June is nearly upon us, dear readers. For many workaday people, a new month means a new set of bills that make entertainment seem like frivolous luxury. Luckily for cash-strapped locals, Denver creatives offer a number of affordable entertainments to their fellow citizens week in and week out, and the days ahead are no exception. Art auctions, comedy shows, live concerts and season-opening celebrations are popping up all over the Front Range this weekend, and Westword has helpfully assembled a list of humble suggestions below. Keep reading for the ten best free and cheap events in Denver this weekend.
Coração Brazilian Quartet
Thursday, May 31, 7 to 10:30 p.m.
Comprising Eric Gunnison on piano, Bill Kopper on guitar, Bill McCrossen on bass and Raoul Rossiter on drums and percussion, the Coração Brazilian Quartet united over a shared love of Brazilian music, including bossa nova, samba, choro and baião. Every Thursday night at local jazz joint Nocturne, the quartet's talented members work through a repertoire of Brazillian composers such as Pixinguinha, Antônio Carlos Jobim, João Donato and many, many more. Sway to the sounds of South America every Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. and enjoy the Coração Brazilian Quartet's weekly residency while it lasts. Admission is $8 at the door. Visit Nocturne's events calendar to learn more and make reservations.
Guest List Comedy Show
Thursday, May 31, 8 p.m.
The Bakery Arts Warehouse
Ben Bryant's aisle-packing Guest List Comedy Show returns to the Bakery Arts Warehouse for another cavalcade of Mile High mirth merchants. The tightly curated lineup includes local favorites Nicholai Roscoe, Brett Hiker, Caitie Hannan, Geoff Tice, ShaNae Ross and headliner John Tole, plus an unholy hybrid of sketch, standup, video and various other humorous hijinks. Attendees can also expect a few drop-in sets. Tickets are $5 at Eventbrite; admission includes free beer and Sexy Pizza, courtesy of sponsors Pabst Blue Ribbon and Sexpot Comedy.
Colorado Governor’s Art Show and Sale
Friday, June 1 and 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Colorado Governor's Art Show and Sale debuted on May 12, but the exhibition is still in full swing and continues through the weekend with the Plein Air Festival and Auction, which offers guests insight into the artistic process and a chance to bid on works. In addition to a fine shop-portunity and arty party, the Governor's Art Show also has an altruistic component: A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the Thompson Education Foundation’s Homeless Assistance Fund along with a number of other worthy causes and charitable organizations. Admission is free for museum members and $5 for everyone else. Visit the Colorado Governor’s Art Show and Sale home page for more details.
Open Music Sessions: Kid Astronaut
Friday, June 1, 7 to 10 p.m.
Denver Open Media
One block west of the Santa Fe Arts District's monthly art walk, Denver Open Media showcases the local creatives who make Denver's music, filmmaking, comedy and various other arts scenes special. Co-sponsored by Sexpot Comedy and KGNU Community Radio, Open Music Sessions spotlights the Intendence Film Festival before welcoming headliner Kid Astronaut to rock the house. Can't be there in person? The show will be simulcast on Channel 57 and DOM's live stream. Admission is free; visit Denver Open Media's Facebook events page to learn more.
Friday Night Weird: Taxi Driver
Friday, June 1, 8:45 p.m.
Boedecker Theater, Boulder
$6.50 to $12
The 71st Cannes Film Festival may have bid adieu to the Croisette until next year, but the programmers at Friday Night Weird are dedicating June's film retrospective series to Cannes' influence on world cinema. Rather than screening past Palme d'Or winners, "Panned at Cannes" focuses on classic films that raised heckles, divided the festival's vocal audiences and went home empty-handed. The series opens with Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, a widely misunderstood tale of a deranged vigilante (a gaunt, mumbly and mohawked Robert DeNiro) and his violent descent into madness. The film, generally considered a masterpiece these days, was loudly booed by the audience when it premiered in 1976. Admission is $6.50 to $12.50 at the Dairy Center's box-office page.
Midnight Madness: Spirited Away
June 1 and 2, midnight
A lovingly animated feast for the eyes and the imagination, Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning Spirited Away retains every bit of its wonder some sixteen years after its initial release. The charmingly dream-logic-driven tale of Chihiro, a ten-year-old kid who wanders through an abandoned theme park into a whimsical spirit world populated by strange creatures, ghosts and witches, Spirited Away is arguably the finest feature from Japan's revered Studio Ghibli. In a bit of bad news for logophobes, the film will be shown in the original Japanese with English subtitles. Visit the Landmark Esquire's box-office page to buy tickets, $9.50, and find out more.
Farmers' Market Opening Day
Saturday, June 2, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Summertime has arrived in earnest, and Denver's longest-running farmers' markets have returned to four locations just in time. Celebrate the early harvest at the Metro Denver's Farmers' Market at Southwest Plaza. Shop for farm-fresh produce, handmade goods and an array of other toothsome treats from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday October 27. In addition to stocking their shelves, guests can also consult resident expert Auma Gosh for recipes and recommendations. Visit the Metro Denver Farmers' Market's home page for more details about all four markets.
Mile High Soul Club
Saturday, June 2, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Attention, groove goblins: Perennial Best of Denver award winner Mile High Soul Club returns to Syntax Physic Opera for another evening of boogieing to the sounds of yesteryear. With a hit-packed stack of vinyl 45s, Mile High Soul Club is dedicated to providing all the sounds you need to get down, this time courtesy of Portland-based special guest DJ A-Train. Admission is $5 at the door. Visit Mile High Soul Club's Facebook events page for more information.
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Bonsai Show by Darrell Whitley
June 3 to 10, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens
$9 to $12.50
Nothing inspires the art of gardening quite like bonsai trees, among the most labor-intensive species in the plant kingdom. Known for their delicate beauty and the almost meditative patience it takes to cultivate them, properly maintained bonsai can live up to 500 years in a suitable environment. Discover more about what makes these little trees so special at the Bonsai Show by Darrell Whitley, which premieres on Sunday, June 3 at the York Street location of the Denver Botanic Gardens and runs every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Sunday, June 10. A handy greenthumb with a deep reverence for the centuries-old Japanese cultivation technique, Whitley's collection of bonsai are meticulously pruned and adapted to Colorado's unique climate. Enjoy these living sculptures free with museum admission; visit the Denver Botanic Gardens box-office page to buy tickets, $9 to $12.50 and the Facebook events page to learn more.
City Park Jazz: Jyemo Club
Sunday, June 3, 6 to 8 p.m.
A cherished institution for local music lovers, City Park Jazz is jump-starting the 2018 season with a spicy blend of sounds courtesy of the Denver-based Jyemo Club. Spearheaded by Jonny Jyemo, the ten-piece ensemble includes members from four different countries whose influence is felt in their toe-tapping hybrid of Latin and Caribbean beats with soulful bilingual singing and funky flourishes. The concert series continues every Sunday until August 5. Admission is free. Visit the City Park Jazz events calendar to learn more.
Looking for more to do? Visit the Westword calendar. And if you have an event you want us to consider for this list, please send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.