Need to brush up on your Klingon? Have a hankerin' to gorge on Gagh? Then don your best Starfleet dress uniform, strap on your Jedi Knight light saber, and beam yourself up to the Marriott Denver Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse Street, for this weekend's Starfest 2005.
KathE Walker started the local fest with her husband and sister in 1977, and they've kept it in the family ever since, giving sci-fi, fantasy and horror fans the chance to meet their fave film and television stars. Every year, Walker says, the Klingon events are among the most popular, and this year's lineup includes "Klingon Eye for the Feddie Guy" and "Klingon Warrior Tournament." Other otherworldly offerings include instruction in "Defense Against Dark Magic," galactic game shows "Sci Fi Feud" and "Wizard Jeopardy," and a chance to be the belle of the "Federation Ball." You can also buy collectibles, watch films, enter costume contests and have a photo taken with your favorite Martian, hobbit or vampire.
Starfest 2005 sets sail tonight at 6 p.m. and steers straight on till 8 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices range from $6 for individual events to $225 for weekend packages. For information and a schedule of events, call 303-777-6800 or visit www.starland.com. -- Debra A. Myers
Hot Sauce SAT, 4/30
Expect the salsa to sizzle tonight when Manuel Molina and his fifteen-piece orchestra turn up the heat at Carnaval 2005: A Night of Latin Passion, at the Holiday Inn DIA Convention Center, 15500 East 40th Avenue. This is year thirteen for the annual party, a global gala that throws a nostalgic nod to the ancient custom of donning masks to keep away evil spirits. Organizers expect a crowd of more than 7,000 to catch the fever and usher in spring with rumba, rhythm and style. A winner-takes-all $3,000 costume contest guarantees ruffles will abound as aerial dancers, showgirls and balloons shimmy overhead. Tickets, $20 to $30, are available at www.manuelmolina.com or by calling 303-627-7431. -- Kity Ironton
Pajama Jam Sweet dreams are made of this. SAT, 4/30
There will be a bounty of bedbugs and ballyhoo tonight when WackyDenver.com puts on Japanapajamajama, a slumber party and pillow fight at Andenken Gallery, 2110 Market Street.
As at any awesome snooze-time fiesta, there will be video games, dancing and plenty of gossip. But instead of mom's cooking, a hi-fi and chattering girls, Japanapajamajama will feature DJs Altron and Jedi Scott spinning Japanese pop, sushi from Hapa, anime on the big screen, and an inflatable castle. What does a pumped-up palace have to do with the slumber party's Japanese theme, you ask? "Nothing," admits WackyDenver's Andrew Novick. "But we think the ultimate slumber party would include a big, bouncy castle."
Sleepwear is mandatory, and it's BYOP (bring your own pillow) at this all-night bed-head bash -- but don't expect the sandman to show his face. "Finally," says Novick, "a slumber party where no one is going to yell at you to be quiet and go to bed."
Japanapajamajama kicks off its slippers at 9 p.m., and sleepwalkers of all ages are invited, with drink specials for jammers over 21. Tickets are $9 at the door or $7 in advance at www.wackydenver.com. For more information, call 303-292-3281. -- Kity Ironton
Who Are You Laughing At? Rick Najera, that's who. FRI, 4/29
"If you're Latino, bring your cousins. If you're Anglo, bring your employees," quips Rick Najera, who headlines tonight at the Paramount Theatre with Latinologues, a comedy act straight outta the barrio.
From skits about Miss East L.A. devising ways to keep her crown to helpful hints on border crossing (speaking English is one), Najera has created a collection of monologues that bring Latino ethnicity to the forefront with poignant and witty social satire. "What I'm trying to do is explain some of the stereotypes in a comical way," says the veteran MadTV and In Living Color writer. "Comedy is the best way to do that. If you open it up to laughter, both social and political views seem to be better understood -- one joke at a time. Take immigration. When Cubans are trying to get here, if they land on dry land, they're okay, they get asylum. But if they're still in the ocean, in the water, they miss out. Fate is decided by the tides and the elements. That canbe funny."
The laughter starts at 8 p.m. at the Paramount, 1632 Glenarm Place; information and tickets, $30 to $42, are available at 303-830-TIXS or www.hob.com. -- Jerri Theil