This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, April 17Most of us probably don't know that the City of Englewood, an ordinary urban 'burb, is leading up to a big centennial celebration next month. But its inhabitants know that the town is a unique mixed bag of high and low culture, and that's exactly what you'll get at today's Taste of Englewood, a benefit chew-fest and silent auction hosted by the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce. The little burg will take this opportunity to show off its citizen-friendly city hall, the talents of the Arapahoe Philharmonic Orchestra and an array of frankly blue-collar bites. The Taste takes place from 5 to 8 upstairs at Englewood City Center, 1000 Englewood Parkway. Admission is $15 ($25 for couples); call 303-789-4473 to reserve tickets.

Friday, April 18Walking on air is no big deal for members of the Frequent Flyers Productions dance troupe. Aerial dance -- including moves made on trapezes, bungees, ropes, hoops and other high-flying apparatus -- is their thing, and they do it very well. Under the guidance of company founder Nancy Smith, an entire stable of aerial choreographers will show off their unique talents in Flight, a spring program of new works. It takes place at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, this weekend and next, at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder. Tickets are $13 to $16; call 303-245-8272 or log on to www.frequentflyers.org for information and reservations.

Saturday, April 19We all have different ideas of what Earth Day is all about. It began as a modern incarnation of Arbor Day, which started in the nineteenth century as a kind of general spring celebration. In more recent times, the powers that be settled on a formal observance on the last Friday in April. Trees play a big role in the spring, so it's significant that the Park People, a local preservation organization, promote urban vegetation with Denver Digs Trees. Normally, the group hosts a tree sale and mulch giveaway each April for Denver residents; this year, due to continuing drought conditions and resulting watering restrictions, the focus on foliage shifts to more of an informational event. Park People volunteers will be at six area Wild Oats stores today from noon to 3, offering tips and holding drawings for tree-care packages. The mulch giveaway will go on as usual, from 9 to 3 at five metro-area sites, including Sloan's Lake, Washington, Babi Yar and Ruby Hill parks, as well as the City Nursery, 10450 Smith Road. For details, call 303-722-6262 or log on to www.theparkpeople.org.

Richard Thompson opens up his Old Kit Bag at 
the Boulder Theater Monday.
Richard Thompson opens up his Old Kit Bag at the Boulder Theater Monday.

Earth Day also means doing our best to improve and maintain our natural surroundings. To that end, the public is invited to chip in at a couple of area preserves. At the Chatfield Nature Preserve Earth Day Celebration, 10 to 4 today at the Denver Botanic Gardens' rustic country cousin at 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, volunteers who engage in numerous cleanup and planting projects will be rewarded for their hard work with live bluegrass music, kids' activities and a chance to peruse booths selling recycled art, natural products and other earthly objects. Events are free (assuming you contribute some elbow grease, that is); call 303-973-1694 or botanicgardens.org. And out in Aurora, the Plains Conservation Center Earth Day Project offers similar opportunities along the banks of West Bijou Creek from 8 to 3; a free lunch is promised for all who participate. The center is located at 21901 East Hampden Avenue; reservations are required. Call 303-693-3621.

Earth Da gets a literary treatment in Boulder today, when Naropa University hosts From Prairies to Peaks the Watershed Speaks, an event that pulls together loose regional issues of history, culture, science and sustainability for inhabitants of the Boulder Creek Watershed, an area roughly stretching from Louisville to Nederland. The day will be filled with storytelling, environmental and historical talks, puppet performances, live wolf hybrids and more, from 11 to 5 at Naropa's main campus, 2130 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder. Admission is free; call 303-245-4612 or log on to www.naropa.edu.

Sunday, April 20Here's an Easter opportunity for the Mad Hatter in all of us: Don your bonnets and reserve a table at Easter Sunday Tea, a proper high tea for the whole family at the new, expanded location of Country Gardens Tea House, 8190 West 14th Avenue, Lakewood. More folksy than elegant, Country Gardens will serve dainty finger sandwiches and bottomless pots of tea from 10 to 3; the prix fixe is $12, or $6 for children ages eight and under. Call 303-233-5003 for reservations.

Monday, April 21Although his career seems to have been eclipsed recently by those of ex-wife Linda and up-and-coming son Teddy, singular English folk-rocker Richard Thompson has been around, still cooking up new tunes in the background. And as one of pop music's most creative guitarists and songwriters, Thompson is far from through: On the road in support of a brand-new CD, The Old Kit Bag, he'll show off his latest work with able backup by the Richard Thompson Band. Thompson and crew perform tonight at 7:30 at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, Boulder; for tickets, $24.25, call 303-786-7030 or log on to www.bouldertheater.com.

Tuesday, April 22If there's any such thing as a hot commodity in the literary world these days, ZZ Packeris definitely sizzling. The award-winning young writer, a Yale grad and veteran of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, broke into the business of fiction writing at the top, with stories published in the New Yorker, Harper's and other famed magazines and anthologies. Packer will read from her first book, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere: Stories, a collection steeped in the lore of contemporary African-American life, with subjects ranging from the Girl Scouts to the Million Man March, tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue. For details, call 303-322-7727 or log on to www.tatteredcover.com.

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