While the holidays are beginning to crowd the calendar, there are plenty of other illuminating activities — both online and in person — to enlighten your days.
Here are ten of the best free events this week:
Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb
Through December 31
Aspen Art Museum, 637 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen
An October screening of Freak Power: The Ballot or the Bomb, a documentary about journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s race to become of sheriff of Aspen fifty years ago, was such a smash that the Aspen Art Museum wanted more opportunities to screen the movie. With COVID-19 preventing the museum from hosting in-person events, curator Nicola Less decided to screen the movie on a loop, so people can watch the film through the windows of the museum, from the outside looking in. The screenings run through December; for more information, go to the Aspen Art Museum's website.
Alexandra Bell in Conversation With Leigh Raiford
Wednesday, December 9, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
MCA Denver’s ongoing Wednesday virtual event series turns to another artist whose work hangs in Citizenship: A Practice of Society, the current museum-wide feature. For this session, Alexandra Bell will discuss her series from the exhibition, "Counternarratives" (which dissects actual New York Times articles to reveal a different and not-so-invisible standard used when depicting people of color), in lively discourse with University of California, Berkeley, African American Studies professor Leigh Raiford. The online talk is free; RSVP in advance at Eventbrite.
Indigenous Film: "Run, Red, Walk"
Wednesday, December 9, 7 p.m.
In the short film “Run, Red, Walk,” a sheepdog’s search for his lost charges takes him across the hills and hollows of the “rez.” After the screening, award-winning artist and filmmaker Melissa Henry will discuss her motivation to make the movie — her mother's sheep-herding dogs — as well as the importance of language revitalization and positive role models. This program is presented by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in partnership with the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management and the Denver American Indian Commission; find out more here.
Changing the Legacy of Race and Ethnicity: Conversations for One America
Wednesday, December 9, 7 p.m.
Dr. Rosemarie Allen, president and CEO of the Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence and a Metropolitan State University of Denver associate professor of Early Childhood Education, will moderate an online panel presentation titled "Talking to Children about Race." It's the second event in Colorado Humanities’ “Changing the Legacy of Race & Ethnicity” series. (The first presentation, "How Did We Get Here?," is available on the Colorado Humanities YouTube and Facebook pages.) This virtual program is free; find out more here.
Aurora Holiday Sparkle
Thursday, December 10, 6 p.m.
Aurora joins other cities that are getting lit for the season with its annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony that includes an appearance by Santa and his reindeer, stories from Santa's holiday travels, performances by the Aurora Dance program, and demonstrations by ice carvers. The virtual event will be capped off by Mayor Michael Coffman switching on the holiday lights at the Aurora Municipal Center. Watch the action on Facebook and on AuroraTV.org; find out more here.
Friday, December 11, through May 11
Colorado Chautauqua, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder
The folks at Colorado Chautauqua are going all-out this year to spread some joy in the great outdoors of Boulder with a free WinterFest that will continue shedding light in the darkness all the way up to May 1. Kids will enjoy the Art in the Park Bear Walk, an installation of bear sculptures decorated by Colorado artists, as well as a Cyber Scavenger Hunt option. Everyone is also invited to warm up with treats, hot drinks and holiday shopping at the revamped General Store. Sounds like a perfect way to get the family out of the house safely — before everyone goes bonkers. Find info here.
Sounds of the Rockies: A Christmas to Remember
Friday, December 11, 7 p.m.
Sounds of the Rockies, an award-winning barbershop chorus, will release its holiday show on December 11; after 7 p.m., it will be available for fee viewing anytime, anywhere. Find out more (and get the link) at soundoftherockies.com.
Latkes & Light
Sunday, December 13, 10 to 11 a.m.
In most years, the arrival of Hanukkah brings families together to celebrate in the glow of candlelight, with a crispy platter of latkes waiting on the table. In 2020, those traditions are still safe, just not with twenty friends and relatives crowded together into one room. But children ages two to ten can at least gather virtually with their buddies to share music, dancing and the candle-lighting ceremony to kick off the first half of Latkes and Light, and then break up into groups to enjoy Hanukkah-themed activities for the second half. It’s all free; sign up for the free event here.
Know of a great free event around town? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org; we'll be updating that list through the week.
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.