While readers may be eager to spend the weekend napping off Thanksgiving indulgences and avoiding the Black Friday masses, there are delights in store for those looking for things to do. Even better, readers can attend the following events while saving money for the seasonal giving gauntlet; nothing on this list charges more than $10 for admission, and seven of these events charge no cover fees at all. Keep reading to find out more about the ten best free and cheap events in Denver this weekend.
Red Bows and Silver Bells Holiday Art Show Preview
Friday, November 24, noon to 6 p.m.
Arts at Denver Gallery
Now that Thanksgiving is over, even the hum-buggingest Coloradans will be overwhelmed by the Christmas spirit for the next thirty days. While the consumerist frenzy of the season can be as distasteful as last year's fruitcake, there's no denying the enduring warmth of holiday imagery. Paintings of cozy cottages nestled into snowy woods, colorful ornaments, a rosy cheeked Santa Clause and more will be on lively display during the Arts at Denver Gallery's Red Bows and Silver Bells Holiday Art Show Preview. See charming new works from gallery artists, behold the Tree of Christmas Trees," and find the perfect gift for your churchy aunt during a free and festive opening reception for the new exhibit. Find more details on the Facebook events page.
Light the Lights
Friday, November 24, 6 p.m.
Denver City and County Building
While passersby can enjoy the the twinkling wonder of holiday decorations all season long, who can resist the pizazz of a lighting ceremony? Watching a heretofore darkened municipal building transformed by a sudden burst of multicolored light is sure to set hearts a-stirring. This evening at dusk, Denver's imposing neoclassical City and County Building gets a luminescent makeover when Mayor Michael Hancock flips on the holiday lights for the first time in 2017. With live music, a beer garden, food trucks, and a live broadcast from 9 News, everyone in the city is welcome to get in on the festivities. The program also features a presentation by the Giving Tree, which will be collecting hats, scarves, coats and other winter gear for Human Service's GIVE Denver program. Find out more on the Denver Office of Special Events' Facebook events page.
Sexpot Comedy Presents the Nerd Roast: Directors
Friday, November 24, 7 p.m.
El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom
Since debuting two years ago, Sexpot Comedy's Nerd Roast quickly grew into a final Friday tradition for the entire Denver comedy community. Though the pay is scant and booking is a logistical nightmare, the show is a true labor of love for co-hosts/producers Preston Tompkins and Zach Reinert. After skewering several key sectors of fandom, including comic books, fantasy novels, and cartoons, the Nerd Roast is gunning for cinephiles with a parody of prominent filmmakers. The dais includes Olivia Schyling as Patty Jenkins, Alex Creasy as Steven Spielberg, Ben Bryant as Michael Bay, Roger Stafford as Quentin Tarantino, Janae Burris as Spike Lee and too many more directors/comedians to list here. Admission is free; find more details on the Nerd Roast's Facebook Events page.
Park Hill Art Festival Holiday Handmade Market
November 24 to 25, 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Park Hill Masonic Lodge
While the deal-crazed hordes descend upon big-box stores in frightening numbers, shoppers in search of more unique gifts can find treasures aplenty at the Park Hill Art Festival's Holiday Handmade Market. Over sixty different festival affiliated artists and vendors will be slinging their wares at the Park Hill Masonic lodge, located at 4819 East Montview Boulevard, for a two-day long artsy extravaganza. Shop for pottery, blown glass, paintings, jewelry, and more, while munching on tasty fare that's crafted as lovingly as the art on display. Find out more from the Park Hill Arts Festival events page.
Small Business Saturday: Indies First
Saturday, November 25, All Day
BookBar, Tattered Cover
First envisioned by Sherman Alexie in 2013, Indies First is a nationwide campaign on behalf of independent booksellers. Neatly coinciding with Small Business Saturday and Local First Week, hometown book stores such as the Tattered Cover and BookBar have planned a number of different events to mark the occasion. Wherever readers decide to celebrate, they'll have the opportunity to stock up on gifts while mingling with local authors such as Phil Goodstein, Mario Acevedo, Brenna Yovanoff, and many more. Visit the events calendar for BookBar and the Tattered Cover respectively for more information.
