No thanks to the Air Force Academy, the University of Colorado football program and Kobe Bryant, our state appears to be ground zero in what's become a national debate. So it's more than fitting that the Colorado Freedom of Information Council Public Forum will confront the topic tonight in a community discussion titled "The Charge Is Rape: Balancing the Rights of the Alleged Victim, the Accused and the Public." The evening's panel will feature Diane Carman of the Denver Post, Rick Carroll of the Aspen Daily News, Anne Munch of the Ending Violence Against Women Project and criminal defense attorney Dan Recht; the Post's Fred Brown will act as moderator. The colloquy starts at 7 p.m. at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street. For details, call 303-436-1070.
Friday, March 19
St. Patrick's Day has passed, but you're still looking at the world through green-colored glasses, aren't you? The much-lauded Denver Brass basks in the emerald spotlight tonight and tomorrow with its annual Scottish/Irish free-for-all, Bagpipes, Brass & Company. The Celtic extravaganza features the Colorado Isle of Mull Bagpipes and Drums, the Rocky Mountain Highland Dancers, the high-stepping Wick School of Dance, tenor Todd Teske and twin fiddlers Iain and Joanna Hyde. The music and dance begin under dramatic lighting at 7:30 p.m. each night in Gates Concert Hall in the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue; for tickets, $18 to $39, call 303-832-4676 or log on to www.denverbrass.org.
Saturday, March 20
Granted, folks accustomed to frequenting live-music clubs well into the wee hours will have to wake up pretty early in the morning to take part in the Ultimate Music Xperience, but where else can you get a taste of some sixty bands, from reggae to rock, playing almost non-stop for two days in a row? The Capitol Hill People's Fair continues a spring tradition by opening its annual music auditions to the public for mass judging; when it's all over, the lucky winners will be assured a spot on one of the huge fest's stages in Civic Center Park this June. Attend the competition from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today or 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Soiled Dove, 1949 Market Street; admission is free. Call 303-830-1651 or log on to www.peoplesfair.com.
Year in and year out (six, to be exact), local choreographer Deborah Reshotko and her troupe, Speaking of Dance, perform a remarkable public service with their Building Community Through Dance program, which pairs Denver schoolchildren with residents of all ages from the Capitol Hill and surrounding neighborhoods for free, performance-based workshops culminating in large-scale performances. This spring's offering, Opposing Forces: A Search for Peace, showcases 45 dancers, from kindergartners to nimble senior citizens, hoofing to original live music by Jesse Manno and Michael Stanwood, tonight at 7 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Temple Events Center, 1595 Pearl Street. Admission is free; for details, call 303-722-0902 or log on to www.speakingofdance.org.
Boulder plays host today to a pair of unique events that cater to foodies everywhere. A Boulder Revel celebrates handcrafted food and drink from all over the region, including cheeses from Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, mead (an ancient honey wine) and its grapey liquid relatives from various area meaderies and wineries, and hand-dipped chocolates by Concertos in Chocolate. Partake from 1 to 5:30 p.m. at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder; tickets, $2 to $11, are available in advance at Haystack, Redstone Meadery, Medovina Meadery and Augustina's Winery, all in the Boulder area. Call 720-406-1215 or log on to www.redstonemeadery.com for details. Meanwhile, the ornate Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, 1770 13th Street, will throw a Persian-style Tajik New Year Celebration, with free dance, music and storytelling from noon to 5 p.m. and a magnificent Tajik and Persian feast from 5 to 10 p.m. Dinner is $37.50 per person; proceeds benefit the Boulder-Dushanbe Reciprocal Gift Fund. For reservations, call 303-442-4993 or log on to www.boulder-dushanbe.org.
The Jimi Hendrix of pedal-steel? It's not that far-fetched. Most likely, you'll become an immediate believer in the presence of Robert Randolph and the Family Band, who just plain smoke their way through every high-energy funk-rock set led by virtuoso pedal-pusher Randolph. He's clearly inspired by a higher being (indeed, Randolph got his start in Orange, New Jersey, at the House of God Church). Randolph's crew will set the Fillmore Auditorium aflame tonight beginning at 7:30 p.m. -- and, as if that weren't enough, they'll share the bill with the Funky Meters, the bellwether of New Orleans-style R&B. The Fillmore is at 1510 Clarkson Street; for tickets, $25, call 303-830-TIXS.
Sunday, March 21
Thoroughly modern -- and sophisticated -- concerns are raised in Y York's The Last Paving Stone, a new children's production presented by the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture's Denver Children's Theatre. Set in an overcrowded future and centering around the last unpaved spot on earth, the story works on several levels, addressing issues of ecology and diversity with a gently humorous touch. The play's run begins today at 1 p.m. and continues through mid-May at the Shwayder Theater in the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 South Dahlia Street. For tickets, $6 to $8, call 303-316-6360 or go to www.mizelcenter.org.
Monday, March 22
Most fans thought this stuff was buried long ago in a pile of shorn locks on the barbershop floor. But even though the majority of hair-band ax-wielders do seem to have dropped off the edge of the earth (or at least gone bald), some of the best of those spandex-clad jock-rockers never really faded away. They simply moved on to some kind of music-industry Olympus to rest their speed-freak fingers on their laurels. Now a couple are dropping by the planet again to serve their loyal public: Dokken's George Lynch and the inimitable Yngwie Malmsteen have joined forces for the Guitar Gods Tour, which stops over tonight for a shredders' ball starting at 7 p.m. at the Ogden Theatre, 935 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets are $18 to $20; call 303-831-9448 or log on to www.nipp.com.
Tuesday, March 23
Contemporary Celtic songstress Mary Black is in a class by herself, hailed in her native Ireland as an artist on par with our country's most acclaimed folk and country divas, many of whom she's performed with. But for years, Black made herself scarce on these shores, preferring to stay at home and raise her children. Now that they're grown, she's taken to the road again, on a journey that brings her to the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, for a show tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $23.50 to $27.50; call 303-786-7030 or log on to www.bouldertheater.com.
Wednesday, March 24
Concert pianist/ musicologist Jeffrey Siegel puts the lid on this year's Keyboard Conversations Series with a musical salute to "Bach and the Virtuosos: Rachmaninoff, Lizst and Busoni," a program that blends witty, fact-laden conversation with musical interludes of excerpts from the composers' work. Siegel makes music appreciation engaging, tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard. For tickets, $23 to $26, call 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org.