The weekend is nigh, sweaty readers, and anyone willing to power through the Thursday doldrums will be rewarded with three days of delightful entertainments. In addition to concerts and comedy shows, the days ahead are also rich with cultural celebrations, family-friendly activities and even punk-rock burlesque. And take heart, rent-burdened and overworked Denverites: You can attend any of the following events for less than ten American dollars. City-shy readers should rejoice as well; the list includes events in Golden, Arvada, Boulder and Aurora. Have a blast and save some coin at the ten best free and cheap events in Denver (and surrounding areas) this weekend.
B-Side Music Fridays with Neon Brown and Poor Bodhi
Friday, July 13, 5 to 10 p.m.
A summer concert series dedicated to spotlighting up-and-coming local bands, B-Side Music Fridays is back with another evening of songs and skies. This week, the double bill includes Denver-based rockers Poor Bodhi and Neon Brown and promises to be a feast for ears hungry for soulful wailing and manipulated sounds. The first hundred guests (21 and up) through the door can quaff a complimentary beverage from Ratio Beerworks, and everyone can enjoy live music from one of downtown's best rooftop settings. Admission is $5; visit the MCA Denver Facebook events page for more details.
Friday Night Weird: I Saw the Devil
Friday, July 13, 8:45 p.m.
Boedecker Theater, Boulder
$6.50 to $12
Boedecker Theater's Friday Night Weird film series is paying tribute to payback all month long (and well into August) with Sweet, Sweet Revenge: six films on the art of pain, suffering and glorious vengeance. Among cinema's most protean genres, the revenge film transcends eras, cultures and languages — though many cinephiles would contend that South Korean filmmakers have perfected the balance of righteous bloodthirst and tragic comeuppance that make these movies so simultaneously satisfying and troubling. That's certainly the case as the programming continues this week with Jee-woon Kim's I Saw the Devil, a morally fraught tale of an unhinged cop meting out methodical punishments in a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase with the brute who murdered his wife. Visit the Dairy Center's box office page to buy tickets, $6.50 to $12, and read up on the rest of the series.
Dinosaur Express Train
Saturday, July 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Colorado Railroad Museum
$5 to $15
Take the triassic train to family fun junction as the Colorado Railroad Museum's Dinosaur Express Locomotive returns to carry guests through the museum's scenic and historic grounds. Wind your way through the fifteen-acre railyard as the train follows dinosaur footprint tracks toward a host of Denver Museum of Nature & Science-sponsored activities, and wind up at a massive LEGO installation where participants can assemble their own dino-inspired creations. Infinitus Pi and Skadi's Nomadic Comfort Food will be on hand to provide vittles between photo ops with museum mascots Spike the Railroad Dog and Mr. Bones. Due to severe drought conditions in the area, the Colorado Railroad Museum will be running a diesel-powered train during the festivities. Visit the Colorado Railroad Museum's box-office page to buy tickets, $5 to $15, and learn more.
Bastille Day Block Party
Saturday, July 14, 2 to 6 p.m.
Alliance Française de Denver
Vive la France! Honor the 229th anniversary of the Fête de la Fédération at Alliance Française de Denver's Bastille Day Block Party. Gather with fellow Francophiles at the Maison Française to enjoy wine, crêpes, live music and dance performances from Simba, DJ Titi de Nice, the Kevin Gael Thomas Dance Project, along with the enduring ideals of the French Revolution, in a delightful afternoon of family-friendly entertainment. Children's attractions include face painting and balloon art, petanque games, craft activities, a bouncy castle and more. Admission is free, but organizers recommend bringing cash for food and activities. Find more information on the Alliance Française de Denver events calendar.
Second Saturday Street Festival
Saturday, July 14, 3 to 8 p.m.
Historic Olde Town Arvada
Take to the streets, Arvada residents: The Second Saturday Street Festival has returned to liven up your summer months. With the main streets closed to traffic, Arvada's historic town center will become a lively marketplace of tastes and sounds featuring performances from the Trampolines and the Goonies, plus beverages from Silver Vines Winery, Call to Arms Brewing Company, Spruce Creek, Denver Beer Co. and Spice Trade Brewing. In addition to libations and live music, guests can also enjoy artisan vendors, kid-friendly activities and free parking. Admission is free, but beer and wine sales are cash only. Visit Olde Town Arvada's events calendar for more details.
Opera on Tap: Vive La Revolution!
Saturday, July 14, 6 to 8 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
If your Bastille Day spirit hasn't waned by nightfall, enjoy an evening of arias from France's revolutionary repertoire at Opera on Tap's Vive La Revolution! concert. In an era when resistance seems more urgent than ever, listeners can take comfort in the soundtrack of a nation's age-old struggle for human rights. Resist the status quo in the company of magnificently talented singers as Opera on Tap returns to Denver's most fitting venue for such an endeavor: Syntax Physic Opera. Visit OOT's Eventbrite page to buy tickets, $8 (they'll be $10 at the door), learn more or make a donation.
SPELLS Record Release Show
Saturday, July 14, 9 p.m. to midnight
It's fitting that SPELLS coined the term "vacation rock," because the rockers in the band always seem to heed the call of summertime and return to their Denver roots for a series of barn-burning concerts. Celebrate the release of Loose Change, Vol. 1, with a cavalcade of well-wishing moshers in the band's natural habitat, the hi-dive. The lineup also includes local favorites People Corrupting People, Future Perfect and Cheap Perfume. Admission is $10 on the hi-dive's Ticketfly page.
Ethiopian Day Festival
Sunday, July 15, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Bicentennial Art Center, Aurora
An annual extravaganza that's drawn crowds of up to 2,500, the Ethiopian Day Festival is a celebration of culture and community that casts a hopeful eye toward the future. The festivities include a fashion show, authentic cuisine, arts, music and dance at an event that unites church and civic groups with the Colorado Ethiopian Community. Guests can also participate in crafts seminars to enrich their cultural experience. Admission is free; visit the Colorado Ethiopian Community Eventbrite page to learn more.
Soulfood Sundays Comedy Show
Sunday, July 15, 6 p.m.
The Kasbah Nightclub, Aurora
$10 to $15
Tucked away in a distant corner of Aurora, the Kasbah Nightclub is a lively performance venue too many Denverites haven't heard about. Hardworking host and curator Monie Jonezy aims to court local comedy fans and Kasbah regulars alike with his monthly Soulfood Sundays comedy shows, which always include nationally touring comics the audience members are unlikely to see anywhere else alongside a rotating roster of Colorado's funniest standups. July's lineup includes the Denver-based Mo Vida opening for Newark's Ace Brown and headliner Pierre, who hails from Minnesota. And "Soulfood Sundays" is no misnomer: The cuisine at Uncle Bo's Soul Food, Smoked Meats and BBQ (Kasbah's adjoining sister restaurant) is life-affirmingly delicious. Call 720-845-7230 to buy tickets, $10 ($15 at the door), and learn more on the Kasbah Nightclub's events calendar.
Sinful Sundays Featuring Punk Rock Burlesque
Sunday, July 15, 8 p.m.
Streets of London Pub
An eyeful of burlesque seems even more decadent on the churchiest day of the week, which is why Streets of London Pub's Sinful Sundays is such an enduring delight. Warm up with a bit of punk-rock bingo or sex-and-drugs trivia while downing dive-bar drinks and gobbling pizza from the adjacent 3 Guys Pies before the members of the Punk Rock Burlesque troupe take to the stage and monopolize everyone's attention. Between the thrashing guitars and the artful teasing, Sinful Sundays sound like a devilishly good time. Admission is free; visit Punk Rock Burlesque's Ticketfly page for more details.
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