Denver is positively bustling with activity all weekend long, which means that thrifty locals have plenty of opportunities to enjoy everything our city arts scene has to offer without breaking the bank. Whether bidding adieu to a venerated poetry slam, guffawing at homegrown comedy or entering a video game tournament, savvy readers have plenty of opportunities to be entertained. Our more civic-minded readers can march for climate science or arm themselves with facts at a free civics lesson. With the following ten options to choose from, the only bad choice you could make this weekend is staying home.
C/o Slam NUBA
1. Slam Nuba Team Selection
Friday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.
Crossroads Theater at Five Points
Slam Nuba, the Westword MasterMind-winning poetry collective, bids adieu to its erstwhile home at Five Points Crossroads Theater this weekend. While the future of the embattled venue remains uncertain, both the Slam Nuba poets and the comedians in the Agency have announced their final shows – an ignominious conclusion for what was once a thriving hub in Denver's art scene. Nationally celebrated and frequently triumphant in spoken-word competitions, the Slam Nuba squad deserves to find a new home for its monthly open-mic slams. For this month's show, host Mahogany welcomes featured performer Vatic Kuumba for a very special slam, wherein poets will be selected for a competitive team. Come say goodbye to an arts community-institution and check slamnuba.com for updates. Admission is $10, or $5 with a student ID.
2. Guest List: Live Standup and Sketch Comedy
Friday, April 28, 8 p.m.
The Bakery Arts Warehouse
While Denver's comedy clubs generally treat local standups as a disposable afterthought, the best shows in the city are being run by comedians themselves. No longer content to let negligent gatekeepers manage their careers, Denver comedians have been producing their own showcases with a panache that rivals, and sometimes even exceeds, what the professionals can offer. Guest List, a standup and sketch hybrid showcase run by the insanely prolific local comic Ben Bryant, is emblematic of Denver comedy's self-starting character. In only a few short months, Guest List has made a home for itself in the Bakery Arts Warehouse by consistently programming lineups showcasing the best local and traveling standups and playing around with the format to keep things fresh and funny. The grand tradition continues this month with local comics Grayson Nite, Kevin Klatman and Geoff Tice joining Chicago's Arish Singh and Whitney Chitwood opening for local favorite headliner Aaron Urist. Tickets are only $5 at eventbrite.com.
C/o CU Wizards
3. CU Wizards: One Fish... Two Fish... Green and Red Fluorescent Squish!
Saturday, April 29, 9:30 a.m.
University of Colorado CU Wizards (Cristol Chemistry Room 140)
Explore the splendor and mystery of the natural world with the CU Wizards, who return to the Boulder campus this weekend with "One Fish... Two Fish... Fluorescent Red and Green Squish," a fascinating presentation by Professor Amy Palmer. Learn how scientists are using the natural glow of the humble jellyfish as a model to develop new technologies capable of illuminating the motion of molecules within cells. The free event, which kicks off at 9 a.m., is ideal for children, families and lifelong learners.
C/o MCA Denver
4. The Failure Fair
Saturday, April 29, 10 a.m.
For artsy teens, job fairs can be a disillusioning gauntlet of stifled dreams and lowered expectations. Young people are rarely given the opportunity to explore industries that have a use for their creativity, let alone discover new fields where they can potentially make a living doing what they love. At MCA Denver's Failure Fair, however, aspiring creatives can benefit from the experiences of guest speakers from the fields of design, music and fashion, dabble in the ukulele and 808 drum-kit workshops and possibly even gain some hope for the future. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it's completely free for the eighteen-and-under crowd.
C/o People's Climate March on Denver
5. People's Climate March
Saturday, April 29, 10 a.m.
Civic Center Park
Though somewhat out of place on a list of affordable entertainment, the People's Climate March will generate a vital rallying cry to protect the planet. Considering the stark realities we face as a species, the inaction and denial of the political and corporate establishment is more worthy of dissent than ever. Coinciding with a complementary march in Washington D.C. and a number of other cities, these nonpartisan protests are intended to demonstrate support for renewable energy jobs and effective legislation to curtail the polluting impact of industry. Gather with the crowd at 10 a.m. and take comfort in this widespread expression of solidarity. Be sure to dress warmly, as light snow showers are expected.
