Best Bets for the week of September 19—26

September 20 2007, 11:00 PM
We tell you what to do, where to be, and why for each week of the year. —CULINARY— WHAT: Females on Fire: The crème de la crème of Denver's female chefs whip up a tasting menu with eight courses—yes, you read that correctly—for a dinner to remember (moderation is so overrated). Don't bother counting calories, but do spend the night toasting women in the food industry. WHY: When Sheila Lucero, Jax Fish House's executive chef, created Females on Fire four years ago, only about four percent of the country's top food-service jobs were held by women. Lucero and company hope to help change that: Proceeds from the event support a culinary scholarship for local women to attend Johnson & Wales University. BONUS: Any evening that opens with oysters and champagne is off to a good start, but a night that culminates with a chocolate caramel espresso torte paired with a Moscato just might be perfect. DETAILS: Tue 6–9:30 p.m. Jax Fish House, 1539 17th St. $100. Call 303-292-5767 or visit www.jaxfishhousedenver.com. —FESTIVAL— WHAT: Oktoberfest: You won't hear the Rockies' bats cracking fastballs into the Rock Pile this weekend—they're in San Diego—but you just might catch the sound of a hammer and stake tapping into a wooden keg to kick off this year's Oktoberfest—one of the largest in the nation. WHY: Beer, brats, lederhosen. 'Nuff said. BONUS: A Sunday concert at noon brings together one of the largest gatherings of accordion players—more than 100—in the world. Now that's something you don't see every day. DETAILS: Sep. 21–23, Oct. 5–7. Fri 5 p.m.–1 a.m.; Sat 11 a.m.–1 a.m.; Sun noon–6 p.m. Ballpark neighborhood, Larimer Street between 20th and 22nd streets. No Cover. Visit www.oktoberfestdenver.com. —KIDS— WHAT: Hop, Skip and a Jump Start 5K: It doesn't matter if you run, trot, or crawl across the finish line. The goal is to get families out and exercising together. Adults can get in a quick workout along a 5K route that starts at the Children's Museum plaza and follows the Platte River, while the much, much shorter Toddler Trot and Infant Crawl are appropriately geared toward (very) junior race-goers. WHY: Even the littlest member of the family needs a good jump on fitness, so start the collection of race-tees (every Coloradan's gotta have one) early with a race onesie. Cute-factor at the next play date? Off the charts. BONUS: Entrance to the museum is free with race registration, so kids can spend the day climbing on a fire truck, acting in a puppet show, or shooting hoops in a kid-sized court. DETAILS: Sat 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Drive. Adults: $25; toddlers and infants: $10. Call 303-433-7444 or visit www.cmdenver.org. —PERFORMING ARTS— WHAT: Opera Colorado's 25th Birthday Celebration: Even if you've never heard a soprano hit a high C-note, Opera Colorado's open house to fete a quarter-century in business is a good way to dive in, with giveaways, ticket drawings, music, and more. The 25th season offers old stand-bys and new shows for both die-hard fans and first-timers. And don't worry—every seatback displays subtitles so you can follow along like a pro. WHY: To kick-start the season: Nab no-fee tickets for upcoming performances of La Traviata, Don Pasquale, The Flying Dutchman, and Nixon in China. Even the fourth-level balcony is only 200 feet from the stage; at that range, you can leave the opera glasses at home. BONUS: Ever wonder what goes on backstage? Go behind the curtains for intimate tours of the Ellie to see how they pull off their big shows. DETAILS: Sat 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 950 13th St. Free. Call 303-357-2787 or visit www.operacolorado.org. Sneak Peak: Aspen is always a good spot for celebrity-watching, and next week the biggest stars will be on the silver screen during the 29th annual Aspen Filmfest. Featuring new films with John Cusak, Vince Vaughn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Caine, Jude Law, and others. Academy Award winner Julie Christie will receive the festival's "Independent by Nature Award." The six-day schedule is packed with noteworthy films, but National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Beverly and Dereck Joubert present a likely show stealer in Living with Big Cats, narrated by Jeremy Irons. Aspen Filmfest. Sep. 25–30, times and locations vary. $9–$20. Call 970-925-6882 or visit www.aspenfilm.org.