Arts and Culture

Ten Things to Do in Denver for $10 and Under

Go hog wild at the Thanks-living Piglet Snuggle and Gift Market at Broken Shovels Farm on Sunday, November 18.
Go hog wild at the Thanks-living Piglet Snuggle and Gift Market at Broken Shovels Farm on Sunday, November 18. Ken Hamblin III
The weekend is nearly here, work-weary Coloradans. Film buffs, comedy nerds, green thumbs and music aficionados alike have plenty of reasons to rejoice when the Denver arts and culture scene competes for their attention with an array of free and cheap events. Keep reading for ten great ways to save a buck while having a blast for $10 or less.

Nosferatu: Legend of Dracula
November 15 to 17, 7 p.m.
Denver Center for International Studies
$5 to $8

The Denver Center for International Studies Drama Club is out for blood with its presentation of Nosferatu: Legend of Dracula, a production that young thespians can really sink their fangs into. A stage adaptation of the masterpiece of German Expressionist cinema (see the trailer for that film above) — which bore such a strong resemblance to its unofficial literary inspiration that Bram Stoker's widow sued filmmaker F.W. Murnau for copyright infringement — Nosferatu proves that history's greatest vampire story is equally chilling on the screen, page or stage. Visit the Denver Center for International Studies theater box-office page for tickets, $5 to $8, and more details. 

Courtesy of Stapleton MCA
Winter Welcome
Friday, November 16, 6 p.m.
Stapleton Town Center MCA

Stapletonians who want a grand lighting ceremony that doesn't require scrambling for a parking spot near Civic Center Park are in luck when the Master Community Association (MCA) shuts down the streets and switches on the lights for its annual Winter Welcome. In addition to the unveiling of a light display that shimmers through the gloom of a long winter night, the festivities also include a pair of dancing Christmas trees, a roving band of carolers, and open-house events at the shops lining 29th Avenue. Food trucks, along with cold weather treats like s'mores, hot chocolate, and roasted almonds, will also be available. Don't miss this chance to cozy up around a fire pit and gobble up an early serving of holiday cheer. Admission costs $2 at the on-site ticket booth, and a portion of the proceeds from all the evening's sales will be donated to various local nonprofit organizations. Find out more on the Stapleton MCA events calendar.

Dirt! Opening Night
Friday, November 16, 6 to 9 p.m.
The People's Building

Aspiring greenthumbs would be wise to begin their respective forays into urban agriculture with a visit to the opening night of Dirt!, a series of workshops dedicated to helping make your garden grow. Sponsored by the do-goodniks of the Plant the Seed Project, Dirt! kicks off on Friday, November 16 with a community gathering followed by a screening of the documentary Can You Dig This?, and continues at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 17 with informative seminars and discussion panels. Learn more on Plant the Seed Project's Facebook events page.

click to enlarge Story Time! host and one-liner enthusiast James Draper. - ANDREW BRAY
Story Time! host and one-liner enthusiast James Draper.
Andrew Bray
Story Time!
Friday, November 16, 7 p.m.
The Comedy RoomRoom

Larimer Street is due to lose one of its finest dives when El Charrito fries up its final chicharrón on Sunday, December 23, an untimely demise that's hit the Denver standup scene hardest of all. The Best of Denver award-winning Comedy RoomRoom gave free creative rein to some of the city's funniest people, including James Draper, host of the venue's flagship standup show Story Time!, an evening dedicated to the art of the one-liner. The penultimate serving of short jokes and long laughs enlists Arielle Kaplan, James Mongold, Nolawee Mengist, Miriam Moreno and headliner A.J. Finney to find the quickest path to funny and make the most of the RoomRoom's remaining days. Admission is free, but donations of $3 or more are graciously appreciated by the comedians – all of whom are still reeling with loss. Find more details on the Comedy RoomRoom's Facebook events page.

