After a particularly lively start, August shows no signs of slowing this weekend. The Colorado Classic and Velorama are rolling into town, and the National Poetry Slam is wrapping up its annual competition here. Meanwhile, artsy delights await at all kinds of venues, including a pop-up gallery, a historic park and even a drive-in movie theater. While hot tickets are fetching inflated prices for some of the the weekend's marquee events, all you need to experience any of the ten events listed below is a crisp Hamilton and an open mind. And seven of them are completely free.
Comedy in the Alley: John Novosad
Thursday, August 10, 8 p.m.
Colorado abounds with free comedy shows, but without proper curation from savvy producers and capable hosts, most of these events are tantamount to open mics, meaning that even a free ticket can feel like a rip-off. Life is too short to watch bad comedy. Comedy in the Alley is a free weekly showcase that brings the best local and traveling comics to the narrow bar off Littleton's Main Street. Co-hosted by Cody Spyker and Jacob Rupp of the Ice Cream Social podcast, Comedy in the Alley is a straightforward showcase format that allows comics to stretch their wings with longer sets. The August 10 lineup features Rocky Mountain giggle miners Cory Helie, Noah Reynolds and Natalia Kvalem opening up for local legend John "Hippieman" Novosad. Visit the Facebook event page to learn more.
Street Fonts and Funk
Friday, August 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Foothills Art Center
$5-$8 (free for members and kids under 8)
Denver graffiti artist, Artopia curator and Westword MasterMind Jolt takes his urban-guerrilla art indoors with a solo show in the East Gallery at Foothills. A woke wall writer whose powerful gestural style crosses over boldly into the realm of fine-art abstraction, Jolt will offer up a variety of works, from font play and photographs to large-scale indoor murals created expressly for the exhibit, which will be on display until October 15. Visit foothillsartcenter.org to learn more.
Four Mile Free Day
Friday, August 11, noon-4 p.m.
Four Mile Historic Park
Although any day is a good day to amble through Colorado's formative years at Four Mile Historic Park, it's even better with free admission. From noon to 4 p.m. on every second Friday until December 8, visitors can explore the twelve-acre grounds, mingle with farm animals and grab a seat for the Hay Bales and Tall Tales storytelling show, a particular hit with kids. Built in 1859 on the banks of Cherry Creek, the Four Mile House is Denver's oldest standing structure and current home to a museum that brings history to life. Cap it all off with a free sample from the summer kitchen. Visit fourmilepark.org to find out more.
The Movement Pop-Up Gallery
Friday, August 11, opening at noon
The people behind Grassroots Colorado (an expansion of the California-based clothing company) are taking a cue from their gallery neighbors in the Santa Fe Arts District and mounting a pop-up art show of their own. After opening the Movement Pop-up Gallery in the Grassroots retail location last week, they're hosting an exhibition of Aaron Brooks's trippy prints, pins and stickers. Interested partiers can also join Brooks for an opening reception with a thumping soundtrack at The Black Box on Thursday, August 10. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Free Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop
Friday, August 11, 3:30-5 p.m.
Denver Art Museum
The National Poetry Slam may be winding down this weekend, but there are still a plethora of poetic events to choose from on its schedule. While tickets for many individual events — like the final round on Saturday, August 12 — are a pretty penny well spent, this year's slam is offering more free events than ever before. The Lighthouse Writers Workshop is hosting a free ekphrastic poetry workshop at the Denver Art Museum on August 11 that invites poets of every experience level to connect with art in a deeper way as it inspires their own. Lighthouse is spearheading another free, art-inspired poetry workshop at the Clyfford Still Museum at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 10. Visit bpsdenver.com to learn more about the Slam.
George Romero Tribute at Blue Starlite Drive-In
Friday, August 11, 10:45 p.m.
Little Beach Park Theater
The filmmaking world lost one of its leading lights when George A. Romero passed away last month. In addition to helming an iconic series of zombie movies, Romero was a pioneering independent filmmaker who remained prolific until his final years. Pay homage to the late horror auteur with a screening of the movie that started it all, Night of the Living Dead. A profoundly influential classic that nevertheless retains its ability to shock, there are few better settings for a viewing than the Blue Starlite Drive-In Theater in Minturn. Befitting the quirky character of the historic mining town, the Blue Starlite currently holds the record for “highest drive-in in the world,” altitude-wise. Doors open at 7:45 p.m. for the 9 p.m. screening. Visit Blue Starlite online to learn more and see its programming calendar. Prices for drivers and walk-ins start at $8 on Blue Starlite's box-office page.
Free Bike Repair Clinic
Saturday, August 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Terrapin Care Station
With the recent opening of several new bike lanes along its main thoroughfares, the Baker neighborhood is growing increasingly bicycle-friendly. As many bike owners know, however, it can be all too easy to procrastinate when it comes to general repair and maintenance. Fortunately, the fine folks at Denver Relief Consulting's Green Team are hosting a free bike and wheelchair repair clinic from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at their former storefront, now occupied by Terrapin Care Station. Celebrate the neighborhood spirit while getting the help you need to get back on two wheels. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Drag Queen Story Time
Saturday, August 12, noon
Second Star to the Right Children's Books
Nurture your children's love of reading while broadening their cultural horizons on Saturday, August 12, at Drag Queen Story Time, which returns to the Tennyson Art District's Second Star to the Right Children's Bookstore at noon. Spearheaded by Judy Zuckerman, director of youth and family at Brooklyn Public Library services (where Drag Queen Story Time is a regular event), this is a fun way to keep the kids entertained on a Saturday while encouraging both tolerance and self-acceptance. Best of all, admission is free. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
8th Annual Antique Row Summer Block Party
Saturday, August 12, noon-5 p.m.
Denver's Antique Row is always a fine shopping destination, but on Saturday, August 12, it will host a rollicking Summertime Block Party. Featuring a classic car show, a live rockabilly band, free face painting and a gauntlet of shopping temptations at sale prices, this is an ideal event for families. Of course, all the shops and restaurants along the strip will be open for business, offering a wide array of deals. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Lucha Libre & Laughs: Killing the Business
Sunday, August 13, 8 p.m.
The Oriental Theater
After a series of free events at venues scattered all over town, Lucha Libre & Laughs returns to the Oriental Theater for Killing the Business, a high-flying and side-splitting blend of brawn and buffoonery. Kicking off the ringside action with a battle of speed versus strength, the yoga-hewn Mike Sydal seeks to settle a score with the beefy Royce Isaacs, and that's before LLL favorites like Lonnie Valdez, Japanese wrestling legend Kikutaro, the Left Coast Guerrillas and more step back into the ring. With comedians Chance Moreland, Timmi Lasley, David Rodriguez and Anthony Crawford filling out the bill, $10 seems like a pittance for all the entertainment in store. Join Nick Gossert, Bobby Valentino, Alabaster Cain, Nathan Lund and Sam Tallent on Sunday, August 13, to see why Westword has named Lucha Libre & Laughs Denver's Best Comedy Night for three years running. Visit the Oriental Theater's events calendar to learn more and buy tickets.
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