Best Bets

Best Bets

July 2010

Music: Kings of Leon

Although their third record was a breakthrough, it was Kings of Leon's fourth studio album, Only by the Night, that cemented the band's status in the United States. With smash hits like "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody," the guys are selling out arenas in less than an hour. And it's no wonder: The Kings' classic-rock sound, emotional lyrics, and gritty look is reminiscent of greats like Bruce Springsteen and the Strokes. From their time as on-the-fringe show openers to legit stadium rockers who brought down the house at Red Rocks last summer, these Southerners have truly stepped it up; we can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves this time around. July 20, Comfort Dental Amphitheatre

Theater: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Journey to ancient times during Vintage Theatre's first musical. The Greek/Roman style of farce abounds in this tale—a Tony Award winner for best musical during its original 1962 Broadway run—about a Roman slave seeking freedom by promising to help his master woo the girl next door. Mistaken identities and wily antics wreak havoc as the slave finds himself in over his head. The cast of 20 renews the story with a live stage band. Forum is the first show for which Stephen Sondheim—think West Side Story—composed both the music and lyrics, so expect smart, elegant harmonies. July 2-August 8, Vintage Theatre

Arts: Colorado Black Arts Festival

Denver's foremost celebration of black arts is upping the ante for its 24th year. Three stages offer everything from jazz and gospel to reggae, while local and national dance companies work it for the crowd with modern, African, tap, and hip-hop routines. Swing by the massive visual arts exhibition, featuring 25 influential local artists, and make time to catch the drill and step teams during Saturday's Boogaaloo Celebration Parade. Close the weekend with a Sunday performance by Cleo Parker Robinson (see page 196), in honor of her distinguished dance institution's 40th anniversary. July 9-11, City Park

Festival: Colorado Burlesque Festival

The Pussycat Dolls may have put a national spotlight on burlesque-style dance in recent years, but the roguish mix of vaudeville, satire, and more, er, revealing artistry has long been around. With three local troupes, Coloradans have taken to the art, and the state's first-ever Burlesque Fest includes more than 60 performers—including Tigger, the "godfather of boylesque." July 8-11, the Gothic Theatre, Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, and Wynkoop Brewing Company