Pussy Bros. Birthday Party with the Fine Gentleman's Club
Saturday, November 25, 10 p.m.
Though the individual comedic stylings and group dynamic of Denver standup supergroup the Pussy Bros. are sui generis, the group's formation was directly inspired by former Westword cover boys, the Fine Gentleman's Club. After seeing what Bobby Crane, Nathan Lund, Sam Tallent, and Chris Charpentier had accomplished as a team, Janae Burris, Christie Buchele, Rachel Weeks and the late Jordan Wieleba joined forces for a monthly showcase that's blossomed into a full-on brand, complete with adorably kitten-centric merchandise. Worlds collide tomorrow night as the Bros welcome the Gents to co-headline their theme-driven Birthday Party showcase at the Rackhouse Pub. Unfortunately Charpentier won't be able to make the show, but for Denver comedy diehards, even three-quarters of the Fine Gents reuniting is cause for celebration. Visit the Pussy Bros' Nightout page to buy tickets, $5, and find out more.
The Art of Brunch
Sunday, November 26, 11 a.m.
The Art District on Santa Fe
Add a little culture to your Sunday morning meal at the Art Brunch, a tasty and tasteful collaboration between some of the finest galleries in the Art District on Santa Fe. Visitors can nibble away at a wide array of breakfast bites while perusing the collections of participating outlets such as Spark Gallery, Mai Wyn Fine Art, Grace Gallery Fine Art, Kanon Collective, along with dozens more. Starting Sunday, November 26, at 11 a.m., the Art of Brunch is an ideal way to break free of the monotony of brunch culture and to feast your eyes as well as your stomach. Find out more on the Art District's Facebook events page.
Jazz Dinner with the Annie Booth Trio
Sunday, November 26, 6 to 10 p.m.
Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
With one of the busiest concert schedules on the Denver music scene, it's easy to see (and hear) why the Annie Booth Trio is in such high demand. After playing together for nearly a decade, Booth has developed a mind meld with her bandmates (drummer Alejandro Castaño and bassist Patrick McDevitt), enchanting crowds with tuneful energy. An award-winning pianist and composer, Booth's original compositions are as notable for their eclectic influences as they are for their sonic beauty. The Trio will be performing during dinner service at Ophelia's Electric Soapbox, a renovated brother-cum-restaurant and music venue that's almost intimidatingly hip. Find more details on Annie Booth's official schedule.
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The Humanity of Orangutans
Monday, November 27, 7 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Local playwright Melissa Lucero McCarl has a new work she's nearly ready to share with the world, a play intriguingly titled The Humanity of Orangutans. McCarl and Colorado's own And Toto Too Theatre Company are debuting the show in an appealingly low key setting on Monday, November 27. Join And Toto Too Theatre Company players Royce Rosewood, Arlene Rapal, Maggy Stacy, Paul Page, Annie Oberbroeckling, Mark Pergola, Brian Harper, Gabriel Morales, and Mark Collins along with director Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski for an entertainingly low-key staged reading of McCarl's brand new script. (Sadly no actual orangutans will be in attendance, and while Westword concedes that hosting such an animal would be a logistical nightmare and probable hazard, it's still a disappointment). Curious readers can find more information on And Toto Too's Facebook events page, and make reservations by calling 720-583-3975.
Faculty Artist Series: Pianist Peter Friesen
Monday, November 27, 7:30 p.m.
King Center Recital Hall
For bored students and classical music aficionados alike, Colorado's institutions of higher learning are godsends. Enjoy some high culture without the accompanying high prices at a piano recital from Metropolitan State University instructor Peter Friesen. The program includes Dia Succari's "La nuit du destin," Luis Jorge Gonzalez's "City Twilights," and Tan Dun's "8 Memories in Watercolor," bookended by a pair of works from one of history's greatest composers for the piano, Frederic Chopin. Opening with the "Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp minor, Op. 39," before winding the evening down with "Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52." Friesen has curated a songbook that showcases the range of his immense skills, put to work here in the service of delighting listeners. Visit MSU's events calendar for more details.
Looking for more to do? Visit Westword's online calendar.