The penultimate weekend of 2018 is upon us, and we heartily recommend soaking up every remaining giggle, wiggle and ogle before it's time to make resolutions. The days ahead may be the shortest of the calendar year, but they're especially lively; this list could double in length and still only scratch the surface of the entertainment offerings that await. Don't worry about dipping too deeply into your merrymaking budget, either; admission to any of these costs less than ten American dollars. Yes, a crisp Hamilton is all you need to have a good time in the Mile High; keep reading for the ten best inexpensive events this weekend.
Thursday, December 20, 7:30 p.m.
Dos Luces Brewery
Quaffs, laughs and gluten-free drafts abound at Dos Comediantes, a new(ish) standup show held every month at Dos Luces Brewery. Co-hosts "Comma Comedians" Sammy Anzer and Eliot Broder are back with another round of improv games, raffle prizes and a comedy lineup that this time includes Michael Seyedian, Miriam Moreno and headliner Anthony Crawford. The show also presents a fine opportunity to sample and sip Dos Luces' signature chicha and pulque, corn-based fermented beverages with ancient roots in Central and South America. Admission is free; find more details on the Comma Comedians Facebook events page.
Crates-Mas with Scott Carney and Kevin O'Brien
Thursday, December 20, 8 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
A tribute to a friendship sparked by a shared appreciation of of B-sides, deep cuts and obscure jams, Crates-Mas with Scott Carney and Kevin O'Brien may well be the grooviest homecoming of the holiday season. Carney, (former Colorado Public Radio OpenAir DJ and correspondent) and O'Brien (a Denver-hewn comic who currently resides in New York) serve up a genre-blending gauntlet of "yacht rock, kraut rock, funk, punk and disco" at a dance party designed to delight vinyl hounds and raise money for Food Bank of the Rockies. Admission is $5 at the door; head over to Syntax Physic Opera's Facebook events page for more information.
eTown Comedy Live!
Thursday, December 20, 8 p.m.
Get a dose of Solstice Eve sillies when eTown Comedy Live! returns with a gift bag full of giggles. Hosted and curated by Caitie Hannan, December's edition welcomes local mirth merchants Roger Stafford and Brigid Dunn, opening for prodigal Denverite and Riot LA "Comics to Watch" honoree Stephen Agyei. Wine, dine and shake your belly like a bowl full of jelly at one of Boulder's best monthly standup shows. Visit eTown Hall's Eventbrite page to buy tickets, $10, and learn more.
The Emerging Filmmakers Project
Thursday, December 20, 8 to 11 p.m.
Viewer and creator collide at the Emerging Filmmakers Project, a monthly short-film festival interspersed with a spirited discussion between the audience and the people behind the camera. Providing a vital hub for Denver's filmmaking scene for a decade, the series encourages the efforts of budding auteurs and the engagement of the local community. December's programming includes shorts from Ben Makinen, Rebekah Henderson and Rico Hernandez — to name but a few — along with a fitting tribute to dearly departed Emerging Filmmakers Project director Patrick Sheridan with a screening of "The Best Christmas Ever." Admission is $5 at the door; get more details, including the full lineup of films, on the Emerging Filmmakers Project Facebook events page.
Black Sheep Friday: XXX-Mas Craft Fair
Friday, December 21, 6 p.m.
Conventional yuletide wisdom may contend that naughty girls and boys don't get Christmas presents, but for the past few years, MCA Denver's Black Sheep Friday series has flouted Santa's checklist morality with the XXX-Mas Craft Fair. Unlock the creative potential of your dirty, dirty mind with a collage of vintage erotica, phallic ornaments and any number of smutty stocking stuffers when the museum's rooftop bar transforms into a merry workshop for bawdy baubles. With supplies and guidance provided by the Ladies Fancyworks Society and Fancy Tiger Crafts, you should end the evening with plenty of charmingly handmade gifts for your favorite freaks. Even if your crafting efforts fail, a cadre of local vendors will be on hand with ceramics, jewelry and artisanal chocolate — which are certainly better than a lump of coal. Admission is free for members and $5 for everyone else; find out more on the MCA Denver events calendar.
Yuletide Fun Ride!
Friday, December 21, 7:30 p.m.
Make merry mayhem with the quick-riffing cast of Third Kind Improv at Yuletide Fun Ride!, a completely extemporaneous comedic romp for the whole family. Goofing on holiday tropes and responding to audience prompts, the Littleton-based troupe offers just the ticket to keep you laughing all the way through the twelve days of Christmas. Say "yes, and" to Third Kind Improv, and get your bells good and jingled. Admission is $7 at the door; find out more on the Mercury Cafe Facebook events page.
GUEST LIST Comedy Show
Friday, December 21, 8 to 9:30 p.m.
The Bakery Arts Warehouse
There's certainly no shortage of holly jolly Denver comedy homecomings on this list, but few of them offer lineups as stacked as the December 21 edition of GUEST LIST. Capping off a banner year for host, producer and troubled young man Ben Bryant — who presided over the recording of five standup albums, including a comprehensive Denver comedy mixtape — GUEST LIST is back with a lineup full of visiting funny people like James Hamilton, Bassam Shawl, Nicole Conlan and Stu Melton, plus such returning favorites as Harris Alterman, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, Jordan Doll and Troy Walker. Buy tickets, $5, and find out more on the Bakery Arts Warehouse Eventbrite page.
Friday Night Weird: Rankin Bass Holiday Clip Show
Friday, December 21, 8:45 p.m.
$6.50 to $12
’Twas the Friday Night Weird before Christmas, and all through the theater, a Rankin Bass clip show made the holidays sweeter. A tribute to the shuttered stop-motion animation studio responsible for such yuletide classics as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy and Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, the program shuffles through some of the merriest moments of the Rankin Bass catalogue. Guzzle eggnog with Boedecker Theater's "jolly old narrator" at a tightly edited cavalcade of childhood nostalgia. Visit the Dairy Arts Center box-office page to buy tickets, $6.50-$12, and learn more.
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Sunday, December 23, 8 to 10 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
The Denver standup scene may have lost some of its finest and funniest to the East and West coasts over the past few years, but the holidays never fail to offer local comedy nerds a chance to laugh along with their formerly local favorites. Max Beasley and Carey Lieberman present a hybrid of Denver-based up-and-comers like Hannah Jones, Allison Rose, Nolawee Mengist, Benjamin Duncan, Sydney Carrington and Danny Ramos, with Los Angeles-based co-headliners Jordan Doll and Chris Charpentier at Wet Specimens, a great show with a gross name. Admission is free with a suggested minimum $5 donation for the performers; discover more details on Mutiny Information Cafe's Facebook events page.
A Dirty Rotten Christmas
Sunday, December 23, 9 p.m.
Embrace the Christmas Eve Eve spirit at a Dirty Rotten Christmas, a free concert and potluck dinner for local music scene supporters. The evening kicks off with a couple of cover bands, including Cock Pushup (a tribute to Tenacious D) and Party Hard (a tribute to Andrew W.K.), before hip-hop sextet Dirty Rotten Rhymers brings the proverbial house down with a headlining set. Admission is free; visit the Larimer Lounge Ticketfly page to find out more.
Know of an event that belongs on this list? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.