Thrills for the week

August 21
Walk in beauty: There's always someone marching to a different drummer, and in the local art community, it's Cherry Creek North, where galleries go against the grain of the "First Friday" arts stroll and throw their own Third Thursday Art Walks. But that's okay--it just gives us more time to cover all the ground in the arts district, extending from Josephine to St. Paul streets between First and Third avenues.

So what's happening in the Creek? For one thing, it's Contemporary Crafts Central, where, if you can't find the right unique handmade accessory, you must be doing something wrong: Show of Hands, Brigitte Schluger Gallery, the Artisan Center and a pair of Pismos, one specializing in glass and the other in furniture, all stock up-to-the-minute tchotchkes and conversation pieces. Fascination Street Gallery specializes in animation cels, while at Angler Art and Gifts, the works focus on fish; other salons feature everything from fine lithographs to museum-quality paintings and sculpture. Tonight's walk lasts from 5 to 9; for additional gallery information and phone numbers, see gallery listings on page 34.

Their back pages: Old books should never die--in the best of all worlds, they simply move from one sagging bookshelf to another. And so it goes when the annual Denver Public Library Friends Foundation Used Book Sale opens for business each summer. Featuring a prodigious and constantly changing selection of used novels, kids' books, art monographs, coffee table opuses and more, from simple paperbacks to fabulous first editions, the sale, which benefits library programs, is a first-class booklover's paradise where prices can range anywhere from 25 cents to 50 bucks. You'll find the bookish extravaganza just south of the Central Library, set up in tents at 13th Avenue and Acoma Street; sale hours are 9:30 to 5:30 today through Saturday and 11 to 4 Sunday. In addition to the main event, the DPL Friends will sponsor book signings with Colorado authors such as mystery master Robert Greer and a hands-on Zome Planet building contest using Zometool toys. Admission is free; for details call 640-6180.

August 22
Planet waves: If you can't get enough global vibrations tonight, you're in trouble--the Denver-Boulder region is virtually aglow with world beat:

Screaming-hot Latin jazz comes your way courtesy of conguero Poncho Sanchez, a compatriot of the late Cal Tjader who cut his teeth with the vibraphonist's band back in the late '70s, remaining with Tjader until his death in 1982. Sanchez now carries on in hip-shaking style as a bandleader in his own right, directing one of the top Afro-Cuban salsa bands in the world. The ensemble catches fire tonight at 7:30 at the Arvada Center outdoor amphitheater, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.; this is one case where you may want to opt for the less-expensive general lawn seating rather than the covered reserved section--there's more room to rumba. Tickets range from $10 to $17; call 431-3939.

Few musical acts span the international vocabulary with more fluency and poise than Zap Mama, an all-female quintet led by the silken-voiced Marie Daulne, an Afro-European of Belgian and Zairean extraction who shifts effortlessly from the mesmerizing rhythms of Pygmy chants and reggae music to totally Western hip hop, rap and blues grooves. Zap Mama covers an astonishing range, punctuated by Middle Eastern ululations, vocal percussion and Barry White-style treatments; to call it "world beat" is really much too simple-minded a description. Zap Mama appears tonight at 8 at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder; for tickets, $15 to $20, call 440-7666 or 830-TIXS.

For an all-American roots fix, few do it better than the Dirty Dozen, a raucous cross between a tuba-driven N'awlins marching ensemble and a brassy jazz big band. The Dozen and Bourbon Street roost tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.; admission is $8 in advance ($9 day of show). Call 322-2308 or 830-TIXS.

August 23
The heat is on: Some people like to feel the slow burn, inside and out, when dry, hot August sunshine and peppery pasillas, poblanos, jalapenos and serranos all come of age, more or less at the same time. And nothing celebrates both better than the Chicano Arts and Humanities Council's annual Chile Harvest Festival, which throws a noseful of roast-chile smoke, a mouthful of tasty Mexican cooking, an eyeful of Indo-Hispanic folk art and an earful of mariachi music into the salsa along with the fiery peppers. This year's event, 9 to 5 today and tomorrow at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St., features an art market, demonstrations and lots of song and dance; admission is $2 to $4 (children five and under free). For more information call 571-0440 or 399-1859.

Different strokes: Local musician and composer Geoff Cleveland--who not only plays the gamut of keyboards from garden-variety piano to the uppity clavinet but also plays a strange electronic something called a theremin--is simply the leader of the Emergency Broadcast Players. The rest of the revolving musical collective clearly has a mind of its own. Tonight's version, a stellar group of improvisers that includes Gramavision recording artist Ron Miles on trumpet and Miles compadre Artie Moore on bass, performs tonight at 8 at the Houston Fine Arts Center, Montview and Quebec; tickets are $8 ($5 students). The Creative Music Works sponsors the concert; for details call 759-1797.

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