Sideways glance: If only that glorious Sonoma County climate could be shipped along with the handpicked selection of California wines, Suddenly Sonoma, Definitely Denver would be nearly perfect. But the Colorado Restaurant Association will come darned close to perfection during this two-day fundraiser for the organization's scholarship fund. First, loosen your wallets -- and your belts -- for tonight's wine auction and seven-course Mediterranean spread with paired wines, brought to the table by local top toque Jennifer Jasinski at Rioja, 1431 Larimer Street, at 6 p.m. Tomorrow, more than eighty Sonoma County wines will be uncorked for tasting during a slightly less exclusive (but no less delightful) consumer event from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Historic Asbury Tower Events Center, 3011 Vallejo Street. Cheers! Dinner admission is $125, and tasting tickets are $35 to $40; for reservations, call 303-830-2972.
Friday, February 25
When Coloradan Pasquale Scaturro and Californian Gordon Brown embarked on a quest to navigate all 3,260 miles of the Nile River a year ago, an IMAX camera was rolling. It recorded their treacherous journey through dangerous gorges and rapids, desert heat and sandstorms, crocodile-infested waters, and war-torn and lawless lands. The resulting film, Mystery of the Nile, takes viewers far beyond the expected Egyptian Nile, journeying from the river's roots in central Ethiopia and through Sudan to its confluence with the Mediterranean Sea, affording armchair travelers front-row seats as a pageant of natural beauty and fascinating cultures rolls by. Local audiences can hop aboard and follow the dynamic duo's amazing feat starting today at the Phipps IMAX Theater, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard; daily screenings continue through December. IMAX admission is $5.50 to $8 (museum admission packages are available); call 303-322-7009 or visit www.dmns.org.
Saturday, February 26
Ladies who love a good slog in the snow can do a good deed by participating in the Wild Hare Snowshoe Trek for Women, an annual 5K snowshoe trek and race to benefit the Sporting Woman Community Fund. The event is designed to appeal to those who like to linger over the icicles, as well as to those who live for speed; both will set off into the scenic drifts of Grand County today at 11:30 a.m. from Devil's Thumb Ranch, 3530 County Road 83 in Tabernash. Registration is $25 to $30; for details, log on to www.thesportingwoman.com.
Denver a cowtown? Step into Artopia 2005 and you'll be transported, like Alice, into a cultural and sensual wonderland that says otherwise. The trendy, multi-leveled, Westword-sponsored arts fete offers serious eye candy, hot local bands, fine food and drink, and an array of performances ranging from fire spinners to body painters. Tonight from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., deep in the basement of Vinyl, 1082 Broadway, there'll be live music by the Motet, the Swayback, Hot IQs and the New York Street Boys; work your way up through the club with the rest of the party-goers for the Westword MasterMind Awards presentation, culinary tastings, art exhibits and the Artopia fashion show, which unfolds along a 64-foot patio runway and features styles from Denver's Eve and HUB. Tickets range from $35 to $55 (a portion of the proceeds benefit the Rape Assistance and Awareness Program) and are all-inclusive; call 303-777-6887 or go to www.artopia2005.com.
Sunday, February 27
When's the last time you really partied on Oscar night? Leave your couch and walk a red carpet tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. at Oscars and Martinis for a Mission, a benefit Academy Awards celebration hosted by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America Young Professionals Society. Larry Herz's nouveau Go Fish Grille, 250 Josephine Street, is where you'll get to join celebratory throngs to make Oscar predictions and wardrobe critiques over a wealth of hors d'oeuvres and UV Vodka martinis (your first two are included with the admission price). Tickets are $45 to $50; call 303-639-9163 or visit www.blacktie-colorado.com/rsvp, and enter the event code "oscar."
Monday, February 28
The highest reaches of the world are made manageable for everyone by the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. The outdoor-adventure retrospective culls the best entries from the esteemed Canadian fest, which travels, traverses, speeds down, plods across and scales the planet's peaks. REI will host Front Range screenings at two locations, beginning tonight and tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder. Denver nature nuts can watch the tour at 7 p.m. March 4 in the new Colorado Convention Center theater, 700 14th Street. Admission to all shows is $15; for more information, call 303-786-7030 or log on to www.bouldertheater.com or www.rei.com/stores/denverflagship.
Tuesday, March 1
Who's feeling arts-and-crafts-deprived? Here's a quick fix that might satisfy the urge to create something pretty with your own two hands: Ring up Studio Bead, 3180 Meade Street, a tiny bead and jewelry shop just off 32nd Avenue in the bustling Highlands Square shopping district, and sign yourself up for a beading class. Learn to make a dangly pair of earrings tonight or any Tuesday in March (a beginner's tutorial in bead stringing is also offered on Mondays); all classes are from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and cost $25, materials included. Call 303-777-1813 for more information.
Wednesday, March 2
Community-radio buffs in northern Colorado know that Boulder-based KGNU, which recently added a Denver signal at 1390 AM, is our little radio station that could. Broadcasting from the far left of Colorado Public Radio and run on a dime, the station continues to do its thing, going against the grain of mainstream radio and just about everything else. And it's a little treasure worth protecting. Bucks always help, so at the seventh annual KGNU Silent Auction, bidders can assist the station while picking up some great buys, including CDs, concert tickets, books, gift certificates and even a couple of guitars. Bidding begins at 7 p.m. tonight at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder, where hors d'oeuvres and locally produced libations will keep the crowds happy; for tickets, $10 to $12, call 303-449-4885 or log on to www.kgnu.org.