Merry Christmas Eve! Whether you're spending the holidays with family or frantically searching for any bar that's still open, Denver's entertainment calendar has plenty of gifts in store to keep your bells jingling all the way into the weekend. Here are the five best free events over the next few days, from sacred religious ceremonies to profane standup comedy shows.
Christmas Eve at the Cathedral
Monday, December 24, 1, 3, 5, 8 and 11 p.m.
Saint John's Cathedral
Historians may dispute the actual birth date of Jesus, but no one can deny the charms of spending Christmas Eve with the Saint John's Cathedral choir. In retelling the story of the Nativity, each performance of the spiritual yet festive choral eucharist fills the cathedral's nave with heavenly voices. The early 1 and 3 p.m. services are family-friendly in nature — the church also offers an on-site nursery for children under five — and the 5 and 8 p.m. services include a hearty Christmas dinner with plenty of ham and egg nog provided by Carl Schmidt of the Capitol Hill Mansion Bed and Breakfast Inn. The 11 p.m. edition is a more traditional midnight mass experience. Visit the Saint John's Cathedral Facebook events page to learn more.
Very Harry Potter Christmas
Tuesday, December 25, and Wednesday, December 26, 6 p.m.
Occidental is undergoing a Hogwarts-ian makeover for a Very Harry Potter Christmas, a decidedly punk-rock spin on the wizarding world of J.K. Rowling. Consult the "Sorting Hat" cocktail menu for signature tipples fit for Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Slytherins and Hufflepuffs. Admission is free for anyone over the age of 21 (you'll pay for drinks, of course); cosplay and ugly Christmas sweaters are strongly encouraged. Visit Occidental's Facebook events page for more details.
Study Hall (A Comedy Show)
Wednesday, December 26, 8 p.m.
Call to Arms Brewing Company
Jokes are not born easily; they're forged over years in the crucible of failure. Luckily for local comics, an evening has emerged where they can nurture new material from the developmental stage into a workable part of their act. Hosted and curated by Brad Galli, Study Hall (A Comedy Show) returns with a lineup packed full of out-of-town guests, including Nicole Conlan, Andy Sell and Jordan Doll from Los Angeles, Be Casper from Chicago, Holly Perkins from Nashville, and Harris Alterman and Stu Melton from New York. Don't miss out on the only comedy show in Denver dedicated to new material. Treat yourself to some Boxing Day laughs for free; find more information on the Call to Arms Facebook events page.
Oskar Blues Comedy Show
Wednesday, December 26, 9:30 p.m.
The Black Buzzard
Keep the Wednesday night chuckles flowing with another serving of local and visiting comedians — including about half of the lineup from the previous entry — when the city's best free weekly comedy show returns to the club Westword named the Best New Comedy Venue. In addition to the aforementioned Conlan, Alterman and Doll, this week's edition of Christie Buchele's Oskar Blues Comedy Show also welcomes Those Who Can't co-stars Chris Charpentier and Adam Cayton-Holland to rock the Black Buzzard's subterranean stage. Head over to the Black Buzzard Facebook events page to find out more.
Black Actors Guild Presents: Show Ya Teef
Friday, December 28, 8 p.m.
Say "yes, and" to Best of Denver award-winning improv troupe the Black Actors Guild, whose members have revived their monthly short-form showcase "Show Ya Teef" for the intimate stage of the BarFly lounge at the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake. A gifted group of performers with musical, comedic and theatrical backgrounds, Guild members are experts at connecting with crowds and infusing their extemporaneous riffs on politics, relationships and sociology with good humor and professional panache. Admission is free; visit BarFly's events calendar for more details.
Know of an event that belongs on this calendar? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.