The weekend is nigh, which can feel like either a blessing or a curse depending on the state of your pocketbook. So take heart, destitute Denverites, for Westword has scoured the local entertainment calendar for the best events in town that won't break the bank. Admission to any of the ten events listed below is available for ten dollars and under, including five that are completely free. Museum-goers, cinephiles, comedy nerds and Lucha Libre fanatics in particular have a bevy of entertainments awaiting them all weekend long, helpfully listed below in chronological order. You're welcome.
Thursday, September 21, 7:30 p.m.
El Charrito Comedy RoomRoom
For a show that originated in a living room in Albuquerque, Comedians Power Hour has come a long way. Currently hosted and produced by prodigal Denverite Brett Heicher, Power Hour is now a regular showcase in Brooklyn that Heicher and his NYC co-host Sarah Kennedy have adapted for a wide variety of stages all across the country. A paen to comedic inebriation, Power Hour calls upon comics to compete in an increasingly absurd gauntlet of standup challenges punctuated by shots of PBR (and liquor in the final rounds). The match on Thursday, September 21, pits returning champions Kyle Pogue and Timmi Lasley against challengers Steve Vanderploeg and Brad Galli in a tag-team bout for the honor of Power Hour champion. To learn more and buy tickets, only $5, visit the Power Hour Nightout page.
Thursday, September 21, 8 p.m.
Life is too short to watch bad comedy. Colorado abounds with free comedy shows, but without proper curation from savvy producers and capable hosts, most of these events are tantamount to open mics, where even a free ticket can feel like a rip-off. Comedy in the Alley is a free weekly showcase that brings the best local and traveling comics to a narrow bar off Littleton's Main Street. Co-hosted by Cody Spyker and Jacob Rupp of the Ice Cream Social podcast, Comedy in the Alley is a straightforward showcase format that allows fledgling comics to stretch their wings with longer sets and for seasoned pros to drop a little science. The lineup on Thursday, September 21, includes local mirth merchants John Bueno and Jeremy Pysher along with Detroit's Hayden Kirstal and Los Angeles's Finn Straley opening for Denver comedy legend Nora Lynch. Visit the Facebook events page for more details.
Friday, September 22, 8 p.m.
The Oriental Theater
While standup comedy and professional wrestling have been historically regarded as strictly dude-centric purviews, such ideas discount the efforts of distaff comics, wrestlers and fans. Here to correct the record, Denver's Best Comedy Night is honoring womankind with Lucha Libre & Laughs: Smash the Glass Ceiling. With an all-women lineup on the mic and in the ring, the evening promises thrilling bouts between punch paragons such as Allie Gato, Solo Darling, Unholy Trinity, Sage Sin and more with running color commentary from Ian Douglas Terry and Denver comedy champion Nathan Lund. With Queen City crushers Allison Rose, Rachel Weeks, Miriam Moreno and headliner Nora Lynch providing the "laughs" side of the equation, the patriarchy is in for a bruisin', and caddish emcee Bobby Valentino may finally get his comeuppance. Learn more and buy tickets, $10, on the Oriental Theater calendar.
September 22 to 24; showtimes vary
The Deer Pile
A harrowing tale of jealousy poisoning an old friendship, Stephen Belber's TAPE balances pot-boiling suspense with the intimacy of a diary journal. Previously adapted by Richard Linklater into a motion picture starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, the play tells the story of an on-the-rise filmmaker meeting up with his high school buddy prior to a career-making screening, only to have old entanglements tear their bond asunder. Mounted by local theater troupe Gang of Four Productions, this version of TAPE has found a fitting home for its claustrophobic chamber drama at local DIY arts space the Deer Pile, which will host evening and matinee performances. Learn more and buy tickets, $5, from Gang of Productions online.
Saturday, September 23; hours vary
A bounty of arts, culture and information awaits curious minds all over the state on Saturday, September 23, aka the Smithsonian magazine-sponsored National Museum Day Live. With the goal of fostering a lifelong love of learning, the esteemed publication has enlisted a staggering variety of participating venues to open their doors to ticket holders, displaying fine exhibits for free in the pursuit of shared knowledge. Participating Colorado museums include the San Luis Valley Museum, the Aspen Art Museum, the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Cowboy Museum, the Loveland Museum, the Byers-Evans House Museum, the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys and many more. Head over to the Smithsonian online to see a full list of participating museums and to register for your free ticket.
El Santo's 100th Birthday Celebration
Saturday, September 23, noon to 8 p.m.
Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake
Arguably the most famous luchador of all time, Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta (aka El Santo) was a movie star, wrestling champion and Mexican folk hero rolled into one. During a career that spanned five decades — Huerta passed away in 1984 — El Santo did more than almost anyone to popularize the sport of lucha libre, including lending his likeness to comic books and appearing in a series of delightfully absurd movies such as Santo and Blue Demon vs. Doctor Frankenstein and Santo vs. the She-Wolves. The kindly cinephiles over at Alamo Drafthouse are celebrating the life and career of El Santo in a daylong festival co-sponsored by the Botanic Gardens and BuCu West. Hosted by Frank Romero, the celebration (held on what would have been Huerta's hundredth birthday) will also include live lucha libre courtesy of Rocky Mountain Pro. While the picture quality of some screenings will fall below the Alamo's typically exacting standards, these truly bonkers films simply must be seen to be believed. Besides, tickets only cost one American dollar via the Drafthouse website, where you can also learn more about the Texas-based theater franchise's Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
September 23 to 24, noon
Crate-diggers, bargain-hunters and vinyl enthusiasts alike can rejoice this weekend, for deals and steals abound at Recollect Records' Fall Clean Out Sale. The store's proprietors need to clear their shelves for new inventory, so they're offering over 10,000 LPs priced at one American dollar, and sweetening the deal with buy-one-get-one-free specials. With a couple DJs on deck to spin tunes during the shopping frenzy, guests can boogie down while beefing up their collections. For more information, look no further than the Facebook events page.
Sunday, September 24, 10:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
The Glitter Dome Events Center
Never let it be said that the cruisers and bruisers of Denver's roller derby community don't have hearts of gold. Still riding high from a recent trip to the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's International Playoffs in Malmo, Sweden, the Denver Roller Derby squad is hosting an open scrimmage event to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey. Spotlighting adult and junior scrimmages, the event is an ideal way to indulge in the spirit of friendly competition while supporting a worthy cause. Whether you're looking to strap on some skates and get into the action or merely watch from a comfortable distance, you can find out more on the Facebook events page. Donations can be made with cash or Venmo at the door, or directly to the Glitter Dome Events Center online.
Sunday, September 24, 6 to 9 p.m.
The circus is in town, now and forevermore as the Circus Collective opens its door on Sunday, September 24. The new fitness center and dance studio opening up shop in the bustling Ballpark neighborhood will host a grand-opening celebration that promises to be a lively affair. Enjoy jaw-dropping movement-art performances plus tasty tamales from La Popular and wines from Barbi Benton while contemplating a membership at a new establishment offering an utterly unique workout experience. For more details, visit the Facebook events page.
Sunday, September 24, 6 p.m.
Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
A local watering hole located in a former house of ill repute, Ophelia's Electric Soapbox is one of the city's more delightful places to go for a drink and a bite. While the cocktail and "gastrobrothel" menu are enough to make any visit to Ophelia's worthwhile, the venue also offers a thriving entertainment calendar, which on Sunday, September 24,includes an appearance from folk musician Lief Sjostrom. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more, and listen to Sjostrom's album Her Prayers Sound Like Warnings on Spotify.