds & Belles. Stick around for the food, beer, and a fashion contest featuring Denver clothing designers and students from the Art Institute of Colorado. Wed 6 p.m.
—Photo courtesy of Jeremy Martinez Photography
American Craft Brew Week is the perfect time to take advantage of the Mile High City's running calendar of beer-centric events. Wednesday night's beer dinner features barrel-aged brews from Breckenridge and River North Breweries. The four-course pairing menu includes seared scallops with a ginger marmelade, carrot puree, and soy caramel, paired with a River North white wine barrel-aged J. Marie Saison. For dessert, indulge in a caramel-corn panna cotta with caramel sauce and peanut brittle, served with Breckenridge's oak-barrel aged Vanilla Porter. Wed 6 p.m.
Hailing from the deep south, this South Carolina–based band is right at home in the Mile High City. Reminiscent of the Fray with perhaps a luminescent tinge, Needtobreate has been a Christian rock mainstay with 10 Gospel Music Awards to their credit. Wed 7 p.m.
The director of this enviornmental documentary, Matt Stoecker, is a fish biologist who partnered with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard to restore rivers to the natural landscape by getting rid of dams. With breathtaking shots of waterfalls and rushing rivers in time-lapse sequences of dam demolition, DamNation looks into the controversy surrounding dams, and the efforts to tear them down. There will be a Q&A session with the filmmakers after the screening. Wed 7:30 p.m.
This exhibition by two photographers reflects the Western American landscape. The rich contrast in Michael P. Berman’s black-and-white photos showcases the natural world, especially grasslands and trees. William S. Sutton, author of a book of duotone photographs called At Home in the West: The Lure of Public Land, captures the American West's wide-open spaces in photographs. Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
As part of the Five Points Jazz Festival's annual celebrations, Denver Arts & Venues will host a special screening of Bird, accompanied by hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and live music by the Tom Tilton Jazz Ensemble. Bird, directed by Clint Eastwood, chronicles the life of acclaimed saxophonist Charlie Parker, exploring both his addiction to heroin and his revolutionary style of jazz. Thu 5:30 p.m.
At this after-hours networking event, sixteen Denver professionals take a break from serving the city in their cubicles to serving you from behind the bar. Enjoy appetizers, live music, and drinks concocted by city leaders playing bartender. All proceeds benefit Brides Against Breast Cancer. Thu 6 p.m.
Three Colorado artists—Dan Oakleaf, Sascha Ripps, and Kevin Weckbach—capture nature with oil on canvas. Oakleaf conveys the rugged beauty of the state's mountains. Ripps employs bold colors and thick strokes to convey the environment's energy. Weckbach's woodsy scenes gain complexity from a blend of light and shadows. Tue-Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
It's time to learn how-to make, bake, and decorate cupcakes at altitude. Two of the menu's treats include a devil's food cake, chocolate mousse-filled cupcake with chocolate glaze and red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. You'll never have to suffer through sunken-in baked goods again. Sat 10 a.m.
The relic of yesteryear entertainment is coming to Denver, with all of the dancing animals and trapeze artists your little ones have heard about. Show up an hour early for your kids to clown around with the performers, ride the elephants, and get their photo taken in the ring. Fri 7:30 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m., 3 p.m. 7:30 p.m.; Sun 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
All the snow you have wished for all winter is making a second coming in a less powdery form. The Golden Games, a kickoff for Colorado's water sports event season, is roaring through Clear Creek canyon with races and competitions in kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fly-fishing, rafting, and new this year, slacklining. Anyone can participate, and a seat on the creek's bank will be close enough to get splashed by the action. If this is just your first event of the season, know that the Golden Games count as qualifying event for Vail's GoPro Mountain Games in June. Fri-Sun all day.
Cure your case of two left feet with a night of beginner-level dance instruction in tango, blues, and fusion. With more than four decades of dance training, Barry Douglas will teach you the way to work the dance floor in three separate classes. Grab a drink, then show off your new moves at the Milonga social dance to round out the night. Fri 6:30 p.m.
Don't say Denver's music scene is too fluid to navigate. For the second year in a row, Spread the Word Fest brings 15 Colorado bands straight to local music lovers. Stop by Quixote's main stage to hear the eclectic, acoustically inspired tunes of A-Mac DZ, and then stick around to celebrate alt-rock group Hatch the Bird’s first full-length album release. If standing still isn't your thing, dance your way to the bar stage to hear the lyrics of hip-hoppers the Wandering Monks or sway to ColliRAD's reggae jams.
