Arts and Culture

Free for All: The Five Best Free Events This Week

Free for All: The Five Best Free Events This Week
Ken Hamblin III
Happy New Yea! There are plenty of pricey ways you can spend New Year's Eve, but empty-pocketed procrastinators also have options if they want to end 2018 with a bang...and then fill the first days of 2019 with meaningful activity. Year after year, Denver's creative community does its damndest to entertain fellow citizens, and we humbly recommend that locals resolve to make the most of it. Keep reading for five ways to have a blast while saving some bucks in the next five days.

click to enlarge New Year's Eve fireworks in pre-explosion form - NICOLE DANIELS
New Year's Eve fireworks in pre-explosion form
Nicole Daniels
New Year's Eve Fireworks
Monday, December 31, 9 p.m. and midnight
16th Street Mall

Planning procrastinators are in luck! Few New Year's Eve spectacles rival the sky-brightening splendor of the annual fireworks display above the 16th Street Mall. While many of the evening's most prominent concerts, galas and club nights charge admission at holiday prices premium, you can watch the city skies light up for free tonight — and not just once, but twice. Whether you gather in the bustling streets or manage to secure a rooftop vantage point, there are few better ways to welcome the New Year than under a glittering canopy of fireworks. Sparks start flying at 9 p.m. for a family-friendly early show, and once again at midnight to herald the arrival of 2019. Visit the Downtown Denver Partnership events calendar for more details.

Oskar Blues Comedy Show
Wednesday, January 2, 9:30 p.m.
The Black Buzzard

The Oskar Blues Comedy Show returns for another round of free mid-week merriment. Host and curator Christie Buchele kicks off 2019 with a characteristically fine lineup that consists of Harris Alterman, Kate McLachlan, Saturday Night Live writer Steven Castillo and headliner Andrew Orvedahl. Start the new year with a giggle or two; get more details from the Black Buzzard's Ticketfly page.

Courtesy of Colorado Public Radio
Purplish: Inside the Podcast
Thursday, January 3, 5:30 p.m.
The Denver Press Club

Thanks to its electorate's collective independent streak, Colorado has gained a political reputation as a state that can swing dramatically, thanks to its large percentage of unaffiliated voters. Colorado Public Radio News Fellow Sam Brasch explores Colorado's changing political landscape on a special edition of the podcast Purplish, an in-depth chronicle of the 2018 midterm elections and what they portend for Colorado's legislative future. Gain first-person insight into the podcast's production and learn about this state's future at a Denver Press Club-hosted panel with Brasch and CPR editor Megan Verlee on Thursday, January 3. Find out more on the Denver Press Club's Events page.

click to enlarge B.N. SULLIVAN
B.N. Sullivan
National Register of Historic Places Plaque Unveiling
Friday, January 4, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Boulder County Courthouse
Six years after the Stonewall riots and forty years before the Supreme Court's landmark Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, a Boulder county clerk named Clela Rorex made history by granting the state's first same-sex marriage license. Locals were outraged and the town was famously mocked by Johnny Carson, but history ultimately vindicated Rorex's compassionate and forward-thinking decisions. The vindication continues when the National Register of Historic Places honors Boulder County Courthouse, the locus of this homegrown struggle for civil rights, by unveiling a plaque testifying to Rorex's boldness on January 4. Take part in a festive and historic celebration; visit Out Boulder County's Eventbrite page to register and learn more.

click to enlarge BRANDON MARSHALL
Brandon Marshall
First Friday Art Walk
Friday, January 4, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Denver's Art District on Santa Fe

A new year, a First Friday, one of the city's liveliest cultural institutions. While all of the city's arts districts mark the date, Santa Fe Drive is a particularly good place to see and be seen. First Friday here is a roving feast for locavores, with scenes on the street every bit as captivating as the art on the walls. With an abundance of food trucks, live music and top notch people-watching, it's well worth the effort to bundle up and hit the pavement. Find more information on the Denver Arts District events calendar.

Know of an event that belongs here? Send information to [email protected]
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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