Coloradans have an ongoing love affair with their Western heritage--even if they came here from New Joisey. Place of birth notwithstanding, there's an unending demand in these parts for that Lonesome Dove kind of lore. If you fall into the category that craves such entertainment, a new book by Michael Wallis, also the author of Route 66: The Mother Road, is a perfect fit. Let him convince you when he discusses The Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West, tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave. A true story--a string of them, really--about one of the West's greatest ranches, The Real Wild West is one swell summer read. For details, call 303-322-7727.
It takes an IMAX-sized screen to truly telegraph the portent of a film called Mysteries of Egypt, and that's just what you'll get when the National Geographic-produced adventure opens today at the Phipps IMAX Theater, Denver Museum of Natural History, 2001 Colorado Blvd. National Geographic's first foray into large-format cinematography, Mysteries amply captures the grandeur of the pyramids and the treasures within, but not without taking a spectacular aerial side trip or two over the Nile River. Talk about your majesty. Pulling it all together is actor Omar Sharif, an Egyptian native, who appears in the film as a storytelling grandfather. The new IMAX offering shows daily through next February. Admission is $4 to $6; call 303-370-6300 for showtimes.
Here's a case in which fun and games lead to increased diligence. Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey's Field of Dreams Celebrity Softball Classic brings together a roster of sports greats--including retired Bronco Karl Mecklenburg, who'll lead an opposing team against McCaffrey's--to benefit Denver Public Schools sports programs and A Grassroots Experience, an organization providing outdoor curriculum for underprivileged youth. An all-in-fun home-run derby at 1:30 p.m. will be followed at 2:30 by the seven-inning game; both events are at the South High School All-City Baseball Stadium, I-25 and University Blvd. Admission ranges from $5 to $12 (kids two and under free); tickets are available in advance at King Soopers stores.
No one knows how many folks grow up with the unrequited desire to draw cartoons, but some of them will have a chance to come out of the woodwork at the Denver Comic Art Showcase, a competition and exhibit opening today at Heart Studio and Gallery, 4325 W. 41st Ave. Bring the family: There'll be sidewalk chalk art and representatives from independent comic book publishers Panther Comics and Squidworks at today's reception, from noon to 6. Featuring visual hilarity and whatnot from the hands of children, teens and adults, the show--co-sponsored by Highlander Comics and Games and juried by venerable Westword fixture Kenny Be--continues through June 26. Call 303-480-1053.
Mountain men, buffalo soldiers, cowboy poets, a vintage ballgame and a whole lot of local history will be part of the South Platte River Rendezvous, an annual Founders' Day festival celebrating the inception of "Denver City" at the confluence of the Platte River and Cherry Creek. Taking place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow at the newly plotted Centennial Park, located off Exit 211 on Speer Blvd. and adjacent to Elitch Gardens, the rendezvous, which also features old-fashioned games for the kids, raft floats and live music, is free and open to the public.
One of the city's finest little festivals, the Denver Blues and Bones Festival, has expanded this year to include a finger-lickin' Denver Barbecue Championship, a benefit of the rare advantage of being just the right size. Stationed in the Golden Triangle at 12th and Acoma, the two-day fest packs lots of great music, tasty food, street performers and endlessly abundant people-watching opportunities into its two-square-block radius. This year's roster of artists is headed up by English blues legend John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers and East Coast Grammy winners Roomful of Blues. Admission--and we just have to say that the price is right--is $8 daily or $12 for a two-day pass. The music goes from 5 to 11:30 p.m. tonight and 3 to 11:30 p.m. tomorrow; call 303-825-4TIX or log on to www.ticketweb.com for tickets. For information, call 303-478-BLUE or log on to www.denverfestivals.com.
All things Jewish--the food, the music, the food, the crafts, the food--will be celebrated today at the Boulder Jewish Festival, from noon to 5 p.m. at the courthouse lawn on the Pearl Street Mall, Boulder. There will be information booths, activities for kids and--no doubt--dancing in the streets, and it's all free. How to round out the day in like style? Jewish-music singer Neshema Carlebach--the daughter of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, a beloved artist within the culture whom one journalist called the "Jewish Jerry Garcia"--brings her father's music to the Boulder High School Auditorium, 1604 Arapahoe, Boulder, tonight at 7. Tickets are $18 in advance and $24 at the door (children under twelve and adults over 72 free); proceeds benefit the Boulder Jewish Community Foundation and Kosovo Refugee Relief. Call 303-443-3399.
If your work days seem more dreary in the summertime (and well they should), then take a break. Black & White: Perspectives in Contrast, a colorless art show that's full of personality, is on display between 8 and 6 weekdays at Republic Plaza, 370 17th St. in downtown Denver. Featuring more than 75 photographs, drawings and sculptures by twenty artists and including a number of awesome monumental drawings, the show continues through July 21; for information, call 303-733-1868.
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It's free and the kids will love it--national performing artists Magical Music Express kick off this summer's Concerts at the Crescent series tonight at 7 at the DTC amphitheater, 8350 E. Crescent Pkwy., Greenwood Village, a pretty spot near Fiddler's Green that's picnic- and family-friendly. Musical acts for all tastes appear there throughout the season; for more information, log on to www.skylineusa.com/CONCERTS.html.
His detective-fiction fans have been champing at the bit, waiting for the next installment of the Elvis Cole saga, but it should prove well worth the wait. Rumor has it that when author Robert Crais's L.A. Requiem, the latest Cole adventure, hits bookstore shelves, it will be hailed as his best ever. This one pits the wisecracking Angeleno P.I. against the LAPD in a caper that focuses on Pike, Cole's mysterious and forbidding sidekick. The uncompromising Crais reads some passages tonight at 7 at the Rue Morgue Mystery Bookshop, 946 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-443-8346; he also appears on June 17 at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; call 303-322-7727.
Lights, action, champagne! The Opera Pops Picnic Without Ants, a benefit for the Central City Opera, has a little bit of each--it's part season preview, part charity auction, part sing-along favorites and fully enjoyable from start to finish. The bash, which takes place at the Marriott City Center, 1701 California St., begins with cocktails at 5, followed by a box supper at 6 and opera highlights at 7. Tickets are available at a $30 or $60 level; for information and reservations, call 303-292-6700.