PEAK Parent Center serves parents of children with disabilities, and that costs money. Hence their third annual fundraiser at the Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St. Chefs from some of the swankiest eateries in town -- including Sencha and Walter's Bistro -- are providing their talent, and the event also features a silent auction and local student entertainment. It all begins at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $15-$25; reserve your spot by calling 531-9400.
I once dated an uppity East Coast know-it-all who decided I wasn't good enough for him because I didn't properly appreciate his antique Japanese minimalistic art. If I had had access to the Fine Arts Center's Art 4 Dummies, that jerk would have been groveling, kissing my feet. The First Thursday program answers all of your questions about art (What's so great about the Mona Lisa? What is a Blue Period?) in a social setting, designed for people to meet people, and in this case, to mingle with helpful art historians. Munchies and live music are included in the $6-$10 admission price, and the event begins at 5:15 p.m. Call 634-5581.
Just what is Ghawazee, you ask? Well, grasshopper, it is only the single most important source of the Egyptian belly dance and the lovely, talented and very experienced Sakti will perform this colorful and enchanting folk dance for you, along with her protegs at Tajine Alami, 10 Old Man's Trail, on the eastern edge of Memorial Park in Manitou Springs. Tickets are $10-$12; call Mahisha at 632-1111 for details. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Ululation is not guaranteed.
Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso, better known as Small Potatoes, are back and plan on playing their eclectic, eccentric brand of folk at the Black Forest Community Center, in the log cabin on the corner of Shoup and Black Forest roads at 7:30 tonight. Admission to the Black Rose Acoustic Society concert is $8-$12. Call 282-0760 for details.
Before we all got here with our SUVs and subdivisions, this land was populated by the Utes, a Native American tribe that shared the area with the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The Fine Arts Center's Ute Indian Fair, in conjunction with Mountain, Family, Spirit: The Arts and Culture of the Ute Indians exhibition, features dance demonstrations and traditional food tastings and begins at noon today. Admission to the Center, 30 W. Dale St., is free. Call 634-5581 for more.
Unless you've ever sat outside of an old, rickety barn feeding apples through an old-fashioned cider press while the crisp breeze sends a chill through your body and the scent of woodsmoke curls in the air, you have yet to experience autumn. Lucky for you, the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, at the east entrance to Garden of the Gods provides a glimpse into a way of life that will probably never be retro, but is a blast just the same -- the Fall Harvest Festival. Wool will be spun, cider will be pressed and butter will be churned. You can also count on wagon and pony rides and raiding the pumpkin patch. Admission is free, but there is a small fee for some events. C'mon Laura Ingalls, it starts at 10 a.m.
Also in celebratory autumn mode is the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Dr. Wayne Sheppard, a silviculturist at the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, presents Aspen: Radiance in the Rockies. The slide presentation of the ecology and growth of the slender trees -- whose leaves are beginning to resemble tongues of fire and golden coins right about now -- will be followed by a hike in the area. Admission is $20-$25; register for the all-day program by calling 719/748-3253.
A favorite of kids worldwide, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day has been made into a musical (finally!). Based on the picture book by Judith Viorst, it will be performed for the first time in the Springs at the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., at 2 p.m., and again at 4. It also plays on Monday at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $7 for those of us 3 and up. Call 520-SHOW.
Everybody wants to be a cowboy, but sometimes it's just not fashionable to go out on the town reeking of manure. You can still sound like a cowboy, however, after practicing your cow punching tales and bronc-busting braggadocio at the Western Heritage Days Cowboy Poetry Open Session. If you don't want to get up on stage, just come and watch. The free program begins at 2 p.m. at the Penrose Public Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave. To sign up to perform, call 531-6333 Ext. 2011, or just get there an hour early.
You could get in a twist about whether or not Columbus deserves recognition for finding America, or you could just accept the fact that today is, in fact, Columbus Day and therefore, is an excuse to par-tay, as the young folks say. The Columbus Day Celebration at the Sangre De Cristo Arts Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave. in Pueblo, is the 103rd of its kind, and features food, keynote speaker and author Theodore Borrillo, and 37 guests from Lucca Siculla, Sicily. Tickets to the 7 p.m. dinner (with cocktails at 6) are $22, and must be purchased beforehand by calling 719/566-0199 or 719/543-0883.
Chad has opened for just about everybody who is anybody, but the jewel in their East Coast crown is Phish, who not only hail from their hometown, but are one of their biggest influences. Somewhere between Matchbox 20 and the Barenaked Ladies (I call it Co-ed College Rock), Chad's sound is helping them climb the big shiny ladder of success. They'll make one stop at The Underground, 130 E. Kiowa St. at 9 p.m. Call 633-0590 to find out more.
Today is the LAST DAY to register to vote before the elections on November 3rd. If you've been shirking off your civic duty until the last minute, you better get over to the Election Department at Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade, or call 575-VOTE. This little system we call Democracy is such a privilege (see: China, Iraq), so unless you take part in it, don't bitch about the results.
If you've already registered and are so flustered by your choices you're actually thinking of not voting (gasp), then head over to Colorado College's Worner Center, on the northwest corner of Cascade and Cache La Poudre. There, in Gaylord Hall, activist, author, columnist and renowned social commentator Dr. Barbara Ehrenreich presents Why Vote? The Hallowing Out of American Politics. Ehrenreich's lecture, sure to inspire and enlighten, begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. Call 389-6607 for details.
It's Gay and Lesbian Theater Festival time again, now in its pivotal fifth year! The Upstart Performing Ensemble opens with Walking the Dead by Keith Curran in the Cabaret Performance Space at the Smokebrush Center, 235 S. Nevada. The play begins at 8 p.m., and the festival continues until the 14th. Tickets are $12, or $30 for a festival pass. Call 444-0884 or check the listings for more info.