Better buys: Here's one way to feel a little better about conspicuous holiday consumption: If you've gotta buy, buy at the Alternative Gift Market, a sale that supports a variety of world service organizations such as UNICEF. Items available include jewelry, carved toys, handwoven scarves and other folk-art objects, with proceeds going directly to artisans. The market, located at Park Hill Congregational Church, 2600 Leyden St., is open today from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday evening from 6 to 8:30, and next Saturday and Sunday afternoon; call 322-9122 for additional information.
More exotic and beautiful objects, from nesting dolls and lacquer boxes to gilt icons and translucent amber, can be found today from noon to 6 during the annual Russian Boutique and Festival at St. Augustine Orthodox Church, 55 W. 3rd Ave. Ethnic eats and a noon musical performance by accordion band Moscow Nights fill out the day's activities; for details call 781-1374 or 697-5696.
Hang it up: Anything goes at the seventh annual Bizarre Wreath Auction, one of the town's most unorthodox ways to prepare for the holidays. Featuring decorative door doughnuts made by local artists from antique fabrics, beads, collage, found objects and just about everything else, the event--a benefit for the Denver School of the Arts--begins with wreath viewing, a cocktail buffet and a silent auction from 4:30 to 6:30, then continues from 6:30 to 8 with the main event. It all happens high above ground at the Top of the Rockies, located on the 38th floor of the Qwest Tower, 555 17th St. Admission is $35; call 388-3796 or 322-2973.
Dreamgirls come true: Based on the meteoric rise of a Motown-style soul trio not unlike the Supremes, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Dreamgirls is enjoying a local run at the Buell Theatre. But tonight is the 'Girls' night off. It's a perfect opportunity for cast members--who include Denverite Ron Kellum and former Denver Bronco Floyd Little's daughter, Kyra--to pitch in with strong voices at the Gospel Music Benefit for the Curtis Park Community Center. The event starts at 7 at New Hope Baptist Church, 3701 Colorado Blvd. Admission is $10; call 295-2399. Meanwhile, performances of Dreamgirls continue at the Buell, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, tomorrow through next Sunday; for tickets, which range in price from $15 to $50, call 893-4100 or 830-TIXS.
Famous last words: Is the press a Royal's pain in the ass or a trusted, if public, confidant? Perhaps it's moot at this point, but that's the question explored tonight on The Princess and the Press, a Frontline segment dealing with the media's controversial relationship with Princess Diana and the rest of the British royal family. The ninety-minute PBS documentary airs on KRMA-TV/Channel 6; flip your switch to Six at 9 p.m.
Sufi bars: A little trance music never hurt anyone: Hear for yourself when the Latif Bolat Turkish Music Ensemble makes Sufi devotional music--a mystical mix of riveting rhythms, chants and reverent lyrics--tonight at 7:30 at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St. Performed on a variety of instruments, including drums, oud, violin and lutes, the unusual genre veers from folk to classical styles, all in a single, mesmerizing evening. Concert tickets are $8 at the door; call 733-1120.
The horror, the horror: Brace yourself--every parent's nightmare is back to haunt you. Sex? Drugs? Tattoos? No, it's Barney's Big Surprise, an innocent musical extravaganza that will have your little ones behaving like happy zombies for at least the rest of the week. Starring the favorite purple dinosaur of everyone under the age of four, along with all of his real and imaginary pals, the show arrives today at 7 at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St. Six additional performances continue through Sunday; for showtimes and tickets, ranging from $10 to $25, call 830-