The Evil Companions Literary Award, presented annually by Colorado State University's Colorado Review to a poet or writer with ties to the West, goes this year to author Dorothy Allison, whose stark, straightforward style first caught readers right between the eyes in Bastard Out of Carolina, a semi-autobiographical account of child abuse in the Deep South. California resident Allison accepts her laurels and signs her new novel, Cavedweller, in which a Georgia-born L.A. rock singer returns after ten years in Tinseltown to the South and the two daughters she left behind, tonight at 6 in the Oxford Hotel's Sage Room, 1600 17th Ave. Tickets for the reception are $35 ($60 couple); proceeds benefit the Review. For reservations, call 1-970-491-5449.
Boulder's Eye for an I Cinema, an independent-film venue celebrating five years of eclectic screenings of locally made film and video works, will extend its borders this year to include artists from Texas and the Pacific Northwest when it presents a new spectrum of film shorts tonight in conjunction with the University of Colorado-Boulder's International Film Series. The anomalous bill includes Redhead, by El Mariachi director Richard Rodriguez; Plastic Ass Takes a Trip, a surreal romp peopled by toys and scored with eerie found music from old sci-fi flicks; Scarlett, a drag-queen documentary; and two other films. Showtimes are 7 and 9 p.m. in Chem 140 on the CU-Boulder campus; admission is $6 ($5 students). Call 492-1531.
Another recurring Boulder phenomenon, feminist performance group Vox Femina, returns for its annual show tonight at 8 at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St. In Abracadabra! Oh...The Gluttonous Rapture!, the multimedia, "multi-passionate" activist ensemble takes on everything from the McCaughey septuplets to the unsolved Suzannah Chase murder; admission ranges from $8 to $12. Call 294-9258 or 545-0107.
There's really no box that can hold Loudon Wainwright III. His reedy, uncertain singing voice and cutting sense of humor, both instantly recognizable, put a whole new spin on the usual singer-songwriter-with-a-guitar genre. Wainwright, an old veteran who never fails to amuse and surprise, takes the stage tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.; for tickets, $15 to $18, call the Swallow Hill Music Association at 777-1003.
The hardest part of being a jazz lover in the metro area tonight will be deciding where to go. The talent will virtually overflow in these parts after the sun goes down. Flip a coin or draw straws, 'philes--here are some of your choices:
Lauded young trumpeter Roy Hargrove performs Latin-flavored material from Habana, a recent Grammy-winning recording he made with an all-star lineup dubbed Crisol. Of the many fine musicians on that album, ranging from pianist Chucho Valdez and saxophonist David Sanchez to guitarist Russell Malone, only trombonist Frank Lacy joins Hargrove on tour, but expect all the right spicy undercurrents from a fine quintet of players that includes Larry Willis on piano. Hear them tonight at 7 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.; for tickets, $17, call 322-2308 or 830-TIXS.
The other Marsalis--far-roving Branford Marsalis, that is--covers the musical bases tonight at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder, where he stylishly closes out the venue's Winter Jazz series at 8. Branford, who's known for hopping genres and thumbing his nose at some of the same traditions his brother Wynton obsesses over, proves he can still play it straight when he brings by drummer Jeff Watts, pianist Kenny Kirkland and bassist Eric Revis for a no-nonsense set of jazz. Tickets range from $26 to $35; call 786-7030.
In another rousing season-closer, some of the best traditional jazz artists working today--including young guitarist Howard Alden, veteran drummer Jake Hanna and clarinetist Warren Vache--will gather tonight at 7 at the Adam's Mark Hotel, 1550 Court Pl., for the last of this year's popular Summit Jazz Mainstream Concert Series concerts. The series, a by-product of the old Dick Gibson concerts, consistently presents fine jams with impeccable musicians; for tickets, $30, call 670-8471.
You'll be up to your whiskers in fancy felines this weekend when the Cat Fanciers Association Spring Allbreed Cat Show sets up from 9 to 4 today and tomorrow at the National Western Expo Hall, I-70 and Brighton Blvd. The show not only features up to 450 well-groomed pusses competing for blue ribbons, but it also wheels out the latest cat toys and products for folks to peruse. Admission ranges from $3 to $6 ($15 for a family of four); call 660-3504 for details.
Rarely does the combination of weird and sublime come together more gracefully than it does for the Silver Apples, an under-underground lo-fi electronica outfit that's been rattling around the fringes of popular music since the late '60s. Synthesizer pioneer Simeon and drummer Dan Taylor peek out from under the old rug of time tonight at 9 at the Bug Performance & Media Art Center, 3654 Navajo St., bringing their first new material in more than 25 years--something called "Fractal Flow"--with them. Admission is $7; call 477-5977.
If you haven't reclined this weekend at a seder or don't want to drag yourself bleary-eyed up to the foothills for sunrise services, you'd better start making plans for Easter Sunday. Morning worshipers have at least two outdoor alternatives, both closer to home than the Red Rocks Amphitheater. The bright-eyed and bushy-tailed can greet the holiday morning at Smith Lake in Washington Park, where Washington Park United Church of Christ holds an Easter Sunrise Celebration at 6; in case of a blizzard, services will move indoors to the church, 400 S. Williams St. Call 777-5304. Later in the a.m., the Cherry Hills Community Church's Easter Celebration at Fiddler's Green gets under way at 10 at Fiddler's Green, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., with live choir music and special guests A Cross Between. Call 791-4100. And if you're already up to your neck in spring powder in the mountains, an Easter Interdenominational Sunrise Service takes place this morning at the base of Winter Park Resort. Afterward, festivities turn to a Golden Bunny Egg Hunt and Race; for information call 1-970-726-5514, ext. 1727. Urban-dwelling youngsters can conduct their own searches during an Easter Egg Hunt at the Children's Museum of Denver, I-25 and 23rd Ave. The hunt is on at noon; after the spoils are divided, clown Bob Fox performs inside the museum. See Fox for $1 (in addition to the regular museum admission of $2 to $5); for details call 433-7444.