Arts and Culture

Ten Things to Do in Denver for $10 and Under (Four Free)

Michael Ill Seven Acuña hosts the 52Eighty Entertainment Website Launch Party on Friday, December 28.
Michael Ill Seven Acuña hosts the 52Eighty Entertainment Website Launch Party on Friday, December 28. Thomas Evans
The remaining days of 2018 may be waning quickly, but the good times roll right along. You have one last weekend of delights and debauches before resolving to be a healthier and more responsible version of yourself after the clock strikes midnight on Monday, December 31, and Westword is here to offer ten affordable ways to make the most of it. Keep reading for ten things to do in Denver for $10 and under this weekend.

click to enlarge Celebrate the second night of Kwanzaa with Slam Nuba. - THOMAS B. ARNOLD
Celebrate the second night of Kwanzaa with Slam Nuba.
Thomas B. Arnold
Slam Nuba Kwanzaa Show
Thursday, December 27, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
RedLine Contemporary Art Center
$5 to $10

Light up the kinara and get ready to snap your fingers as Slam Nuba pays poetic tribute to Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration of the cultural legacy of the African diaspora. The holiday started Wednesday, December 26, and runs through Tuesday, January 1. Honoring the principle of Ujima (shared effort and collective responsibility), the participating poets spit verses with the purpose of community service. General admission is $10 at the door; bring a valid student ID for a $5 discount. Come together for a revolution of the mind tonight at RedLine Contemporary Art Center; visit Slam Nuba's Facebook events page for more details.  

Courtesy of Swing Nights
Third Annual Swing Nights Lindy Jam with the Jazz Monsters
Thursday, December 27, 8:15 p.m.
Mercury Cafe

Dip, dive and jive at the Third Annual Swing Nights Lindy Jam, your best chance to cut one final rug before 2018 comes to a close. With a big-band lineup including Spicy Pickles, Le Pompe Jazz, Mohney and headlining act the Jazz Monsters, it's sure to be a swingin' soirée. Want a little practice before hitting the dance floor? Learn how to Lindy Hop at a pair of pre-party classes (sold separately). DJ Chip Self will be on hand to keep the music going between set breaks so the footwork can flow all night long. Admission is $10 at the door; find out more on the Mercury Cafe Facebook events page.

Cartoons & Comedy
Thursday, December 27, 10 p.m.
The Black Buzzard

Nearly six years into its often troubled tenure, Cartoons & Comedy continues to serve up childhood nostalgia refracted through the irony-addled prism of adulthood, along with heaping helpings of sugary cereal. Hosted, programmed and edited by Chris Baker, the show invites local and traveling comics to crack wise, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style, over clips of ’80s and ’90s Saturday morning favorites like Muppet Babies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — plus a generous sampling of the era's over-caffeinated commercials. December's edition welcomes Allison Rose in her debut appearance along with returning favorites Jordan Doll and Troy Walker. The show is free; learn more on The Black Buzzard's Facebook events page.

Hollywood Favorite: First Man
December 27 to 29, 7:30 p.m.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
$7.95 to $9.95

It's one small step for movie-goers to check out the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, which screens all weekend long as part of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's Hollywood Favorite series. Eschewing "Great Man of History" clichés in favor of a harrowing account of the risks and rigors of lunar exploration, the film emphasizes the grave danger of the Apollo missions and honors the sacrifices of everyone involved. While filmmaker Damien Chazelle's decision to focus on the personal rather than the patriotic drew the ire of the "America First" crowd, the movie is truly an apolitical paean to the potential of humankind, so don't miss this late opportunity to see it. Visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science box-office page to buy tickets, $7.95 to $9.95, and discover more.

Friday Night Weird: Prospect
Friday, December 28, 8:45 p.m.
Boedecker Theater
$6.50 to $12

The cinema of space exploration continues at Boedecker Theater's screening of Prospect, which looks to the stars for a tense sci-fi thriller. A gripping yarn about a father-daughter duo of interplanetary gem-miners who brave the toxic landscape of a distant moon in search of a big payday, only to find ruthless competitors and a desperate struggle for survival, the film's journey to the cosmos is rooted in deeply flawed humanity. Written and directed by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell and starring Sophie Thatcher, Pedro Pascal and Jay Duplass, Prospect debuted at the 2018 South by Southwest Film Festival and has subsequently earned a cult following that makes for ideal Friday Night Weird fodder. Buy tickets, $6.50 to $12, and find out more at the Dairy Arts Center box-office page.

Friday, December 28, 9 to 11 p.m.

Get lost in the groove with FreeBear, which makes a triumphant and funky return to the Dazzle stage on Friday, December 28. Co-founded by Patrick McDevitt and Alejandro Castaño in 2010, the collective's rotating membership layers dalliances with funk, salsa and reggae with the fundamentals of jazz. FreeBear's jams spotlight a different surprise guest musician every month and are simply not to be missed. For tickets, $5, and more information, visit Dazzle's box-office page.

click to enlarge Featured performer Anthony Armstrong. - COURTESY OF ANTHONY ARMSTRONG
Featured performer Anthony Armstrong.
Courtesy of Anthony Armstrong
52Eighty Entertainment Website Launch Party
Friday, December 28, 9:30 p.m.
Bar Red

Purveyors of everything that's local and lit, 52Eighty Entertainment is gearing up for 2019 with a brand-new website, a more efficient business model and a launch party to celebrate both. Hosted by Michael Ill Seven Acuña with a constant barrage of beats provided by DJ Zenas, the evening also includes standup comedy from Tim Coleman and Anthony Armstrong, and musical performances by Mawule and Tebe Zalango. Aspiring MCs can also test their mettle in an open cypher, hopefully ending 2018 on a note of victory. Admission is free; more details are available on Bar Red's Eventbrite page.

The Jeff Nathanson Quintet
Saturday, December 29, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Pay homage to the boss of bossa nova with saxophonist and composer Jeff Nathanson and his band as they work through the storied songbook of Antônio Carlos Jobim. Among the finest songwriters, pianists and singers of Brazil's illustrious musical history, Jobim's "The Girl From Ipanema" ranks among the most re-recorded songs of all time, yet it only scratches at the surface of his immense cultural contributions. Join Nathanson for an evening of Jobim's most memorable arrangements the Jeff Nathanson Quintet returns to Nocturne on Saturday, December 29. A $9 performer contribution will be collected at the door. Visit Nocturne's events calendar to make reservations and learn more.

click to enlarge Headliner Mitch Jones. - ANDREW BRAY
Headliner Mitch Jones.
Andrew Bray
Brew-Ha-Ha Comedy Night
Saturday, December 29, 8 p.m.
The Brew on Broadway

A fresh and frothy batch of giggles awaits when the Brew-Ha-Ha Comedy Night closes out 2018 with another fine roster of local standups. Join host Anthony Crawford and a lineup comprising Denver-based mirth merchants Zeke Herrera, Miriam Moreno and headliner Mitch Jones for an underrated gem of the city's comedy calendar. Admission, as always, is free. Visit the Brew on Broadway's Facebook events page to learn more.

click to enlarge Kai Lee Mykels - HOLLADAY PHOTOGRAPHY
Kai Lee Mykels
Holladay Photography
The Kai Lee Mykels Show
Sunday, December 30, 10 a.m.
X Bar

Queen of the pulpit Kai Lee Mykels takes day-drinkers to church every Sunday at X Bar with a campy sendup of pastor-ly propriety. Settle in for a sultry sermon from a drag diva in the guise of a "Good Christian Woman," accompanied by her signature squad of altar queens, as they combine to preach the gospel of good times. he show is free; visit X Bar's Facebook events page for more details.    

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