Let's go Dutch: Windmills, wooden shoes and tulips are just some of the attractions at the Bethesda Dutch Festival, an annual event starting today on the Bethesda Hospital grounds, 4400 E. Iliff Ave. Featuring a picturesque Dutch village with shops and costumed denizens, dancers, old world food and more, the festival, which officially gets under way with a street-scrubbing ceremony and parade tonight at 5, is open from 11 to 8 daily, through Saturday. Admission and parking are free.
Pure Magnapop for now people: When what are known in the biz as "fat guitars" meet straightforward, ingenuous pop lyrics, the result might very well be something called Magnapop. Georgia-based, fresh as a basket of peaches and the darling of REM's Michael Stipe and Sugar's Bob Mould, who've each produced past tracks for the band, Magnapop recently released a new album of infectious, contemporary, stripped-down material. Called Rubbing Doesn't Help, the CD establishes the group as one to watch--which you can do tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, or tomorrow night at 7 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. Tickets are $6 to $8 for the Bluebird show, $7.35 for the Fox; call 830-TIXS.
Lost and found: Found objects and an appreciation for the fleeting signs of lives led in the not-so-distant past bind together the works of Don Stinson and John Ford, subjects of a two-man show opening tonight at the 1/1 Gallery, 1715 Wazee St. Ford's assemblages, composed of machine parts, salvaged building materials, bits of wallpaper and old snapshots, form memory-evoking altars, while Stinson's oil paintings on boards depict bygone structures: Gas stations and drive-in theaters glow in dreamy detail, embellished by collage, remarque and shadowbox frames. An artists' reception will be held from 6 to 9 this evening; the show runs through July 27. For details call 298-9284.
Highland jig: Jazz, arts and crafts, games, food vendors, microbrews on tap, children's rides, lowrider bikes and even a neighborhood house tour are the highlights of one of the city's friendliest outdoor community affairs--the Highland Square Street Fair, taking place at 32nd Ave. and Lowell Blvd. today from 10 to 7. The fest's main jazz stage events kick off with a "brunch concert" courtesy of Laura Newman & AOA, at 10:30 a.m., and continue throughout the day; a second stage will also feature a cultural kaleidoscope of entertainers all day long. Those interested in visiting historic homes in the area can purchase $5 tickets at the fair and tour between 10 and 4; call 477-8205 for tour information.
Smarter than the average Barbera: Cartoons possess undeniable ties that have been imprinted in our brains from the first time we ever sat in front of the boob tube on a Saturday morning. Feeling nostalgic? Now here's your chance to meet a founding father: Joe Barbera, one half of Hanna-Barbera, the team that created familiar animated characters from Yogi Bear to Scooby-Doo, appears in person today at Fascination Street, a Cherry Creek North gallery specializing in animation cels for collectors. Meet Barbera, now over eighty and still full of ideas, at 2620 E. 3rd Ave.; for further information call 333-1592.
Trick or trade: Bikers, in-line skaters, tennis players and anyone who likes to roll, stroll or whack a ball will be able to see eye-to-eye, for once, at the Washington Park Bike and Outdoors Sports Swap, taking place from 9 to 6 today and tomorrow in the South High School parking lot, Franklin St. and Louisiana Ave. Not just a huge, sports-oriented garage sale, the swap will also feature overstocked merchandise from local retailers, a demonstration area and in-line hockey competitions and bike trials. Swap admission, which benefits the Children's Hospital, is $2 (children under twelve free); for information on how to participate, call 871-8799.
Global village: Public radio's E-Town goes globe-trotting tonight with a special show featuring guests David Lindley and Hani Naser, as well as Boulder's own Leftover Salmon, purveyors of that thing called "polyethnic slamgrass" music, at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder. Lindley--the former Jackson Browne sideman and a champion of sleazy polyester shirts, musical eclecticism and stringed instruments from around the world (with careful, honed chops to match)--and Jordanian hand percussionist Naser play in a unique rootsy style tinged with reggae rhythms and Middle Eastern melodies; they perform tonight at 8. For tickets, $7 in advance ($9 day of show), call 786-7030 or 440-7666.
En garden: Got an urge to nose around in someone else's back yard? Do it legitimately: The Arvada Center's 1996 Exhibitionists Artist Gardens Tour not only allows you to snoop, but also takes you off the beaten track into an aesthetically pleasing jungle of gardens created by artistic minds. The cross-city tour of five gardens begins at 1 near City Park and ends with croquet and pastoral refreshments at the last stop. Tickets, $20, are available in advance at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., or by calling 431-3939.
Comfort and joy: A solid lineup of crowd-pleasing groups headline the Southern Comfort Rocks the Blues '96 Tour, coming to Red Rocks Amphitheater today beginning at 2. You'll be able to work up a sweat that'll keep you warm after the sun goes down dancing to George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars, Taj Mahal, Keb' Mo', and the Radiators, who will provide a rave-up mixture of traditional blues, funk, R&B and N'awlins-style rock well into the moonlit night. Advance tickets are $15 for general admission ($16 day of show) and $18 reserved; part of the proceeds will benefit local charities. Call 830-TIXS to reserve seats; for more information call 1-800-757-7626.
Ain't too proud to beguile: Either you like her or you don't. But singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant--the solo act cut loose from her launching pad, 10,000 Maniacs--is here to stay and ready to serve a dainty platter of musical fire and ice from her first album, Tigerlily, to the sensitive, earnest girls and lovestruck boys who compose her fan base. Wherever you stand on the love/hate issue, you can't argue that the light-on-her-toes Merchant is an original, and she's a perfect starry-eyed performer for the enchanting Red Rocks stage. Hear her there tonight at 7:30; for tickets, $20 to $22, call 830-TIXS.
The Beats go on: Poets and writers who consider Boulder's Naropa Institute a home away from home convene each summer for the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, a loose net comprising workshops, readings and general camaraderie. Several of the Naropa literati will gather there for three nights of round-robin spoken-word readings in the school's performing arts center, 2130 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder. Beat's grand old man, Allen Ginsberg, reads tonight, along with Peter Lamborn Wilson and Joanne Kyger. Mark Amerika, Katie Yates, Bobbie Louise Hawkins and Jack Collom read tomorrow, and Diane DiPrima, Ken Irby and Andrew Schelling read June 20. Admission ranges from $4 to $6 nightly; call 546-3568 for additional information.
A touch of klezmer: In what might be the most unusual blend of world musics yet, KLAZZJ, a Los Angeleno combo led by klezmer maven Yale Strom, fuses traditional European Jewish strains with a hot Afro-Cuban jazz beat to create a sound that, well, just has to be heard to be believed. Hear away--KLAZZJ performs at The Sound of Summer: An Evening of Klezmer Jazz Under the Stars, tonight at 7 on the Feiner Family Terrace at the Jewish Community Center, 350 S. Dahlia St. Tickets are $12 ($10 children and seniors); in addition, box dinners, available beginning at 6, can be purchased for $8 each. For reservations, call 399-2660, ext. 337.
Hello, Mollie: Talented multi-instrumentalist sibling Tim has hogged the limelight long enough. Now it's time for sister Mollie O'Brien--whose superb voice, her only instrument, can sigh, snarl and smoke in the same breath--to shine. O'Brien celebrates the release of her new Sugar Hill recording, Tell It True..., with help from the Swallow Hill Music Association, Tim O'Brien and the O'Boys, dobroist Jerry Douglas, bassist Rich Moore, drummer Steve Ivey and special guest Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, this evening at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax. The whole kit and kaboodle, ready to hightail it up to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival after the show, goes on stage at 8; to reserve tickets, $15 ($12 Swallow Hill members), call 1-800-444-SEAT, or call 777-1003 for more information.