A new and wondrous week is dawning in Denver, with a particular bonus for those seeking both entertainment and education: Denver Startup Week, which features hundreds of events for founders and fans alike, all laid out on the Startup calendar. All that's just the start of the free entertainment around town, which includes concerts, comedy shows and even a thrift-store-fashion runway. Keep reading for five great events around town that don't charge admission, and two even offer complimentary refreshments. Even if you're riddled with student-loan debt, you can party the night away on an investment company's dime or catch a free screening of Wonder Woman on campus. Here are the five best freebies this week, listed below in chronological order.
The American String Quartet posed in a majestic setting.
Friends of Chamber Music Presents the American String Quartet and Poet Tom Sleigh
Tuesday, September 26, 6 p.m. Syntax Physic Opera
Friends of Chamber Music will present "Lyric in the Time of War," a free preview concert from the American String Quartet spotlighting poet and war reporter Tom Sleigh. Showcasing the American String Quartet's soulful performances of Samuel Barber's Quartet in B minor, Op. 11 (from the second movement of "Adagio for Strings"), Ludwig van Beethoven's Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95, Quartetto Serioso, Dmitri Shostakovich's Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110, Béla Bartók's "Marcia," from String Quartet No. 6, and Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude No. 12 in F minor, BWV 857 (from Book One of the Well Tempered Clavier), the evening examines the horrors of war through the prism of art. Sleigh, who'll be reading from his National Book Award-winning 2014 collection Redeployment, will also draw upon his vast knowledge in the field to lead an insightful discussion following the performances. Visit the Friends of Chamber Music events page for more details about the free preview show, or get tickets, $10 to $40, for the full performance online at the University of Denver's Newman Center.
Movie Night: Wonder Woman Wednesday, September 27, 4 to 7:30 p.m. Turnhalle Ballroom at the Tivoli
A blockbuster rebuke to male-centric superhero narratives, Patty Jenkins's 2017 adaptation of William Moulton Marston's Wonder Woman proved that audiences have been waiting to see a comic-book franchise led by a strong female character. History-making achievements aside, Wonder Woman works because it's crackerjack entertainment, filled with stunning action set pieces and enough jokes to stand out from DC Comics' dour cinematic universe. While the movie was just recently released into the on-demand and home-video market (and it's still showing in second-run theaters), readers should take advantage of a free screening starting at 4 p.m. in the Turnhalle Ballroom, located in the Tivoli building on the Auraria campus. Ideal for cash-strapped students in particular, Turnhalle's Movie Night also offers free food to guests. Go the Facebook events page for more details.
SoFi's Debt Opens Doors Cocktail Party
Wednesday, September 27, 7 to 9:30 p.m. Blanc Denver
Unlike millennials in the majority of the developed world, America's young people are saddled with more student-loan debt than any prior generation. While college degrees have historically been a reliable path into the middle class, today's students are just as likely to spend a majority of their adult lives paying off debts from an education that leaves them ill-equipped for the modern economy. This system, which thwarts upward mobility and calls the entire enterprise of higher education into question, is sadly unlikely to change anytime soon. SoFi, a personal financial company that specializes in refinancing mortgages and student loan debt, feels your pain, so it's hosting a free shindig to help debt-ridden young professionals unwind. Simply bring an email or screenshot of your loan balance statement to Blanc Denver, and you and a friend can enjoy an array of cocktails, enter giveaways featuring fabulous prizes and dance your cares away to live music. Visit the Eventbrite page to learn more.
3 Course Comedy
Wednesday, September 27, 8 p.m. Deer Pile
Denver-based comedians Adrian Mesa and Eric Henderson just want to feed you. For nearly four years, the duo behind 3 Course Comedy has cultivated food jokes and trivia games, conducted interviews with performing comics and developed a durable showcase format while preparing a three-course meal for a coterie of steadfast Deer Pile loyalists. An ongoing podcast cataloguing the shows of months past is available on the Sexpot Comedy Archives as well as on iTunes, though the audio version offers only a fraction of the live experience. The theme this month is Irish foods, and while the lack of corned beef may donny some people's brooks, the menu at 3 Course Comedy typically skews vegetarian out of respect for the venue. Wednesday's lineup showcases up-and-coming local comics Joe Gray, Anthony Siraguse and Nolawee Mengist. Visit the Sexpot Comedy events calendar to learn more.
Thrift Store Fashion Show
Saturday, September 30, 7 to 10 p.m. Grandma's House
Visitors to the inviting taproom at Grandma's House are welcomed by its precisely curated collection of kitsch, a veritable trove of thrift-store treasures. While the brewery's cozy living-room decor is testament enough to the fine art of thrifting, the venue is doubling down on pre-owned fabulousness with a Thrift Store Fashion Show. Part of the South Broadway watering hole's third-anniversary celebrations, the show invites models of all shapes and sizes to strut the runway in their snazziest vintage outfits. The requirements are simple: All clothes must be from ARC, Goodwill or Salvation Army stores (with tags still attached) rather than from upscale vintage boutiques where the proprietor has done all the hunting for you. With plenty of eligible shops nearby, guests can cobble an ensemble together before heading over to Grandma's House to enjoy the funkiest fashion show in town, with house DJs on hand to provide the tunes. Visit the Thrift Store Fashion Show Eventbrite page to find out 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.