As February fades into March, many Denverites are understandably more concerned with paying rent than finding meaningful ways to fill their free time. But don't despair: The local events calendar is replete with princely entertainments you can enjoy for ten dollars or less (fine print notwithstanding). Whether you're looking to get your whimsy on at WhimsyCon or prepare yourself for four days of mirth, music, movies and merriment, you'll find everything you need to know on the following list of the ten best free and cheap events in Denver this weekend.
Roma: Free Screening
Thursday, February 28, 5:30 p.m.
Landmark Mayan Theatre
Despite its confounding Best Picture Oscar defeat, Roma has undoubtedly made the year's most indelible impact upon cinematic history. Shot in sumptuous black and white with a cast of mostly unknown actors speaking a blend of Spanish and Mixtec, the film became an unlikely hit thanks to a partnership between Netflix and the award-winning auteur Alfonso Cuarón. Roma is destined to be remembered for its groundbreaking distribution model, and as a heartbreaking paean to the undersung heroics of domestic workers. Though subscribers are but a few clicks aways from the Netflix home page, televisual streaming can't hope to replicate the wonder of seeing Cuarón's masterpiece unfold on the big screen, presented freely by the Centro Humanitario Para los Trabajadores. The auditorium is filling quickly, so make haste if you hope to secure a seat. Visit the Action Network's events calendar to register for free.
Drunken Historians: Mardis Gras
Thursday, February 28, 8 p.m.
Diebolt Brewing Company
Inspired by the boozy antics of Comedy Central's Drunk History, yet tweaked just enough to sidestep any appearance of copyright infringement, Drunken Historians laissez les bons temps rouler with a Mardi Gras-themed edition of beer-drenched history lessons. Turning to the rich cultural tapestry of New Orleans's storied past for comedic inspiration, the show makes for an ideal Fat Tuesday pre-party. Join host Natalia Kvalem along with local standups Jon Carelli, Emily Crock, Cory Stevens, Josue Flores, Caitie Hannan and more for a frothy evening of Crescent City-inspired chuckles. Find tickets, $10, and further details on Goldfish Entertainment's Eventbrite page.
March 1 to 3, hours vary
Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center
$7.50 to $35
Gamers, steampunk cosplayers and Victorian enthusiasts rejoice: WhimsyCon is returning for three more days of outlandish outfits and outsized entertainment. The 2019 festivities include high tea with the Denver Victorian and Steampunk Society and panels with honored guests such as costume designer Erin Card and fantasy author Roberto Rodriguez Calas. Don your dandiest attire and wander through a family-friendly array of arts vendors, fellow fans, and cosplayers trying way harder than you at the Shiny Garden-sponsored shindig. Visit WhimsyCon's Brown Paper Tickets page to buy single-day or weekend passes, $7.50 to $35, and find more information.
Denver Philharmonic: Valor
Friday, March 1, 7:30 p.m.
Antonia Brico Stage (Central Presbyterian Church)
Free to $25
Invoking a bygone era of strapping knights and gallant deeds, the Denver Philharmonic resurrects the spirit of chivalric romance with "Valor," a rousing symphonic call to noble action. Conducted by music director Lawrence Golan, the concert program immerses listeners in a fairytale landscape of the mind with stirring performances of Nancy Galbraith's A Festive Violet Pulse and Anton Bruckner's “Romantic" Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major. Admission is free for children under the age of twelve, $12 for students, $17 for seniors, and $25 for the general public. To buy tickets and learn more, head over to the Denver Philharmonic box-office page.
Friday, March 1, 7:30 p.m.
Newman Center for the Performing Arts
The University of Denver's Hamilton Recital Hall reverberates with the winsome sounds of the WindSync Quintet when the Newman Center Presents concert series continues into March. Based in Houston, the five-member woodwind ensemble has earned worldwide acclaim for its uncommonly intimate performances, even among the grandiose surroundings of legendary venues such as the Schubert Club, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, and Carnegie Hall. All you need is ten American dollars to enjoy an evening of world-class high culture. Visit the Newman Center for the Performing Arts box-office page for tickets, $10, and further details.
