Arts and Culture

Free for All: The Five Best Free Events in Denver, May 1-7

The Great Western Alpaca Show joins forces with the HAHO Market May 5-7 at the National Western Complex.
Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies
The Great Western Alpaca Show joins forces with the HAHO Market May 5-7 at the National Western Complex.
While Denver is a world-class city with a thriving arts and culture scene, it's more importantly a place where sometimes you can see an alpaca — perhaps even several alpacas, if you're lucky. The only thing better than celebrating the crystal anniversary of the Great Western Alpaca Show as it joins forces with the Handmade Homemade Market this weekend is getting to do it for free. Westword has your non-alpaca entertainment needs covered as well, with everything from history lectures to tuneful art happenings that await the thrifty and adventurous Denverite. Figure out what you're doing this week with the following list of five delightful events, all gloriously free. Alpacas!

History Night at City Stacks
1. Red Star Over Denver — History Night at City Stacks: Denver's Radical Past
Monday, May 1
City Stacks Books and Coffee

Though many of its current residents are probably unaware, Denver was once a historical hotbed of radical culture, a city of laborers with socialist and anarchist leanings. Militant unions, such as the prominent Western Federation of Miners (led by larger than life secretary-treasurer Big Bill Haywood) gained a tenuous foothold in labor relations only to endure a series of violent repressions from Colorado's corporate class. Learn more about this fascinating era of Colorado history with curmudgeonly local historian Phil Goodstein, whose History Night at City Stacks lectures are a trove of fascinating stories and outlandish characters. Enrich your understanding of this great city by communing with its forgotten past.

click to enlarge CRISTIN COLVIN
Cristin Colvin
2. Make/Shift Monday Presents: (de)composition
Monday, May 1, 6 p.m.

Unlike any concert you've attended before, (de)composition is an interdisciplinary art-valanche that blends elements of music, poetry and dance into an extemporaneous yet orchestrated harmony. Created in partnership with Toxoplasma Arts and RedLine Gallery's Make/Shift Monday series, the show features original compositions and live performances from Colt Galloway, Mikey Smith, Shawna Wolf, Caitlin Gilmore and Joshua Fenner, with additional support from fellow musicians Emily Pietruszka, Jamie Beekman and Kara Nicole Turner. Liven up a humdrum Monday evening by becoming part of the art at (de)composition. Admission is free, but donations are happily and gratefully accepted.

click to enlarge TATTERED COVER
Tattered Cover
3. Peter Andreas Reading and Signing Event
Tuesday, May 2, 7 p.m.
Tattered Cover Colfax

Denver-based author Peter Andreas has lived a life packed with enough incidents for ten memoirs. His recent autobiographical book, Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution recounts Andreas's formative years spent on the lam with his revolutionary mother, an outspoken feminist and socialist. As enthralling as it is disillusioning, Andreas's book describes his various homes, the constant hiding and even brushes with history in pre-coup Chile. Join Andreas and a crowd of loyal fans to hear the author read excerpts from his work before a meet-and-greet book-signing event. Admission is free, and copies of Rebel Mother will be available for $26.

click to enlarge Mugs for the Boulder Potter's Guild sale. - MICHELLE FOX
Mugs for the Boulder Potter's Guild sale.
Michelle Fox
4. Boulder Potters' Guild Spring Show and Sale
May 4-7, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Boulder County Fairgrounds

With over fifty of its members exhibiting their work at the Boulder County Fairgrounds this weekend, the Boulder Potters' Guild Spring Show and Sale demonstrates the best of what the collective has to offer. Visitors can shop for jewelry, fused-glass keepsakes, silk scarves or embossed stationary while watching watch live drawing and beholding beautiful ceramics at this free pottery extravaganza. Buyers can rest assured that sales help to support the continued efforts of the nonprofit Boulder Potters' Guild to educate, exhibit and nurture the ceramic arts. With Mother's Day just around the corner, the Spring Show and Sale is a fine opportunity to find a unique gift.

5. HAHO Market and Great Western Alpaca Show
May 5-7
National Western Complex

The Denver Handmade Homemade Market is celebrating its second year with a massive bazaar showcasing more than ninety different vendors selling their lovingly crafted jewelry, artwork, health and beauty products, foodstuffs and furniture in a free, weekend-long celebration. It's a great deal, and we haven't even mentioned the alpacas. That's right, the HAHO Market is running concurrently with the Fifteenth Annual Great Western Alpaca Show, a wild and woolly free-for-all with alpaca costume contests, blue-ribbon shows, a free alpaca selfie booth and a range of woolen products for sale. With plenty of food, beer and live music, this is one crystal-anniversary celebration that can't be bleat. Visit the Great Western Alpaca Show home page to learn more.