The global village comes to Boulder this weekend when Bantaba World Dance and Music hosts African Festival 2003, an event now in its third year that combines daytime classes and evening performances of drumming and dancing by African members of local faculties representing Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Senegal. Classes for students of all skill levels are scheduled daily, today through Sunday, at Bantaba, 691 South Broadway, Suite B, Table Mesa Shopping Center, Boulder, with informal performances taking place today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. at New Vista High School, 805 Gillaspie Avenue. The festival culminates in an African Fête, featuring Afropop music by Boulder-based emigrés Boubacar Diébaté and Dialy Kounda, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street. Class fees range from $10 to $16, admission to the New Vista performances is $8 to $10, and fête tickets are $12 to $14; for information, call 303-499-6484 or log on to www.dancingcircle.com.
Friday, July 18
Hot wheels: Thanks to local car enthusiasts Ed and John Soneff, Kruse International, the world's leader in collector-car sales, will cruise into the Denver Merchandise Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue, for this weekend's Denver Collector Car Auction, featuring more than 250 collectible vehicles spanning seven decades of automotive design. A 1932 Ford rumble-seat coupe, cherry 1957 Chevy Bel Air and 2001 Indian motorcycle represent only a smidgen of the vehicular beauties scheduled to sit on the block; the public is invited to bid on their favorites beginning at 6 p.m. today and again at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Admission is $6 (or $3 for children ages twelve and under); call 1-800-968-4444 or log on to www.kruse.com for more information.
The Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, lends a helping hand to struggling playwrights with its fourth annual New Playwrights Festival, this year giving the big chance to six talented winners culled from 190 entries. The chosen works -- Big Electric Superhero Hands, by Johnna Adams, Kissing Myself, by Shayna Ferm, eleven short scenes, by Kirk Lynn, The Ride, by Greg Romero, A Clear, Blue Thing, by Caridad Svich and Women Behind the Bush, by Ed Valentine -- will be given staged readings, each directed by a different small-theater auteur, at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, tonight through July 26. For a complete schedule and tickets, $6 to $8, call 303-477-9984.
One thing you've gotta love about those big summer concert tours: They really go out of their way to pack lots of entertainment into a single show. And that's certainly the case tonight at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, where incisive, visceral songwriting, folksy intimacy and smart chops will rule the stage -- several times over. The bill's headlined by Jackson Browne, who practically invented the L.A. end of the thoughtful singer-songwriter genre, and features hard-rocking confessor Steve Earle and rootsy country-blues traditionalist Keb' Mo' as the, um, "opening" acts. More for your money! Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $39 to $46.50; call 303-830-TIXS.
Saturday, July 19
Families will have the run of Lair o' the Bear Park, on Colorado Highway 74 west of Idledale, during today's Bear Creek Festival. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jefferson County Open Space and the Lookout Mountain Nature Center are sponsoring a variety of free, hands-on, water-oriented nature activities. Live creatures, river crafts, water conservation tips, lessons in the Leave No Trace camping concept and a heady chunk of the great outdoors will all be included; for details, call 303-526-0594.
Sunday, July 20
Coo coo ca choo, Mrs. Robinson: Is there anything funnier than a bride running away -- in full formal gear? It worked 35 years ago when Benjamin and Elaine skedaddled out of the church and boarded a bus at the end of The Graduate, and there's no reason it wouldn't work now. So dig out your veils and lace, your ugly, overpriced bridesmaid-travesty duds and -- well, why not? -- your used-once tuxes for Running With the Brides, a 5K benefit run/walk for the Women's Bean Project, taking off (with wild abandon) at 9 a.m. today from Sloan's Lake Park, 25th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard. Optional obstacle courses will be included for the most intrepid second-run brides. The entry fee is $25; for more information, call 303-433-2725 or log on to www.bridal-bootcamp.com.
Food, glorious food: From Middle Eastern to Mexican, there's a world of good eating at the International Food Festival, a highly delicious Habitat for Humanity fundraiser featuring a global palate of foods for the whole family. Hosted by Habitat on the Hill, a non-denominational religious coalition working on a new house-building project, the event runs from 3 to 7 p.m. this afternoon at Central Christian Church, 3690 Cherry Creek Drive South; admission is $10 (or $25 for families) at the door. Somewhat swankier, but no less delicious, is another pigout for a cause: The eighteenth annual Taste of the Nation, billed this year as "The Ultimate Patio Party," will put out a spread of eats from the Fourth Story, Cool River Cafe, Tamayo and nearly fifty other local restaurants, with accompanying wines from top-notch American vintners, all to benefit Share Our Strength food-bank charities. Eat so that others may, too: Tickets to the event, taking place for a second year on the campus of Johnson & Wales University, 7150 Montview Boulevard, are $50 (or $200 for VIP tix that include private cooking demos, valet parking and other perks); call 303-297-0408 or log on to www.denvertasteofthenation.org for reservations.