Whether you're eager to fully embrace the scare season or simply escape into laughter and song, Denver's creative community is there to meet your entertainment needs. This week, locals can check out horror cinema classics, enjoy world-class concerts or skate down memory lane at a Stranger Things-themed roller disco, all without spending more than ten American dollars. That's right, all ten of the events listed below charge $10 or less for admission, and three of them have no cover fees at all.
Violinist Miriam Fried
Thursday, October 19, 7:30 p.m.
Hamilton Recital Hall
Miriam Fried, among the world's most accomplished violinists, will perform on Thursday, October 19, at Hamilton Recital Hall in the University of Denver's Newman Performing Arts Center, as part of the Lamont School of Music's concert series. Equally adept in orchestral and chamber-music settings, Fried's skill shines brightest during solo recitals. Although masterfully precise, Fried stands out from her contemporaries for the degree of commitment and emotional intensity she pours into each note of music. Adult tickets cost only $10 via the Newman Center's box-office page, so don't miss this opportunity to enjoy a world-class concert on a pauper's budget.
Ben Kronberg & Friends at the Highlands Comedy Show
Thursday, October 19, 7:30 p.m.
Jon Wilkins may be Denver comedy's favorite doofy uncle, but don't let his avuncular bafflement give you the wrong idea: The man runs one hell of a great comedy show. For years, the local scene tended to overlook Denver's northern neighborhoods, and Wilkins has stepped in to fill that void. Booking only the greatest local and traveling standups, the Highlands Comedy Room boasts some of the city's best weekly lineups. Though the upscale Sushi Hai diners often require a bit of comedic wrangling to command their attention, the room is usually full and festive. There's a crackerjack lineup scheduled for Thursday night's showcase, including local favorites Jake Hamel, Caitie Hannan and Anthony Armstrong opening for prodigal hometown hero Ben Kronberg. Find out more and buy tickets, $10, on the Highlands Comedy Show Eventbrite page.
Emerging Filmmakers Project: Halloween Madness
Thursday, October 19, 8 p.m.
The Bug Theatre
A local arts scene institution that dates back to 2002, the Emerging Filmmakers Project has had untold influence on Denver's film scene. An essential networking and collaborative hub for every stripe of cinephile, the EFP celebrates community-building as much as it does films. Join host and local filmmaker Patrick Sheridan for a lineup of shorts including such intriguing titles as "Mr. Fuffles," "Haint County," "The Dragon's Quest" and more. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. (we recommend arriving early to mingle), and the screenings begin at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door. Learn more on EFP's Facebook events page.
Hitchcock Film Festival: The Birds
Friday, October 20, 6 p.m.
The Cube Stapleton
The Hitchcock Film Festival continues at the Cube event space at Stapleton with a free screening of the auteur's 1963 thriller, The Birds. Notorious tales of Hitchcock terrorizing actress Tippi Hedren on the set have soured some of the film's escapist pleasures; nonetheless, The Birds continues to represent filmmaking of the highest order. Indeed, the master of suspense manages to elevate a profoundly silly premise into a nerve-racking gauntlet of frights. Join Dr. Vincent "Indie Prof" Piturro and kick off the film with an educational and entertaining presentation that places The Birds within the context of Hitchcock's celebrated oeuvre. And since no movie is truly complete without popcorn, the Cube offers a full concession stand complete with beer and wine. Visit the Stapleton MCA events calendar to learn more.
Friday, October 20, 7:15 p.m.
El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom
Suggested $3 donation
One of the first theme shows to take up residence in El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom, James Draper's Story Time has a somewhat misleading name. Rather than telling stories (check out We Still Like You or The Narrators for that), Draper's show calls upon every comic on the lineup to either share his or her best one-liners or generate enough new ones to fill five minutes. Like building a ship in a bottle or composing a haiku, telling a great one-liner joke requires focus, determination and maybe even a little mental illness. Shakespeare may have popularized the axiom "Brevity is the soul of wit," but Story Time! pares it down to its very essence. Join Draper along with local comics Georgia Rae, C.J. Willard, Miriam Moreno and Derrick Stroup opening for Los Angeles-bound headliner Brent Gill. Admission is free, but donations for the comics are always appreciated. Visit Story Time's Facebook events page for more details.
