Thrills for the week

July 28
The buggy man: Think small! Entomologist Mike Weissman has a knack for sharing his microcosmic world--the bug expert, former man-behind-the-wheel of the University of Colorado Bug-Mobile and current curator of Westminster's high-flying Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, is as enthusiastic as he is knowledgeable when it comes to insects. Weissman will share both qualities when he leads an Insect Safari for parents and kids today at 1 at the Denver Botanic Gardens' Chatfield Arboretum. The hands-on class, which takes place in the field, is $9 per child ($8 DBG members; tuition includes one accompanying adult); to register call 370-8020. Chatfield Arboretum is located southwest of Littleton at 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Rd., just off Wadsworth Blvd. and a quarter-mile south of Hwy. C-470.

Free for all: Culture takes to the streets--well, at least to the parks--during Norwest Arts on Stage, being held today at Village Greens Park, Dayton and Union, Greenwood Village, and Wednesday at the Adams County Fairgrounds, 9755 Henderson Rd., Brighton. Families can enjoy performances by the Boulder Philharmonic's Centennial Brass, opera pops selections featuring members of the Central City Opera, and excerpts from the Denver Center Attractions hit Always...Patsy Cline on one stage, or participate in interactive activities sponsored by the Children's Museum of Denver and the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities on another. A main-stage presentation features more opera, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and, depending on the venue, the David Taylor or Cleo Parker Robinson dance troupes. And how much do you suppose it'll cost you to check out all this good stuff? Not a thing, though early arrival is recommended to ensure a good seat. Events begin at 4:30 today and at 5:30 on Wednesday; for information call 893-4000.

All wet: Wash the birdie--and the still life, the landscape, the abstract and the figure. The Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition, a celebration of painting's most liquid vehicles, returns with a sparkle for its 23rd annual showing at the Foothills Art Center, 809 15th St., Golden. This year's juried show, featuring 116 works by 104 artists from across the United States, opens today with a public reception from 2 to 4 and remains on view through September 18. Call 279-3922.

July 29
A gay old time: Best-selling author Clive Barker (The Books of Blood, Everville and Weaveworld) is back on a roll, but with a twist. His new novel, Sacrament, is the questioning, coast-hopping, autobiographical saga of gay protagonist Will, who transcends the labels of sexual orientation with intelligence and compassion. Barker will autograph copies of the book (available for $25 from HarperCollins) tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; for details call 322-7727.

July 30
The band played on: Summer Nights on Larimer Square, the downtown tourist attraction's free under-the-stars concert series, takes a swingin' step back in time tonight with the '40s-style big-band music of the Jimmy Dorsey Tribute Orchestra. More than a concert, the event also combines food and drink vendors, roving entertainers and a dance area for an old-fashioned block party on closed-off, traffic-free Larimer Street, between 14th and 15th streets. Put on your seamed nylon stockings, shoulder pads and fedoras, and come on down; call 607-1276.

July 31
He's a pistol: When John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) took the stage in the mid-'70s--spike-haired, yowling and awash in a riffing sea of adulterated noise--he shocked the disco-driven pop-music world right out of its six-inch platform shoes, garroting the industry with a spiked leather collar. And even though Lydon and the boys, no longer of ill pallor, now look more like a rowdy quartet of red-cheeked soccer players, they're still the Sex Pistols, punk progenitors and Green Day's old godfathers. Back together again, the Pistols--Lydon, guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock (we all know what happened to Sid Vicious)--storm Red Rocks tonight at 6:30; a forceful barrage by Stabbing Westward, Reacharound and Gravity Kills opens the show. Don't miss them--next time, they may be sporting orthopedic shoes and sprouting gray hairs. General admission tickets are $22.50; call 830-TIXS to reserve yours.

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