Ask any kid on the street who Charlie Chaplin was, and you'll probably get a blank stare or, at the very least, a snicker about that retarded dude with the weird mustache and big feet. It's just a fact of nature: The little guy on the flickering screen doesn't cast much of a shadow in the glare of modern technology.
Count on Denver Art Museum Film Series curator Tom Delapa to remedy this sad situation: His latest seven-week series, The Art of Silent Film, offers a stunning and sophisticated introduction to some of the world's earliest films. The set kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. with King Vidor's The Crowd, a fascinating piece of turn-of-the-century social commentary marked by spectacular location shots of New York City. Future installments will highlight such directors and stars as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Louise Brooks, Eric von Stroheim, F. W. Murnau and Sergei Eisenstein.
Watch and learn, young 'uns: The series, which also features live piano accompaniment by Hank Troy, continues on Tuesdays through May 17 at the Starz FilmCenter, 900 Auraria Parkway. Admission is $7 to $8 for individual tickets or $40 to $45 for series tickets, available in advance. For more information, call 303-820-3456 or visit www.starzfilmcenter.com. -- Susan Froyd
Comedy for a Cause
"Learning more about sexual assault and raising awareness is obviously a very serious issue," says Kelli Kindel, event planner for Give a Wit, a fundraiser for the Rape Assistance and Awareness Program taking place this evening at the Soiled Dove. "It's no laughing matter, but tonight is about raising awareness through the power of comedy. Everyone loves standup, so we figured it would be a fun way to support our cause." Organizers booked comedians Lori Callahan and Steve McGrew, aka Mudflap, from KYGO radio, to perform, and Channel 4's Ed Green to emcee the show and silent auction. The funny stuff starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Dove, 1949 Market Street; tickets are $40 at the door, or $35 in advance at 303-329-9922, ext. 317, or www.blacktie-colorado.com/ rsvp, code word: giveawit. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Prose and Cons
Loveland's got poetry on the line.
Some towns, Denver included, try to be all arty and put poetry billboards in their buses so that passengers can contemplate the words of Frost, Neruda and Whitman during their morning commutes. But now the good supporters of stanzas at the Loveland Museum/Gallery, 503 North Lincoln Avenue in Loveland, have one-upped their larger neighbor to the south with a Poetry Phone Booth.
Curator of Interpretation Tom Katsimpalis has converted a 1920s wooden phone booth into an art installation, programming it to read poetry to the masses. Visitors lift the receiver, press a button on the phone to select a sonnet, then close the door and enjoy the verse in their own private sound studio.
The booth has been operating since October, with fourteen local scribes on the horn: Stephen Beal, Maggie Rowlett, Roger Steigmeir, Helen Godfrey, Norma Hammond, Veronica Patterson, Lisa Zimmerman, Dwight Loeschner, G. Steeple Crossways, Terry Selland, Autumn Guest, Melissa Katsimpalis, Evan Oakley and TVS and Two Fingers. Katsimpalis plans to change out the verses eventually, allowing a new group of emerging and established poets to sound off on everything from the funny to the fuming.
Phone's for you. -- Amy Haimerl
LadyFest Out West wants you!
LadyFest Out West draws its inspiration from LadyFest, a fem-centric music, art and community festival that originated in Olympia, Washington, in the 1990s. Since then, it's spawned a global grassroots network of imitators, and every summer, LadyFests run concurrently across Europe and the United States. Denver got its own LadyFest Out West in 2003, and though organizers took a break the following year, the festival will return this August. Spoken-word performances, art exhibitions, dramatic readings, live music and workshops are among the activities slated for the three-day event.
But the all-volunteer staff -- really, five young women who meet at the Breakdown Book Collective every Monday -- could use a little help to make the event a reality. To that end, the hi-dive will host a fundraiser called "I See London, I See France" tonight beginning at 7 p.m. DJs Yer Momm and Kate will spin tunes as a backdrop for a lingerie fashion show and a silent auction featuring works by local artists.
"We thought it was important to keep a thriving, feminist-radical spirit alive in Denver," says Elana Sobol, who was living in the Bay Area when she attended LadyFest Out West in 2003. "Going there convinced me to move back into town, because I felt a really strong and thriving community here of people connecting through art and music."
The hi-dive is at 7 South Broadway; for more information, visit www.ladyfest-outwest.org. -- Laura Bond