Thrills for the week

Thursday
October 16
The Shaw must go on: Screwball comedy may have been hatched when George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance first hit the stage earlier this century, with stuffy British underwear magnate John Tarleton for a protagonist and a Polish aviatrix as his unexpected foil. The same issues of the heart explored back then--from the man/woman kind to those that roil among family members--still provide sufficient grist for Shaw's comedic mill on the contemporary front, making the play a hilarious must-see for this year's fall theater season. The Denver Center Theatre Company's well-appointed production can be seen daily except Sundays, through November 15, at the Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; for showtimes or tickets, $27 to $33, call 893-4100.

Global village: The best way to look into the heart of a people may be through its art. The Spirit of West Africa, a traveling exhibit of textiles and sculpture from nine West African countries, will provide just such a window when it opens today at the Metro State Center for the Visual Arts, 1701 Wazee St. A public reception takes place tonight from 7 to 8; see the show, filled with intricate patterns and appliques, animal forms, natural hues and a good pinch of native folklore, through mid-December. Call 294-5207.

Meanwhile, Images of the Revolution: The Photographs of Agustin V. Casasola brings south-of-the-border history to life at the Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, where the black-and-white collection depicting the many faces of the Mexican Revolution, from the images of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa to those of unnamed peasants and soldiers, can be seen through the end of October. The Museo is open from 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday; admission ranges from $1 to $3. For information call 571-4401.

Friday
October 17
Solid hit: Not since major-league manager Tony LaRussa and some of Oakland's finest put on tights in the '80s for a whirl through The Nutcracker have baseball and dance met so neatly on stage: MOMIX, the twisty-curvy, internationally known dance troupe led by choreographer Moses Pendleton, was commissioned in 1992 by the San Francisco Giants to create a work to open the team's new Scottsdale training park, and Baseball, a unified assortment of dance vignettes based on the national pastime, was born. MOMIX performs the piece, now an evening-length program, tonight at 7:30 at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.; for tickets, $20, call 431-3939. And for the diehards, Sky Sox play-by-play man Dan Karcher and pitcher Mark Lee appear with MOMIX tomorrow at an 8 p.m. show at the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs. Admission ranges from $13 to $28; call 1-719-520-SHOW.

Chants encounter: There's no mistaking the early-music quartet Anonymous 4 for a robed band of medieval monks--these chanters are all women, experimenting boldly in the higher ranges of polyphonic singing. Tonight at 8, they'll do it by candlelight, during a haunting program of music by Hildegard of Bringen and others at St. John's Cathedral, 14th Ave. and Washington St. Tickets are $8 to $14; call 831-7115 for details.

Saturday
October 18
Fine art: The name of Bauhaus-trained artist Herbert Bayer is a familiar one in these parts--the Austrian painter and designer, who studied under Kandinsky, lived in Aspen for a number of years, and his works have been seen at the Denver Art Museum and area galleries. He's now the subject of shows appearing concurrently at the DAM and Elizabeth Schlosser Fine Art, 311 Detroit St. Herbert Bayer: Early Works on Paper, which opens today at the museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., includes a varied palette of works created between 1913 and 1938--from a watercolor painted when the artist was thirteen to a functional carpet design--and remains on view through January 4. Call 640-4433. In addition, works from Bayer's estate, including posters, prints, photos, paintings and sculpture, make up Herbert Bayer: Master of Color, an exhibit and sale running through October at the Schlosser gallery; for information call 321-4786.

Dig in: If you've spent the summer admiring those flashy city-tended floral plots around Denver, think about this: Who turns them under and tucks them in to sleep when fall hits? Maybe you could help, when Denver Parks and Recreation teams up with the Hands On Denver volunteer program to Put the Beds to Bed. Volunteers are needed today from 8 to 1 to winterize gardens at Alamo Placita, Cheesman, City, Civic Center, Cranmer, Inspiration Point and Washington parks--small payment for an entire season of sensational eye candy. And the more the merrier--over 600 workers showed up for last year's event. To register, call 964-2506--and bring a pair of gloves.

