There'll be plenty of music and fanfare tonight when the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Awards are handed out at Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis streets, with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Denver School of the Arts Orchestra providing good measures of both. Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" will appropriately open the evening's agenda at 7:30, followed by works of Bach, Elgar and Beethoven; a number of local choirs will then collaborate on a "We Shall Overcome" finale destined to shake Boettcher's rafters in King's memory. Admission to the event, which also includes video tributes, is free; for information call 303-894-7822 or 303-292-5566.
Expect nothing less than utter hilarity from cartoonist/novelist/one-of-a-kind rebel Erika Lopez, whose raunchy, half-Puerto Rican lesbian biker heroine Tomato "Mad Dog" Rodriguez--already immortalized in Lopez's first novel, Flaming Iguanas--returns for a second romp through They Call Me Mad Dog! A Novel for Bitter, Lonely People, a mind-blowing experience from cover to cover. Lopez zips in from San Francisco to read from and autograph copies of her new yarn tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Bookstore, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; for details call 303-322-7727.
Over on the west side of town, 24 members of the Edge Gallery co-op will show the world what cooperation is all about with their annual Edgestremist Show, composed this year of 240 sixteen-inch-square works displayed in the form of a collaborative installation by the whole kit and kaboodle. It's a fitting way to welcome the new year at Edge, located at 3658 Navajo St.; check it out tonight at a reception from 7 to 10. The gallery-wide installation remains on view through January 24; call 303-477-7173.
Yeehaw again! The National Western Stock Show, our cowtown's crowning event, pulls into town today for its 93rd year, and it just keeps getting bigger, better, richer, shinier and smellier. In this year's version, you've got your PRCA rodeo performances (23 in all), your expanded schedule of Wild West shows and pro bull-riding events, your horse shows and your livestock exhibitions, as usual. But you've also got a dollop of that ol' "I dunno whut" that keeps folks coming back for more year after year. Events take place once again at the Denver Coliseum and National Western Complex, I-70 and Brighton Blvd.; general gate admission is $1 to $7, while tickets to special performances range from $8 to $30 per event. Call 303-830-TIXS.
So you're just not a livestock person? You can leave your cowboy duds at home for either of two unique concerts tonight. French fingerstyle guitarist Pierre Bensusan, an incredible technician whose drop-dead, globally influenced licks are as beautiful as they are well-executed, performs at 8 at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 71 E. Yale Ave. And if his instrumental and ethnomusicological virtuosity alone weren't enough of an enticement, wait till you hear him sing. Gorgeous. Tickets are $14 ($12 Swallow Hill members); call 303-777-1003. Then there's the Lionel Young Band, featuring Denver's own blues/jazz violinist Young, who walked away from a classical-music career to pursue his musical passions. Young and his band appear tonight at 8 at the Houston Fine Arts Center, 7111 Montview Blvd., to help the Creative Music Works celebrate its tenth anniversary in style. Admission is $8 at the door ($5 for students and CMW members); call 303-759-1797 for information.
The Mizel Family Cultural Arts Center kicks off yet another ambitious, ongoing multi-disciplinary project when Red Scare/Black List: McCarthyism and the Arts debuts today at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., with an art opening and concert designed to tie together cultural aspects affected by the McCarthy era, especially as they pertained to the Jewish-American community. Red Menace: Art and Film Under Fire, an exhibition combining posters, photographs and letters documenting the period with works by socially conscious artists and printmakers of the time, opens at 5:30, followed at 7:30 by Americana: Gershwin, Bernstein, Copland and Foss, the first in a series of concerts by the Colorado Chamber Players featuring works by Jewish-American composers. In addition, a film series begins February 4. The gallery show continues in the Singer Gallery through May 2 (call 303-399-2660, ext. 151); for concert tickets, $8 to $10, call the box office at 303-316-6360.
There's a cultural treasure living in Boulder, and his name is Brakhage. The independent experimental filmmaker, whose work Dog Star Man is included in the Library of Congress's 100 best films, will be honored with a week-long Stan Brakhage Film Festival on the occasion of his 66th birthday. Events commence this evening at 8 with an artist-present celebration at Penny Lane, 1795 Pearl St., Boulder, followed by three nights of interviews and world-premiere television broadcasts of Brakhage works on Boulder's CATV/Channel 54 (tune in from 4 to 6 p.m. nightly, January 12-14). For fans not living within broadcast range, the fest culminates next weekend with a film retrospective from 7 to 10 p.m. January 15 and 16 at the Boulder Public Library, 1000 Canyon Blvd., and a presentation of recent works at 7:30 p.m. January 17 in CU-Boulder's Sibell-Wolle Fine Arts Building. All events and screenings are free; for more information call 303-443-7514.