Thursday, July 22It's a night to trip the light fantastic in City Park, where free poetry and art will intersect gracefully in the evening hours. First, it's the Robert Burns Statue Centennial Celebration, hosted by the Colorado Center for the Book in celebration of the Scottish poet, whose bronze likeness was installed in the park between Ferril and Duck lakes on July 4, 1904. Join the St. Andrew Society of Colorado and Denver auditor Dennis Gallagher for readings and bagpipe music; kilts and tam-o'-shanters aren't required but are welcome. Stop and smell the red, red roses beginning at 6 p.m.; call 303-839-8320 for details. And later, at 7:30 p.m., three of Denver's high-profile resident dance troupes -- the Colorado Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and Kim Robards Dance -- join forces in the City Park meadows aside Ferril Lake for A Midsummer Night's Dance, a free dance showcase sponsored by the City of Denver. Sprinkle some fairy dust in your hair for this one; for information, log on to www.denvergov.org. The park is at 17th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.
Friday, July 23Planet Bluegrass is so accommodating: For fans who couldn't make the trek to Telluride for the organization's marquee bluegrass event in June (in truth, more of an Americana festival these days than a bluegrass showcase), they've distilled the music to its purest essence for the RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival, a weekend celebration that sticks closer to home. Beginning tonight and continuing through Sunday at Planet Bluegrass Ranch, on Main Street in Lyons, such purveyors as Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Tim O'Brien, Nickel Creek, Jerry Douglas, Mark O'Connor, Norman Blake and the reconstituted Hot Rize will concentrate on that high, lonesome acoustic music. But don't dawdle! This fest is just as popular as its cousin in the San Juan mountains, so it can and will sell out: Admission is $105 for a festival pass; call 303-823-0848 or log on to www.planetbluegrass.com for tickets and information.
Saturday, July 24An al fresco celebration of incredible edibles in Cherry Creek North? What took them so long? The Cherry Creek North Gourmet Series is sure to be an instant hit with the beautiful people of Denver's ritziest urban retail resort, not to mention everyone else with working tastebuds. Should you choose to attend, yours will be working overtime during the series, which features three free Saturdays of cooking demonstrations by top chefs from the neighborhood, the state and the nation, and culminates with a sublime, ticketed Grand Tasting event on August 21. Today's series kickoff hosts Chris DeJohn of the Art Institute of Colorado, Brian Moscatello of Mirepoix and Adega, Aaron Miller of 9545 Restaurant in Telluride and celebrity chef Clark Frasier of Maine's Arrows Restaurant. All will be wielding their sauté pans in an oversized outdoor kitchen in Fillmore Plaza, at First Avenue and Fillmore Street, from 1 to 6 p.m.; attendees can also browse a gourmet marketplace from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Upcoming celebrity chefs include Martin Yan on July 31, Umberto Menghi on August 7 and Lidia Bastianich on August 21; tickets for the tasting, also held on August 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., are $90 in advance ($100 at the door). Yum! For details and reservations, log on to www.ccngourmet.com.
Littleton's Hudson Gardens is a temple of flora south of town that, like the upscale Denver Botanic Gardens, doubles as a concert venue. It remains one of the metro area's hidden and unique treasures -- what it lacks in clout, it makes up for in affordability. Look what you get at this weekend's Red, White and Blues Fest at Hudson: A juried fine-art exhibition and sale showcasing Colorado artists, music workshops with local blues musicians, and a full two-day roster of live blues performers topped by national headliners Pinetop Perkins and Big Bill Morganfield. The fest, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and tomorrow at the gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, is mostly free, with the exception of headliner concerts at 6:30 p.m. nightly, and those only cost $7.50 per person. Deals this sweet are tough to pass up; for reservations, call 303-797-8565, ext. 321, or go to www.hudsongardens.org.
Sunday, July 25Seasoned yard-sale searchers will have a field day at today's Art Garage Salein Boulder, where the pickings include affordable paintings, photographs, jewelry, artist books and other works by emerging local artists -- instead of the usual burned-out TVs, porcelain unicorns and scratched furniture folks usually spread out on their lawns. Hosted by the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th Street, Boulder, the museum benefit will also offer attendees a spread of sparkling Mimosas and snacks from the Dushanbe Teahouse. The $10 overall fee (members are admitted free) includes admission to BMoCA's summer exhibits. Shmooze, nosh and pick through works by budding masters from noon to 4 p.m.; call 303-443-2122 or log on to www.bmoca.org for information.
Monday, July 26It's not often that adult and juvenile tastes in theater collide, but the whole family can probably agree on Revenge of the Space Pandas, or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock. The children's comedy, by lauded playwright David Mamet, wraps up this year's Little Foxes Summer Season at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue, beginning today at 2 p.m. The play, a fantasy about a boy genius who meets up with a band of extraterrestrial pandas, continues daily except Sundays through August 7; for showtimes and tickets, $4 to $6, call 303-739-1970.
Tuesday, July 27The pitter-patter of little feet will take on a multicultural aspect at tonight's Folkdancing on the Plaza Children's Program, the kid-friendly offshoot of weekly adult dance events that take place under the stars each summer at the Boulder Municipal Plaza. The soirees, located off 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, feature instruction in fancy footwork from every corner of the globe. Presented annually by the Postoley Dance Ensemble, the series offers free lessons for dancers of all skill levels, including those with a surplus of left feet, but in the long run, it's just plain fun. Family dancing is from 6:15 to 7 p.m., followed by the adult program at 8 p.m.; either way, it's absolutely free. For information, call 303-499-6363.
Wednesday, July 28In the aftermath of 9/11, non-Muslim Americans garnered an increased awareness of Muslim culture, though it doesn't mean they've learned to truly understand it. But it might help to crack open Why I Am a Muslim: An American Odyssey, a fascinating and unexpected look at Muslim identity by Asma Gull Hasan, an American-born daughter of Pakistani immigrants, who grew up in Colorado. Controversial because she fiercely declares herself a spiritual Muslim without necessarily embracing all of the culture's traditions, Hasan will discuss the book tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue. For details, call 303-322-7727.