Free for All: The Five Best Free Events in Denver This Week

Behold the otherworldly landscapes from video game developers Serenity Forge.
Behold the otherworldly landscapes from video game developers Serenity Forge. "Once Upon a Coma," Thomas Brush and Serenity Forge
Memorial Day is here, and while we've already listed ways to enjoy your day off, the days beyond this holiday of remembrance offer plenty of free events to put on your calendar. From jazz and classical concerts presented by local musicians to arty parties and other extraordinary events, Denver's creative community continues to fight the ordinary. Keep reading for the five best free events (fine print notwithstanding) in Denver this week. 

click to enlarge MARY JEAN MASSIE
Mary Jean Massie
Lamont Jazz Ensemble
Tuesday, May 29, 7 to 9 p.m.
Support the next generation of talents while enjoying an evening of toe-tapping tunes as the University of Denver's Lamont Jazz Ensemble takes the stage at local hep haunt Dazzle. Expect the swinging sounds of the big-band genre as director Mike Marlier leads the skilled young players through a repertoire of crowd-pleasers. Admission is free for students with a valid ID, and $5 for everyone else. Visit Dazzle's box-office page for more details.

click to enlarge SERENITY FORGE
Serenity Forge
Opening Reception: Cyberscapes by Serenity Forge
Wednesday, May 30, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens 
Though a few staunch traditionalists may still reject the notion, most artsy types have come to regard the medium of video-game design as the newest frontier of creative expression. That's particularly true of Boulder-based studio Serenity Forge, whose programmers endeavor to create a more meaningful gaming experience by challenging both players' skills and their perceptions. Serenity Forge games are also notable for their striking, otherworldly landscapes, particularly in games such as  "Lifeless Planet," "The King’s Bird" and "Once Upon a Coma." Cyberscapes, an exhibit co-sponsored by Serenity Forge and Denver Botanic Gardens, showcases the immersive environments of these groundbreaking games, and proves conclusively — and beautifully — that video games are indeed art. The opening reception at 5:30 p.m. May 30 is free, as is the artist talk at 6:30 p.m., but the DBG asks you to RSVP to [email protected] Find out more at the Denver Botanic Gardens events calendar.

click to enlarge BRITTANY GROOM
Brittany Groom
An Evening Celebrating Denver Public Art
Thursday, May 31, 6 to 8 p.m.
McNichols Building

For thirty years, the people behind Denver Public Art have dedicated their efforts to beautifying the Mile High, creating and commissioning over 400 different pieces, including Lawrence Argent's "I See What You Mean," an icon of the cityscape. To celebrate this milestone anniversary, Denver Arts & Venues and Clique Studios are hosting a launch party for Denver Public Art's new website. Enjoy Ratio Beerworks brews, light appetizers and live music while mingling with the creators and contributors who make Denver's arts community possible. Admission is free; visit Denver Arts & Venues' Eventbrite page to register and find out more.

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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham