Thrills for the week

May 13
Days of whine and neurosis: Funny comes in all colors, but when it involves stand-up schlemiel Richard Lewis, it's usually dressed in black. Lewis, star of defunct television sitcoms, motion pictures and comedy shows on every network and cable channel known to man, has made a living exploring the humorous side of misery and angst ("I had a date from hell!"). Now on his first stand-up tour in more than two years, Lewis will have you laughing--to keep from crying--at 7:30 and 9:30 tonight and tomorrow at the Comedy Works, 1226 15th St. in Larimer Square. Ticket prices vary; for further information and reservations call 595-3637.

May 14
Ready to roll: Following the example of other major museums, the Denver Art Museum premiered its Cinema Series last week at the Acoma City Center, two blocks south of the museum at 1080 Acoma St., with a screening of John Ford's John Wayne oater The Searchers. The series, dedicated not only to classics but to meritorious independent films, continues tonight with Black Robe, Bruce Beresford's brutal tale of a missionary among native tribes in seventeenth-century New France. Future offerings, to screen at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through June 18, include The Wind--a 1928 pre-talkie with Lillian Gish and live accompaniment by pianist Hank Troy--on May 28; Night of the Hunter, with Robert Mitchum, on May 21; Terrence Mallick's Days of Heaven on June 4; Allison Anders's poignant Gas, Food and Lodging on June 11; and Clint Eastwood's Oscar winner Unforgiven for the finale. Tickets are $5 ($2.50 DAM members); call 640-2428 or 573-0782.

May 15
For the love of Maori: Those Pacific winds generated by the Balinese Arts Festival (see Saturday) will shift southward today, giving Denver a distinctly pan-cultural hue when the five-day South Pacific Festival commences tonight at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax. Sponsored by the Colorado-based South Pacific American Cultural Exchange, the festival is a kaleidoscopic effort combining cultural performances, a photography show, a writing workshop with Australian fiction author Peter Carey (2 p.m. today, $125) and an Australian and New Zealand Film Series. An opening-night gala, which includes film clips, music, food and aboriginal music and lore with didgeridoo artist and storyteller Paul Taylor, begins tonight at 6. Tomorrow's New Zealand Evening, also beginning at 6, mixes more films and food with a vibrant performance by the Kahurangi Maori Dance Troupe, which re-creates the Haka dance observed by Captain James Cook when he landed on New Zealand centuries ago. For more event information, ticket prices and reservations, call the festival hotline at 293-2420.

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