This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, June 9The Greeks had a succinct way of explaining the seasons: It was all the fault of a pomegranate seed ingested by Persephone after she was abducted and taken to the underworld by Hell's top dog, Hades. Her highfalutin' mom, Demeter, goddess of the harvest, mourned so loudly and dangerously that Zeus pleaded until Hades let Persephone go. But the seed bound her to the down-under, so she has to return for six months every year, leaving the earth cold and bleak while she's gone. Chasm View Productions added masks, original songs and dance to the myth for The Persephone Project, a theatrical retelling that the company will present, on stage and in the streets, later this summer at the Arezzo Festival in Tuscany. Before packing for Europe, though, the players will run the work by local audiences, beginning tonight at 8 p.m. at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder, and continuing through June 19. Admission is $12 to $15; call 720-890-4265 to reserve tickets. For more information, visit www.chasmviewproductions.com.

Friday, June 10There's a shred of Shakespeare holding Charlotte Jones's Hamlet-inspired Humble Boy together. Astrophysicist protagonist Felix Humble's beekeeper father is dead, and his mother plays hanky-panky with another man in the British tragicomedy -- but it's still completely modern, fueled by the kind of dysfunctional-family dynamics that are, it seems, as old as the Bard himself. Firehouse Theater Company, in association with Everyman Theatre Company, presents the play's regional premiere tonight at the John Hand Theater, 7653 East First Place, near Sixth Avenue and Quebec Street in Lowry. Shows continue through July 16; for tickets, $15 to $18, and showtimes, call 303-562-3232.

Saturday, June 11Remember the bubble-blowing contests you once engaged in with your gum-chewing compatriots when the teacher wasn't looking? Well, the stakes just got a lot higher than not getting caught -- $10,000 higher. That's the grand prize (in the form of a U.S. savings bond) for the winner of the Dubble Bubble National Bubble Blowing Contest. Head to any Wal-Mart today at 11 a.m., where kids ages twelve and under can prove how big of a goo balloon they can create. The top five bubble-blowers nationwide will participate in the finals in August, with the runners-up each taking home a $5,000 bond. So blow, man, blow, and stick with it! Entry is free; for details, go to www.dubblebubble.com/2005Contest.htm.

What's new at the Colorado Renaissance Festival? For starters, fractured fairy tales with Zilch the Torysteller; lively Celtic music trio Scottish Mayhem; a pair of singing nuns; and a rash of brand-new entertainers strolling hither and yon throughout the fest's Larkspur complex. Of course, such tried-and-true attractions as vaudevillians Puke & Snot, saucy tavern wenches, jousting matches, Mother and Father Goose and those big ol' sloppy turkey legs will still be in the lineup as well. This year's eight-weekend summer run, titled "Life in the Past Lane," begins today and continues every Saturday and Sunday through July 31, featuring changing weekly themes, from next week's Royal Ale Festival to July 9's Wine Revelry. Admission ranges from $8 to $16.95 (children under five admitted free); festival grounds are on Perry Park Road, Exit 173 off I-25 south, in Larkspur. Call 303-688-6010 or visit www.coloradorenaissance.com.

Sunday, June 12It's hard to top the Italians when it comes to creating beautiful vehicles for fun-loving motorists. What could look sleeker than a bright-red Maserati or more scrumptious than a candy-colored vintage Vespa scooter? Get an eyeful today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during Automezzi XV, the annual Italian auto-show fundraiser and swap meet hosted by a band of local Italian car clubs. A gleaming lineup of feisty Fiats, daring Ducatis, fiery Ferraris and every other make of car or bike under the Tuscan sun will be parked on the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design campus, 1600 Pierce Street in Lakewood. The gate fee of $5 (free for children under twelve) benefits Family Tree and the Cat Care Society; call 303-934-8679 or visit www.automezzicolorado.org for details. Ciao, baby!

They're touted to be our best friends, but pooches often get the short end of the stick when it comes to fun. Now's their chance: Canines rule, pure and simple, at the Lucky Mutt Strut, the annual two-mile fun run and walk for the MaxFund Animal Adoption Center. Two-legged participants are welcome, of course, but the dogs, decked out in bandannas, will lead the way around Washington Park, beginning today at 10 a.m. Post-race picnickers can bring their own treats or purchase burgers, hot dogs and sodas after completing the course. Entry fees range from $15 to $30; to register, log on to www.maxfund.org.

Monday, June 13Best-selling novelist Nick Hornby, who struck a note with such previous winners as High Fidelity and About a Boy, shows no sign of slowing down: His fourth novel, A Long Way Down, looks like yet another winner, with its odd quartet of suicidal strangers who meet on a London rooftop. Hornby will read from and sign copies of the book tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street in Boulder; call 303-447-2074 or visit www.boulderbookstore.com.

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