Friday Night Weird: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Friday, October 20, 8:45 p.m.
While horror has been a cinematic staple since before talkies, shifting social mores and anxieties have influenced what audiences find scary in myriad ways over the years. Follow the genre's evolution from German expressionism to slashers and splatterfests at Friday Night Weird's "The Changing Face of Fear" film series, which runs all month at Boulder's Boedecker Theater in the Dairy Arts Center. The series continues this week with a seminal masterpiece of the slasher genre that introduced elements of the cinema vérité movement into the cult horror genre. Perhaps it's the docu-realistic techniques or the iconic character of Leatherface, but somehow the visceral terror of Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre hasn't faded a bit over the decades, despite countless return-diminishing sequels and remakes. The Changing Face of Fear concludes on October 27 with a screening of Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street. Visit the Dairy Center's box-office page to buy tickets, $6 to $11, and to learn more.
Halloween Roller Disco Party
Friday, October 20, 9 p.m.
Exdo Events Center
Don't let the Halloween holiday roll by without indulging in some four-wheeled frivolity at Stranger Roll 2, a roller-disco party based on the Netflix series Stranger Things — which also happens to return this month. The new episodes can wait, however, as Roll Denver offers an even purer hit of nostalgia than the ’80s-inspired horror show. After all, what harks back to millennial youth more than roller rinks? While Roll Denver's monthly themed skating parties revel in a childhood pastime, they also serve booze, so guests must be at least 21 years old. Admission $5 in advance at Roll Denver's home page or $10 at the door. Guests who arrive before 10 p.m. will be admitted free, so strap on your skates early and get weird all night!
Midnight Madness: Rawhead Rex
October 20 and 21, midnight
Apart from launching the literary career of multi-talented Liverpudlian writer, filmmaker and visual artist Clive Barker, the Books of Blood short-story collection inspired numerous film and television adaptations, including cult classics such as Midnight Meat Train, Candyman and Rawhead Rex. The latter story, about a grotesque pagan godhead wreaking havoc on the Irish countryside, was among the first of Barker's screenplays. While Barker has been outspoken in his criticism of George Pavlou's 1986 creature feature, the film has nevertheless won a cult of die-hard fans, many of whom appreciate its charms somewhat ironically. Thanks to crisp new 4K digital restoration by Kino Lorber, old hands or curious newbies can see Rawhead Rex return to screens looking better than ever. Admission is $9.50; go to the Esquire's box-office page for tickets.
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BookBox Launch Party
Saturday, October 21, 7 p.m.
The endlessly inventive bookworms at BookBar have been quietly at work on a new business venture designed to appeal to avid readers and wine connoisseurs alike. BookBox is a new book-subscription service and gift rewards program devised by the Tennyson district's favorite literary haunt and Read Dog Books. Members simply visit the BookBox registration page, fill out a brief survey about their reading and drinking habits, and then wait for a thoughtfully curated gift box complete with a hand-selected collection of books as well as tea sets, wineglasses, and other treasures specifically designed to delight bookish winos. Celebrate the new service at the BookBar BookBox launch party on Saturday, October 21, at 7 p.m., and find out more on BookBar's home page.
Jewish Roots of Denver's West Side
Sunday, October 22, 2 p.m.
Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales branch library
While these days it seems like over half of Denver's population moved here from the Midwest last year, a closer look at local history reveals how culturally vibrant the city was during its formative years. For example, Denver's west side used to be home to a thriving Jewish community before many of the area's residents were displaced by rampant development. "Jewish Roots of Denver's West Side," a new interactive exhibit at the Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales branch library, will celebrate its unveiling at 2 p.m. on Sunday October 22. By giving voice to members of this overlooked community and honoring its spaces and traditions, Denver Public Library shows guests from every faith and generation how important it is to embrace all of our city's cultures. Kosher refreshments will be provided. Visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Looking for more to do? Visit Westword's calendar online.