6. Miners Alley Children's Theater Presents: Peter and the Wolf
Saturday, April 29, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Miners Alley Playhouse
Families and children of all ages have two more chances to catch Peter and the Wolf tomorrow before the cherished classic of children's theater ends its run at Golden's Miners Alley Playhouse. Inspired by Sergei Prokofiev's symphonic fairy tale, the play tells the familiar yet enduring tale of Peter, a fearful boy who triumphs over a hungry wolf, using his wits and the help of his woodland friends. With two kid-friendly showtimes at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., it's a perfect way to celebrate the wondrous joy of music and storytelling. Admission is just $10 from Vendini.
C/o Said & Done
7. Said & Done: Civics 101
Saturday, April 29, 2:30 p.m.
Colorado Conservatory of Dance
Get informed and get involved at Said & Done, a free Civics 101 lesson. Founded in late January in the hopes of maintaining activist momentum from the massive Women's Marches, Said & Done has presented a series of sold-out Civics 101 events over the past few months. Learn how to mount effective activist campaigns from ProgressNow director Ian Silverii, who orchestrated a town hall event with a cardboard cutout of Senator Cory Gardner — who'd failed to show up in person. Find out how to get involved locally with former congressional aide Tricia Stevens and even test your knowledge in a game of Federal Government Jeopardy led by former AP U.S. History teacher John Nichols. With dispiriting news developments coming down the pike every day, there's never been a better time to arm yourself with facts. Admission is free, but registration is required.
The Vittoria Ensemble, pictured in 2014.
8. Vittoria Ensemble Presents: Into Paradise
Saturday, April 29, 7 p.m.
St. Dominic Catholic Church
Denver's Vittoria Ensemble is a chamber choir comprising reverent lifelong students of the form. Combing through history for overlooked masterpieces, the Ensemble specializes in relatively obscure sacred choral works and inspires listeners with the power of the human voice. Its next performance, which takes advantage of the fine acoustics at St. Dominic Catholic Church, a beautiful Gothic Revival that dates back to 1926 is a fitting home for polyphonic Gregorian chanting. This month the singers are performing Tomas de Luis Vittoria's four-part requiem, a hauntingly gorgeous Fifteenth Century composition sure to stir the spirit. The event begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are strongly suggested. Register (and donate) at eventbrite.com.
C/o Left Hand, Right Brain Productions
9. Comedy Saved the Video Star
Saturday, April 29, 9:30 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Beyoncé notwithstanding, the music video is something of a lost art. No longer enjoying the same cultural cachet as they used to, music videos have evolved into millennial nostalgia objects, fond reminders of an era when you could have your MTV if you wanted it. J.D. Lopez, a local comic and host of the Left Hand, Right Brain podcast, celebrates music videos with Comedy Saved the Video Star, an inventive showcase that invites comics to perform a set before riffing on a music video of their choice. This month's show includes Roger Haak, James Xiong, Mallory Wallace and Nicholae Roscoe cracking wise on a tuneful journey down memory lane. Early arrivals can request to see their videos in a DIY version of Total Request Live. The show starts at 9:30 p.m., and admission is free.
C/o El Charrito
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10. Tekken Tag Tournament
Sunday, April 30, 5:30 p.m.
El Charrito's massive RYTZCade gaming system contains a vast library of classic arcade games, running the gamut from Gauntlet to Mortal Kombat. With a four-joystick interface — complete with cup holders — it's also an ideal battleground for the grand video-game tournaments hosted by the "Five Star Dive Bar" over the past few months. This Sunday, gamers can lay down the Marshall Law in a Tekken Tag Tournament. The classic Namco title is one of gaming's greatest beat-’em-ups, replete with goofy characters and physics-defying fisticuffs. For a $2 buy-in, players can take on all comers while fueling themselves with cheap beer and chicharrones. The third-place winner gets a return on the buy-in, second place gets two extra bucks, and the winner takes the rest of the pot. The venue will also have a Nintendo 64 set up in an adjacent room for anyone who wants to get their game on without competing.