We've said it before, and we'll say it again: All you need to have a good time in Denver this weekend is a crisp Hamilton and an open mind. With concerts, comedy shows, cultural fairs and arty parties abounding around town all weekend long, locals will have no one but themselves to blame if they're bored. Furthermore, while some of the top-ticket events happening over the next few days may fall outside the price range of many Denverites' pocketbooks, most of us can attend any of the ten events listed below for less than ten American dollars (fine print notwithstanding). So gather round, readers, pinball wizards and even dachshund lovers, for the following list holds many delights in store.
Thursday, September 28, 7:30 p.m.
Gates Concert Hall at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts
Starting at $7
Since joining forces over ten years ago, classically trained violinists Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester of Black Violin have averaged about 200 shows a year, touring through 49 states and 36 different countries. Known for a genre-defying style, which incorporates elements of R&B, bluegrass, hip-hop, rock and classical music, the two men in Black Violin have performed for troops stationed in Iraq, and they were guests of honor at President Obama's inaugural ball. Baptiste and Sylvester are bringing their virtuosic skills to the Mile High for a special performance in Gates Concert Hall, located in the University of Denver's Newman Center for the Performing Arts. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. While admission prices start at just $7 for students, they jump up to $25 for adults; get yours at the Newman Center's box office page.
Free Friday at the Clyfford Still Museum
Friday, September 29, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Clyfford Still Museum
An inspiration to single-artist museums the world over, Denver's Clyfford Still Museum celebrates the life and works of a mysterious modern master. Though it's been shuttered to the public over the past few weeks, the museum is proudly reopening its doors on September 29, just in time for a free Final Friday event. With a new exhibition, Still & Art, showcasing over eighty of the artists paintings, photographs, sculptures and sketches spread across all nine of the museum's galleries, guests can trace the evolution of Still's work and test his famous assertion that his "work is not influenced by anybody" alongside re-creations of famous works by J.M.W. Turner, Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. Head over to the Clyfford Still Museum website to learn more and plan your visit.
An Evening With Charlaine Harris
Friday, September 29, 7 to 9 p.m.
Tattered Cover Colfax
Included with purchase of Sleep Like a Baby
Fans of supernatural mysteries with plucky protagonists are in luck on the eve of the year's spookiest month, as writer Charlaine Harris is popping into the Colfax outpost of the Tattered Cover bookstore to meet her fans, read from her latest book and sign a few copies. Author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels — which inspired the television series True Blood — Harris is back with a new series spotlighting heroine Aurora Teagarden, who now spearheads her own series of New York Times bestsellers. The latest installment, Sleep Like a Baby, may be her most page-turning potboiler yet, but as always, the proceedings are leavened by Harris's playful wit. While admission is free, guests must buy a copy of Sleep Like a Baby from Eventbrite to participate in the signing, which will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Saturday, September 30, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Among the most lovably weird-looking breeds in all the canine kingdom, dachshunds provide endless comedy for their owners. For years now, owners and enthusiasts have been celebrating the German breed — frequently called "Weiner dogs" for their sausage-like shape — with Dachtober Fest. With a Royal Wedding Court, a costume contest, a foot race, a sausage-bobbing pool, your four-legged friends will have plenty of activities to stick their noses into. Their human companions can also enjoy German music, games, beer and brats along with the parade of pooches. Admission is $6 per person and per dog (other breeds are welcome if they're under thirty pounds), so whether you're looking to socialize your dog or merely take in the spectacle, attending Dachtober Fest won't break the bank. Find more details on the Dachtober Fest website.
Denver American Indian Festival
September 30 to October 1, hours vary
Good Shepherd UMC
Pay homage to Colorado's cultural heritage all weekend long at the fourth annual Denver American Indian Festival. A feast for all the senses, guests can get fly-tying and casting lessons from Denver Trout Unlimited, hear storytelling and music from Red Feather Woman, weave baskets, fashion corn-husk dolls with the Zuni sisters, and marvel at Nature's Educators, a raptor and exotic wildlife program. Admission is free and open to the public. Visit Denver American Indian Festival online to find out more.
