Wednesday February 7 Tuna melt: As a former member of San Francisco's premier acid-rockers the Jefferson Airplane, Jorma Kaukonen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month. But Kaukonen has spent more years doing his own thing--acoustic country blues--than he ever spent soaring with the Airplane. In 1970 he formed Hot Tuna with fellow flyer Jack Casady as a vehicle for his finger-style explorations; 25 years later, not only does Kaukonen still play with that band, but he's now gone out on his own with a new CD, The Land of Heroes. He'll perform tunes from the album tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, and tomorrow at 8:30 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. For tickets call 830-TIXS. Can't make either date? You've got one more chance--Kaukonen shows up Sunday at E-Town, taping at 7 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder. Admission is $7 to $9; call 786-7030.
Pics of the week: News photographers capture our imaginations daily, yet their efforts have gone largely unsung--until now. Some of the region's best working snapshots of the past year--those receiving Colorado Press Association Photojournalism Awards--will be the subject of an exhibit opening this evening at the Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Pl. Winning shutterbugs will be honored at a reception from 6 to 8, during which Janet Reeves and Steve Larsen, photo editors for the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post, will tend bar. The show continues through March 1; call 571-5260.
Thursday February 8 Dig it: Not content simply to work her own patch of land, Westword staff writer Robin Chotzinoff embarked on a journey that took her into the gardens--and minds--of agriculturally inclined folks around the nation. The result was People With Dirty Hands, an exploration of the human instinct for making things grow. Readers familiar with Chotzinoff's work in these pages will have a good idea of what to expect; the author appears tonight to read from her book and autograph copies at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St. For details call 436-1070.
Friday February 9 Ladies' night: Three beautiful voices will be heard in the Denver area this weekend, each with its unique cultural slant. Celtic wonder Niamh Parsons (Niamh is pronounced "Neave," for those not up on their Gaelic), also lead vocalist for Galway traditionalists Arcady, will mix old and new sounds when she steps out with her own band, the Loose Connections, tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax. Tickets are $12 ($14 day of show); call 830-TIXS. Venezuelan Irene Farrera, meanwhile, will bring the rhythms and passions of Latin America to the stage of the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St. Farrera, who jumps from the Brazilian jazz samba sound of Antonio Carlos Jobim to the nueva trova genre popularized by Cuban Silvio Rodriguez, performs tonight at 8; for tickets, $10 ($8 members), call 777-1003. Swallow Hill will also host local success story Celeste Krenz's appearance tomorrow night at 8 at the Bluebird. The larger venue should be just the right size for Krenz, who's garnered national recognition for her last album, Slow Burning Flame, a not-quite-country effort combining good songwriting and fine vocal chops. By the way, there's now a special Gavin chart for music like this: It's called the "Americana" format. Call 1-800-444-SEAT for tickets, $12 ($10 members), or call Swallow Hill for information.
Glowing reviews: Photographer Carole Gallagher moved to Utah in 1983, where she devoted ten years to documenting testimony from people who lived or worked in the shadow of the nuclear-bomb testing that took place in Nevada between 1951 and 1963. Referred to as "downwinders," many of them and their offspring suffered from health problems ranging from cancer to birth defects. Gallagher combined oral histories with photographic images, resulting in American Ground Zero: The Secret Nuclear War, an exhibition opening tonight at the University of Denver's School of Art and Art History Gallery, 2121 E. Asbury Ave., where the photographer will speak at 6:45. Doors open at 5:30, with admission ranging from $3 to $7; a free public reception and book-signing follow, from 8:30 to 10. The show can be seen through March 16; call 278-3693 or 871-2846.
Saturday February 10 Gathering of the tribes: Arts groups in a kaleidoscope of disciplines will join forces this evening for ARTOPIA, an event patterned after a successful venture in Atlanta. As one would expect in a more perfect world, ARTOPIA promises to overflow with culture. Taking place from 8 to 1 at the Temple Events Center, 1595 Pearl St., the program features fine art courtesy of the Alternative Arts Alliance, choreography by Bowen New Dance, poetry with Catherine O'Neill, multimedia by The Bug Performance and Media Art Center, food and drink, an auction, and plenty of dance music by Slim Cessna's Auto Club and others. Proceeds from ticket sales--admission is $20 in advance, $30 at the door--will benefit local artists, the alliance and the Diana Price Fish Foundation; call 831-8362.
Contrast worker: Powerful black-and-white images are the domain of artist Elizabeth Catlett, whose bold prints, influenced by both African-American and Mexican cultures, depict common and oppressed people as well as mother-child themes. Catlett, who in the '40s studied alongside Diego Rivera, David Siquieros and Francisco Mora at the Taller Graphics Workshop in Mexico, will be the subject of a striking retrospective, Elizabeth Catlett: Works on Paper, 1944-1992, opening today at the Loveland Museum/Gallery, 5th and Lincoln, Loveland, and continuing through March 24. For further information call 1-970-962-2410.
Sunday February 11 This is the modern world: The music of living composers is often overlooked, but it may well be accepted by future audiences much in the way that we now adulate Beethoven and Bach. The CU-Boulder College of Music is offering a week-long glimpse into that future during its Contemporary Music Festival, an offering of modern works performed by student and faculty ensembles. Most presentations, which begin tonight at 8 with a performance by CU's Electronic Music Ensemble, are free and will be held nightly at various Boulder campus venues, including the Music Theatre, Macky Auditorium and Grusin Music Hall. The festival culminates February 17 with the husband-and-wife vocal team William Bolcom and Joan Morris in a concert of American popular songs. For information and concert schedules call 492-8008.
Monday February 12 Go for Baroque: And bring a pastrami sandwich. St. John's Cathedral, 1313 Clarkson St., presents Music With Lunch today at 12:10, featuring trumpeter F. Joseph Docksey and resident organist Donald Pearson in Dagwell Hall. They'll perform Baroque music while you munch; bring your own (as suggested above) or purchase a bite at the door for four bucks. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.; the music is free and so is the coffee. For details call 831-7115, ext. 17.
Tuesday February 13 Hand in hand: When was the last time you offered to take your sweetie to an art exhibit instead of a hockey game? Why not see a pair of shows currently hanging--and shamelessly celebrating togetherness and Valentine values--at the Foothills Art Center? Couples/Collaborations features installations and wall art by Colorado husband-and-wife teams who worked side by side and, we presume, stole smooches from time to time during the creative process. Included are collaborative pieces by Mary Ann and Eric Bransby, Betty and George Woodman, Tony Ortega and Sylvia Montero, Chandler Romeo and Reed Weimer, and Bob Luna and Martha Keating. Also on display is The Art of Love: Paintings and Writings of Melinda Camber Porter, a romantic journey combining visual and verbal elements. Porter--a novelist and a favorite of New York art maven Leo Castelli, who curated the show--will be in town to autograph her latest book next Friday at the Tattered Cover. Both exhibits continue through March 3; the center, located at 809 15th St., Golden, is open daily. Call 297-3922 for information.