The autumnal equinox is finally upon us, with the temperature and leaves alike due to start falling any day now. No matter the season, however, Denver's creative community is unwavering in its commitment to providing plenty of entertainment and activities for its fellow citizens to enjoy, and doing it all for free. Whether you're looking to rub shoulders with wise authors, take in a classic film or judge a salsa contest, you won't pay a cover charge at any of the five events listed below. With something free and fun to do nearly every day this week, even the brokest locals can see what the gadabouts are glad about.
Anita Sanchez Book Discussion and Signing
Tuesday, September 19, 7 p.m.
Tattered Cover LoDo
Writer and consultant Dr. Anita Sanchez, Ph.D., draws upon indigenous wisdom in her latest book, The Four Sacred Gifts. With a particular emphasis on an Aztec-inspired connectivity to people, spirit and the earth, Sanchez demonstrates how to apply the gifts of forgiveness, unity, healing and hope to modern life through a collection of eye-opening stories. Sanchez will be at the Tattered Cover's historic LoDo outpost to lead a discussion about her new book before making herself available to answer questions and sign copies. The Four Sacred Gifts, from Atria Books, is $24. Visit the Tattered Cover's events calendar to learn more.
The Doom Room
Wednesday, September 20, 8 p.m.
Ratio Comedy staple the Doom Room calls upon comedians to be funny without the safety net of their joke books as they riff on a random assortment of topics that pop up on the nearby screen of doom, all while being heckled by the Darth Vader-esque voice of doom (Nick Gossert of Lucha Libre & Laughs). It's a steep challenge, and some of the performers ride a wave of laughter from the beery crowd while others crumble by the second prompt. For a performer, the show is a nerve-racking trial by fire, but for audiences who love a healthy dollop of schadenfreude with their jokes, there's no better show in town. Hosted by Ratio Comedy regulars Andrew Bueno and Ian Douglas Terry, the showcase on Wednesday, September 20, features local comics Matt Cobos, Sara Hake, Jose Macall, Kacy Dahl and Anthony Siraguse. For more information, look no further than the Doom Room Facebook events page.
Art on Film: Network
Thursday, September 21, 7 p.m.
Center for Visual Art/MSU
Thursday, September 21, is officially the final day of summer, yet the climes are still inviting enough for one more outdoor movie before the season ends. The MSUD Center for Visual Art's Art on Film series concludes with a screening of Sidney Lumet-directed satire, Network. Celebrated for its prescience, Network seems to have presaged everything from the rise of populist demagoguery and reality-TV banality to the decline of serious journalism in the 24-hour media cycle. Paddy Chayefsky's writerly screenplay, packed with show-stopping monologues, earned one of the film's four Academy Awards, which notably included a posthumously awarded Best Actor Oscar for the late Peter Finch. So if you're mad as hell and you're not gonna take it anymore — and there are plenty of reasons to feel that way these days — come see how this masterpiece from 1976 is timelier than ever. Admission is free, and the film begins at sundown in the CVA parking lot. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Centennial Chalk Art Festival
September 23-24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Centennial Center Park
While even the best chalk art can't withstand a heavy rain shower, it's arguably that very ephemerality which makes the installations so special. See the wonder for yourself, and perhaps even read over a masterpiece this weekend at the Centennial Chalk Art Festival, popping off from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Centennial Center Park. Food trucks will be on site, and guests can enjoy live music from Kenny Lee Young, Le Pompe Jazz, Jason Vigil, Megan Burtt, Patrick Dethlefs and Follow the Fox. While alcohol is typically prohibited at the park, vendors will also have drinks available. Partly sponsored by Colorado Community Media, the Chalk Art Festival is an ideal activity for creatives and families alike. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
End of Summer Salsa Contest
Sunday, September 24, 2-5 p.m.
Spice up your Sunday at the End of Summer Salsa Contest, a free and open competition to crown the best homemade salsa in Denver. Co-sponsored by Illegal Pete's, which will provide complimentary tortilla chips for all your salsa-sampling needs, each salsa-slinging contestant must provide at least 1.5 gallons of their recipe for the judges to sample everything and revisit their favorites. And should the sauce prove too piquant for your palate, a Grandma's House brew is a great way to soothe those scorched tastebuds. While admission is free, space is very limited and pre-registration is required. Visit the Salsa Contest's Eventbrite page to find out more and to RSVP.