It's all happening at the zoo: You've been there a zillion times, but did you ever stop to contemplate the history of the Denver Zoo? Locals Carolyn and Don Etter have, and they share their findings in a new book titled The Denver Zoo: A Centennial History. Backed by archival images, old architectural plans, zoo lore and photos of memorable animals and attractions from over the years, the book's wide perspective ought to do wonders for those tunnel-visionists still whining about Klondike and Snow. Get a life, people--the Etters will autograph copies tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; call 322-7727.
Zoned out: Anyone who ever ventured down the odd corridors of television's The Twilight Zone ought to be duly fascinated by Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval, an in-depth profile of the imaginative guy who made it all happen in the first place. The ninety-minute Serling bio, filmed in black and white, will be aired as part of the American Masters series on PBS; tune in tonight at 8 to KRMA-TV/Channel 6.
Thursday November 30 Dead ringers: Here's an auction for the truly weird, and don't let the title fool you: The fifth annual Bizarre Wreath Auction for Normal People, a benefit for the Denver School of the Arts, offers some of the most unusual Christmas hangups you've ever seen (as well as plenty of the more traditional kind), all provided by artists, media members, businesses and DSA students. From 5 to 6:30 at the Denver Petroleum Club, on the 37th floor of the Anaconda Tower, 555 17th St., guests may view and bid silently on the creations (the live bidding begins at 6:30). Admission is $25; for details call 436-9449.
My own private Iowa: Sleepy-voiced singer-songwriter Greg Brown has the stuff cult figures are made of. Like his folk-circuit pal Bill Morrissey, Brown is a storyteller of literary dimensions, and like the best of his genre, he's as likely to sing about fishing as he is to dwell on more important issues such as sex or death. The son of an Iowa holy-roller preacher, Brown grew up with gospel, if not the gospel, a spiritual musicality that remains with him, somewhere in the back of his head. Brown appears, with guest Richard Shindell, in a Swallow Hill concert at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St., tonight at 7. Tickets are $14 ($12 members); call 1-800-444-SEAT.
Friday December 1 Time out: Somber remembrances and other events will mark the area's observance of World AIDS Day. The Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., will again host Day Without Art ceremonies recalling countless arts-community members lost to AIDS and paying homage to those now living with HIV/AIDS. A gathering and memorial slide show will be held from 4:30 to 6 in the museum foyer and Silber Hall; participants are invited to come forward and share stories about how their lives have been affected by the disease. In Jefferson County, updated HIV/AIDS information and resources will be available from 11 to 3 in the atrium of the Jeffco Courts and Administration Building, 100 Jefferson County Pkwy., Golden; data-seekers can peruse a display honoring Jeffco residents who have died from or are now living with the virus. A pair of NAMES Memorial Quilt panels will be on display today at the Curtis Arts and Humanities Center, where live entertainment, including exemplary jazz by the Jerry Hahn Trio at 7 p.m., will be offered throughout the day, as will informational materials about AIDS and an opportunity to leave your own personal message on a blank canvas. The center is located at 2349 E. Orchard Rd. in Greenwood Village; call 797-1779. And rounding out the day is a simple but beautiful and effective tribute sponsored by St. Patrick Church at 33rd Ave. and Pecos St. Beginning at dusk, hundreds of luminarias--candlelit paper bags--will be lighted on the church steps until 8:30 p.m. Call 433-6328.
Heart and stroll: Walking is good for you, right? And art--isn't that good for the soul? Put them together and you've got the time-honored tradition of the gallery stroll, several of which will welcome the holiday season this weekend. LoDo First Friday, always a good bet, now features close to forty art venues offering a dizzying variety of stuff to admire. New and different? Between the gallery-trek hours of 5 and 9 p.m., check out the Opicka Gallery, 1743 Wazee St., for Wood Water Rock Bone: Sites and Glyphs, an interesting melange of photographs and found-object assemblages by artist/naturalist W. Andrew Beckham, on display through December 17 with more photography by Blake L. Milteer. And at the William Matthews Gallery, watercolorist Matthews covers the walls with just the thing he's best known for--Western-flavored works depicting modern cowboy life (tonight through the end of December). Meanwhile, the Boulder Art Walk also gets in the holiday act with a full weekend of special openings, open houses, demonstrations and other activities in downtown Boulder, beginning tonight from 6 to 9 and continuing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Standouts include a trunk-load of folk art at the new 2020 Gallery, 2020 11th St.; a Judaica Show for Hanukkah shoppers at the Boulder Arts and Crafts Cooperative, 1421 Pearl St.; a sprawling show of Colorado-made gift items (that also benefits the Boulder County Safehouse) at Art Space Gallery, 1135 Broadway; and the returning modern icons of Romanian artist Ileana Barbu at Ruth Linton Gallery, 1217 Spruce St. For additional information, see the Thrills gallery listings.