Though many locals can't afford Denver's hottest tickets, there's no need to despair. Museums, cultural institutions, artists, rappers, dancers and comedians are working tirelessly to provide an entertainment calendar as busy as it is varied. Readers can spend a day in one of the city's most charming museums, see magnificent live theater and music, honor veterans, or engage in a bit of spontaneous altruism this weekend. Keep reading for a list of the best free and cheap events in Denver this weekend.
SCFD Free Day
Friday, November 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Molly Brown House Museum
Residents of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson Counties, along with all veterans and active-duty military, can enjoy free admission to one of the Mile High City's most charming museums on Friday, November 10. Offering an enjoyable tour through the life of one of local history's most remarkable women and the stately home she resided in, the Molly Brown House Museum is partnering with the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District to open its elegant doors to the public in a daylong celebration of Denver's rich history and vibrant cultural community. The Molly Brown House also represents a formative triumph for Historic Denver, Inc., that's preservation efforts not only spared the unique architectural marvel from demolition, but also restored the home to a glory befitting Denver's most unsinkable citizen. Tickets will be available at the gift shop on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit the Molly Brown House Museum's events page to learn more.
Cafe Cultura: Thirteenth Anniversary Showcase and Fundraiser
Friday, November 10, 7 p.m. Café Cultura
$5 to $30
A bustling hub for a diverse coalition of local creatives, Cafe Cultura has been hosting poets, musicians and open-mic performers of every stripe in its inviting Santa Fe Art District performance space for thirteen years now. An achievement like that is worth celebrating, so it almost goes without saying that Cafe Cultura is ringing in its anniversary with a truly arty party. Highlighting the indigenous hip-hop of MCs Frank Waln, Tall Paul and Mic Jordan, the showcase also includes a spoken-word performance from Tanaya Winder as well as an exhibition of striking photographs by Jolene Nenibah Yazzie. Co-sponsored by the the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, the evening is a testament to Cafe Cultura's various outreach efforts, which not only help underserved indigenous youngsters to reconnect with their lost cultural traditions through partnerships with schools and youth organizations, but also provides a vital space to foster their creative endeavors. Visit Cafe Cultura's Donor Perfect page to make a donation, $5 to $30, and learn more. Each tax-deductible donation of $5 is worth a door-prize ticket to win a painting by Gregg Deal.
Comedy Night at Chain Reaction
Friday, November 10, 8 p.m. Chain Reaction Brewing Company
After being named the Best New Comedy Show of 2015 at this very site, Comedy Night at Chain Reaction has maintained its distinction for two years, despite dozens of comics and brewers appropriating its basic formula. The show, a collaboration between local comic Steve Vanderploeg and co-owner Chad Christofferson (childhood hockey teammates with a shared love of craft beer) not only continues drawing national headliners and throngs of beery regulars to an unassuming corner of Athmar Park, but has yielded its own signature beverage with Denver Comedy Pale Ale. To celebrate two years of hops and hahas, Vanderploeg and company have brewed up an unbeatable showcase spotlighting traveling standups Brian Emond (Atlanta), and Kate Mason (New Orleans), along with all three Pussy Bros. (Rachel Weeks, Christie Buchele and Janae Burris), followed by headliner Mike Stanley. Visit the Facebook events page for more details.
Midnight Madness: The Lost Boys
November 10 to 11, midnight Landmark Esquire
Some movies are best enjoyed in the company of a rowdy crowd of midnight movie-goers, and Joel Schumacher's delightfully pulpy 1987 feature The Lost Boys is a perfect example. Bursting with ’80s signifiers such as Kiefer Sutherland's glorious blonde mullet, as well as the once-comforting but now troubling presence of Coreys Haim and Feldman, the pulpy vampire yarn delivers plenty of bloodthirsty thrills while inviting many opportunities for unintentional hilarity. In other words, it's a perfect fit for the Landmark Esquire's Midnight Madness screening series. Cinephiles, nostalgists and glampires alike can get tickets to the Friday or Saturday night screenings and find more details on the Landmark Esquire's box office page.
