Thursday, January 1Got the post-holiday blues? Don't despair: The folks at the Denver Botanic Gardens have come up with a solution. Their annual Blossoms of Lightdisplay, a twinkling, flora-draped wonderland, has been extended through January 25. In contrast to the animated bells and whistles you see each year at the Denver Zoo's WildLights, the DBG's illuminated tour is the ultimate in simplicity, with thousands of bulbs creating an elegant, fairyland look. And as always, there are kissing bowers with mistletoe and nightly entertainment. So brighten up: You can get back to those half-written resolutions tomorrow. The Gardens are at 1005 York Street; Blossoms of Light hours are 6 to 9 p.m., and admission is $4 to $8 (free for children under three). Call 720-865-3544 or visit www.botanicgardens.org.
Friday, January 2You may have noticed something missing from the holiday lineup: no new Harry Potter movie to shoo the kids off to. Even adult movie-goers, as bewitched by the Potter phenomenon as the younger generation, are feeling a little let down; after all, the official release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is still six months away. But you can still fall under the magical Potter spell at the annual Harry Potter Extravaganza, today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Boulder Public Library, 1000 Canyon Boulevard. There will be games, dueling matches, live owls and screenings of the first two HP films in the auditorium. Events are free, but tickets are required for some presentations; call 303-441-3099 or log on to www.boulder.lib.co.us for details.
The Art Students League of Denver will start the year with a bang when its newest exhibit, Politics & Power, opens today. The show features pointed works by ASLD faculty artists, including LuCong, Tony Ortega and Jerry De La Cruz, as well as contributions from members and students, and is guaranteed to give viewers a giant jolt of reality. An opening reception will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight at the Art Students League, 200 Grant Street; Politics & Powercontinues through Friday, January 30. Call 303-778-6990 or visit www.asld.org for information.
And if you're late with a gift for your favorite picky art collector, hop on over to Gallery M, 2830 East Third Avenue, for the unveiling of G.O.A.T. : A Tribute to Muhammad Ali. (G.O.A.T. is short for "Greatest of All Time.") The heavyweight limited-edition Ali tome contains art by Jeff Koons and photos by Howard Bingham. Two editions of the book are available for purchase: the "Champ's Edition," which is limited to 1,000 copies and includes an original companion art piece by Koons, four silver gelatin prints by Bingham and the signatures of both artists and Ali himself; and the "Collector's Edition," which features a photo-lithograph by Koons. Gallery M is open today and tomorrow from noon to 5 p.m.; G.O.A.T. remains on display through April 30. Call 303-331-8400.
Saturday, January 3Get your brave new year off the ground this afternoon when Westword, the Guitar Center and Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge host the Best of Underground Jazz, Volume 1, an afternoon and evening of local music on the edge. The compendium of neo-jazz sounds will include performances by 2 1/3, Bowshock, the Malinda Dixon Quartet, the Future Jazz Project, the DLP, Lawhead, Flaco Funk Project and more. The soulful avant/hip-hop/electronica extravaganza gets under way at 2 p.m. at Dazzle with the Jazz Workshop Orchestra; admission is $5 at the doors, and proceeds benefit the Denver School of the Arts. Dazzle is at 930 Lincoln Street; call 303-839-5100.
Sunday, January 4Like 2003 herself, things just seem to be slipping away, including El Greco to Picasso from the Phillips Collection, the fabulous exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Today's the last day before the stunning masterpiece theater moves on to another locale. The show, which features works by a who's who of European artists from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is open today from noon to 9 p.m., but it's recommended that you call ahead to reserve a viewing time and tickets, $6 to $14.75 (free for members and children under five). Call 1-888-903-0278 or visit www.denverartmuseum.org.
Monday, January 5It's time to dump that dried-out tree you so tenderly decorated just a few short weeks ago, so here's a needling reminder: Denver's annual Treecycle Program starts today and continues through January 16. Leave your denuded, unflocked tree with the rest of your trash by 7 a.m. on your regular trash day (pickup for dumpster customers is available on January 5 and 12 only). Denver Public Works/Solid Waste Management will grind the spruces into mulch that will be available free to Denver residents next spring. Call 720-865-6810 or log on to www.denvergov.org/denverrecycles.
And if mulch makes you think of next year's garden, check out the Free Seeds and Transplants Programsponsored by Denver Urban Gardens. Low- to moderate-income Denver residents meeting specified requirements are invited to apply for vegetable seeds and plants to be meted out this spring; applications are due by February 2. In addition, garden plots are now available at more than sixty metro-area community gardens. For information, call 303-292-9900 or log on to www.dug.org.
Tuesday, January 6You grownups aren't the only ones who've been snarfing too much of Grandma's special Christmas fudge. Take a good look at your kids, the ones who wasted their vacations glued to their Xboxes, TVs and multiple screenings of Return of the King. Aren't they looking just a tad chubby? South Suburban Parks and Recreation invites all youngsters in grades one through six to deflate the fun way, with Kids Fitness Zone after-school activities and games, from 4:15 to 4:55 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Goodson Recreation Center, 6315 South University Boulevard in Littleton. Fees are $25 to $43 monthly (depending on residency status); call 303-483-7079 or log on to www.sspr.org for details.
Wednesday, January 7Of all the works created by nineteenth-century French impressionist Edgar Degas, his images of dancers are perhaps his best-known and -loved. The artist frequented the ballet studios and backstage environs of Paris, capturing dance students and prima ballerinas in moments both intimate and public. That artistic relationship is the subject of a new Great Performances segment on PBS. "Degas and the Dance" combines images from a comprehensive exhibit of the same name, organized jointly by the American Federation of the Arts, the Detroit Institute of the Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with dance performances re-created at the Palais Garnier opera house and the artist's studio. The world of Degas springs to life tonight at 7 p.m. on KRMA-TV/Channel Six.