Drums will beat this weekend at the 25th annual Denver March Pow Wow--and then some. Considering that the American Indian cultural gathering features dancers, drummers, performers and artisans representing as many as 85 tribes nationwide, it's not hard to imagine the soulful pounding that promises to permeate the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt Ave., today through Sunday, in a flurry of meticulously hand-stitched bells, beads and feathers. Events kick off early when arts and crafts booths--over 150 of them--open for business at 9 a.m. today and 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; but the real business of each day begins with the Grand Entry, a kind of mass parade in glorious costume taking place at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. (only at 11 on Sunday), followed by furious competitions between dancers of all ages. Pow Wow admission is $6 daily ($12 three-day pass); call 303-945-8045.
Though they're not as well-known as fellow Red House labelmates Greg Brown and John Gorka, Neal & Leandra are one of frozen Minnesota's hidden treasures--an original folk duo subtly distinguished by achingly perfect harmonies and thoughtful narrative lyrics. They're also a married couple, which doesn't seem to hurt the aura; if anything, it enhances the sense of togetherness one gets from their repertoire. Neal & Leandra appear tonight at 8 at Swallow Hill Music Hall, 71 E. Yale Ave.; for tickets, $10 to $12, call 303-777-1003.
In this world, New Year celebrations never really seem to end; if you search the globe's countless cultures, you'll probably find one going on somewhere at any given time. A case in point: The Tajik New Year, an offshoot of the Persian celebration Navruz (New Day), is celebrated on March 21 in Boulder's sister city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and other Central Asian locales. But you can celebrate, too, from 2 p.m. until closing at the picturesque Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, an authentic venue crafted in Boulder by Tajik artisans and now open for business at 1770 13th St., Boulder. There will be live music, dance, poetry and storytelling throughout the day, as well as special Tajik treats traditionally served up during the holiday; a silent art auction benefiting orphaned children in Tajikistan takes place from noon to 8:30. For details, call 303-752-7066 or 303-545-1971.
When jazz artist Jaki Byard passed away in February, he left behind a performance legacy that included stints on the music's cutting edge with artists such as Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Roland Kirk, as well as a considerable solo catalogue and a long list of music students grateful for his weighty insights. The victim of a shooting, he also left behind a family. Local pianist Geoff Cleveland, who studied with Byard, has organized the Jaki Byard Memorial Benefit Concert, with Joe Bonner, Ron Miles and others, today at 4 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1600 Grant, both as a tribute and as a fundraiser: Proceeds taken from the $10 admission price will go to the Byard family or a charity of their choice. Call 303-321-3580.
Denver is author Phil Goodstein's oyster, and he's spent years mulling the tales and details of her colorful history. Whenever he gets on the subject, Goodstein is nothing if not entertaining, making his eccentric city walking tours a popular item at the Colorado Free University. So climb aboard: Goodstein introduces the curious to Washington Park today from 11 to 1 (meet at the Wynken, Blynken and Nod statue, Franklin St. and Exposition Ave.), and future foot treks include jaunts through various cemeteries, gawking trips among Capitol Hill mansions of old, a spooky ghost walk, a Seamy Side of Denver tour accentuating the rougher chapters of the city's history and other unique points of view. Tours are $10 ($30/four-tour package); for more information call CFU, 303-399-0093, or 303-333-1095.
All aboard: A last salute to the days when trains were trains, the California Zephyr, introduced to the railways in 1949, put a touch of class back in train travel, which suffered in the age of automobiles and airplanes. Sporting streamlined design elements and the then-innovative vista-dome cars that allowed passengers an unobstructed view similar to that possible from a locomotive cab, the Zephyr whizzed between Chicago to Oakland and offered panoramic views of great American scenery along with upgraded service features that included Zephyrette hostesses. Well, guess what. It was fifty years ago Friday that the original Zephyrs commenced their maiden runs, and the Colorado Railroad Museum, 17155 W. 44th Ave., Golden, will celebrate with a new historical exhibit of photos and memorabilia, as well as the dedication of two restored 1955 Zephyr locomotives. Former Zephyr employees will be on hand for a reception beginning at 1 today; the exhibit continues through July 3. Call 303-279-4591.