As Mother's Day weekend approaches, soggy Denverites looking for something to do are in luck. This weekend offers a wide range of experiences, everything from bargain hunting to protesting health-care "reform" to enjoying music and comedy performances to cuddling with baby goats. And none of these events costs more than $10! Keep reading for ten things to do this weekend, in chronological order.
Ice Cream Social
1. Comedy in the Alley Presents: Deacon Gray
Thursday, May 11, 8 p.m.
Colorado abounds with free comedy shows, but without proper curation from savvy producers and capable hosts, most of these events are tantamount to open mics, meaning even a free ticket can feel like a rip-off. Life is too short to watch bad comedy. Luckily, Comedy in the Alley is a free weekly showcase that brings the best local and traveling comics to the narrow bar off Littleton's Main Street. Co-hosted by Cody Spyker and Jacob Rupp of the Ice Cream Social podcast, Comedy in the Alley is a straightforward showcase format that allows comics to stretch their wings with longer sets. This week's show includes Denver comics Nicholae Roscoe and Arielle Kaplan along with Brooklyn's Gideon Hambright and local treasure Deacon Gray in the headlining spot.
2. Four Mile Free Day
Friday, May 12, noon to 4 p.m.
Four Mile Historic Park
Although any day is a good one to amble through Colorado's formative years at Four Mile Historic Park, it's even better with free admission. From 12 to 4 p.m. on every second Friday until December 8, visitors can explore the twelve-acre grounds, mingle with farm animals and grab a seat for the Hay Bales and Tall Tales storytelling show, a hit with kids. Built in 1859 on the banks of Cherry Creek, the Four Mile House is Denver's oldest standing structure and current home to a museum that brings history to life. Cap it all off with a free sample from the summer kitchen.
Colorado Book Awards
3. Colorado Book Awards Finalist Readings
Friday, May 12, 7 p.m.
The landslide of entries that inundated the Colorado Center for the Book for the 26th annual Colorado Book Awards competition has been pared down to three or four finalists in each of fourteen categories for 2017; the winners won’t be announced until May. What to do until then? Get familiar with all the authors and entries when BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street, hosts a series of readings, beginning with genre gold: Finalists in the mystery, science fiction/fantasy and thriller categories will kick off the series at 7 p.m. Friday, April 14. Readings continue on April 21, 23 and 28, and May 4 and 12; winners will be announced at 4 p.m. on May 21 at the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue in Parker. For more information and award-ceremony tickets, visit coloradohumanities.org.
Sweet Comedy Licks
4. Sweet Comedy Licks
Friday, May 12, 10 p.m.
Despite the rainy skies above, summertime —season of patios and popsicles— is nearly upon us. What better way to herald the arrival of the new season than an al fresco comedy showcase specifically tailored for balmy summer nights? Sweet Comedy Licks, a new show from Kyle Pogue and John Papiaoannou, takes over the patio at Aiko Pops on Friday, May 12, with a fine inaugural lineup that includes Patrick Richardson, Cody Spyker, Kevin Klatman and headliner Nathan Lund. Guests can enjoy free beer and whatever an Aiko Shot is, and the shop will have popsicles and sandwiches for sale (cash only). Admission is free, but donations are always appreciated by perpetually broke comedians.
5. EarthLinks' Plant & Garden Sale
May 12 and May 13, 1 to 7 p.m.
Green-thumbed and thrifty locals have a great opportunity to shop and save this weekend at EarthLinks' Plant & Garden sale. With sales on organically grown herbs, flowers and vegetable seedlings, gardeners have everything they need to stock up for the summer. Discounts on candles, planters and vases, honey and herbal skin-care products are also part of the two-day sale. On Saturday, May 13, visitors can also benefit from the knowledge of certified clinical herbalist Laura Matthews, who'll be holding herbal-education talks throughout the afternoon.
Fight for Healthcare
6. Fight for Healthcare
Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m.
Colorado State Capitol
Even amid the waking nightmare of our current political climate, the American Health Care Act put forward by Congress last week registers with many as a cruel act of class warfare — and champions of health-care reform say it's more vital than ever to voice dissent. On May 13, join Fight for Healthcare, a peaceful assembly of concerned citizens raising objections to the act and expressing their commitment to progressive health-care reform. Colorado Stands and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative will have tables set up where demonstrators can write letters and postcards urging Senator Cory Gardner to oppose his party's bill. Protesters are also encouraged to write down their pre-existing conditions at a sign-making station on site. Hear the stories of people whose lives have been impacted by health-care reform, discuss pro-active solutions and make a statement.
Untitled color photograph, 2016.
Sherry Wiggins and Luis Branco
7. Artist Talk: Sherry Wiggins
Saturday, May 13, 10:30 a.m.
Michael Warren Contemporary
Boulder-based photographer and multimedia artist Sherry Wiggins has an enigmatic new exhibit called Meeting Her Again, showcasing eerie portraits and experimental films. Join Wiggins, along with director of the CU Art Museum Sandra Firmin, for an insightful discussion at Michael Warren Contemporary's ongoing Artist Talk series. Put the artwork in context, learn about Wiggins's collaborative process, and ponder the meaning and motivation behind her eye-catching work.
8. Colorado Plus Fourth Anniversary
Saturday, May 13
Colorado Plus Brew Pub
In Denver's thriving and competitive brewery scene, four years of continuous business is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it's something to celebrate, which is precisely what Colorado Plus Brew Pub intends to do all day on Saturday, May 13. Enjoy live music, munch on special housemade sausages and sample from the list of over fifteen house beers that have helped Colorado Plus endure. With a raffle that includes prizes like growlers and T-shirts to a pair of Great American Beer Festival tickets, this party is a great excuse to have four more beers to toast four more years.
9. Solazur Debut Recital
Sunday, May 14, 7:30 p.m.
Church of the Ascension
Formed in 2016, Solazur is a musical duo comprising cellist Katie Burns and guitarist Russ Callison. Born of a desire to showcase the power of strings in an intimate concert setting, Solazur is poised to make its grand debut at the Church of the Ascension with a series of recitals. Showcasing performances of modern compositions such as Radamés Gnattalli's "Sonata for Cello and Guitar" and Dusan Bogdanovic's "Quatre Pièces Intimes," the debut recital's main attraction is the world premiere of "Azur," by composer Tomás Peire Serrate. Tickets are $5 via Eventbrite and $10 at the door.
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Broken Shovels Farm
10. Mother's Day Open Farm and Snuggle Day
Sunday, May 14, 1-3 p.m.
Broken Shovels Farm
While everyone loves a Mother's Day brunch, none of them around town offer Mom the opportunity to pet a baby goat – so what good are those fancy meals out, really? At Broken Shovels Farm, however, families are welcome to visit and interact with the animals in a lovely pastoral setting near Henderson. Broken Shovels has a uniquely heartwarming policy that mothers are never to be separated from their young, which makes a Mother's Day sojourn here particularly meaningful. Admission is free, but donations of $5 or more are highly suggested, particularly as Broken Shovels moves toward its continued effort to rescue mothers and babies who'd be separated by the dairy industry.