Rack 'Em Up

TUES, 7/8

Where's the last place your mother wanted to catch you hanging out on a summer evening? No contest: It was the pool hall, where boys became men (and girls became sharks) while racking them up in the back-room murk. The game of billiards comes with twenty tons of smoke-filled, booze-fogged baggage, and it was one vacation your poor old mom never wanted you to take. She'd sooner see you waste the summer with your nose in a comic book. Well, now that you're old enough, think again: Establishments all over have tables, and they're not low-rent. Even soon-to-be-Hizzoner Hickenlooper's Wynkoop Brewing Co. has its own touted billiards Valhalla.

So start 'em young and keep 'em on the right track. They'll grow up to be fine, upstanding citizens with good social skills -- if only they play pool. That's why Aurora's Moorhead Recreation Center, 2390 Havana Street, contends that the sport is nothing but good, clean fun, and an excellent way to keep kids off the streets. Moorhead debuts its new youth pool league, open to youngsters ages ten to seventeen who are at least four and a half feet tall (shorter kids can inadvertently scratch the tables), tonight at 6:30 p.m. Play will continue twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays through September 5. The center's recreation assistant, Sean Marquantte, who's in charge of the league, says it's a great way to make new friends and learn about other youth programs available at Moorhead. A $20 fee is all that's required for the entire summer; to register, call 303-366-1718. -- Susan Froyd

Snot's Up?
Renaissance Festival tickles the little ones
SAT, 7/5

Is your youngster's hankering for all things mythical not completely satisfied by the new Harry Potter book? Then the Colorado Renaissance Festival in Larkspur might be just the cure. Although there are a variety of themed weekends, those with offspring will find the Children's Weekend, which kicks off at 10:30 a.m. today, to be their best bet. Not only are there three jousting tournaments each day (what kid doesn't want to see two grown men try to knock each other down?), but there will also be entertainment from "new-age" vaudevillians Puke and Snot, as well as various juggling and ventriloquism acts. Those with a low tolerance for potty humor should beware; for the rest of you, fake violence and lowbrow humor never looked so good, especially on a long summer weekend. Regular festival hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays through August 3. During Children's Weekend, those twelve and under are admitted free with a paying adult (admission is $15.95 for anyone over twelve). For more information, call 303-688-6010 or log on to www.coloradorenaissance.com. -- Jason McKinney

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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
Jason McKinney