Denver Veterans' Day Parade and Festival
Saturday, November 11, 10 a.m. Civic Center Park
Founded in the aftermath of World War I, the holiday originally called Armistice Day was proposed by Woodrow Wilson to honor living veterans of the Great War. Peacetime was tragically scarce in the years that followed, so the November 11 tribute was renamed Veterans' Day in 1954. The Colorado Veterans Project honors the men and women who served, in a massive display of gratitude, at the Veterans' Day Parade and Festival. The parade itself is divided into serials showing off the weaponry and uniforms from successive eras of American conflict, including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II and beyond, along with the requisite floats, bands and marching units. The parade culminates at Civic Center Park, where a daylong festival replete with food trucks, music stages and military displays awaits. Visit the Colorado Veterans Project's events page to find out more.
Joshua Finley, from the "Cartoon Western" series, 2017.
Ink Cabal Gallery, 1875 South Broadway
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 11, 6 to 10 p.m.
Think of Cabal Gallery’s Ink exhibition as a coda to Inktober, the international artist challenge to pick up a pen and draw something every day in October. Artists Nixi Le Pixi and Jose Sandroz are showcased, but Cabal crew members will also pitch in with Corrina Espinosa’s interactive projection installation, Joshua Finley’s wicked "Cartoon Western" series and new work from Mar Williams. Expect a typical Cabal party, with a live tattoo demo included.
Take This and Keep Warm, Year Three
Sunday, November 12, noon Civic Center Park
While Civic Center Park is always great for holidays and festivals, it's impossible to ignore that the grounds also serve as a hub and habitat for people experiencing homelessness. And as the mercury drops with winter's arrival, an already heartbreakingly dire living situation can quickly become a matter of life and death. Inspired by a nationwide movement, the mission statement of Take This and Keep Warm is fairly straightforward. Donors place scarves, hats, gloves, jackets and other winter gear in trees with a note attached, reading, "I am not lost; please take me and keep warm.” The local organizers, who are holding the event in honor of their late father, also suggest putting together bags of toiletries and hygiene products for those in need. The loosely organized acts of empathy start at noon on Sunday, November 12. Find out more on the Facebook events page.
Lady Lavender's Brunchlesque Pajama Party
Sunday, November 12, noon to 3 p.m. El Charrito
$5 to $20
As anyone who's waited ninety minutes for some damn eggs can grumpily attest, Denver's brunch craze shows no sign of abating. However, few late breakfast outlets offer the unique combo of vittles and titillation that Lady Lavender's Brunchlesque Pajama Party ladles out in spades. November's showcase, "Smarty Pants-less," includes the saucy yet scholarly routines of burlesque favorites such as Chakra Tease, the Plastic Fantastic Ken, HypnoAmber, and Dagny Vanderlust. Brunch kicks off at the hangover-friendly hour of noon, when guests can enjoy the underrated culinary offerings of the Ballpark neighborhood's "Five Star Dive Bar." Get tickets, $5 to $20, and more details on the Brunchlesque Eventbrite page.
Organ and Choir Concert
Sunday, November 12, 2 p.m. Trinity United Methodist Church
Standing tall for over a century, well before being dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers, Trinity United Methodist Church is one of downtown Denver's most historically significant buildings, as well as the home of a world-class Roosevelt pipe organ. Join Trinity's skilled staff organist Norman Sutphin, along with special guests the Chancel Chamber Choir, for an unforgettable evening of music so enchanting even non-believers may have epiphanies. The program includes Howard Hanson's "Song of Democracy," Maurice Duruflé's "Suite, Op. 5: Prelude, Sicilienne, Toccata" and Johann Sebastian Bach's "Prelude and Fugue in E minor." One simply can't have a proper organ recital without a little Bach — and more. Find more details on the event's Facebook page.
The Little Prince
November 12 to 18 Eugenia Rawls Courtyard Theater
$5 to $10
An enduring classic that continues to delight successive generations of children, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novella Le Petit Prince has inspired films, stage adaptations and countless whimsical dreams. University of Colorado Theatre Program Alumni and Alliance Française de Denver have joined forces to mount a bilingual production of the perennial favorite, with an English adaptation directed by Sinjin Jones and a French version with Dan Hiester at the helm. With evocative set design from Angie Lee, these shows are an ideal way to introduce young ones (ages five and up) to the joys of live theater. Buy tickets, $5 to $10, and learn more on The Little Prince's Vendini page.
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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.