Thrills for the week

thursday
january 16
The Doctor is in: In music, there are legends and then there are legends -- living, breathing, walking, talking, genre-embodying types. Crescent City music man Dr. John, the reigning witch doc of New Orleans-style R&B, falls securely in the latter category, relying on wry, blusey trademark vocals and a syncopated mastery of the eighty-eights that's second to none. And live, he's in his element, putting forth a lazy, effortles vibe that primes audiences for a night of dancing in the aisles. Dr. John stirs his gumbo of blues, rock, jazz standards and Mardi Gras fare tonight and tomorrow at 9 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder; for tickets, $24.15, call 830-TIXS or 447-0095.

We make beautiful music together: The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, led by main maestra Marin Alsop, mixes old and new works by Tower, Bolcom, Ravel and Brahms when guest violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonneberg, globally renowned for her intense stage character, comes to call this week Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis streets in the Plex. Salerno-Sonnenberg who was forced to cancel a CSO appearance two years ago because of a hand injury, makes her stunning return to the Denver stage tonight at 7:30; performances continue at the same time on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 on Sunday. CSO concert tickets range from $5 to $38; for reservations call 830-TIXS.

Pull party: Groundbreaking abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell, known for his mammoth, calligraphic black-and-white canvases, died in 1991, but he's something of a celebrity in these parts, thanks to the Denver Art Museum's recent and auspicious acquisition of twenty Motherwell paintings. The Robischon Gallery, at 1740 Wazee St., now shares a portion of the museum's limelight by presenting Robert Motherwell: Masterprints, a show and sale of works on paper from the artist's estate. An opening reception spotlighting the collection, which includes works in a variety of printmaking media, takes place tonight from 5 to 8; Motherwell's prints, along with a selection of sculptures by Creighton Michael in the gallery's Artforms wing, remain on display through March 8. For information call 298-7788.

friday
january 17
Step lightly: When Acadian folk duo Benoit Bourque and Gaston Bernard throw a little of this and a little of that -- a Celtic lilt and French Canadian verve -- into the batter, the resulting product hits the skillet immediately light and airy. Bourque, whose rare skills include a virtuoso touch at tapping the bones and a limber, light-footed talent for step dancing, and Bernard, a dashing Quebecois at home with a variety of stringed instruments, bring their magical melodies and fancy footwork to Cameron Church, 1600 S. Pearl St., tonight at 8 as guests of the Swallow Hill Music Association. Admission is $12 ($10 members); call 1-800-444-SEAT for tickets or 777-1003 for information.

Your taste in dance gravitates more toward the two step? Get ready for a blues-country hybrid, the irrepressible Texas eclectic Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, performing tonight at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave. Gate, a hotshot on fiddle and guitar, a spiffy dresser and a bona fide character, performs at 8; for tickets, $13 in advance ($15 at the door), call 322-2308 or 830-TIXS.

And if your definition of a light step implies a total absence of macho posturing, a new Colorado Female Musicians Showcase debuts tonight at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St., bringing the region's favorite musicial ladies to the stage over the coming months. Mother Folker members Vicki Taylor and Mary Stribling go their separate ways -- Taylor as a solo blues act and Stribling with her swinging Combo-Amazo -- this evening at 9:30; area musicians Julie Hoest, Liz Barnez, Mary Flower and Debra Schmidt-Lobis are just a few of the names scheduled to pop up at future concerts. Admission is $5; call 294-8281.

In the flesh: Protector of the First Amendment or sleazeball porn king extraordinaire? Hustler magazine mastermind Larry Flynt has been called -- and probably has been -- both. Flynt, the controversial subject of the movie The People vs. Larry Flynt, outlines both ideological paths in outspoken detail with An Unseemly Man: My Life as a Pornographer, Pundit and Social Outcast, a new memoir released in conjunction with the film. The flamboyant Flynt autographs copies of the book 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.

saturday
january 18
You are what you eat: Usually a feast for the eyes and nose, the verdant Denver Botanical Gardens will appeal to another of your senses over the long holiday weekend. Surrender those tastebuds during Coffee & Tea at the Gardens, the first in a series of public Incredible Edibles programs sponsored by the DBG. Today through Monday, visitors at the gardens will be treated to samples, demonstrations and lectures; look for paeans to chocolate, tropical fruits and spices, herbs and other tempting botanical comestibles in the months to come. The DBG is located at 1005 York St.; Incredible Edibles programs are included in the regular $3 gate admission ($1.50 for seniors and students with IDs, $1 for children ages six to fifteen, and free for children five and under). Call 370-8020.

On the other hand, here it is the middle of January. Isn't it about time you broke that New Year's resolution about eating wisely? The third annual National Pie Championships get under way today at the Hotel Boulderado, 2115 13th St., Boulder. In addition to pie judging in multiple categories, the two-day fest includes demonstrations, samples, exhibitions, cookbooks, kids' pie-making workshops and general pigging out. Eat, eat and be merry -- the championships take place today and tomorrow from 10 to 4; admission is $5 ($3 children twelve and under, students and seniors). And if you think you make the apple pie of everyone's eye, call 442-2911 for registration information.

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