THRILLS

Wednesday April 19 The write stuff: Author Ana Castillo is a novelist, poet and essayist, and she's a favorite among her contemporaries, earning glowing reviews from fellow Latina writers Sandra Cisneros and Julia Alvarez. It's not hard to see why--her 1993 novel So Far From God was described by novelist John Nichols as having "a flavor like Hieronymous Bosch meets Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera," and Cisneros called it "wacky, wild, y bien funny." The multitalented Castillo will read poems from My Father Was a Toltec and prose from Massacre of the Dreamers tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave. For details call 322-7727.

Take a hike: It wouldn't hurt to stretch a little, would it? Appreciative fans of striking Roxborough State Park can get in shape while they help raise funds to aid in the acquisition of property on the eastern border of the park that might otherwise have fallen to residential development. This week's March for Parks--the local version of a national pledge walk event supporting parks and open space--takes place at the park daily between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., through Sunday. Interested participants can get information, register and reserve a hiking time by calling 973-3959.

Thursday April 20 On the street: When German playwright/composer Kurt Weill emigrated to America in 1935, he probably found street life in New York City to be a natural complement to his already-developed sense of earthy characterization. Hence he created the all-American light opera Street Scene, based on a play by dramatist Elmer Rice, with lyrics by poet Langston Hughes. The University of Colorado's Lyric Theatre Program will present a statewide premiere of the opera this week, beginning at 8 tonight in the Music Theatre, Imig Music Building, 18th and Euclid, CU-Boulder campus. Performances continue at 8 Friday and Saturday, finishing up with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Admission ranges from $4 to $10; call 492-8008 for reservations.

Friday April 21 Land of a thousand promises: Ever had the urge to bump with John Frew? Do the frug with Mayor Webb? Anything is possible. We don't know if they or fellow Denver mayoral candidates Mary DeGroot and Bob Crider will actually hit the dance floor at Forum '95, but all four politicians will be on hand to meet with 21-and-over constituents tonight at Rock Island, 1614 15th St. Beginning at 9:30, each candidate will say a few words at an oversized installation of mikes before hastening to the basement for campaign mingling until, if they like, the wee hour of 2 a.m. That isn't past your bedtime, is it? Call 572-ROCK.

Right, left, right, left...: Back in 1970, director Bernardo Bertolucci played off the period's leftist political surge to make a film about a firmly fascist character from the '30s. Based on a novel by Alberto Moravia, The Conformist still hits home with stunning visuals and a gripping story. The classic Italian flick, starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Dominique Sanda, is back in the original uncut version and will be on screen for a week at the Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway, beginning today and continuing through April 27. For information and showtimes call 744-6796.

Secret story: Photographer Craig Varjabedian provides fascinating insights into a little-known and even less understood culture in his book En Divina Luz: The Penitente Moradas of New Mexico. He'll introduce the work with a show and book signing this evening at 5:30 at the Camera Obscura Gallery, 1309 Bannock St. The show continues through June 4; call 623-4059.

Saturday April 22 Global warning: It was first conceived as a holiday with a grassroots conscience. And like every other holiday, Earth Day has suffered through a growing mountain of hype and commercialization. But 25 years later, Earth Day's message is still clear, even if the image is wearing a coat of gloss. To help ensure continued awareness of environmental concerns, area residents will flock in full force to a myriad of happenings scheduled to commemorate the day. One of the biggest returns today to Larimer Square, where live entertainment, vendors, information booths and free monitored bike parking will greet participants. The newly expanded events take place today from 10 to 5 and tomorrow from noon to 5; admission is free. Call 607-1276. Boulderites can head for the CU-Boulder campus for a rally featuring several keynote speakers and live bands as well as a bank of computers on which participants can e-mail messages to Congress. All events are free and will be held on the campus's Norlin Quad from 1 to 7; call 492-8305 for details. Also on tap in Boulder is an open house at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, located at the west end of Table Mesa Drive. Visitors can explore hands-on exhibits and learn about NCAR research. For open-house hours, call 497-8760. NCAR will also be on the road for the day, collaborating on National Science and Technology Week festivities at the Denver Museum of Natural History, 2001 Colorado Blvd. From 10 to 5, the museum will feature activity tables for kids and parents, chemistry experiments, water rocket launching, a chance to meet curators, collection managers and educators and much more--made all the better by free admission for the day. Call 322-7009 for additional information.

Do the twist: You've seen the major players on the tube--youthful Olympic gymnasts such as Dominique Dawes and Shannon Miller--so it's not too hard to appreciate the amount of work it takes for a youngster to twist herself into a pretzel. More than 150 female contestants, ranging in age from nine to seventeen, will compete today in the 1995 USA Level 10/Region 3 Gymnastics Championship, a test of mettle for hopeful regional gymnasts from seven states. Qualifying athletes will go on to national championships, which would put them one step below the Olympic level. Competition will take place from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. at the DU Fieldhouse, 2201 E. Asbury Ave. Tickets are $5 per session or $8 for an all-day pass ($2-$4 kids); call 756-0832.

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