Sunday October 1 Words for words: It does no good to merely look aghast at the titles that have been banned throughout history: Recently, Jane Smiley's Pulitzer Prize winner A Thousand Acres was declared to have "no literary value" at a high school in Washington, placing it in the classy company of other banned tomes by the likes of Mark Twain, Toni Morrison, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Hans Christian Andersen. The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, along with the hosting Tattered Cover Book Store, will stage a Banned Books Read-Aloud today in support of readers' rights, from 10 to 2 at the Cherry Creek T.C., 2955 E. 1st Ave. For more information about the nonstop event, during which local performers and ACLU members will read from banned or challenged works for five to ten minutes each, call 322-7727.

Caught in the frame: Cable viewers will be treated to an ambitious collaboration in which notable Hollywood directors created films inspired by classic works of art. Picture Windows premieres tonight on Showtime with a trilogy of half-hour episodes featuring such performers as Alan Arkin, George Segal, Brooke Adams and Sally Kirkland: "Soir Bleu," a haunting enactment of Edward Hopper's image of a sad clown, directed by Norman Jewison; "Song of Songs," Peter Bogdanovich's love story based on Botticelli's "La Primavera"; and "Language of the Heart," director Jonathan Kaplan's ballet scenario inspired by "The Rehearsal," by Degas. A second trilogy, pairing Frederic Remington with Joe Dante, an anonymous sixteenth-century painter with John Boorman, and David Hockney with Robert Loggia, will be aired October 29.

Monday October 2 Help and happiness: Area people with AIDS have Hearts & Voices Colorado to help lighten their load, at least a little bit--the nurturing volunteer organization provides live entertainment weekly for those hospitalized by the illness. Musical-theater artists Jeff Jenkins and Alex Ryer will headline a series of cabaret-style benefit performances for the group beginning today at the Theatre on Broadway, 13 S. Broadway. Shows are at 7:30 tonight, tomorrow and October 16 and 23; to reserve tickets, $20, call 860-9360.

Tuesday October 3 A shot in the dark: Did you ever wonder why a single-malt Scotch is the best scotch? Renowned beer-and-whiskey expert Michael Jackson, who has personally tested more than 300 single malts over the years, will answer the question, and he'll do so demonstratively, from 7:30 to 10 tonight, in the Banquet Room at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th St. He'll fill you in on all the straight-up poop--why single malts are special and how the stuff originated in the first place--over shots of the Wynkoop's varied single-malt Scotch selections. Tickets are $45 and include a light buffet, a free issue of Malt Advocate magazine, and enough Scotch to cross your eyes. Mildly. Call 964-8997.

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