Thrills for the week

August 15
Kitty got your tongue? You'll be smiling like a Cheshire cat at Cajun's Comedy Night, an evening of funny stuff at the Holiday Inn North, 4849 Bannock St., that benefits the Cat Care Society's cageless, no-kill shelter for cast-off felines. Featuring comic Kevin Fitzgerald--who, in his other life, is a veterinarian--and the Herizon all-woman improv troupe, the 7:30 p.m. show is named for the society's furry and frequently costumed mascot, Cajun, who is rumored to be a presidential candidate on the Rat-Rousters ticket and is scheduled to make an appearance tonight. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted during the evening; call 239-9680 for information.

August 16
Junior achievement: The classical-music superstars of the future are in Boulder today, serving as the Colorado Music Festival's orchestra-in-residence. The Bavarian musicians, ranging in tender age from 17 to 27 and collectively known as the Young Philharmonic Orchestra of Munich, culminate their Boulder visit at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder, during a pair of CMF Encore Concerts, tonight at 8 and Sunday at 7. A different program will be presented each evening; cellist wunderkind Kyrill Kravtzov is the featured soloist for both. For tickets, $20, call 449-2413. The precocious orchestra then wraps up Tuesday, August 20, with a CU-Denver-sponsored performance--punctuated by the world premiere of Wege, an oratorical work by German composer Kalisto, at Teikyo Loretto Heights University Theater, 3001 S. Federal Blvd. Admission to that 8 p.m. concert ranges from $15 to $25; call 556-2279 for reservations.

Sisters in arms: What do Dushanbe, Jalapa, Yamagata and Lhasa have in common? They're all Boulder sister cities (in Tajikistan, Nicaragua, Japan and Tibet, respectively), and they've all joined hands with Boulder artists for Trading Places: Boulder and Her Sister Cities, an exhibit of collaborative installations created in conjunction with the Helander Dance Theater's Hearth to Hearth 1996 cultural exchange. Teams of three local artists each concentrated on the cities, layering media, impressions and ideas to unique ends; the final products can be seen today through September 8 in the Boulder Public Library exhibit space, 1000 Canyon Blvd., Boulder. An opening reception, from 5 to 7 tonight, will be hosted by Mayor Leslie Durgin; call 494-1761.

August 17
Peaceable kingdom: In the best of all cultural worlds, fine artists, actors, dancers and musicians all live in perfect harmony, bouncing off one another and providing colorful backdrops and unexpected collaborations. That's the noble--and fun--premise of Artopia, an arts celebration and revolving showcase for all of the above, being held tonight from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the new Eulipions Center, 18th Ave. and Sherman St. Area restaurants and watering holes provide food and libations, and you--fashionably attired sans denims, please--provide the impetus at this serendipitous event; the all-inclusive admission tab is $20 in advance (at Noodles & Co., Pressto, the Purple Martini, Enoteca LoDo and Deidrich Coffee outlets, through August 16) or $30 at the door. Call 765-2724 for information.

Barking up the right tree: Dogs have their day today during the Pedigree Dog Days of Denver Canine Festival, a friendly frolic, obedience test and "petathlon" all rolled up (or over, Rover) into one. Taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the southwest end of Washington Park, Dog Days will offer expert tips on how to get your mutt to mind, search-and-rescue dog demonstrations, Canine Good Citizen certificates for obedient hounds who pass muster, free bandannas while they last, and a timed obstacle-course competition--not to mention a glaring opportunity for your dog to mingle with his own kind. Fetch Fido and come on down; for details call 1-800-8-PETLINE.

Long, tall Texan: Ever true to his Lone Star State, Lyle Lovett juggles Southwestern-eclectic musical styles with the ease of a circus performer, and his soft-spoken humor and literate way with words lend sweetness to the smoky mix. While some say his latest CD, The Road to Ensenada, has a melancholy, post-Julia cast, it sounds to us like a done-up-right country album, albeit one boasting Lovett's signature urban charm. Like his crafted recordings, Lovett's live work is always impeccably staged, with fine accompaniment and perfect pacing, making tonight's performance at Red Rocks a must for concertgoers. Lisa Loeb opens at 7:30 p.m.; for tickets, $22.50, call 830-TIXS.

August 18
One with everything: Carl Finch's Brave Combo is a group that bases its music on--but doesn't limit it to--a Tex-Mex specialty: accordion-driven polka music. But in a move that's earned it the title of Ultimate Wedding Band, Brave Combo also throws in an ethnomusicological smorgasbord of influences from around the world, from the cha-cha to the hora, all of it fairly irrepressible. Listen and learn--Brave Combo appears tonight at 9 at Herman's Hideaway, 1578 S. Broadway. Tickets are $6; call 777-5840 or 830-TIXS.

In the running: So you're not Gail Devers or Gwen Torrence--you can still shake a leg, can't you? In the sports year informally dubbed by network Olympics emcees as the "year of the woman," the women-and-girls-only Lady Foot Locker 5K Run/Walk seems to take on new meaning. Be part of the trend: Race-day registration for the annual event, a benefit for the Gateway Battered Women's Shelter, opens today at 6:45 a.m. in Pulaski Park, Steele St. and Cherry Creek Dr. North, followed by an 8:30 start; a free, gender-inclusive Family Fun Run begins at 10. Entry fees are $18-$23 for women and $12-$15 for girls age fourteen and under; register in advance at any Lady Foot Locker location. For details call 863-1633.

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