One of the area's loveliest fall literary traditions is back: Words to Stir the Soul: Readings From the American West, hosted annually by the University of Colorado at Boulder's Center for the American West, presents local notables -- writers, professors and politicians -- reading favorite writings inspired by the West. While the event always showcases a roster of scribes as vast and varied as the region itself, from poets and environmentalists to historical figures, this year's readings, taking place at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street in Denver, will no doubt ooze a political aura suggested by its theme, "Poetry, Prose and Politicians." Some of the well-read folks taking on the task tonight at 7 p.m. include Colorado Supreme Court Justice Mary Mullarkey; Denver's mayor/city-council liaison Happy Haynes; former Denver district attorney Bill Ritter; and Rick O'Donnell, from the Colorado Board of Higher Education. And whether you agree with their literary choices (or their politics, for that matter), it's just nice to be read to, as Center honcho Patricia Limerick likes to note. Call 303-436-1070 for details. A second Words event with a more academic bent will be held on Tuesday, September 6, at 7 p.m. at Old Main on the CU-Boulder campus; for information, go to www.centerwest.org.
Friday, September 2
Threads of urban alienation, subjective memories and the relationship gap all weave their way through the purposely non-linear works of Hong Kong independent film director Wong Kar-Wai, a cult figure whom film-goers seem to find either fascinating or beyond boring. In anticipation of his newest feature, 2046, which also hits local screens today, the Denver Film Society is hosting a Wong Kar Weekend, exploring three of Wong's previous films, Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love, with commentary provided by DFS expert Keith Garcia. The films screen in repertory style, today through Monday at the Starz FilmCenter, 900 Auraria Parkway; for tickets, $5.50 to $8.50, call 303-820-3456 or visit www.starzfilmcenter.com. For details, go to www.denverfilm.org.
The pride of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Rockygrass, the award-winning acoustic string ensemble Old School Freight Train, makes new-grass music reminiscent of the David Grisman niche. (In fact, Grisman, a mentor of sorts, produced the band's second CD, Run, on his Acoustic Disc label.) They'll bring impeccable virtuosity -- plus a repertoire that swings from bossa nova rhythms and Celtic airs to Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" -- to the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder, tonight at 9 p.m.; for tickets, $12, call 303-786-7030 or log on to www.bouldertheater.com.
Saturday, September 3
For all festival-lovers not eating the weekend away at the Taste of Colorado, Boulder offers something a little less vast and a whole lot less hyped up in the Boulder Creek Hometown Fair, where locals and folks just passing through can enjoy the simple things, including a garden-variety chile cook-off and the Great Zucchini Races, for which entrants fashion vehicles out of overgrown squashes (provided) and let 'em rip. A safety expo, arts-and-crafts vendors, carnival rides, live entertainment and other attractions round out the community fest, held from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and tomorrow and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday along the Boulder Creek Path between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue (adjacent to the Boulder Public Library). Call 303-652-4942 or visit www.bouldercreekevents.com.
Sunday, September 4
As the action winds down at Six Flags Elitch Gardens, our own pub will help pump up the remainder of the amusement park's waning season with the Westword September Music Fest, a month-long series featuring thirty bands in sixty performances over four weekends. Between noon and 9 p.m., while the kids hang upside down on the Mind Eraser or throw up all over the Tower of Doom, the rest of us can groove to the 17th Avenue Allstars, the Edelweiss Schupplattlers Dancers, Blue Suburban, Cactus Jack and Synthetic Elements. Or vice-versa. The park is at 2000 Elitch Circle; call 303-595-4FUN or visit www.sixflags.com/elitchgardens.
Monday, September 5
The march of the hopelessly covetous through over-the-top, mile-wide, tonily furnished domiciles at the annual Parade of Homes comes to a halt after today, but a lucky few of the last swarm of lookie-loos will actually get to come away with a little piece of the pie. Today only, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., as the event wraps at Pradera (out in the boonies northeast of I-25 and Founders Parkway in Douglas County), ticket-holders can peruse the Parade of Homes Interior Design Sale, featuring a selection of furnishings and accessories for sale at discounted prices. Admission is $8 to $12; call 303-778-1400 or log on to www.paradeofhomesdenver.com.
Tuesday, September 6
The double-edged plight of being black and a woman in early twentieth-century Manhattan is quietly stitched into the narrative of Intimate Apparel, a play by Lynn Nottage about an urban spinster corsetiere who sews lingerie for socialites and whores alike. The gentle and old-fashioned drama, a character-driven period piece that still easily strikes a chord today, opens the theater season tonight at 8 p.m. at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada; shows continue daily, except Mondays, through October 2. In addition, an audience talkback will follow the 1 p.m. performance on Sept. 21; for showtimes and tickets, $32 to $42, call 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org.