This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, September 30

In the film A Day Without a Mexican, Californians wake up one morning to find that nearly a third of their state's population has vanished. As the day goes on, they discover that the only characteristic shared by the 14 million people who mysteriously disappeared is that they're all Hispanic. From that premise, co-writers Sergio Arau, who also directed, and Yareli Arizmendi, take an unflinching look at the inevitable chaos that results when those who keep things running -- the Hispanic cooks, gardeners, policemen, nannies, doctors, farmers and construction workers -- vanish. Both Arau and Arizmendi will be at Auraria's Tivoli Student Union, 900 Auraria Parkway, today at 1 p.m. to show clips from the film and discuss current issues facing Mexicans in America. Particular attention will be paid to the role of Hispanics in the upcoming presidential election.

Friday, October 1

Unlike other riverboats that carry passengers and cargo, the eye-catching vessel that has occupied 3480 South Poplar Street since 1987 has provided another service to this landlocked city: It has cleaned our cars. And while quality has never been an issue, the declining condition of the Showboat Car Wash (formerly Waterworks) has. "We've always had a top-of-the-line car wash," explains Brock Chapman, one of several owners. "But the building was getting worn down; it had a tired look to it. It was time for a change." Beginning today, Denverites can take a peek at the extensive remodel of Showboat Car Wash. The business's overhaul includes an update to the riverboat facade topped off by colorful new signage, and a new lobby featuring popular music from the '50s, '60s and '70s to keep customers entertained. The three-month grand-reopening festivities also include a giant roulette wheel for customers to spin so they can qualify for everything from free car washes to a mountain-casino vacation. Get on board!

Saturday, October 2

Is it the Fourth of July already? That's when Blues Traveler usually appears in the familiar environs of Red Rocks. But the Travelers will pay a visit today to mark the end of the amphitheater's concert season -- and to raise some green for the homeless and hungry. Rescue at the Rocks, which also features the Motet, Michael Franti & Spearhead and a known bluesman named John Hickenlooper, will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets, $35, benefit the Denver Rescue Mission and are available through and all Ticketmaster outlets.

"I will be as surprised as anyone to see what they come up with," says Marquis Price, executive director of the Sankofa Arts Collective, of the group's show Politically Incorrect, which opens today on the second floor of the Blair Caldwell African-American Research Library, 2401 Welton Street. "We're not trying to get Homeland Security after us, but these artists will push the envelope. They're going to get real creative with what they feel is and isn't PC." Sankofa, a newly formed collective of African-American artists, came up with the idea for the production over the summer. "We have a theme for every show," Price explains. "We wanted to do something timely with the upcoming election. This will be a unique opportunity to take a look at the political works of a really dynamic collective of artists." Politically Incorrect, which is free, opens today with a reception from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and runs through November 3. For information, call 720-865-2401.

Sunday, October 3

"Each year the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere," Linus explains to Sally as they wait together on Halloween night in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. "He's got to pick this one -- he's got to! I don't see how a pumpkin patch could be more sincere than this one." In the end, though, the Great Pumpkin chooses not to grace the Peanuts' pumpkin patch, and a disappointed Linus is forced to wait another year while an irate Sally laments her lost "tricks or treats." Alas, the stench of Lucy's hypocrisy must have been too strong. Let that be a lesson to any of you hipsters out there thinking of attending the Great Pumpkin Harvest Festival today at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 South Forest Street, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Come correct, or don't come at all. We don't need any snickering from tattooed haters ruining our chances of seeing the Great Pumpkin. True believers are invited to bring the family and greet the fall with a search for the perfect jack-o'-lantern in the park's fecund pumpkin patch. Or they can create scarecrows, listen and dance to old-time music, play historic games and eat homemade caramel apples while touring Denver's oldest-standing structure. Admission is free, but there is a pumpkin tax; call 303-399-1859.

Monday, October 4

The Denver Public Library kicks off its latest film series, Queer Salon: Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgender Identity in Film, today at the central branch, 10 West 14th Avenue, with Boys Don't Cry. Directed by Kimberly Pierce, the 1999 film tells the true story of Teena Brandon, a cross-dressing young woman who preferred life as her male equivalent, Brandon Teena. Hilary Swank received a Best Actress Oscar for her role in the film. The showing will be hosted by the openly transgendered Thaniel Chase, who has a master's degree in film and video. Chase will offer his unique perspective on the movie, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Gates Meeting Room, Level 5.

Tuesday, October 5

Even someone with rudimentary knowledge of the work of shock novelist Chuck Palahniuk knows that there's something a little off about the guy. In his book Fight Club, characters make designer soaps using excess fat removed through liposuction and exploit support groups to satiate their own depraved insecurities. In Choke, the protagonist is a sex addict who works in a colonial-era theme park and purposefully chokes in restaurants for attention. Clearly, these are the creations of a mind with a few wires crossed. But Palahniuk's latest, Stranger Than Fiction, his first non-fiction collection, reveals that while his unique sensibility influenced the dark eccentricities of his novels, just keeping his eyes open provided a wealth of bizarre fodder as well. In Stranger, he describes encounters with alternative icon Marilyn Manson, discusses the cult-like fans who obsess over Fight Club, and explores the strange scene of submariners and the extremely violent one of college wrestlers. Palahniuk will discuss this foray into a baroque world tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the LoDo Tattered Cover, 1628 16th Street. Free tickets (one per person) will be available starting at 6:30. Call 303-436-1070.

Wednesday, October 6

Confronting Racism 2004, the third annual conference dedicated to the abolition of institutionalized white supremacism, begins with the keynote address "Cowboys and Indians: America's White Supremacist History," by historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, today at 6 p.m. at the St. Cajetan Center on the Auraria campus. Immediately following will be a forum and debate on race and politics in America. Tomorrow evening at 6, Joseph Amrine will share observations from his time in prison. Amrine spent seventeen years on death row after being convicted by an all-white jury in Missouri; he was released in June 2003 after witnesses and former jurors came forward to denounce their decisions. Two more lectures will follow Amrine's forum. The conference was organized by the Community Education Project; go to for details.

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