Denver is positively bustling with activity all weekend long, which means that thrifty locals have plenty of opportunities to enjoy everything our city's arts scene has to offer without breaking the bank. From arty parties and democratic read-a-longs to film festivals and free concerts, the only way to go wrong this weekend is by staying cloistered away at home. Thrifty locals seeking entertainment can check out any of the following events without spending much more than ten American dollars.
Terror & Tranquility: Opening Reception
Thursday, July 20, 5 p.m.
Art Gym Denver
Ever since opening its doors back in 2015, Art Gym Denver has been a vital incubator for local creatives. By providing a focused work space, Art Gym has nurtured the talents of artists like Max Maddox and Roy Toma, who've joined forces for a new exhibit called Terror & Tranquility. Though the juxtaposition of a collection of re-crafted objects and scattered artworks exploring the divisive topic of Islamic extremism and a meditative series of photographs of light's play across landscapes may seem dissonant at first, the artwork comes together in an odd kind of harmony. Check it out for yourself while mingling with the artists at Terror & Tranquility's opening reception, starting tonight at 5 p.m.
Read Out Loud
Thursday, July 20, 5 p.m.
Taking the good old-fashioned read-a-longs out of musty classrooms and into your adult life, MCA Denver's Read Out Loud series invites twenty participants to read aloud from a book of their choice. An open forum that functions like a microcosm of a healthy democracy, the event — originated by Caryn Keffer — welcomes everyone to read and listen in equal measure. The rotating roster of readers follows no particular order, and there's no hierarchical structure in place, ensuring that each gathering is utterly unique. It's free to participate, but all readers must e-mail email@example.com to register. If you can't make it to Read Out Loud tonight, there's another one happening on August 15. Visit MCA Denver's events page to learn more.
The Emerging Filmmakers Project
Thursday, July 20, 8 p.m.
Since 2002, the Emerging Filmmakers Project has culled the city for the best independently produced movies. A third-Thursday tradition at the Bug Theatre, EFP welcomes audience members to commune with filmmakers as they screen a selection of short films followed by an amusingly frank discussion. With six films on the docket this month, including "Girl Meets Germs" and "3-Way Furry Love Suicide," July's EFP promises to be as wonderfully weird as ever. Join host and local filmmaker Patrick Sheridan, along with a gaggle of cinephiles and aspiring directors, for this crown jewel of Denver's DIY scene.
Thursday, July 20, 9 p.m.
The Deer Pile
Brian Flynn, a local comedian and co-host of The Revisionists podcast, has continued quiet but steadfast work on Nighttime Tonight for months now, assembling a team of eager locals to write jokes and pitch segments for a new showcase modeled after late-night staples like Conan and The Daily Show, along with just a dash of Shandling-esque internecine struggle. Mostly, however, Nighttime Tonight is intended to be a place where members of the Denver comedy community can gather and indulge their creative whims. Flynn and company will be collecting donations for a different charitable organization each month. July's lineup includes surprise guests alongside local mirth merchants Miriam Moreno, Matt Cobos and Gabby Gutierrez-Reed opening for headliner Stephen Agyei.
Leslie Jorgensen & Kristina Davies
OTHERSIDE: Abstracting Urban and Natural Spaces
Friday, July 21, 6 p.m.
Globeville Riverfront Art Center
Coloradans have a dichotomous mental image of their home state, picturing both the natural splendor of the Rocky Mountains and the construction-crane-littered skyline of its capital city. OTHERSIDE: Abstracting Natural and Urban Spaces explores these divergent Colorados in a new exhibition at Globeville's Riverfront Art Center. A collection of paintings from Leslie Jorgensen and Kristina Davies, OTHERSIDE brings these conflicting visions of the Centennial State into gorgeous harmony. Join the artists at a free opening reception tomorrow night at 6 p.m.
Keep reading for more events.
CinemaQ Film Festival: The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Friday, July 21, 6:30 p.m.
The ninth annual CinemaQ Film Festival continues this weekend at the Sie FilmCenter with a special screening of The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. A heartfelt profile of the infamous "Street Queen" of New York City's Christopher Street (home of the Stonewall Inn and an enduring symbol of LGBT pride), the documentary introduces viewers to Johnson's larger-than-life presence and profoundly lasting impact on her community. When, in 1992, her body was discovered floating in the Hudson River, activists disputed the NYPD's official ruling of suicide. Academy Award-winning filmmaker David France (How to Survive a Plague) explores the suspicious circumstances of Johnson's death, recounting how police inaction spurred righteous outrage. Visit the Sie FilmCenter online for tickets, $10 for members and $12 for non-members, and more information.
Laurence MacNaughton: Reading and Signing Event
Friday, July 21, 7 p.m.
Tattered Cover Colfax
Laurence MacNaughton is a Colorado-based fantasy author who won over loyal fans with his books Conspiracy of Angels and the Jazzy St. Clare Mysteries series. MacNaughton specializes in page-turning fantasy novels that turn all manner of supernatural beings loose upon urban settings. His latest effort, the Dru Jasper series, concerns a bookish crystal-shop proprietor and aspiring sorceress, and is set in an alternative version of Denver populated by magic users. MacNaughton is appearing at the Colfax Tattered Cover on Friday to read from the latest Dru Jasper installment, A Kiss Before Doomsday ($18, Pyr), as well as to meet with fans and sign copies.
Colorado Railroad Museum
Dinosaur Express Train
Saturday, July 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Colorado Railroad Museum
All children seem to share a deep and unabiding love of dinosaurs, trains or both. Fortunately for all the blossoming nerds out there, Golden's Colorado Railroad Museum is combining a ride on a historic Denver and Rio Grande Western Steam Locomotive with a tour of the dinosaur tracks scattered around the museum's fifteen-acre railyard. In addition to riding the train and visiting the museum's exhibits, kids of all ages can enjoy a whole range of dinosaur-related activities. Visit the Colorado Railroad Museum online to learn more and get tickets, $5-$15. Admission for children ages two and under is free.
Colorado Symphony Free Season Preview
Saturday, July 22, 7:30 p.m.
Boettcher Concert Hall
An abundance of sonic wonders awaits classical-music aficionados this season at the Colorado Symphony, but they needn't wait until the opening weekend in September to enjoy a sampling of the musical highlights of the upcoming year. Showcasing selections from the 2017/18 season's upcoming calendar, such as Ludwig van Beethoven's Allegro con Brio, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," Hector Berlioz's "Roman Carnival" and many more, the Colorado Symphony's season preview is a tunefully brisk tour through the titans of the classical-music canon. Admission is free, but guests must obtain tickets in person from the Boettcher Concert Hall's box office, located at 1000 14th Street, #15, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
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City Park Jazz: Los Bohemios
Sunday, July 23, 6 p.m.
Denver City Park
Denver’s City Park is a delight throughout the summer, popular with locals for its vast green expanses, shimmering lakes and lively pavilion. Far from merely a scenic place to walk your dog, City Park also maintains a thriving cultural calendar throughout the warmer months with its City Park Jazz series, which continues on Sunday, July 23, with a performance from Los Bohemios, a sextet of skilled local musicians who specialize in Cuban jazz, cumbia and boleros. City Park Jazz is a perfect opportunity to cuddle up with your loved ones on a lawn blanket and enjoy the splendor of a Colorado sunset, soundtracked by the smooth sounds of Los Bohemios. Visit City Park Jazz online to learn more. The event starts at 6 p.m., but we recommend arriving early to secure a spot. Admission is free.
Looking for more to do? Go to the Westword calendar.