Like it or not, this is where you live, and it's changing faster than you think. Denver: Photographs by Kim Allen, an exhibit of local architectural images shot between 1985 and 1993, opens tonight at the Carol Mier Fashion Gallery, 1408 Wazee St., and provides all the perspective you'll need on the subject in plain black and white. Attend a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. or stop by the gallery through June 25; call 466-0117 for information.
Few authors capture the bittersweet side of the gay experience better than Will Fellows, whose book of oral histories, Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men From the Rural Midwest, explores personal stories from the heartland. Fellows, who interviewed 75 men for the book, each of whom dealt in his own way with the isolation inherent in farm life, quietly dismantles stereotypical perceptions about what it means to be gay. He'll discuss the book and sign copies tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St.; for details call 436-1070.
Summer always starts off with a bang in these parts, and here's solid proof: There's so much to do around town this weekend, you almost won't be able to help being entertained. The obvious place to start is the long-awaited Capitol Hill People's Fair, a perennial June event that many folks plan for weeks in advance. This year's fete--the usual sprawling smorgasbord of live music, arts and crafts vendors, multicultural and family entertainment, an outdoor sports expo, carnival rides and street food--takes place in Civic Center Park, at Colfax and Broadway, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow; stand-out attractions this year include a new beer garden, a swing-dance stage, a fish-petting zoo and virtual-reality rides. Grounds admission is free; call 517-FAIR.
On a smaller scale, history buffs are invited to celebrate Denver's Founder's Day at the Platte River Rendezvous, taking place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow in Centennial Park, near Elitch Gardens at the confluence of the Platte River and Cherry Creek. There'll be costumed mountain men, Indians and buffalo soldiers telling tales, along with stagecoach rides, gold panning, kids' gunnysack races and live music. Admission is free, and a free shuttle to the celebration grounds will be available from the nearby Auraria campus parking lots. Call 932-2403 for details.
If you're willing to bust some butt out there, National Trails Day is tailor-made for you. The annual occasion, which is marked by trail-building and maintenance projects, hikes, bike rides and other activities across the state (and country), offers outdoorsy types an opportunity to be just that. In Colorado, major events take place at Cherry Creek and Chatfield state parks, as well as along the Platte River and Cherry Creek; for more information on these and other choices, call 1-888-766-HIKE, ext. 112, or log on to ahs.simplenet.com.
And if you're a dog, there's no reason to feel left out of the weekend hoopla. It's National Rib Check Day in Washington Park--a day set aside in honor of doggie fitness. Events, which take place between 10 a.m. and noon near the park's north entrance, include demonstrations by the Rocky Mountain Agility Club and a Denver Fittest Dog contest, but don't worry--even if your Fido is more like the fattest, he'll still be welcome. Admission is free.
Finally, there's always some shade-lover out there who'd prefer to spend the weekend in a dark room. If you're one of those, the Primal Screen Film Tour, featuring seminal independent works, fills an entire day at the Vogue Theatre, 1465 S. Pearl St., courtesy of the Independent Film Channel. See Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye at 12:30 p.m., Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver at 3 p.m., Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise at 7 p.m. and Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies and videotape at 9 p.m.; in between, there'll be a 5:15 p.m. film-critic panel discussion. Admission is free while there's still room; pick up your tickets in advance at the Starbucks at 6th and Grant, 8th and Colorado, or Leetsdale and Holly. Call 765-2771.
Put this on your plate and eat it: The Mad Platter Party, a benefit for Young Audiences of Colorado, an organization that provides arts experiences in the classroom, will feature a virtual pantry-full of artist-created ceramic platters for auction, today from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Teikyo Loretto Heights University Theater and Gallery, 3001 S. Federal Blvd. The plates, signed by local arts-community names such as Phil Bender, Carlos Fresquez, Roger Lang, Charles Parson, Chandler Romeo and many others, are certified to be one-of-a-kind; for tickets, $50 ($75 for a couple), call 922-5880.