Chicano Roots

FRI, 9/12

One expects art galleries to cater mainly to grownups, but consider little Quetzalli, 928 West Eighth Avenue, a gallery that's committed to exploring cultural roots through art. Its current show, Rastros (Traces), featuring works by Eric "Elfego" Baca and Robert Lopez Dussart, appeals to adults by offering different takes on the Chicano experience, shaped by artists of different generations -- but the art on display here is also a legacy for children. On display through Sunday, the exhibit provides a sense of history for little ones, drawing both from Dussart's migrant-worker and mining roots, and Baca's more contemporary and politicized street-artist perspective. Dussart's works include miniature peach-pit carvings, a folk-art form derived from the mining culture on the Western slope, while Baca, an urban nomad who lives in a shed, creates art to finance the food and supply donations he regularly shuttles down to Big Mountain Reservation in the Four Corners region. To make the show more kid-friendly, Quetzalli will host a storytelling and tortilla-making session this evening at 6 p.m., featuring Renee Fajardo, the author/co-author of two children's cookbooks, Holy Molé Guacamole! and Pinch a Lotta Enchiladas & Other Tummy Tales. "I'll tell a story related to food from my own Hispanic family to show how a real, live story and real, live foodmaking becomes part of one's family folklore," Fajardo says. "I want to let kids know that it's important to pay attention, to go in and make cake with your relatives. These are the things you'll pass on."

Admission to the storytelling event is $10; for details, call 303-573-0414. -- Susan Froyd

¡Hola, Elmo!
Sesame Español gives kids a taste of Spanish
SAT, 9/13

Little kids' love of the spoken word can make it seem as if they're a sound system with a continuous-play tape loop; for kids between four and seven years old, nothing is beneath comment. The folks at Berlitz Language Center see this as a positive. Children that age are at their most receptive -- "uninhibited and free-flowing," is how Berlitz worldwide marketing director Mike Palm phrases it -- so what better time to introduce them to a foreign language?

The Berlitz/Sesame Español Open House, which runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at Berlitz's Denver center, 55 Madison Street, allows children to participate in a sample lesson and take part in games and crafts aimed at providing them with an introduction to the Spanish language and culture. It also gives parents a peek at teaching methods, which include hands-on activities and a multilingual Sesame Street Muppet named Tingo.

"It's fun," says Palm. "It has to be fun, because the attention span for children that age is relatively short."

Before you know it, your child could be asking Big Bird: ¿Me puede decir dónde queda la Calle Sésamo?

The event is free. For more information, call 303-333-1035 or log on to -- Karen Bowers

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Karen Bowers
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd