The English department at the University of Colorado at Denver lends some local presence to National Poetry Month by hosting the Denver Poetry Festival. The series, scheduled throughout the month of April, features free poetry readings by both award-winning and up-and-coming poets. The meter starts running tonight at 7 p.m., when Colorado Book Award winner James Tipton interprets his book Letters From a Stranger at the Colorado Center for the Book, 2123 Downing Street (303-839-8320). Subsequent events will be held in Room 440 of the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria campus. Those sessions include appearances by Mike Henry and members of Denver's Lighthouse Poets at 2:30 p.m. and David Keplinger and Aaron Abeyta at 7 p.m. on April 17; Jane Wampler at 4 p.m. April 21; and Jane Hilberry and Jeffrey Ethan Lee at 4 p.m. April 23. In addition, UCD's Grammata Literary Group will present an open-air reading for aspiring writers at 1 p.m. April 22 in front of Auraria's Plaza Building. Colorado College faculty member David Mason, author of The Buried Houses, The Country I Remember and Arrivals, tops off the series with a 5 p.m. reading at Book Buffs Ltd., 1519 South Pearl Street, 303-722-3630, on April 24. For details, call 303-556-8828 or log on to http://thunder1.cudenver.edu/dpf.
Pet projects reign this month at the Boulder Arts and Crafts Cooperative, 1421 Pearl Street, where the April exhibit Best of Show will help raise funds for the Humane Society of Boulder County, which soon holds its own annual "Putting on the Leash" fundraiser. Best of Show opens today and includes the sale of whimsical metal animal sculptures, created by Yardbirds, and cute animal-themed three-dimensional wall pieces by Jill Flinn. The show continues through April 25; call 303-443-3683 or log on to www.boulderartsandcrafts.com.
Contrary to popular belief, there's nothing wrong with a feminine touch in the kitchen where haute cuisine is concerned. To promote that concept, Jax Fish House, 1539 17th Street, and resident chef Sheila Lucero will host Females on Fire: A Celebration of Female Chef Talent in Denver. The dandy six-course event features dishes prepared by Lucero and such top local woman chefs as former Panzano toque Jennifer Jasinski, Cielo's Marcela Guerrero and Pam Savage-Sims, Marlo Hix of Tante Louise, Rachel Woolcott and Cyd Anderson of Aix, and bodacious baker Kathleen Kenny of Gateaux. Tickets for the 6 p.m. dining extravaganza, available at all participating restaurants, are $100 and benefit the Females on Fire Culinary Scholarship for feminine foodies seeking a culinary education. For details, call 303-292-5767.
Friday, April 9
The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council delves into the field of regional Hispanic devotional images with Santos and Crosses III, Colorado Style, an art show opening tonight with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. CHAC members and invited artists get to strut the stuff of their ancestors and peers with an array of traditional and contemporary works exploring religious themes. The annual display continues through April 17; call 303-571-0440 or log on to www.chacweb.org. CHAC is at 772 Santa Fe Drive.
Saturday, April 10
No yolk: It's the time of year when a whole brigade of cotton-tailed, lop-eared leporids egg the kids on in their hunt for springtime treasure at locations all over town. The Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Drive, retooled its annual Easter event and came up with the Bunny Trail EggVenture, an indoor hike with Eggs-ploration Stations, photo ops, face painting, balloon twisters and a parade, as well as free outdoor activities on the plaza. The adventure takes place today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Non-member admission is $4 to $6; call 303-433-7444 or log on to www.mychildsmuseum.org. To the south, the Wildlife Experience, 10035 South Peoria Street in Parker, hosts a similar Spring EGGstravaganza, with springtime crafts, games, face painting, a sack race, photo ops with the Easter Bunny and goodie booths, along with kids' activities in the Children's Gallery, today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 to $6 (members and children ages four and under admitted free); call 720-488-3300 or log on to www.thewildlifeexperience.com. And finally, there's Easter Bunny-free fun at the Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele Street, during Great to Be Green, a spring celebration hosted by the zoo and Radio Disney today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Highlights, along with the usual zoo attractions, include a wild scavenger hunt, endangered-species face painting, a sing-along, live entertainment and hands-on activities; zoo admission is $7 to $11. Call 303-376-4800 or log on to www.denverzoo.org. For information on additional spring children's events, see the Night & Day listings at www.westword.com.
A rousing musical afternoon will bring one of Denver's grand old historic buildings to joyful life today when the Spirituals Project, a local gospel ensemble known for its fabulous rafter-rattling performances, sings at Central Presbyterian Church. The beautiful red sandstone structure was built at 1660 Sherman Street back in the 1890s by renowned Chicago architect Frank Edbrooke. Admission to the 4 p.m. concert, a benefit for Historic Denver Inc., is free, but donations will be accepted; for reservations, call 303-534-5288, ext. 16. For a schedule of upcoming concerts, log on to www.faithaction.org.