Avenge past misspellings and help promote literacy at the Denver Bee

It's hard to ever really recover from losing a spelling bee: You remember the terror as you tentatively said another letter, that awful buzzer sound, the eternal shame that you misspelled the word "satellite." But now the first annual Denver Bee this Saturday night is offering a way to put to rest the ghosts of misspellings past (or relive your spelling bee prowess), all while supporting a local literacy organization.

The idea was conceived over dinner when friends LeVar Battle, Terry Cabeen and Kia Ruiz were talking about their spelling bee experiences and decided to make something fun out of them by creating an adult bee. "We also wanted to give people a chance to reclaim those glory days, or at least avenge themselves," laughs Battle.

But there's also another goal: "When you think about it, all this stuff depends on AutoCorrect on our iPhones and our Androids, or we're looking at spellcheck in Microsoft Word," laments Battle. "No one's grasping how to spell words anymore and really understanding the etymology of words." Table 6's Aaron Forman will emcee the event, which will feature a competitive spelling bee complete with a lightning elimination round at the end and prizes for the winner. And while the night should definitely be fun, it will also raise funds for Burning Through Pages, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting reading and writing. "We all grew up reading classics like Shakespeare and things of that sort," says Battle, adding that Burning Through Pages "wants kids to embrace literature with books that are relevant for them now."

For a recent project with the Boys & Girls Club, for example, Burning Through Pages bought copies of The Hunger Games and then took the kids who read the book to see the film.

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Registration for the Denver Bee is open until Friday. Apply on the Bee website, which includes a spelling test as well as a paragraph explaining "prior spelling bee experience (or lack thereof) and why it still torments your soul." Start brushing up on your etymology and weird words now; you may not get another chance to prove your spelling genius to your fifth-grade self.

If being in the actual Bee is too much pressure, you can still buy a ticket (21 and up only) to watch, for $12 in advance at thedenverbee.eventbrite.com and $15 at the door at the L2 Arts and Culture Center. Those doors open at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 28; the show starts at 7 p.m.

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