Cone zone: It's a small and sweet way to welcome the holidays, decidedly folksy and un-hoopla-esque. The Fort Restaurant, 19192 Rte. 8, Morrison, hosts a Farolito Lighting Ceremony today from 4 to 6, in which participants tuck a piece of paper with a loved one's name written on it into a pine cone (it's a BYOPC event) and toss the cones, en masse, into a bonfire, sending the sparking messages aloft. While that warms your heart, apple cider and gingerbread cookies will warm your innards; this year's event also doubles as a tribute to Denver developer and preservationist Dana Crawford. Admission is free, but reservations are requested for an accurate cookie count; call 697-4771.
Harmonic convergence: Some of the most unusual human-made sounds ever to reach the ear will intersect tonight at the Boulder Theater when the eerie Bulgarian Voices--Angelite and Tuvinian throat-singing combo Huun-Huur Tu, direct from the lonely Siberian steppes, join forces at 7:30 for an evening of haunting harmonics and astounding mimetic vocal tones. World music has never sounded so wonderful--or so weird. The theater is located at 2030 14th St. in Boulder; for tickets, $23.10, call 786-7030 or 830-TIXS.
Know your enemy: Solidarity, action and expression of grief form a solid foundation under World AIDS Day, a growing annual rite that pays tribute to the many lives lost to AIDS while looking to a more positive future for those still living with it.
This year Denver pays respects in a big way, with a major exhibition of 600 squares from the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, on display today from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tivoli Turnhalle, located in the Tivoli Student Union, 900 Auraria Pkwy. Admission is free; call 312-0811. In conjunction with the quilt showing, the massed Colorado Quilt Chorus performs a benefit concert tonight at 8 at Montview Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St.; included is the U.S. premiere of composer Gareth Valentine's Requiem in Memory of All Those Who Have Died of AIDS. Tickets range from $15 to $100 and benefit various local AIDS programs; call 355-9941.
And if you just want some information but aren't sure where to get it, the National AIDS Hotline can be reached any day, around the clock, at the following numbers: 1-800-342-2437; Spanish-language, 1-800-344-7432; and TTY for the Deaf, 1-800-243-7889.
A light in the forest: Few holiday events sparkle more brightly in the little ones' eyes than Wildlights, the Denver Zoo's annual December nighttime festivities exemplified by otherwordly twinkling lights, animal sculptures, hot chocolate stops, and seals arfing in the dark. Wildlights opens for the season tonight and continues nightly from 5:30 to 9:30, through December 31; admission is $3 to $5 (children under three get in free). Special Daylight Savings tickets--combining regular zoo admission with Wildlights access--are also available for $5 to $7 (kids under three still free). Donate a non-perishable food item and get a buck knocked off your entrance fee; for more information call 331-4100.
Little boxes: Visual artist Susan Leopold is concerned with big, creepy issues, like the politics of watching and being watched, and she explores them in large installations that incorporate mirrors, video cameras, windows and other voyeuristic tools. But sometimes she clusters them in the smallest packages--tiny box constructions housing city scenes. Leopold, in town as part of the CU-Boulder Visiting Artist Program, will discuss her work tonight at 8 at the Sibell-Wolle Fine Arts Building, 18th and Euclid on the CU-Boulder campus; admission to the lecture is free. Call 492-6504.
Hiatt times: Sometimes you just gotta have a song, that quintessential bundle of poetry and melody that expresses your feelings for you better than you could yourself. John Hiatt, who does that better than just about anyone else (with a gruff, growling voice you'd love to claim as your own), aims to please tonight at 8 at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave., when he appears with a hand-picked band in tow. Tickets are $22.50; call 830-2525 to reserve yours.
Second lady of song: Ella was the first, but Dee Dee Bridgewater clearly pulls her own vocal weight on stage, whether she's crooning a tribute to Fitzgerald, letting loose with an elegant slice of Ellingtonia or grooving to one of Horace Silver's funky compositions. Bridgewater sings her heart out in pyrotechnic style tonight at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder, ushering in the winter leg of that venue's fine jazz series. Tickets are $16, $18 and $22; call 786-7030 for reservations.