Thrills for the week

Thursday
June 20
Main squeezebox: Her last novel, The Shipping News, ran away with all the most impressive distinctions, including a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, catapulting E. Annie Proulx into the literary limelight. Now her latest, Accordion Crimes, continues in form, following a green accordion built in Italy and brought across the ocean by its immigrant maker as it zigzags through the melting pot of America. A metaphor for the spirit of immigrant cultures lost gradually to assimilation, the accordion survives a century of mayhem and dreams, utilizing the author's masterful storytelling skills and characterizations. Proulx will read some passages tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; numbers for a place in line will be available at 6:30. Call 322-7727.

Art for arf's sake: Denver's premier dog-biscuit bakery, Cosmo's, will host a Dog Days of Summer Show, which opens tonight and features pooch-themed works of art by three locals with very different styles--asymmetrical acrylic-on-wood paintings by Sandy Toland, wire sculptures by Tim Flynn and intricate pen-and-ink work by Westword cartoonist Kenny Be. Part of the proceeds from the show, which will hang at Cosmo's, 1224 E. 6th Ave., through September 18, benefit PAWS, an organization that gives relief to people with AIDS who can no longer care for their pets. An opening reception will be held tonight from 6 to 9; call 777-6500 for details.

Friday
June 21
My girls: One of Motown's formative girl groups, the Marvelettes were a classic Cinderella story back in the '60s, remembered best for tunes such as "Please Mr. Postman" and "Don't Mess With Bill." Years later, their lineup no longer includes any original members, but the memorable and innocent music remains, as does their signature Motown sparkle and shine. The new Marvelettes perform tonight at 7:30 to kick off the Arvada Center's annual outdoor summer concert season, held at the center's intimate amphitheater at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Reserved seating is $17, general-admission lawn seating is $12, and picnics are welcome (though glass containers and alcoholic beverages are not); call 431-3939 or 830-TIXS for tickets.

Garden party: Exquisite skill and an adventurous repertoire are the trademarks of cellist Carter Brey and pianist Christopher O'Riley, who together headline the summer's opening concert at the Denver Botanic Gardens Outdoor Amphitheater, located among the flora at 1005 York St. The talented pair will perform works by Bach, Prokofiev, Kernis and Brahms tonight at 7:15; for tickets, $19 ($16 DBG members), call 777-3836.

Mountain desires: There are summer camps galore for vacationing kids in search of cultural enrichment, but what about the adults? Now they're covered, too: Under the banner of Romance of the West, a unique series of three weekends, each featuring special programs, tours, workshops, outdoor adventures and other organized activities, will be held in conjunction with The Real West, the joint exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, Central Library and Colorado History Museum. The series begins this evening at 7 with a storytelling fete for grownups, Colorado: Son et Lumiere, headlined by novelist Rudolfo Anaya, Native American yarn-spinner Joseph Bruchac and folklorist Barre Toelken. Tickets for the event, which leads off with a cocktail party in Acoma Plaza, between the art museum and the library, and continues across the street and under the stars in front of the history museum, 1300 Broadway, are $40. A horseback excursion at Red Rocks Park and Dinosaur Ridge, candlelight spelunking in Colorado Springs and a beginner's genealogy workshop are just a few of the events planned for Saturday and Sunday; individual activities range in price from $10 to $125. The series continues July 13-14 and August 10-11; for detailed descriptions, a complete schedule or advance reservations--which are required--call 640-7710.

It's a gas: Here's the idea: a play about events taking place at a hick-town mechanic's garage in rural Missouri that is actually staged in a garage. The Avenue Theater and director Terry Dodd take Joan Ackerman's Stanton's Garage up the road a piece to the former Storz Garage, now a performance space at 501 E. 17th Ave. The environmental-theater project opens tonight at 8 and continues at the same time Thursdays through Saturdays, through August 24. Tickets are $15; call 837-0045 for reservations.

Saturday
June 22
Beer, here: Denver's premier beer event has all the right stuff--freshly prepared, imaginative food, including fish tacos, portabello-mushroom sandwiches, crawfish quesadillas and chipotle potato salad; an outdoor market hawking everything from cigars to home brewing kits; and plenty of live music--but the main attraction at the LoDo Brewfest is, of course, the voluminous selection of suds, from traditional bocks and stouts to unusual smoked beers, Colorado wines, and mead, the "drink of the gods." The fun takes place outdoors at 19th and Wynkoop streets today and tomorrow from 11 to 8; admission is $3 in advance ($5 at the gate), while six-ounce tasters go for a buck apiece. For information call 698-HOPS.

Planet waves: Brazilian jazz percussionist Airto Moreira, multi-octave stylist Flora Purim and guitarist Jose Neto form the core of Fourth World, a legendary meeting of minds and musicianship that erupts with flying fingers, soaring vocal explorations and a global vocabulary of rhythms. Also including keyboardist/flutist Jovino Santos and bassist Gary Brown, the group appears tonight at 8 at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave. Admission is $16.50 in advance ($18 day of show); call 830-2525 or 1-800-444-SEAT.

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