In your face: There's no denying it: Dan Bern's new CD does bear a fleeting resemblance to a certain folk-singing urchin from Hibbing, Minnesota. Minutes into the spin, however, you'll also realize just how much Bern is his own songwriter. His topical litany includes musings on the Oklahoma City bombing, suburbia and Marilyn Monroe--all subjects you'll view through new eyes when Bern sings about them tonight at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St. Two shows are scheduled, at 8 and 10 p.m.; for tickets, $12 ($10 members), call 777-1003.
Younger than yesterday: Want to hear some other kids who have no problem finding creative, poignant and disturbing ways to express themselves? Take a swat at Fresh Bugs, which features teenage poet/performers David Blatt, Jeni Murphy, Alyssa Carver, Daniel Scheimberg and Drew Tittle along with older guest poets, musicians, storytellers and filmmakers. The Bug brigade will kick off what's to become a weekly Sunday night occurrence at the Bug Media and Performance Center, 3654 Navajo St. The free-form celebration of the imagination gets under way at 7; admission is $3. Call 477-5977.
Ragged glory: One might argue that no rock star has performed under the shifting mantle of his own mystique longer than Neil Young, one of the few members of the pop-music old guard who never seems to lose critical respect. His on-again, off-again collaborators over the years--Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot and Poncho Sampedro of Crazy Horse--have kept up with Young along the way, not just backing him up, but matching and sparring with his genius at every turn. A big fan himself, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise, Night on Earth) has focused his lens on the symbiosis between Young and his musical cohorts. The resulting flick, Year of the Horse, is a combination of concert footage, interviews and pure ethos in a bottle. The intimate rock-doc, which made its premiere recently at the Denver International Film Festival, is now in mid-run at the Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway. We can't think of a better way to avoid Monday Night Football. For showtimes and ticket prices, call 744-6796.
A stitch in time: Fans of the textile arts might want to cast their ballots today for two new quilt exhibits in the area: The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, 111 Washington Ave., Golden, is taking a break from its revolving series of exhibits to showcase Favorites From the Museum Collection, a gorgeous array of hand-stitched comforters that includes a silk crazy quilt, beautifully complex appliqued pieces and a quilt made from dress scraps by pioneer women. The show continues at the museum through January 3; admission is $2. Call 277-0377.
Boulder Under Cover, which just opened at the Boulder Museum of History, 1206 Euclid Ave. in Boulder, is celebrating intricate quilts with a Boulder background, including a delicate trapunto work, doll-sized blankets, a storytelling album quilt and a racy coverlet pieced from old long johns. The show runs through November, and it's only one of the many exhibits on display at the museum. For details call 449-3464.
Great Scots: Musical magic drifts into town on gossamer wings tonight when Scottish singer/songwriter Dougie MacLean, a veteran of the Tannahill Weavers and Silly Wizard, pairs up with finger-style guitarist Bert Jansch, an outright master of technique and a cornerstone of the classic British folk-rock trio Pentangle, at Cameron Church, 1660 S. Pearl St. Tickets are $13 to $15; call 1-800-444-SEAT.
Wayne's World: Safe in the knowledge that his lovely wife is back among the conscious after being leveled by a pane of flying safety glass, hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky will lead the New York Rangers into McNichols Arena tonight at 7 for a shootout with the Colorado Avalanche. Tickets are sold out for the Great One's lone Denver appearance this season, but grab a cold Molson's and turn your TV to the Fox Sports Rocky Mountain cable channel to catch the action. Can the Gretz outskate Super Joe Sakic? Take off, hoser