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click to enlarge Stand Up or Shut Up Comedy Open Mic

20 Wednesday comedy

Colorado Springs' comedy scene is growing, baby, and you can join in at two different events. Tonight brings the free Stand Up or Shut Up Comedy Open Mic at SouthSide Johnny's (528 S. Tejon St., 444-8487), with comics from up and down the Front Range working out material. The alternative is Friday's 9 p.m. showcase at the Secret Window (47 Third St., Monument, 481-9600), where $5 gets you comedians like Ben Verbeck and Matt Chapman and also Kevin Shook, who jokes that he's "really afraid to hold a baby, because I'm afraid I'm going to drop it — not on accident, just to get it out of my system." — Bryce Crawford

click to enlarge USA Pro Cycling Challenge Stage 4

21 Thursday sports

Last time the USA Pro Cycling Challenge came to town, I was one of the suckers — ahem, participants — on the Indy's Not-So-Pro Cycling Team, wherein we dressed like fools and rode a pixie bike through a downtown "obstacle" course. I love my job, but that was awful. (If you were there, you may recall a girl snarfing down Hostess Ding Dongs while getting water squirted in her eye.) This year I, like you, will instead just enjoy all Pro Challenge festivities from the anonymity of the sidelines. We've got details on the course, where to watch, whom to watch, and info on the Woodland Park stage too, starting on p. 37. And of course, all my love to this year's Indy Not-So-Pro-ers, who will ride immediately after the "real" race's late-afternoon finish. — Edie Adelstein

click to enlarge Greek Festival

22 Friday culture

Folks who have lived here a while know to mark their calendars each year for the Greek Festival, sponsored by Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church (amgoc.org). This is a celebration of culture, but for those of us who aren't Greek, it's all about the food. And the food, prepped for takeout, is quite literally Homeric: gyros, spankopita, pasticho, tiropita, stuffed grape leaves, wines and ouzo, baklava and a whole lot more. This 16th annual fest starts at 4 today and continues through the weekend at 2215 Paseo Road. There will be dancing Saturday and Sunday, and Greek imports including spiritual icons, fishermen's hats, olive oils, noodles, dolmas and giant beans, will be available for purchase throughout. Mary Jo Meade

click to enlarge Boulder Street Gallery

23 Saturday art

Boulder Street Gallery didn't have an easy start. Before it even opened its doors for the first time, fire burned it to the ground. That forced a new location on Tejon Street, followed by another ... but here we are over 30 years later, with the same name, doing just fine. Or better, as the gallery recently struck up a partnership with the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society, whose members will now show there in a co-op capacity. From 4 to 7 tonight, celebrate Boulder Street's five-year anniversary at its current location, 206 N. Tejon St., and take in over 250 works from 25 members of PPWS. More info at boulderstreetgallery.com. — Edie Adelstein

click to enlarge Raiding the Crate: One of a Kind by Heather Oelklaus

24 Sunday art

In the final exhibition in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's (30 W. Dale St., csfineartscenter.org) 2013-2014 "Raiding the Crate" series, dynamic and diverse photographer Heather Oelklaus' One of a Kind features a wide array of compelling imagery. Having just opened the last week of July, it'll remain on display through Nov. 9, with regular hours and admission rates applying. Visit Oelklaus' website (camerakarma.com) to sample her works, including pieces incorporating rare and primitive photographic techniques that easily distinguish her from most modern photographers. — Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge Melissa Etheridge

25 Monday music

There's no question that Melissa Etheridge broke down some well-fortified barriers in 1993 with her Grammy-winning hit "Come to My Window" and its accompanying album, Yes I Am, both of which served as a high-profile coming-out for the emotionally extroverted Midwesterner. Naturally, she wasn't the first to do so — Holly Near and the Indigo Girls had trodden that path before her — but her commercial success would pave the way for current uncloseted pop artists like Mary Lambert and Tegan & Sara. Etheridge has since turned her back on the overblown arrangements and slick production values of her hit-making years, favoring a more personal sound that serves as a much better showcase for her singing and songwriting skills. If you haven't seen her perform solo, tonight's your chance. Showtime is 7 at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave., pikespeakcenter.com), with ticket prices starting at $45.50. — Bill Forman

click to enlarge Colorado State Fair

26 Tuesday state fair

"Look at some of his abilities! Truck pulling, horseshoe twisting, phone book tearing, steel bar bending, car flipping, car lifting, exploding hot water bottles, soda can bursting ..." You should know that the attraction that is "The Strongman" John Beatty at the Colorado State Fair (1001 Beulah Ave., Pueblo, coloradostatefair.com) actually warrants a list twice that long, and in all caps to boot. See Beatty three times daily — at 1, 4 and 7:30 — between Aug. 22 and Sept. 1. And sure, Native American dancers, Colorado raptors and other attractions will be there today, too, but c'mon, can they do any BARE HAND NAIL DRIVING? — Kirk Woundy

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