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 a bevy of local comedy shows to film screenings and artful insights, Denver's creative community has your entertainment needs covered for the week ahead. Better yet, admission to all of the events listed below will run you less than ten American dollars.
Silent Film Series: College
Thursday, August 17, 7:30 p.m.
The 32nd Annual Chautauqua Silent Film Series continues this week with Buster Keaton's uproarious 1927 comedy, College. Starring as the bookish Ronald, Keaton runs through an iconic series of slapstick set pieces as he attempts to impress a comely peer (Anne Cornwall), only to be thwarted at every turn by a loutish jock (Harold Goodwin) and the laws of physics. Like the rest of the series, the screening, on Thursday, August 17, revives that special old-time picture-house ambience with live musical accompaniment from pianist Hank Troy. Join the crowd of cinephiles and history buffs at 7:30 p.m. at Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road. Visit Chautauqua online for tickets, $6 to $12, and more information.
Thursday, August 17, 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. The show has an altruistic component as well: Flynn and company will be collecting donations for a different charitable organization each month, with August's donations going toward the benefit of Rainbow Alley. Tonight's lineup includes Detroit's Hayden Kristal along with locals Sara Hake, Georgie Rae and headliner Anthony Crawford. Visit the Facebook event page to learn more.
Friday, August 18, 10 p.m.
Voodoo Comedy Playhouse
The cinematic oeuvre of Alfred Hitchcock is utterly distinctive, with its icy blondes and secrets hidden in inky shadows. Therefore, it's also ripe for parody. HitchCocktails, a new improv show at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, mines the penguin-shaped filmmaker's favorite tropes, such as double agents and fraught romances, for scenes. Meanwhile, the crowd and performers alike get increasingly soused – there'll be a full bar on stage – as they play an increasingly elaborate drinking game where no one in the cast can refuse a drink when offered. HitchCocktails, which continues through the end of June, is a hilarious and high-energy performance where everyone gets so drunk they don't know their north from their northwest. Visit the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse events calendar to learn more and buy tickets, $8-$10.
Chef Demo at Union Station Farmers' Market
Saturday, August 19, 10-11 a.m.
Union Station Farmers' Market
Calling all foodies: The popular Chef Demo events at Union Station Farmers' Market have reached the penultimate week, with only two more demonstrations to go before the series concludes. This week, Chef Tim Kuklinski of Rioja will demonstrate how to prepare one of his personal favorite recipes for an early-rising crowd from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 19. Learn the ropes from a maestro of the kitchen before descending onto the market to find all the necessary ingredients to re-create Kuklinski's dish at home. If you can't make it this week, don't miss out on next week's demo, featuring Chef Brett Smitt of the Post on August 26. Admission is free. Visit Union Station online to learn more.
Floating Party: Platte River Tubing
Saturday, August 19, 11 a.m.
The summer season may be waning, but there are still plenty of opportunities for fun in the sun during the days ahead. Make a splash and have a blast at the Floating Party: a gaggle of revelers floating down the lazy Platte River in tubes. Hosted by It Burns Joe Fitness, the Floating Party's organizers emphasize that participants are tubing at their own risk and kindly reminds everyone involved to not litter. Interested tubers can gather at Littleton's Breckenridge Brewery by 11 a.m. to prepare and pre-game at an on-site tailgate party before the official 1 p.m. tube launch. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more and get discount codes for cheaper LYFT rides and Breckenridge beers. Admission is free.
3MCs with Shane Torres and Jono Zalay
Saturday, August 19, 9 p.m.
Blackbird Public House
Over the past few years, Denver comedians have hustled ceaselessly to create their own opportunities to perform by starting standup showcases in clubs, bars and breweries all over the greater metropolitan area. By cultivating relationships with venues, sponsors and crowds, some of these upstarts eventually blossom into comedy nights that rival professional productions. 3 MCs, a weekly showcase from prolific Denver comic Ben Bryant and his co-host, Alan Bromwell, has gained a foothold in only a few short months, curating lineups stacked with the funniest local and visiting comics available. This week's lineup includes 5280 Comedy curator Meghan DePonceau along with visiting High Plains Comedy Festival standups Danny Maupin, Matt Monroe, Shane Torres and Jono Zalay. Admission is $5 at the door; visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Peace Rally: Antiwar, Anti-violence, Anti-hate
Sunday, August 20, 1 p.m.
Civic Center Park
While these weekly lists are primarily an inventory of frivolities and entertainments, having fun can seem like an afterthought in today's political climate. When each morning brings an onslaught of terrifying news and civil unrest reaches a fever pitch, well-meaning activists are left with no other option than taking to the streets, so local organizers have planned a Peace Rally at Civic Center Park on Sunday, August 20. With a lineup of inspirational speakers including Queen Phoenix, Jeanette Vizguerra, Tay Anderson, Leslie Herod, Arian Noorzai, Marge Taniwaki and more (the organizers have put out a call for additional speakers from all backgrounds), the Peace Rally is an ideal opportunity to broaden your horizons, make your voice heard and feel a little less alone in these trying times. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
The Nut House Comedy Show
Sunday, August 20, 7:30 p.m.
The Walnut Room
While the classy stage at downtown Denver's Walnut Room typically hosts bustling musical performances, the venue has recently branched out into standup with the Nut House Comedy Show. Booked and hosted by Alabama transplant Derrick Stroup, the Nut House has only been operational for a few short months, but has already welcomed some of Denver's funniest people to the mic. August's lineup includes local mirth merchants Dickey Bill Wagner, Preston Tompkins, Meghan DePonceau and Rachel Weeks opening up for headliner Zach Reinert. Admission is $5 via Ticketfly.
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Artful Insight: Helen Frankenthaler
Monday, August 21, 3 p.m.
American Museum of Western Art — the Anschutz Collection
Though the Anschutz Collection at the American Museum of Western Art typically conjures images of windswept landscapes and hardscrabble characters, the story of art in the American West is incomplete without the work of Helen Frankenthaler. A pioneer of abstract expressionism, Frankenthaler's signature staining technique —wherein she carefully poured thin layers of paint onto an unvarnished canvas — have proved to be as influential as it is impossible to duplicate. Join the museum's expert guides for Artful Insight, an in-depth examination of Frankthaler's "Phoenix, 1976" to learn more about the work itself, as well as the enduring legacy of the abstract expressionists. Visit the Anschutz Collection online to learn more and buy tickets, $10. Space at Artful Insight is very limited, and as of press time, only nine tickets remained. So make haste, art lovers.
Nerd Nite Denver: Robots, Physics and More Physics
Wednesday, August 23, 6:30 p.m.
Over 33 informative installments, Nerd Nite Denver has delighted local wonks with a wide-ranging series of talks from experts in various fields. Catnip for those who love documentaries, TED Talks and NPR, Nerd Nite has found a home at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, thanks to the joint efforts of host/producer Sara Dee and Sexpot Comedy. This month's presenters include eCommerce educator Patrick Rauland debating robotics' influence on the working world, Abigail Pillitteri exploring "Quantum Cats and Spacetime Weirdness," and a tribute to "physics badass" Gerard K. O'Neill from David Groover. Join the bespectacled crowd at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23, for a unique event that answers the question “What if a great professorial lecture had a full bar?” Tickets are $6 in advance at eventbrite.com, $10 at the door.
Looking for more to do? Go to the Westword calendar.