Thursday January 11 Range rhymers: As a welcome adjunct to January stock-show events in the area, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities again hosts the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering, bringing around-the-campfire ambience indoors for a seventh entertaining year. The annual yarn-spinning revel--during which talented cowboys and cowgirls generally try to outcrow one another, waxing poetic about their horses, dogs and beat-up old pickups--features formal entertainment (7:30 tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, or 1 p.m. Sunday; $13 admission) as well as extremely affordable themed daytime sessions that include Western music performances (10-5 Friday and Saturday, music from 11-4; admission $5). Enhancing festivities and continuing through April 1 in the center galleries is a related exhibit, The Last Cowboy: Photographs by Adam Jahiel. The Arvada Center is located at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.; for further information and reservations call 431-3939.
Near myth: Dance, theater, poetry, original music and an intergenerational cast team to create Turning the Wheel Productions' I Dreamed a Hundred Owls, a unique stage vehicle opening tonight at 8 for a weekend run at the Irey Theatre, CU-Boulder campus. According to artistic director Alana Shaw, the collaborative work--featuring performers aged 7 to 85 and sets fabricated from recycled materials--emphasizes individual exploration of personal mythology and the ensuing process of reconstruction and healing. See Owls at 8 p.m. through Saturday or 2 p.m. Sunday; tickets are $10 ($8 children and seniors) at the door.
Friday January 12 Loudon clear: Singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright III walks a trademark line between stark truth and black humor, but he does it in the most disarming way. During his long career, he's accepted Grammy nominations, appeared sporadically on television's M*A*S*H, sung tailor-made ditties for National Public Radio and diligently cut above-average wax. Idiosyncratic, confessional and funny, Wainwright should have no problem charming the audience tonight when he appears at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, in support of his latest album Grown Man. Carrie Newcomer, a lush-voiced member of the Philo Records stable, opens at 8; for tickets, $16, call 1-800-444-SEAT. Or catch Wainwright Sunday when he shows up at 7 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder, for the year's first E-Town taping along with bluegrass wunderkind Laurie Lewis. Tickets are $7 in advance ($9 day of show); call 786-7030.
BMoCA latte: In keeping with the Boulder art venue's dedication to presenting exhibitions by regional artists, a pair of shows emphasizing homegrown works opens 1996 beautifully at the recently renamed Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. In the museum's East and West Galleries, fine Colorado Springs-area painter Floyd Tunson gets a retrospective in Hearts & Minds, a collection of characteristic works in assorted media that reflects African-American culture, while Matt O'Neill: Low Rent Surrealism provides another point of view on America in the Union Works Gallery, irreverently mixing surrealism and kitsch with funky results. Both shows open today with a 6 to 9 p.m. reception and can be seen at BMoCA, 1750 13th St., Boulder, through February 25. For details call 443-2122.
Saturday January 13 Dream catchers: Though Native American arts--aisles and aisles of top-notch pottery, beadwork, jewelry, baskets and the like-- provide the main reason for going to this year's Colorado Indian Market and Western Art Showcase, the entertainment makes it that much more fun. Celebrities appearing at the event include screen actor Wes Studi (also a stone sculptor, horse trainer and children's-book author), third-year returnee Elaine Miles (best known for her role as Marilyn on Northern Exposure but also a prize-winning traditional dancer), rap artist Litefoot and singing duo Williams and Ree (commonly known to country-music fans as "The Indian and the White Guy"). The market opens today at Currigan Hall, 1324 Champa St., from 3 to 9, continuing from 10 to 9 Friday and Saturday and 10 to 5 Sunday; admission is $7 ($5 children and seniors; kids under seven free).
Check it out: If you missed out on the grand opening at Denver's cozy new Children's Library, with its cuddly corners, page-turning nooks, storytelling pavilion, teen area and incredible selection, there's now an additional draw. Every Saturday and Sunday in January, the library will host Fabulous Family Weekends, featuring free science and craft workshops and entertainment for all ages. But it's mainly for the little people. You should go check out the rest of the library, and maybe even a few books. The Children's Library is located in the Denver Central Library, 13th Ave. and Broadway; for more information call 640-6384.