Then, if you haven't yet had your fill of furrows, witness the splendid intermingling of gardening and that all-too-human fascination for machines at the Yesteryear Tractor and Engine Display, taking place today from 10 to 4 at the Loveland Museum/Gallery, 5th and Lincoln streets, Loveland. Your drive north will be rewarded with a whole convoy of classic tractors and farm equipment, from the familiar green-and-yellow John Deeres and bright red Internationals to the more esoteric names. It's a lovely slice of old-time life; call 1-970-962-2410 for information.

Sing along with Tom: The Colorado Symphony Orchestra 7 News Family Concert Series gets off to a rousing start when children's entertainer Tom Chapin sets awhile today in Boettcher Concert Hall, at 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Chapin, who's hosted ABC's award-winning kids' show Make a Wish and the National Geographic Explorer Series in addition to touring and recording, appears for two shows at 11 and 12:30; for tickets, $7 to $13, call 830-TIXS.

Sunday
October 19
Short stuff: Autumn's well under way, the fall routine's in place, and school's already become, well, old hat. Not only that, but winter break is still weeks away. Luckily, you can always count on the Children's Museum of Denver, located along the South Platte River at I-25 and 23rd St., to challenge your children's bored little minds.

Tomie Turns 60!, a colorful tribute to children's book illustrator and author Tomie dePaola, splashes 100 pieces of original artwork from 13 of dePaola's more recent books across the museum's walls in a layout arranged to resemble rooms in a house, including a dining room outfitted for arts-and-crafts activities, a bedroom that's also a storytime theater and a living room filled with fluffy chairs and books to read. The exhibit continues through January 23. Also new this fall are a refurbished, interactive Community Market exhibit that's laid out like a miniature Wild Oats store, and the returning KidSlope outdoor ski hill. The museum is open from 10 to 5 Tuesday through Sunday; for information on exhibits, workshops and events, call 433-7444.

Favorite haunts: Denver history scholar Phil Goodstein has made the city's ignoble nooks and crannies his business, immortalizing those shadowy corners in a series of books and eccentric walking tours. Now Goodstein hops aboard a bus to lead folks on a Ghosts of Denver Bus Tour, sponsored by the Colorado Historical Society. The lunch-hour tour for adults, filled with arcane info, strange stories and even odder sights, begins at 11 at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway, and includes refreshments. Step up and chill out--admission is $30 ($25 for CHS members). Call 866-4686 for reservations.

Heaven only knows: The best reason to attend the City of Refuge Tabernacle's annual Unsung Hero Award Ceremony, aside from the obvious, is for the music--a glorious melange of melodious testifyin' at the top of their lungs by members of several local gospel groups, including the Heavenly Echoes, the Spiritual Wonders and Cliff Young and Unity. Find out exactly who is this year's unsung hero and then celebrate today from 4 to 6 at the cozy Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St. Admission is a $3 donation at the door; call 333-2017 or 288-5824 for information.

Monday
October 20
Got noise if you want it: Mondays will never be the same after you've attended Bloody Monday, an experimental music showcase spotlighting little-known local performers with even lesser-known names such as Youth Against Peanut Brittle, Marrow Lynch, EMPTYHEAD and I-69 Scenic Point of Interest Ahead. These and other instrumental noodlers tread new ground tonight at 8 at the Bug Performance and Media Center, 3654 Navajo St.; admission is $5 ($3 for students, seniors and Bug members) at the door. Call 477-5977.

Tuesday
October 21
Dangerous Wager: There's something about our rarefied Colorado air that causes resident mystery writers to thrive. Rex Burns, one of the best (and a professor of literature and writing at CU-Denver, to boot), shows up tonight at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave., to hawk The Leaning Land, which is set on Colorado's Western Slope and is the latest thriller in Burns's Gabe Wager police procedural series. The author appears at 7:30; for information call 322-7727.

Wednesday
October 22
Creep show: Classical music becomes just a little more accessible through the Jeffrey Siegel Keyboard Conversations Series, in which pianist Siegel leads audiences through favorite works, using entertaining commentary and plain old virtuosity to make his points. Siegel returns to the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., to deliver The Mystic and the Macabre, a concert/lecture of spooky works such as Scriabin's Black Mass and Liszt's Mephisto Waltz, apropos to the season. Learn while you listen--tickets are $15 and $17. Call 431-3939.

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