This week, local creatives have grand entertainment in store for Denverites, and many of these cultural experiences won't cost a dime. From live talk shows to multimedia art and technology extravaganzas, here are five ways to celebrate Denver's past, present and future for free, in chronological order.
Monday, May 15, through Sunday, May 21
Since 2012, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art's annual MediaLive festival has celebrated the way in which technology and digital culture have shaped the art world. Running from May 15 through May 21, the festival showcases performance art, film, photography and even the International GIF Competition at the museum and other Boulder venues, including the ATLAS Institute, Fox Theatre and Civic Area Park. This year's speakers and artworks address a troubling theme: the void – how digital connectivity can foster social isolation. The festival opens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 15, with a reception at the museum coupled with a one-night-only exhibition of Josh Studham and William Britelle's Without Chasms – Infinite GIFs. Admission to many events is free, but RSVPs are required for some. A $250 VIP ticket grants access to an exclusive dinner with the artists and an open bar. Visit bmoca.org/medialive to learn more.
Wednesday, May 17
City Stacks Books and Coffee
Even a cursory glance at a newspaper reveals that our nation's democratic ideals are threatened and that wealthy interests have hijacked the political process. Less understood is why roughly half of the country supports this agenda. Corey Dolgon, a professor of sociology and co-editor of Critical Sociology, explores these troubling questions in his latest book, Kill It to Save It: An Autopsy of Capitalism's Triumph Over Democracy, chronicling chaos in public institutions from the post-Vietnam era through today. Join Dolgon for a reading, signing and discussion at City Stacks Books and Coffee.
Buffalo Soldiers of WWI
Thursday, May 18, 7 p.m.
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
The Arvada Center has teamed with nineteen other organizations to produce “Where Do We Go From Here? America in the First World War,” a statewide series of events marking the 100th anniversary of World War I that runs from now through November 2018. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, the center will kick off its offerings with "Buffalo Soldiers of WWI," a presentation by Buffalo Soldiers of the American West (Denver chapter) that focuses on the contributions of African-American soldiers during the conflict, when the Armed Forces were still racially segregated. The talk takes place in Studio 11 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, and admission is free; for more information, go to arvadacenter.org.
Read on for more free events.
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Thursday, May 18, 8 p.m.
The Deer Pile
Brian Flynn, a local comedian and co-host of The Revisionists podcast, has been quietly working for months on Nighttime Tonight, a new comedy showcase molded after late-night staples like Conan and The Daily Show. Mostly, however, Nighttime Tonight is intended to be a place where the comedy community can gather and indulge creative whims. Flynn and company will be collecting donations for the Colorado Village Collaborative's Tiny Home Project at this month's show, which includes local comics Adam Fedyski, Nolawee Mengist and headliner Christie Buchele along with Minneapolis's Rana May.
Five Points Jazz Festival
Saturday, May 20, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Celebrate the jazz heritage of Denver's Five Points neighborhood, once known as the "Harlem of the West," during the Fifteenth Annual Five Points Jazz Festival on Saturday, May 20. Bopping along from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., this free event welcomes visitors to nosh, sip a drink and enjoy family-friendly activities as dozens of musicians jam the day away. While the rapidly gentrifying area is in danger of becoming physically unrecognizable, celebrations like the Five Points Jazz Festival keep the neighborhood's roots alive.