Thrills for the week

February 22
Oz capades: Imagine Dorothy, Toto and the rest lifted right off the screen and plopped down on an ice rink. That's just what the creators of Wizard of Oz on Ice did, but with a few ingenious twists. Though the familiar movie characters and songs are all there, right down to Dorothy's pigtails and checked pinafore, some of the costuming harks back to W.W. Denslow's fanciful illustrations in L. Frank Baum's original Oz books, imparting a turn-of-the-century feel. And as for the voices, excepting Dorothy's (provided by Laurnea Wilkerson), they belong to vocal acrobat Bobby McFerrin--53 roles in all were prerecorded by McFerrin last June in Minneapolis. See the ice spectacular at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St., through Sun.; for showtimes and tickets, $13.50 to $17.50, call 830-TIXS.

Lost and found: Students in the University of Denver's theater department will take on Shakespeare--or at least bits and pieces of him--in Winter Tales, a Shakespeare Cabaret, a sampler of some of the bard's greatest scenes peppered with a smattering of juggling and swordplay, as well as a five-minute version of Hamlet. Also featured will be a dramatization of A Funeral Elegy, the forgotten work rediscovered recently to great hoopla by Vassar professor Donald Foster. Winter Tales opens tonight at 8 on the DU main stage, Margery Reed Hall, Evans and University, and continues at the same time Fridays and Saturdays through March 2; a final matinee takes place at 2 p.m. March 3. Admission is $6 ($3.50 students and seniors); call 871-2518 to reserve yours.

February 23
Gift of Gabby: An island invention indigenous to Hawaii, slack-key guitar has an undulating, lazy sound that borrows from a number of musical traditions yet remains unique to its sunny place of origin. Cyril Pahinui, the Oahu-born son of Gabby "Pops" Pahinui, one of the great slack-key innovators and a favorite of stateside connoisseurs Ry Cooder and David Lindley, picked up his first guitar at seven and has been playing professionally since he was fifteen, having easily inherited his father's peerless style. The younger Pahinui will perform in the ageless genre with bassist Kata Maduli tonight at 7 at the Theater at Lowry, Building 693 on the former Lowry Air Force Base. Admission is $15 in advance ($20 at the door); call 745-8597.

Highly stouted: Nobody really needs an excuse to raise a pint, but where the Great Guinness Toast is concerned, at least the excuse could be construed as a good one. The event, being held at various locations across the country, is not only a chance to drink down a mug of the world's first stout among friends but also a benefit for the National Audubon Society's Living Oceans Program. In Denver, one can participate in the toast at Houlihan's, 7717 E. Hampden Ave., tonight at 11; in addition, pre-toast gatherings will take place at Marlowe's, Govnr's Park, Paramount Cafe, Pints Pub and Caldonia's, and the collective toast will be broadcast live by Guinness brewmaster Matt Murphy on KRFX-FM radio. For information about the Living Oceans Program call 1-800-2-WILDLIFE.

February 24
Dulcimer tones: Music, pure and simple--that's really all one needs to know about Jubilant Bridge, a local trio that has released a new CD, Under Shattered Skies. To celebrate the recording, the band members--mountain dulcimer player Willie Jaeger (awarded Best Local Folkie in these pages a couple of years ago), clear-voiced vocalist Carol Van Alstine and guitar whiz Scott Bennett--will team for a concert of original tunes, well-executed instrumentals and well-picked covers tonight at 8 at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St. Tickets are $12 ($10 Swallow Hill members); call 777-1003 for yours.

Travel tips: Some of us travel to faraway places while others simply take trips in our minds, perhaps to the future or to new worlds of thought. Tonight, travelers of both persuasions can hear firsthand information from two very different speakers: Rick Steves, voyaging host of his own PBS series, Travels in Europe, appears at 6 at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl., to demonstrate ways to prevent budget travel from becoming boring and focusing on the out-of-the-way sights of Europe, while Ray Bradbury, the imaginative author of such sci-fi classics as The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, offers insights on The Great Years Ahead at 8 at the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Admission to the Steves talk is $5 (call 571-0630); tickets for Bradbury's lecture are $16.50 (call 296-1212 or 830-TIXS).

It was the West of times: Buffalo Bill Cody may have been more showman than authentic cowpoke, but his bearded countenance somehow personifies our modern vision of the Old West. And because Cody is buried here in Colorado, up on Lookout Mountain, maybe we're a little more attached to him than the rest of the nation. That's why Buffalo Bill's 150th Birthday Celebration is a pretty big deal in these parts, warranting a three-day party split between Denver and Golden. The festivities begin today at the historic Buckhorn Exchange, an easy, door-to-door light-rail destination at 10th and Osage, where Cody is said to have dined often. Events begin at noon and include a kids' party, live music, Wild West posters and costumes; regional favorites Liz Masterson and Sean Blackburn perform at 6 p.m. On Monday, Cody's actual birthdate, Buffalo Bill look-alike Al Huffman will greet Buckhorn diners, who will also receive free birthday cake with their meals. Call 534-9505. Or trek up winding Lookout Mountain Road tomorrow, when the celebrating moves to the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum. Music, movies, a buffalo-chip throwing contest and a miniature horse display for the kids are among the activities planned between noon and 4; it all culminates with the lighting of a 150-candle fire-hazard of a birthday cake, which will then be sliced up for all attending. Admission is free; call 526-0744.

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