Thrills for the week

Thursday
February 27
West side, east side: A rich vein of local lore gets the nod today with a Jewish History of Denver Tour offered by the Colorado Historical Society. The traveling lecture, led by Denver resident Marjorie Hornbein, begins with an introductory talk at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway, and continues with a bus excursion to important Jewish sites, past and present, on both the west and east sides of town. Among other places, you'll visit an orthodox yeshiva, old and new sites of the Temple Emanuel congregation and the Mizel Museum of Judaica between 8:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.; transportation and a kosher lunch are included in the tour fee of $35 ($30 for CHS members). Enrollment is limited; for additional information or to reserve a seat on the bus, call 866-4686.

Up, up and away: These days, space is the place, so why shouldn't the Colorado Symphony Orchestra get on the bandwagon? Maestra Marin Alsop presides this weekend over A Night in Space, a light yet rocket-fueled foray into orchestral music inspired by the cosmos. She'll lead the CSO through all your heavenly favorites, from Richard Strauss's Thus Spake Zarathustra, which played prominently in Stanley Kubrick's 2001, to the unmistakable theme from Star Trek. Travel to faraway galaxies with Alsop and the CSO tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 at Boettcher Hall, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; night turns to day for a 2:30 matinee on Sunday. Tickets range from $5 to $38; call 830-TIXS for reservations.

Friday
February 28
Out in the cold: If you're a lover of the great outdoors, it's where you want to be, even if you happen to be the armchair brand of adventurer. For your ilk, the Banff Festival of Mountain Films, held each November in Alberta, Canada, is the big daddy of outdoorsy cinema, where filmmakers who often must be as handy on a steep mountainside as the intrepid trekkers they shoot compete for public and peer recognition. And once the prizes are divvied at Banff, the whole shebang--or at least the awe-inspiring best of it--hits the road on a journey that brings it to the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder, tonight at 8. Films about everything from rock climbing to dog sledding highlight this year's breathtaking festival showcase; to purchase tickets in advance, $8, call 786-7030 or drop by any local REI store.

Pickin' line: How do three diverse guitarists from around the globe--a Japanese picker whose introduction to his instrument came by way of vintage surf-guitar music, a Belgian rocker with a thing for J.S. Bach, and an eclectic, apple-pie American from Salt Lake City--meet up in the first place? In the case of Hideo Moriya, Bert Lams and Paul Richards, best known as the California Guitar Trio, they did it by simply playing guitar. All at once, as participants in progressive-guitar god Robert Fripp's Guitar Craft seminars and incipient Fripp ensembles, including the multitudinous League of Crafty Guitarists. Then what separates this trio from the rest of the nimble-fingered riffraff? Well, for starters, there's their repertoire, which ranges freely from the Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor to "Walk, Don't Run." The rest you can credit to a certain impudent joie de vivre: They play the Bach on steel-stringed acoustic instruments, and they shy away from any attempt at categorization. The trio appears tonight and tomorrow at 8 at the Acoma Center, 1080 Acoma St.; and if things didn't already sound interesting enough, fellow pluckers Trey Gunn (you know him as the "second" guitarist in King Crimson) and Bill Janssen (a veteran who's also worked behind Fripp and Adrian Belew) open the show. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door; call 623-0524.

Saving Bonds: In this full-color world, black-and-white photography is far from dead--one need only view the sharp-edged work of master shutterbug Howard Bond to get the message loud and clear. Bond, who works with large-format view cameras and uses masking techniques during printing to obtain exceedingly keen images, will be on hand when an exhibit of recent works, including limited-edition portfolios "English Churches" and "Bristlecone Pines," opens tonight at the Camera Obscura Gallery, 1309 Bannock St. Attend an artist's reception from 5:30 to 8:30; the show continues through March 30. For information call 623-4059.

Saturday
March 1
Sister, sister: Fans of French Canadian duo Kate & Anna McGarrigle can only accept that the sisters are slow and careful when it comes to producing new work. But the wait is worth it: When the McGarrigles finally craft another mint recording, it's invariably a work of burnished depth, merging pithy storytelling, vulnerable harmonies and front-porch instrumentation into a gentle, sentient package of real-life moments. Their recent release, Matapedia, named for a river that skirts the foothills of the Appalachians in eastern Quebec, is just such a tender and bittersweet animal. The quavery-voiced siblings take the stage tonight at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder, where folk-circuit favorite Geoff Muldaur opens at 8, with help from Austin's versatile Stephen Bruton.

Admission is $14 ($12 for Swallow Hill Music Association members); call 786-7030 or 1-800-444-SEAT to reserve tickets.

Rock around the clock: It's yee-haw time--with a bit of the twist--when the Bluebird Theater hosts a Big "K" Barn Dance tonight at 7. Featuring hillbilly and roots music galore provided by Austin hellraisers the Horton Brothers, Salt Lake's Atomic Deluxe and local yokels the Dalhart Imperials and the Throttlemen, the party is nothing more--and nothing less--than a great chance to kick up your heels, so don't be late, pardner. The Bluebird is at 3317 E. Colfax Ave.; for tickets, $8, call 322-2308.

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