Though the weekend's overdue snowfall provides a fine excuse to binge on Netflix and Grubhub, delights aplenty await any readers willing to brave the frigid climes and icy streets. From the high culture to the lowest brow, Denver, Aurora and Boulder are brimming with activity until the weekend starts. Enjoy a world-class concert, gain insight into one of the city's most striking public art installations, and hear about the importance of local elections from people who are currently running for office — without ever paying a cover fee. Keep reading for the five best free events in Denver this week.
Faculty Tuesdays: Beethoven
Tuesday, January 23, 7:30 p.m.
Grusin Music Hall
The University of Colorado's music program is the school's gift to classical-music lovers, hosting world-class concerts week in and week out, sometimes several times per day. Though too few CU students take full advantage of Grusin Music Hall's thriving performance calendar, many of the campus venue's events are open to the public. Better yet, they're often free. The tradition continues this week with Peter and Helen Weil and professor of piano David Korevaar performing a selection of sonatas from one of the form's finest composers: Ludwig Van Beethoven. Visit the CU Presents box-office page for more details.
Oskar Blues Comedy Show: Ramon Rivas II
Wednesday, January 24, 9:30 p.m.
The Black Buzzard
Producing a weekly standup showcase is roughly four times harder than running a show just once a month, but when an enterprising host finds a supportive venue, such endeavors can evolve into staples of the scene. Christie Buchele is vying to recapture the glory days of Too Much Fun! with the Oskar Blues Comedy Show at the Black Buzzard. After making a smashing debut last week, the showcase returns for a second round with Buchele's Pussy Bros. cohort Rachel Weeks and Denver Comedy Champion Nathan Lund opening for headliner Ramon Rivas II. Rivas, who's appeared on @Mindnight, Crashing, and Broad City, has standup chops so impressive he landed Comedy Central's The Half Hour before he had an agent or manager. Come get your weekly dose of DIY Denver comedy. Find more information on the Oskar Blues Comedy Show's Ticketfly page.
Aurora Public Schools Art Educators Show: Opening Reception
Thursday, January 25, 4 to 7:30 p.m.
Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA)
Though students and parents alike don't tend to give much thought to the inner lives of teachers, many of the qualities that drive great art educators in the classroom are also reflected in their own creative endeavors. Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA) is celebrating the overlooked talents of the city's public-school educators with a grand exhibit devoted to the paintings, ceramics and manifold creations from the people responsible for shaping the minds of the next generation. The exhibit opens on Thursday, January 24 (with a reception from 4 to 7:30 p.m., and closes on Friday, March 16. Visit DAVA's events calendar to learn more.
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Hello Denver? Are You Still There?
Thursday, January 25, 8 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Bree Davies, a local activist, DIY booster, music-scene queen and former Westword scribe, has a new podcast dedicated to preserving the character of her native city called Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? As readers might've ascertained from the title, Davies and her esteemed guests turn a critical eye on the Mile High, examining the forces reshaping the city in ways its residents don't appreciate. The third episode focuses on electoral politics — specifically in the local midterm elections that tend to inspire a dispiritingly low voter turnout — asking for guidance from people who are currently running for public office. Learn about how these overlooked contests influence day-to-day life in Denver from Davies and her guests, State Senate District 34 candidate Julie Gonzalez and District 32 candidate Risa White, along with mayoral candidate Kayvan Khalatbari and District 1 congressional candidate Saira Rao. Find out more on Mutiny's Facebook events page.
Tour of Ai Weiwei's "Zodiac Heads/Circle of Animals"
Friday, January 26, 1 to 2 p.m.
Join public-art docent Djamila Ricciardi at the McNichols Building for an eye-popping and informative amble through Ai Weiwei's "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads," located at Civic Center Park's Sea Lions Fountain. The tour concludes back at the McNichols Building, where the Ai Weiwei: Art & Social Change exhibit can add even further context to the temporary installations. Visit the Denver Arts & Venues Public Arts Program's Eventbrite page to register and find more details.
Looking for more to do? Visit Westword's calendar online.