Jazz has another phenom of a female vocalist to contend with: Kansas City singer Karrin Allyson is racking up the kudos left and right these days while knocking out great albums on the Concord Jazz label. So why have you never heard of her? Who knows--Allyson's substantial talents should help clear up that problem when she performs tonight at 7:15 at the Denver Botanic Gardens outdoor amphitheater, 1005 York St., a favorite summertime concert venue that's intimate, acoustically excellent and pleasantly laid-back. Tickets are $20 ($17 for DBG members); call 303-777-3836.
Poetry lovers can get their fill of verse this weekend--as long as they've got a full tank of gas at the outset. Tonight at 8, the Naropa Institute presents a free rap and reading by bohemian/poet/musician/firebrand Jim Carroll, whose early memoir The Basketball Diaries was immortalized on the silver screen a few years back with Leonardo DiCaprio in the starring role. Carroll performs in Naropa's Summer Writing Program Tent, 2130 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder; call 303-546-5290. Then head north: Tomorrow night at 7, the town of Loveland hosts Poets in the Park, a reading showcase for Pulitzer Prize-winner Yusef Komunyakaa, Billy Collins (Poetry Magazine's Poet of the Year in 1994) and NEA fellow Tim Seibles at the City of Loveland Civic Center Foote Lagoon, 500 E. 3rd St. The event, the culmination of a week of workshops and lectures by the poetic trio, is free; call 1-970-667-4611, ext. 332.
Always exhilarating, Boulder's annual month-long Colorado Dance Festival gets under way tonight when Flamenco Latino, a new company combining fiery Latin popular dance styles with flamenco, the daddy of them all, performs at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder. Led by troupe-founders Aurora Reyes and Basilio Georges, this company, which performs to a glut of rhythmic hand-clapping and percussion, should have audience members stomping in their seats. The performance repeats tomorrow at the same time; for tickets, $22 to $30, call 303-442-7666.
It's hot out there, but if you're comfortable with it, the annual Nude Recreation Weekend at Mountain Air Ranch in Littleton offers a different take on ways to keep cool during the long, hot summer. A clothing-optional introduction to the resort's family-oriented nude recreation opportunities, the weekend features a seminar at 10 a.m. today and tomorrow, a tour of facilities and, today only at 2, a poolside concert by a local band. Discounted admission for visitors is $7.50, and tours are by appointment; for reservations, information or directions call 303-697-4083 or log on to www.trynude.com.
There's plenty of action for other types of adventurers around town this weekend. Some of the county's finest paddlers will converge in Golden for the American Canoe Association's Open Canoe Slalom Championships, today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Not only is this the first time ACA nationals have been held in the Denver area, it also offers Golden a great opportunity to show off its new state-of-the-art Clear Creek Whitewater Park, which provides the site for a 25-gate slalom, combined slalom/downriver sprint and numerous other events, including a barbecue dinner topping off today's bouts at 6 p.m. Call 303-444-3979, 303-678-1705 or 303-969-8415.
If you're afraid of the water, another crew of national competitors will be in town for the Rocky Mountain National Pro-Factory BMX Races, taking place this weekend at Sky High BMX II, Lutz Sports Complex, 58th and Miller, Arvada. National races begin at 11 a.m. today and at 8 tomorrow; arrive early today for practice rounds. Spectator admission is free; call 303-331-2305.
Tonight, this year's Central City Opera repertory moves into full swing when Kurt Weill's Street Scene premieres at 8, joining Puccini's site-appropriate Girl of the Golden West and Strauss's classic Die Fledermaus for a summer of high-rise arias in the 121-year-old Central City Opera House. Mainstage admission, which allows you to try out the venue's new theater-style seats, ranges from $30 to $65; evening and matinee performances continue through early August. Call 303-292-6700 or 1-800-851-8175.
If it's been a while since you last saw an E-Town taping, the time could be right to drop in on the public radio program that mixes ecological chitchat with live performances by renowned artists of every musical ilk. Tonight, you can sample the acidic wit of songwriter Loudon Wainwright III and the old-timey, Piedmont-style blues of Cephas and Wiggins beginning at 7 p.m. at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; it's one of the few opportunities in the region for your own, personal applause to be broadcast over the airwaves nationally. For tickets, $11, call 303-786-7030.
Good times are in flower in the mountains, along with the indigenous flora of mid-summer--a perfect excuse to veg out at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, a week-long assortment of workshops, tours and lectures taking place at the gorgeous mountain resort today through July 18. For registration information, call 1-970-349-2571; for lodging reservations, call 1-800-215-2226. The summer-long Vail Valley Festival of Flowers continues to bloom during Artists in the Gardens, an annual week-long outdoor demonstration sampler of local artisans who work to the accompaniment of the Bravo! Colorado music festival's young musicians program. Wander and watch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, today through July 17, in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, I-70, Exit 176, Vail; for details call 1-970-476-0103.