Oral history, folklore, tall tales and flights of fancy will all take their place around the campfire at the Rocky Mountain Storytelling Festival, an annual event in Palmer Lake that immerses participants in the art of yarn-spinning for an entire weekend. Featuring an accomplished cross-section of regional performers--from tradition-keeper Bluewater of New Mexico's San Juan Pueblo to local children's musician Bonnie Phipps--the festival offers performances as well as workshops, beginning with an outdoor ghost story session tonight at 7:30 on the town's Village Green. Two full days of events appropriate for storytelling fans ages seven and up follow on Saturday and Sunday at Palmer Lake Elementary School; younger audiences are welcome at Saturday's 1:30 p.m. family concert. Festival-goers can opt for several ticket packages, including single-performance admissions and daily or weekend passes; for registration call 660-5849 or 1-800-484-6963, ext. 8253.
Strunz and Farah fans, listen up: Willie and Lobo, who do a similar eclectic instrumental duo shtick, mix gypsy rhythms, jazz, tango and at least a dozen other musical genres tonight at 7:15 at the Denver Botanic Gardens outdoor amphitheater, 1005 York St. Think fragrant gardens, elegant picnics and atmospheric dusk; for tickets, $19 ($16 DBG members), call 777-3836.
A bibliophile will tell you that no book is ever old and in the way--a little dust and tarnish just give it some dignity. Accordingly, the Rocky Mountain Book Fair, an annual venture of the Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Booksellers Association, gives itself up this weekend, heart and soul, to that philosophy at the Denver Merchandise Mart, I-25 and 58th Ave. From 4 to 9 p.m. today and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. tomorrow, fair visitors will find themselves up to their necks in first editions, out-of-print treasures, hand-bound beauties, richly illustrated children's books, maps, prints and what have you; admission is $4 ($6 both days). For details call 480-5193 or log on to www.rmaba.com.
A dubious milestone in Omaha history gets the full dramatic treatment in Max Sparber's Minstrel Show: The Lynching of William Brown, based on fact and featuring intervals of minstrel-style music of the early twentieth century. Fresh from a successful run in Nebraska, Minstrel Show opens for a Denver run tonight at 8 at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, 119 Park Ave. West; shows continue Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through August 30. Tickets for tonight's performance, a benefit for Robinson's dance company, are $30; regular admission is $15. Call 308-1080.
There's something free in the park this summer for everyone, it seems--now the artsy crowd gets its due when the Creative Film Group, a collective of Colorado independent filmmakers, screens short films under the stars tonight at 8:30 at the City Park Pavilion. Among the seven films being shown is American History by Chris Graves and South Park co-creator Trey Parker; live music by the Heftocats precedes the screening at 7. Like the great outdoors and a beautiful evening, the event is free; call 456-2424.
Folks heading north on the interstate will find plenty of reasons to stop along the way this weekend, starting with Loveland's Sculpture in the Park, an annual open-air juried sculpture exhibit that's visually striking simply in terms of its sheer variety. The huge exhibition, featuring works by 175 sculptors from around the world, takes place today and tomorrow in Benson Park, Loveland; for information call 1-800-551-1752.
Keep on tooling up the road this evening, and you'll find yourself in Fort Collins just in time to catch the National Tap Ensemble on stage at Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St. Tops in Taps, an effervescent tap showcase featuring four generations of dancers, culminates in a performance by 85-year-old tap progenitor Buster Brown; for tickets, $25, call 1-970-221-6730 or log on to www.usatap.org.
Swallow Hill's frequently recurring Cajun Fais Do-Do (that's a wild dance party, for all you non-Cajuns) is always a hit, but the local folk-music association has found a way to make it even better: Tonight's ethnic fete features what may be Cajun music's most enduring purveyors in modern times. The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band--accordionist Mark Savoy, guitarist/singer Ann Savoy and famous fiddler Michael Doucet (of Beausoleil fame)--teams up to provide the tunes for tonight's dance lesson at 7 and party at 8 at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St. Tickets are $13 ($11 Swallow Hill members); call 777-1003 or 294-9281.
Anyone brought up on Peter and the Wolf will have no trouble imagining an Instrument Petting Zoo where kids will get to mingle with the tubas and piccolos of the National Repertory Orchestra. Prior to their 4 p.m. concert at Alderfer/Three Sisters Open Space Park, Hwy. 73 and Buffalo Park Rd. in Evergreen, musicians with the NRO will offer a show-and-tell for youngsters, complete with a roving brass ensemble. Arrive with picnics at 3 for the touchy-feely session; the full orchestra concert of works by Brahms, Beethoven, Holst and Mussorgsky follows. Admission ranges from $7 to $14; call 674-1190 or 674-9149.
Love him or leave him, former major-league catcher and current baseball commentator Tim McCarver knows his game. No stranger to the art of autographing, the good ol' boy of baseball shares his knowledge--and his John Hancock--today at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St., where he'll sign copies of Tim McCarver's Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans: Understanding and Interpreting the Game So You Can Watch It Like a Pro for all you Monday-night couch potatoes out there. McCarver appears at 5; call 436-1070.