Monday February 21 Word of mouth: Somewhere on the cutting edge of performance art, spoken word is forming a cornerstone. Using compelling combinations of poetry and stories, artists of the word are popping up all over the place and performing before enthusiastic crowds. Three of the best--Exene Cervenka (you know her from her work with L.A.'s X), Don Bajema (who toured with Henry Rollins on a spoken-word tour last year) and Professor Griff (the militant heart of Public Enemy)--will be in town for Screaming From the Barrel: An Evening of Spoken Word, taking place tonight at 8 in the General Classroom Building Auditorium, 2040 S. Race St. on the DU campus. This thoughtful and provocative program is free and open to the public; for additional information call 871-3872.

Senior high: When art-school graduate David Greenberger, down on his luck, took a job as activities director at the Duplex Nursing Home in Boston, he found a rare and poignant calling. Stymied by attempts to stimulate his senior-citizen wards with shuffleboard and bingo, he finally opened up the minds of the home's residents by asking them odd questions. He then began recording their hilarious, bizarre and touching answers--resulting in a radio program, CD and a wonderful book, Duplex Planet Hour: Everybody's Asking Who I Was. Greenberger will be on hand to talk about and autograph the book--praised by everyone from Jonathan Demme and Matt Groening to Lou Reed--tonight at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl in Boulder, 447-2074, and tomorrow at the Tattered Cover, 2955 E. 1st Ave., 322-7727. Both signings take place at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday February 22 Helping hand: It won't be easy--even the most voracious eaters will have a difficult time sampling all the gourmet goodies at Great Chefs of the West, a fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation catered (and catered, and catered) by over twenty of Denver's trendiest hasheries. Samplings of cuisine prepared by chefs from upper-echelon restaurants (among those represented are Strings, Cliff Young's, Tante Louise, Tango, La Coupole and that new cowpoke on the block, China Cowboy) will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel Denver, but get there at 5:30 for cocktails and a tony silent auction. Tickets to the pigfest go for $60 a head; call 759-5151.

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