THRILLS

Wednesday May 18 Fit to be tried: The Regional Transportation District, which has a lot riding on the future, is throwing a Try Transit Week shindig that includes a little entertainment, a nostalgic look at the past and a good look at the future. Today, citizens can get a firsthand look at a brand-new light-rail vehicle, slated for activation this fall, at the Auraria Campus (6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.) or at Stout St. on the 16th St. Mall (11:30 to 1:30 p.m.). Would-be transit pioneers dying for a chance to ride the LRV can enter a drawing to do so by dropping off an entry form at the Market Street, Civic Center or Boulder stations today. The fifty lucky winners will be announced tomorrow during a lunch-hour Cultural Connection Trolley season kickoff at Writer Square, also featuring a brass band and a display of historical buses. Festivities continue with Customer Appreciation Day celebrations at the Boulder Transit Center (6 to 8:30 a.m.) and Civic Center Station (3:30 to 6:30 p.m.). For information about all events and services call RTD at 299-6000.

Thursday May 19 Silver surfer: Guitarist Dick Dale--revered by a whole generation of garage-rock enthusiasts and armed with a tidal wave of relentless reverb--is the undisputed father of the surf genre. And from the moment his ground-breaker "Let's Go Trippin'" hit the charts in 1961, the mad instrumentalist has had his hold on the sun-drenched beach-bum public. Dale never exactly went away, but lately he's been back--and how: The Dick Dale Tribe will kick out the jams tonight at Herman's Hideaway, 1578 S. Broadway. Tickets to the 9 p.m. show are $12 to $13; call 777-5840.

Friday May 20 Lenny from heaven: You may not know that our own Marin Alsop, conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, was a protege of maestro Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood not that long ago. It's fitting, then, that Alsop would pay tribute to her now-deceased mentor with a Salute to Leonard Bernstein, featuring the CSO and chorus in a performance of Bernstein's compositions. Taking place at Boettcher Concert Hall, the all-Lenny program is at 7:30 this evening, with an 8 p.m. reprise tomorrow night. Tickets, ranging from $8 to $33, are available by calling 986-8742.

Keen instincts: Texas is a big state, and it has to be--how else could it corral all those great Texan songwriters? Counted among them is Robert Earl Keen Jr. who, in classic Austinite spirit, spins and lopes through a story, throwing off sparks reminiscent of both traditional country crooners and populist rockers. The low-key folkster makes two appearances in the area this weekend--9:30 tonight at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St., 294-9281, and 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St. in Boulder, 447-0095. Admission is $12; tickets are available at the clubs or by calling 449-6007.

Give that man a Seeger: He's a homespun activist, a fine banjo plucker and the granddaddy of the folk singers--and now Pete Seeger, turning 75 this month, is the subject of a new episode of Bill Moyers' Journal. Premiering tonight on KRMA-TV Channel 6, the musical portrait takes you to Seeger's New York home for a wry hour of anecdotal conversations laced with impromptu renditions of the songs that marked his lengthy career. For Moyers and Seeger (we can't think of a more pleasant or natural pairing), tune in at 11 p.m.

Saturday May 21 The grand tour: You can enjoy a double-dip look at two thriving urban communities this weekend--the Celebrate LoDo Living Loft Tour, sponsored by the Denver chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the Alternative Arts Alliance Studio Tour both take place today and tomorrow. Devote one day to exploring a whole new Denver neighborhood by visiting living spaces in the Streetcar Stables, Denver Dry, John Deere and other renovated buildings; turn around and meet local artists in their working environments the next. For the lowdown on the house tour, held from 1 to 5 p.m. daily, call 892-1188; admission is $8 ($7 students and seniors, under 12 free). And to get information about the self-guided studio tour, noon to 5 p.m. daily, call 433-9359; admission is free.

Young at heart: The Swallow Hill Music Association continues its fine Troubadour Series tonight with an evening featuring sweet-voiced Jesse Colin Young, a founder of Sixties folk-rock band the Youngbloods, and more recently, a sensitive solo artist. Young gets the chemistry going with his audience at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St. To accommodate as many of his fans as possible, there will be two shows--at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Call 777-1003 for tickets; they're $15 ($13 members).

Sunday May 22 World party: Where else can you get reggae from the Healers, blues with Hazel Miller, the Pan Jumbies' Caribbean steel drum music, the Planina Balkan Women's Choir, Irish, Latin, African, Balinese and Asian dancers, and food from around the globe--all in one place, all on the same day? Get ready for a global experience during the second annual Norwest Culturefest, covering ground from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. today on the University of Denver campus, University and Evans Ave. The event is free and will take place rain or shine; for additional information call 871-4626.

Angel from Manitoba: Canadian chirper Loreena McKennitt, daughter of a livestock dealer, was on track to become a veterinarian, but her emerging love of music soon took precedence. She left Morden, Manitoba, for Toronto, where she strummed the harp and sang in the streets, eventually recording and distributing her own first album. Several CDs and a major label later, McKennitt brings her world-influenced Celtic mysticism to Macky Auditorium, located on the CU-Boulder campus, for a concert beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18.50; call 290-TIXS.

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