So much of the contemporary creative world is driven by technology that intensely human performances are often a breath of fresh air.
That’s part of the magic of the Union Station Buskerfest, which will be entering its fourth year, Thursday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 4 at the station, 1701 Wynkoop St. Performances will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.
“It all sounds a bit like found art — people just get off trains and busses and there’s a show happening right in the plaza,” said Maya McCoy, director of the festival. “What’s wonderful is there’s no cover to get in. Street performing is really accessible to everyone.”
Inspired by similar festivals held in Europe and Canada, the festival highlights the unique talents of buskers — street entertainers who perform in public spaces to audiences around the world.
After sorting through about 100 applications, both local and international talents were selected for this year’s event. Participants include bucket drummer Peter Rabbit, acrobatic performers The Street Circus, escape artist Tianna the Traveller, comedy juggling all-star Sam Malcolm, world-champion foot juggler Peter Irish, human statue Paul Borillo and the Gora Gora Orkestar.
There will also be face-painters, giant puppets and stilt walkers roaming the plaza. Children who want to indulge their creative side can make crafts the nonprofit organization Arts Street.
“The motivation is to have a mix of local and traveling performers for visitors,” McCoy said. “We’re always trying to bring acts people have never seen before, so we can really surprise the audience.”
There will be special events as part of the festival, like the event kick-off on Colorado Day, which features a Grand Entrance of all performers and the introduction of two locally made giant puppets. The Gora Gora Orkestar will be doing a special performance at 8:15 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2 and at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 there will be a group fire show to benefit Arts Street.
While the festival is free, attendees are encouraged to bring cash so they can donate to the performers.
“The event has grown significantly over the years — we started with about 3,000 attendees and last year we reached about 15,000,” McCoy said. “It’s really fun for all ages. Often the comedy will hit for the kids and the adults, and that’s the real art of street performing — including everyone.”
For more information and a full schedule, visit www.unionstationbuskerfest.com.
The bard in Boulder under the stars
Boulder’s annual Colorado Shakespeare Festival is always one of the best parts of the summer in Colorado. Not only are audiences treated to some of the finest words ever strung together in the English (or any) language, but they receive a taste of what it must’ve been like to see Shakespearean plays they way they were first staged.
The performances are held under the open sky in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre, 277 University Ave. in Boulder, through Aug. 11.
The shows performed in this year’s festival are “Romeo and Juliet,” “As You Like It,” “Twelfth Night” and “King Charles III.” I recommend “Twelfth Night,” which is hilariously brought to life on a beautiful set with stellar performances by all involved.
For information and tickets, visit www.cupresents.org/series/shakespeare-festival/.
Reach for the divine at Stanley Marketplace
If you’ve ever wanted to see one of the pinnacles of western art, instead of heading to Rome, all you need to do is head to Aurora.
Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St. in Aurora, is hosting The Sistine Chapel at The Hangar, through Aug. 13.
The exhibition recreates the splendor of Michelangelo’s momentous achievement, and gives viewers the chance to experience the work up-close and personal. The 33 ceiling paintings from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel have been reproduced in museum-quality at near-original size. The Last Judgment, Michelangelo’s towering altar wall fresco painted 25 years after the ceiling, is also included in the exhibition.
Visit www.stanleymarketplace.com for information and to book tickets.
Michelangelo's sistine chapel: the exhibition from Martin Biallas on Vimeo.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic at Red Rocks
There really is no other way to say it — after a career that started in the late 1970s, “Weird Al” Yankovic has firmly established himself as a bona-fide national treasure.
There’s a tremendous amount of musicianship that goes into what the man does, and if you don’t believe that, you’ll want to see him take the Red Rocks stage, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1.
While Yankovic hasn’t released a new album since “Mandatory Fun,” in 2014, but his cultural cache remains as high as ever, and he’s used social media and Youtube to find new ways to create and engage with fans.
This is sure to be a hilarious show — get your tickets at www.redrocksonline.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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