Sunday August 14 Case transparent: Variety, fine technique and brilliant color reign at the impressive Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition, a nationally recognized annual juried show sponsored by the Foothills Art Center in Golden. This year's exhibition, in progress at the center, features works--ranging in style from figurative to nonobjective--by 113 regional and national watermedia artists. The exhibit, one of Foothills' top draws each year, continues through September 11. Admission is free. The center is located at 809 15th St.; for information call 279-3922.

Fiddles in the sticks: Violin pluckers from far and wide will bridge the gap this afternoon during Fiddlers on the Gorge, a fanciful day of music in full view of the spectacular Royal Gorge Bridge. The fun begins at 10 a.m. today when Nashville superpicker Chris Daring performs rags, breakdowns, waltzes, blues and twin-fiddle harmonies with the Silver Arrow Band; it continues at noon with a world-class fiddling contest, during which a panel of esteemed fiddlers will judge players ranging in age from 4 to 82. The bridge, which spans the Arkansas River at a height of 1,053 feet, is located eight miles west of Canon City off Hwy. 50. Admission is $10 ($8 seniors and kids four to eleven); if you'd like details on how to enter the contest, call 1-719-275-7507.

Monday August 15 The men in the trenches: Get out your trench coats and fedoras--it's the second annual Gumshoe Night at the Denver Press Club, and three of Denver's most accomplished mystery writers will be on hand to pontificate on their trade. Authors Michael Allegretto, Margaret Coel and Rex Burns will speak and autograph their books at 7:05 tonight, at the behest of panel host Warwick Downing. Admission is free; call the Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Pl., at 571-5260 for details.

Tuesday August 16 Bucking a bad rap: You've heard the negative rap on rap--that it's not musical and it's mean-spirited, blah, blah, blah. For an alternative viewpoint, listen to Us3, a swinging group that puts an end to all the arguments by mouthing off melodically against a jazzy background, sans the bad attitude. They'll change some thinking tonight at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax, where they'll be preceded by the Fugees and Reg. E. Gaines, beginning at 8. Tickets are $16; for information call 830-2525 or 290-

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