After a gloomy weekend, a new Monday has dawned, heralding the arrival of five days' worth of entertainment. Whether readers are looking to discuss a provocative new book with its accomplished author, grill 2018 gubernatorial candidates on issues facing working families, confess secrets to a stranger or marvel at acrobatic Lucha Libre wrestling, Denver's creative community has ensured you won't be bored all week, no matter how esoteric your tastes. Furthermore, each of the events listed below offers free admission, a true gift from the city to its citizens. Keep reading for the five best free events in Denver this week.
Blanche McCrary Boyd presents Tomb of the Unknown Racist
Monday, May 21, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Tattered Cover LoDo
Her first novel in over twenty years, Blanche McCrary Boyd's Tomb of the Unknown Racist explores one woman's attempt to reckon with her family's history of white supremacy in a tale that's sadly as resonant today as it was during the novel's 1999 setting. The novel, which also examines real-life figures and events such as William Luther Pierce, Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing, is a bold foray into a malignant yet foundational element of the American character, one few other writers have the skill or fearlessness to express. The winner of numerous prestigious awards and fellowships, Boyd's return to the literary world is joyous news to readers, and her message couldn't have come along at a more fitting time. Join Boyd at the Tattered Cover bookstore's LoDo outpost for a reading and signing of Tomb of the Unknown Racist, followed by what's sure to be a lively discussion. Visit the Tattered Cover events calendar to learn more.
Gubernatorial Candidates' Forum on Work and Working Families
Tuesday, May 22, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
East High School
A crowded field of gubernatorial candidates are vying for Coloradans' votes in November, but apart from campaign ad bromides, it can be challenging to determine what these aspiring governors actually stand for. See how each candidate's proposed policies would address critical issues facing working families in Colorado at a community forum held at Denver's East High School. Participants include Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne, former Colorado State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, State Senator Michael Johnston, a surrogate for Representative Jared Polis (who will be in Washington for a vote), and Libertarian Scott Helker. Admission is free, but space is limited. RSVP via Eventbrite.
"Emotional Baggage Drop (hello stranger)"
Wednesday, May 23, hours vary
Combining the wonderment of an interactive art installation with the catharsis of a confessional booth, Stuart Semple's "Emotional Baggage Drop (hello stranger)" – part of Happy City, his six-week citywide art intervention in collaboration with the Denver Theatre District, Black Cube and ten other artists – endeavors to puncture social anxiety amid the bustling transportation hub of Union Station. What appears at first glance to be an ordinary luggage drop-off station for railways passengers reveals itself to be a repository of more metaphorical baggage. Guests are encouraged to unburden themselves to a supportive and non-judgmental stranger, and leave with a feeling of lightness and trust. The exhibit runs until June 10; visit Happy City Denver's Facebook events page for additional dates, times, Happy City events and other details.
Lucha Libre & Laughs: Pro Wrestling and Beer
Thursday, May 24, 7 to 9 p.m.
While the crew behind Lucha Libre & Laughs won't be back in its usual home at the Oriental Theater until next month's three-day Birthday Bash, Nick Gossert's brawny brigade of costumed brawlers won't leave their fans' bloodthirst unslaked. Get hyped for LLL's fifth anniversary at a free show including fan-favorite wrestlers Allie Gato, the Insatiable Johnny Crash, Anaya, Bruce Rogers, Cormac Battle and more. Enjoy tasty Ratio brews, color commentary from Nathan Lund and Ian Douglas Terry, and enough ringside thrills to last until June. Visit Lucha Libre & Laugh's Facebook events page to learn more.
SCFD Free Day
Friday, May 25, 5 to 8 p.m.
Clyfford Still Museum
The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District is dedicated to creating opportunities for Coloradans to interface with the state's finest museums, historical landmarks and gardens. That noble mission statement includes sponsoring free nights at vital cultural institutions like Denver's Clyfford Still Museum, which offers complimentary admission to Colorado residents from 5 to 8 p.m. on Fridays. It's an ideal way to explore the iconoclastic artist's groundbreaking works with a leisurely early-evening crowd without having to part with even a single penny. Find more information on the SCFD events calendar.
Looking for more to do? Visit Westword's calendar online. If you have an event you want considered for this list, send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.