The Denver metro area really shines during the summer months. There are all kinds of outdoor options for dining, live music and activities, while classic concert spots and cultural hubs are still doing their thing. With such a bevy of options, you really can’t go wrong. But just in case, I’ve collected five options to help start the season off proper.
Let the night shine bright at Earth Illuminated
As Ray Charles once sang “nighttime is the right time,” and the grand re-opening and debut of Dark Mode at Earth Illuminated celebrates this very important truth.
Presented by the award-winning production team at Blazen Illuminations, the exhibit reopened at the Denver Pavilions, 500 16th Street Mall, Suite 280, with a new look and feel. According to provided information, Dark Mode wants guests to come away awed by the beauty of nature during nighttime. Each scene visitors explore makes use of theatrical lighting and immersive sound design, projection, special effects and more. There are more than 40 scenes spanning a 13,000 square foot space, with interactive props and more.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit EarthIlluminated.com.
Thor lands at Red Rocks
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is back in the movie business with the full-time return of in-amphitheater film screenings as part of its Film on the Rocks series. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for every show, with musical guests taking the stage at 7 p.m., followed by the film presentation at 8:30 p.m. And the season is starting with a blast of Marvel fun in the stellar “Thor: Ragnarok.”
The screening will be on June 13 at Red Rocks, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison. For those who haven’t seen the film, it’s the third in the Thor trilogy and director Taika Waititi lets the story and cast cut loose, resulting in one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best entries.
Visit www.denverfilm.org/programs/film-on-the-rocks/ for the full schedule, information and tickets.
The Mugician comes to Dazzle Jazz
Jazz music is one of the few genres that maintains a passionate commitment to tackling current events going on both locally and on a grand scale. And Ferguson, Missouri’s, Keyon Harrold made one of the most stunning musical statements of the 2010s with his 2017 album, “The Mugician.” The album features contributions from extremely talented musicians like Gary Clark Jr., Robert Glasper and Bilal.
Harrold will be performing as part of Dazzle’s 2022 Keeping It Cool summer concert series, which features two Grammy award-winning artists, a Colorado Hall of Famer and more. He’ll go live at 7 p.m. June 10 at Dazzle Jazz, 1512 Curtis St. in Denver.
Tickets and information can be found at www.dazzledenver.com.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — The Hold Steady at the Bluebird Theater
We could all use a positive jam or two these days and that’s what Minneapolis’ The Hold Steady specialize in. Over the group’s eight albums and almost 20 years of touring they’ve built up a rabid fanbase thanks to Craig Finn’s incisive character sketches and the group’s bar-band soundscapes.
Last year they released one of their most acclaimed albums in years in “Open Door Policy,” but they’re stopping in Denver as part of a tour that was supposed to be in support of 2019’s great “Thrashing Thru the Passion.” The group is finally playing a three-night run at 8 p.m. June 16 and 9 p.m. June 17 and 18 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.
The Hold Steady is truly one of the best live bands around right now and the Bluebird is the perfect venue for them. Get tickets at www.bluebirdtheater.net/events.
Arvada throws an epic pool party
Who doesn’t love a good pool party? Arvada’s Fitz Fest provides that on a large scale, with activities for everyone, whether they get in the pool or not.
The event will be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. June 18 at Fitzmorris Recreation Center, 6340 Independence St. The party includes three hours of swimming at the Fitzmorris outdoor pool, three bounce houses, Apex on Ice `ice’ skating, a yoga session, face painting, sports demonstrations, Ninja course, Imagination Playground, food and drink, carnival and yard games. In other words, practically all the summer fun a person could want.
Pre-register for Fitz Fest at https://apexprd.org/event/fitz-fest/.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.