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.
Meanwhile, Gould's own Camera Obscura Gallery, 1309 Bannock St., has a dandy of a show itself. Still in the Dark: Recent Work by Jerry Uelsmann features the artist's ethereal multiple-image works in which clouds float across ceilings and angels rise mystically from unknown waters. Uelsmann shuns high-tech techniques like digital manipulation, preferring instead to painstakingly create his unearthly montages strictly in the darkroom. His marvelous hand-wrought visions will hang at the gallery through July 27; call 623-4059.
Blade offering: Summer's here, but you can put it on ice for the afternoon when teenage ice ace Tara Lipinski and a cool coterie of fellow skaters show up at McNichols Arena for the Campbell's Soups 1997 Tour of World Figure Skating Champions. Brian Boitano, Michelle Kwan and a stunning troupe of spinning, looping, leaping maniacs join Lipinski today at 3; for information and tickets call 830-TIXS.
Local heroes: It isn't easy being a rock star--or acting like one. So Todd Park Mohr and bandmates Rob Squires and Brian Nevin aren't having any of it. Never mind that Big Head Todd and the Monsters boast gold and platinum albums on record-store shelves; believe it or not, they're still just hometown boys. Boulder's favorite sons pay a visit tonight to E-Town, the local public-radio show recorded at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St. Tickets to the 7 p.m. program are $11 (with a four-per-person limit); call 786-7030.
Brave new world: Boulder's an interesting place for music fans to be tonight, as well. A pair of trendsetters from both the old and the new school will hit Boulder stages this evening.
Landing feet first at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., is Johnny Cash, country music's Man in Black and a true American original. The legendary Cash, whose latest CD, Unchained, features Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood, Lindsay Buckingham, Flea and Marty Stuart, among others, just keeps growing as an artist. Cuts on the album vary from a Jimmie Rodgers ballad first recorded in the year Cash was born to Seattle-scene dropout Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage," not to mention Beck's "Rowboat." One can only imagine what falls in between. Cash, an iconoclast for the ages, performs at 8:30; for tickets, $37 to $40, or additional information, call 786-7030 or 830-TIXS.
Up on Boulder's notorious Hill, indie rockers Yo La Tengo will conduct a whole different kind of experiment when they make swell electric noise on stage at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St. Tickets to the 9 p.m. show are $9.45; call 443-3399 or 830-TIXS for information and reservations.
The Beats go on: The recent death of Beat kingpin Allen Ginsberg spawned many eulogistic gatherings, but maybe you've been waiting for just the right one. Memory Gardens: A Tribute to Allen Ginsberg, which takes place tonight at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, has all the earmarks of a winner. Organized by the Naropa Institute's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (a pet project of Ginsberg's), the event will include a sparkling representation of American poets and Ginsberg contemporaries. Robert Creeley, Anne Waldman, Bobbie Louise Hawkins and Jack Collom are some of the names who'll step up to the podium. Tickets range from $10.50 to $12.60 (proceeds benefit Naropa's Students for Ethnic Inclusion program and the Zora Neale Hurston scholarship fund); call 546-3540.