THRILLS

Wednesday August 16 Burke's lawman: Like Dave Robicheaux, the fictional Cajun detective he created, Edgar Award winner James Lee Burke has an exacting eye for detail. And eight novels into the Robicheaux series, Burke continues to use his gift to not only plot another mystery, but also to conjure time, character and place with a cinematic skill that, in each gripping installment, sets his readers to arguing about who should play the manly swamp cop on screen. Burning Angel, the latest, will have you guessing again--although Alec Baldwin is said to own the role--as Streak encounters the mob-infested underside of New Orleans one more time. Burke will take you there when he reads at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave., tonight at 7:30; for details call 322-7727.

Thursday August 17 Glass act: An ancient medium with a modern sheen, glass-making continues to evolve, serving both functional and decorative ends with liquid grace. Glass: A Fusion of Art and Craft, a new group exhibit at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., celebrates that diversity with forms ranging from colorful vessels to light-catching sculptures. A meet-the-artist reception will be held from 6 to 9 this evening, and a gallery talk will take place at 1 p.m. August 26. The exhibit and two concurrent shows--one displaying imaginative vehicles for children and the other spotlighting painter Trine Bumiller--are available for viewing through mid-October. Call 433-3939 for additional information.

Tongues in Creek: Only those who attend tonight's Cadillac Taste of Cherry Creek will ever know if guesting paint-slinger Denny Dent--the guy who wows 'em annually at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival--inspires a food fight with his gestural, slapdash style. More likely, most of the delicious food served, courtesy of 25 area restaurants, from Bistro Adde Brewster to Mel's Bar and Grill, will end up being eaten between 7 and 10:30 in the Cherry Creek Mall's Grand Court. Meanwhile, as you chew, Dent will create two paintings to be auctioned before your very eyes; proceeds will benefit the AMC Cancer Research Center and eight-year-old cancer patient Cassie Morrison. Tickets are $28 in advance or $30 at the door; for further information and reservations call 388-6022.

Friday August 18 It's the same old song: But, oh, what a song it is. Legends of Motown, coming tonight to Fiddler's Green, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., features some of the biggest names, well-worn but enduring, in the American pop lexicon, including the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Spinners, Mary Wilson and the Supremes, and Junior Walker and the All-Stars--complete with synchronized choreography and attendant glitz. And their collective hits--from "My Girl" to the sax-driven "Shotgun"--will instantly remind you of how good the Motown era really was. Admission to the 6:30 p.m. concert is $17.50 for general-admission lawn seating or $22.50 reserved; call 830-TIXS.

The Lyons share: Music at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, held this weekend in Lyons, comes in all shapes and sizes. Much of it is acoustic; some leans toward the blues, some toward the Tennessee hills, some to Celtic climes and some as far east as Tibet. But all of it reeks of quality, something the Planet Bluegrass people, who put the thing on, are renowned for providing throughout the year. Standouts at this year's fifth annual fest include slide-guitar wunderkind Ben Harper and nose-ringed cult favorite Ani DiFranco, both performing tonight; guitarist Martin Simpson, back-to-basics bluesman Keb' Mo' and ultimate songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and John Hiatt tomorrow; and the chanting Drepung Monks, the fresh-sounding Nields and folk maven Nanci Griffith on Sunday. That's a lot, but the marathon lineups run even deeper than that. Tickets--$20 to $25 daily or $60 for three days--can be purchased in advance by calling 1-800-624-2422.

Saturday August 19 Broadcast news: Denver's little multicultural public radio station, KUVO, quietly celebrates its tenth anniversary this week, but the celebration party will be anything but sedate: KUVO's Shades of Paradise shindig--a buffet dinner, casino night and concert combo beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Shrine Auditorium, 50th Ave. and Tennyson St.--will feature a windfall of talent that complements the station's eclectic mix of jazz, blues, salsa and conjunto. First on the bill, at 7:30, is oft-overlooked pianist Gene Harris, who starts things off with a tasty, blues-infused set. Another pianist, salsa's wildman Eddie Palmieri--who pioneered the trombone-and-flute-dominated sound his brother Charlie dubbed "trombanga" and later married tradition with the modal reworkings of Miles Davis--heats up the evening at 9:15. Finally, the party-down atmosphere comes to a head at 11, when the Tejano ensemble Ruben Ramos & the Texas Revolution takes over the stage. Tickets are $75, which includes everything, or $50 if you forgo dinner; for reservations call 480-9272.

Mardi Gras Mambo: It'll be a night in N'awlins, for sure, when the Arvada Center presents a double dose of Crescent City fare in its nifty outdoor amphitheater. Performing tonight at 7:30 will be the Rebirth Brass Band, a youthful re-creation of bands traditionally accompanying New Orleans funeral processions, and Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias, a bona fide Mardi Gras "Indian tribe" featuring leader Dollis in wildly elaborate costume--all in all, a musical bill destined to get people on their feet and dancing. The Arvada Center is located at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.; for tickets, $8 lawn or $16 reserved, call 431-3939 or 830-TIXS.

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