Keep on the sunny side: Colorado bluegrass band Southern Exposure will warm your winter tonight when the five-piece combo quick-picks an array of traditional tunes. The show is part of Broomfield's Winter Concert Series, which focuses on nationally known folk artists hailing from our region. The group performs at 7 p.m. at the new Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Park Drive in Broomfield; for tickets, $5 to $13, call 303-292-6700 or log on to www.ensembleticketing.com. Mollie O'Brien wraps up the series on March 18; for additional event information, call the Broomfield Cultural Affairs Arts Hotline at 303-469-3301, ext. 7999, or log on to www.ci.broomfield.co.us/cultural.
Friday, February 20
Ingmar Bergman should be proud. Sweden's newest filmmakers -- an eclectic group that includes immigrants from Uganda, Lebanon and Iran -- are on the rise and gaining notice for their fresh works, many of which have cross-cultural themes. Starz FilmCenter salutes the Swedes this weekend with a three-day showcase titled New Faces of Swedish Cinema, which features such films as the comic wedding story Jalla! Jalla!, by Josef Fares; Geir Hansteen Jorgensen's The New Country, about the bond between an odd trio; and Susan Taslimi's All Hell Let Loose, about a relocated Iranian family. The immigrant actress-turned-director Taslimi will appear in person for her film's screening at 7 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 to $8 per film; for a complete festival schedule, call 303-820-3456 or log on to www.denverfilm.org. Starz is at 900 Auraria Parkway, in the Tivoli building on the Auraria campus.
The paintings in Expanse: New Works by Nicholas Silici are off the walls -- or, rather, they wrap around them. Silici's billowing sheets of painted galvanized steel supersede the constraints of the room at ILK @ Pirate, 3659 Navajo Street, where Expanse opens with a reception tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. View Silici's site-specific works at the gallery through March 5; call 303-458-6058 for information.
Saturday, February 21
Good deeds make everyone feel warm and snuggly, and that fact is especially relevant today, aka National Make a Blanket Day. The special day is sponsored nationally by Project Linus to provide handmade security blankets for children in need, from pediatric cancer patients to those who've experienced some kind of personal trauma. Locally, Make It Sew, at 6811 West 120th Avenue in Broomfield, is putting out the call for "blanketeers" to volunteer time to stitch or knit a few hug-worthy comforters, afghans or good-old-standby blankies. The shop will offer the use of sewing machines and basic supplies, along with light refreshments, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call 303-466-8129. For more on Project Linus, log on to www.projectlinus.org.
Back in Denver, three of the nation's most dedicated brewhounds -- Tom Ciccateri of Kansas City, Missouri; John Marioni of Bothell, Washington; and Richard Pedretti-Allen of McKinney, Texas -- will be taking part in the Beerdrinker of the Year National Finals, a complicated competition that involves a whole lot more talking than it does actual drinking. Each of the contestants will, among other things, philosophize, whip off beer trivia, and converse with and listen to the suds of their choice before the final judging (and sipping) begins. Spectators can belly up to the bar at noon today at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th Street; happy-hour prices will be in effect for the duration of the competition. Call 303-297-2700. Cheers!
Sunday, February 22
We can't all be seventeen-year-old phenoms, but local jazz drummer Colin Stranahan clearly deserves the title. He'll be celebrating the release of his debut CD, Dreams Untold, on Capri Records, tonight at 6 p.m. at Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge, 930 Lincoln Street. Joining Stranahan will be trumpeter Ron Miles, one of Denver's more prominent jazz-world celebs, who obviously likes what he sees, and hears, in the young percussionist. Admission is $5 at the door; call 303-839-5100 or log on to www.dazzlejazz.com.
Monday, February 23
Sixties civil-rights activist Bayard Rustin might best be known as an organizer of the historic March on Washington in August 1963, the nation's largest political demonstration of its time, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his legendary "I Have a Dream" address and legislative tides were turned. But Rustin, a major proponent of the passive-resistance movement, wasn't just a black man battling racial prejudice; he was also a gay one, fighting for equality in a whole other arena not then addressed by the civil-rights movement. Rustin's story forms the backdrop for the exploration of racial and sexual politics in the U.S. in Civil Sex: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin, a theatrical biography by L.A. playwright Brian Freeman. Freeman currently teaches a course in gay-based theater at Colorado College. He'll be in Denver today for a performance of Civil Sex at 1 p.m. at St. Cajetan's Center, 1190 9th Street, on the Auraria campus; afterward, he'll host a workshop from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. Reservations are recommended; call 303-556-6333.
Tuesday, February 24
Got cable? If so, here's comic relief for the long campaign trail ahead: The Sundance Channel has resurrected Tanner '88, the brilliant and funny cinema-verité political satire co-concocted by cult filmmaker Robert Altman and Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau. The eleven-episode series, in which imaginary and real characters mingle, follows fictional candidate Jack Tanner (played by a Gary Hart-like Michael Murphy) as he goes through the tangled ropes of the 1988 presidential campaign; episodes, which began earlier this month, air locally at 9 p.m. Tuesdays through April 13. For more about the series, go to www.sundancechannel.com.