Free for All: The Five Best Free Events in Denver This Week

Kaitlin Ziesmer is among the featured artists at Cooper + Dash's What Up, Nerds? gallery reception.
Kaitlin Ziesmer is among the featured artists at Cooper + Dash's What Up, Nerds? gallery reception. Kaitlin Ziesmer
June may be winding to a close, but that hasn't slowed Denver's creative community. Whether you're experimenting with European board games, eyeing nerd-inspired artwork in a hip boutique or taking songwriting lessons from Jill Sobule, you have access to everything you need to stay cultured, informed and entertained. Better yet, each of the five events listed below are entirely free — so the only way to lose this week is by staying home.

click to enlarge NACHO FACELLO, FLICKR
Nacho Facello, Flickr
Board Game Night
Monday, June 26 and Thursday, June 29, 5 p.m.
Denver Central Games
Denver Central Games is a local hub of geekery and a treasure trove for every stripe of tabletop gamer. From Magic the Gathering and Warhammer 40K to Dungeons & Dragons and Pokémon, DCG has the answer to all your nerdly needs. More than a mere storefront, the South Denver staple also serves as a gathering place for game enthusiasts to trade, compare wares and compete in tournaments. On Monday, June 26, and Thursday, June 29, the store will be hosting its biweekly open-play Board Game Night, inviting guests to bring their own games or try out new ones from the store's demo shelf.

click to enlarge MATT SHURBEN
Matt Shurben
Songwriting Workshop With Jill Sobule
Wednesday, June 28, 6 p.m.
DIME Denver

If you're harboring the desire to write your own songs but find yourself in need of professional guidance, a golden opportunity awaits this week. On Wednesday, June 28, singer-songwriter Jill Sobule will be hosting a free songwriting workshop, explaining the tricks of the trade to eager students of all ages. Best known for her mid-’90s soundtrack staples "I Kissed a Girl" and "Supermodel," Sobule writes songs infused with tuneful emotions and deeply ironic lyrics. With a combination of stream-of-conscious writing techniques, mnemonic games and fruitful collaborations, the workshop promises to be as entertaining as it is informative. Visit the workshop's Eventbrite page to complete the free registration.

Keep reading for more free events.
click to enlarge GEOFF DECKER
Geoff Decker
Live at Ratio: Nathan Lund
Wednesday, June 28, 8 p.m.
Ratio Beerworks

Over the few years it's been in operation, Ratio Beerworks has evolved from a forward-thinking brewery willing to allow comics to experiment in its spacious back room into a full-fledged entertainment venue that's become central to the character of the arty RiNo neighborhood. Eager to lay some of that magic down on wax, the Ratio Live Series was started so that prominent local musicians and comedians could record their best work, thereby taking the next step in their careers. On Wednesday, June 28, Denver comedy champion and erstwhile fine gentleman Nathan Lund joins the handful of comics (including resident Ratio show-runner Ian Douglas Terry) who've chosen Ratio as the setting to record a comedy album. Newly shorn and sober, Lund has redoubled his focus on comedy in recent months, working consistently as a Comedy Works regular and co-host of the charitably-minded showcase Power Move, appearing as featured commentator for Mile High Movie Roast and Lucha Libre & Laughs, and hosting Film on the Rocks. But proper headlining gigs are sparse around town. Here's a local comedy fan's chance to fully enter the Lunderdome as he winds his wordy way from "Dick Wolf" all the way to "Clear Mustard" on his debut album.

click to enlarge BRAD SMITHLING
Brad Smithling
What Up, Nerds? Gallery Reception
Thursday, June 29, 6-8 p.m.
Cooper + Dash Gifts and Gallery

Artsy emporium Cooper + Dash is nerding up its hip storefront and gallery on Thursday, June 29, with the What Up, Nerds? Gallery Reception, featuring the geek-inspired works of local artists Kaitlin Ziesmer and Rob Jordan. Juxtaposing fan-favorite characters from cherished properties like Star Wars with ironic new contexts, Ziesmer and Jordan's paintings appeal to space nerds and gallery snobs alike. At the opening reception, guests will watch twelve local artists live-paint their own distinctive vinyl Dunny figurines from KidRobot.

Artist Panel With Michael Paglia
Friday, June 30, 6 p.m.
Sandra Phillips Gallery

How are the most vital social issues reflected in the contemporary art world, and how should an artist relate to them? Ponder these questions and more with Westword art critic Michael Paglia on Friday, June 30, as part of the Final Friday Artist Panel series at Sandra Phillips Gallery. Enjoy Paglia's knowledge, culled from years of expertise, as he leads a lively discussion, and enjoy some of the eye-popping work in the gallery while you're at it. Visit the Sandra Phillips Gallery Facebook page to learn more.

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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