After playing festivals like SXSW and being featured on The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack, this garage rock group from Southampton, England has recently gained U.S. exposure across the pond. Band of Skulls' album release in March features hits such as "Asleep At The Wheel" and "Hoochie Coochie." Fri 9 p.m.
This dark comedy based on a Hunter S. Thompson novel became a cult film following box office failure. In the colorful pseudo-psychadelic adaptation, Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro travel from Los Angeles to Las Vegas with a suitcase full of drugs—which they consume large amounts of. Hallucinations and hijinks ensue. Fri-Sat midnight.
Money may not grow on trees, but for one lucky angler, it swims in reservoirs. Up to 850 fisherman will compete to win the grand prize of $10,000 by reeling in the biggest catch. Those who can't tackle the largest trout still have the chance to win gift cards, fishing equipment, and smaller cash prizes. Sat 5:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Whether you're looking for a funky piece of furniture for the living room or vintage knick-knacks for the kitchen, this outdoor artisan market offers a slew of antique and handmade products. Browse items from local businesses such as Niyol Jewelry and Watson & Co., get a bite to eat at a food truck, and enjoy live music. Sat 9 a.m.
Introduce your sprout to the simply joys of spring blossoms. This festival celebrates the bloom of the Butterfly Pavillion's host of colorful flowers. While parents stop to smell the roses, kids can enter prize giveaways and learn how-to start a garden of their own. Sat 9 a.m.
Experience the ancient rhythms of Native America at Red Rocks at this powwow. Watch and learn about traditional dances of tribes from near and far in impromptu demonstrations and planned competitions. Be sure and pick up a piece of one-of-a-kind art from drum maker Bobby Bales, Loveland painter Lynn Burnette and other artists in attendance. Sat-Sun 10 a.m.
Celebrate the rich history of Five Points and the jazz performers who helped define its culture at the annual Five Points Jazz Fest. The eclectic fest brings in acts from across the globe, such as the all-Cuban quintet Calixto Oviedo and the Latin Jazz Way, while also honoring the influence of local musicians. This year's honoree: Neil Bridge of the Neil Bridge 7+. Sat 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Formerly known as the "Harlem of the West," Denver's Five Points has welcomed jazz icons such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk to its stages. Pay homage to the neighborhood's cultural roots with a day of live jazz, food, and entertaiment. This year's lineup includes Colorado salsa group Conjunto Colores, funk trumpeter Doug Jackson, and many more. Sat 11 a.m.
The hills are alive with the sound of (jazz) music. Listen to tunes from seven national and regional jazz groups, including the Estes Park Jazz Big Band and New York Saxophone legends Sad Appeal, during this two-day festival. Between sets, peruse the park's art galleries for a weekend that celebrates Colorado's thriving cultural scene. Sat noon-9:30 p.m., Sun noon-5 p.m..
Whether it’s songs about birds or eating local, Boulder duo Jeff & Paige make children’s music you can feel good about. Their latest album, Get Outdoors!, is all about appreciating the majesty of Colorado’s flora and fauna—fitting topics for this free outdoor concert. Sat 12:30 p.m.
—Photo courtesy of Jeff & Paige
At the age of 22, Michael Leach landed his dream job as a Yellowstone National Park ranger. Now Leach is filling us in on his inside view of the park. He'll read excerpts from his new book, Grizzlies on My Mind: Essays in Adventure, Love and Heartache from Yellowstone Country, in which he tells tales about the park's landscapes and wildlife. Sat 2 p.m.
Take your pick from a series of seven foot races coursing through Denver's diverse terrain. From the Colfax 5K to the 26-mile marathon relay in City Park, this collection of running events benefits more than 100 Colorado charity partners including Mile High United Way and Wish of a Lifetime. Days, times vary.
Close out Craft Beer Week with the inaugural Upslope Get Down Music Fest. The all-day event features nine acts on two stages, including Colorado funk masters Eufórquestra. If beer and free music aren't enough, the fest offers an interactive art exhibit, ourdoor games, and other community-inspired activities. Sat 2 p.m.-midnight.
Play poker with a pro—a professional author, at least. Roxane Gay's writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, American Short Fiction, Time, Salon, and more. Following dinner, drinks, and poker lessons at this annual party, Gay will read from her newest novel, An Untamed State, due out May 7. After the reading, she'll join everyone in the poker tournament. The evening benefits Writership, which helps writers attend workshops and seminars at Lighthouse. Sat 5-10 p.m.
