SAT, 4/23

The post-war brainchild of contractor-turned-designer Edward Hawkins, Englewood's Arapahoe Acres neighborhood has seemingly existed in its own little world for more than half a century, the 124 unique homes hidden enough to remain unknown to most Denverites, yet considered by many to be jewels of mid-century architecture. You might just fall in love yourself when DU Art! hosts a lecture and walking tour there, led by Arapahoe Acres resident and noted architectural historian Diane Wray.

One reason to go on this tour now? These homes are almost too sexy for their own good. Some of the neighbors and fans feel that the area's flavor is slowly being diluted as new residents move in and mess with the historical integrity of the structures. "People are snapping them up, and then they're screwing them up," claims one architectural purist from the neighborhood. "Then there are the others, who are like vigilantes. There's a lot of infighting."

The lecture and tour, which benefit the University of Denver School of Art and Art History, take place today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning with the lecture at DU's Sturm Hall, 2040 South Race Street, and winding up with a garden reception. Tickets are $35 to $45; call 303-871-2846 for more information. -- Susan Froyd

A Novel Idea
FRI, 4/22

I still remember my first library fondly: I could walk there and check out as many books as I could carry, giving me something to while away the summer afternoons with. For a lot of kids, though, the library isn't as close as a walk down the street. "We really needed to be able to take books to lower-income families that didn't have access to the library, and there just weren't enough tax dollars to cover it," says Jo Bryant of the Jefferson County Library Foundation. So six years ago, the group began throwing A Rare and Novel Night to help raise funds for the county's Traveling Children's Library. The gala hits the Belmar Events Center, 405 South Teller Street in Lakewood, tonight at 5:30 p.m.; a mere $50 gets you in the door for dinner, dancing, a book sale, and auctions of items including a sailing trip in the Grenadine Islands and a Maui beach condo. For more information or tickets, call 303-275-2240. -- Jerri Theil

A Hop, Skip and a Jump
Frankie Manning's never too old to Lindy.
THURS, 4/21

When Charles Lindbergh boarded the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927, his mind must have been busy. One can only imagine the thoughts of a young pilot attempting the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic. But of all the signals fired across Lindbergh's synapses that day, it's doubtful he ever pondered the jitterbug. Nonetheless, after a successful landing almost a day later, a newspaper ran the headline "Lindy Hops the Atlantic" -- and the phrase captured the imagination of swing practitioners in Harlem.

One cat in particular, George "Shorty" Snowden, is said to have given the name "Lindy Hop" to the joyful, popular dance style. At New York's Savoy Ballroom, the Lindy Hop was soon all the rage, with new steps born and refined nightly. When, in 1935, a young patron named Frankie Manning incorporated the first airstep, an acrobatic aerial leap that dropped jaws, things really started to soar. The dance became a bona fide phenomenon, and Manning joined Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, with whom he toured the world. At 91, Manning continues to spread the Lindy gospel; he'll preach in Denver during a three-day workshop that starts tonight at 7 p.m. at the Driscoll Ballroom, 2055 East Evans Avenue. Full-package tickets are $125; individual event ticket prices vary. For details, call 303-825-1116 or visit -- Adam Cayton-Holland

The Secret Life of Mermaids?
Author Sue Monk Kidd dives in again.
FRI, 4/22

The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd's 2002 novel about race relations, coming of age, love, the divine and, well, bees, spent more than a year and a half on the New York Times bestseller list. It sold more than three million copies, was Good Morning America's book-club pick and inspired people to donate bees and beehives to families in Third World countries in Kidd's name.

Its phenomenal success, the author admits in her online journal, was hard for her to comprehend. Even harder to comprehend, she explains, was how to attempt to follow up such success. After "floundering" for several weeks, she says, "I told myself to flat out get over it, that I was a writer, and I wrote what I wrote, that my second novel would be its own unique creation. I would no longer worry about the pressure to live up to something. I was just going to write." Apparently, her strategy worked. The Mermaid Chair, published earlier this month, seems book-club bound.

While Kidd's first novel was about a fourteen-year-old, the second revolves around a 42-year-old who falls in love with a monk. It tells a story about coming of age in midlife, love, the divine and, well, mermaids.

Monk speaks tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Cherry Creek Tattered Cover, 2955 East First Avenue. Call 303-322-7727. -- Shara Rutberg

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Adam Cayton-Holland
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
Shara Rutberg
Jerri Theil

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