Thursday February 17 Sister act: A pair of Colorado artists will be in the limelight during Elizabeth Schlosser Fine Art's new exhibition of Works From the Estate of Ethel and Jenne Magafan, opening today at the Walker Studio Gallery, 1708 E. 6th Ave. The twin sisters, born in Chicago but educated during the Thirties here in Denver and Colorado Springs, helped develop a Western school of realism--self-evident in their lovely Rocky Mountain landscapes and images of Western life. Their works hang in the Metropolitan and National museums, and a WPA-era mural painted by Ethel can still be seen at the South Denver Branch post office, at 225 S. Broadway. A reception for the show, focusing on the sisters' Colorado works, takes place from 5 to 8 p.m.; the exhibit will be open for viewing through February. For information call 321-4786.
Friday February 18 Abolitionist of my eye: Tonight's edition of Bill Moyers' Journal tips its hat to Black History Month with a special airing of Presenting Mr. Frederick Douglass, a one-man theatrical performance by actor and Douglass scholar Fred Morsell. Morsell originally developed the stage show for an alternative school program--hoping that Douglass's brilliant words would inspire disadvantaged students to improve their lives. Taped at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Washington, D.C.--the site, 100 years ago, of Douglass's last speech--the program airs tonight at 9 on Channel 6.
Lady of Spain: If you're up for some hot and heavy, rose-between-the-teeth exotic entertainment, you won't want to miss tonight's performance by the Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco. The troupe of five dancers, two guitarists and a singer, led by a castanet-clicking Maria Benitez--the angular New Mexico-born beauty considered by many to be the finest flamenco dancer of her generation--will hit the stage of the Auditorium Theater, 13th and Curtis, tonight at 8. Your ticket to this evening of thunderous passion and fire is available for $12 to $22; to order call 777-7372.
Soft cel: Hey, animation lovers--is something missing from your life? Maybe it's the ever-popular 24th International Tournee of Animation, coming to the screen at the Mayan Theatre this week after a two-year hiatus. A global collection of animated and stop-action works, the tournee consistently showcases the best up-and-coming animators in the world. This year's version should delight audiences once again with its astounding variety, humor and visuals. The two-week run opens tonight and continues through March 3; call the Mayan, 110 Broadway, 744-6796, for showtimes.
Saturday February 19 Universal soldier: Josh Schrei is 22 years old, limber as an ancient yogi and ready to challenge the world--all elements in his dynamic performance piece Katmandu, a one-man tour de force combining storytelling a la Spalding Gray and martial arts with a cynicism about his own new-age upbringing. Schrei appears tonight at 8 in Boulder's Space for Dance, 2590 Walnut St.; the performance will be repeated at 8 tomorrow night and at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 to $10; call 442-7669 for reservations. Clouded vision: You hear it in the doo-wop ditties of the Fifties, in Aretha Franklin's scorching soul vocals and even in the seamless harmonies cut loose by contemporary groups like Boyz II Men--they all point back to the same source: gospel music. It would be hard to count all the recording artists who got their starts on a church pew, but easy to imagine how it happened--just witness the Mighty Clouds of Joy, a Grammy-winning inspirational group appearing tonight at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. The Mighty Clouds mix foot-stompin' gospel and stick-to-your-ribs R&B tonight at 7:30 p.m.; to purchase tickets, $16, call 431-3939.
Go for baroque: Born in the wrong time? You're not alone--Diverse Passions, a local early-music troupe, is doing its best to champion creative anachronism. It'll be performing in a program of late Renaissance and baroque tunes today and tomorrow, using period instruments--harpsichord, viola de gamba, recorders and flutes--to accompany a pair of lavishly costumed guest dancers as they step lightly through the minuet, pavane and galliard. See and hear this unusual journey to another era tonight at Epiphany Lutheran Church, Ohio and Corona St., and tomorrow at Grace Lutheran Church, 13th and Euclid in Boulder; both shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $9 ($6 students and seniors); call 530-2144 or 355-2933.
Sunday February 20 All puffed up: Children know him as Sesame Street's Barkely the Dog, while adults have enjoyed his visual comedy in the Broadway musical Barnum and the New York Opera's Turandot. A comedian, juggler, acrobat and inflatable man, Fred Garbo has a gift for pleasing everyone--just check out his tongue-twisting mouthful of a show, Fred Garbo & Co., the Inflatable Living Project With Fred Garbo and Daielma Santos, this afternoon at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth. Accompanied by graceful Brazilian ballerina partner Santos, Garbo appears in the show as a human blimp--a description that places him somewhere between the Goodyear and a guy in a sumo suit--today at 2 p.m. Call 431-3939 tickets, $10, or information.
Monday February 21 Word of mouth: Somewhere on the cutting edge of performance art, spoken word is forming a cornerstone. Using compelling combinations of poetry and stories, artists of the word are popping up all over the place and performing before enthusiastic crowds. Three of the best--Exene Cervenka (you know her from her work with L.A.'s X), Don Bajema (who toured with Henry Rollins on a spoken-word tour last year) and Professor Griff (the militant heart of Public Enemy)--will be in town for Screaming From the Barrel: An Evening of Spoken Word, taking place tonight at 8 in the General Classroom Building Auditorium, 2040 S. Race St. on the DU campus. This thoughtful and provocative program is free and open to the public; for additional information call 871-3872.
Senior high: When art-school graduate David Greenberger, down on his luck, took a job as activities director at the Duplex Nursing Home in Boston, he found a rare and poignant calling. Stymied by attempts to stimulate his senior-citizen wards with shuffleboard and bingo, he finally opened up the minds of the home's residents by asking them odd questions. He then began recording their hilarious, bizarre and touching answers--resulting in a radio program, CD and a wonderful book, Duplex Planet Hour: Everybody's Asking Who I Was. Greenberger will be on hand to talk about and autograph the book--praised by everyone from Jonathan Demme and Matt Groening to Lou Reed--tonight at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl in Boulder, 447-2074, and tomorrow at the Tattered Cover, 2955 E. 1st Ave., 322-7727. Both signings take place at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday February 22 Helping hand: It won't be easy--even the most voracious eaters will have a difficult time sampling all the gourmet goodies at Great Chefs of the West, a fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation catered (and catered, and catered) by over twenty of Denver's trendiest hasheries. Samplings of cuisine prepared by chefs from upper-echelon restaurants (among those represented are Strings, Cliff Young's, Tante Louise, Tango, La Coupole and that new cowpoke on the block, China Cowboy) will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel Denver, but get there at 5:30 for cocktails and a tony silent auction. Tickets to the pigfest go for $60 a head; call 759-5151.