In pagan lore, the autumnal equinox, or Mabon, celebrates the harvest season in what amounts to an early precursor of the American Thanksgiving. In other words, when the shadows grow long and the sun dips low, it's time to make merry and share abundance with others. Leave it to the promotional team of Planet Bluegrass and Celtic Events to act accordingly. The third annual Festival of the Mabon will simply bubble over today with good things, especially music. A diverse mixture of Celtic sounds will be delivered by the likes of wildman Ashley MacIsaac, award winners Dervish, transcendent traditionalists Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Colorado newcomers Téada and more. And in the category of "making merry," the fest will also feature strolling musicians and entertainers, food and craft vendors, as well as the kind of outdoor atmosphere possible only at the breathtaking Planet Bluegrass Ranch, on Main Street in Lyons. Admission to the party, which runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., is $20 in advance ($25 at the gate; students with ID, two for one; free for children twelve and under). Call 303-823-0848 or go to www.bluegrass.com. -- Susan Froyd
Think of Stories on Stage as a handpicked gift. That's how organizers approach the 2003-2004 season, which begins this afternoon at the Stage Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets.
"We put every actor-story combination together very carefully," says executive director Norma Moore, "because these readings really seem to mean something to the audience."
The first installment, titled "Acts of Passion," will include Fritz Weaver reading "The Walk With Elizanne," by John Updike, and Annette Helde reading "Half Gone," by Tim O'Brien.
The six-show Sunday series runs through May 16; upcoming performances will feature G.W. Bailey, Malachy McCourt, Hattie Winston and others. Season-ticket packages are available for $100; individual tickets are $20 each. Call 303-494-0523 or visit www.storiesonstage.org for reservations and a complete schedule. -- Julie Dunn
Dubliners spotlights Denver art
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Robert Dean loves literature. But he loves one thing even more: helping launch young artists' careers. The retired English professor has managed to combine both passions in Micawber Fine Editions, a high-end publishing venture he began out of his Lakewood home in 1998. A dozen projects later, Micawber is releasing a 75-copy limited edition of James Joyce's Dubliners, complete with sixteen drawings (one for each short story, as well as a portrait of Joyce) by Denver illustrator Amy Findeiss.
"Usually I find a young artist, then I think of a book," Dean says. "It's very exciting to see them take off."
To celebrate the book, which ranges in price from $195 to $395, a free artists' reception will be held tonight at Book Buffs (1519 South Pearl Street, 303-722-3630) starting at 5:30 p.m. Findeiss, who collaborated on Dean's previous release, A Christmas Carol, and is working on the next, The Picture of Dorian Gray, will be among the featured guests, and City Auditor Dennis Gallagher will read from Joyce's classic.
Bibliophile Dean can't hide his excitement about Micawber's latest offering: "I can hardly wait to get one!" --Ernie Tucker