Wednesday August 9 Listen and learn: Jazz and Japan are the culturally diverse subjects at two separate lecture series in the area. The Chautauqua Forum Series ends its season at 8 tonight with a time-honored tradition--a concert lecture given annually by Willie Hill, University of Colorado College of Music professor and accomplished tenor saxophonist. Jazz: Unplugged and Beyond is not only a history lesson on the syncopated early jazz of Scott Joplin and Fats Waller; it's also a performance of their music, featuring Hill with fine Dixieland players, a jazz quintet and a vocalist in tow. Chautauqua is located above 9th and Baseline in Boulder; admission to the lecture is free. Call 440-7666. In Denver, Japanophile Carl Ruby (a mild-mannered Jeffco library media specialist by day) will spin folk tales, illustrating them with origami--or paper-folding--creations, tonight at 6:30 as part of the family-oriented Swallow Hill Picnic Series, taking place outdoors on Swallow Hill's music patio, 1905 S. Pearl St. Admission is $2; call 777-1003.
Hair today: One of the annual highlights of the Red Rocks season has to be Lyle Lovett, whose brainy, big-haired R&B/country amalgam is an ongoing subtle pleasure, whether performed with his Big Band or--as it will be tonight at 7:30--with the pared-down Acoustic Quintet. For $22.50, you'll get tongue-in-cheek lyrics, gentle patter and impeccable, hand-picked musicianship. Another crowd favorite, songstress Shawn Colvin, warms things up as the sun goes down over the jutting rocks; for tickets, buzz 830-TIXS.
Thursday August 10 The Dubbing down of America: The West Coast is home to thousands of young Irish emigres, so it's no surprise that the Young Dubliners, a kind of roots-rock Emerald Isle musical aggregate, hail all the way from exotic Santa Monica, California. Led by Irish co-founders Paul O'Toole and Keith Roberts, the intercontinentally composed Dubs strum fiddles and mandolins alongside an electric guitar, mixing updated Celtic tradition with American pop music for a rousing effect. They perform this evening at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax; for tickets, $10 to $12, or information, call 322-2308.
Friday August 11 Step right up: An offshoot of John Lurie's dry, angular Lounge Lizards, the Jazz Passengers--long the house band at New York's Knitting Factory--take Lurie's avant-white-boy jazz a step further with performance-art embel-lishment and a dash of humor. Their recent, unlikely album, Jazz Passengers in Love, teams the combo, fronted by composer, saxophonist and band mastermind Roy Nathanson, with an eclectic nest of singers, including Jimmy Scott, Jeff Buckley, Freedy Johnston, Mavis Staples and Debbie Harry--the one-and-only pouting new-wave pop kitten and former Blondie vocalist. In an even more unlikely move, Harry joins the Passengers tonight (word is she works hard at making the transition to jazz singing) at 8 as part of the ListenUptown Concert Series in the DCPA Common at the Plex, 14th and Curtis streets. Admission to the venue is $16; call 777-7372 or 830-TIXS.
Pump up the volumes: It's sponsored by the Colorado Antiquarian Booksellers Association, but not every tome on display at this weekend's Rocky Mountain Book Fair is rare or pricey. An explorer's paradise, the fair, open from 5 to 10 this evening and 10 to 5 tomorrow at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th St., features both sturdy used hardbacks at low prices and the dusty collectors' items--including children's books, signed first editions, maps and much more. Be prepared to spend anywhere from $5 to $2,500 for a find, but nobody says you can't just wander and admire--admission is $3 daily ($5 both days); call 296-7725 for details.
Saturday August 12 Kept under lager and keg: It's hard to believe that the area's first modern brewpub--the Wynkoop--opened only seven years ago. Now there are fifty or so microbreweries (technically, a suds-producing venue must serve food in order to be classed as a brewpub) around the state, with many based in lower downtown Denver. The Denver Post LoDo BrewFest celebrates that foamy evolution of the Colorado microbrew with tastes of 46 ales, stouts and other homegrown "liquid breads," food vendors, live music and strolling entertainers between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. today and tomorrow at the junction of 18th and Wynkoop streets. Tickets are $3 in advance ($5 at the gate); tokens good for six-ounce tastes go for a buck apiece. For information and ticket reservations call 698-4677. Skoal!
Saucerer's apprentice: In a display of dogged determination, local and national competitors will meet at the Dove Valley Park Championship Field, Potomac St. and Bronco Pkwy. in Arapahoe County, for the open regional finals of the Friskies Canine Frisbee Disc Championships, being held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today. But the results won't remain up in the air long: Two of the fifty mutts competing in free-flight and long-distance categories will be flown to the world finals in Washington, D.C., based on their showmanship, leaping agility, degree of difficulty and execution. Anyone--as long as it's a dog, that is--is eligible to enter, but on-site registration (at 9 a.m.) is limited. Admission is free for all--big, small, old, young, beginner, veteran, panting and lop-eared (owners included)--so come and give those pups a hand.
Take your pick: Musical choices tonight travel from going to gone to way out there, beginning with the cool Mile Davis-influenced work of trumpeter Wallace Roney, who performs at 7 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax. Roney, a graduate of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and member of a Davis tribute group featuring original sidemen Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, is maturing now with his own hand-picked repertoire; for tickets, $11 ($13 day of show), call 322-2308. A grind of another kind will get under way up the street at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax: Industrial Revolution, a crunching, gothic, techno showcase headlined by Albuquerque's Index and Seattle's Noxious Emotion, is the place to go into a dance trance. The evening begins at 8 with a spate of local groups; call 830-2525 for tickets, $5 ($6 at the door). And San Franciscan sampling pioneer Bob Ostertag, who pals around with John Zorn, Fred Frith and other members of the avant-garde composers' set, will perform two compositions--"Sooner or Later," in which he controls digital samples of a Salvadoran boy burying his father, and "Burns Like Fire," a recorded tribute to gay artist/ activist David Wojnarowicz--tonight at 8 at the Bug, 3654 Navajo St. Tickets are $10 ($6 students, seniors and Bug members); call 477-5977 for more information.