Punt and games: Heft your helmets, pro-football wannabes, pad yourselves good and head on down to Training Camp, an evening of pigskin-related drills hosted by former Broncos big guy Floyd Little. And why should you take your life in your hands this way? Because the competitor who most excels at the battery of tire runs, football tosses, crab crawls and so on will win a chance to meet a whole battalion of ex-pro big guys, including Little, in the Cuervo Margarita Bowl flag football championship in Fort Lauderdale at the end of January. Hut! The action begins at 7 at Govnr's Park Restaurant, 672 Logan St.; a $3 donation gets you off the bench. Proceeds benefit the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.
Thursday December 8 A little night music: Although he emerged in the late '70s as a new-wave contender, British pop singer Joe Jackson has never been enslaved by that movement--over the years he's dabbled in a variety of grooves. From the reggae inflections of Beat Crazy to the swing-jazz-tinged Jumpin' Jive, he's searched out novel yet nostalgic ways to showcase the smart, biting lyrics that initially lifted him into the limelight. Jackson takes a mature leap with his new album, Night Music, material from which should figure prominently in his performance tonight at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl. A benefit for the Colorado AIDS Project, the concert begins at 7:30; admission is $21.50, and donations of canned food and personal-care items are requested (call 290-TIXS). CAP also offers a special block of partially deductible tickets at $40 each; for information call 837-0166.
Friday December 9 Good neighbors: Among the few reminders of the modest community that thrived where the modern Auraria campus now stands is St. Cajetan's Church, once a cultural mainstay and meeting place for the area's Hispanic denizens. Currently used for lectures and other campus functions, the center is also the focus of a reunification project designed to reacquaint westside inhabitants with a slice of their vanished history. As part of the project, Metro State College and CU-Denver will team with El Centro Su Teatro to present The Miracle at Tepeyac, a historical folk drama with a contemporary twist, tonight through Sunday. Preceding each performance will be a community procession beginning at 6:30 at the intersection of Colfax and Mariposa and ending on campus at the church, where the play starts at 7. Call El Centro Su Teatro, 296-0219, for ticket information.
A call to auction: Art makes a great gift. Not only is it unique--sometimes beautiful, sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes wickedly funny--but buying it might help out a poor starving artist or two. And bidding on it takes some of the ho-hum out of your endless annual ho-ho-ho shopping detail. You can pick and choose tonight at the CORE New Art Space Holiday Auction, where silent bidders will vie for paintings, prints, pottery, jewelry and other handmade stuff--priced between $10 and $100--beginning at 7. CORE is located at 1412 Wazee St.; call 571-4831. Or visit the Off Center Gallery, 7505 W. Grandview Ave., Arvada, for Wear If You Dare II, an outrageous show of wearable art said to be more art than wearable. A silent auction of vintage clothing and other funky things will take place at the reception from 6 to 10 p.m. The show runs through December 31; call 467-0640 for details. Proceeds from both auctions benefit the cooperative galleries.
Under cover: A pair of Denver artists will be showcased in Coats and Boxes, a holiday show featuring fascinating and affordable box sculptures by David Zimmer that playfully reveal the unexpected, along with Alfredo Garcia Lucio's luscious capes and coats. Opening this evening from 5 to 8 at the Artyard Gallery, 1251 S. Pearl St., the exhibit continues through December 24. For further information call 777-3219.
Saturday December 10 Wee wish you a merry Christmas: If you believe that holidays like Christmas are first and foremost designed for children, take heart. And take some time out from standing in line at toy stores to enjoy the wonder of the season with your kids. Start with a Breakfast With Santa, 8:30 to 10 a.m. today and December 17 at The Shops at Tabor Center, 16th and Lawrence streets, featuring pastries, O.J. (the kind you drink, silly), photos with Santa, keepsakes, a puppet show and a craft workshop for the whippersnappers. Admission is $5; call 572-6868 for reservations (a good idea). If it takes your crew a little longer to get bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1005 York St., reprises its annual Teddy Bear Teas with seatings at 11 and 1 today and next Saturday. Recommended for children ages three to ten and, if they like, their favorite dolls and bears, the teas cost $8 for youngsters ($15 adults). Call 370-8187 for tickets. Once night falls, two favorite Denver traditions start up--Wildlights, a wonderland of lights, animal sculptures, music and goodies, returns to the Denver Zoo (331-4100), while the Botanic Gardens come alive with an always spectacular Blossoms of Light. Visit both between 6 and 9 nightly through December 31; admission at each gate ranges from $2 to $3 (kids five and under free at DBG, three and under free at the zoo). And tonight and tomorrow night only, double-decker buses will travel between the gardens and the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, at 1880 Gaylord, where Candlelight Tours are under way from 5:30 to 8:30. Tickets are $6 to $8; call 322-3704.