Bone up on natural history for free at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on Wednesday, September 12.
Bone up on natural history for free at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on Wednesday, September 12.
Aaron Thackeray

Free for All: The Five Best Free Events This Week

As the year slowly shifts into fall, the local events calendar shifts its tone right along with the changing leaves. Though the weeks ahead offer fewer lawn concerts and movies under the stars than in summer months, readers arguably have even more opportunities to engage with Denver's thriving creative community. Museums, music ensembles and theaters are kicking off the autumn season with concerts, receptions and comedy shows that you can enjoy on the cheap. Treat your malignant case of the Mondays with five days of free events, listed below in chronological order.

CU Faculty Tuesdays: Bernstein at 100
Tuesday, September 11, 7:30 p.m.
Grusin Music Hall

In one of the local music calendar's most low-key (and affordable) centenary tributes to Leonard Bernstein, the talented members of the University of Colorado Boulder's Thompson Jazz Studies Program are presenting an evening devoted to the jazzier side of the late composer's work. The concert program deftly blends genre standards with Bernstein's originals, all ably interpreted by trumpeter Brad Goode, guitarist Dave Corbus, bassist Bijoux Barbosa, pianist Jeff Jenkins, drummer Paul Romaine, trombonist Paul McKee and John Gunther, who'll play different reed instruments throughout the evening. Celebrate the timeless sounds of the conductor and humanitarian who shaped music history at this special edition of CU's Faculty Tuesdays free concert series. Visit CU Presents events calendar for more details.

Free for All: The Five Best Free Events This WeekEXPAND
Aaron Thackeray

SCFD Community Free Night
Wednesday, September 12, 4 to 10 p.m.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science

The SCFD's Community Free Nights are sporadic gifts to the community from the organization, which is marking its thirtieth anniversary this fall; this week it's the Museum of Nature & Science's turn. Take a midweek meander through the museum with helpful guides from the Denver Astronomical Society and the National Park Service, who'll be leading hands-on activities as well as adding context to the fascinating objects on display. With a scavenger hunt, free face painting and performance from dino-puppeteer Mr. Bones, there's plenty to keep younger guests occupied, along with food trucks and a cash bar for the older crowd. Learn more on the DMNS events calendar.

We Still Like You
Wednesday September 12, 8 p.m.
The Comedy RoomRoom

There's no shame in sharing at We Still Like You, a monthly compendium of the bad decisions, embarrassing failures and enduring regrets of comedians. Hosted by Pussy Bros co-founder Rachel Weeks, the storytelling show offers a non-judgmental atmosphere of forgiveness and understanding; indeed, each sordid tale is followed by a crowd-wide chant of "We still like you" — hence the name of the evening. September's episode welcomes Ron Doyle of the Narrators; local comedians Zac Maas, Kira MagCalen, Allison Rose and Andrew Orvedahl; and Pittsburgh's John Dick Winters. Visit the Comedy RoomRoom's Facebook events page to find out more.

Free for All: The Five Best Free Events This Week
Laura Merage (Courtesy of Arvada Center Galleries)

Opening Reception for Fall Exhibitions
Thursday, September 13, 6 to 9 p.m.
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

Kicking off autumn in grand style, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities debuts its upcoming exhibits with a season-opening reception that presents guests with an early glimpse at the work on display. Blending a career-retrospective of Boulder-based painter Virginia Maitland, a sprawling installation of plush organic forms from sculptor Laura Merage, and a joint exhibition from Patricia Aaron, Jennifer Ivanovic, Sue Oehme and Jodi Stuart called Connected by Color, the entire gallery demonstrates how colorful abstraction can be a springboard for a staggering variety of expressions. Admission to the Arvada Center is always free, a proud tradition the institution has steadfastly maintained since its founding in 1976. Learn more about this arty party and the works it celebrates on the Arvada Center's events calendar.

Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema
Friday, September 14, and Saturday September 15, 7:30 p.m.

ATLAS Black Box Theatre
Throughout cinema history, dance sequences have provided some of the most thrilling intersections of sound and movement ever committed to celluloid. A protean genre that spans styles, eras and continents, the dance film transcends languages and cultural barriers, uniting audiences through the sheer, simple awe of bodies in motion. For fifteen years, the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema has curated an eclectic program of short films comprising efforts from filmmakers all over the world, including Australia, Israel, Iran, Slovenia, China, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Brazil, immersing viewers in a wide variety of musical traditions. The festival also includes live choreographed performances from the Life/Art Dance Ensemble and Rosely Conz. Visit the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema's home page to learn more about the festival's free screenings.

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