As July approaches, Denver's creative community has everything you need to end June with a bang and kick off a new month in high style. Thrifty locals can catch one of the country's top drag queens, gain free admission to two different art museums, laugh at comedians dressed like Batman characters and watch a classic film under the stars, all for ten dollars and under (though some caveats apply). Better yet, six of these are free and open to the public. So venture out, sweaty Denverites. All you need is a crisp Hamilton and an open mind to see all the best Colorado has to offer.
Flyp'd: Featuring Shea Couleè
Thursday, June 29, 9 p.m.
A memorable contender from the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race (where she finished in third place), Shea Couleè is the guest of honor at Tracks Flyp’d Hip-Hop Main Room Takeover this month. Legendary on the Chicago drag scene before television introduced her to an international audience, Couleè won over fans with her elaborately outlandish make-up, fashion ensembles and rhyming catchphrases like "I didn't come to play. I came to slay." She'll be joining DJs Blaque Gurl and Sonder to preside over Denver's longest-running 18-and-up dance party, looking glamorous and generally slaying as promised. With drink deals and two different dance floors to choose from, we can think of no finer way to start your weekend than dancing the night away at Flyp'd. Pre-sale tickets, $5-$10, are available via Tracks' events page.
Cherry Creek Arts Festival
June 30-July 3
Cherry Creek North
The Cherry Creek Arts Festival returns to its namesake tony borough all weekend long, starting with an exclusive preview event on Friday, June 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. before beginning in earnest at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 1, and wrapping up Monday, July 3, at 6 p.m. Spotlighting 260 different jury-approved artists from all over the world, the festival is a perfect opportunity for art lovers to add to their collections or merely gawk at the staggering array of jewelry, ceramics, paintings, photographs and sculptures on display. Aside from the gauntlet of art work, attendees of this free event can also enjoy live music on the main stage along with pop-up performances and the Janus Henderson Investor's Art Experience. Gather with artists, spectators and other fun-loving locals in Cherry Creek North, specifically between 1st and 3rd avenues and Clayton and Steele streets. Visit cherrycreekartsfestival.org to learn more.
Sexpot Comedy Presents The Nerd Roast of Batman
Friday, June 30, 7 p.m.
The month is nearly over, which means it's time for the Nerd Roast to rise again. This time co-hosts Zach Reinert and Preston Tompkins are welcoming a rogue's gallery of comics to dress up as their favorite characters from the Batman universe and let the roast jokes fly like a loose Batarang. Visiting Omaha comic Stephen Smith will be donning the cowl as Batman while Bay Area bruisers Aviva Siegel and Allison Mick appear in the roles of Poison Ivy and Batgirl. Joining them on the villain's side of the dais are Cory Helie as the Joker, Zach Welch as Bane, David Rodriguez as the Riddler, Nathan Earl as the Penguin and Cody Spyker as Harley Quinn, while Roger Stafford and Deacon Gray are on the side of justice as Robin and Alfred, respectively. While the Nerd Roast is always worth checking out, this is one of the best lineups the show has had yet. Admission is free; visit the Nerd Roast's Facebook events page to learn more.
Friday Night Weird: City on Fire
Friday, June 30, 8:45 p.m.
Friday Night Weird's Quentin Tarantino-inspired screening series continues this week with an overlooked classic from the Hong Kong action-movie canon, with Ringo Lam's tense 1987 heist movie City on Fire. While delivering on the bullet-riddled spectacle genre fans have come to expect, the Chow Yun-Fat-starring film is also rich with double-crosses, shifting alliances and thrilling suspense, and its influence upon Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs is unmistakable. Gather with a gaggle of fellow cinephiles at Boedecker Theater, 2590 Walnut Street, on Friday, June 30, at 8:45 p.m. for a screening of a movie that demands to be watched on a giant screen. Tickets, $6-$11, are available from tickets.thedairy.org.
Comedy Super Jam Vol. 6
Friday, June 30, 9:30 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Denver comedians are self-starting DIY-ers and shameless self-promoters out of necessity. It's a crowded landscape where creating your own performance opportunities is often necessary. While many of these efforts fail, the best local showcases pack unconventional venues and carefully curate their lineups. Comedy Super Jam, which starts at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, June 30, is one of the good ones. Co-hosted and co-produced by local joke-smiths Miriam Moreno and Georgia Rae, the free monthly show found a fitting home at Baker's favorite book store, Mutiny Information Cafe. Join Rae and Moreno along with local comics Brett Hiker, Sam Malcolm and Andres Becerril as well as Albuquerque's Genevieve Garcia de Mueller for a fun-filled showcase headlined by Denver Comedy Champion Nathan Lund.
