Beyond the spirit of the beehive: Erase those images of country-music queens with inch-thick eye makeup and hair piled up to the moon. Emmylou Harris, who is an undisputed queen of country music, is as natural and as classy as they come. She started out singing backup for country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons, went on to record a succession of some of the dandiest LPs by a female vocalist to come out in the '70s and fast became a Nashville legend. Her latest release, a spooky and beautiful collaboration with producer Daniel Lanois, takes all the unadorned elements of her past efforts--good songwriting and a pure sense of the authentic--and catapults them to a whole new level of musical sophistication. Harris appears at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax, tonight at 9. Tickets are $25; call 830-2525 or 1-800-444-SEAT.
Mikhail's navy: There's nothing bumbling about this outfit: The White Oak Dance Project, a modern-dance collective of elegant hoofers and choreographers led by ballet master Mikhail Baryshnikov, puts on a dazzling show. The Colorado Dance Festival presents White Oak tonight and tomorrow at 8 at Macky Auditorium, CU-Boulder campus, in Solos--With Music and Without, a program that includes "Unspoken Territory," Baryshnikov's scoreless solo effort choreographed by Dana Reitz, as well as two more of Reitz's works and pieces by Mark Morris and Kevin O'Day. For information call 830-TIXS.
Elvis lives: Snappy dialogue--some of it inner--and fast-paced plots are the trademarks of whodunit wunderkind Robert Crais, whose fictional invention, smart-aleck L.A. gumshoe and Jiminy Crickett disciple Elvis Cole, has taken the detective genre by storm in just five neatly written novels. Crais now revives Cole, along with sidekick and man-of-few-words Joe Pike (and, we hope, Cole's scrappy, beer-lapping cat, "cat"), in a sixth, hot off the HarperCollins press. Crais will read from and autograph copies of Sunset Express at 5 tonight at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave. Changing gears, O.J. trial figure Christopher Darden takes over the T.C. podium at 7:30 to discuss the real-life intrigue of his personal O.J. account, In Contempt. Numbers for a place in line will be available on the first floor beginning at 6:30; for information on either event call 322-7727.
Giant steps: This year's two-day Larimer Square Earthfest is bigger and better than ever, jam-packed with information on environmental preservation, children's activities, live music (some of it from a solar-powered stage), a walkathon and more. Interesting displays and activities include a solar car being built in Colorado to compete next October in the World Solar Challenge; an All Species Parade for kids wearing animal masks they make themselves (2 p.m. Sunday); and a display of live wolves and a 5K benefit walk event (8 a.m. Sunday). Gratis bike parking will be provided, while carpooling visitors (three or more to a car) can also park free in the Writer Square Parking Garage, on Lawrence Street between 15th and 16th streets; bus riders can trade in transfers for free ride tickets at RTD's festival booth. Festivities take place from 10 to 5 today and from noon to 5 tomorrow; call 744-3672 or 607-1276 for details.
You bet your Beppe: Long-winded arias and melancholy Fellini-esque squeezebox melodies--ptooey! Flatpicker Beppe Gambetta, born in Genoa and classically trained on a variety of plectrum instruments, plays bluegrass like any self-respecting hayseed on a front porch in Backwater, Tennessee. Gambetta, who throws Celtic, folk and new-acoustic nuances into the mix, will perform along with local guitarist Charles Sawtelle, tonight at 8 at Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St. Tickets are $12 ($10 Swallow Hill members); call 777-1003.
Give 'em five: The national environmental-issues and variety radio show, E-Town, based in Boulder, proudly celebrates Earth Day and its fifth birthday tonight with a bash at Macky Auditorium on the CU-Boulder campus. In keeping with the show's patented format, which combines information, interviews and entertainment by nationally known musicians, founders Nick and Helen Forster will trot out some E-Town favorites--big-haired Lyle Lovett, witty Richard Thompson and Irish singer Maura O'Connell, who participated in the program's first taping--for a special evening beginning at 6:30. Call 786-7030 for tickets, $25; for limited Golden Circle seating ($125/$200 couple), call 443-8696.
As you like it: An annual favorite at the Foothills Art Center, the North American Sculpture Exhibition is a field day for art lovers, featuring nearly seventy works in a broad variety of sculptural media, from more traditional stone, glass and bronze to sleek, modern, manmade materials. A public reception opens the show today from 2 to 4 p.m.; the exhibition continues at the center, 809 15th St., Golden, through June 9. Admission is free; call 279-3922.
Skeleton keys: When Fishbone tunes up, the musical result is a funky, rocking, raw, jumpy, jazzy melange that's as much mixed-up fun as anything this side of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Whazzat called? The band christened it "nutmeg," which might imply something sweet and spicy--not to mention that a little bit goes a long way. Nothing fishy about that; get your pinch tonight at 8 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder; for tickets, $15.75, call 830-TIXS.
Buddy system: Though he's been plugging away at the trade since his '60s stint as session man for Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, Louisiana bluesman Buddy Guy is now the full-blown heir apparent to those who influenced him--nobody, but nobody, has better blues chops. Lately Guy has been paying updated homage to horn-backed blues artists such as B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland by touring with a big band behind him--a format he'll bring to the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax, tonight at 8. Admission is $22.50 in advance ($23.50 day of show); call 830-2525 or 1-800-444-SEAT to reserve tickets.
Shot in the dark: Writer/director Dan Bell, born and bred in Denver, brings his first feature, The Shot, to the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, this evening at 7. Filmed in fourteen days for $40,000, the comedy traces the frustrations of two out-of-work actors (Bell and Michael Rivkin) who, as a last resort, steal a big-time director's latest movie and hold it for ransom. As Bell spoofs Hollywood, we fall for the two unhinged heroes. The screening is sponsored by the Denver International Film Society; for information call 322-2308.
On the corner: If you've ever had that hankering to see how the other half--er, we mean the itty-bitty, tip-top percentile--lives, this year's Junior Symphony Guild Designer Showhouse delivers the goods. Designated the "Corner Chateau," a turreted 1926 Country Club mansion built at 380 Gilpin St. by Denver socialite Charles Sewell Thomas was restored and lushly decorated--all twenty rooms and nine lovely loos of it--by some of the area's top designers for the annual fundraiser. The work of architect Burnham Hoyt (who also drew plans for the Red Rocks Amphitheater and the old section of Denver's Central Library), the mansion will be open to the public daily through May 12. Tour highlights include the hand-polished stucco turret, stairs lined with tree-of-life draperies, and appliqued ceiling ornamentation. Admission is $12 at the door ($10 in advance at King Soopers stores, $5 for children ages two to twelve); call 355-7855. Proceeds benefit guild-sponsored programs for children.