If the upcoming weekend presents you with nothing but empty pockets and idle time, don't despair; we know precisely how to meet your penny-pinching and boredom-fighting entertainment needs. Whether it's concerts, comedy shows, inspirational speeches or interactive art experiences you seek, the days ahead are rife with things to do. Keep reading for the ten best free and cheap events in Colorado this weekend.
Ansel Adams: Early Works Opening Reception
Friday, January 25, 6 to 8 p.m.
Longmont Museum and Cultural Center
$5 to $8
Behold the natural splendor of the untamed West at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center's exhibition of the early works of photographer Ansel Adams and the unspoiled American landscape he immortalized in black and white. Long before Adams's striking prints became staples of mid-century home decor, the photography pioneer endeavored to capture the fearsome yet sublime scenery of undeveloped wilderness. A pioneer of sharp-focus photography and a conservationist whose efforts contributed to the expansion of the National Park system — currently and unnecessarily endangered by the ongoing government shutdown — Adams evinced his mastery of soft-focus and tonal contrast as early as the 1920s. Behold Adams's early efforts, along with a collection of the cumbersome camera equipment he hauled from mountaintops to valley floors in search of iconic images. Find tickets, $5 to $8, and further details on the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center events calendar.
Untitled Final Friday: Secret Love Collective
Friday, January 25, 6 to 10 p.m.
Denver Art Museum
$8 to $13
The Denver Art Museum's Untitled Final Friday series returns in the spirit of creative collaboration with Secret Love Collective for an evening of tours, performance art and hands-on artmaking. Comprising members Katy Zimmerman, Lares Feliciano, Katy Batsel, Piper Rose, Lauren Zwicky, Genevieve Waller and Frankie Toan, the queer collective aims to disrupt the hegemony of fine art propriety with ephemeral yet immersive experiences that defy genre categorization. A fitting selection for the series' 2019 theme, "New World/New Self," the Secret Love Collective is unlikely to remain a secret much longer, so artsy locals shouldn't miss out. Untitled Final Friday activities are included with general admission, $8 to $13. Visit the Denver Art Museum box-office page to buy tickets and learn more.
Punching Holes in the Darkness: Hope for Our Nation in Dark Times
Friday, January 25, 7 p.m.
First Congregational Church
Good faith may seem like it's in short supply these days, but even religious skeptics can find comfort when Otis Moss III steps up to the pulpit. A social-justice advocate who spoke out early in favor of marriage equality and continues to espouse civil rights and black theology in an age of mass incarceration, Moss is the resident pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ and guest minister at Denver's New Hope Baptist Church. Shining a hopeful light upon a national moment of crisis, Moss alights upon Boulder with "Lighting Candles in the Dark: Creating Justice-Centered Faith Communities in an Unjust World," a MacKenzie Lectureship presentation. While the lecture is free and open to the public, the Moss-led workshop at 9 a.m. Saturday, January 26, is $25 per person. Find out more on the First Congregational Church events calendar.
Dissolve: A Baroque and Spoken Word Collaboration
Friday, January 25, 7 p.m., and Sunday, January 27, 4 p.m.
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance
$10 to $20
Hip-hop beats and poetic speech leaven the sounds of centuries-old compositions at Dissolve: A Baroque and Spoken Word Collaboration, a pair of genre and generation mashups unfolding across the Front Range this weekend. Slam poet and activist Assétou Xango joins violinist Cynthia Miller Freivogel, six members of the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, and a lithe trio from the Lion Heart Dance Crew for intriguing new metaphorical and literal spins on works from Dieterich Buxtehude, Biagio Marini, Dario Castello, Johann Sebastian Bach and more. Visit the Baroque Chamber Orchestra box-office page for tickets, $10 to $20, and more information.
8-Bit Comedy: Caitlin Gill
Friday, January 25, 8 p.m.
Pinball wizards can take their hands off the flippers and have a laugh or two when 8-Bit Comedy returns to Louisville's Tilt! Pinball for a bonus round of buffoonery. Hosted and curated by local mirth merchant Jo Kimbrell, the show returns in January with a dynamite lineup that includes Colorado favorites like Bridget Callahan, Eeland Stribling and Zach Reinert setting the stage for headliner Caitlin Gill. A staff writer for Bobcat Goldthwait's Misfits & Monsters, Hidden America With Jonah Ray, and Take My Wife, Gill has appeared on Comedy Central, The Comedy Show Show, and Viceland's Flophouse. Visit Tilt! Pinball's Colorado box-office page to buy tickets, $10, and learn more.
We Still Like You
Friday, January 25, 11 p.m.
Denver's Dangerous Theatre
Judgment from strangers is the one thing performers and spectators alike won't have to fear as We Still Like You takes up residence at Dangerous Theatre under the stewardship of newly minted co-hosts Kira Magcalen and Allison Rose. Rising from the ashes of El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom, January's edition of the shamefully over-sharing storytelling show doubles as a swan song for the Los Angeles-bound Rachel Weeks, who spins her last debaucherous yarn before recording a comedy album — more on that below — and heading west. The lineup also includes the buried secrets of local favorites Andres Becerril, Hannah Jones, Jen Kolic, Jake Becker and Ben Roy, each interpreted through the live art of Brandy Bryant. Buy tickets, $10, and find out more on Denver's Dangerous Theatre box-office page.
Vida Guitar Quartet
Saturday, January 26, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m
Augustana Lutheran Church
$5 to $25
Comprising four of the finest classical guitarists in the United Kingdom, the Vida Guitar Quartet is world-renowned for its singular musicianship and vast repertoire. Founded in 2007 and currently maintaining a busy international touring schedule, the quartet is strumming its way through Denver as part of an Augustana Arts concert series. Add a dash of British humor to an evening of string-plucking splendor; get tickets, $5 to $25, and further details on the Augustana Arts box-office page.
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Pussy Bros. Album Recording
Saturday, January 26, 8 p.m.
The Black Buzzard
As we mentioned above, soon-to-be-former Denver comedian and Pussy Bros. co-founder Rachel Weeks is preparing to seek her fortune in Los Angeles, a hopeful journey that unfortunately betides the end of the city's best (and only) female-fronted standup supergroup. Luckily for local comedy fans, the lady bros aren't disbanding without a grand send-off party and a live album recording. Weeks joins fellow bros Christie Buchele and Janae Burris — who collectively never fail to honor the legacy of their late and dearly missed friend and former member Jordan Wieleba — to lay their jokes down on wax in their home venue. Admission is free, and a DJ set from Erin Stereo follows the comedic trifecta so everyone can get their wiggle on after getting their giggle on. Discover more on the Black Buzzard's Ticketfly page.
Late Night Comedy at Elliot's with Chris Fairbanks
Sunday, January 27, 10:30 p.m.
Elliot's Martini Bar
Staying up late and venturing northward to Fort Collins pays tremendous dividends to local guffaw-gatherers when Elliot's Martini Bar's Late Night Comedy series kicks off in 2019 with a headlining performance from the delightful Chris Fairbanks. Hosted and curated by Coloradan funnymen Chris Muñoz, Nate Brown and Kyle Pogue, the show sets the table for Fairbanks with opening sets from each host, along with Denver comics Mitch Jones and Lizzy Wolfson. Admission is free. Find out more on the Elliot's Martini Bar Facebook events page.
Have an event you want included on this list? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.