Wednesday May 4 Spirit world: Tesuque Indian sculptor Mark Swazo-Hinds creates astounding contemporary stone fetish and effigy figures decorated with feathers, shells, potsherds, deer antlers and buckskin. Examples of his work can be seen at the Heard Museum in Phoenix and at the Smithsonian, but Denverites now have a chance to see them--and the artist--at Canyon Road Gallery, 257 Fillmore St. Receptions will be held from 5 to 8 tonight and 5 to 9 tomorrow; Swazo-Hinds will give an artist talk this evening at 7. The show continues through May 30; call 321-4139.

Thursday May 5 Takin' it downtown: Basketball-Hall- of-Famer-turned-philanthropist Julius "Dr. J" Erving is standing up for Denver youth today as the guest of the local Big Brothers organization. Erving will speak to students and community leaders at a 2 p.m. youth rally at East High School, 1545 Detroit St., and later this evening will give the keynote address at the Big Brothers 76th Anniversary Celebration benefit at the Denver Marriott City Center. Tickets to the 6:30 p.m. fundraiser, which includes a silent auction, dinner and live entertainment by Chris Daniels and the Kings, are $150; for details call 377-8827.

The thrill of the glass: An ancient and delicate medium takes a contemporary turn this month when Tapestry, located at 3rd and Fillmore in Cherry Creek North, presents New Work of Contemporary Glass Bead Makers '94, an exhibit of intricate, artful and even whimsical ornamental objects on display through June 5. And if this show piques your interest in glass arts, you can then trot over to Pismo, down the street at 2727 E. 3rd Ave., where major works by the cream of the Northwest's crop--including Dale Chihuly, Dante Marioni and others--will be on display through May 26. Opening receptions for both exhibitions will be held in conjunction with an area gallery walk this evening from 5 to 9. For information call Tapestry, 393-0535, or Pismo, 333-7724.

Friday May 6 Re-user friendly: Now your garbage can be junk-no-more. Find out how at this weekend's 1994 Colorado Recycling Expo at Currigan Hall, open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and tomorrow. On display will be recycled products for businesses and homes, as well as information about recycling services; in addition, the Expo will feature seminars and entertainment. Admission to all events and exhibits is free; call 620-4292 for further information. Currigan Hall is located at 1324 Champa in downtown Denver.

Back to the future: The Industrial Arts Theatre calls this year's season "Virtual Reality: Theater in Your Face," and to prove it, it's staging a theatrical version of the ancient Japanese tale Rashomon--but this time set in the year 2094. The updated story of a brutal confrontation between a husband, wife and ruthless bandit opens tonight at 8 at the Loft Theatre, 120 W. 1st Ave., and will continue on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 7 through June 12. Admission is $11 or $12; for reservations or information, call 744-3245.

Saturday May 7 Here to stay: Cinco de Mayo week is filled with celebrations of Colorado's Hispanic culture. But at the Colorado History Museum, the celebration will continue year-round in La Gente, a new permanent exhibit opening today. Tracing the four and a half centuries of regional written history, the exhibition tells its story with photographs, maps, artifacts, textiles and documents; one area houses a changing art gallery featuring rotating small shows of historic and contemporary Hispanic arts. Admission to the museum, at 1300 Broadway, ranges from $1.50 to $3 (under 6 free); for additional information call 866-3670.

Our town: Coinciding with National Preservation Week, Historic Denver Week is held each May to bring attention to and celebrate the wonderful architectural history of Denver. Events begin today with the engaging Box City project, during which elementary-school-age children plan and create a city out of cardboard boxes from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Norwest Bank Atrium, 1740 Broadway. Adults can get into the act this evening at the Hard Hat Ball, a benefit for Historic Denver, Inc. beginning in the same location at 6:30--partygoers pay $94 to view the completed Box City and mingle with a "City Council" composed of community leaders and media and sports personalities. Additionally, a variety of bus and walking tours take place throughout the week. For details about all events call 534-1858.

A bumbling experience: Gamelan orchestras are by nature mesmerizing--the music created on the gamelan's various gongs, xylophones, flutes and drums is often nothing more than a beautiful, ringing pulse. Denver's own Gamelan Tunas Mekar brings this exotic Balinese art form to the Ricketson Auditorium of the Denver Museum of Natural History tonight, where the group will accompany a pair of native Indonesian hoofers in the performance of a dance whose name translates into "Swaying Bumblebees." Tickets for the 8 p.m. program are $12 ($8 children, $10 seniors); call 355-3132 or 360-5239. The museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd.

Next of kinetics: Spring can make the calmest folks go completely berserk--even blissed-out Boulderites. Just witness the annual Kinetic Sculpture Challenge, a wild, woolly and completely different kind of competition at Boulder Reservoir that turns its participants into daring but zany comedians. Competitors must create human-powered kinetic sculpture/vehicles that are able to travel over a four-mile course of land, water and mud. The accompanying festivities include a balloon festival and pancake breakfast for early birds (breakfast is at 6:30 a.m.; balloons take off at 7), a volleyball tournament for six-person coed teams (7:30 a.m.), and of course, the main event (7 to 3). Spectators pay $8 to $17 per carload, depending on whether they choose to park at Coot Lake or the Main Beach; those arriving by foot or cycle pay $2 each. Call 444-KBCO.

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