Although there's nothing more inherently American than returning promptly to work after an indulgent and firework-festooned holiday, many workaday Denverites are understandably eager for the weekend to begin. Luckily, the days ahead are replete with opportunities for leisure entertainments like comedy shows, movies and concerts. And don't worry if hosting that barbecue busted your budget: Each of the events listed below costs about ten American dollars, and three of them are free. Keep reading for the ten best free and cheap events in Denver this weekend.
Lucha Libre & Laughs: Pro-Wrestling & Beer
Thursday, July 5, 7 to 9 p.m.
Denver's most celebrated comedy show won't return to its regular home at the Oriental Theater until August, but fans can still enjoy plenty of ringside thrills as Lucha Libre & Laughs takes over Ratio Beerworks for another evening of punchlines and pile drivers. In addition to bouts featuring LLL fan favorites like Allie Gato, Bruce Rogers and Cody Devine, the main event pits the mysterious Hoodlum against the acrobatic Justin D'Air, so the competition will be every bit as fierce as the wrestlers themselves. Joke-filled color commentary will be provided by local comedians and die-hard wrestling fans Mitch Jones and Ian Douglas Terry. Visit the Lucha Libre & Laughs Facebook events page for more details.
Incredibles 2, Ocean's 8 and Deadpool 2 Triple Feature
Thursday, July 5, 7 p.m. to 12:50 a.m.
88 Drive-In Theatre
Enjoy a blast from the past for bargain prices at Commerce City's 88 Drive-In Theatre, where movie-going motorists can catch three first-run movies for the price of one starting at 7 p.m. tonight. Kick off the triple feature with the family-friendly yet heartstring-tugging antics of Pixar's Incredibles 2, then follow Ocean's 8's glamorous heist hijinks before winding down with the gleefully vulgar superhero deconstructionism of Deadpool 2 — though we'd recommend taking the kids home before that one. Take in some cinema under the stars in a setting that fondly recalls the Americana of yesteryear. Admission is $8 for all three features. Visit the 88 Drive-In Theatre website to learn more.
B-Side Music Fridays with Muscle Brain and King Eddie
Friday, July 6, 5 to 10 p.m.
B-Side Music Fridays, a summer concert series curated by the tastemakers at MCA Denver, returns to the museum's sleek rooftop deck for another evening of song set against the city's gleaming skyline. Friday's show highlights the anarchic improvisations of local duo Muscle Brain along with psych-rockers King Eddie. The first hundred guests through the door receive a complimentary brew from Ratio Beerworks; happy-hour pricing will be in effect at the rooftop bar until 7 p.m., when the performances begin. Admission is free for museum members and $5 for everyone else; visit MCA Denver's Facebook events page for more information.
The Comedy RoomRoom Presents: Aaron Urist
Friday, July 6, 7 p.m.
The Comedy RoomRoom
Among Denver's most gifted comics, Aaron Urist crushes stages with an almost mathematical consistency. While he performs regularly at local clubs and showcases, he's rarely afforded the opportunity to perform a proper headliner set, which traditionally clock in at 45 minutes to an hour (too much time for Denver's generally overbooked local shows to allow). Comedy RoomRoom host and producer Timmi Lasley is dedicating the first Friday time slot to providing an all too rare chance for comedy nerds to see the city's funniest standups stretch their wings, after warm-up sets from Ohio's Adam Levine and New York's Charlie Vergos. Admission is $5 at the door; learn more on the Comedy RoomRoom Facebook events page.
Friday Night Weird: Revenge
Friday, July 6, 8:45 p.m.
Boedecker Theater, Boulder
$6.50 to $12
Perhaps cinema's most protean genre, the revenge film transcends eras, cultures and languages. Boedecker Theater's Friday Night Weird film series is paying tribute to payback all month long (and well into August) with Sweet, Sweet Revenge: six films on the art of pain, suffering and glorious vengeance. The series kicks off, fittingly enough, with Coralie Fargeat's Revenge, a psychedelia-tinged tale of a woman scorned, a feminist's revisionist take on the revenge thriller that subverts expectations without skimping on righteous gore. It's a fine way to begin. Admission is $6.50 to $12 via the Dairy Center's box-office page.
Midnight Madness: Jaws
July 6 to 7, midnight
Largely acknowledged as the original summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg's Jaws remains a sterling example of what a skilled filmmaker could accomplish in an era when special effects hadn't caught up to his ambitions. Inspiring an entire generation of movie-goers to fear the open water, neither the passage of time nor a series of inferior sequels could diminish the ability of Jaws to enthrall viewers. Revisit the classic (or see it for the first time) at a pair of Landmark Esquire Midnight Madness screenings this weekend. Visit the Landmark Esquire's box-office page to buy tickets, $9.50, and learn more.
The Mutiny Family Monthly Story Hour
Saturday, July 7, 11 a.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
No matter how old one grows, nothing beats the nostalgic comfort of storytime with a kindly mom. Another gem in Mutiny Information Cafe's bustling events calendar, the Mutiny Family Story Hour is a monthly reading starring proprietor Jim Norris (aka Reverend Jim) and his mom, Katie, sharing their favorite children's stories to the delight of everyone from kiddos to aged punks and hung-over Baker brunchers. Admission is free; visit Mutiny's Facebook events page to learn more.
Lyrics Born and Kind Dub
Saturday, July 7, 6 to 10 p.m.
A rapper, producer and record-label owner with twenty five years in the game, Lyrics Born is a Bay Area hip-hop pioneer who hasn't let his elder-statesman status slow his hustle in the slightest. At once celebrating the twentieth anniversary of a seminal album and recording new tracks for an upcoming release, Lyrics Born headlines yet another stellar evening in the Levitt Pavilion's summer concert series, which also includes a performance from local producer/MC duo Kind Dub. General admission is free, and VIP packages are available for $30. Visit Levitt Pavilion's Eventbrite page to register and learn more.
Harakiri Standup Comedy Show
Saturday, July 7, 9 to 10:30 p.m.
Menya Ramen & Poke
When Colfax eatery Los Tacos shuttered its doors a few months back, Denver comedy briefly lost one of its liveliest shows. Though the cuisine may have changed, the host and address remain the same as local comic Michael Seyedian revives his Saturday night comedy show at the space now occupied by the Capitol Hill outpost of Menya Ramen & Poke. Join Seyedian along with standups Jose Macall, Meghan DePonceau, Nolawee Mengist, Natalia Kvalem and headliner Timmi Lasley for a delicious evening of laughter. Visit the Say it Again Productions Eventbrite page to buy tickets, $5, and learn more.
Tom Gershwin Sextet Album Release Concert
Sunday, July 8, 7 p.m.
$10 to $15
A regular at Denver's many jazz haunts, the Tom Gershwin Sextet welcomes its friends, families and fans to celebrate the release of new album Our Season. Led by Gershwin on the trumpet, the ensemble includes Michael Bjella and Heath Walton on tenor sax, Greg Harris on vibes and percussion, Kevin Matthews on drums and Hunter Roberts on bass. At Buntport the sextet will perform highlights from Our Season, a collection of all-original compositions. Soft drinks and light snacks will be available, but guests are encouraged to bring their own booze. Visit Tom Gershwin's Squareup page to buy tickets, $10 to $15, or pre-order a CD.
Do you have an event you want included on this list? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.