THRILLS

Wednesday January 4 It's all relative: Mom never wore neat shirtwaists and pearls in the kitchen the way June Cleaver did, and Dad is nowhere near as cute a roost ruler as Dr. Huxtable used to be. Your brothers and sisters had normal growing pains, not the contrived problems faced by the Brady Bunch. Yet here in the television age, people have a habit of confusing TV families with real ones. Scary, huh? For a more realistic point of view, you may want to tune in to public television's TV Families, a series of myth-exploding programs created by independent filmmakers. Tonight's edition features MOTV (My Own TV), a bittersweet piece from director Ayoka Chenzira and Jamaican-born writer/performance artist Thomas Osha Pinnock. The story of a bicultural couple--a practical schoolteacher and a happy-go-lucky Jamaican man--trying to make a go of it in Bedford-Stuyvesant, MOTV chronicles the relationship through the use of home videos. Tune in to TV Families tonight at 8 on KBDI-TV Channel 12; the series continues next Wednesday with the macabre Family Remains and A Psychic Mom and concludes on January 18 with a postpunk soap, Terminal, USA.

Thursday January 5 Life's work: Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti is his own subject in Caro Diario, a three-part "diary" speckled with humor and a wry examination of popular culture. Moretti, who won Best Director this year at Cannes, pulls off a Renaissance-man bit with intelligent ease--he's not only the director but the writer, social commentator and star of the film as well, exploring Rome and the cinema from the seat of a motorcycle in On My Vespa, escaping with a friend in Islands and curing an itch in Doctors. Caro Diario opens today for a one-week run at the Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway; call 744-6796 for showtimes.

Friday January 6 Blast off: The area's roster of cooperative galleries outgrew the acronym long ago, but for the third year in a row, they'll band together for another Alternative Arts Alliance-sponsored SPACE and Beyond Tour, a synchronized, year-opening overview of gallery members' work. Participating this year, in addition to the SPARK, Pirate, Asylum, CORE and Edge galleries (hence the SPACE), are Genre, Off Center, Ulozi and Ec-Lec-Tic Art (hence the beyond); simultaneous openings will take place tonight between 7 and 10. Tour information will be available at any stop along the way or at the AAA office, 1432 W. 37th Ave., 433-9359; see our gallery listings for individual exhibits and gallery locations.

Heaping praise: The Colorado Symphony Orchestra will take a joyous and out-of-the-ordinary foray into the spiritual this weekend when it presents The Gospel Project, a soul-stirring evening sure to shake up the usually staid symphony crowd. The brainchild of conductor Isaiah Jackson, who will man the baton tonight at Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis streets, The Gospel Project features a local 200-member gospel choir, trained by gospel-music composer/ arranger Reverend Alvin Parris III, who will lead the group through a repertoire including "I Shall Not Be Moved," "Lift Him Up" and more of his own heaven-sent hits. Admission for the concert, which takes place at 7:30 tonight and again tomorrow night, ranges from $8 to $33; call 986-8742 for a ticket to glory.

Saturday January 7 Take a hike: You may not realize how easy it is to commune with nature around here--but in fact, nature is available for the communing practically in your own backyard. Chatfield Arboretum, an offshoot of the Denver Botanic Gardens, boasts a number of eminently walkable trails where you'll spot plenty of flora and any number of fauna, including deer, beavers, coyotes and enough bird breeds to fill an identification manual. And today is the perfect day for a test stroll--it's a free day at the arboretum, between the hours of 9 and 5. Chatfield is located southwest of Littleton on Deer Creek Canyon Rd., west of Wadsworth Blvd. and south of Hwy. C-470; call 973-3705 for information.

Sunday January 8 E-Haw: E-Town gets a head start on the new year tonight with its very first taping of 1995. Helping the weekly National Public Radio program get off the ground will be veteran country-folk rocker Chris Hillman, dobro specialist Jerry Douglas and acoustic-music specialist Tim O'Brien. Hillman, who's written tunes and strummed various stringed instruments--guitar, bass and mandolin--with the ground-breaking Byrds and the countrified Flying Burrito Brothers, went on to tour with his own Desert Rose Band and finally found the Lord, who has kept him on a low profile ever since. But trust his experience--especially with proficient backing from Douglas, a member of Nashville's instrumental elite said to be possessed by a jazz-tinged angel. Throw in former Hot Rizer O'Brien, and the evening's complete--it all begins at 7 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; for tickets, $6 in advance ($8 day of show), call 786-7030.

Now and then: Photographer John Olsen journeyed to Chiapas, Mexico, in 1993 to recapture images taken by author and flaming anarchist B. Traven (best known for his novel Treasure of the Sierra Madre), who had written a series based on the Indian revolt that took place there in 1910. Olsen's photos exposed the continuing exploitation of the native people of Chiapas; in the wake of his visit, the people he photographed were involved in a new uprising, similar to the one Traven chronicled earlier in the century. Olsen has put together an exhibit, Children of the Mayans--composed of black-and-white and hand-colored photographs and photo assemblages documenting his observations and juxtaposing Traven's older images with modern ones--on display at the Catacombs gallery on the lower level of Holy Ghost Church, 1900 California St., through January 29. An opening reception will be held this evening from 6 to 8; call 292-1556.

Monday January 9 The Norse code: What is that weird sound emanating from the high country? Chances are it's the Ullr Fest--one of those crazy, festive, snow-worshiping celebrations that are known to hit Breckenridge in the middle of winter. The festival, named for the spoiled, fun-loving, mythical snow-god kid of Thor and his wife, Sif, kicks off tonight at 7 when the Ullympics commence, pitting coed teams against one another in utterly ridiculous competitions. Events, which include a skating party, a balloon luminary and a ripsnortin' parade with fireworks, continue through Sunday. Highlighting the whole shindig is the three-day Alamo Freestyle Classic, featuring top athletes performing in breathtaking ballet, mogul and aerial competitions. And in between, you can put in your own schussing time on Breckenridge slopes; if you're game, you can do it while chanting "Ullr, Ullr" with the rest of the party animals and snowbunnies in town. For details about events call 1-303-453-6018; for lodging information call 1-800-221-1091.

Peace by piece: Everyone's talking about the surge of violence in America, but no one knows just how deeply it cuts. In response to the din, Bill Moyers hosts What Can We Do About Violence?, an in-depth look at the issues, focusing on special programs concerned with solutions--from alternative sentencing to adult mentoring. The four-hour broadcast, being shown in two parts, airs tonight and January 11 at 8 on KRMA-TV Channel 6; Does TV Kill?, a companion edition of Frontline exploring the effects of television violence on society, airs tomorrow at 9.

Tuesday January 10 Moo and exciting: One of Denver's lasting trademarks--a paean to the city's Wild West origins--returns to town this week for another go-around. If bucking Brahmas, big belt buckles, equestrian shows, Western art and stall after stall of odoriferous livestock (some call it the smell of money) seem like your kind of fun, get set for the 89th National Western Stock Show, ready to rope you in at the National Western Complex, I-70 and Brighton Blvd., for nearly two weeks of all of the above and more. Events shoot out of the gate tonight with the stock show's first-ever Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza, featuring popular San Antonio charro Jerry Diaz and singer Norma Montiel, along with mariachis, bull riders and bronc riders, beginning at 7:30 in the Denver Coliseum (tickets $10-$12); the excitement continues through January 22. Rodeo tickets are $7 to $14, and entry to horse performances is $10; admission to show grounds, Children's Ranchland and special exhibits are included in both. Purchase tickets in advance by calling 290-TIXS, or at the box office, 46th and Humboldt St., the day of the event.

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