Courtesy of Stratus Chamber Orchestra
Stratus Chamber Orchestra: Focus on Spirit Through the Lens of Music
Friday, November 16, 7:30 p.m.
First Plymouth Congregational Church
$5 to $25

Surround yourself with soul-stirring sounds when the Stratus Chamber Orchestra presents Focus on Spirit Through the Lens of Music, a symphonic encounter with the divine. Conducted and curated by Colorado Public Radio Classical DJ David Rutherford, the concert strikes a range of emotional tones with works like Samuel Barber’s mournful Adagio for Strings and Johann Sebastian Bach’s triumphant Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. Buy tickets, $5 to $25, and find out more on the Augustana Arts concert calendar.

Chelsea Chen: Sawyer Memorial Organ Concert
Friday, November 16, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
First Congregational Church

Achieving mastery over an instrument too massive to fit in a standard-sized home is impressive enough, but Chelsea Chen is a true virtuoso of the pipe organ, winning accolades worldwide for her precise, yet soulful, recitals. Entrusted with the title of First Congregational Church's official Sawyer Memorial organist, Chen is alighting upon Boulder to tickle keys and pump pistons for a world-class performance presented freely to the concert-going public. The program includes compositions from John Weaver, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Henri Mulet, along with Chen's original works. For more information, look no further than the First Congregational Church events calendar.

A Night at the Opera
November 16 to 17, 7:30 p.m.
King Center Concert Hall
$8 to $12

Support the budding vocal virtuosos at A Night at the Opera, an evening of overtures and arias provided by Metropolitan State University's Opera Theatre Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. Treat your ears to a preview of the next generation's best altos, sopranos, and baritones at a pair of performances hosted by the King Center Concert Hall, located on the Auraria Campus. Admission costs $8 to $12 at the door, and more details are available on the MSU Denver music program's events calendar.

Midnight Madness: Mandy
November 16 to 17, midnight
Landmark Esquire Theatre

Feast your eyes and slake your bloodthirst with a cinematic serving of Nicolas Cage at his most unhinged – a bold claim when weighed against the Oscar-winning actor's canon of bug-eyed madman performances – when Mandy assumes its rightful place atop the throne of midnight movie-dom. Panos Cosmatos's blood-soaked and psychedelia-tinged tale of chainsaw-wielding revenge is a ready-made cult classic, created precisely for the stoners and gorehounds who haunt movie theaters as night crosses over into morning. Visit the Landmark Esquire Theatre box-office page to buy tickets, $9.50, and find out more.

click to enlarge KEN HAMBLIN III
Ken Hamblin III
Thanks-living Piglet Snuggle and Gift Market
Sunday, November 18, 1 to 3 p.m.
Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary

Give thanks and cuddles to humanely treated barnyard animals as the Broken Shovels Farm welcomes eight new adorable piglets into its friendly fold. Rescued from a factory farm, the little piggies will enjoy a measurably happier life at the Henderson-based sanctuary, and Broken Shovels supporters can greet the oinking cuties at Sunday's Thanks-living Piglet Snuggle and Gift Market. Visitors can also feed thirty baby chickens, a trio of turkeys, and Colorado's most charming blind goat, Helen. Admission is free for Broken Shovels members and $5 at the gate for everyone else. Visit Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary's Facebook events page for more details.

Africa's Great Civilizations
Sunday, November 18, 2 p.m.
Mercury Cafe

Humankind may have originated on the African continent, but accounts of its civilizations and innovations have been eclipsed by the European colonizers who exploited the land and populace for imperial riches. Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. spotlights overlooked cultural contributions with his six-part PBS documentary series Africa's Great Civilizations, a revelatory reframing of the past. Sponsored by the Colorado Committee on Africa and the Caribbean, Mercury Cafe is screening Africa's Great Civilizations episode-by-episode throughout the year, returning on Sunday, November 18 with a mid-afternoon airing of "Empires of Gold." For more details, visit the Colorado Committee on Africa and the Caribbean events page.

Do you have an event you want included on this list? Send the details to [email protected]
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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham