December 3
National AIDS Awareness Day was December 1, but a Denver gallery is continuing its NAAD fundraising efforts through this month. Abend Gallery Fine Arts is serving as the agent for the late Mel Carter, a Denver artist who was active in the local fight against AIDS. Abend is donating 10 percent of all December sales from Carter's paintings to Project Angel Heart, a local nonprofit that provides meals to shut-ins with AIDS. The gallery is also donating the $15 cost of a commemorative Carter poster to the project. Abend is located at 899 Broadway, Ste. 200, and is open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more info call 303-572-3081.

December 4
For more than 45 years, vocalist and harmonica ace Bobby Rush has been a favorite on the "chitlin circuit" of his native South, where his blend of blues, funk and soul are welcome in juke joints and upper-crust clubs alike. Over the past few years he's received hearty praise from around the globe as well, including this year's Living Blues magazine's Best Live Performer award, a prize he's won three times since 1995. The secret to his in-the-flesh appeal? A saucy live show packed with double entendres and anthems like "Buttermilk Bottom," "Big Fat Woman" and other politically correct numbers. Rush hits the stage tonight at the Casino, 2637 Welton St. Tickets are $25, and the doors open at 8; call 303-292-2626 for details.

Since 1868, the Denver Turnverein organization has served as a sponsor for all things German in the area, hosting Rhineland-friendly activities for generations of members and supporters. In recent times the Turnverein has become a more cross-cultural gathering, with tango classes, fencing competitions and various musical events. Tonight this trend continues with a soiree hosted by the Alpine Winds. A splinter group of the Denver Concert Band, this woodwinds-and-brass outfit specializes in polkas, waltzes and a dash of Dixieland, all of which they'll perform in the vintage glory of the Turnverein ballroom at 1570 Clarkson St. The event is open to the public; tickets are $7, and the fun starts at 7:30. Call 303-831-9717.

Tonight the Mackey Gallery, 2900 W. 25th Ave., presents Seven, a multi-media exhibition featuring the work of seven Colorado artists. The roster of professionals includes Carole Sharpe (glass portraits and mosaics), Carolyn Counnas (experimental monoprints) and Boulder artist Julie Maren (narrative paintings and stone sculpture). The evening's opening reception runs from 6 to 9; the exhibit stays on display through January 2. For more information, call 303-477-4097.

If the sound of a router ripping through timber is music to your ears, this is your lucky weekend. Today through Sunday, the Colorado Woodworking Show returns to Denver for three days of log-turning excitement and education. The show includes something for all levels of woodworker, from at-home amateurs to professional builders. Daily sessions include a number of freebie seminars covering topics such as furniture-making, tuning up a hand plane and "power carving." Tim Allen types will appreciate the wealth of tool demos and product displays. The show takes place at the Denver Merchandise Mart, 451 E. 58th Ave. Admission is $7 for adults, but craftsmen ages twelve and under are admitted free. Some seminars require additional sign-up fees. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For details and a schedule of classes, call 1-800-826-8257.

December 5
Today is day two of the city's biggest holiday event, the Parade of Lights. Now in its 24th year, the annual parade of balloons, music and holiday pomp is the main attraction of Front Range Christmastime festivities, and this year's model will feature some new thrills. Balloon buffs will beam at a number of new floating creations, including Raggedy Ann and Andy. There's also a pair of new Dr. Seuss characters: Horton, of Horton Hears a Who fame, and a new sixty-foot helium-filled rendition of the Cat in the Hat. There will also be fresh floats and new music and marching bands. The parade takes place Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m. on the streets of downtown Denver; seats in the V.I.P. Grandstand (at 14th and Bannock streets) are $12 for adults and $8 for children ages four to twelve. Of course, gazing from the curb at your spot of choice is free and may just be the best way to take in this family-style winter spectacle. For more details call 303-478-7878.

If you're still craving some December tradition, tonight Youth Ballet Colorado presents its take on The Nutcracker, the perennial favorite based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann and scored by Tchaikovsky in 1855. The show will be performed by the soon-to-be pros who make up the YBC troupe. Based in Broomfield, this nonprofit organization offers pre-professional training programs to burgeoning dancers in the twelve- to eighteen-year-old bracket, along with less advanced classes for twirlers from age three to adult. This is YBC's sixth rendition of the holiday classic, and it's a trad version that should appeal to classical-dance newcomers as well as the more informed balletomane. Tonight's performance starts at 7 at the Ranum Auditorium, 2401 W. 80th Ave., Broomfield; there's also a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Tickets to both shows are $10-$13; call 303-466-5685.

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Marty Jones

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