Wake Up Call: The week ahead -- when worse comes to verse

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Before we were panicked about swine flu and twisted by torture-memo leaks, we were terrified by the Devil Horse, Luis Jimenez's killer sculpture that stands guard outside Denver International Airport, its red eyes shooting deadly lasers at unsuspecting passersby. Or are those glowing orbs actually illuminating this town's deep well of creativity? Because just three short months ago, when realtor Rachel Hultin started a Facebook page for horse haters, she asked them to write not just screeds, but poems about the steed. And within weeks, she had 300 to deliver to the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs.

Denver art takes off
As devil horse inspires us
to write Mile Haiku

The city wasn't quite sure what to do with the oodles of odes, but we are: Tonight at 6:30 p.m., Fresh City Life will host "Mile Haiku City," the ultimate poetry-slam event, in the Central Library Level B2 Conference Center. Everyone's welcome to come declaim -- or just listen and learn. And after the poems stop flowing, the crowd will retire to Cap City, where the blue drinks will start flowing. For more information, go to www.denverlibrary.org.

There are plenty of other opportunities for free expression this week:

At 12:30 p.m. today, reps of the restaurant, hotel and assorted hospitality industries will rally on the west steps of the State Capitol to support continued funding of the state's tourism efforts. Inside the Capitol at 1:30 p.m. today, the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition will present a new report by Justice Strategies, "Reducing Recidivism: A Review of Effective State Initiatives" before a joint session of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. (To read the report, go to www.ccjrc.org.) And from 4 to 6 p.m. today in Hearing Room A at 1560 Broadway, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission will take comments on a proposed settlement in Xcel Energy's electric-rate case. For more info, go to www.dora.state.co.us.

Tomorrow, April 28, the LoDo Economic & Community Development Committee launches its Economic Development Forum series at 6 p.m. at the LoDo Tattered Cover; admission is $5 for LoDo members, $15 for non-members and you can RSVP at 303-628-5428. And at 7 p.m. April 28, the Boulder County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union hosts a free public forum, "Naked in Boulder," to discuss whether public nudity is a protected expression -- or a crime. Learn the bare facts in room 204 of the Wolf Law Building on the University of Colorado campus. Learn more at www.ACLU-Co.org.

On April 29, the NREL Lunch Lecture Series tackles "Technology -- Environmentally Friendly by Design?" at NREL Vistor's Center, 15013 Denver West Parkway in Golden; to make a reservation, call 303-384-6565. On April 30, the Independence Institute hosts a discussion of "Governor Ritter's New Energy Economy... Can Colorado Afford It?" at the University Club, 1673 Sherman Street, at 5 p.m. Admission is $10; more information is available at 303-279-6536. And over at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Place, the Society of Professional Journalists will lead a free Town Hall Meeting on Media Credibility from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 30.

At 10 a.m. Friday, May 1, the National Park Service will host a public meeting on the new Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program. It's at 10 a.m. at the NPS Intermountain Region Headquarters at 12795 West Alameda Parkway in Lakewood; for information, click here. And Friday also marks the start of Colorado Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month, with an amazing array of events -- most of them free -- across the state through May. For full details, go to www.coloradohistory.org.

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