Thrills for the week

Fair weather: The state's most splendid agricultural wares--from Aunt Sue's apricot jam and Granny's deep-dish apple pie to the region's biggest durn hogs, heifers, beefsteak tomatoes and summer squashes--provide a good enough reason to attend the Colorado State Fair, but then there's the live music, the rodeo, the tractor pulls, the racing pigs, the carnival rides and all the food that's probably not very good for you, too. One way or the other, it's one of Colorado's biggest bashes, providing over two weeks of old-fashioned fun at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo. The fair, which began Saturday, comes out of the chute today with a blaring Fiesta Day Mariachi Festival (7 p.m. in the Coors Grandstand; tickets are $14-$18). Upcoming acts of note include Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis and Carlene Carter, teaming up on August 20 (8 p.m., $8-$12); Vince Gill on August 22 (8 p.m., $18-$22); the Mavericks, prepping the crowd for PRCA Rodeo events on August 23 (7:30 p.m., $12-$14); and Bill Cosby on September 1 ($16-$20). In addition, free entertainment--a grab bag of talent ranging from the Fabulous Thunderbirds to Billy Joe Royal--hits the stages daily in the Miller Amphitheatre and Bud Club tent. Gate admission for the fair, which continues through September 2, is $7 ($3.50 children ages six to eleven, $4 seniors, children five and under free); for concert tickets or information call 1-800-444-FAIR or 830-TIXS.

August 19
Nobody does it better: Aural tantrum or music for the ages? AC/DC has such a steely headlock on the universally fourteen-year-old Beavis and Butt-head generation that it may never lose its grip. So we might as well give in to the Aussie headbangers' stranglehold and appreciate it--for what it's worth. Featuring a lineup still powered by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, the hard-rock progenitors continue to crank it out with better-than-average manic gusto, right down to Angus's trademark shriek and knee-panted getup. Rock on and say no more: Tickets to AC/DC's 7:30 show, tonight at McNichols Arena, are $20 to $22.50; call 830-TIXS.

August 20
The perfect Macchio: In his latest guise, Karate Kid Ralph Macchio puts on a three-piece suit for a new touring Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, opening today for a two-week run at the Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Macchio is perfectly at home in his tony new duds, starring as J. Pierrepont Finch, the classic musical-comedy character who climbs the corporate ladder. See How to Succeed tonight at 8; performances continue through September 1. Tickets range from $15 to $50; for showtimes and reservations call 893-4100 or 830-TIXS.

Kaddish industry: The Denver Film Society and Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center collaborate this week to present the city's first Jewish Film Festival, focusing on screen works with Judaic themes. The festival opens tonight at 7 with Polish director Andrzej Wajda's Holy Week, a subtitled offering about a Polish family that shelters a Jewish woman in its Warsaw suburb. After the film, at about 9:15 p.m., comes an opening-night gala. Additional programs and screenings--including a pair of documentaries on Cuban Jewry, a silent, live-accompanied version of the Yiddish tale The Golem, and a Wednesday night forum with local film critics Robert Denerstein and Howie Movshovitz--continue at the JCC, 350 S. Dahlia St., beginning at 3 p.m. tomorrow and 1:30 p.m. Thursday. A wrap party concludes the festival on Thursday night. For tickets, $7 general admission, $30 for a five-ticket punch pass ($5 and $20 for JCC or DFS members), call 399-2660, ext. 337; opening- and closing-night packages are also available.

August 21
Laugh insurance: The first inkling Carlos Mencia had of his new comedy career came to him in a not-so-blinding flash during an employment stint with an insurance company in Los Angeles. What came naturally to him around the water cooler translated beautifully in front of an open mike at the Laugh Factory, and the rest is history. Well, personal history. If you haven't heard Mencia's name yet, get ready--the funny guy's a common sight on HBO comedy shows, and he's bringing his act to Larimer Square's Comedy Works for a four-day stay, tonight through August 25. The Comedy Works is located at 1226 15th St.; for showtimes, information and ticket prices call 595-3637.

Chow, baby: Everybody loves a major pigout. Therefore, this afternoon's Taste of the Tech fundraiser caters to the whole family, with a gamut of tasteables ranging from Blimpie's sandwiches to finer foods from the likes of Sonoda's Japanese Seafood House, Gandhi's Indian Cuisine and the pasta-rific Ciao Baby. The family-oriented Taste, augmented by a silent auction of celebrity memorabilia and other goodies, takes place between 4:30 and 7:30 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, I-25 and Belleview; proceeds benefit the Denver Rescue Mission. To purchase tickets in advance, call 297-1815; you can also pay at the door.

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