The peppermint-scented specter of an early December weekend looms ever nearer, but Denverites should embrace rather than fear the spirit of the season. Fred Scrooge types can enjoy carolers and cheerful family gatherings, gift-shopping gauntlets and charitable causes, but the city has plenty of offerings that allow even the most Ebenezer-ly Westword readers to avoid humbuggery altogether. Givers and savers alike should find plenty to enjoy among these ten free or cheap events in Denver this weekend.
Denver Women in Digital Holiday Party and Fundraiser
Thursday, December 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
Blackbird Public House
$5 to $10
The hardworking members of Denver Women in Digital spend all year advocating for a more inclusive media landscape, but during December, the organization embraces the spirit of goodwill by donating the proceeds from its annual holiday party. This year the funds go directly toward Dress for Success Denver, a nonprofit providing employment resources, including professional attire for women in need looking for jobs. Guests may wear ugly sweaters, but their intentions are beautiful at this supportive soiree. In addition to monetary contributions, the hosts will also collect handbags, jewelry, and other accessories for the Dress for Success program. Admission, which is open to members and the general public alike, is $5 in advance at Eventbrite and $10 at the door. Visit the Women in Digital home page for more details.
Christmas at the Sie: Die Hard
Thursday, December 6, 7 to 10 p.m.
$7 to $11
Say ippi-ki-yay to the holidays at one of Denver's most thrilling hours of cinematic counter-programming, when the Sie FilmCenter celebrates Christmas with a screening of Die Hard. Set during a Christmas Eve party raided by hip European terrorists, who take every guest hostage save for intrepid off-duty cop John McClane (Bruce Willis in his star-making role), Die Hard is perfect for viewers who prefer Christmas movies with shootouts and fisticuffs rather than sentiment and schmaltz. Take a trip down memory lane that ends right at Nakatomi Plaza at a screening of the John McTiernan-helmed masterpiece; visit the Sie FilmCenter box-office page to buy tickets, $7 to $11, and learn more.
Queen City Companion
Thursday, December 6, 8 to 9:30 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Witness what local artists can achieve in the field of make-believe at Queen City Companion, a fiction storytelling show hosted by Jen Kolic and Brian Flynn. One of the most varied and whimsical branches of the Mutiny Transmissions Podcasts family tree, the show enlists a wide swath of local creatives — including but by no means limited to poets, musicians, standups, and authors — to spin fabricated yarns for at-home listeners and the live, bookstore/studio audience alike. December's edition of the first-Thursday staple welcomes K. V. Dionne, librarian Katie Kothenbeutel, Roseanna Frechette of FBomb Flash Fiction, comedians Rachel Weeks and Sam Tallent to the Mutiny stage for a fabulous evening of fabulism. Fret not, lustful listeners, Lord Humphrey Sliptickle's Victorian Erotica will also return with a scandalous new chapter. Admission is free, but donations for the performers are graciously appreciated. Find more information on the Queen City Companion Facebook events page.
Coyote. Badger. Rattlesnake.
December 6 to 22, 8 and 3 p.m.
Pay What You Can
Though its title evokes an especially bitey variation on the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Coyote. Badger. Rattlesnake. offers a theatrical glance at the wackier side of taxidermy. Penned by local playwright Ellen K. Graham, the play takes viewers behind the Plexiglas for insight into the deeply morbid and absurdly antiquated process of creating a natural history museum wildlife diorama, which essentially entails manipulating animal carcasses for the purpose of feeding the human mind. The Buntport Theater production of Graham's merrily macabre script continues its dramatic antidote to holiday cheer this weekend and goes through Saturday, December 22. Admission is offered on a pay-what-you-can basis both online and at the door; we suggest you pay at least $5. Visit the Buntport Theater box-office page for tickets and more information.
Merry Giftmas: A Comedy Show & Toy Drive
Friday, December 7, 6 to 8 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Free with donation
’Tis the season for giving and giggling, and therefore many local standups are compelled to stand up for a worthy cause. Erstwhile Designated Drunkard co-hosts Caitie Hannan and Westword contributor Byron Graham seize upon the holiday spirit with Merry Giftmas, an evening of charitably intentioned chuckles. Functioning as a toys, goods and funding-collection drive for Urban Peak and the Mount Saint Vincent Home, the show also happens to boast an unbeatable lineup of Denver's finest and funniest, consisting of Brian Flynn, Miriam Moreno, Janae Burris and headliner Adam Cayton-Holland. Admission is free with a cash or eligible toy donation. Learn more on Syntax Physic Opera's Facebook events page.
Bad Apple Comedy Show
Friday, December 7, 8 to 10 p.m.
Readers can keep the do-gooding goofs rolling right along with the December edition of Stem Ciders' Bad Apple Comedy Show. Jeremiah Chinegwu opens for headliner Christie Buchele on a comedic campaign to end childhood hunger by raising funds for Conscious Alliance. Enjoy laughs and quaffs of charitably inspired apple cider, secure in the knowledge that all proceeds are paid forward. Buy tickets, $4, and find out more on the Bad Apple Comedy Show Eventbrite page.
Midnight Madness: Kiki's Delivery Service
December 7 to 8, midnight
Landmark Esquire Theatre
Soar into the cinematic heights with director Hayao Miyazaki at his most whimsical when Landmark Esquire Theatre hosts a pair of screenings of Kiki's Delivery Service. The Studio Ghibli-launching animated fantasia serves up a blend of hand-drawn high-flying thrills whose otaku appeal has hardly diminished since its 1989 premiere, therefore making ideal fodder for the edible-addled Midnight Madness crowd. Logophobists beware: Both screenings are presented in the original Japanese with English subtitles, so get ready to read along or miss out. Find tickets, $9.50, and more details on the Landmark Esquire Theatre box-office page.
Cherry Creek North Winter Fest
Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bundle up and boogie down at the Cherry Creek North Winter Fest, a holly jolly holiday hullabaloo. Fillmore Plaza gets a merry makeover, replete with fire pits, photo opportunities, caroling and carousing, with nary a motorist in sight. The family-friendly festivities also include live ice-carving demonstrations, face-painting booths, free refreshments and grand-prize giveaways. Admission is free and open to the public. Check Cherry Creek North’s events calendar for more information.
Bowman's Three Year Anniversary Party
Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Bowman's Vinyl and Lounge
Bowman's Vinyl and Lounge, an appealingly divey haven for the record-collecting barflies of South Broadway, celebrates three years of thriving existence with a party that starts in the early afternoon and doesn't wind down until damn near closing time. Cavort with fellow crate-diggers while taking advantage of drink specials and discounted albums in preparation for a stage-smashing marathon of local-favorite rockers including Matt Sweetenham, Lawsuit Models, Bad Year, Flight Kamikaze and SPELLS. Visit the Bowman's Vinyl and Lounge Facebook events page to learn more.
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Yes Please Makers Market
December 8 to 9, 10 a.m.
Art collectors and crafty creators politely collide at the Yes Please Makers Market, a showcase of more than 100 vendors. Mounted by a participating collective of artisans, the DIY marketplace welcomes kids, dads and hungry shoppers — though unfortunately, not dogs; the exhibition hews closely to a mission statement that decidedly offers "cool shit only." Register and find out more from the Yes Please Denver Eventbrite page.
Have an event you want included on this list? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.