GUEST LIST Album Release Show
Friday, March 1, 8 p.m.
The Bakery Arts Warehouse
Refusing to be content with sold-out shows month after month, GUEST LIST host Ben Bryant (one of Denver's most ambitious comedians and show runners), has endeavored to create an enduring record of Denver's finest and funniest. After producing a sprawling standup mixtape including a cavalcade of local comics, Bryant celebrated his two-year anniversary with the Bakery Arts Warehouse by inviting 25 more comics to collaborate on a followup, and he's ready to share the results with the public at the GUEST LIST Album Release Show. Nosh on complimentary Sexy Pizza while chuckling the night away to a lineup of surprise performers headlined by Adam Cayton-Holland. Click over to Eventbrite for tickets, $10, and more information.
Friday Night Weird: Princess Mononoke
Friday, March 1, 8:45 p.m.
$6.50 to $12
Friday Night Weird concludes its three-week honorarium of anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki with a screening of Princess Mononoke, one of the director's biggest hits and most profound statements. An urgent parable, the 1997 film remains a beautiful yet heartbreaking reminder that industrial progress spells ruin for the natural world. Buy tickets, $6.50 to $12, and discover more at the Dairy Arts Center box-office page.
Girls & Science
Saturday, March 2, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
$10 to $17.95
Foster youthful curiosity and inspire the next generation of discovery at Girls & Science, a CBS4-sponsored opportunity to introduce young women to the wonders on display at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Learn about the distinguished legacy of female contributions to the scientific field while wandering through gallery after gallery of imagination-sparking exhibits at a gathering guaranteed to motivate guests of all ages. Admission, which includes access to the entire collection, is free for members, $10 to $17.95 for everyone else. Find tickets and a full description of the event on the Denver Museum of Nature & Science box-office page.
The Rocky Mountain Train Show
March 2 to 3, 10 a.m.
All aboard! The Rocky Mountain Train Show is rounding the miniature tracks for another stop at the Denver Mart junction. The self-proclaimed "largest model train show west of the Mississippi," the Rocky Mountain Train Show abounds with free activities geared toward younger guests such as train rides, a Junior Engineer certification program, Railroad Theater Storytime, and much more. Hobbyists shouldn't sleep on this annual shop-portunity for model-makers of each experience level. Three acres can scarcely contain the gauntlet of vendors and toy train tracks throughout the shopping center, so be sure to search the grounds thoroughly. Kids under the age of twelve get in free; admission is $10 for everyone else. Find out more on the the Rocky Mountain Train Show home page.
Writer's Block: Remastered
Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m.
Grafenberg Improv and Sketch Comedy Theater
Clearing a pathway to creativity with the improv ethos of always saying "Yes, and" is Writer's Block, a merrily chaotic presentation of sketch comedy cobbled together on a tight timeline every week at the Grafenberg Improv and Sketch Comedy Theater. Writer's Block: Remastered, however, draws from the most memorable moments of the show's entire history for reprise performances of some the Grafenberg Players' funniest bits. Join Grafenberg co-founder and head instructor Justin Franzen as he leads his goof troupe through its greatest hits. Visit Grafenberg Productions' Eventbrite page to buy tickets, $9.78, and learn more.
Colorado Young Sinfonia: Handel's Messiah
Sunday, March 3, 7 p.m.
Denver South Seventh Day Adventist
Take heart, music lovers, for the classical canon will survive thanks to the efforts of ensembles like the Colorado Young Sinfonia, whose prodigious talents will ensure that the audiences of the future can still enjoy the masterworks of centuries past. Spirits will surely soar when the youthful orchestra convenes for a full performance of George Frideric Handel's instantly recognizable Messiah, a composition so stirring even avowed heathens may find themselves singing "Hallelujah." Admission is $10 at the door, and further details are available from the Colorado Young Sinfonia events calendar.
Do you have an event you want included on this list? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.