Your favorite ogre sings his way through a quest to regain his privacy after the fiendish Lord Farquaad's decree has hordes of fairytale creatures seeking sanctuary in Shrek's swamp. But unexpected friendships and a sudden love story leave him wondering if happily ever after is his destiny. Wed 5:30 p.m.; Thu-Sat 6:15 p.m.; Sun 2 p.m., 6:15 p.m.
Bring your pack and howl with the wolves. The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center will open its doors to live music, grilling, as well as the unveiling of their own Wolfstock microbrew from Paradox Beer Company. All proceeds benefit maintaining the grounds' sprinkler system, which safeguards the wolves against wildfires. Sun 10 a.m.
This two-day family fair features balloon animal artists, bouncy castles, and train rides to entertain your little ones. Bring a few bucks for some of the more involved activities like helicopter rides and the festival's big kosher barbecue. Most of the fun is geared towards kids eight and under. Sat-Sun 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Math is hard—even when it comes to rock and roll. This performance by the Denver School of Rock features songs in the style of math rock, a technically impressive genre that emphasizes unusual, hard-to-play time signatures. Don't sweat studying up: You won't need a calculator to appreciate the music. Sun 1-3 p.m.; 5-7 p.m.
A foundation of funk, blues, jazz, and rock, the oft-overlooked bass guitar gets its due at the annual Rocky Mountain Bass Slam. This celebration of bass offers a range of surprising performances from national and local bass masters. Proceeds from the event help provide bass guitars to underprivileged Colorado youth. Sun 1 p.m.
Peggy McGivern has traveled the world, from Minnesota to Serbia, finding inspiration from the variety of colors and personalities of each place. The Denver-based artist's most recent paintings focus on Cuba and pairs burnt oranges and soft creams to create a feeling reminiscent of the 1930s and 1940s. Keep a look out for “Blue Car” and “A Walk in the Shade.” Tue-Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Join Isabella Pelizzatti Perego, enologist and owner of ArPePe, as she leads you through a flight of red wines. The Valetellina valley winery, founded 30 years ago in Lombardy, Italy, and produces some of the world's most elegant wines created from Nebbiolo grapes called Chiavennasca. ArPePe's wines are both barrel- and bottle-aged before release, lending to the grapes' delicate flavor. Mon 5:30 p.m.
Women are manning the burners tonight. For the first time in seven years, the 2014 Five dinner series features a lineup of all female chefs. This evening meal includes dishes from Panzano’s Elise Wiggens, Aniedra Nichols of Elway's, Epicurean Catering's Jenna Johansen, Carrie Shores from Table 6, and Old Major’s Nadine Donovan. Enjoy appetizers and, of course, a five-course dinner. Mon 6 p.m.
Denver's beloved summer lunch break tradition has returned! On Tuesdays and Thursdays from June through September, a slew of food trucks park themselves in Civic Center Park midday, offering hand-held lunches (along with live music) from street-food vendors like Steuben's, Biker Jim's, Gastro Cart, and more. Tue, Thu 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
When gay marriage emerged as a civil right issue, the opinions of the African-American community were divided. This compelling documentary, presented by Rocky Mountain PBS, chronicles the complex battle that ensued. Tue 7 p.m.
—Photo Credit: ITVS, Ford Foundation Just films, Chicken & Egg Pictures
Kickoff your summer with a night spent tasting locally-based eats and drinks while perusing the work of local artists. Taste samples from Bistro Boys Catering, the Gourmet Kitchen, and Three Tomatoes, with wine from Snowy Peaks Winery and Verso Cellars. Proceeds benefit the Four Mile Historic Park. Thu 5:30 p.m.
A blockbuster event that combines Denver's culinary luiminaries by putting them head-to-head to compete for best dish, best cocktail, best pairing, and overall winner. Chefs like Troy Guard of Guard & Grace and Alex Figura of Lower48 Kitchen will compete alongside bartenders Ace Eat Serve's Ryan Layman and Raquel Tully of Old Major. After the competition, mingle with chefs and bartenders while indulging on their creations. Thu 6 p.m.
Closing out its 66th season, Denver Philharmonic Orchestra will take its audience on a celestial journey with three pieces about outer space—Daughtrey's "Krypton," Hovhaness' "Celestial Fantasy," amd Holst's "The Planets." Thu 7:30 p.m.
