All's Fair

Despite the drought, CHUN's fest will be as big as ever

SAT, 6/7

Calling all citizens: The Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods People's Fairis back in full force. Let's check the numbers: Two hundred fifty thousand fair-goers are expected to peruse 350 juried arts-and-crafts exhibitors while eating 3,000 turkey legs from 38 food vendors, using 130 porta-potties and listening to 75 bands playing on five stages -- but none of it will be happening on Civic Center Park's green grass.

With the four-year-old drought still straining Colorado's reservoirs, the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation considered evicting the festival from its home for the past fifteen years in order to protect the park's lawn. A compromise was reached, and all exhibitors and attractions must keep to the pavement.

"I'm very concerned that people think that the festival isn't going to be as big this year -- or isn't even happening at all -- because of the controversy over whether or not we could use Civic Center Park," says Tom J. Knorr, executive director of CHUN, who has stepped up the People's Fair advertising campaign in an effort to attract the huge crowds that have attended in years past. "We've got to get the word out that it's going to be bigger than ever.

"You can still buy a turkey leg and a beer and relax in the shade under a tree in the park," he promises.

Now in its 32nd year, the fair has grown from a mere 2,000 people hanging out at Morey Junior High School back in 1971 into the largest two-day festival in the state. It takes place today from 10 to 8 and tomorrow from 10 to 7, and the entertainment lineup includes Opie Gone Bad, Yo, Flaco!, the Fabulous Boogienauts and Wendy Woo. Extensive demonstrations by the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Butterfly Pavilion will take place in the Family Area, which will also include the Street Side Mural Project and carnival rides. For a complete schedule of activities, visit www.peoplesfair.com. -- Julie Dunn

Shout Out
SUN, 6/8

Break out the crystal: Locally owned music retailer Twist & Shoutturns fifteen this week, and it's celebrating with a huge sale on all your favorite tunes -- whether that means Kiss, Beethoven or Radiohead. "Our audience definitely supports the idea that we are independent," says Dawn Greaney, head of promotions for the store. "So we wanted one week where we could give something back to our customers and have a real party-like atmosphere."

Twist & Shout is offering a 10 percent discount on a different musical genre each day this week -- starting today with jazz and classical music -- and wrapping up with a blowout party under a tent next Saturday in the parking lot, 300 East Alameda Avenue, complete with local DJs spinning and discounts of up to 40 percent. For details, visit www.twistandshout.com, call 303-722-1943 or swing by the store. -- Julie Dunn

Rhythm and Jews
SUN, 6/8

Instead of crooning about broken hearts and teenage angst, the Hamsa Boys are a boy band with a message. A group of Orthodox Jewish twenty-somethings from New York, the Hamsa Boys will rock Boulder this afternoon at 1, during the ninth annual Boulder Jewish Festival. "They're young guys who do biblical and Hebrew songs to hip-hop techno beats," explains Emily Leblang, an event organizer. "And they do a fabulous Michael Jackson impersonation." The free festival will be held on the Pearl Street Mall in downtown Boulder from 11 to 5; it features over sixty arts-and-crafts and community booths, Jewish cuisine, a kids' activity center and, along with the Hamsa Boys, entertainment by Mah Tovu, the Borscht Brothers and others. "It's the only Jewish festival in the Rocky Mountain region," says Leblang. "And it keeps getting stronger every year."

For information and a complete schedule, visit www.boulderjewishfestival.org. -- Julie Dunn

Cultural Express
Explore Asia...in Aurora.
THURS, 6/5

There's more -- much more -- to Asian film than Jackie Chan smacking a horde of bad guys with an extension ladder. For that matter, there's more to understanding Asian film than just watching the works on screen.

Enter the sixth Aurora Asian Film Festival, which blends some of that continent's distinctive cultures with its current crop of cinema exports. The event opens at 7 tonight at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue, with the Chinese feature 25 Kids and One Dad. The film (with English subtitles) will be followed by a Lion Dance procession from the Fox to nearby Fletcher Plaza, the site of nightly receptions that will offer varying Asian cuisines and art. Closing night, Sunday, June 8, will feature a 6:30 screening of Small Voices, the tale of a teacher challenging a rural educational system, followed by a question-and-answer session with Philippine director Gil Portes.

"We're trying to showcase as widespread a range of new cinema as possible," says Brit Withey, program director for the Denver Film Society, which is co-sponsoring the event. To that end, organizers have lined up eleven films from nine countries. But, Withey adds, the cultural components are equally important, giving viewers a sense -- as well as an actual taste -- of the countries in which the films were made.

Tickets for various events, $5 to $30, are available online at www.denverfilm.org or by calling 1-866-464-2626. -- Ernie Tucker

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