This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, July 29The popularity of blue-around-the-collar American characters never seems to wane: Just witness how quickly tickets sold out for the Blue Collar Comedy Tour II's four Denver dates this week at the Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets. They were gone in an instant, snapped up by faithful fans of Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White, a comic quartet that rules in the land where lawnmowers are always running and the Bud flows free. (The working-class wits will share yuks on Friday and Saturday with both lucky audience members and rolling cameras for an upcoming big-screen concert film.) But a limited number of tickets for the Buell performance have been made available for those willing to splurge: The $80 "super" ticket combines admission to one of the four sold-out shows plus Larry the Cable Guy's "Uncensored" show on August 1. Go for it, y'all! The Blue Collar show starts at 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow, and 6 and 9 p.m. Saturday; the Cable Guy's solo set is at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Call 1-866-464-2626 or log on to www.ticketswest.com for details.

Friday, July 30The art of the tale will be examined from every angle during this weekend's Rocky Mountain Storytelling Festival in Palmer Lake. But before the fest gets down to the nitty-gritty tomorrow, enjoy a free Summer Evening of Stories sponsored by Douglas County Libraries. Three of the region's top storytellers -- urban griot Opalanga Pugh, multicultural musician/yarn-spinner Pat Mendoza and bilingual storyteller Susan Kaplan -- will perform under the stars tonight at 7 p.m. at the Philip S. Miller Library, 100 South Wilcox Street in Castle Rock. The library will also host workshops for children ages nine and older during daytime hours ($15, plus $10 for each additional child); to register, call 303-660-5849 or log on to www.coloartists.org.

Saturday, July 31When Hazel Miller preaches the gospel, her appreciative audience sings the praises. The metro area's favorite soul-and-blues diva will have folks shaking their booties and chowing down, too, when she belts it today at a Gospel Brunch benefit at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Beginning at noon, Miller, with rafter-raising help from the Graham Memorial Praise Team, comes to the aid of Women for Education and the Hope Center Academy for Gifted Children; admission is $25 to $30 per person or $45 to $50 per couple. For reservations, call 303-398-7449 or log on to www.womenforeducation.org; for information, call 303-294-9281.

Become one with your inner drummer at Drum A Que, an alcohol-free beatdown in the park for amateur percussionists. Gill's Drumming Community organizes the annual potluck picnic, which begins at noon at the Washington Park Boathouse, near Downing Street and Exposition Avenue. Come join the tribe! For details, call 303-450-1245.

Sunday August 1For many, it's not really Van Halen unless fussy reunion holdout Diamond Dave flexes his spandex at center stage -- but who needs him? Eddie, Alex, Michael and Sammy are coming back anyway, and some say they sound better than ever. The old athletic pizzazz that propelled them to stardom in the '80s may be toned down a bit, but this hair band still transcends any and all ridicule, mostly thanks to Eddie Van Halen's free-handed brilliance on the fretboard (always delivered with a smile). Van Halen performs tonight at the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Place. Doors open at 6:30; for tickets, $65 to $95, call 303-830-TIXS or log on to www.cc.com.

Monday August 2Though golf will never be mistaken for an action-packed sport, there's always cause for excitement when the PGA's big names come to town to compete. And there will be plenty to eyeball when the International 2004 Golf Tournament tees off today at Castle Pines Golf Club, 1000 Hummingbird Drive in Castle Rock. U.S. Open champ Retief Goosen, British Open sensation Todd Hamilton and a respectable field of competitors will swing their clubs at the International this year from August 5 through 8, following a round of junior, pro-am and practice events that begin today. Spectator tickets range from $10 to $25 daily for preliminaries and go to $45 daily for the main tournament. Today is also Youth Day, featuring special youth-oriented activities and free admission for children ages twelve and under who attend with a paying adult. For tickets, call 303-830-TIXS or go to www.golfintl.com.

You'll never read a more extraordinary guide to the geysers, mud pots and countless natural wonders of Yellowstone Park than the one recently written by Montana resident and Outsidemagazine founding editor Tim Cahill. Cahill says he's spent the last 25 years "puttering around" in the country's first-ever-designated national park; he'll discuss and sign Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Parktonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue; call 303-322-7727 for information.

Tuesday August 3On National Night Out, neighbors are urged to meet and mingle in the street to display support for community safety. To that end, there are block parties and rallies in neighborhoods across the nation, all dedicated to breeding familiarity and stamping out crime. One of Denver's most sophisticated urban hot spots is joining the fun, but with its own twist. Golden Triangle Ghost Stories offers citizens an opportunity to take a two-hour walk with well-known Denver history buff Phil Goodstein, who will regale them with stories of local spooks and spirits. Meet at 5:30 p.m. for free hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar at Bambino's Restaurant, 1135 Bannock Street, before the 6 p.m. tour. Participants are invited to gather afterward at the Cap City Tavern, 1247 Bannock Street. Call 303-572-0506.

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