Did you ever wonder what kind of artist will sit for hours, painstakingly reconstructing a fly's eye or a parrot's foot in super-real detail? It's kind of like spending an afternoon counting the pores in your skin or snapping a slow close-up with nothing but your own eyes and hands. But, heck, someone's got to do it. The cream of that intense crop will be featured in the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators 2003 Juried Show, a fascinating eyeful of art -- some done the old-fashioned way, in pen and ink, some of it rendered in contemporary digital media -- that opens today in the Phipps Special Exhibits Gallery of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard. The mélange of natural objects, including botanicals, animals, insects, dinosaurs and other denizens of the natural world, continues through October 19; call 303-322-7009 or log on to www.dmns.org.
Friday, July 25
This month's Café Nüba multi-arts gathering at Gemini Tea Emporium, 2860 Welton Street, takes on a national angle tonight by featuring Chicago actor/musician/playwright and living treasure Oscar Brown Jr. in a one-night-only spoken-word performance. A frequent visitor to Denver, where he's participated in several live radio tapings of Richard Durham's groundbreaking mid-century Destination Freedom series (for which he was an original cast member), Brown is back to work with Destination's local revivalist donnie betts, who's filming a documentary about the African-American renaissance man. Café Nüba gets under way around 9:30 p.m. Friday, providing a great setting for betts to capture Brown in action; call 720-748-1388 or 303-298-1544 for details.
The promise of nudity is all really just a cover-up in the case of A.C.E. in the Raw: The local comedy trio -- American Linda Klein, Canadian Barbara Gehring and Englishman Matthew Taylor -- is actually unerringly nice, preferring to focus on the "fun" in funny rather than the ugly or raunchy. What's left over and out there for all to see includes hilarious characters, songs and skits; see them today or tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Jazz @ Jack's, 1553 Platte Street. Tickets are $15. Call 303-322-6750 or log on to www.acecomedy.com for reservations.
A truly raw experience, on the other hand (or body part of your choosing), is waiting for you at Whip It VIII, the annual Fetish and Fashion Ball hosted by pioneer LoDo nightclub Rock Island, 1614 15th Street, where Denver's underworld has been dancing up a sweat since long before the 15th Street viaduct fell to urban renewal. Featuring two naughty -- no, evil -- fashion shows, a leather-bound costume contest, the usual dominatrix performances and more, the event begins to rev up after 9 p.m.; admission is $10/$15 per couple. Threesomes? You'll just have to work that out at the door. Call 303-572-7625 or log on to www.rockislandclub.com.
Saturday, July 26
Love her or leave her, she's a major force on the national political scene, and at this point, sports a way higher profile than her formerly presidential hubby, Bill. Hillary Rodham Clinton is in the building -- the Tattered Cover building, that is, at 2955 East First Avenue -- to sign her enormously popular memoir Living History, the book everyone and her maiden aunt have purchased just so they can read firsthand what Hillary has to say about Bill's philandering ways. Truth is, there's much more to the book than that: Find out more when Clinton reads at the T.C. today at 4 p.m. Free tickets are available beforehand at either Tattered Cover location; for information, call 303-322-7727 or log on to www.tatteredcover.com.
You can find your inne Eastern European at the Boulder Romanian Festival, but you don't have to be of such lineage to appreciate the great folk dances, music, food, crafts and more that will be there for your enjoyment. The party -- a folkloric spectacle with wonderful eats, including sarmale (stuffed cabbage rolls), ghiveci (vegetarian stew) and pastries like Mama used to make -- begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. on the Boulder County Courthouse lawn, 14th and Pearl streets; call 303-449-2586 for information.
Sunday, July 27
If you've never seen a Tibetan Sand Mandala being created, you're in for a bit of cultural expansion: Over a period of days, robed Buddhist monks drip and drop tiny lines of colored sand into an intricate design that represents multiple spiritual levels. At the end of the process, the sands are dispersed in a healing ceremony, and the monks move back to square one until the next time. A group of monks from the Gyudmed Tantric Monastery, in residence at the Museum of Outdoor Art, 1000 Englewood Parkway, have been hard at work on a mandala since last Saturday; today at 2 p.m., they'll chant and toss it to the elements. Spectating is free; call 303-806-0444 or moaonline.org. You can cap the experience tonight at a Voices of Tibet Benefit Concert sponsored by Denver-Chennai Sister Cities; the show will feature Tibetan folk singer Gesang Quzhen -- a popular figure in her own country and principal artist of the Lhasa Tibet Song and Dance Troupe -- and her husband, opera tenor Dorji Ciren, in a performance to raise funds for sister-city programs. The music begins at 5 p.m. at 5400 East Hampden Avenue; for tickets, $10 to $15, call 303-377-2589 or 303-233-3301.
Monday, July 28
Perennial pop-acoustic favorite Shawn Colvin at the Chautauqua Auditorium? It's a natural: The rustic old music shack (actually more like a very large barn with acoustics) provides the perfect foil for Colvin's signature mixture of clear-eyed original songs and thoughtful covers, always delivered in front-and-center form, with a sweet voice, handy accompaniment and a good helping of stage smarts. Colvin settles into Chautauqua's stage, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, tonight at 8 p.m.; for tickets, $40 to $45, call 303-440-7666 or log on to www.chautauqua.com.
Tuesday, July 29
A couple of bottomless classics will be served up on the rocks tonight, and we're not talking aged whiskey or a rare Burgundy: We're talking Neil Young and Crazy Horse at Red Rocks, with Texas songsmith Lucinda Williams as a warmup. Young's lost nothing with age -- he's still broadcasting from musical bedrock, still in collusion with Crazy Horse, his right-hand band of three decades, banging a drum in rock's primeval forest and providing inspiration to new generations of musicians. And Williams is a voice we'll be hearing for years to come, too, with a lengthening battery of sharp, subtle and time-transcending songs. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. today and tomorrow for a pair of 7:30 p.m. shows under the stars; for tickets, $37.50 to $87.50, call 303-830-TIXS.
As Sex in the City prepares to teeter on spike heels into the sunset, one wonders what's next for author Candace Bushnell, upon whose best-selling book the HBO series is based. Trading Up, a fictional comedy of manners and her latest bestseller-to-be, is a good place to find out. Bushnell reads from and signs the book tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue; for details, call 303-322-7727 or log on to www.tatteredcover.com.