Raitt's an A: Leave it to Bonnie Raitt, a musical superstar with talent to burn, to host two evenings at Red Rocks Amphitheatre featuring a pair of openers who should have no trouble stealing the show right from under her venerable feet. Ruth Brown, a legendary, swinging, gospel-influenced cornerstone of Atlantic Records' R&B empire of the '50s, will prove she's still got pipes to spare, while Charles Brown (his version of "Merry Christmas Baby" blows Elvis's right off the planet) imparts urbane elegance to the blues. But, of course, slide-guitar whiz Raitt can always be counted on to burn the frets on favorite tunes old and new. And, listen, that girl can sing. Tickets to either show, 7:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow, are $22.50; call 830-TIXS.
Thursday July 6 Percuss 'em out: It's rhythm that makes the world go round--just watch what happens when Bateke Bateke, a half-and-half combo of Africans and stateside Los Angelenos, and the local Latin-beat percussion band Kandombe mix Brazzaville pop music with South American rhythms tonight at 9 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St. in Boulder. The resulting universal language will surely get the globe spinning and your feet moving. Call 447-0095 for tickets; they're $5.25.
Magic tricks: Wanna hear something totally virtuosic? Check out the sounds of worldly guitar duo Strunz and Farah, who strum passionate, quicker-than-the-eye melodies that smoothly blend Spanish and Middle Eastern influences. The incredible pair appears for two shows tonight at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, at 8 and 10. Tickets range from $13 to $15; call 322-2308.
Friday July 7 If Ida known you were coming: Like Creole cooking, zydeco music is heavy on the spice--and boy, it's guaranteed to make your eyes water, your skin sweat and your toes twitch. But doesn't it go down good? Direct from the bayou by way of San Francisco, Queen Ida, with help from her Zydeco Band, will sling those tasty Louisiana licks your way this weekend at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. It's a good thing she's set to perform on the center's outdoor stage, where the breeze will help to cool you off. Admission is $20 for reserved covered seating or $12 to sit on the lawn; call 431-3939 for reservations.
Bones to pick: Talk about your advance public relations. The folks who run the Denver Museum of Natural History know how to do it right. In order to call attention to the museum's upcoming "Prehistoric Journey" exhibit, set for an October opening, they're casting a Tyrannosaurus Hex on the appreciative public. Hex, an interactive dinner mystery written by Chicken Lips' John Ashton, combines paleontology, hard-boiled crime, comedy and chow on Friday and Saturday nights, beginning today and continuing through August 5. Shows at the museum, 2001 Colorado Blvd., begin at 7 p.m.; for tickets, $32 ($30 DMNH members), call 322-7009.
Horsing around: French watercolorist Beatrice Bulteau is not only a painter; she's also a rider whose years of jumping the hurdles and putting prancers through paces gave her a unique understanding of the horse. And though her equine images--pale, hardly-there pastel washes suggesting strength and wild spirit--may not change the art world, they're simply beautiful to look at. A collection of Bulteau's horsey new watercolors and limited-edition lithographs can be seen today through July 31 at the Ruth Linton Gallery, 1217 Spruce St., Boulder. Receptions will be held tonight from 6 to 9 and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4; for information call 444-9116.
Saturday July 8 Monster mash: No ifs or sitting on your butts--the BlockBuster 5K Run and Couch Potato Round-Up has a category for you. Runners, walkers, wheelchair racers, corporate types, little kids and artful codgers can all put their best feet forward this morning to compete for such titles as New Potato, Sweet(est) Potato and--what else?--Hot Potato, while helping to raise benefit bucks for the Hospice of St. John. Runners are to meet at Norwest Bank, 143 Union, for the 8 a.m. event, which takes place at One Union Square, south of 6th and Simms in Lakewood; advance entry fees are $12 and $15 ($20 race day). To register or get details, call 697-4775 or 988-1300.
Block party: What better place is there to celebrate Denver's arts community than at the corner of 37th and Navajo, where alternative galleries, a performance space and friendly eateries have given an old neighborhood new life? The Left Bank Arts Festival, a weekend melange of workshops, vintage cartoons and films for families, historic walking tours and a Sunday Arts Bazaar/Bizarre, will certainly take advantage of the area's grassroots ambience when it debuts between 11 and 5 today and noon and 5 tomorrow. In addition, Edge, Pirate, 2C and Zip 37 galleries will host open houses tonight at 7 and during festival hours Sunday. All events are utterly free; call 433-9359 or see Thrills events and lecture listings for additional information. Safety in numbers: Did the Lollapalooza lose ya? If you feel you don't sport enough pierced body parts to qualify for attendance at this year's Lollapalooza alternative music fest, relax--there's more than one ballgame in town. For instance: Bluesman Otis Rush, an unsung, gritty vocal stylist and wild-man guitarist lionized by the likes of Eric Clapton and Muddy Waters, does it the Chicago way in the open-air Common at the Plex, 14th and Curtis streets, tonight at 8. Tickets to that once-in-a-lifetime show are $15; call 777-7372. Austin prodigy Charlie Sexton plays guitar of a different color with his sextet at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. Sexton synthesizes the Texas musical mystique--disparately epitomized by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Ely, Doyle Bramhall and James McMurtry--into something that's equal parts blues, country, rock and folk. Admission to the 9 p.m. show are $8.40 in advance ($9.45 day of show); call 830-TIXS. And consummate flat-picker Doc Watson completes the day's guitar triumvirate when he headlines the Boulder Folk & Bluegrass Festival, along with bluegrass ensemble Chesapeake, tonight at 7 at Chautauqua Auditorium, Boulder. To reserve tickets, $17 to $22, call 440-7666. Still not satisfied? Lollapalooza tix can be had for $27.50 each; get your nose ring and call 830-TIXS. The fun begins at 1 p.m. at Fiddler's Green.