Mile High culture lovers are spoiled for choice in the days ahead as bookstores, concert venues, and even a cannabis church open their doors to the public for free events. Meet an author, see a world-class performance, or find the perfect gift for the stoner on your Christmas list at one of the five best free events in the Denver area this week.
CU Faculty Tuesdays: Two Pianos
Tuesday, December 12, 7:30 p.m.
Grusin Music Hall
The Faculty Tuesday Presents music series at the University of Colorado Boulder puts the spotlight on talented musicians in the CU Performing Arts orbit, at concerts that are grand as they are intimate. With an ensemble comprising a trio of pianists seated at two pianos, plus accompaniment from two cellists, two percussionists and a horn player, the concert is a showcase for the musical versatility of the piano, as well as the immense skill required to conquer it. The program opens with Francis Poulenc's "Élégie" and “Bal Masqué," followed by Robert Schumann's quirky "Andante and Variations;" it concludes with Béla Bartók's sonata for two pianos and percussion, an infamous work that requires the skill of a virtuoso to even attempt. Join Alexandra Nguyen, Hsiao-Ling Lin and Jennifer Hayghe on the keys, David Requiro and Meta Weiss on the strings, Michael Tetreault and John Kenzie on percussion, and Michael Thornton on the horn for the university's weekly gift to classical-music lovers. Visit the CU Presents events page to learn more.
BookBar Book Club: Jazz, by Toni Morrison
Wednesday, December 13, 7 p.m.
Regular book club meetings can be a steep commitment for busy Denverites who lack the time. Fortunately for the busily bookish, Denver's BookBar presents monthly book club readings facilitated by writers, educators and other accomplished friends of the store. Join BookBar regular Kateri Kramer for a reading from Toni Morrison's Jazz, followed by an in-depth and hopefully wine-soaked discussion about the text. One of Morrison's boldest literary experiments, Jazz follows the improvisational variations of the music that inspired it, telling and retelling the tragic tale like a musician riffing on a songbook standard. Jazz can present a bit of a challenge to uninitiated readers, so Kramer's guidance is especially helpful this month. Find more details on BookBar's events calendar.
Stage Tales 3
Thursday, December 14, 8 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Just one of many fine events at Mutiny, Broadway's most bustling bookstore, Stage Tales is the brainchild of Mutiny co-proprietor and music-scene veteran Jim Norris, a storytelling show focusing on the debauched, deranged or disillusioning tales of musicians, roadies and various other scenesters. In the third episode, Norris welcomes music producer Tim Flanagan along with Aaron Howell of MF Ruckus and WHITE FUDGE, plus a special surprise guest sharing tales of the rock-and-roll lifestyle. Admission is free, but donations for the performers are always gladly accepted. Visit Mutiny's Facebook events page for more details.
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Stoned for The Holidays — A Micro Market
Friday, December 15, 3 to 6 p.m.
International Church of Cannabis
A wonderful anomaly that only the Mile High City could produce, the International Church of Cannabis has quickly become a local landmark — despite the protestations of its neighbors and the heavy hand of the law. Any readers who haven't seized the opportunity to check out the Church's funky restorations have another chance on Friday, December 15, at Stoned for the Holidays. Admission is free at this micro market spotlighting local vendors such as LitYogi Apparel by Greenlove Denver, Kenesha Facello Photography & Holiday Cards, SureFineLoud Agate and Crystals, ColorUp Therapeutics CBD Products and many more. Guests can also participate in a yoga class (for a donation), or learn more about the Elevationist belief system. Find more information on the Facebook events page.
Victory Tree Lighting Ceremony
Saturday, December 16, noon to close
4201 South Navajo Street, Englewood
Steve Farland, founder of the Chairman, and artist Brian Sartor are hosting an open house and lighting ceremony celebrating the Victory Tree, a sculpture made of chairs that has been decorated for the holidays. From noon to five, you can meet the creators; the party starts at 6 p.m. with music, wine and a lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. For more information, call 303-733-2100 or go to the victoryart.com.
Looking for more to do? Visit Westword's calendar online.