Americans are so darned smug. They think they own the world. But set foot into the University of Denver's globally conscious language program, and you'll begin to see a different picture, reflective of DU's cosmopolitan student body and business-minded international bent. The school gladly shares its strengths in the art of international parlance with the general public through its University College adult continuing-education programs, which include instruction in twelve languages, from the expected French and Spanish to languages newly caught in the upsweep of current events, such as Chinese and Arabic. If you've ever had the urge to let your tongue travel to new and faraway places, tonight's A Taste of Language open house offers an excellent point of embarkation. The event pairs thirty-minute introductory language courses of choice with a buffet of international dishes to nosh on, but if the idea of all those multicultural eats is what's piqued your interest, keep in mind that the real smorgasbord is lingual rather than culinary. In other words, follow your nose, but be prepared for a challenge.
University College language offerings range as far as their geographic namesakes: In addition to standard courses, some of the more unusual classes are tailored to diverse needs, including such innovations as English pronunciation for Latinos, beginning Spanish for health-care professionals or Chinese business customs. More advanced courses delve into a pot of changing topics, focusing on the arts, politics or social structures of different nations.
"Eighty percent of our language faculty are native speakers," notes DU's Nathalie Jautz-Bickel. "And we have such talented and experienced instructors. The fun thing about these courses is that they don't just teach language; they really try to bring the culture into the classroom." Whether you're a professional interested in learning a bit of German business protocol or just a mental wanderer with worldly tastes, University College can help.
And will DU's language school be adding any new tongues to its roster? You never know. "We already teach some languages that are very hard to find anywhere else, including Swedish, Portuguese, Polish and Arabic," Jautz-Bickel notes. Can Icelandic, Kurdish and Wolof be far behind?
Attend A Taste of Language from 6 to 8 p.m. in DU's Cherrington Hall, 2201 South Gaylord Street. Admission is free, but reservations are requested by August 27. Call 303-871-2291 or go to www.universitycollege.du.edu. -- Susan Froyd
Drink Up and Be Somebody
Beer festival taps local brews
Oscar Wilde observed that "work is the curse of the drinking class." Fortunately, that class has long enjoyed the labors of hops artists who strive to perfect their craft. From wheat beers to Olde English High Gravity 40s, dedicated brewers continue to cook up creative concoctions. Yet outside of private moments of appreciation, there are very few instances in which we recognize the achievements of these brave barley barons. The Great American Beer Festival comes but once a year. If only there were more opportunities -- smaller, localized events -- to study beer. Do you see where this is going?
Denver's Beer Festival, which debuts today from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Larimer Street Market, offers Coloradans a chance to sample quality brews sprung from the very bosom of their state. Breweries such as Flying Dog Ales and the Great Divide Brewing Company, among many others, will roll out kegs of their finest for tasting and reflection. For $20 in advance or $25 at the door, thirst-slakers will float from booth to booth, sampling three ounces of local brew at every stop. Live music will accompany the progression from polite sampling to lecherous guzzling, and the free drink available with your ticket stub at the Blake Street Tavern or Breckenridge Brewery should provide the necessary nightcap to wind things down.
The Larimer Street Market is situated at the corner of Larimer Street and Park Avenue West; for information, go to www.rightonproductions.com. As Bogie once said, "The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind." Here's your chance to catch up. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Sending off the summer with an end-of-the-season luau, complete with Planter's Punch, leis and a shimmy shake, is becoming a local tradition. That's because the swing kids of 23 Skidoo are presenting their Fifth Annual Tiki Party tonight, and all are invited. "Denver has one of the best vintage-music scenes in the country," says Skidoo's Dan Newsome. "We get people of all ages from nine to ninety. This is our biggest party of the year." DJ Brent Keane, flown in fresh from Hawaii, headlines the retro dance do, with help from Newsome and Colorado cats William Murakami, John Dyer and Shana Worel.
Seven bones gets you in to the all-ages bash, complete with hula-hoop and limbo contests, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Crazy legs will jersey jump at the 8 p.m. shake time, but those with two left feet can come at 7:30 for a free lindy lesson. "We get everybody out on the floor," says Newsome. "It's a great way to mark the end of summer." Call 303-995-0908 or visit www.23skidooland.com to get the skinny. -- Kity Ironton