Arts and Culture

Ten Things to Do in Denver for $10 and Under (Five Free!)

Join local divas Shirley Delta Blow and Dixie Crystals for BookBar's Drag Queen Story Time on Thursday, February 8.
Join local divas Shirley Delta Blow and Dixie Crystals for BookBar's Drag Queen Story Time on Thursday, February 8. Shirley Delta Blow
Many Denverites are pinching every penny as tax season looms. Luckily for readers who are high on life but low on funds, Mile High creatives have scheduled a wide array of entertainments that anyone can attend for less than ten American dollars. While readers can expect to see the requisite concerts, comedy shows and film screenings listed below, the days ahead also hold unique gatherings like a Valentine's Day pop-up shop and Drag Queen Story time. Keep reading for the best free and low-cost events in Denver and Boulder this weekend.

Drag Queen Story Time
Thursday, February 8, 4 to 5 p.m.

A way to encourage children's tolerance and gender exploration while fostering a love of reading, Drag Queen Story Time invites celebrated local drag performers to share their favorite stories. Celebrate kindness, diversity, and the age-old craft of storytelling with local Queens Shirley Delta Blow and Dixie Crystals. Grand Dames of the local drag scene, Blow was a cast member of DCPA's popular DragOn! shows, and Crystal is a quick-witted comedy queen who can't resist a good double entendre. With snack specials for youngsters (and drink specials for their parents), it's a fun and family-friendly way to start the weekend. Visit BookBar's events calendar for more details.

Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band
Thursday, February 8, 7:30 p.m.
Macky Auditorium Concert Hall

Composed of the most talented students at the University of Colorado's School of Music, the college's Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band are joining forces for a grand concert that showcases young musicians at their very finest. The program includes Andrew Boss's "à la Machaut" and "Tetelestai — a Symphony for Wind Ensemble," Charles Villiers Stanford's "The Blue Bird," Florent Schmitt's "Le Camp de Pompee," Gustav Holst's "Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo, op. 52," and many more bombastic compositions for wind and band. Can't make it to Boulder? Catch a live stream of the performance at the CU Presents events calendar, where you'll also find more details about the program.

Lamont Symphony Orchestra with Scott Bean
Thursday, February 8, 7:30 p.m.
Gates Concert Hall, Newman Center for the Performing Arts

Classical-music lovers have another reason to celebrate tonight, as the University of Denver's Lamont School of Music Symphony Orchestra joins trombonist Scott Bean for a rousing concert that spans eras of music history. The program opens with the Act III Intermezzo from Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut before continuing with Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, and culminating in Danish composer Launy Grøndahl's virtuosic "Trombone Concerto" — one of the finest showcases for the instrument. Admission is free, or you can reserve a seat for $5. Visit the Newman Center's box-office page for reservations and more information.

The Pillars of African-American Art Song
Friday, February 9, 7 p.m.
St. Frances Cabrini Church
$5 to $10

The Denver Art Song Project honors Black History Month with "The Pillars of African-American Art Song," a sonic journey through through the rich history of song and struggle. Arranged by soprano Stephanie Ann Ball, the program introduces listeners to the proud heritage of African-American composers and musicians, highlighting works by Undine Smith Moore, Hall Johnson, Adolphus Hailstork and William Grant Still interspersed with powerful readings from Langston Hughes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and more. Learn more and buy tickets, $5 to $10, via the Denver Art Song Project's Brown Paper Tickets page.

Friday, February 9, 7 p.m.
El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom

Standup comedy is an innately competitive medium, but quantifiable opportunities to defeat one's peers remain frustratingly scarce. That's where the Comedy-Athalon comes in. Hosted and curated by recent transplant Elliot Broder, the show pits two teams of comedians against one another in a series of standup-specific challenges. The categories for the inaugural showcase include crowd work, character work and extemporaneous riffs, with Colorado natives Cody Spyker, Brad Galli, Aaron Maslow and Michael Seyedian vying for the title against transplants Preston Tompkins, Georgia Rae, Allison Rose and Nathan Lund. Check out the Comedy RoomRoom's Facebook events page to get more information.

Chain Reaction Brewing Company
Comedy Night at Chain Reaction
Friday, February 9, 8 p.m.
Chain Reaction Brewing Company

A beery and cheery brouhaha that's been entertaining Athmar Park brewhounds since debuting in 2015, Comedy Night at Chain Reaction still holds the designation of being Denver's first and longest-running brewery show. Join host Steve Vanderploeg along with guest comics Meghan DePonceau, David Rodriguez and Joe Kwaczala (Los Angeles), plus hometown heroes Ben Kronberg and Adam Cayton-Holland. Admission is free. Visit Chain Reaction's Facebook events page to find out more.

Friday Night Weird: The Brother From Another Planet
Friday, February 9, 8:45 p.m.
Boedecker Theater

A new month has arrived, and with it a new theme for Boedecker Theater's Friday Night Weird film series.
For more details and links to buy tickets, $6.50 to $12, visit the Dairy Center's box-office page. In honor of Black History Month, the programmers at Friday Night Weird have joined forces with the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture to bring us Space Is the Place, a three-week exploration of science fiction inspired by the African-American experience. Named for the the delightfully freaky Sun Ra movie (which caps off the series on Friday, February 16), the series continues with John Sayles's spacey satire The Brother From Another Planet. Stick around after the screening for an analytical discussion led by Josette Lorig, lab manager of the Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture at CU. For more details and links to buy tickets, $6.50 to $12, visit the Dairy Center's box-office page.

Midnight Madness: Ichi the Killer
Friday, February 9, midnight
Landmark Esquire

The Landmark Esquire's Midnight Madness series is a godsend to movie-loving night owls, bringing cult classics and hidden gems to the big screen week after week. More so than any other living filmmaker, the certifiably  prolific Japanese auteur Takashi Miike seems to tailor movies specifically for the midnight crowd. The series continues this week with one of Miike's grimmest and goriest efforts to date: 2001's Ichi the Killer. The darkly comic tale of Yakuza bloodshed not only retains its visceral thrills nearly twenty years after its release, but the film has also left bloody fingerprints of influence on many of the genre films that followed in its wake. To learn more and buy tickets, $9.50, visit the Landmark Esquire box-office page.

click to enlarge THE DEER PILE
The Deer Pile
Deer Valentine: A Pop-Up Shop
Saturday, February 10, noon to 5 p.m.
The Deer Pile

Among the year's most corporate, consumer-driven holidays, Valentine's Day is often lacking in handmade charm. Fortunately, artsy sweethearts can stock up on artwork, books, jewelry, accessories and other gifts lovingly crafted by local vendors. Peddling creations from Suspect Press, Giddy Up Katie, Mukee Designs, Birdy magazine, Mothspun and more, this pop-up shop at Deer Pile is an ideal place to find one-of-a-kind gifts for your one-of-a-kind loved ones.

Looking for more to do? Visit
Westword's calendar online.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham