This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

 Thursday, May 13

The Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actors League is easily one of Denver's most talented troupes of troopers: Each year, its members hit the stage despite their myriad disabilities, dancing in wheelchairs and showing off their singing and acting skills in a fully produced popular musical (this summer's pick, Guys and Dolls, is a PHAMALy favorite). But in order for the show to go on in style, the ensemble can always use some extra bucks. To that end, PHAMALy is throwing a Circle of Stars Gala and Silent Auction with a "Night in Havana" theme, tonight at 6 p.m. at the posh Grant-Humphreys Mansion, 770 Pennsylvania Street. Salsa Caliente will provide the dance music, so arrive ready to rumba, in old-Havana, Guys and Dolls or regular old cocktail attire; for tickets, $30, call 303-575-0005 or log on to www.phamaly-colorado.org.

Friday, May 14

Dog days: DD LaRue's  The Game of Politics 
2004.
Dog days: DD LaRue's The Game of Politics 2004.

Downtown Denver sprouts hundreds of little blooms every May when the Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival returns to emote on the streets in full Elizabethan regalia. Today, more than 3,000 metro-area public-school students will descend on the Denver Performing Arts Complex and Sculpture Park, 14th and Curtis streets, immediately following the 10 a.m. opening ceremonies and the annual rout (parade) from Civic Center; they'll perform Shakespearean and other Renaissance-era fare on nine stages and participate in a 1 p.m. Student/Celebrity Challenge Bowl event focusing on this year's featured play, The Merchant of Venice. Performances end at 3:45 p.m.; for information, log on to gt.dpsk12.org/enrichment.html.

Local animal-sculpture artist DD LaRue has long been known for her sense of whimsy, but she's also shown a clever nose for social commentary over the years, supplementing her usual menagerie of skateboarding kitties and sheepdogs hanging out of car windows with such images as a homeless dog pushing a shopping cart. Her newest mixed-media installation, The Game of Politics 2004, is a wicked take on the old dogs-playing-poker scenario, only this time the cigar-puffing pooches represent some of today's most powerful -- and, in some cases, frightening -- movers and shakers, including a labradoodle (draw your own conclusions) as Dubya, an English bulldog as Tony Blair, an Afghan hound as Osama and a Korean Jindo as Kim Jong Il. They'll all be wielding weapons and passing aces under the table at Artyard, 1251 South Pearl Street, through May 29; meet the artist tonight at a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. For details, call 303-777-3219.

Saturday, May 15

Tesoro means "treasure" in Spanish, and the name fits: Fort restaurant entrepreneur Sam Arnold's Tesoro Foundation is truly a keeper of Colorado treasures, dedicated to providing living-history experiences to the public. Tesoro's annual Indian Market and Powwow 2004 is just such an event: Built around a juried art show featuring works by some of the nation's foremost Native American artists, the two-day gathering also includes impromptu artist demonstrations, traditional dance competitions, educational programs and activities for children. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow at the Fort, 19192 Highway 8 in Morrison. Admission ranges from $3 to $6 ($5 to $10 for a weekend pass; children under twelve admitted free). Call 303-839-1671 or go to www.tesorofoundation.org.

The metro area's younger gay community has its day (and night) in a kind of prelude to upcoming Pride Week festivities. Activities begin with today's Right for Your Future rally, hosted by Denver PFLAG, at noon on the west steps of the State Capitol Building, 200 East Colfax Avenue. A march to Cheesman Park follows, where participants will picnic and enjoy an afternoon of games and sports; then it's on to the main event, the Quee Prom, Denver's annual alternative dance for youth ages twelve to 21. The soiree, whose theme is "MasQUEERade," goes from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Tivoli Turnhalle, 900 Auraria Parkway on the Auraria campus; admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Post-prom partying continues until 3 a.m. at Rainbow Alley, 1050 Broadway; call 303-831-0442 or log on to www.coloradoglbt.org for details.

Sunday, May 16

What do local bands Toast, Phoenix Rising and the Habituals have in common? Actually, it's the fact that they're all so uncommon: Their members aren't exactly what you'd call dyed-in-the-wool musicians. Toast is a local media-celebrity conglomeration, while the other two bands are composed of players from the Public Defenders' Office and the Denver District Attorney's Office, respectively. You can only imagine how hot and heavy the competition will be when the three face off for charity at the Metro Denver Partners Battle of the Bands. Opie Gone Bad frontman Jake Schroeder will emcee the event, which takes place tonight from 5 to 10 p.m. at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street; for tickets, $50, or more information, call 303-777-7000 or go to www.metrodenverpartners.org.

Monday, May 17

The CU-Denver Dinosaur Tracks Museum doesn't have any big footsteps to fill; considered home to the largest fossil-footprint collection in the world, it's already filled with the impressions of plenty of big stompers. But that doesn't mean it can't use some improvement. Dr. Martin Lockley, well-known CU-Denver geologist and keeper of the fossils, will be on hand tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Museum Stomp and Fundraiser, a dinner, auction and exhibit unveiling at fossil-footprint ground zero, Fossil Trace Golf Course, 3050 Illinois Street in Golden, where Lockley's made some of his greatest discoveries. Tickets are $70; call 303-556-4884.

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