The weekend nears, weary readers, and the days ahead are brimming with promise. Whether you prefer concerts, comedy shows or dog-friendly story times, the list below should contain at least one event that fills your time and tickles your fancy. Wage slaves needn't fret over cover charges either: Admission to each event on this list costs around $10 or less, and six of them are free. Keep reading for the ten best free and cheap events in Denver this weekend.
African Children's Choir
Thursday, August 2, 7 to 9 p.m.
Augustana Lutheran Church
Augustana Arts, City Strings and Into Your Hands Africa present the world-famous African Children's Choir, which will be appearing in Denver tonight for a free goodwill concert. With a program of traditional spirituals, participatory call-and-response clap-offs and contemporary songs, the African Children's Choir warms hearts and delights eardrums. Admission is free; visit Augustana Arts' events calendar to register and learn more.
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Queen City Companion
Thursday, August 2, 8 to 10 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Though the sexual-misconduct accusations against Garrison Keillor have irreversibly dimmed the charms of its namesake radio staple, Mutiny Transmission's Queen City Companion podcast continues unabated. Co-hosts Jen Kolic and Brian Flynn — who recently took the reins from overcommitted local comedian Christie Buchele — continue the show's amiably loose blend of storytelling and performance art while imbuing the proceedings with bookish sensibilities. August's episode invites writer David S. Atkinson, Punch Drunk Press Editor-in-Chief Sarah Rodriguez, local comedians Katie Bowman, Bridget Callahan and Allison Rose to get their raconteur on before turning the stage over to the anarchist puppetry of No Gods, No Masters. Visit the Mutiny Information Cafe Facebook events page for more details.
Friday Night Weird: Hard Candy
Friday, August 3, 8:45 p.m.
$6.50 to $12
Friday Night Weird's Sweet, Sweet Revenge screening series bleeds into August — how could a mere thirty days properly reflect cinema's love affair with getting even? — with David Slade's spiky and satirical potboiler, Hard Candy. The question of who's predator and who's prey shifts dramatically throughout the twisty film, which helped introduce audiences to stars Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson. Punkishly provocative and impossible to forget, Hard Candy handily demonstrates why the revenge film is such a durable subgenre. Find tickets, $6.50 to $12, and more information on the Dairy Center's box-office page.
B-Side Music Fridays with Champagne Stallion and Nuancer
Friday, August 3, 5 to 10 p.m.
Soak in some of the city's finest sounds and rooftop views at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art's B-Side Music Fridays, a summer concert series highlighting some of the city's best up-and-coming talents. Friday's show includes opening act Nuancer and erstwhile Air Dubai bassist Taylor Tait's multi-instrumental solo project Champagne Stallion. The first hundred guests over 21 receive a complimentary brew courtesy of Ratio Beerworks. Admission is free for members and $5 for everyone else. Find out more on MCA Denver's Facebook events page.
Midnight Madness: Ghost in the Shell
August 3 to 4, midnight
Forget about the Scarlett Johansson-starring, whitewashed live-action remake: The brilliance of Mamoru Oshii's animated adaptation of Ghost in the Shell — a game-changing manga series penned by Masamune Shirow — hasn't been diminished by the numerous knockoffs and inferior reboots that have proliferated in the 23 years since its initial release. The cyber-punk odyssey of a biotechnologically modified agent's struggle against a sentient computer virus, Ghost in the Shell simultaneously expanded the limits of animation and science fiction wonder. Relive the classic with throngs of night-owl otakus at Landmark Esquire's Midnight Madness screening series, which presents the subtitled version of the film (plus a fifteen-minute bonus feature). Visit the Landmark Esquire's box-office page for tickets, $9.50, and more details.
Tales to Tails
Saturday, August 4, 10 to 11 a.m.
Kids who are in the midst of learning to read couldn't find a more attentive (or cuddly) audience than Bear, Anythink Libraries' volunteer therapy dog. Kick off your Saturday with compounding adorability at Anythink Brighton's Tales to Tails storytime, an event that allows youngsters to practice reading aloud while petting a notably calm and gentle animal. Bear is as non-judgmental and supportive as listeners get, so be sure to bring your aspiring young readers along. Admission is free, and no registration is required. Visit Anythink's events calendar to learn more.
International Food Truck Festival
Saturday, August 4, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Civic Center Park
Wend your way through a moveable feast at the International Food Truck Festival, which returns to Denver's Civic Center Park for its third annual gourmet gauntlet. Nosh on a continent-spanning array of toothsome treats from over twenty mobile eateries while enjoying live music, perusing the wares of over forty local vendors and exploring the family-friendly activities available at the on-site Kids Village. In addition to nibbling on international cuisine, guests over 21 years of age can also enjoy a tipple or two at a bar serving beer and wine from a number of different sources. Admission is free. Visit International Fest's home page to find out more.
Harakiri Standup Comedy Show
Saturday, August 4, 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Menya Ramen & Poke
Denver's recent influx of ramen and poke restaurants is a boon to Japanophile foodies and Denver comedy fans alike at the Harakiri Standup Comedy Show. Rising from the ashes of a thriving showcase and open mic that ended abruptly when Los Tacos shuttered its doors, Harakiri takes advantage of the ideal location and acoustics that made host Michael Seyedian's previous ventures at 600 East Colfax Avenue so successful. This week's show features local comics Cody Spyker, Matt Cobos, Allison Rose and Basil Faraj, as well as headliner Cody Wilkins. A regular opener for Hannibal Buress, Wilkins has written for The Rundown With Robin Thede and appeared on Greatest Party Story Ever. Visit Say It Again Comedy Productions' Eventbrite page to buy tickets, $5, and learn more.
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Firefly Handmade Summer Market
August 4 to 5, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Boulder Main Library
A weekend-long testament to fine craftsmanship, charming quirks and handmade treasures, the Firefly Handmade Summer Market has been delighting Boulder-based collectors and creators alike since 2010. Meet local artisans while admiring (and potentially buying) their handiwork at a delightful pop-up marketplace held in the green and inviting grounds surrounding the Boulder Main Library. Admission is free; visit Firefly Handmade's home page for more information.
HONEYHONEY, Matt Rouch & the Noise Upstairs, and Dead Horses
Sunday, August 6, 4 to 8 p.m.
Gather at Levitt Pavilion on Sunday, August 6, for more music under the open skies as the summer concert series continues with a performance from Dead Horses, Matt Rouch & the Noise Upstairs, and HONEYHONEY. Dripping with sleazy menace and roots-rock traditions, the Los Angeles-based band is playing Denver in support of its acclaimed recent album, 3. Admission is free (though VIP passes are available for $30), and the show goes on rain or shine. Find out more on Levitt Pavilion's Eventbrite page.