As another mid-winter weekend rears its head, Denverites may be consigning themselves to a dull but thrifty 36-hour Netflix binge. However, the Queen City is replete with activities you can enjoy, even when you're low on dough. In addition to the usual bevy of comedy shows, literary gatherings and film screenings available to you week after week, Denver's creative community is embracing Black History Month in a number of intriguing ways. Have a ball while saving a bundle at the ten best free and cheap events in Colorado this weekend.
Black History Live: Becky Stone as Maya Angelou
Thursday, February 21, 10:30 a.m.
Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library
The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library's Black History Month calendar has been shining all month long. Next up: an appearance from actor Becky Stone playing the great poet Maya Angelou. Part of a statewide Black History Live performance tour (which continues later in the day at Littleton's Bemis Public Library and returns to various locations through the remainder of the month), Stone honors the living legacy of the I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings author. Admission is $5 at the door. Find out more on the Colorado Humanities events calendar.
Everest and Beyond: Women in Iran Face Their Future
Thursday, February 21, 6 to 9 p.m.
OfficeScapes Studio (1445 Market Street)
Shattering the glass ceilings that rest atop the world's most formidable summits, mountaineer Sara Safari is an inspirational figure for women. Safari may have approached her journey as a self-described cold-hating "California girl," but through facing her fears, she discovered the intrepid adventurer within and embarked upon an endeavor to reach the peak of the tallest mountains on each of the earth's seven continents. In addition to her role as a slope-hardened badass, Safari is a TEDx presenter and an advocate for women worldwide, and she'll be appearing at Denver's OfficeScapes Studio to share the experience of her recent visit to her homeland of Iran. Admission is included with a suggested minimum $10 donation to climbyoureverest.org. Visit the Denver Council on Foreign Relations Associates' Eventbrite page to register, make a contribution, and learn more.
EFPalooza Film Festival
February 21 to 23, showtimes vary
$10 to $25
Representing the cutting edge of the local filmmaking community since 2002, the Emerging Filmmakers Project returns to the Bug Theatre to celebrate its longevity with EFPalooza Film Festival. Over three days of greetings, screenings and good feelings, the EFPalooza Film Festival will include shorts from more than sixty local directors and producers. As always, guests are encouraged to engage with creators during lively post-screening Q&A sessions and avail themselves of beer, wine and snacks at the Bug's concession stand. Screening blocks are organized by genre, and the festivities include a heartfelt tribute to late Emerging Filmmakers Project founder Patrick Sheridan. Admission to individual blocks is $10, and full-festival passes are available for $25. Visit the Bug Theatre's TicketSpice page for tickets and further details.
Slam Nuba Featuring Sheree Brown
Friday, February 22, 7:30 p.m.
RedLine Contemporary Art Center
$5 to $10
Author and herbalist Sheree Brown draws upon the traditions of curanderismo and the visions of Afrofuturism for poetically potent verse informed by her multicultural heritage. Indeed, natural remedies and unrestrained creative expression are the driving force behind Brown's debut collection, lovemestiza, which was partly inspired by the writer's tradition-based triumph over struggles with new motherhood and depression, represented throughout the book in a recurring motif of shadows. Even more electrifying on a stage than she is on the page, Brown will appear at RedLine for an evening full of inspiring words and healing feelings. Admission — collected at the door — is free for Denver Public Schools teachers, $5 for students, and $10 for the general public. Visit Slam Nuba's Facebook events page for more information.
Friday, February 22, 8 p.m.
Nothing is off-limits when the Verboten Comedy show returns to its namesake Loveland brewpub to un-tap a fresh barrel of laughs. For February's edition, host and curator Jeff Albright has enlisted a hoppy roster of homegrown locals, including Ricky Ramos, JoAnn McIver, Miriam Moreno and Bob Gaudet to set the stage for Los Angeles-based headliner Caleb Synan (Conan, Last Comic Standing). Enjoy a night full of good cheer and tasty beer with no cover charge; find out more on LoCo Comedy's Facebook events page.
We Still Like You
Friday, February 22, 11 p.m.
Denver's Dangerous Theatre
Shame is the name of the game at We Still Like You, a brutally honest storytelling show that brings skeletons out of the closet and onto the stage at Denver's Dangerous Theatre. Co-hosted by Kira Magcalen and Allison Rose, the local franchise of the Chicago-based live show and podcast is replete with torrid tales and a judgement-free ambience. February's lineup includes stories from local comics Haley Driscoll, Patrick Richardson, Bridget Callahan, Katie Bowman, Sean David and A.J. Finney. Admission is $10 via Denver's Dangerous Theatre Ticketleap page.
Saturday, February 23, 11 a.m.
Olde Town Arvada's McIlvoy Park buzzes with arts and entertainment when WinterFest returns with another cheery and chilly celebration of Colorado culture. Performances, live art demonstrations and a gauntlet of craft vendors await at a festival that's equally friendly to families and fine-art appreciators. With informational booths to keep you on track and food stands to fill your bellies, bundling up for a day full of fun at the Arvada WinterFest is well worth your while. Admission is free; visit the Arvada Festivals events calendar to learn more or offer to volunteer.
Read Light Special
Saturday, February 23, 8 p.m.
Aurora Cultural Arts District
Explore the sensual side of spoken word and performance art at Read Light Special, the sultry second Slam Nuba-affiliated event on this list. A simultaneous blend of brains and bawd, the sexy extravaganza is hosted by Lady Speech and soundtracked by Selecta Sunra and will include randy readings from members of the Conjuring Queendom, Slam Nuba and 5280 Artist Co-op collectives, plus a performance from Rukus accompanied by a surprise guest. Performances are interspersed with body painting, sexual health education and prize giveaways, so open your mind, cross your fingers and leave your inhibitions behind. Tickets are $10 at the door; discover further details on Soulflower Denver's Facebook events page.
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Saturday, February 23, 9 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Wiggle along with your fellow weirdos when Denver's strangest dance party brings another round of sonic curiosities to Syntax Physic Opera's speakers. Shake your odd body along with DJs Fancy Matthew, Shannon von Kelly and Tyler Snow's collective barrage of beats from the dark disco, weird house and indie dance music genres. If you're over 21 and eager to get your goofy groove on, a $5 cover charge (collected at the door) is all that stands in your way. Head over to the Syntax Physic Opera Facebook events page to learn more.
Open Sanctuary and Baby Goat Snuggle Day
Sunday, February 24, 1 to 3 p.m.
Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary
Prepare yourself for an overdose of adorability at Baby Goat Snuggle Day, a charming introduction to the rescued animals of Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary. Feed, pet and interact with over twenty species of barnyard animals whose happy existence entails few duties aside from caring for their young and delighting the farm's visitors. While the Broken Shovels farmers encourage visitors of all ages, interested guests should check the farm's Facebook events page for a comprehensive list of sensible guidelines, such as: don't bring your dog, and only bring approved snacks for the goats, donkeys, pigs, etc. Admission is $5 at the gate.
Do you have an event you want included on this list? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.