Halloween isn't until October 31, but there are still plenty of ways to scare up a good time this week. Whether you fancy civic engagement, classical music, special effects or spooky family fun, your entertainment options are all treats and no tricks. Don't fret about dipping into your weekend revelry budget, either; the five events that follow are all free!
Lowry Speaker Series: The Wizards of Hollywood
Tuesday, October 23, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
A keen-eyed pioneer who ushered cinematic spectacle into the digital era, visual-effects artist Ed Kramer is a purveyor of movie magic. Responsible for the CGI wonders in various films from the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and Jurassic Park franchises, Kramer spent twelve years supervising George Lucas's venerable Industrial Light + Magic studios and currently serves as professor of Computer Graphics at the Art Institute of Colorado while working on the upcoming documentary The Wizards of Hollywood: Movie Magic Secrets From the Artists Who Invented CGI. Discover how digital effects evolved from an uncanny valley-skirting eyesore into an essential component of blockbuster filmmaking when the Lowry Speaker Series welcomes Kramer to share his immense knowledge — along with movie memorabilia from his private collection — with a crowd of lifelong learners. Find out more on the Lowry Foundation events calendar.
Two Masterworks: Contrasts, Dreams and Prayers
Tuesday, October 23, 7:30 p.m.
Grusin Music Hall
Clarinet soloist Daniel Silver steps into the spotlight at "Two Masterworks," a woodwind-centric edition of the University of Colorado's Faculty Tuesday concerts. Originally commissioned by clarinetist and "King of Swing" Benny Goodman, Béla Bartók's Contrasts opens the program with a tuneful display of Silver's virtuosic skills. Things take a spiritual turn with Osvaldo Golijov's The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind — the second of the titular masterworks and an homage to the life and teachings of the eponymous rabbi, a foundational Kabbalah scholar and figure of lore. Abetted by a chamber quintet that includes cellist David Requiro, violinists Charles Wetherbee and Marisa Ishikawa, pianist David Korevaar and violist Erika Eckert, the concert presents another free gift to local classical-music lovers. Visit the CU Presents events calendar to learn more, or to watch a live stream of the performance.
BOOnion Station: Kids Halloween Parade
Thursday, October 25, 5 to 8 p.m.
Untold hordes of candy-addled youngsters can't be wrong: It's never too early to start properly Halloween-ing. Get a six-day head start on Samhain at the BOOnion Station: Kids Halloween Parade, a cavalcade of costumed characters replete with face painters, balloon artists, retail trick-or-treat stations and miniature train rides. The festivities include a costume contest with prizes for the best individual, group and family ensembles. And visitors shouldn't miss "The Enchanted Pumpkin Patch," a Museum of Outdoor Arts-sponsored installation by artist Scott M. Soffa on display until Wednesday, October 31. Find more details on Union Station's Facebook events page.
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Hello Denver? Episode Ten: "Let's Fill Out Our Ballots Together"
Thursday, October 25, 8 to 9:30 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Colorado's mail-in-ballot system is a convenient way to ensure as many citizens as possible can participate in the democratic process without missing work or arranging child care, but voting at home can be a frustrating process, fraught with fruitless Google searches that too often tend to obfuscate rather than enlighten. Hello? Denver? Are You Still There?, a municipally minded podcast hosted by longtime Westword scribe Bree Davies, returns for a live recording that aims to foster informed civic engagement with "Let's Fill Out Our Ballots Together," an event that brings a bit of polling-place communalism to the mail-in voting process. Davies welcomes a pair of deeply knowledgeable guests — NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Community Manager Justine Sandoval and community organizer Ean Thomas Tafoya — to guide listeners through a sea of spin toward the shores of meaningful political action. Learn more on Mutiny Transmissions' Facebook events page. (If you're not yet registered to vote, it's not too late; find out how to make your vote count at the Secretary of State's website.)
Nebula Ensemble Presents: "Chrysalis"
Friday, October 26, 7:30 p.m.
Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church
Undergo a musical metamorphosis at the Nebula Ensemble's "Chrysalis," a cocoon-bursting fusion of song and Super Smash Bros. presented by the Nebula Ensemble. The genre-bending experimentation begins with a chamber-music-based riff on the Surrealist parlor game "Exquisite Corpse," wherein artists sketch segments of the human body piece by piece, unaware of their collaborators' contributions until everything comes together like an absurdist Frankenstein's monster. The ensemble will also provide live musical accompaniment as gamer gladiators square off in the aforementioned Nintendo brawler, along with classical interpretations of contemporary folk-rock tunes. Proving that chamber music needn't be the hidebound province of stuffy academics, "Chrysalis" typifies the Ensemble's convention-shattering approach to finding new listeners. Admission is free, but donations are always appreciated. Visit the Nebula Ensemble's events calendar to learn more.
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