THRILLS

Wednesday September 14 Tommy, can we see you? Yes, we can. Pete Townshend's brilliant and durable rock opera, Tommy, transformed over the years from its beginnings as a concert vehicle for the Who (the piece has since been reincarnated as a smash recording, a classical recording, a ballet and a cultish movie), has finally nestled nicely into a theatrical staging that stormed Broadway soundly and is now on tour. The award-winning musical plays the Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, for a three-week engagement beginning today and ending October 2. Evening performances are at 8 Tuesdays through Thursdays and 7 Sundays; there will also be 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission ranges from $15 to $55; call 893-4100 for reservations.

New voices: A pair of young African-American novelists who have received critical praise for their innovative work will appear tonight at the Boulder Public Library as part of the library's Word of Mouth literary program. Featured will be Darius James, whose book Negrophobia lampoons black stereotypes, and Ricardo Cortez Cruz, author of the inner-city rap novel Straight Outta Compton. The writers will speak beginning at 7:30 in the BPL auditorium, 1000 Canyon Blvd.; the program is free and open to the public. For details call 441-3331.

Puck rock: The buzz is that Denver has hockey fever. But while we're still mucking in the corner trying to get a pro team of our own, the most rabid fans will at least get a taste of daredevil chippy skating and flying pucks at NHL '94!, an exhibition game between the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, who face off tonight at 7 in Mc-Nichols Sports Arena. For tickets, ranging between $15 and $35, dial 290-TIXS.

Thursday September 15 Play it as it lays: Audiences flocked to see John Guare's comic Six Degrees of Separation on the movie screen. And some of those viewers, intrigued by inspired repartee and dense layers of denouement, went back to see it again. The story--about a young black man who insinuates himself, through a series of clever and well-acted deceptions, into a toney and well-monied circle of infatuated intellectuals--now makes its way to the Theatre on Broadway stage. Featuring a high-profile local cast led by Deborah Persoff, Keithwayne Brock Johnson and Paul Page, the play opens tonight at 7:30 and continues at the same time on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through October 15. Admission is $14 ($12 students and seniors); for reservations call 860-9360.

Friday September 16 Gotta dance: Thought by some to be a genius and by others an anomaly, art rocker Kate Bush is known for pushing the limits. Not content to merely produce more of her cultish, crafted recordings, Bush has gone on to other projects involving film and video. She plays herself in her self-directed flick, The Line, The Cross, the Curve, a modern and musical take on the idea of Michael Powell's 1948 ballet film The Red Shoes, highlighted by self-contained musical sequences using Bush's songs. The film will show for two days only--tonight and tomorrow--at the Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway. For showtimes call 744-6796.

Ferris weather: Although the old Elitch Gardens officially closed its gates to the public after Labor Day in anticipation of a bold move to a downtown site, there's still one more chance to stroll the lovely, flower-filled park, scream at the peak of a roller coaster and simply soak in the memories. A special Arts to Zoo Fundraiser--to help campaign in favor of continuing sales-tax support for cultural organizations of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District--will be held tonight in the doomed amusement park from 5 until 10. Tickets are $12.50 (children under five free). Elitch's is located at 38th and Tennyson; for other details call 399-7388.

Saturday September 17 Class brats: You've probably just been waiting for the right Oktoberfest--if that's the case, look no further. The annual offering downtown at Larimer Square, perhaps Denver's favorite fall beer festival, is once again under way with the whole Wiener schnitzel--dancers in lederhosen, hearty bratwursts, and biergardens serving Germany's favorite beverage. And those who can't get sloshed will enjoy the music and Kinderplatz, a special children's area. Oktoberfest hours are from noon to 11 on Fridays, 11 to 11 on Saturdays and noon to 6 Sundays, through Sept. 25; call 534-2367. Possibly more grown-up, but equally celebratory, is the Tabernash Oktoberfest, taking place between noon and 5 today outside the prestigious brewery at 205 Denargo Market. The slightly nutty Tabernash O'Fest will make its debut there to the tune of an oompah band and the usual spicy refreshments. Call 293-2337 for details.

Run of the Miller: Local personalities (and loudmouths) Lewis and Floorwax will begin their new Big Time Comedy Tour as hosts of an appearance by satirical comedian Dennis Miller, well known for his subtle, sarcastic work. First getting major notice during a long-term stint with Saturday Night Live, Miller has gone on to host talk shows, make specials for HBO and host various comedy and awards shows. He brings his stand-up act, the point of origin for all of the above career moves, to the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl., tonight at 8. Call 290-TIXS for tickets, $23.

Sunday September 18 Independence wealthy: There'll be dancing in the streets this weekend in celebration of Mexican Independence Day. Santa Fe Drive, between 9th and 11th avenues, will erupt with music, colorful costumes, an art exhibit, children's games and rides and plenty of fiery food during its El Grito de la Independencia festival. Beginning at 8:30 this morning with the El Grito 5K Barrio Run (runners include fifty youths sponsored by the Denver Broncos) and a 9 a.m. mariachi mass, the fun continues from 10 until 6 and includes an exhibit of local art down the street at the Denver Civic Theatre, 721 Santa Fe Dr. Call 534-8342 for details. Meanwhile, the new Ballpark Neighborhood (on Larimer between 20th and 22nd) will be hopping with its Fiesta! Fiesta! streetfest between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Highlights include tours of Coors Field, a dance competition, a host of free children's activities and an international musical tribute to Mexico. Call 322-2300. Admission to both events is free. Salud!

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