For outdoor enthusiasts and activists, Mountainfilm is more than movies—it's a meeting of the minds. Between catching one of the festival's many documentaries, you can watch buddhist monks make sand sculptures or try your hand at building a friction fire. This year's kickoff symposium, themed around wilderness, investigates the swathes of nature left undisturbed by humanity. Fri-Mon, times vary.
Here's one Memorial Day weekend trip you may need to grow some gills for. This year's PaddleFest events range from pro kayaking competitions to 10K runs, instructional courses, river surfing, and live music for amateur water sports enthusiasts. Fri-Mon, times vary.
It wouldn't be a Colorado summer without a bluegrass festival. This three-day Memorial Day weekend event showcases more than 20 Americana, roots, and folk bands, with a focus on local acts. Listen to foot-stompin' tunes from headliners Elephant Revival (Nederland) and the Duhks (Canada). Can't commit to three days? Snag a one-day pass to see your favorite lineup. Fri-Sun, times vary.
Colorado rancher Kirk Hanna tells the difficult story of what he lost when his father died, and the adversaries he gained when his mother re-married his neighbor. The documentary also focuses on Hanna's eco-first mentality, an unusual one in the world of ranching. Daily, times vary.
Listen to more than 25 local and national bands perform at five stages along 16th Street Mall. Presented by Concerts for Kids, a nonprofit that uses live music to support more than 50 child-focused health and education organizations, this two-day festival includes headliners such as Plain White T's, the Hold Steady, and the Kin. Fri-Sat, times vary.
Longmont-based Josh Davy’s robots display what he calls "antique futurism"—blending a space age look with a vintage one. His 12 silver, bronze, copper, and nickel robots were created specifically for this collection. Davy’s first robot, a wooden sculpture, debuted at Next Gallery in 2013. Fri 6-10 p.m., Sat-Sun noon-5 p.m.
This ultimate Colorado event combines food and the outdoors, against the scenic backdrop of Vail. Combine rock climbing with breakfast at the Belay and Brunch. Or, practice fly-casting before picking up tips on side dishes. Spend your holiday weekend running a high country marathon, then watch as renowned regional chefs face-off at a variety of tastings and chef demos. Fri 6-9 p.m.; Sat 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Mon 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
By using explosive pyrotechnics, signature instruments, and stage props, One doesn't just pay tribute to Metallica; they recreate the iconic metal band's head-banging live performances from the '80s. Listen to the group's uncanny renditions of Metallica songs including everything from lesser-known songs from the band's early garage days to mainstream hits. The only thing that's missing is the copious amounts of hair. Fri 7 p.m.
Who said the symphony was a stiff affair? The talented vocalists and instrumentalists of the Colorado Symphony perform classical interpretations of the free lovin’ music of the ’60s and ’70s. Lexington Philharmonic director Scott Terrell will conduct the era’s top hits from iconic artists like The Who, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. Get your groove on. Fri 7:30 p.m.
Get some Memorial Day exercise in and help fight poverty with this 5K around Cheesman Park. The proceeds benefit Open Doors Denver, an organization that provide assistance to the low-income and homeless of Denver. The 5K is a timed chip race, but leisure-minded participants are more than welcome. Sat 8:30 a.m.
Take a ride on the wild side. Pedal through three habitats—and keep and eye out for coyotes, bison, hawks, and more—during this this unique eight-mile ride. Sat 10 a.m.
—Image Courtesy of Shutterstock
Take a dip in Boulder Creek for this unofficial start to summer. Before jumping in, let your kids cast a line in the fishing pond on Saturday morning. Don't miss the festival's signature event, the Duck Race, which pits 10,000 rubber ducks in a race down the creek. Proceeds of the race benefit Boulder Parks & Rec's EXPAND program. Sat-Mon, times vary.
This art and design market features Colorado artists specializing in photography, painting, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewelry, furnishings, mixed media, and more. Whether you’re looking for a new vase by Peterson Pottery or a hammered-metal necklace from Mercer & Jayne, this art extravaganza has a new piece for every style. Sat 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Kickoff the summer season with a trip to the high country. Eat the state's most mouth-watering barbecue and then quench your thirst with one of Colorado's microbrews. Cast your vote for the best best pork ribs, chicken, and sides. Sat noon-6 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Mon 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The inaugural Denver Flea is an oh-so-Colorado take on the traditional flea market. Peruse goods by local sellers, ranging from local art and jewelry to furniture and vintage clothing. Your palate won't be disappointed when you peruse the outdoor aisles of craft beer and eats from the on-site food trucks on site. Tip: Register early for a free cup of Corvus Coffee. Sat 2 p.m.
