Programs providing opportunities for young artists and performers to learn their crafts and create new works are always welcome, but a program that also provides those opportunities to underserved kids does double duty in immeasurable ways. In that vein, Arts Street is the local workhorse, offering paid eight-week summer apprenticeships in the arts to metro-area youth. To celebrate the conclusion of this summer's projects, PlatteForum Gallery, 1610 Little Raven Street, in the area centered on the foot of the Central Platte Valley's Millennium Bridge, will host an Arts Street Showcase today from 4 to 7 p.m. The show will feature a cornucopia of art installations and performances, as well as an auction of student and professional artwork. Proceeds will benefit the five-year-old program; call 303-893-0791 or log on to www.platteforum.org.
While the hard-core storytelling freaks begin communing for the weekend tomorrow at the Rocky Mountain Storytelling Festival in Palmer Lake, the rest of us folks who enjoy a good yarn are invited for a taste of the fest's best: Courtesy of the Douglas County libraries, A Summer Evening of Stories, featuring top regional story spinners Joe Hayes, Lois Burrell, Mark Gardner and Kate Lutz, takes place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Douglas County Events Center, 500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock. Admission to program is free; call 720-733-9412 or log on to www.douglascountylibraries.org for details.
Friday, August 1
Tonight's the night: If you haven't delighted in a cozy concert at the Arvada Center's outdoor amphitheater this summer, here's a chance to loll on the grass under the stars and enjoy a first-class evening of jazz: Celebrated pianist Ahmad Jamal will command the stage tonight at 7:30 p.m. with his right-hand man, bassist James Cammack, and drummer James Johnson, a trio known for wielding an orchestral sensibility. The center is at 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada; to reserve tickets, $22 to $34, call 720-898-7200 or log on to www.arvadacenter.org.
Kinky Coquette Productions party planner Jerry Theil of nobody in particular presents borrows a page from the AC/DC notebook for her latest bash, the fetishistic, back-to-school soiree School Daze, where 21-and-over participants are invited to dress -- in the spirit of perennial schoolboy Angus Young -- in school uniforms (or something spun off from one, anyway). A bevy of DJs and the Oracle Dance will entertain at the event, which was actually inspired by a London theme club called Schooltime; spankings in the Dorm Room begin around 10 p.m. at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax Avenue. Admission is $12; call 1-866-468-7621 or log on to www.ticketweb.com.
Saturday, August 2
Absolutely nobody should go hungry today: Full bellies are the cause celebré at two benefit events taking place this afternoon under slightly different contexts: The No More Starving Cats Art Sale, today at the Cat Care Society no-kill shelter, 5787 West 6th Avenue, Lakewood (on the north frontage road between Sheridan Boulevard and Harlan Street), will feature donated prints, posters, photographs and other framed or unframed artwork, many with animal themes, for sale from 1 to 3 p.m. (call 303-239-9680). The Best Chocolate Cake Ever! Party will appeal to human taste buds with a silent auction, free celebrity recipe booklets and -- yum! -- cake-tasting to benefit the National Conference for Community and Justice. The chocoholics' free-for-all is also from 1 to 3 p.m. today at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue; admission is $25 for adults and free for children ages twelve and under. For information, call 303-763-8464.
Sunday, August 3
The Old South Pearl Street Farmers' Market is a neighborly, weekly affair taking place every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through mid-October, when the weather gets hinky and the Colorado harvest season slows. Small and manageable, it's always a family-friendly event, but today's market includes something special for the four-foot-and-under crowd: A low-key Kids' Festival, featuring games, storytelling, free face-painting, balloon animals, backpack checks for kids bent under the weight of their schoolbooks and more, alongside the usual fruit stands, live HawkQuest raptor demonstrations and general person-to-person hobnobbing; for details, log on to oldsouthpearlstreet.com.
Filmmakers and humanitarians Coryander Friend and Annie Eastman of floor sleepers' productions gained firsthand experience living and working in a favela (shantytown) in Salvador, Brazil, under the auspices of the nonprofit education organization GRUCON, which sponsors programs preserving Afro-Brazilian culture. The result is their short documentary (a room of an hour), which screens tonight at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, Boulder, followed by an after-party with music by members of local bands Gordo and SambaDendé. Tickets are $5 (or $7 for the second screening and party); call 303-786-7030 or log on to www.bouldertheater.com.
Monday, August 4
This year's Film on the Rocks wraps up its season in the greatest outdoor theater on earth -- the newly refurbished Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison -- tonight, with a fundraiser pairing favorite local party band Opie Gone Bad, performing at 7 p.m., and the perfect summer's-eve flick American Pie 2, screening at 9 p.m. Proceeds from tonight's ticket sales, $7 in advance or $10 at the gate, benefit the Denver Cubs Youth Hockey Program; call 303-830-TIXS to reserve a spot for your party-prone rump.