Thrills for the week

January 1
Strauss relief: In the past, the only place one could possibly experience the Vienna Philharmonic's traditional Neujahrkonzert was in Vienna--or sitting in front of the tube, where the New Year's Day fete is televised yearly. Not the same, is it? Now, thanks to the efforts of Toronto promoter Attila Glatz, the equally grand Salute to Vienna re-creates the musical event in selected cities across North America. In Denver, the Strauss Symphony of America waltzes in the year this afternoon at 2:30 in Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, with music as rich and fluffy as an overstuffed cream puff. Take a trip down the Blue Danube: Call 830-TIXS for tickets and information.

January 2
Get thee to the galleries: On what's truly a First Friday--of the year, that is--the town is still a bit sleepy. But while they're sweeping up at the clubs, restocking shelves in the markets and exchanging misgivings at the malls, local art galleries will greet the new year with a frosty fresh blast of, well, art.

LoDo galleries start the year with a splashy, frolicsome opening--the annual WOW Show: Wide Open Whatever, at CORE New Art Space, 1412 Wazee St.--and several elegant exhibition wrap-ups, including Patti Cramer's well-received show at 1/1 Gallery, 1715 Wazee St.; Manuel Neri's gold-daubed works across the street at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee St.; and watercolors from Ireland at the William Matthews Gallery, 1617 Wazee St. Stroll the area from 5 to 9 p.m.; for more information, call 820-3139. And due south, along the Broadway corridor and South Pearl Street, you can still catch photographs of the Denver Salon at Rule Modern and Contemporary, 111 Broadway; printmaking demos at Open Press, 40 W. Bayaud Ave.; or a small-works exhibit at Artyard, 1251 S. Pearl St., also from 5 to 9. Call 778-6990.

In addition to the organized gallery walks, some interesting side trips might include the Mackey Gallery, 2900 W. 25th Ave., where Phil Bender and a host of artist friends have installed a found-object carnival made from cast-off beauty supplies (call ahead for hours, 455-1157), and the nearby Pirate, a Contemporary Art Oasis, 3659 Navajo St., where shows by members, associate members and ILK co-op members are all on display from 7 to 10 p.m. (call 458-6058 or 615-5725). Or check out the Abend Gallery, 899 Broadway, where several gallery painters and sculptors will work while you watch (call 572-3081 for additional information).

Rant 'n' roll: One of Boulder's best-known celebrities is also one of its most vocal--though to be fair, this politically charged loudmouth left the mellow shadow of the Flatirons twenty-some years ago, and not everyone knows he grew up just blocks from JonBenet's fated abode. After Jello Biafra hightailed it to the West Coast in '78, he made his name fronting frenetic Cal-punk band the Dead Kennedys; now he's honed his sociopolitically educational diatribes into a diamond-hard spoken-word performance shtick. The vociferous Jello speaks his truth--and nothing but his truth--tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.; for tickets, $8, call 322-2308 or 830-TIXS.

January 3
Magic in the music: Sleight of hand meets the classics when the Colorado Symphony Orchestra's 7News Family Concert Series presents Symphony and the Sorcerer, a mirthful all-ages extravaganza guaranteed to instill in the kids a new-found appreciation for high-brow orchestral maneuvers. Host Alexi the Ukrainian Wonder will guide audiences through excerpts from famous works by Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and others, today at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Admission is $7 to $10; call 830-TIXS to reserve tickets.

Thinking the unsinkable: You've seen the movie. Now see the landmark home of Titanic heroine Molly Brown (her real name, incidentally, was Margaret; like the famous ocean liner's more famous plunge, "Molly" was just an accident). Today's the day to do it: Admission to the Molly Brown House Museum, the Victorian "House of Lions" at 1340 Pennsylvania St., is free all day. Still decked out in special holiday dressings and offering post-season discounts in its carriage-house gift shop, the museum is a well-preserved homage to Colorado lore. Once in the mood, continue your day in old Denver at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, 1880 Gaylord St., where admission is also gratis for the day; exhibits there include colorful displays of Christmas nutcrackers, Hanukkah dreidels and gingerbread houses. Both museums are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; for details call 832-4092 or 322-1053.

Walk with the animals: Weather cooperating, this could be the perfect day for a winter tramp in the semi-wild. At Barr Lake State Park, 13401 Picadilly Rd. near Brighton, a Winter Wildlife Viewing Hike from 9 to 11 this morning includes sightings of deer, hawks and maybe eagles along the way. C'mon--it'll do your creaky bones good. The standard park entrance fee is $4 per carload; the hike is free. To register in advance, call 659-6005.

January 4
Don't it drag on? KTCL's Brew and View night at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., takes on a whole new wardrobe this month with a fanciful double bill of drag-queen epics, Paris Is Burning and Priscilla, screening on Sunday evenings throughout January. The Bluebird, a knockout venue for film viewing, with tiered, cabaret-style seating and a generous selection of microbrewed beers at the snack bar, makes a great setting for an evening of pathos and plumage; even better is the $3 admission price. Shows are at 7 and 9 p.m.; a live drag performance spices things up between flicks. For information call 322-2308.

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