—Photo courtesy of Denver Flea
Denver's volunteers do so much to keep our community thriving—here's one way to say thanks. Members of the military, Red Cross volunteers, and first responders will recieve free access into this concert featuring the acclaimed southern rock group the Charlie Daniels Band. Not a volunteer? Listen to the fiddler's Bob Dylan-inspired tunes by snatching one of the limited number of tickets. Sat 5:30 p.m.
Colorado's most famous 10K (and the seventh largest race in the world) returns for another go around the streets of Boulder. There are qualified waves of racers, but the BolderBoulder is all about fun. Race in costume and dance-run to the live bands posted up every quarter mile to get you to the finish-line. Head over to PastaPasta to carbo-load and meet other runners the evening before the big race. Mon 7:30 a.m.
Kids are the architects, builders, and designers on this construction site. They’ll collect all the materials, from branches and rocks to milkweed pods and leaves, to construct a suitable home for the development’s newest residents: fairies, teddy bears, and action figures. The only limit on this dream home is your child’s imagination. Tue 9-11 a.m.
Summer evenings sipping cocktails in a rooftop garden sounds great already, and the Museum of Contemporary Art is making it even better. The museum is extending museum hours with discounted admission, cocktails, food from local vendors, and live music. Expect tastings from Leopold Bros. Distillery, Hogshead Brewery, and Fruition Farms throughout the summer. Tue-Fri noon-9 p.m.
With summer upon us, there's no better time to master the making of the season's best patio refreshers. Learn to mix and muddle from-scratch mojitos (both classic and strawberry ginger), whiskey smash, and caipirinhas. Tue 6:30 p.m.
Become a sommelier for the evening as you taste more than 30 rosés from around the world to help craft a summer flight for Elway's wine list. Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres prepared by chef Aniedra Nichols while sipping your way through the choices. Wed 6-8 p.m.
—Photo courtesy of Elway's Restaurant
The Denver-based pop-rock fivesome kicks off the U.S. leg of its tour close to home. Expect the group to play songs from their third release, Native, which incorporates a variety of instruments ranging from acoustic guitar to piano for a catchy, upbeat sound. Wed-Thu 7 p.m.
When a young security guard finds himself confronted with a murder investigation—his brother at its center—he's faced with a decision few can contemplate. Dead ends and dreams intersect in this exploration of ethical gray areas by an Oscar-nominated scribe. Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m.; Sun 2:30 p.m.
From starring in 2010's musical film Burlesque to releasing her 25th studio album Closer to the Truth in 2013, 67-year-old Cher hasn't let her golden years go to waste. Watch the legendary singer and actress take the stage with special guests Cyndi Lauper and Pat Benatar. Wed 7:30 p.m.
Bobcat Goldthwait rose to fame in the '80s with his irascible, raspy style and has maintained a presence as the quintessential "that guy from that thing," an unforgettable comic with a string of forgettable roles such as Shakes the clown. After years behind the camera directing, he's returning to the standup that made him famous. Thu 7:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat 7:15 p.m., 9:45 p.m.
Celebrate the cultural and historical gem that is City Park with free ice cream.
Living in a landlocked state doesn't mean you can't enjoy an epic seafood boil. The Lobby joined forces with Epic Brewing Company for a feast of crawfish, mussels, clams, and a trio of beers to match. Enjoy games, contests, prizes, and a summer evening on the Lobby's courtyard patio. Fri 6:30 p.m.
Grab your blankets and lawn chairs and spend your family movie night under the stars. Every Friday at dusk, classic films—such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, House on Haunted Hill, and Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan—will play on a giant projector screen. Don't worry about packing a picnic, the series also features a bake sale and sandwiches from Heidi's Brooklyn Deli. Fri 7 p.m.
This variety sketch comedy show (think: Denver's very own Saturday Night Live) is guaranteed to send you into a fit of side-splitting laughter. Featuring the improv talents of Colorado comedians inclduing Kelly Cosette, Griffen Davis, and Lucky Johnston, this original skit show is for adults only. Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m.
