Christopher Smith


SAT, 5/7

Move over, brainiacs, new bookworms are taking over the library: metro-intellectuals.

Offering experimental-film and creative workshops designed for "urbane urban dwellers," The Creative Life is the latest installment of Fresh City Life at the Denver Public Library -- and this series is straight-up phat. "A paradigm shift in library usage and the interests of users has begun," says the library's cultural programmer Chris Loffelmacher. "So roll up your sleeves and prepare to get your hands dirty."

Knead dough with Greg Bortz of the Denver Bread Company; critique films with Denver film reviewer Walter Chaw; click into a photography workshop with Marianne Martin; grab a seat in a how-to class on adapting screenplays or illustrating children's books. "This programming gives the community a chance to experiment with their own creative voice," Loffelmacher explains. "It's like that old starving artist's mantra of 'process over product.' Our customer's journey is much more important than the actual destination."

That journey begins at 10:30 a.m. today with "Starting From Blank: The Process of Creating Art" with local artist Michael Gadlin, or try the Screenwriters Author Panel, with Darren Foster, Pamela Cuming and Gary Jonas, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10.

Creative Life events run through June 5 at the Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, and all are free and open to the public; some require advance registration. For more information, call 720-865-1206 or visit www.denverlibrary.org/programs/creative. -- Kity Ironton

Girls' Day Out
WED, 5/11

There are so many fundraisers in Denver, from the staid to the outrageous, that Helene Steinberg, director of special events for National Jewish Hospital, was struggling to come up with a concept that was unique and wonderful to celebrate women. So she went with the more-the-merrier theory of event planning and launched InSPAration: A Day of Health and Beauty. "What I found when we were discussing what to do was that women have so many different issues and ideas that we tried to bring as many together as we possibly could," Steinberg says. That includes fourteen speakers on topics ranging from alternative medicine to plastic surgery, tons of booths (including a mini-massage station) and a 200-item silent auction. InSPAration kicks off today at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. at Invesco Field at Mile High. Tickets start at $150 (price includes lunch), but the goodie bag is worth $600! For more information, call 303-398-1122 or visit www.nationaljewish.org/fr/insparation/2005. -- Jerri Theil

On the March
Mothers let it all hang out.
SUN, 5/8

Generally speaking, when you hear about some mother "acting up," you know the words "soccer mom" won't be far behind. You know the story: The game's in full swing, Highlands Ranch Bleached-Blonde Thunder is up one against the Cherry Creek Aryan Lightning, when all of a sudden some mother just loses it. Water bottles and obscenities are hurled, and by the time authorities contain the irate woman, one coach has usually been completely emasculated and three players have vowed never to play soccer again. I've seen it a million times. Fortunately, a group of committed mothers is working to alter this unruly image, with the Mothers Acting Up Mother's Day Parade, beginning today at 1 p.m.

Costumed mothers and anyone else who wishes to participate will meet outside the Boulder Public Library, 1000 Canyon Boulevard, and parade to the courthouse in an effort to mobilize the political strength of mothers. This year's parade theme is "Connecting the Dots," to help people realize how interconnected we are as individuals and nations, as well as the connection between one child's labor and another's plenty. For more information, call 303-442-7628 or go to www.mothersactingup.org. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

La Vida Loca
The East L.A. barrio comes to life at the Tattered Cover.
MON, 5/9

The East L.A. barrio has a decidedly industrial-blue-collar history. While the stereotype is of Chicano migrant workers toiling in the fields, the truth is that many Mexican immigrants in the post-World War II era bypassed agricultural work and planted themselves in an urban setting, choosing to toil in factories instead. It's a story that's been aching to be told for decades, a chapter of Latino history that deserves to stand tall alongside John Steinbeck's workingman sagas.

Leave it to Luis Rodriguez, who knows the territory, to write just that sort of narrative. The former L.A. gang member, award-winning poet and community organizer rose out of the barrio and authored the acclaimed 1993 gang-life memoir Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. He's now turned his pen to a sometimes-polemic new novel, Music of the Mill, that spans sixty years among the Salcido family, a multi-generational clan of steel-mill workers who fight to get by in a small, smoke-belching world ruled by racial inequality. Think of it as Mi Familia with a backbone of steel.

Rodriguez will discuss and sign the epic tale tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue. For more information, call 303-322-7727 or visit www.tatteredcover.com. -- Susan Froyd


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