This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, December 16It may have taken only a day to make, but the award-winning short film Cookies and Milk appears to have lasting appeal. Named best film at October's inaugural Boulder ShootOut (a kamikaze festival in which filmmakers have to shoot, edit and show a quick flick in 24 hours), Cookies has screened just twice so far, but its recent inclusion in the Boulder International Film Festival should change that. Mark Spencer, the Colorado Film School student who wrote and directed the tale, is now looking to shop it around to other venues. Cinephiles will have the opportunity to catch the comedic short at the Colorado Film School Fall '04 Student Show, where some twenty other works by CFS students will be showcased, The house lights darken at 8 p.m. at Lowry Theater (Building 693), East Tenth Avenue and Akron Street in Denver. Admission is free; call 303-340-7321 for directions and details.

Friday, December 17Prior to moving to Denver in 1932, Otto Roach worked as a photographer for the South Bend edition of the Chicago Herald. But in the Mile High City, and, more specifically, with KOA Radio, he found his true home. From 1934 to the late 1940s, KOA was Roach's largest commercial account -- which means he was there with his large-format camera to document all the big events. It was the golden age of radio, and Roach's images portray a simpler era of entertainment as well as a vintage slice of Denver life. Among his shots are ones depicting comedians Dark and Cloudy performing before a live audience, and a KOA broadcaster interviewing a "14-foot-tall man," a stunt convincingly staged on stilts in front of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Nearly thirty of the vintage prints will be on display through January as part of Gallery Roach's historical exhibit Radio 850 KOA...The Early Years, 1935-1945. The gallery, at 860 Broadway, will host an opening reception this evening from 5:30 to 9 p.m. For information, call 303-839-5202.

Get your holiday glow on tonight at Presence: Only the Best, a fundraiser hosted by Westword and Lotus Entertainment to benefit the Christmas for Kids organization. Twenty dollars gets you hors d'oeuvres and desserts by Mao and Zengo, as well as complimentary cocktails. Doors open at 8 p.m., and DJ Sway starts spinning at 9, at Lotus, 1701 Wynkoop Street. For details, call 303-718-6666.

Saturday, December 18Generally speaking, elf hunting is not really worth the effort. They're wily and prone to darting, and if you do catch one, all they ever do is sit around and watch television all day. But occasionally you find that special elf, the one with the magical prizes who makes all those years of searching seem worth it. Elf hunters, rejoice! Today is your day. Because from 12 to 4 p.m., along Third Avenue between Detroit and Milwaukee streets, the United Airlines Vacation Elf will be out in full costume with a big bag of goodies. Shoppers who approach him will be able to select from a wealth of holiday treasures, including airline tickets, $100 United Vacation trip vouchers and Cherry Creek North gift cards. Those of you who have never dabbled in elf hunting or dealt with elves personally need not fear your ignorance: The little guy will reward all who approach him with gifts. Just don't look him in the eyes.

Sunday, December 19"Granny has forgotten her stories and the magical dances she has seen in her lifetime," says the character Shakti, Granny's guardian angel in the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance production Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum. "These are the presents that Granny gives to those she loves so much. We need to help Granny remember. She needs help not only from me but from 'all of you!" During the first half of December, Granny received the help of legions of audience members; now she's soliciting assistance for the final performance of the popular holiday favorite. Directed and co-written by Cleo Parker Robinson, Granny incorporates stories and songs of diverse holiday celebrations throughout the world; during the production, Granny's character dances back through her youth, celebrating the birth of Jesus, the African Harvest, the Winter Solstice, Mexican posadas, the Hebrew Festival of Lights, the Chinese New Year, and Junkanoo, in the Caribbean. The year-end staging of the show takes place today at 2 p.m. at the Space Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets. The $35 tickets are available at the Denver Center box office, at 303-893-4100 or at www.denvercenter.org.

Monday, December 20If long lines at the mall, frantic mob scenes in the wee hours of the morning at Toys 'R' Us and your neighbor's far-superior holiday lighting display have you questioning the true meaning of it all, the Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center, 1345 Spruce Street, is here to help you along in your spiritual reawakening. Tonight at 7 p.m., the center will offer a free drop-in class titled "Religion, Spirituality and the Search for Happiness" that will feature lectures and discussion on Buddhist and Shambhala practices. Novice and experienced practitioners are equally welcome. For information, call 303-444-0190 or e-mail info@boulder.shambhala.org.

Tuesday, December 21After opening night of this fall's Curious Theatre production of Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted, author Christopher Trumbo commented that he had not seen a better performance of his father than that of acclaimed Denver Center Theatre Company actor Jamie Horton. Such accolades seem all the more impressive when you consider that powerhouses like Chris Cooper and Nathan Lane have tackled the role. Horton may be a star on the rise, but for now he's still ours, which means we can catch him at such unlikely places as the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street, where he'll be tonight at 7 p.m. for the Sixth Annual Holiday Celebration and Reading. Horton will read to the crowd from several holiday classics; holiday revelers are invited to attend the spirited event and enjoy hot chocolate, cider and treats from the Tattered Cover coffee shop. The Holiday Celebration is free and open to everyone, but guests are encouraged to bring a new or gently used children's book to donate to the store's children's book drive. For details, call 303-436-1070 or visit www.tatteredcover.com.

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