Witches, wizards and assorted Muggle hangers-on, your wait finally is over. The longed-for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits shelves tomorrow at 12:01 a.m., and you can be part of the festivities tonight at the Tattered Cover at Cherry Creek (1st Avenue and Milwaukee Street) and Highlands Ranch (Highlands Ranch Parkway and Lucent Boulevard) locations. Join in at 10 p.m. for HP trivia, Honeydukes treats, photo ops and robed hordes shouting "Expelliarmus!" at each other. It would be Unforgivable to not attend. Ha. Give the ol' Cover a jingle at 303/322-7727 (Cherry Creek) or 303/450-4070 (Highlands Ranch) for more.
Likewise, Hogwarts-themed fun is happening in the Springs at Media Play (at 651 and 7720 N. Academy Blvd.), where costume contests, games and refreshments ring in Rowling's latest. The Media Play events begin at 9 p.m., and the store will open early tomorrow, at 8 a.m., for non-night owls who need to get their hands on Harry -- in, like, a literary way. Call 573-1977 or 260-6800 for more information.
If you can pry yourself away from Potter this weekend, you might consider getting over to Phototroph Gallery (16 Ruxton Ave. in Manitou Springs) to catch a show by The Western Photographer, Keith Ladzinski. In addition to having a name that is fun to type, Ladzinski is an avid mountaineer whose photos address the natural world and the Colorado photographic community's shocking dearth of pictures of mountains. (Just ribbin', Keith!) The exhibit will be shown through August 7. For gallery hours or more information, visit phototroph.com or call 685-1313.
Clap and sing merrily along with scads of bands today at the Vans Warped Tour at Invesco Field (1701 Bryant St. in Denver). Get a dose of punk rock served up the old-fashioned way: in a corporate stadium with multiple stages, big-business backers and $6 bottles of water. Ah, just like Grandma used to make. Bands include Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, The Starting Line, MXPX, My American Heart, The Explosion and a trillion others. If you string three random words together, they're probably a band, and they're probably playing today. Doors open at 11 a.m. and tickets start at $30.25. Visit your friends at nipp.com to find out more.
Today also marks the 15th anniversary of PrideFest and Parade at Acacia Park. Festivities are kicking off with an interfaith mass, followed by the second annual GLBT Wedding in the Park. The Fest officially begins at 11 a.m., and the parade (whose Grand Marshal this year is the Dobson-outed Spongebob Squarepants) takes place at noon. Hop over for some way-queer fun, live entertainment and a beer garden for the legal 'uns. For more information about PrideFest or other Pikes Peak Gay and Lesbian Community Center happenings, call 471-4429 or visit ppglcc.org.
If you've ever spent long, sleepless nights wondering what art means, you are required to attend the Summer 2005 W.A.M. Youth Cultural Festival at America the Beautiful Park (formerly Confluence Park, 126 Cimino Drive), where all of your queries will be put to rest. (If you haven't guessed, "W.A.M." is a clever acronym for "What Art Means." The humor of the entry was sort of contingent on that.) The all-day-ish event includes jazz and vocal performances, hands-on art activities, performances by high school bands from the spring 2005 Battle of the Bands (yes!) and, finally, a concert by local "professional rock and roll artists" The Nocturnal Tomatoes, who are sure to wow with their, er, professionalism. Things get started at 11:30 a.m., and the whole shebang is free and open to the public.
Finally, a reason to get all those scarves out of storage. Superstar-slash-witch Stevie Nicks is coming to Red Rocks tonight. She'll be swaying, making creepy motions with her hands and singing through a curtain of hair while belting out Fleetwood Mac favorites as well as solo selections. Please request "Leather and Lace." With her will be the equally talented singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton (see full review on opposite page), whose albums you probably should buy. Tickets for this one start at $45. To learn more, log on to hobconcerts.com.
Shimmy and shake for a cause this evening at the Trestle Building (219 W. Colorado Ave.), where a gaggle of do-gooders'll be playing for your amusement and to benefit homeless teens. The Back on Track Benefit Concert features performers like Dotsero, Wendy Woo and Joe Uveges. The cost is $30, which includes the entertainment, Bristol beer, snacks and refreshments. Things happen from 5 to 9 p.m. and it's, perplexingly, a Bring Your Own Chair event. Huh. For more information or to get tickets, call 630-3323.
Wow. With a name like Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors, this band seriously doesn't screw around. Witness their non-screwing-around-ness this evening in Pueblo at the Sangre de Cristo Art Center's Jackson Sculpture Garden (at Paseo and Fountain streets), where you'll be privy to songs by artists like Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool and the Gang and the Temptations. I freakin' dare you to not dance. It's taking place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $4 in advance or $5 at the gate. Get yours at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center box office (210 N. Santa Fe Ave.), or call 719/295-7222.
-- Aaron Retka