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DJ Spooky will perform Sunday night at the Ellie Caulkins - Opera House. - TOBIN POPPENBERG
  • Tobin Poppenberg
  • DJ Spooky will perform Sunday night at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Whether the idea of seeing throngs of Democrats in Denver fills you with hope or dread, the Democratic National Convention will be hard to miss as it overruns the city Aug. 25-28.

The chosen few who were picked as delegates will get the best seats to the four-day spectacle at the Pepsi Center, and thousands more will watch Thursday evening as Sen. Barack Obama accepts the party's nomination for president at Invesco Field.

Concerts, panel discussions and protests will attract thousands more to the city. Here is a guide to some highlights if you want to brave the crowds.

Keep in mind traffic will be a nightmare. Click on "City maps mobility ..." at denvergov.org for road closure information.

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If you're not a delegate and didn't score tickets to Obama's acceptance speech, you still have choices if you feel like braving the crowds and spending time in or near Denver. Below are some ideas for each day, but note that many activities run all week.

Sunday: Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky, roamed Antarctica recording the sounds of glaciers creaking and icebergs caving. Those sounds became the music for his multimedia performance, Terra Nova: The Antarctica Suite, which features pictures from the icy continent and explores the impacts of climate change. The opening performance is 7 p.m., Sunday at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House (950 13th St.).

Terra Nova is part of a series of displays, concerts and events around the city that make up Dialog:City, which runs from Aug. 21 to 29.

Some of the events are more participatory. Would-be karaoke stars convinced that words really matter can try to replicate or enhance speeches given by this year's presidential contenders at "Karaoke Convention '08" events planned throughout the week at Denver bars.

On Sunday, there's also an opening reception for Partly Sunny: Designs to Change the Forecast, a display focused on ideas to combat climate change. The reception is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Denver Pavilions (500 16th St.), and tours of the displays will be offered from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Details about all Dialog:City events are at dialogcity.org.

Monday: Party conventions might be defining events in our democracy, but residents will grapple with the broader question of what democracy means at Monday night's "Cinemocracy Rocks" event.

Films up to five minutes long, wrestling with the definition of democracy, will highlight the event, which begins at 6 p.m. at Red Rocks Amphitheatre (18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison). There will also be music and comedy.

Information and links to view films and buy $20 tickets can be found at cinemocracy.org.

Monday: Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi headline three days of panel discussions as part of the Rocky Mountain Roundtable.

Though sessions on climate change, international relations and other topics sold out well before the start of the convention, $12 tickets for Aug. 25 afternoon discussions on philanthropy, transportation and retirement issues were still available Tuesday.

The sessions will be at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (1101 13th St.) complex. Details and a link to buy tickets can be found at 2008rmr.org.

Tuesday: While the convention lurches forward with an unwieldy crowd of thousands, the Progressive Democrats of America will host a parallel series of discussions at Denver's Central Presbyterian Church (1660 Sherman St.).

Tuesday starts off with a conversation about ending the conflict in Iraq, with afternoon sessions on media reform and election integrity.

For $125, you can attend events Sunday through Thursday with vegetarian, vegan or meaty lunches included. The group asks for a $10 donation for individual sessions.

A schedule, information about speakers and registration forms can be found at pdamerica.org.

Wednesday: The day before Sen. Obama is scheduled to accept the Democratic Party's nomination, presidential aspirant Ralph Nader will be at the University of Denver arguing that he and other "serious" third-party candidates should be included in upcoming debates.

Nader's Green Party campaign is expecting thousands at what it's calling a "Super Rally" at the University of Denver's Magness Arena (2240 E. Buchtel Blvd.). Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the event, with doors opening at 6 p.m. More information is available by calling 303/832-2509.

Thursday: John Morris, the Democratic Party chair in El Paso County, could have had a ticket to watch Obama's acceptance speech during prime time Thursday at Invesco Field. But he said, "No thanks," instead choosing the convenience and camaraderie of watching the speech on television back here in Colorado Springs.

Morris and fellow Democrats plan to spend the evening at the Coffee Exchange (526 S. Tejon St.), and you can join them: They're just asking for a $10 donation.


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