As the final weekend of the month approaches, Denver creatives have packed the upcoming days with a bounty of entertainments at the city's concert halls, DIY venues, breweries and even churches. And while some of the town's hottest tickets will cost you a pretty penny, readers can attend any of the following ten events for less than ten dollars.
Dikeou Literary Series Presents Burns Night
Thursday, January 25, 7 to 9 p.m.
The Dikeou Collection
Though he's regarded as something of a national hero in Scotland, Robert Burns has lacked a place to be properly honored in Denver — until now. A celebrated poet, lyricist and champion of Scottish dialect and folklore, Burns wrote peans to the dignity of the underclass that still resonate with contemporary readers, which makes him a fitting subject for the Dikeou Collection's Literary Series. Join host Ashley Colley for an evening of food, poetry and song at Dikeou's Burns Night, and dine on traditional Scottish fare (guests are encouraged to bring their own dishes) while enjoying live readings and musical accompaniment from songwriter Brian Laidlaw. Admission is free and open to the public; check out Dikeou's events calendar to find out more.
Cartoons and Comedy Five-Year Celebration
Thursday, January 25, 10 p.m.
Over five years, Cartoons and Comedy has changed venues, tinkered with its format, and welcomed a murderer's row of the country's best comics (including Ron Funches, Rory Scovel and Jenny Zigrino, to name but a few) to local stages. A Mystery Science Theater 3000-inspired riff fest, Cartoons and Comedy invites comedians to make fun of classic Saturday morning cartoons and vintage toy commercials, which are carefully edited into joke-friendly chunks by host and producer Chris Baker. Tonight, Baker's baby is officially old enough for Kindergarten, and he's planned an appropriately momentous bash to celebrate the occasion. The lineup includes Brad Galli, Minori Hinds and Caleb Synan, plus a secret surprise guest. So make haste to the Deer Pile, pour yourself a generous bowl of Lucky Charms, and enjoy a joke-driven trip through childhood. Visit BakerFace Productions' Facebook events page to learn more.
Sexpot Comedy Presents Caleb Synan
Friday, January 26, 7 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
After a few months of dormancy, Sexpot Comedy's headliner showcase triumphantly returns to Syntax Physic Opera this weekend with a real humdinger of a lineup. With Katie Bowman as the master of ceremonies, the show spotlights local favorites Anthony Armstrong and Jose Macall, as well as New York's Minori Hinds opening for headliner Caleb Synan. A prodigiously talented young comic, Synan competed on the most recent season of Last Comic Standing and has appeared on Conan twice. Visit Sexpot Comedy's Give Back Tickets page to buy tickets, $7, and learn more.
Three Charlie Chaplin Films Accompanied by Dorothy Papadakos
Friday, January 26, 7:30 p.m.
Saint John's Cathedral
A unique opportunity to recapture the spirit of the silent-movie era in ecclesiastical surroundings, this triple feature of Charlie Chaplin comedies at Saint John's Cathedral would be a wise way for cinephiles and music lovers alike to start their weekends. While it's easy to track down The Cure, The Immigrant and The Adventurer on the Internet, seeing the classic films projected onto a cineplex-sized screen with live musical accompaniment from organist Dorothy Papadakos puts the viewing experience into a wonderfully tuneful context. Visit the Saint John's Cathedra Facebook events page for more details.
Playground Ensemble: New Works Concert
Saturday, January 27, 3 p.m.
Wash Park Center for Music and Arts
$5 to $20
In addition to maintaining a thriving concert season that highlights its members' virtuosic musicianship, the Playground Ensemble and Abundant Silence Publishing are deeply invested in fostering the next generation of local musicians and composers. Endeavors like the ensemble's annual Composition Contest inspire budding musicians to create their best, ensuring that Denver's music community can thrive for years to come. Hear the efforts of 2017's contest winners Nahyun Kim, Aaron S. Hill, Fabian Svensson, Kurt M. Mehlenbacher, Guillaume Druel, Michael Close and first-place winner Julián Fueyo at the New Works Concert, which kicks off at the family-friendly hour of 3 p.m. at the Wash Park Center for Music and Arts. Head over to the Playground Ensemble's box-office page to buy tickets, $5 to $20, and learn more.
