Instead of the usual classical fare, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra sets its sights on a different classical-music era--in a grand way. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis appears tonight only in his capacity as director of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra for The Ellington Centennial: America in Rhythm & Tune, an anniversary tribute to Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, whose peerless compositions and arrangements raised jazz to a whole new level in the big-band era and beyond. The special evening begins at 7:30 in Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis streets; for tickets, which range from $30 to $70, drop by Performing Arts Ticketing, 1036 14th St., call 303-830-TIXS, or log on to www.coloradosymphony.org.
Banana arches rise out of stark Southwestern canyonlands, and a floating artichoke pumps blood--it's all in a day's work for artist Sandy Toland, whose fanciful visual puns will be featured in Sandyland, a one-woman show opening tonight from 7 to 10 at Zip 37, 3644 Navajo St. Toland's world remains on view at Zip through April 11; call 303-477-4525.
Old becomes new and vice-versa, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy the renaissance while it's here. Swing dancing falls into that category with double-jointed elan, perfect reason for the locally based Ballet Arts Theatre to celebrate its 25th anniversary in swinging form. Choreographer Paul Noel Fiorino's dances to music by George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, and Denver musicians Paul Conly and Ely Kurasik will be featured in Swing Into Spring, a series of anniversary performances taking place at 7:30 p.m. today and tomorrow and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Denver Civic Theatre, 721 Santa Fe Dr.; for tickets, $10 to $12, call 303-595-3821.
And then? All fired up after the dance, with nowhere to go? Wrong. Jitterbug on over to the Mirror Ball All-Star West Coast Swing Revue, an ultra-chic road tour featuring some of the new swing trend's hottest purveyors--the New Morty Show, Alien Fashion Show and Blue Plate Special. The fun begins around 10 p.m. at 9th Avenue West, 99 W. 9th Ave., and costs $10; call 303-572-8006 or 303-825-4TIX.
In East Indian classical music, it's often the mesmerizing stringed instruments you notice most, but it's the beat-keeping tablas that form the music's framework, and virtuoso tabla artist Anindo Chatterjee holds down that fort better than just about anyone else alive. Groomed from the age of four to play the subtly toned hand drums, Chatterjee performs tonight at 8 at the Boulder Public Library Auditorium, 1000 Canyon Blvd., Boulder. For tickets, $10, call 303-786-7030 or 303-447-8150.
Here's tonic for that itchy feeling: Join the Denver Gay Men's Chorus for Celebrate Spring Fever, a spring concert that jumps from chamber music sung by the DGMC classics ensemble Coro Voce to popular tunes put on with some pizzazz by the show ensemble Applause, all in the snap of some well-manicured fingers. The music begins tonight at 8 at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St.; tickets are $10. For reservations call 303-832-3462.
Barbie dolls, Star Wars action figures, Beanie Babies, Hot Wheels--if it's collectible, you'll probably be able to find it at the Collectors Supershow, an extravaganza of attic castoffs that command big bucks from all those people whose moms threw the stuff out in the first place twenty years ago. What goes around comes around. Bring your checklist and your pop-culture hankerings to the Radisson Graystone Castle, I-25 and 120th Ave., today from 10 to 4; admission is $2.50 at the door (children under ten admitted free). For information call Atomic Antiques, 303-883-0572.
No mere battle of the bands, the Capitol Hill People's Fair Entertainment Auditions offer a rare look at the true scope of Denver's entertainment community--the good, the bad, the ugly...and everything in between. Sixty acts, mostly bands, will perform throughout the day at Bella Ristorante, 1920 Market St., each hoping to earn a berth on one of the June festival's high-profile stages. Admission to the showcase is free; auditions are ongoing from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bang a drum! In the case of Matsuri Shu, we're talking about taiko, a great-granddaddy of drums, or at least one of the major progenitors. The Japanese Taiko ensemble, which performs athletically on ancient and imposing instruments that resemble big wine barrels, thunders into the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder, tonight at 7. In addition, the Denver-based One World Taiko will add its own contemporized taiko beats to the final mix. Admission is $12.75 in advance ($14.75 day of show); to reserve tickets, call 303-786-7030.
Timid fiction writers everywhere are invited to come out of the closet for The Bird of Sankofa: What's Your Story?, an informal reading inspired by the African muse Sankofa, a bird that looks backward as it moves forward, thereby symbolizing the artistic role of experience. Bring short stories, ten pages or less, to share tonight at 8 at the Bug Performance & Media Art Center, 3654 Navajo St.; admission is $3 to $5. Call 303-477-5977.