Arts and Culture

Free for All: The Five Best Free Events This Week

Roka Hueka headline Denver Open Media's Open Sessions on Friday, August 3.
Roka Hueka headline Denver Open Media's Open Sessions on Friday, August 3. Tim Dewnger
Happy Monday, thrifty and adventurous Coloradans! Whether nursing a post-UMS hangover or unwillingly returning to work, you have plenty to grumble about as the week begins. But there's also plenty to celebrate in the days ahead; the same overworked grumblers can fill their free time learning, dancing and soaking up the natural splendor of the Centennial State. Keep reading for the five best free events in Denver this week.

click to enlarge Deadbeat host IzzyDead Mothereffer - STU OSBORNE
Deadbeat host IzzyDead Mothereffer
Stu Osborne
Deadbeat with IzzyDead
Tuesday, July 31, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Gladys: The Nosy Neighbor
500 Santa Fe Drive
One of Denver most deliciously diabolical drag shows, Deadbeat serves up gothic glamor with dark beats and daring looks. Hosted by the inimitable IzzyDead Mothereffers, Deadbeat performers aim for provocation and hit their marks fabulously. Tuesday's lineup includes punny performers Cardi Acarrest, Amya Ku Nt Douglas, Hunter LaLonde (aka Biscuit), Vivica Galactica and Dita Von Sleeze, with DJT on the ones and twos. They'll all be at Glady's: The Nosy Neighbor; find out more on the Gladys Facebook events page.

click to enlarge ANYTHINK LIBRARIES
Anythink Libraries
Colorado Day BioBlitz
Wednesday, August 1, 9 a.m. to noon
Barr Lake State Park

Spend the Centennial State's 142nd anniversary at Barr Lake State Park, admiring the flora and fauna at the Colorado Day BioBlitz. Presented in coordination with Anythink Libraries' Backyard Wilderness exhibition at Wright Farms, as BioBlitz you can enjoy the scenic lakeside landscape while identifying species of insects, plants, birds and other wildlife in a fun-filled joint effort to take inventory of the area's immense biodiversity. You can also keep track of your discoveries with free "SEEK" or "iNaturalist" smart phone apps. Visit Anythink's events calendar for more information.

click to enlarge A Denver street scene circa 1880 - REV SAMUEL MANNING
A Denver street scene circa 1880
Rev Samuel Manning
Colorado Day
Wednesday, August 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
History Colorado Center

On August 1, 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation welcoming Colorado to the newly-restored Union as its 38th state. A mere 28 days after nationwide Centennial celebrations, Colorado became the Centennial State, a moniker that endures 142 years later. In honor of this foundational anniversary, the History Colorado Center is opening its doors to the public for a free soiree featuring appearances from local celebs Governor John Hickenlooper, Miles and Bernie (the mascots for the Broncos and Avalanche, respectively). The festivities also include a Sticky Fingers food demonstration, State Historian trivia, vintage dance vignettes and a Vaquero performance. Visit the History Colorado Center's events calendar to learn more.

The René Heredia Flamenco Fantasy Dance Theatre and Flamenco, Flamenco
Thursday, August 2, 6 to 9:45 p.m.
Anythink York Street
Another Anythink Libraries-affiliated affair, the Anythink Film Series offers a cinematic experience unlike any other. Pairing tastefully curated screenings from a wide swathe of genres with thoughtful presentations to give the films deeper context, the series continues throughout August at every Anythink location. On August 2, toes will tap and hearts will flutter as the series devotes an entire evening to sights and sounds of flamenco. Beginning with a stunning presentation from the René Heredia Flamenco Fantasy Dance Theatre, the night continues with an outdoor screening of Carlos Saura's visually sumptuous 2010 documentary Flamenco, Flamenco. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets and soft drinks, though popcorn will be happily provided to attendees. Find out more on Anythink York Street's events calendar.

click to enlarge TIM DWENGER
Tim Dwenger
Open Music Sessions
Friday, August 3, 7 to 10 p.m.
Denver Open Media

Arty parties abound along Santa Fe Boulevard on any First Friday, but local music and comedy lovers should be sure to venture west one block to check out Denver Open Media's Open Music Sessions. A lovingly curated presentation of local performers that sweetens the deal with free beverages and Sexy Pizza slices, Open Music Sessions may be live-streamed and broadcast on channel 57, but the event is best experienced as a member of the studio audience. August's lineup includes local comedians Meghan DePonceau, James Pate and Elise Kerns, a community spotlight on CHAC Gallery and a headlining set from Roka Hueka. Visit Denver Open Media's Facebook events page for more details.

Know of a free event that belongs on a future Free for All? 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