Triumph of the Will: The Arvada Center's Music With a View series offers short and sweet concerts commingled with current gallery shows, a gentle combination well-suited to lovers of the arts. The series gets a few birds with one big rock tonight during a celebration of William Shakespeare's birthday that includes Elizabethan period music, poetry and dance performed by the appropriately costumed Musica Antiqua ensemble. After the hour-long concert, which begins at 7, meander through the 25th Annual Jefferson County Student Show and visit with musicians and exhibit curators. Admission is $5 to $7; call the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., at 431-3939 for reservations.
Feast of Bearden: African-American artist Romare Bearden, known for his politically potent, culturally derived photo-montage images, including compelling patchwork depictions of jazz musicians, is the subject of a comprehensive exhibit of prints opening this evening at the Metro State College Center for the Visual Arts, 1701 Wazee St. Romare Bearden: A Graphic Odyssey focuses on an extensive legacy of monoprints, lithographs, collographs and other contemporary works left behind when the artist died in 1988. A public reception will be held tonight at 7. In conjunction with the exhibit, a dance performance led by Bearden's choreogra-pher wife, Nanette, will be staged May 10 at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre ($5-$10, call 295-1759), and a Romare Bearden Family Day, with demonstrations, activities and entertainment, will take place at the gallery May 18. See the show through June 21; for general information call 294-5207.
Fly by night: Not content with the usual leaps and bounds found in traditional choreography, high-flying Nancy Smith of Frequent Flyers Productions takes it to a whole new level--way up in the air. Head Over Heels: An Evening of New Music and Aerial Dance, which premieres tonight and tomorrow night at 8 at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, 119 Park Ave. West, is part circus, part pure art form, combining dancers dangling from hanging "trapeze" sculptures with original music. Highlighting the evening is "Home," a collaboration with local jazz pianist/composer Art Lande, who performs during the piece on a variety of instruments, from piano to drums, cymbals and accordion. Admission is $12; call 652-0331 or purchase tickets at the door.
Those daring young men: What's heavier than one ounce, lighter than ten pounds and no bigger than a bread box? The Flying Karamazov Brothers don't care, as long as it meets those specifications. The four-man troupe, which combines comedy, theater and juggling in its act, invites members of the audience of its new loosely plotted show, Club Sandwich, to bring any such object with them--coffee mugs, pastrami sandwiches, artichokes, whatever--and promises to at least attempt to juggle it during the course of the evening. And if it can't be done, the juggler gets a pie in the face! Catch the brothers--who guest-starred recently on Seinfeld--tonight at 8 at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl.; for tickets, $12.50 to $20.50, call 830-TIXS.
Sale of the centuries: Beautiful old stuff collected by foremost antique dealers from across the nation will be on display over the weekend during the annual Denver Art Museum Antiques Show and Sale, a unique fundraising event overstuffed like a Morris chair with furniture, folk art, jewelry, porcelain, quilts and other items, all distinguished by the care and craftsmanship of bygone days. The show takes place from noon to 8 today, 11 to 7 tomorrow and noon to 5 Sunday at the Hellenic Community Center, 4610 E. Alameda Ave.; admission, good for all three days, is $6. For information about the show, as well as special lectures and presentations, call 640-3896.
Industrial strength: Art shows up in the strangest places--you just have to know where to look. For instance, Phryne, a water installation featuring paintings by Pamela and Deanna Webb (Pamela has been involved in some other oddly located art events, such as the Reflections in City Spaces multimedia affair staged a few years ago in an Erie junkyard), occupies the boiler room of a century-old industrial complex in northeast Denver. The show will be open to the public during a 7 p.m. reception tonight and from noon to 5 Saturday and Sunday; enter the complex at 3939 Williams St. or through gates located on Franklin Street or 39th Avenue.
It's no bluff: The big birds used to fly here, but since Stapleton Airport was abandoned for that big tent to the northeast, its airspace is occupied by avians of smaller, yet no less impressive, stature. Bluff Lake, located south of Smith Road on Havana Street, is slowly being restored and transformed into a nature area conducive to feathered friends and other denizens of the wild; it's also a nifty place for us humans to hike and bike. A public sneak peek of the area will be held today from 8 a.m. to noon, during which visitors can take self-guided nature tours and learn more about the site. Admission is free; for information call 764-3643.
Off to see the wizards: Now you see them, now you don't: Local sorcerers, usually confined to pulling rabbits out of hats, performing at birthday parties and the like, will get a higher profile today during Things to Do in DenverEWhen You're a Magician, the annual magic showcase sponsored by the Mile High Magicians Society. Bearing a roster that includes entertainers who have performed all over the world, the family-friendly sleight-of-hand extravaganza begins at 2 p.m. at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax; for tickets, $8-$10, call 666-0640.
Circus girl: "Write what you know"--that's what young writers searching for inspiration are often counseled to do, though they sometimes ignore the advice. In the case of author Michelle Chalfoun, though, what she knew was far from ordinary: Her first novel, a gritty and attention-getting work titled Roustabout, is based on her own real-life experiences as a tough carnival roustabout. Who hasn't ever wanted to run away with the circus? Here's your chance--Chalfoun reads from and signs Roustabout tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; for details call 322-7727.
Don't fence him in: Renaissance man Gwylym Cano--a local playwright, actor and filmmaker--describes himself as a "Buddhist Chicano from East L.A. with a Yale degree, living on the north side of Denver," which is probably why his hackles rise when it's suggested that his work suits a "multicultural" slot. His play, The Eclipse of Lawry, is the story of three cowboys who plot to steal the moon; written when Cano was still a Yalie, it's meant to command a universal appeal. Eclipse opens tonight at 7:30 at the Denver Civic Theatre, 721 Santa Fe Dr., where it continues on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, through May 22. Tickets to the mid-week run are $8; for reservations call 595-3821.
A man with pluck: Young jazz bassist Christian McBride picks up where the great Ron Carter leaves off--he's simply so good that he defies categorization, picking and bowing his leviathan instrument with sparkling intensity. McBride, who shines brightly whether he plays up front or behind the soloist, leads his own combo tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.; for tickets, $15, call 322-2308.
Heaven's gates: Living in Colorado, one develops a certain respect for impish weather. But that doesn't mean we can't appreciate May Day and its implication of spring flowers. The Denver Botanic Gardens, 1005 York St., will play along by adopting its summer schedule as of today, offering extended hours Saturday through Tuesday, weekly through September 30. On those days, garden gates will remain open until 8 p.m., allowing the perfect opportunity for a glorious evening stroll. DBG admission is $2 to $4; call 331-4000.