Talking Shop

Babylon offers a Zen opening
FRI 1/7

Ear plugs, steel piercings and the brightly colored tattooed koi swimming through Hindu symbols that completely encircle his right arm make Arthur Williams a very unlikely looking florist. But this is Babylon, a place of unexpected beauty and design. The full-service floral shop specializes in exotic flora and gifts, eclectic design and urban landscaping, all cultivated into a peaceful, living boutique by Williams's love of botany. "My whole life has followed a general theme of plants and art," explains the soft-spoken Williams. "Basically, I've always been a nerd."

Babylon's grand opening is tonight; it will double as an artist's reception for painter Jonathan Saiz, the first to display his works on the sweet-smelling shop's walls. Constructed of chocolate-scented orchids, glass vessels, antiques and freshly cut blossoms, Babylon's designs are exquisitely unique but surprisingly affordable. Zen-influenced arrangements start at $25, but debutantes wishing to stun others will be tempted to bust the Visa for a $600 custom-made live-floral gown. However, Williams warns, there's a cost to being such a floral fashionista: "They are not comfortable, and you can't sit down."

Babylon is at 1201 East Colfax Avenue, Suite 101; the opening runs from 8 to 11 p.m. Williams plans to create floral artworks throughout the evening. "I always need a little bit of dirt to play in," he says. For information, call 303-830-6855. -- Kity Ironton

Be a Nuggets Kingpin

Have you always wanted to play with the Nuggets? At the 2005 Nuggets Bowling Ball, fans will get a chance to compete with their favorite players -- at the bowling alley. Proceeds from the event, which takes place tonight from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes, 500 16th Street, benefit Kroenke Sports Charities and the Denver Nuggets Community Fund. Teams of up to nine "high roller" guests -- who have ponied up $3,000 per squad -- will be joined by a rotating trio of Nuggets team members. Spectator tickets are $125 and include dinner as well as a chance to shmooze with the players, who will also shoot pool and act as bartenders. For reservations, call 303-405-6128. -- Caroline Bankoff

The Three Amigos
Denver's mayors bring the noise
THURS 1/6 A black guy, a Hispanic guy and a lanky white dude walk into a bar. Hispanic guy goes, "I got us DIA and brought Major League Baseball to the city, chumps." Black dude says, "Well I beautified this city like nobody had since Speer, built parks and preserved open spaces." White guy goes, "Big deal. I already got us FasTracks -- and I'm still in office, suckas!"

Have you heard this one already? Well, don't give away the punchline. The rest of us will just have to wait and see what happens tonight, when former Denver mayors Federico Peña and Wellington Webb meet with Mayor John Hickenlooper to discuss the city's economic future.

Appearing together for the first time in public -- although inside sources claim they have convened in secret underground bunkers on at least two separate occasions -- the three will discuss issues that impact Denver and its residents as part of the University of Denver's Bridges to the Future program.

The public panel takes place at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.; doors open at 6:15. The event is free, but tickets are required. Call 303-871-2357 for more information. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

Try the Thai
Yummy Yummy teaches its secrets

Exotic words fairly leap off the page of a Thai menu: tom kha, koi soi, som tam, laap. If you can interpret even a bit of the language, you'll be rewarded with a savory meal. The same is true of navigating a Thai kitchen: With a little basic knowledge, you can create authentic and flavorful dishes.

Restaurateur Pim Fitt understands that learning to make her native foods can be intimidating, so she teaches Thai cooking in much the same way she learned it: one recipe at a time. Each Sunday morning, Fitt, the owner of Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai, 13000 East Colfax Avenue, opens the restaurant and offers private, one-hour classes to aspiring chefs, would-be party hosts and adventurous cooks.

Fitt has been running the show at Yummy Yummy for just two years, but she's no newcomer to the business or to teaching. She's owned or operated restaurants in Thailand and England, and, she says, teaching is something she's done all her life.

"I'm very happy to share everything and to share ideas for cooking," she says. "We can't hold all the things we know to ourselves."

Fitt individualizes the lessons by having her students choose the recipes they wish to learn. Two classes are generally enough to become adept at a chosen dish. "The first time, I show them recipes and how we do it," Fitt explains. "The second time, they have to do it." The $50-per-hour fee includes all ingredients; students take home their creations. For information or to register for classes, call Fitt at the restaurant, 720-858-9121. -- Karen Bowers

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