Ten Things to Do in Denver for $10 and Under (Three Free!)

The Stratus Chamber Orchestra and Life/Art Dance Ensemble celebrate the union of sound and motion at a pair of performances on September 28 and 29.
The Stratus Chamber Orchestra and Life/Art Dance Ensemble celebrate the union of sound and motion at a pair of performances on September 28 and 29. Courtesy of Stratus Chamber Orchestra
The temperatures may be dropping as autumn settles in, but Denver's entertainment calendar remains as hot as ever, and the various facets of the local creative community will be on fine display all weekend long. Indeed, the days ahead are replete with concerts, comedy shows, movie screenings and learning opportunities. And penny-pinching readers needn't fret: Each of the events listed below costs $10 or less to attend (fine print notwithstanding). Keep reading for the ten best free and cheap events in Denver this weekend.

Courtesy of Denver Public Art
Imagine 2020 Workshop Series: Public Art 101
Thursday, September 27, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
McNichols Building

Want to learn how to contribute to Denver's growing tapestry of fine public art? The Imagine 2020 Workshop's Public Art 101 seminar provides a font of helpful information and creative inspiration for budding artists eager to actualize their ideas. Learn the finer points of applying for commissions — a vital source of income and prestige for any artist — from a panel of experts that combines successfully funded artists with representatives from Denver Public Art and Call for Entry. The evening presents an invaluable opportunity to network with creators and commissioners alike. Get up to date on Denver Public Art's big plans for the city, and learn how to craft a compelling submission. Admission, along with light refreshments, is free. Visit Denver Public Art's Eventbrite page to register and find out more.

click to enlarge Magician Draco Alexander. - COURTESY OF ARTS CARAVAN
Magician Draco Alexander.
Courtesy of Arts Caravan
Arts Caravan Presents a Final Thursday Variety Show: Spiced
Thursday, September 27, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
$10 to $11

The spirit of vaudeville is alive and well as Arts Caravan's Final Thursday Variety Show returns to Syntax Physic Opera for an evening of grand illusions, lovely music and circus-worthy showmanship. September's show, the autumnally appropriate "Spiced," presents songstress Olivia Blu, dancer Zia Pixie, magicians Anthem and Aria and Draco Alexander, plus the gleefully masochistic hijinks of sword-swallower Slim the Living Cyborg in performances that are delightfully squirm-inducing. Delve into Syntax's classed-up interpretations of local cuisine and classic cocktails at an evening that revels in old-school showbiz panache. Admission is $11 online and $10 cash at the door. Find tickets and more information on Arts Caravan's home page.

Hollywood Favorite: Interstellar
September 27 to 29, 7:30 to 10:20 p.m.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
$7.95 to $9.95

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science's Hollywood Favorites film series returns with a screening of Interstellar, a grand spectacle that dovetails thematically with the museum's dedication to exploration. Christopher Nolan's near-future space epic follows a team of NASA researchers (led by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway) through a wormhole in search of a sanctuary for humankind in the face of extinction on a climate-ravaged home planet. Despite a maudlin and improbable climax, Interstellar is replete with stunning set pieces, and Hans Zimmer's organ-haunted score represents some of the composer's finest work. Buy tickets, $7.95 to $9.95, and learn more on the Denver Museum of Nature & Science box-office page.

GUEST LIST Comedy Show
Friday, September 28, 8 to 9:30 p.m.
The Bakery Arts Warehouse

After producing a Denver comedy mixtape and a collection of twenty-minute EPs from some of the city's most hilarious people, Ben Bryant's GUEST LIST comedy show gets back to funny business with another evening of local standup at its finest. Local comics Jacob Rupp, Michael Isaacs, Matt Cobos and Rachel Weeks join feature act Tyler Jackson (Late Late Breakfast) for a buffoon buffet that concludes with a headlining set from Denver comedy kingpin John Novosad. In addition to the cavalcade of comedy, guests can enjoy cheap beer and free slices courtesy of co-sponsor Sexy Pizza. Visit the GUEST LIST Eventbrite page to buy tickets, $5, and learn more.

