Thrills for the week

October 26
Make like a tree and leave it: You're always trying to do the right thing, but it turns out that throwing bagged leaves in the landfill--which is what happens to those left on the curb for regular garbage pickup--isn't one of them, since they don't decompose properly in the absence of sunlight, water and oxygen. So why not leave it to the experts? Denver's Leaf Collection Program designates the pesky autumn refuse for a better purpose, as compost or mulch. If you're a resident, all you have to do is drop yours off at one of the following stations, Sundays from 10 to 4, through November 16: the Sloan Lake Marina, Wolff St. and Byron Pl.; John F. Kennedy High School, 2855 S. Lamar St.; Smiley Middle School, 2540 Holly St.; Cranmer Park, 3rd Ave. and Clermont St.; Veteran's Park, Iowa Ave. and Vine St.; or the Denver Solid Waste Transfer Station at Quebec St. and Cherry Creek Dr. South. The last site is also open weekdays from 7 to 4:30 through November 14; call 640-1678 for information.

October 27
Tell it like it is: Gently strident, poignant songs, written with conviction over a span of more than 25 years, are the trademark of Bruce Cockburn, a Canadian folk-rocker who's spent much of his career quietly garnering a faithful following. His human-rights-oriented repertoire continues to grow with this year's release of his 23rd album, Charity of the Night, a well-received effort that features Cockburn's underrated, understated guitar virtuosity along with the talents of guest artists Gary Burton (see Friday) and Rob Wasserman. Hear where Cockburn's going these days when he guests tonight at 7 at an E-Town taping at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder. Jonatha Brooke, formerly of the Story, also appears; for tickets, $9 in advance ($11 day of show), call 786-7030.

October 28
Two times a lady: One of the more challenging aspects of student theater productions is following the road not usually taken. CU-Boulder's theater department shows how it's done with its production of The Cuban Swimmer and Am I Blue?, a pair of one-acts written by playwrights Milcha Sanchez-Scott and Beth Henley. Performances take place on campus nightly at 8, today through November 1, and at 2 p.m. November 2 at the University Loft Theatre; for reservations, phone the CU-Boulder box office at 492-8181.

October 29
Spooky lives: The magnificent Lumber Baron Inn, known to contemporary citizens as an elegant north Denver Victorian bed-and-breakfast, has a checkered past involving murder, mayhem and ghosts, though little attention is usually drawn to the shady tales. 'Tis the season to be eerie, however, and in keeping, the tranquil B&B reopens its doors for four days this week as the Halloween Magic Castle, offering half-hour evening tours with magician/storyteller Brian Dino. Better get in line early; tours begin hourly from 6 to 9, today through Saturday. Tickets--proceeds of which benefit the North High School Alumni Scholarship Fund--are $8 for older kids and adults, $4 for children under ten. For information or reservations call 477-8205.

Also tonight, another popular haunt casts an unearthly shadow when the Colorado Symphony Orchestra puts on a free Halloween concert featuring such fittingly chilling works as Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain and Berlioz's Witches Round, as well as a staged digest of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, replete with old Ichabod Crane and the vaunted Headless Horseman. CSO musicians will appear in costume, and attending kids will get candy treats; early arrival is recommended (doors open at 6), as latecomers risk being turned away. The concert takes place in Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; for details call 98-MUSIC.

We have all been here before: Here's a spooky thought: The members of Fleetwood Mac--who hit it platinum big in the '70s with Rumours before they decided to start thinking about tomorrow and going their own way--are back. Buckingham, Nicks, Fleetwood, McVie and McVie are touring on the merits of a new CD, The Dance, in addition to those musty ones from another time; anyone with the slightest bit of nostalgia for that bygone era better get his or her polyester-wrapped fanny--pronto--down to McNichols Arena, an old-fashioned monster venue if we've ever seen one. To purchase tickets for the 8:30 p.m. blast from the past, call 830-

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