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

Check out musician and genderqueer performance artist Novelí tonight at the hi-dive's God Save the Queens: Queer Punk Night.
Check out musician and genderqueer performance artist Novelí tonight at the hi-dive's God Save the Queens: Queer Punk Night. Chuck Revell
Monday rears its morose head once again, but rather than fret over the upcoming work week, why not look ahead to another great week of free entertainment provided by Denver's creative community? From a queer-friendly dance party for punks to a 150th-anniversary celebration for Denver's liveliest thoroughfare, the fun extends all the way to the weekend. Whether you're eager to learn the fine art of Japanese calligraphy or merely take in some live music and comedy, you can enjoy the best the city has to offer — all without paying a dime.

God Save the Queens: Queer Punk Night
Monday, January 8, 9 p.m.
Mosh or mope your way into the dawning week at God Save the Queens: Queer Punk Night at the hi-dive, an epicenter of the local music scene. Queer punks and their Oi! Oi! allies can dance the night away to sets from Dutch, Novelí and DJ Tocsin, who'll also be spinning proto-punk, electro-clash, goth, death rock and more. Admission is free; visit the hi-dive's Facebook events page to learn more.

click to enlarge WILLIE PETERSEN
Willie Petersen
Colorado Chamber Players: French Fireworks
Tuesday, January 9, noon
Saint John's Cathedral
Though classical music concerts often require top-dollar tickets and black-tie attire, savvy readers can enjoy some of the Front Range's finest performances at universities and churches for the unbeatable low price of free. For example, the Colorado Chamber Players are convening at Capitol Hill's Saint John's Cathedral at noon on Tuesday for an enchanting performance showcasing great, unheralded French composers. With a program offering "Concerto in A Minor for Violin, String Quartet and Continuo," op. 7, no. 5,  by Jean-Marie Leclair l’aîné, Maurice Ravel's "Duo for Violin and Cello" and Ernest Chausson's "Concerto in D major for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet, Op. 21," guests can enjoy a wondrous sonic sampling of France's musical heritage. Visit the Colorado Chamber Players events calendar for more details.

DBC Comedy Showcasetacular with Chris Thayer
Wednesday, January 10, 8 p.m.
Denver Bicycle Cafe

The Denver Bicycle Cafe's Comedy Showcasetacular continues its tradition of unassuming excellence with one of its best headliners yet: Chris Thayer. A comic's comic who's appeared on The Pete Holmes Show, Adam Devine's House Party and Flophouse, Thayer has opened for such top-billed headliners as Patton Oswalt, Rory Scovel, Maria Bamford, Hannibal Buress and Tig Notaro. Before he joins Nick Thune at Comedy Works all weekend long, Thayer will be with DBC co-hosts Roger Haak and Zach Welch in the DBC Beer Hall for a spectacular free showcase also including local comics Ben Duncan, Nolawee Mengist and more. The show happily coincides with DBC's service-industry night, so Denver Comedy's most supportive bartender, Stefan Lopez, will be pouring draft specials from Odd13 Brewing throughout the show. Find more details on the Denver Bicycle Cafe Facebook events page.
click to enlarge UNIVERSITY OF DENVER
University of Denver
Japanese Kakizome Workshop
Thursday, January 11, 4:30 p.m.
Driscoll Student Center

Even if your student years are long behind you, it's never too late to expand your cultural horizons and try your hand at a new skill. Luckily, just such an opportunity awaits at the Japanese Kakizome Workshop. Presented by the University of Denver's Department of Languages and Literatures in partnership with the Japanese Bunka Kai Language and Culture Club, the workshop will introduce participants to the new-year tradition of kakizome. Using ink, a brush and traditional Japanese calligraphy paper, you'll write down encouraging words to keep in mind for the year ahead. Admission is free and no experience is required; visit the University of Denver events calendar to find out more.

click to enlarge Schuyler Colfax - LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Schuyler Colfax
Library of Congress
Wake for Schuyler Colfax
Saturday, January 13, 7:30 p.m.
The Owl Saloon
5026 East Colfax Avenue

Celebrate the history of Denver's "longest and wickedest street" and its namesake, Indiana congressman Schuyler "the Smiler" Colfax, who was Speaker of the House during the Lincoln administration. Despite the fact that Colfax was an avowed abolitionist who ratified the 13th Amendment — which makes his honorarium less problematic than, say, that of Benjamin F. Stapleton, whose name is also spoken by Denverites on a daily basis — the city has never held a proper wake for the man. The Owl Saloon aims to correct this oversight with the help of Route 40 historian and Colfax Museum curator Jonny Barber, who'll sing a cowboy song, raise a whiskey glass for a moment of somber silence, and preside over a party 150 years in the making. Visit Colfax Avenue's events calendar for more information.

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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