The gift-giving season draws nigh, so sound the battle cry and dig in: Shop early and shop often! After all, frenzy can be fun, especially when you know where to shop. And this is one hot weekend to do it.
For starters, the seventh annual Gifts for Yule, an eclectic showcase of handmade gifts, jewelry, antiques, folk art and flowers, returns to the Denver Turnverein, 1570 Clarkson Street. Organizer Sam Robinson says the sale this year will feature 25 artists under one roof and promises to be one of the best ever, with several new vendors and affordable prices. Shop for beadwork kits, handmade cards, tapestry rugs, innovative collage work, fanciful birdhouses made from recycled objects and more, from 12 to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Call 303-715-9016.
Gift-buying turns charitable at What About Burma?, a benefit exhibit, raffle and silent auction of arts and crafts created by Burmese refugees living in Thailand. Their wares include hand-woven blankets and decorative pottery made from natural clay. Spokeswoman Willow Bradner, whose parents established the Burmese Youth Project, says proceeds will help provide art materials, kilns, computers and other supplies. The free event takes place from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Sisto's Salon, 1425 Larimer Square. Call 720-570-3854.
Hidden away in a Curtis Park garage at 919 27th Street, the annual holiday sale at Denver Classic, which opens its doors for only a few days each year, will be in full Christmas regalia from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Inside, teddy bears, dishes, desk items, baby gifts, leather items and a large inventory of ornaments will greet shoppers; as an added treat, a new home attached to the shop will be open for tours. Call 303-292-2113.
And no creative shopper worth his or her infused salt would want to miss the Denver Botanic Gardens Holiday Gift and Garden Market, a smorgasbord of fun and funky stuff that only begins with the DBG Guild's own hand-packed vinegars and seasonings. There will also be folk-art cheese boards, Haitian hammered-metal wall sculptures, Lithuanian candle-houses, antique plant stands, glass ornaments, wreaths and more; check it out from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday or 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the gardens, 1005 York Street. Call 720-865-3500 or visit www.botanicgardens.org.
Yappy Hour arrives
Dogs are not mere animals -- at least not according to Wendy Diamond, author of the humorous tome What a Lucky Dog: How to Understand Men Through Their Dogs! They're also a failsafe way to sniff out a man's true character.
Diamond, a single pooch-lover and founder of Animal Fair magazine, believes she can help other singles find their future kennel-mates. She's been touring the country with Lucky, her Maltese, to help raise funds for animal shelters and shed light on dating that mysterious breed, the unattached man. Diamond will be in the dog house from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight for Yappy Hour at the Sheraton Denver Tech Center hotel, 7007 South Clinton Street in Greenwood Village.
The one-time event benefits the Colorado Humane Society and is BYOD: Bring Your Own Dog. Pam Miller, a society volunteer, says that dress will be cocktail casual for the two- and four-legged alike, though the latter must be leashed. "We're hoping for socialized dogs," she says. Guests will enjoy cocktails, snacks, doggie treats and stuffed doggie bags filled with high-end dog food, vodka, canine toys and even samples of drinkable toilet-bowl cleaner.
Oh, yes: Miller is planning to bring a pooper-scooper, just in case. A portion of the proceeds from Diamond's book benefit the society, as does the $25 admission donation. For information or to buy tickets, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Ernie Tucker
Think Big Band
When it's swingtime in the Rockies, you can bet it's time for the annual Big Band Boogie Benefit, which brings together more than a hundred of the town's best jazz musicians in seven big bands playing for a big cause.
"Since its inception two years ago, the Big Band Boogie Benefit has raised more than $15,000 for local jazz education," says Andrew Hudson, first bass and founder of the event. "This year, the BBBB will celebrate and support the tremendous jazz education efforts of the Denver community's beloved jazz radio station, KUVO."
For music lovers, today's marathon itself is a good lesson on Denver's big-band musicians. The ten hours of performances start at 2:30 p.m. and include stints by bands ranging from Fairview High School Jazz 1 to the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, the Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra and, capping off the evening, the Bob Montgomery/Pete Ostad Jazz Orchestra. Tickets are $20, good for all ten hours of music on two stages at Dazzle Supper Club, Denver's great jazz venue at 930 Lincoln Street. For information, log on to www.dazzlejazz.com. -- Patricia Calhoun
Hurricane Jeanne's hit on Haiti this past September is still stinging. Engineers Without Borders and the Art Creation Foundation for Children, two aid organizations there, were forced to divert funds that were earmarked for outreach to emergency relief.