The city is abuzz with activity. Even the most parsimonious among you should find plenty to do during the days ahead. Whether it's comedy, classical music, plaintive indie rock or women's wrestling that catches your fancy, the following list is rich with entertainment possibilities. Keep reading for the ten best free and cheap events in Denver (plus a couple in Fort Collins and one in Longmont) this weekend.
Adult Spelling Bee
Thursday, January 17, 7 to 8 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Apart from correcting typos on social-media posts, grown-up wordsmiths have few opportunities to show off their phonetic smarts. Luckily, Syntax Physic Opera is here to reward know-it-alls with the Adult Spelling Bee, a fun-filled, booze-soaked throwback to scholastic competitions. After testing the mettle of your mental dictionary, hang around the bar for a concert with Spirettes, Sydney Clapp, Rowan Kerrick and Lava Lava. On-site registration begins at 6:15 p.m. and space for competitors is limited, so don't hesitate. Find out more on the Denver Public Library events calendar.
Emerging Filmmakers Project
Thursday, January 17, 8 to 11 p.m.
Despite Denver's comparatively meagre production industry, the Queen City of the Plains nurtures a robust creative community, and the Emerging Filmmakers Project has served as one of its longest-running gatherings. Established over a decade ago by the late Patrick Sheridan, the show continues with more screenings of locally produced short films followed by lively discussions with the audience. January's roster includes Antoine M. Dillard's "Captain Powerful," Guillermo Roques's "El Javi - Recuerdo a Paco," "Reliquary: A Mugging," by Lindsay Morrison and Michael La Breche, and a trailer for the Bug's upcoming production of I Love, You're Perfect, Now Change. Visit the Emerging Filmmakers Project Facebook events page for more details.
Denver Art Song Project: Don Quixote in Music
January 17 to 19, 7 p.m.
Arts at Cabrini
The People’s Building
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
$5 to $10
The Denver Art Song Project waxes quixotic with its first full-fledged theatrical production, Don Quixote in Music, a tuneful interpretation of the Miguel de Cervantes-penned classic of the Spanish Golden Age. The production retells the misadventures of the self-anointed knight, whose repeated chivalric failures are aided by Sancho Panza — arguably the most notable sidekick in the literary canon. With his velvety vocals, bass-baritone Robert Osborne will perform in the titular role. Don Quixote in Music is a testament to the enduring legacy and protean adaptability of the windmill-titling tale. Enjoy a trio of performances at venues across town this weekend; visit the Denver Art Song Project box-office page to buy tickets, $5 to $10, and learn more.
Friday, January 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fort Collins Museum of Art
The Fort Collins Museum of Art's Contemporary Native American Series continues with Intricate Form, a joint exhibition from Brenda Mallory of the Cherokee Nation and Sydney Pursel, who hails from the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. Honorees of the Ucross Fellowship for Native American Visual Artists, Pursel and Mallory vary in style, yet both offer bold new visions of a future forced to reckon with the past. Pursel herself will be in attendance at the installation's opening reception on Friday, January 18, and the works will remain on display through March 17. Discover more on the Fort Collins Museum of Art events calendar.
Respect Women’s Wrestling
Friday, January 18, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Suplex the patriarchy into submission at the inaugural Respect Women’s Wrestling, a ladies-only league of brawlers and bruisers. The event kicks off with bouts of choreographed bloodsport between Leva Bates, Holidead, Bentley Powell and more, and continues with a lineup full of female-fronted bands like End of Eves, Calamity Champs and Phee. Visit the Herman's Hideaway box-office page for tickets, $10, and more information.
Longmont Symphony Family Concert
Saturday, January 19, 4 to 6 p.m.
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium, Longmont
$5 to $10
An all-ages entry into the wonders of classical music awaits with A Child’s Book of Animals, by Michael Close, which makes its world premiere at the Longmont Symphony's Family Concert this weekend. Young Artist Competition-winning pianist Bethany Parker joins bass-baritone Erik Kroncke and the Longmont Youth Symphony led by conductor Elliot Moore for a concert program that surrounds Close's debut with with Parker's rendition of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Concerto in A Major, and a full orchestral finale of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5. Buy tickets, $5 to $10, and learn more on the Longmont Symphony box-office page.
Queerbots Present: Improv's Gay
Saturday, January 19, 7 to 8 p.m.
Tip the Kinsey scale toward hilarity in the quick-riffing company of the Queerbots troupe at Improv's Gay, a show that mashes up a comedy jam with a bingo bonanza. Play along with the on- and off-stage game hosted by Jon Jon Lannen when the award-winning ensemble descends upon the Grafenberg Theater for another round of merry hijinks. Admission is free, but donations for the performers are appreciated. Head over to the Queerbots' Eventbrite page for further details.
Stories and Songs: A Night of Collaboration
Saturday, January 19, 7 to 10 p.m.
Music may reliably provide pleasant sounds to hum along to, but the best tunes can weave a narrative yarn that binds a community together. Stories and Songs: A Night of Collaboration enlists performers Grace Clark, Solazur, and Witches & Science to seize upon that spellbinding tradition with a concert comprising original compositions and reimagined classics. Join in on the jam; admission is $10 at the door, and you'll find out everything you need to know on the Mercury Cafe Facebook events page.
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Chella & The Charm
Saturday, January 19, 9 p.m.
$10 to $12
Drink in the whiskey-soaked splendor of Chella & the Charm — whose deceptively clever lyrics and Americana sounds have made them a toast of the local music scene — when the quartet returns to Globe Hall on Saturday, January 19. With opening acts Jennifer Jane Niceley, the ThreadBarons, and Many Mountains on hand to warm up the crowd, every second of the show deserves the full command of your ears and eyes. Visit Globe Hall's Eventbrite page for tickets, $10 to $12, and more information.
Nerd Roast: Game of Thrones
Sunday, January 20, 8 p.m.
The Colorado Room, Fort Colins
Rising from the ashes of El Charrito's demise in the Northern Realm of Fort Collins, the Nerd Roast rides again with a Game of Thrones parody. Roastmasters Zach Reinert and David Rodriguez preside over a comedy show that consists of costumed comedians sending up pop-culture characters in Friar's Club style. The inevitably doomed dais includes Nate Brown as Tyrion Lannister, Bridget Callahan as Arya Stark, Maurice Saldivar as Jon Snow and many more — seriously, that show has a lot of goddamn characters. This event is a real treat for fans awaiting the final season of the hit HBO series (which premieres in April) and George R.R. Martin's The Winds of Winter (which we're unlikely to see before the Long Night descends upon the world). Admission is free; find out more on Fort Comedy's Facebook events page.
Have an event you want included on this list? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.