Mutiny Youth Pinball & Ghost Stories
Sunday, October 1, 2 to 4 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Evolving from bagatelle, Japanese billiards and pachinko, pinball machines were among the world's earliest arcade games. Although their relatively simple design has been updated with various bells, whistles and narrative objectives, pinball machines still offer the same whiz-bang thrill that they did in their heyday. Rediscover the joy of the game while introducing it to a new generation at Mutiny Youth Pinball, starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 1. Engage in a little friendly competition as you and your loved ones try to rack up high scores on Mutiny's selection of pinball machines. The player with the highest total at the end of the day wins a special secret prize. To celebrate the upcoming Halloween season, the venue will host a telling of the tale of Doc, Mutiny's resident ghost. Visit the Facebook event page to learn more.
Book Launch Party With Sara Jade Alan
Sunday, October 1, 5 to 8 p.m.
Improv comedy isn't easy for anyone, let alone a gawky teen with a frightening diagnosis. That's the story of A Messy, Beautiful Life, a new young-adult novel from debut author Sara Jade Alan. Though it's officially being released on Monday, October 2, by Entangled Teen Publishing, BookBar will have plenty of copies for sale at Sunday's Book Launch Party, which includes a reading, book signing and Q&A session with Alan. With fine wines and tasty treats, the book launch is a great way to support burgeoning writers and local booksellers. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
5280 Comedy Humanitarian Relief
Sunday, October 1, 8 p.m.
Suggested $10 donation
While comedy can seem frivolous and unnecessary in the most trying of times, one can never underestimate the catharsis of laughter, or the way jokes can bring people together. As survivors continue to struggle during the aftermath of a devastating hurricane season, local funny folks are eager to offer whatever services they can. That's why a group of Denver's most caring crushers are coming together for a grand hurricane relief fundraiser on Sunday, October 1, at the Oriental Theater. Join emcee Anthony Armstrong and a fantastic lineup of local mirth merchants including Maurae Gab, James Zingleman, Rick Bryan and Jill Tasei, along with feature performer Anthony Crawford and headliner Chris "Crazy Legs" Fonseca. Visit Global Giving online to learn more and make a donation.
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It's Not Just the South
Monday, October 2, 5 to 8 p.m.
Denver Press Club
While recent news developments have thrust the American South's relationship with its Confederate history into the national spotlight, many other regions of the country have troubling pasts of their own, including Colorado. From massacring native tribes to electing multiple successive klansmen to high office, the history of Colorado's founders remains deeply troubling. The Denver Press Club is hosting a vital conversation about Colorado's racist history called "It's Not Just the South." Led by Colorado state historian David Halaas along with CU Denver’s Tom Noel and Glenn Morris, the discussion will examine tragic moments from Colorado history while reckoning with the way that today's Coloradans confront them. The talks begin around 6:30 p.m.; doors will open at 5 p.m. for a cocktail social. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
The Squire Strokes Back Vol. 4
Monday, October 2, 11 p.m.
The Squire Lounge
Roaring back to life like a passed-out drunkard at last call, comedy returns to the Squire Lounge in gloriously destructive fashion on Monday, October 2. While the weekly open mic may have gone the way of the black rhino, local comics and fans alike hold fond memories of the bygone Denver institution. Luckily for these scumbag nostalgists, Squire Strokes Back producer and comedy super-fan Chris Baker has enlisted Greg Baumhauer to host a new late-night standup showcase during which he'll roast the crowd and his fellow performers alike. A real fingerblast from the past, Monday's lineup harks back to the heyday of the open mic, with Squire-hewn heavy hitters like Troy Walker and Adam Cayton-Holland returning to their old stamping grounds, along with Bobby Crane's first standup set in years. It all gets started around 11 p.m., so don't miss your chance to party like it's 2010.