Tonight at the stroke of midnight, the wait will be over. Two years of agony and despair will end as millions of wannabe wizards and witches speed-read to find out the answer to the burning question: Who is the Half-Blood Prince?
Local booksellers are keeping the anticipation level high right to the last minute, offering Harry-o-philes the chance to spend the evening in an all-Harry frenzy and countdown to the 12:01 a.m. release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The party at the Cherry Creek Tattered Cover is legendary, but if the body odor generated by hundreds of kids jammed into the basement is too much, head over to the bash at ArmAzem Bookstore and Café, 3215 East Colfax Avenue.
Just doors down from the Bluebird Theatre, this small neighborhood bookstore will be hosting a Harry Potter movie marathon beginning at about 5:30 p.m. There will also be a wand-making session, at which Ollivander the wand seller will help kids and adults "figure out which animal is best for which person," says Stacey Bloomfield, ArmAzem events coordinator.
There will also be Butter Beer, a Harry Potter trivia game and a costume contest, with a 10 percent discount on the book for those who come dressed as their favorite character. If you haven't reserved your copy of the book yet (shame on you!), call the store at 303-398-2665 and get on the list.
Just remember, the Voldemort scar goes on the left side of your forehead. -- Amber Taufen
Whether you grew up watching Cinderella or Aladdin, On the Record will surely bring back memories. The musical revue spans seven decades of Disney animation, but instead of a typical fairytale plot, the show takes place in a recording studio with two couples belting out old favorites. "There are no flashy Disney characters, so if younger kids aren't familiar with the songs, it might not hold their interest," says Denver Center Attractions public relations manager Jenny Schiavone. "It's nostalgic for people who grew up listening to the music." Leave the kids with a babysitter and come relive your childhood today through July 31 at the Buell Theatre, 1050 13th Street. For more information and tickets, $25-$60, visit www.denvercenter.org or call 303-893-4100. -- Amelia Langer
A Haute Time
Let them drink wine at Riverfront Park.
Fashion and France are inextricably intertwined, a collusion that dates back to at least eighteenth-century Versailles, where the ladies (and men!) of the court schemed to outdo one another, dousing themselves in toilet water and donning poofy duds and powdered wigs. All the rest of Europe followed suit, literally, and couture was born: What was haute became hot, and everyone wanted a knock-off.
Styles change, but their inherent Frenchness does not. If you were to view the fashion world from a satellite, the city of Paris would give off a distinct glow.
It's appropriate then that the Riverfront Park Wine & Fashion Series, hosted by Little Raven Vineyards monthly during the summer, takes place today, Bastille Day. Enjoy fashions by Neiman Marcus and fine French wines from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Riverfront Park, 1610 Little Raven Street; tickets for a reserved seat on the catwalk and open access to the wine bar are $40. For details go to www.riverfrontfashion.com.
À bientôt. -- Susan Froyd
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Take a tour of Denver's culinary success.
So you say that Denver is an up-and-coming food city. You tell your friends from California and New York how our guys and girls in white can hold their own against all comers, how Denver is poaching talent from some of the biggest names in the business, how the glossy food press is espousing us more and more as a place where the haute brigades are making names for themselves. You can almost taste victory, right?
Well, then, it's time for a party, and what better place to celebrate all the talent and excess that is the Denver food scene than at the 18th annual Taste of the Nation? Today from 4 until 7 p.m., the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, will be transformed into a miniature model of the city of Denver -- complete with neighborhoods, parks and city landmarks -- so that festival-goers can take a culinary "tour" of our success. More than forty of Denver's finest chefs will be stationed throughout the event, whipping up their best bites, and more than sixty wineries will be seeded throughout each neighborhood so tourists can slake their thirst.
For more information and tickets, $60 in advance or $65 at the door, visit www.denvertasteofthenation.org; 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the anti-hunger charity Share Our Strength. -- Jason Sheehan