Read on for more cheap things to do in Denver.
Free First Saturday
Saturday, July 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Denver Art Museum
For artsy Denverites in the know, the arrival of a new month also means another Free First Saturday at the Denver Art Museum (100 West 14th Avenue Parkway). Admission to all the museum's non-ticketed exhibitions is free and open to the public, who can enjoy exciting new exhibits nearly every month, as well as a world-class permanent collection, which boasts everything from pre-Columbian artifacts to paintings by Claude Monet and Winslow Homer. Even the museum itself is a work of art; just walking through the Gio Ponti- or Daniel Libeskind-designed buildings is worth braving the increased crowds. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit denverartmuseum.org to learn more. If that's not enough free art for you, keep reading for another great opportunity to see art and save money.
Penny Saturday at MCA Denver
Saturday, July 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
For Coloradans who love art but balk at admission fees, first Saturdays are a godsend. If your tastes skew modern, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) any time from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and see the entire collection all for one red American cent. With exhibitions from Ryan McGinley, Jenny Morgan and Derrick Velasquez currently on display, it's honestly well worth paying MCA's modest admission fees. But if you're extra thrifty and don't mind a crowd, a copper Lincoln is all you need to get in. This deal is only available to Colorado residents, so pay up, tourists. Visit mcadenver.org to learn more.
Blue Starlite Drive-In Theater: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Saturday, July 1
Little Beach Park Theater
Cinephiles and Americana enthusiasts alike mourn the decline of the drive-in theater experience. Uniquely nostalgic for people who still remember them, only a few stalwarts still offer seasonal screenings. Fortunately for Coloradans, the Austin-based Blue Starlite Drive-In Theater chose scenic Minturn for its second location. Befitting the quirky character of the historic mining town, Blue Starlite currently holds the record for “highest drive-in in the world.” Screening fan favorites and cult classics on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, it's worthwhile for movie-loving motorists to consider buying a season pass. We recommend seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark, Stephen Spielberg's iconic and enduring rollicking adventure, and the arguable highlight of the Indiana Jones series. Visit Blue Starlite's web page to learn more and see its programming calendar. Prices for drivers and walk-ins start at $8 on Blue Starlite's box-office page.
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Sunday, July 2, 11 a.m.
Civic Center Park
While this list is mostly intended to help locals entertain themselves, we readily concede that diversions can be hard to come by in the face of what's happening in United States politics. Americans who are anxious about their access to healthcare or the dangers of climate change find their needs ignored. The civil rights of women, immigrants and religious minorities are severely threatened. And the president, aside from being an alleged sexual predator and undeniable creep, clumsily wields his executive power in order to make life worse for everyone who doesn't support him — along with the majority of those who do. Every day Trump occupies the Oval Office is a national scandal and an enduring source of national shame, assuming, of course, that there will be any nation left when he's done with us. While proper impeachment proceedings seem unlikely to emerge from the cowardly chambers of Congress, in spite of the administration's probable collusion with the Russian government and clear violations of the emoluments clause, Americans can still come together in a peaceful display of solidarity. In these frightening times, community is all we really have. Visit the Impeachment March Facebook event page to learn more.
Colorado Music Festival: Mozart with Founder Giora Bernstein
Sunday, July 2, 7:30 p.m.
Celebrate forty years of grand concerts at the Colorado Music Festival with founder Giora Bernstein on Sunday, July 2, at Boulder's historic Chautauqua Auditorium. Showcasing a Mozart-inspired program with performances of Alessandro Marcello's "Oboe Concerto" and Johann Sebastian Bach's "Concerto for Two Violins" (both in D minor), the main course is a pair of symphonies from the prodigious composer. Mozart wrote the "Haffner Symphony (No. 35 in D Major)" as well as the "Prague Symphony (No. 38 in D Major)" during one of the most productive periods of his tragically short life. Close out the weekend by taking in a little high culture and supporting one of Colorado's staunchest purveyors of the arts. Ticket prices start at $9 for members and $12 for non-members. Visit the Colorado Music Festival website to learn more and buy yours.
Looking for more to do? Check the Westword calendar.