Thrills for the week

Thursday
May 29
The mortal Coryell: Who but Larry Coryell could deliver an electrifying performance even when he doesn't plug in? The mellowing guitarist, a rocked-up fusion pioneer in the '60s and '70s, now seems content to sit down with an acoustic instrument all by his lonesome and just play jazz. It sounds simple in theory, but wait until you hear: Coryell goes solo tonight at 8 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. For tickets, $16.80, call 443-3399 or 830-TIXS.

The stuff of dreams: Artists find inspiration in the strangest places. But they also find a lot of other cool stuff. Intimate Connections: Artists/Art/ Collections, a new exhibit opening today at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, examines the stuff--from Bill Kastan's ray guns to Sandra Kaplan's cactus characters--stockpiled by several local artists for their personal enjoyment. Folk art, masks, specimens and toys are just a few of the other items displayed, giving viewers a new perspective on what provokes the creative spirit. A perfect companion exhibition, This End Up: Selections From the Robert J. Shiffler Collection, also opens today and sums up everything nicely: The fabulous spectrum of postmodern works, ranging from photographs to installations, gives a startling indication of where that creative spirit is headed in the '90s. Both shows continue through July 27; a joint reception takes place from 7 to 9 on June 5. The Arvada Center is located at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.; call 431-3939.

Friday
May 30
Beyond her wildest dreams: Almost sixty, leggy R&B queen Tina Turner shows no signs of slowing down. But that isn't to say she doesn't do ballads. Give the woman a ballad and she'll turn on the smoke machine full-tilt, giving it her best sultry interpretation. And we all know what she can do with a rave-up rock number. (Just ask Mick Jagger--she upstaged him good a few years back at Live Aid.) When Tina highsteps into Fiddler's Green, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., tonight at 7, get ready for the ride: You'll get some of each as she stomps through old favorites and new material from her latest release, Wildest Dreams. An added treat, rebounding eccentric songstress Cyndi Lauper, opens the show. Tickets range from $17.50 to $22.50; call 830-TIXS.

Spread some cheers: Hundreds of athletes will gather at Colorado State University in Fort Collins over the weekend to compete in the Colorado Special Olympics Summer Games, which include swimming, track, gymnastic, weightlifting and soccer events. The difference between this and other such games? Not much, except that the majority of those participating do so regardless of their developmental disabilities. The amazing jocks--some in wheelchairs--have their chance to shine in the field beginning at 7 tomorrow morning; an opening ceremony on campus with CSU football coach Sonny Lubick starts things off tonight at 7. Events continue through Sunday, wrapping up with closing hoopla at 2:15 p.m.; call 1-800-777-5767 for information.

Saturday
May 31
Nothin' but the blues: You can expect a ton of screamin' and hollerin' this weekend down in the Golden Triangle neighborhood, adjacent to Civic Center. That's because the Denver Blues Festival, set to jolt Acoma Street between 11th and 12th avenues for two consecutive high-energy days, is coming to town. The fest's incredible lineup of sizzling guitarists and singers includes the incomparable Luther Allison, headlining today along with Otis Taylor, Guitar Shorty, Kelly Joe Phelps and others; Lonnie Brooks and Francine Reed (who earned her stars singing stinging backup behind Lyle Lovett) top the bill tomorrow. Gates open each afternoon at 12:30 (with music, barbecue and jambalaya until 11 today and 7 tomorrow); festival tickets, an unbelievable steal at $10 in advance for a two-day pass (daily admission ranges from $5 to $10), can be purchased by calling 830-TIXS. For general information, call the festival hotline at 478-BLUE.

Braver newer world: Cross a gentle soul with a wandering nature, toss in a sweet, tumbleweedy voice from the Hank Williams mold and you've got Jimmie Dale Gilmore. The wiry Texas tunesmith brings his matchless and classic repertoire of great songs--the kind other folks love to record--to the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., tonight at 9. Tickets are $13 in advance ($15 day of show); call 322-2308 or 830-TIXS to reserve yours.

Over under sideways down: Get ready to twist and turn and/or shake, rattle and roll. Whether you choose to spectate or participate at the two-day ESPN X Games Xperience Tour, you're gonna have to be light on your feet just to keep up with the action. The extreme-sports extravaganza, happening today and tomorrow at Boulder Reservoir, isn't just to watch: A rock-climbing wall, bungee-jump simulator and Xtreme Street Course for skateboarders and in-line skaters will all be open to a willing public. In addition, top extreme McTwisters, including cyclist T.J. Lavin, in-line skater Adam "The Bomb" Buchter and 'boarder Serge Ventura, will demonstrate how they turn things upside down, while live bands Cellophane, Sister 7 and Fluffy entertain on a music stage. Best of all, the only price you pay is that bump on your noggin: Admission is free. Gates open at 11 daily; grind to your heart's desire until 6 tonight or 5 tomorrow.

At the Air Show Colorado, today and tomorrow at the Jefferson County Airport, all legerdemain takes place way up in the air, where military Harrier jets and stealth bombers, aerobatic teams, wing-walkers, parachutists, dog fighters and the like loop, buzz and drift through the sky with the greatest of ease. On the ground there'll be food, drink, vintage-aircraft displays and a KidsPort interactive play area--just in case your neck gets too sore from all that looking up. Gates open at 9 a.m. each day. The airport is located south of Hwy. 36 and Wadsworth Blvd.; admission is $8 to $10 for adults and $3 to $5 for children ages five to twelve (children four and under free). For information call 469-7479.

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