While playwright August Wilson reworks his script for Jitney, originally scheduled by the Denver Center Theatre Company during this time slot, director Israel Hicks will take a break from his ongoing Wilson marathon to stage something a little different. Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky stays in the vein of Wilson's generational explorations of changing African-American society by focusing on the Harlem of the late Twenties and early Thirties, as its period of cultural renaissance gives way to the Great Depression. And like Wilson, Cleage injects a music-inspired tone to the proceedings, giving it a form Hicks likens to a blues song. Blues opens tonight at 8 for previews in the Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; shows continue daily except Sundays, through April 25. To reserve tickets, $22 to $25 for previews or $27 to $33 for regular performances beginning March 26, call 893-4100.
If the spiritually uplifting harmonies of South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo seem like the unearthly soundtrack to a dream, it's no mistake. Leader Joseph Shabalala says those harmonies came to him in a dream, which helped him teach the sound to the rest of the ensemble. That was in 1964. Since then, the guys have ridden to international fame on the coattails of Paul Simon, who introduced them to the world on his Graceland album. And yes, they were the ones who sweetly bid you to buy Lifesavers Candy in a Clio Award-winning commercial. Ladysmith Black Mambazo appears tonight at 7:30 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; for tickets, $18.90 in advance ($19.90 day of show), call 786-7030 or 830-TIXS.
Registered dancers representing 72 American Indian tribes will converge this weekend for the annual Denver March Pow Wow, beginning this morning at 9:30 at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt Street. But in spite of the many competitions and demonstrations planned, the Pow Wow is far more than a dancefest--arts and crafts vendors, storytellers, drummers and tasty fry bread all add to the fun. Grand Entries, where everyone promenades in tribal finery, take place twice, at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. today and tomorrow, and at 11 a.m. only on Sunday; other displays and events are ongoing each day from early in the morning to late in the evening. Admission is $5 daily ($10 for a three-day pass; children under six and elders over sixty get in free). Call 377-3724 for information.
Members of the David Taylor Dance Theatre step lightly into the Teikyo Loretto Heights Theatre, 3001 S. Federal Blvd., tonight for an evening of Contemporary Classics highlighted by a premiere work, Anais, based on the literary love triangle between poet Anais Nin and Henry and June Miller and set to music by Ravel. Also included on the bill are an updated Rite of Spring take by New York choreographer Milton Myers and reprise performances of DTDT's Five Ladies and Time's Up. The program repeats tomorrow at 2 and 8 p.m.; for tickets, $15 to $20, call 797-6944.
The days when being an artist was synonymous with being a black sheep are over. The artist's skillful eye reaches a new level in Beyond Representation, this year's Visiting Artist Program at the Rocky Mountain School of Art and Design. The culminating documentary exhibition, which explores in very concrete terms the areas in which fine art and professional life can cross paths, features looks at similar yet very different hyper-realistic works by sculptor John De Andrea (you'll recognize his look-twice nudes from shows at the Denver Art Museum), John Gurche's lifelike reconstructions of paleo-hominids, and dinosaurs by Gary Staab. All three artists appear at a reception tonight from 6 to 9 at the school's Fine Arts Center, 6875 E. Evans Ave.; for details call 753-6046.
Gallery owners and artists come together tonight in an act of unity meant to strengthen their community while offering help to one of its own: gallery maven Brigitte Schluger, who is undergoing costly treatment for leukemia. Brigitte's Bash and Art Auction puts plenty of great donated art, special premiums and collectibles on the block tonight at 8 (silent-auction viewing begins at 6:30) at the Mackey Gallery, 2900 W. 25th Ave.; serious bidders can preview the trove from noon to 6 March 19 and 20. A $5 donation is requested at the door; call 455-1157.
Speed counts for old-fashioned flatpickers like Steve Kaufman, but not at the expense of good technique and a tuneful ear. Kaufman--of whom flatpicking giant Doc Watson has said, "The boy can pick!"--covers the gamut of the old-time American music book, knitting Appalachian fiddle tunes, swing and bluegrass into an accomplished repertoire. Along with Kaufman, you'll hear similar sounds from the White Lightning String Band, which opens for the guitarist when he performs tonight at 8 at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St. Tickets are $10 to $12; call 777-1003.
It's hard to imagine having the energy to lift a paintbrush well into your nineties, let alone being able to continue creating vibrant artwork, but Hungarian-born painter Roland Detre has done it with dynamic ease. The Legacy of Roland Detre--opening today at Elizabeth Schlosser Fine Art, 311 Detroit St., with a 2 p.m. reception--celebrates the local artist's 95th birthday by presenting works from his estate that boldly span decades. Detre's work, which shows no sign of wear, can be viewed at the gallery through April 18; call 321-4786.
The sounds of nature intersect with music today when the Colorado Symphony Orchestra/7News Family Concert Series presents The Voice of the Planet, a musical paean to the aural environment that's especially tailored to youthful sensibilities. Featuring the West African rhythms of the Kusogea Nobi Drum Ensemble, choreography by the David Taylor Dance Theatre, booming solo work by CSO tympanist Bill Hill and stormy lighting effects by Philip Heister, the program takes on weather, the ocean, the rainforest and Hill's original work Funky Little Crustaceans today at 2:30 at Boettcher Hall, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. It may sound like kid stuff to you, but a good time is guaranteed to everyone in the hall. Admission is $7 to $13; call 830-TIXS.
For some of us, there's really only one awards show that matters. And even if we're not quite sure why they're so enduringly important, the Academy Awards are just that much more elegant, glamorous, prestigious, hokey and enthralling than all the rest. Good reason, then, to dress up for the Denver Film Society's annual Party With Oscar, beginning at 6 at the Westin Hotel Tabor Center, 1672 Lawrence St. As always, there'll be giant screens and additional monitors blasting the ceremonies your way direct from Hollywood, a light buffet and ballots for a "Predict the Winners" contest ($5 each, $12 for three or $20 for six). Admission ranges from $45 to $55; call the film society at 595-3458.
Why is this night different from all other nights? If you don't know the answer, then hie on over to Passover University, taking place tonight from 7 to 9:30 at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 S. Dahlia St. Interfaith couples stumbling into shared rituals for the first time might also want to attend a special 5:30 p.m. dinner preceding the one-night educational event. And there's no reason for those steeped in Judaic culture to stay away, either--classes in gourmet Passover cooking and crypto-Jewish perspectives on the holiday will be offered right alongside "How to Lead a Seder" and other basics. Don't leave the kids at home--there are hands-on activities planned for them as well. Admission is $5 in advance ($7 day of event); reservations are required. Call 399-2660, ext. 161.
Chef John Ash, a prolific cookbook author and culinary director of Fetzer Vineyards in California, has written the book--literally--on "The Art of Food and Wine Pairing," the theme of tonight's Share Our Strength Benefit Dinner. Ash, along with several local chefs and a fine selection of Fetzer and Bonterra wines, will preside tonight at 6 at Assignments Restaurant, located at the Colorado Institute of Art's School of Culinary Arts, 675 S. Broadway. Reservations are required, and admission is $100 per person; call 778-6625.