Wednesday April 26 The works: Appearing tonight as part of the Creative Music Works' innovative Wednesday-night music series, the double quartet Index Ensemble will rework a few concepts with the help of two guitarists, two saxophonists, voices, and percussion and vocal samples. Index begins to beat, spin, strum and blow at 8 at Vartan Jazz, 231 Milwaukee St. Tickets are $5 ($4 CMW members); for information call 399-1111 or 758-6321.

The feminine mystique: The field of independent animation supports many talented women, each of whom has forged a personal style. Animated Women, a four-part series that explores both the lives of such women and the varied art they've created, begins tonight on KBDI-TV/Channel 12 with a profile of prolific Oscar-winning veteran Faith Hubley, who started out collaborating with her husband and continued alone after he died. Hubley's work, inspired by the spiritual art of primitive cultures, forms a mythical backdrop for her story. Tune in to Animated Women tonight at 9:30; the remaining installments will air at the same time May 10, 17 and 24.

Thursday April 27 The Oxford roundtable: Don't be fooled by the name--the Evil Companions Literary Award doesn't go to reflective criminals handy with a pen. Named after a group of Denver journalists who toasted and commiserated with one another back in the '50s and '60s, the award is presented yearly to a writer living in, writing about or with ties to the West. This year's recipient, a CSU grad, is Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, whose work draws from Vietnam experiences and childhood realizations. He'll be honored with a reception--featuring hors d'oeuvres and a special Evil Companions Ale, courtesy of the Wynkoop Brewing Company--from 6 to 8 at the Oxford Hotel, 1600 17th St. Tickets, $35 ($60 couple), are available at the Tattered Cover Bookstores and the Oxford, or by calling 1-970-491-5449.

Orient expressed: Accomplished performer/ choreographer Zhongmei Li and her Zhongmei Chinese Dance Company will show the evolution of her home country step by step in Dynasties: China in Dance. The program, marked by authentic costuming and painstaking attention to mythical allusions and changing stylistic details, covers characteristic forms dating from nearly 3,000 years ago to the early twentieth century. Tickets to the 8 p.m. performance at the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, range from $12 to $45; for details call 837-8888.

Friday April 28 Mood swing: Young saxophonist Joshua Redman has the right roots--his dad is jazzman Dewey Redman--but he also has the right chops and a mature ear for complex music. His past bands have included such established musicians as drummer Billy Higgins and Pat Metheny, as well as young, mind-blowing virtuosos like the fine bassist Christian McBride, but the overwhelming force in all of Redman's performances is the sheer, spontaneous strength of musicians working in delightful unison. Clearly, Redman is a born leader with a long career ahead of him. Get in on the ground floor when he appears tonight at 7 and 9:30 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax. Tickets are $15 in advance ($17 day of show); call 322-2308.

Beak generation: Who would deserve more attention than a giant, prehistoric-looking bird that you associate with the ocean but that regularly shows up to nest at inland locations? Of course, it's a myth that white pelicans only ride the wild surf, and the proof's alight at Riverside Reservoir near Greeley, where thousands of them stop each year to raise their families. Usually, the area is closed to the public so as not to disturb the majestic fowl, but during the Colorado Pelican Fest, taking place during the last full weekend of April in odd-numbered years, field trips are arranged, programs are put on and fun can be had in a walk-like-a-pelican contest. This year, events based in Greeley begin today and continue through Sunday; for information and registration call 1-970-351-0166 or 330-5082.

Media coverage: The Colorado Watercolor Society, now turning forty, was first organized in the '50s by a group of painters who studied with Opportunity School instructor Walt Green, himself a onetime student of painter Hans Hoffman. Some of those original members still belong to the group, which has grown to over 120 members through the years--all bound by a propensity for water media of all varieties. They put on four shows each year; this year the biggie will be the Colorado State Watermedia Exhibit, which opens tonight, with a free reception from 5 to 8, at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway. The show continues through May 7; daily museum admission is $3.

Saturday April 29 Lyre, lyre: The silver strings never sang more sweetly than when caressed by Cuban-born harpist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, a world-renowned composer, educator, author and musician. The artist, who now writes books, directs the harp department at the Juilliard School of Music and regularly tours the world, brings his sparkling virtuosity to Cameron Church, 1600 S. Pearl St., at 8 p.m., as guest of the Swallow Hill Music Association and Kolacny Music. To purchase tickets, $14 ($12 Swallow Hill members), call 1-800-444-SEAT or 777-1003. Ortiz will also teach two harp workshops this afternoon at Kolacny; for details call 722-6081.

Sunday April 30 Hi-ho, silverthroats! Who was that masked poet? At the Poetry Rodeo, that could mean any of the best and brightest verse-masters-about-town. The annual marathon, entering its seventh year, will bring together poets of all ages at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California, beginning at 2 p.m., and will shout, emote and whisper its way to last call, around 1:30 a.m. In the course of the spectacle, you'll not only hear readings but see accompanying dance, music, percussion and multimedia performances. High-school-aged bards get the floor early on; later highlights include a hosting stint by local comic, performance artist and poet Don Becker between 4 and 6, and various ten- to twenty-minute spots by Jack Collum, SETH, Anita Jepson-Gilbert, Cynthia Payne and even Merc maven Marilyn Megenity, among others. Events from start to finish are free; call 480-9770 or 458-1513 for additional information.

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