A new year is upon us — good riddance, 2017— and Denver is kicking off January with a rich and varied week of free entertainment. Whether you fancy concerts, comedy shows or performance art, the days ahead have delights galore in store, including a chance to compete with friends and strangers at vintage video games and the First Friday of the new year. Here are our five favorite free events this week, in chronological order. Happy New Year!
Miz Olette Singz
Tuesday, January 2, 8 p.m.
Ophelia's Electric Soap Box
Music lovers, aspiring singers and barflies alike have an unforgettable evening of entertainment in store at Ophelia's Electric Soapbox. Join local soul songstress Miz Olette for an enchanting concert, followed by an open mic where budding singers can belt out their favorite standards with musical accompaniment from Soul Daddy & His Band. Denver is rich with talent, and it's blossoming in places like these. Find out more on Ophelia's Facebook events page.
Wednesday, January 3, through Sunday, January 21
Understudy, Colorado Convention Center
Westword MasterMind Eric Dallimore, founder of Leon Gallery, will fill Understudy at the Colorado Convention Center with King Me, his piece reflecting on the aftermath of a turbulent year. “This site-specific installation echoes the highs and lows of 2017 through a sea of rising and falling pillars resting on a pile of rubble and debris, lamenting on the results of a warring nation,” explains Dallimore. The show runs from Wednesday, January 3, through January 21, with an opening reception at 6 p.m. Saturday, January 6. Understudy, a mighty if tiny addition to the Denver Theatre District, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays; Dallimore will be on hand three times a week, adding more pillars to the installation. Find out more on the Understudy Facebook page.
Mario Kart Tournament
Wednesday, January 3, 7 to 10 p.m.
A staple of each Nintendo video-game console, the Mario Kart series is a deathlessly engaging — addictive, even — experience for every stripe of gamer. A fast-paced but agreeably goofy racing game, it's most enjoyably played in groups...because talking trash to a person sitting right next to you always beats shouting at pixels by yourself. Spend an idle weeknight taking a few laps around Rainbow Road with a gaggle of gamers at the monthly Grandma's House Brewery's Mario Kart Tournament; the winning player will receive a free growler and enough bragging rights to last until next month. Find out more on the Grandma's House Facebook events page.
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Wednesday, January 3, 8 p.m.
Infinite Monkey Theorem
Local comic and trained sommelier Meghan DePonceau has a well-documented fondness for drink; in her dearly missed Amuse Booze showcase and on both sides of bars across the city, DePonceau's extensive knowledge of wine impresses and charms in equal measure. Her latest effort blends standup comedy with wines from Denver's own Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery, truly a pairing for the ages. January's lineup features the crisp floral notes of Allison Rose, the tannic tang of Anthony Siraguse, and the full-bodied woodsiness of Jordan Doll. With a heated patio for colder months, Uncorked presents the perfect opportunity to raise a glass to Denver comedy. Admission is free; visit Uncorked's Facebook event page to learn more.
Cultural First Fridays: The Butterfly Odyssey
Friday, January 5, 5 to 9 p.m.
Museo de las Americas
Cultural First Fridays at Museo de las Americas are always a highlight of the Art District on Santa Fe's monthly celebrations, but The Butterfly Odyssey is something special. Awaken your mind and broaden your horizons at a sensory performance presented in both English and Spanish; you'll also have free access to the Museo's current exhibits. Visit Museo de las Americas' events calendar for more information.