Them's fightin' words: At the Bug, Denver's peerless, hole-in-the-wall avant-garde film and performance center, the talk is anything but idle. Instead, Adversity and Diversity: The Bug History Talks, a new lecture series that debuts this evening, will provide provocative fuel for serious thinkers. CU-Boulder instructor and archivist David M. Hays speaks tonight at 7:30 on Racial and Ethnic Stereotypes; Fear and Fascination, a controversial exhibit of stereotypical images from American history and popular culture that he helped develop and curate--to mixed reviews. Though the intent of the exhibition is to expose rather than support, the often negative ethnic images have left some viewers feeling more offended than enlightened. Hear Hays explain his motives and then judge for yourself: The show will be on display at the Bug, 3654 Navajo St., through August, complete with response forms for your comments. Lecture admission is $4; call 477-5977 for details.
Double happiness: Have it your way--tonight at the Bluebird Theater, there's smooth jazz at 7 and a late show of frantic surf rock at 10. Early on, dazzling guitarist Stanley Jordan does the one-man-band thing, single-handedly (actually, they say Jordan uses two hands, though he's been known to play two guitars at the same time) layering his own walking bass lines, chordal accompaniment and technically precise leads without help from a solitary soul. Seeing is believing; tickets are $18. Later on, instrumental rockers Los Straitjackets jump on stage, wearing Mexican wrestling masks and holding tongues firmly in cheeks, to twist the Dick Dale/Link Ray surf genre into a whole new bag of musical tricks. Admission is $5. For information or tickets to either show call 322-2308 or 830-TIXS.
Get downtown: The best thing about the AT&T LoDo Music Festival is its downright urbane diversity, set in a fitting downtown environment--right on the ancient pavement of Wynkoop Street, in the heart and soul of Lower Downtown. The two-day fest, now in its fourth year, brings together blues, funk and R&B artists, alternative and folk rockers, worldbeat groups and just about anything else you could possibly think of, along with plenty of good eats and drink provided by LoDo restaurateurs, from 4 to 11 today and 3 to 11 tomorrow. Tonight's lineup features New Orleans legend Dr. John, former JB Horns saxophonist Maceo Parker, the smoking big band Roomful of Blues, and Golden Smog--a round-robin supergroup that includes members of Soul Asylum, Wilco and the Jayhawks--at the top of the heap; tomorrow's headliners include, among others, South Africa's Johnny Clegg and Juluka, folkie grande dame Joan Baez, bluesman Luther Allison and the funky Average White Band, direct from the '70s. Tickets to downtown's biggest block party are $18 daily or $30 for an all-inclusive pass; call 830-TIXS or 888-5636.
Wherefore art thou? Whether you're a LoDo fest-goer in need of a time-out or just looking for a safe place to schmooze, don't forget it's also First Friday in LoDo, when the area's thriving community of galleries jointly hold new-show receptions and open houses between 6 and 9 p.m. And just because these are the dead-dog days of summer, it doesn't mean there's nothing going on in LoDo salons. At 1/1 Gallery, 1715 Wazee, the two-man show Professors Emeritus opens, spotlighting drawings and mixed-media works on paper by the late CSU graphic artist/instructor John Sorbie and computer-generated compositions reinterpreted in oils by CU professor emeritus Luis Eades; the show continues through September 3. And the Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee, offers a fresh group retrospective, Current: Recent Works by Gallery Artists, opening tonight and remaining on view through September 14, while the Metro State Center for the Visual Arts, 1701 Wazee, celebrates contemporary fiber arts with The Artist and the Quilt '96, today through August 28. A map of other galleries included on the self-guided tour is available at these and other downtown art venues; for more information call 820-3139.
Shot to kill: Anyone in Hollywood will tell you it's a melting pot out there: The Japanese and the Italians copied from American Westerns, the Americans remade tart French comedies, and everyone wants a piece of those elegant British period pieces. It's hardly a surprise, then, that Quentin Tarantino derived flickering inspiration for his own Reservoir Dogs from City on Fire, a Chinese action film that, by the way, owes something to the classic gangster flicks of old. Chow Yun-Fat stars in the thriller, this weekend's Orient Express series offering at the Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway. Shows are at midnight tonight and tomorrow, with additional matinee screenings on Saturday and Sunday; for showtimes call 744-6796.
Newt music: Shaken, not stirred, is one way of describing the eclectic, adventurous, sit-up-in-your-seat-and-listen music of Happy Lizard, a genre-hopping local trio expanded to a quintet and guesting tonight at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art's unconventional Perforum Series. The core group of experimental guitarist Rick Cummings, vocalist/keyboardist Leslie Stevens and percussionist Ernie Crews will be joined by Glenn Nitta on sax and Miguel Ramos on viola tonight at 8; tickets are $8 ($7 students, $5 museum members). BMoCA is located at 1750 13th St., Boulder; for information call 443-2122.
Praise be: The Chautauqua Auditorium's appropriately pastoral, barn-like atmosphere will be transformed into an old-fashioned, foot-stomping revival meeting during the annual Gospel Extravaganza tonight at 8. A cappella masters The Persuasions--known for their classic doo-wop ballads and up-tempo devotionals--top the evening's harmony-heavy bill; the Heavenly Echoes and Second Baptist Choirs, both local groups, amply help them praise the Lord, along with emotional emcee Madame Andrews, broadcast hostess of KGNU-FM's Gospel Chime Hour. Admission ranges from $13 to $18, and it'll be worth every soul-saving penny. Chautauqua is located at 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder; call 440-7666 or 830-TIXS for ticket reservations.