Summer is decisively ending; school is in session and most workers never had a break to begin with. Despite the onslaught of daytime obligations, however, the final days of August and first days of September are rich with entertainment. The poor of pocketbook need not despair: The weekend ahead offers an array of affordable delights for fans of movies, art, or the local music and comedy scenes. Keep reading for the ten best events for $10 and under (including five for free) in Denver this weekend.
Anythink Film Series: Colorado Youth Mariachi Program and Mariachi High Screening
Thursday, August 30, 6 to 9 p.m.
Anythink Huron Street
One of Denver's most innovative film-screening series draws to a close as Anythink Huron Street Library pairs the toe-tapping and spirit-stirring documentary Mariachi High with a complementary concert from the Colorado Youth Mariachi Program. Soak in the live sounds of hardworking teen musicians to build a proper sonic context for filmmakers Kim Connell and Ilana Trachtman's chronicle of Zapata High School's award-winning mariachi ensemble. The doc offers an unrivaled glimpse at how music traditions continue to shape young lives. Admission is free and no pre-registration is required. Visit Anythink Huron Street Library's events calendar for more details.
Short Film Block and Concert Featuring Wild Call and Church Fire
Thursday, August 30, 8:30 p.m. to Midnight
Another union of sound and cinema, local dive-bar mainstay Lion's Lair welcomes its boozy patrons to honor a fading punk spirit at a rollicking hybrid of film festival and gritty live music show. The Lair, home to two of Denver's most steadfast open mics and a steady cadre of Colfax drunkards, is presenting a curated selection of short films from creators like Lares Feliciano, Olivia J. Carmel, Stranger Studios and more before local rockers Wild Call and Church Fire bring the sticker-speckled house down. Admission is $8 at the door; find out more on the Denver Filmmakers Collective Facebook events page.
Spectrum Vol. 2: Pop-Up Art and Music Showcase
Friday, August 31, 5 to 11 p.m.
Spectra Art Space
$7 to $15
Nothing makes an art scene thrive more than cross-disciplinary creative collaborations; just look at Spectra Art Space's Spectrum Vol. 2: Pop-Up Art and Music Showcase for an example. An art exhibition with an electronically spacey soundtrack provided by the likes of ESCPE, Thought Process, Selector Baggins, Odd Zoo and more, Spectrum Vol. 2 is an ear- and eye-pleasing introduction to the artists in the orbit of the B. Creative Collective. The lineup includes A.L. Grime, Parker Bacall, Mia Maestas and Imagination Spectrum, among many others. Admission is $15 at the door and $7 at eventbrite.com.
Step-Dads Comedy Show
Friday, August 31, 7 to 9 p.m.
The Comedy RoomRoom
Constantly vying (and contending) for the title of saddest boys in sketch comedy, Preston Tompkins and Zach Reinert have collaborated on a number of delightfully bleak sketches under the Step-Dads moniker. The brand expands into a live show at El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom (the place where everybody in Denver comedy knows your name) with a depressive-friendly blend of standup and sketch. September's show welcomes Los Angeles's Max Rosenblum to join a lineup of local crushers including Aaron Middleton, Lizzy Wolfson, Zach Welch, Arielle Kaplan and Anthony Crawford. Despite the lack of a cover charge, the Step-Dads gratefully accept donations. Learn more on the Comedy RoomRoom Facebook events page.
Yoga With the Sharks
Saturday, September 1, 8 to 9 a.m.
According to Discovery Channel-based conventional wisdom, sharks can never stop moving. Humans, however, periodically require the slower pace of a yoga routine to center themselves. An intriguing juxtaposition between the movement habits of two very different species, the Downtown Aquarium's Yoga With the Sharks provides a workout for the muscles and senses alike, inviting guests to stretch and strain in the company of the ocean's fiercest predators (safely contained in their tanks). A mere three classes remain before the season closes on Saturday, September 29. Admission is $10 per student; learn more on the Downtown Aquarium Facebook events page.
An Evening With Bailey Elora and Friends
Saturday, September 1, 3 to 7:30 p.m.
The Black Buzzard
Groove to live tunes while supporting the next generation of local talent at An Evening With Bailey Elora and Friends, a genre-spanning celebration of burgeoning musicians and the institutions that support their efforts. Starting at 3 p.m., the event is packed with performances from local heavy hitters like Cory Phare, Diego Florez, Frank Luna, Elora herself and more, all interspersed with bouncing beats courtesy of DJ Lucky Luck Sylvester. A portion of the proceeds from the $10 tickets goes toward the benefit of Youth on Record, so guests can enjoy dancing the night away to the soundtrack of some of the city's finest performers. Buy tickets and learn more on Stunt Time Entertainment's Eventbrite page.
Red Bull Music Presents: Goodness Block Party
Saturday, September 1, 4 to 9 p.m.
$10 to $15
In addition to wings – and caffeine jitters – Red Bull gives Denverites the Goodness Block Party, a beat-buoyed celebration of community. A continuation of DJ Low Key’s RiNo neighborhood gatherings, the block party celebrates the "goodness" of Denver's creative community with a gauntlet of good tunes from artists who hail from near and far. This year's stellar lineup includes local favorites like Kayla Marque, YaSi, Sur Ellz (who has left Denver for L.A.) and more, plus the debut of Goodness Greatness, a supergroup comprising Phonte, Exile, Qknox and Dameion Hines. General admission is $10 via Nightout and $15 the day of the show.
WestFax Comedy Show
Saturday, September 1, 8 to 10 p.m.
For regular Westword readers, it's no secret that beer and comedy are the lifeblood of Denver's affordable entertainment scene. However, many Mile High standup fans may be unaware that within the shadow of the eye-popping yet gut-roiling local landmark Casa Bonita resides the WestFax Comedy Show, one of the area's finest giggle gauntlets. Co-hosted by Nolawee Mengist and John Davis of the As the Rhyme Goes On podcast, the WestFax comedy show returns with a vengeance and a laugh-stealing lineup of mirth merchants Ben Duncan, Katie Bowman, Anthony Armstrong and Deacon Gray. Admission is free; find out more on the WestFax Brewing Facebook events page.
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Civic Center Park Public Art and History Tour
Sunday, September 2, 10 a.m. to Noon
Civic Center Park
Take an early-morning amble through art history at Denver Arts & Venues' Civic Center Park Public Art and History Tour, an informative introduction to Denver's past and the artists who shaped the future's perceptions of the era. Learn the context of public-art mainstays like Alexander Proctor's "On the War Trail" and "Broncho Buster" from engaging public-art docent Esther Varney while deepening your appreciation for the Mile High's distinctive architecture and colorful past. Tours are free, but the organizers strongly recommend reserving a spot on the Denver Arts & Venues Eventbrite page.
Sunday, September 2, 9 p.m. to Midnight
Cap off the week's holiest day with a delightful dose of decadence at the Church Nightclub's Sin Sundays, a dance-driven blend of classic goth, industrial and dark alternative sounds. A recurring club night for the black-clad and eyeliner-adorned set, Sin Sundays offers the area's best chance for locals to get their goth on under the stained-glass splendor of one of the city's most memorable venues. Admission is free; register at the Church's Nightout page to secure a spot on the delectably dark side.
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