Holiday weekend! Thanks to Memorial Day, you have three days instead of two, which is — carry the one, kill a braincell, launch the calculator app — 50 percent more weekend. So you should be having 50 percent more fun!
Starting right now. The clock's ticking. No pressure or anything. HAVE ALL THE FUN.
Thankfully now that Memorial Day is cutting the grand-opening ribbon on summer, all the fun is easy to find, open to the public and, for the most part, totally free.
That's right, it's outdoor fair/festival, and this weekend kicks off with a great one, the Denver Day of Rock at Skyline Park, between 15th and 18th streets on Arapahoe in downtown Denver.
Well, "Day and a Half" of Rock, really. The free shows start tonight with The Congress at 6:30 p.m. and the Wallflowers at 8 p.m. Then tomorrow, five stages of live entertainment will host more than 25 national and local musicians: the Hold Steady, the Peacemakers, Monophonics, Plain White T's, the Wendy Woo Band, Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers, and (new favorite band name) Tracksuit Wedding. The latter, a Denver vintage cover band, will be playing at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on Stage 1.
Other than music, the Day of Rock includes vendors, interactive booths and food trucks, and the event benefits non-profit Concerts for Kids. More info at denverdayofrock.com.
Stir it up
Practically next door on Glenarm Place between 15th and 16th streets (six blocks south, you lazy ass), visit the second annual ArtStir, which runs Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. This artsy festival is a grown-up craft fair, where the curated artists are professionals and there's not a grandma-knitted ugly sweater in sight.
("Unless worn ironically, damn hipsters," she says, taking a sip of Bhakti Chai and adjusting her cat-eye glasses.)
The vendors are all from Colorado, meaning you can feel good buying local, and their work encompasses painting, photography, sculpture and ceramics, jewelry, textiles, home décor, screen printing and more. Again, admission is free. More info at artstirdenver.com.
Speaking of hipsters...
You'll find more than one at the first-ever Denver Flea tomorrow from 2-8 p.m. at City Park, next to the zoo and the Museum of Nature and Science. Seriously, they're calling the free event a "hip take on the traditional flea market," and more than 60 merchants and makers will be selling handmade and vintage goods with, much like ArtStir, a focus on buying local.
Also: craft beer tents, live music, food trucks and outdoor games. Seriously, you could find some cool stuff at the Flea. You'll also find facial-hair-obsessed hipsters lining up for shaving services at the Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare booth. So there's that. More info at denverflea.com.
Even more art
At the Denver Performing Arts Complex at Speer and Arapahoe, the more high-brow Downtown Denver Arts Festival runs all weekend: 4-8 p.m. tonight, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Working in 15 different medias — paint, photography, metalwork, glass, leather, mixed media, clay and more — 70 percent of the 140 artists are local, and many of the rest are nationally known.
Think of it as a free, outdoor museum exhibit, because the prices on such fine art can easily reach four and five digits. Info at downtowndenverartsfestival.com.
Idiot on stage
"American Idiot," that is. If you'd prefer the indoors this weekend, check out the Broadway version of Green Day's rock opera based on their most popular music at the Buell Theatre, 950 13th St. Who would have guessed the band that wrote masturbation ode "Longview" ("bite my lip and close my eyes...") could one day inspire a Tony Award-winning, relatively family-friendly musical?
The show is the story of three friends forced to choose between their Hollywood dreams and the safety of suburbia, and songs it features (not "Longview") include "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "21 Guns," "Wake Me Up When September Ends" and "Holiday."
The show plays Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$95. Buy tix and get more info at denvercenter.org.
The 'Dune' that almost was
Avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky *almost* made a movie based on classic sci-fi novel "Dune," but it never made it to theaters — until today, when a documentary about the failed film is playing at Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax. The documentary will screen today through May 29, finally revealing Jodorowsky's insane vision for Dune.
The movie starred Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali and Orson Welles; it featured music by Pink Floyd and art by (recently deceased, much beloved) H.R. Giger of "Alien" fame. It was called hallucinatory and psychedelic. It would have been epic then, and the documentary is pretty entertaining now.
More info, showtimes and tickets ($7-$10) for "Jodorowsky's Dune" at denverfilm.org.
Memorial Day weekend also opens one of the most summery of summertime activity destinations, Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park, 2000 Elitch Circle. The theme park was open daily starting Wednesday, but the water park opens its flumes Saturday. As always, admission includes both parks.
New stuff: The thrill ride Brain Drain, which takes riders upside down in a 7-story loop. Old stuff: Soda is still overpriced, and the water slides still give wedgies.
Admission is $46 at the gate ($35 + $5 fee online), and season tickets are available for $70 until May 26. More info at elitchgardens.com.