Square roots: In case you hadn't heard, downtown Denver's hopping. Now there's yet another reason to head for the city's center: The Summer Nights on Larimer Square free concert series kicks off the season tonight with The Iguanas, a New Orleans roots-rock band with a rabid following of die-hard partyers. All the better for dancing in the streets, which is encouraged by the promoters. The fun, food, music and outdoor mingling under the waxing quarter moon are scheduled to last from 6 to 11 on Larimer between 14th and 15th streets. Call 607-1276.
Going south: Cultural perspectives from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border will be in the arts spotlight this weekend at a variety of area museums and galleries.
At Museo de las Americas, Eppie Archuleta: Master Weaver of the San Luis Valley celebrates the unique loomed creations of a nationally recognized Colorado artisan who unites Spanish Colonial, Native American and Southwestern themes in her work. Archuleta, a lifelong weaver equally at home with intricate, colorful patterns and illustrative designs, will be featured at the museum, 861 Santa Fe Dr., through August 2; admission is $1 to $3 (children under ten free). Call 571-4401.
A linked pair of exhibitions exploring relationships between neighboring countries open tonight with a reception from 6 to 8 at the CU Art Galleries. The droll visions displayed in Enrique Chagoya: The Politics of Humor jarringly juxtapose superheroes with Aztec imagery, while Tangle of Complexes: Photographing in Mexico records the visual experiences of American women working in residence in Oaxaca, Mexico. The CU Art Galleries are located in the Sibell Wolle Fine Arts Building on the CU-Boulder campus. Both shows continue through August 9; call 492-8300.
Monumental sculptor Jesus Bautista Moroles, who rose out of the Dallas barrio to become an artist of international renown, is the focus of related exhibitions opening this weekend. Moroles's granite sculptures will be featured indoors at the Madden Gallery, 7600 E. Orchard Road, Englewood, and outdoors in Samson Park, adjacent to Fiddler's Green, at 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Greenwood Village. The Madden exhibit opens tonight with a lecture by the artist at 6:30; the outdoor installations get a grand sendoff tomorrow from 6:30 to 9 with an Art in the Park reception featuring musicians from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Call 741-3609. Artyard, at 1251 S. Pearl St., will host an artist reception Sunday from 2 to 4 in its alfresco sculpture garden; call 777-3219 for additional information and gallery hours.
A real hoot: You can sing along with Harry tonight at 8, when the first Swallow Hill Hootenanny and Social, hosted by Denver Folklore Center fixture Harry Tuft, gets under way. The pay-or-play event, reminiscent of folksy shared music experiences from earlier decades, promises to be very laid-back--anyone can join in, sing, jam or listen and not worry about looking the fool. Those were the days. Admission is $3 (free if you sign up to perform); it takes place behind the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St. For details call 777-1003.
Excess story: Eat, drink and be merry. Then start over. That's the main objective at this year's Lower Downtown Beer, Wine and Food Festival, an urban celebration of life's joyful excesses, with twenty live bands providing the soundtrack. Now in its fourth year, the fest offers forty microbrewed beers and five Western Slope wines, a variety of foods prepared by downtown restaurants--from vegetarian burgers to monstrous slabs o' ribs--and the opportunity to sun, see and be seen in trendy LoDo. Attend the festival from 11 to 8 today or 11 to 6 tomorrow; it all takes place at 19th and Wazee streets, near Coors Field. Admission is $3 in advance ($5 at the gate); each six-ounce cup of suds costs $1 (food and other beverages are priced separately). If you plan to imbibe, don't forget to bring along your picture ID and a designated driver. Call 698-HOPS for information.
You gotta have art: Artists don't really want to be poor or struggling; the vagaries of the business just put them in that awkward position. But you can help: At the annual Art Students League Summer Art Market today and tomorrow, dozens of local artists will sell affordable original works in the open air of Grant St. between 2nd and 3rd avenues. The market, which will feature food and drink vendors, live music and plenty of neighborly camaraderie, goes from 10 to 5 each day; for more information call 778-6990.
See what develops: Photographer/collector/ gallery owner Hal Gould, a major mover and shaker in the local photography community, provides the high point of the Foothills Art Center's simply named The Photography Show, a widely varied exhibition opening tonight with a reception from 6 to 9. Alongside displays of photography from Jefferson County businesspeople, Golden schoolkids and FAC-based shutterbugs are selections from Gould's personal collection, including photos by Edward S. Curtis, Edward Weston and other greats. All of the works can be seen through July 20. Foothills is located at 809 15th St., Golden; for details call 279-3922.