WestFax Comedy Night
Saturday, January 27, 8 p.m.
WestFax Brewing Company
Brewery-based comedy shows come and go faster than the seasons, so it's easy for a good one to fly under the radar until it's managed to build a consistent following. The cheery and beery crew at WestFax Brewing has been producing barn-burning comedy showcases long enough to become an institution by presenting Denver comedy's best and brightest to a loyal crowd for the unbeatable admission price of free. The venue, which shares a massive parking lot with Lakewood landmark Casa Bonita, has a particularly open and inviting taproom, complete with a stylized woodcut mountainscape behind the stage. Hosted by John Davis and Nolawee Mengist of the As the Rhyme Goes On podcast, the next WestFax lineup is a buffoon buffet with Tyrel Hartman, J.J. Jones, Jo Kimbrell, Mitch Jones, Lila Bear and Zach Reinert. Find more details on the WestFax Facebook events page.
Comedy Saved the Video Star
Saturday, January 27, 9:30 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
While music videos are something of a lost art, relegated into nostalgia objects for millennials, the form is rife with comedic potential. Though the medium's highlights (anything directed by Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry, for example) can be considered art of the finest order, the majority of the genre consists of what are essentially commercials for songs starring musicians who lip-synch with unintentionally hilarious self-seriousness. J.D. Lopez, a local comic and host of the Left Hand, Right Brain podcast, is here to celebrate and mock music videos in equal measure with the monthly Comedy Saved the Video Star, an inventive showcase that invites comics to perform a set before riffing on a music video of their choice. Fans who show up early or hang out late can also watch all their old favorites in a low-key Total Request Live-inspired segment. For January's show, Lopez welcomes Brett Hiker, Zac Maas, Arielle Kaplan and Dick Black for a joke-driven trip down memory lane. Visit Comedy Saved the Video Star's Facebook events page to learn more.
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Sunday, January 28, 7:30 p.m.
Dairy Arts Center
$10 to $24
A collaboration between the Dairy Arts Center and Off the Hook Arts, Hollywood Escape is the culmination of the WinterFest series. Enjoy music from the golden age of the silver screen performed by Harumi Rhodes, David Requiro, Deborah Marshall and Marija Stroke under the guidance of composer and OTHA artistic director Bruce Adolphe. Visit the Dairy Arts Center box-office page for details and tickets, $10 to $24, for this one-night-only performance.
Boulder Comedy Show: Ramon Rivas II
Sunday, January 28, 7 and 9 p.m.
Though host/producer Brent Gill lives in Los Angeles these days, he manages to make it back to the Centennial State enough to remain at the helm of the Boulder Comedy Show. Packing crowds into the Bohemian Biergarten's Viking-style seats week after week, the show has been bringing laughter to the historically joke-barren college town twice a night every Sunday for nearly five years. The proud tradition continues with this week's show. The lineup includes local mirth merchants Katie Bowman and Eliot Woolsey along with prodigal Denverite Matt Monroe, Ohio's Ryan Yex, and headliner Ramon Rivas II. Admission is $5 at the door; visit the Boulder Comedy Show Facebook page to learn more.
Freak Train: January 2018
Monday, January 29, 7 p.m.
A monthly appointment for local creatives, the Bug Theatre's Freak Train is every bit as delightful as its whimsical moniker suggests. Indeed, each show promises a batty boxcar's worth of performers from every discipline putting their freakiest foot forward in an open-stage extravaganza. Whether you're an aspiring performer or an open-minded patron of the arts, checking out Freak Train is an ideal way to experience the Denver arts community's traditions and its future all in one glorious evening. Performer sign-up begins at 7, and showtime is 8 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door. Find out more on the Bug Theatre Facebook events page.