Verboten Comedy
Friday, September 28, 8 to 10 p.m.
Verboten Brewing

Some of Denver comedy's most delightful endeavors occur well outside city limits, and Loveland's Verboten Comedy is no exception. Hosted and curated by Jeff Albright, Verboten Comedy brings the funny to the foothills, presenting the finest local and traveling comedians available. The show returns to Verboten Brewing's inviting taproom in September with a generously stacked lineup that includes Sam Ike, Eeland Stribling, Zach Welch, Tairee Dillard, Katie Bowman and headliner Maggie Maye. Admission is free, so have a few laughs with your draughts; visit LoCo Comedy's Facebook events page for more details.

Friday Night Weird: Have a Nice Day
Friday, September 28, 8:45 p.m.
Boedecker Theater
$6.50 to $12

Animated oddities abound all month long at Friday Night Weird's presentation of deliberately outré cinema, and the tradition continues this week with a screening of Have a Nice Day, an expressionist neo-noir that chronicles the fallout of a well-intentioned robbery. A landmark achievement in independent Chinese animation, Have a Nice Day is catnip for Friday Night Weird's film-addled audience, so Boulder-based cinephiles should take note. Buy tickets, $6.50 to $12, and learn more on the Dairy Arts Center box-office page.

Courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche?
Avalanche Fan Fest
Saturday, September 29, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pepsi Center

Get a pre-season head start on hockey mania at the inaugural Avalanche Fan Fest, a chance for fans to enjoy unprecedented access to their favorite team's practice rituals and strategy-building exercises. Test your puck-handling skills at a street hockey clinic and bring your burning questions to head coach Jared Bednar before the Avs take to the ice for a thrilling demonstration of the athletic prowess they'll bring to the upcoming season. Register for free, and find out more on the Colorado Avalanche's NHL events calendar.

Stratus Chamber Orchestra: Focus on Body Through the Lens of Music
September 28 and 29, 7:30 p.m.
First Plymouth Congregational Church
Augustana Lutheran Church
$5 to $25

Sound and motion unite in glorious harmony at "Focus on Body Through the Lens of Music," a collaborative performance that fuses the talents of the Stratus Chamber Orchestra and Life/Art Dance Ensemble. The stirring concert program consists of compositions that simultaneously demand nigh-virtuosic skills from the orchestral players and spark the collective imaginations of the dancers, such as Maurice Ravel’s "Le Tombeau de Couperin," Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s "Pezzo Capriccioso" and a ballet suite by Dmitri Shostakovich. The orchestra and ensemble will be joining forces for a pair of special 7:30 p.m. performances at the First Plymouth Congregational and Augustana Lutheran churches at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 28, and Saturday, September 29. Visit the Augustana Arts box-office page to buy tickets, $5 to $25, and learn more.

Icons in Sound: The Rachmaninoff Vespers
September 28 to 30, 7:30 and 3 p.m.
Saint John's Cathedral
Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church
Bethany Lutheran Church
$10 to $35

The arguable crowning achievement of a literal and figurative giant of classical music – not to mention a liturgical mainstay for the Russian Orthodox Church – Sergei Rachmaninoff's All Night Vespers is one of the most evocative works of the choral repertoire. Ably rising to the Vespers' challenge, Colorado's St. Martin’s Festival Singers have auditioned extras to join the 24 regular singers of the chamber choir in order to ensure its members bring the works to life with proper deference and musicianship. Buy tickets, $10 to $35, and find out more on the St. Martin's Chamber Choir events calendar.

click to enlarge COURTESY OF  MERCURY CAFE
Courtesy of Mercury Cafe
Denver Spoken Arts Celebration: Chicago Slam Benefit
Saturday, September 29, 7 p.m. to midnight
Mercury Cafe

A local opportunity for nationwide poets to meld minds and share resources, the Denver Spoken Arts Celebration presents some of the city's finest verse virtuosos in an effort to raise funds for the Chicago-based organizers of the National Poetry Slam. Enjoy live typewriter poetry along with performances from Slam Nuba, Minor Disturbance, Hakeem Furious, Cisco the Nomad, Black Gold and many more while taking comfort in contributing to a worthy cause. The $5 cover charge goes toward the benefit of Chicago community organizers; find more details on the Mercury Cafe Facebook events page.

Do you have any event you want included in this list? Send the details to [email protected]
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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.
Contact: Byron Graham