This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, December 9Just when you thought you'd been through every place in town, along comes a fresh holiday shopping ground. The Arvada Center Art Market Show and Sale kicks off tonight with an artist reception and first-pick event from 5 to 9 p.m. (admission is $5) and continues daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., tomorrow through December 19. The range of fine, affordable artwork offered includes everything from contemporary craft items -- pottery, glass, textiles, wood and jewelry -- to a fine palette of paintings, sculpture, photography and mixed-media works, with fresh items added throughout the run. General browsing is free after tonight. The Arvada Center is at 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; for information, call 720-898-7200 or log on to www.arvadacenter.org.

It's also your last weekend to peruse the annual Judaica Show at the Boulder Arts and Crafts Cooperative, 1421 Pearl Street, Boulder, before Hanukkah ends. But don't worry about the goods being picked over: The comprehensive collection isn't completely December-centric and offers festival-ware and collectibles for other Jewish holidays, as well as a gorgeous selection of handmade menorahs and dreidels associated with the Festival of Lights. It's still a great time to find beautiful items to use throughout the year. The exhibit continues through January 2; call 303-443-3683 or go to www.boulderartsandcrafts.com for details.

Holiday music abounds around town as Christmas draws close, but few choral groups offer a repertoire as adventurous or exquisitely presented as Boulder's Ars Nova Singers, who will nestle traditional carols and high-Renaissance works alongside the modern for Star in the East: Christmas With Ars Nova. The troupe's voices will ring out during its annual holiday concerts: tonight and Sunday at St. John's Episcopal Church, 1419 Pine Street in Boulder, and tomorrow in Denver at St. Elizabeth's Church, 1060 St. Francis Way, on the Auraria campus. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, $9 to $19, call 303-499-3165 or visit www.arsnovasingers.org; reservations are recommended.

Friday, December 10Cheerleaders don't deserve to be the butt of a thousand jokes -- but really, most of them don't have time to worry about it, because they're just too busy cheering. They're constantly composing, practicing and choreographing, all while learning to work extremely hard with big smiles on their faces. No wonder "spirit" is considered a team sport. More than 100 high school pom and cheer teams from across Colorado will compete this weekend at the Colorado High School Activities Association-sanctioned State Spirit Championships. Audiences are sure to receive a complete primer on the subject as the kids show off their skills. Cheer along at the big shakeup, today from 9:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt Street; admission is $6 to $8. Log on to www.chsaa.org for advance tickets and information.

Saturday, December 11In Swahili, ujamaa means "cooperative economics." This "it takes a village" view of commerce is inspired by the synergic lifestyle practiced in African tribal communities. The concept is also one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, the African-American holiday celebrated later this month. Local folks revving up for the annual observance can shop in the right spirit at the Ujamaa Holiday Market, a Kwanzaa gift shop hosted by Mocha Moms of Denver and the Watfo Dancers and Drummers today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Brother Jeff's, 2836 Welton Street. The event repeats on December 18; call 303-297-0823 or 720-858-0110.

Dress like Moon Maid (for those too young to remember, she was the mod, antennae-topped alien babe in Chester Gould's "Dick Tracy" comics) tonight at Bender's 13th Avenue Tavern, and no one will bat an eyelash -- not with the annual musical fashion show PacFashion 2005 in the house. The gathering will strut its models in joystick bras, haz-mat suits, vinyl tuxedos and moon boots, the latest retro rave. Mr. Pacman himself tops off the night with a live performance. Go on: Pac it all in. For a taste of what's to come, visit www.mrpacman.com. For information, call Bender's, 303-861-7070, or log on to www.benderstavern.com.

Sunday, December 12

Larimer Square offers its traditional toot and blat to the holidays once again: The annual free Tuba Christmas Concert, the unexpectedly melodic event, featuring hundreds of tuba players of all ages and abilities performing Christmas music and more, is back in the square at 14th and Larimer streets this afternoon from 1 to 2 p.m. Bring the family and a good pair of earmuffs; later on, you can explore, shop, dine and, after dark, enjoy the holiday lights. Call 303-685-8143 or go to www.larimersquare.com.

Monday, December 13Good times and good feelings will mingle even more thickly than the cash crop of comedians present at tonight's Hope for the Holidays event. The annual comedy marathon hosted by the Comedy Works stars a who's who of Denver's best-known nationally touring headliners to benefit the Children's Hospital Disabled Sports program. Who's your favorite? This is a great opportunity to decide. Silent-auction bidding begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Larimer Square club, 1226 15th Street, followed by the 7 p.m. show; admission is $15 in advance ($20 at the door) and/or a new, unwrapped toy to be donated. For reservations, call 303-595-3637; for information, log on to www.comedyworks.com.

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