Known as the "hip-hop violinist" on season five of America's Got Talent, Lindsey Stirling didn't give up after Piers Morgan told her there was no place in the limelight for a dancing dubstep violinist. Stirling's spunky personality combined with fun choreography, buzzing bass, and classic violin has made the 27-year-old a YouTube sensation and a must-see live performer. Dance along to songs that blend Celtic folk with modern electronica, including "Beyond the Vail" off her sophomore album, Shatter Me. Fri 7:30 p.m.
Spanning the years 1950-1990, John & Jen follows the lives of a brother and sister who develop a strong relationship after enduring life with their abusive father. After Jen (played by Megan Van De Hay) goes to college and John (Casey Andree) joins the Navy, distance and contrasting interests cause the siblings' friendship to fade. The dramatic musical explores the complexities of life, family, and friendship. Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m.; Sun 6:30 p.m.
Put your pedal power to the test at this sunup to sundown mountain bike race. Whether you prefer to ride solo or with a relay team of two or three, whoever completes the most laps on the 8.25-mile loop before sunset wins. After the ride, enjoy beer, food, and free camping at Greenland Ranch. Sat 8 a.m.
Run, jump, and bounce your way through a wacky 5K course complete with 10 inflatable obstacles including a blow-up maze and a 110-foot slide into the finish line. This fun run is open to teams and solo-runners, and includes a mini version for kids to enjoy. Sat 9 a.m.
As we sit down to eat, how many of us reflect on how our food got from farm to fork? This exhibit looks at each step of the process—from growing to transportation, cooking, and dining—across the globe. Check out the Global Kitchen Family Days, which feature food-themed crafts, cooking demonstrations, cultural showcases, and food samples. Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun noon- 5 p.m.
Denver Art Museum is taking art off the canvas and transforming it into a world of three-dimensional excitement. Join them on Saturday, May 31, as they kick off a summer’s worth of family fun with hands-on sculpture studios, interactive Art Tubes, and a live bronze pour demonstration from artist Rian Kerrane. For the adults, don’t miss the unprecedented American West in Bronze—the first full-scale exhibit to ever highlight western bronze sculptures. If you miss it this weekend, don’t worry: the exhibit will be here until August 31.
The concrete canvases beneath your feet are about to come alive with color. Watch as chalk artists from around the world turn sidewalks into masterworks. On Friday, grab a specialty brew with Blue Moon Brewing Co. or compete in Southwest Airlines' luggage-tossing contest. As night falls, dance to live bands like Steve Law and Blue Stone Mojo, who'll play throughout the weekend. Just watch your step. Sat-Sun, all day.
It's easy to find recipes for your garden's bounty, but don't stop at your dinner plate. Incorporate herbs into your cocktails—both booze-filled or booze-free—with infused syrups and liquors. Expand your menu to include tapas from the garden like smoked salmon with chive cream and capers and goat cheese pistachio apricot truffles. Sat 3 p.m.
Upgrade your next cocktail party with homegrown fruits and vegetables. Tour the ever-beautiful gardens to learn about the best plants to use for your next happy hour. Next, concoct simple syrups, infused liquors, bitters, mixers, and tapas—the menu includes pistachio and apricot truffles and prosciutto-wrapped stuffed peppadews with a port gastrique. At the end of the night, you'll leave with limoncello and bitters so your home will be just as prepared for a cocktail party as you are. Sat 7 p.m.
Proving that sometimes the best methods of motivation are underhanded, a deceitful servant manipulates his master to ensure others find happiness. This adaptation of a 340-year-old French farce has been updated for modern audiences, but it's still as improbable as ever. Fri-Sun 7 p.m.
Combining live music and dance, this diverse performance blurs the lines between genres (think: break-dancing set to classical harp.) From ballet and hip-hop to DJs and drumlines, artists from around Colorado will share the stage in juxtaposed harmony. Sat 7:30 p.m.
You don't have to go to a galaxy far, far away to hear songs from the most iconic soundtrack in sci-fi cinema. Listen to composer John Williams's score performed by the Colorado Symphony. Your inner Jedi will be thrilled, young Padawan. Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 1 p.m.
Dirt or road, all trails lead to Castle Rock. This annual Colorado cycling tradition features multiple distances, from an eight-mile family event to a century road ride. Participate in group rides that end at the Douglas Country Fairgrounds. Once you are out of the saddle, kick up your feet then enjoy a free lunch, music, and expo at the finish line. Sun 7 a.m.
—Photography courtesy of the Elephant Rock Cycling Festival