Humor is a soothing salve, especially when you've just been forced to pay up. In that case, the improv ensemble Comedy Helper pours on the strokes while tickling your funny bone with Of Grapes and Nuts, a new comedy that convolutes the plots of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. The show opens tonight at 8 at the Denver Civic Theatre, 721 Santa Fe Dr., and continues Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through May 15; to reserve tickets, $10, call 303-595-3821.
And in the curmudgeonly vein, Dan Hicks mixes old-time cadences and sly, laconic wit to make music that's familiar yet totally unique, like a pair of patched jeans. Hicks hits the stage at 8 tonight at the Soiled Dove, 1949 Market St.; tickets are $12. Call 303-830-TIXS.
No go? You're still in luck. Leave your hair on your head and bring your rat's nest to the main post office, 951 20th St., where the doors will be open late, from 6 p.m. to midnight, and IRS volunteers will be on hand to lend support and help you put the finishing touches on your returns. Ain't life grand?
Got a jones for vintage Colorado art? You'll find works sporting Colorado signatures culled from artist estates at the Colorado Pioneer Art Show, opening tonight with a reception from 6 to 9 at Savageau Gallery, 2230 E. Colfax Ave. The show continues through May 15; for more information, call 303-355-6101.
True to the spirit of the Bug, the local performance and media art showcase's resident theater company will present Ellen McLaughlin's Iphegenia and Other Daughters, a three-piece modernization of the mythological tale told from the women's perspective and framed by works of Euripedes and Sophocles. The play opens tonight at 8 and continues weekend evenings through May 8; post-show discussions with the playwright are scheduled for April 24 and May 2. The Bug is at 3654 Navajo St.; to reserve tickets, $10 to $12, call 303-477-5977.
They're no relation to the chewing-gum and baseball magnates, but they are twins. And on top of that, the musical Wrigley Sisters are Orcadians--not some species of whale, but inhabitants of the windblown Orkney Islands, somewhere north of Scotland and south of Norway. As one might expect, Orcadian music combines elements of both cultures to singular ends. Though they're only 24, the talented Wrigleys, who grew up playing alongside some of the Orkneys' greatest traditional musicians, keep those traditions alive while adding their own contemporary spice to the mix. They'll do it tonight at 8 at Cameron Church, 1600 S. Pearl St. Admission ranges from $10 to $13; call 303-830-TIXS.
One of the better things about spring? There are many, but the reappearance of green, growing things has to be way up on everyone's list. It's time to dig in the dirt again, and a good place to get started is at an Arbor Day Celebration sponsored by the South Suburban Park and Recreation District. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., volunteers will plant more than 400 shrubs and trees in the Willow Spring Open Space, east of Holly St. between Arapahoe and Dry Creek roads; for their trouble, they'll receive free Blue Spruce seedlings, educational presentations and, for the kids, an appearance by Smokey the Bear. For information, call 303-798-5131, ext. 133.
It's also that fortunate time of year when the Comedy Gay-La V comes to town, bringing some of the best gay/lesbian humorists in the nation to entertain. This year's crop--New Yorker Michele Balan, Oregonian Georgia Ragsdale and Texan Paula J. Williams--will have you falling out of your seats beginning tonight at 8 at the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets; for tickets, $19, call 303-830-TIXS. Concert proceeds benefit public-television station KBDI-TV/Channel 12.
Some of the area's most talented--and overlooked--independent filmmakers will bask in the flickering glow of their own films during the Creative Film Group Spring Shorts Show, a well-deserved privilege rarely afforded to their ilk. A collection of nine films that range from experimental to narrative will screen twice tonight at 5 and 7 at the Acoma Center, 1080 Acoma St., giving viewers a fresh look at film's endless possibilities. Admission is $7.
In the world of folk music, if it happened, Sing Out! was there. The industry magazine that began covering the scene back in the '50s, when folk music, as purveyed by Pete Seeger and others, was considered Leftist and even dangerous by some, has fallen on hard times in recent days. In an effort to provide support, a handful of Denver musicians--Roz Brown, Bill Barwick, Julie Davis, Harry Tuft and Mary Flower--will band together for a Benefit Concert, taking place tonight at 7 at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 71 E. Yale. Admission ranges from $4 to $8; call 303-777-1003.
Local celebrations of Israeli Independence Week kick off tonight at the Shwayder Theater, Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 S. Dahlia, with a Yom Hazikaron (Day of Remembrance) community memorial service and reception featuring Colonel Ilan Ramon, who will speak about his experiences in the Israeli military and in NASA's astronaut training program, beginning at 7 p.m.; call 303-399-2660. A family celebration follows at the center on Wednesday, featuring live performances by the Dor Sheini Song and Dance Troupe and Souvenir Russian Dance Troupe at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., with an Israeli-style dinner sandwiched in between at 6:30. A minimal fee will be charged for the meal; for reservations or information call 303-399-2660.
To a certain type of lady, the only thing more romantic than a handsome crooner is a handsome French crooner. If you're that kind of lady, it's your day: Alliance Français de Denver, the local French-language organization, presents top-notch pop crooner Julien Clerc, who fits the French crooner description like a fine leather glove, in his first-ever Denver appearance. Magnifique. Hear Clerc tonight at 7 at the Teikyo Loretto Heights Theater, 3001 S. Federal Blvd.; for tickets, $19, call 303-830-TIXS.
Kudos to the Denver School of the Arts Jazz Workshop: The member of this hardworking ensemble are on their way to New York next week for the prestigious Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Workshop, an honor that affords them a chance to play with trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis. Good for them. They could, however, use more than a pat on the back (it costs money to travel), and to that end, they'll give you a chance to hear them perform at "The Cottontail Concert: In Celebration of the Duke Ellington Centennial," a benefit performance tonight at 8 at the Casino, 2633 Welton St. Recommended donation is $10; call 303-722-4669 for details.