The City of Aurora proves just how far east it really stretches when the eighth annual Aurora Asian Film Festival gets under way tonight at 7 p.m. at the Aurora Fox Arts Center (9900 East Colfax Avenue) with Electric Shadows, a Chinese drama set during the Cultural Revolution; the flick will be followed by activities at Fletcher Plaza. The festival, which features ten new films from Pacific Rim countries, continues through Sunday, when Crying Ladies, from the Philippines, wraps things up with a laugh or two. The fest will also maintain its community-friendly penchant by hosting a free open-air screening of Hiyao Miyazaki's sweeping anime Princess Mononoke at dusk on Saturday night (a move that will no doubt stoke anticipation for the coming U.S. release of the Japanese master's Howl's Moving Castle by Disney later this month). Food vendors will provide eats as the sun sets over the outdoor screening room in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library and Municipal Services Building, 9898 East Colfax Avenue. Admission is $5 to $8 per film, $15 to $30 for opening night, $20 for closing night and $75 for a festival pass; call 303-326-8695 or go to www.auroraasian.org for tickets and information.
Friday, June 3
Young brain-cancer patient Gabby Krause died last September, but her memory lives on in the form of what she called "Bags of Fun," sacks filled with toys, activities and games to keep her busy during hospital stays. Because Krause wanted other pediatric cancer patients to have similar diversions, the Gabby Krause Foundation was formed to provide the bags to others. In that spirit, the organization will host Bring Out the Bags!, a gala fundraiser featuring dinner stations, live entertainment, karaoke, a mad scientist, race cars, face painting, and live and silent auctions. It all takes place tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. in the former Lord & Taylor space at Park Meadows Shopping Center, 8401 Park Meadows Center Drive in Littleton; tickets are $50 per person or $150 for a family. Call 720-221-3894 or go to www.gabbykrausefoundation.org.
The bustling Five Points neighborhood will celebrate its ongoing renaissance tonight by joining other Denver communities for a try at First Friday style cultural events: Find out what's really shaking in the Points during the inaugural Arts Night Out on Welton, 6 to 10 p.m. at venues near or along Welton Street between 24th and 29th. Enjoy live entertainment, spoken word, film, art activities, gallery receptions, history exhibits and more; for details, call 303-832-3770 or visit www.springintoarts.org/fivepoints.htm.
Also in the wilds northeast of downtown, a new artist co-op will rear its lovely head among the warehouses and brave galleries of NoDo. Just across the street from Studio Aiello, the newly minted Walnut Street Gallery, at 3560 Walnut Street, debuts with a member showcase and reception tonight at 6:30 p.m., featuring both entrenched and emerging local artists. The inaugural exhibition continues through July 30; call 303-296-2202.
Saturday, June 4
The time is right for planting those tomatoes and petunias, if you haven't already. Peruse the riches donated by area gardens at the KGNU Garden Party, a benefit plant sale stocked with seedlings potted up by community folks and fans who aim to help the Boulder-based public-radio station. Load up on plot fillers, enter a gardening-book raffle, and pick the minds of master gardeners during the event, today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the KGNU studios, 4700 Walnut Street in Boulder; call 303-449-4885.
Sunday, June 5
What you don't or can't grow in a garden yourself can always be had, freshly picked, at your local farmers' market, a wonderful harbinger of summer. The City Park Esplanade Farmers' Market, a cozy little cousin of the ever-popular Cherry Creek outdoor produce and fresh food market, and the Stapleton Farmers' Market, a new kid in the Colorado Fresh Markets fold, both set up shop for the season today, offering the usual fruits and vegetables, flowers, dairy, specialty food items and more. Be the early bird at either venue if you want the best pickings: The Esplanade market is open Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in front of East High School, 1545 Detroit Street, through September 25; the Stapleton market vends weekly from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Stapleton Town Center, 29th Avenue and Quebec Street, through October 30. Call 303-442-1837. And on the south end of town, the Old South Pearl Street Farmers' Market, an independent maverick with a strong community feel, also begins today, spreading out on the 1500 block of South Pearl Street and beyond on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market runs through October, with several special events planned throughout the season; for more information, log on to www.oldsouthpearlstreet.com.
Monday, June 6
Author Nicole Krauss -- high on the success of her novel Man Walks Into a Room, the story of an amnesiac English professor -- continues confidently with the release of The History of Love. The story links an old Polish refugee living in New York with a young girl learning how to survive the death of her father and its effect on her family. Krauss will read from and sign the book tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Cherry Creek, 2955 East First Avenue; call 303-322-7727 or go to www.tatteredcover.com.