Two modern masters of comic illusion will tighten their skeptical -- and scientifically proven -- noose around another crop circle of dubious movements when the second season of Showtime's original series Penn & Teller: Bullshit! debuts tonight with a snide exposé of that so-called animals' best friend, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Other subjects to be explored in the magical duo's in-your-face comic style during the eight-episode season include twelve-step programs, the businesses of love and death, safety hysteria and more. Showtime subscribers can tune in at 8 p.m; for a complete schedule, log on to www.sho.com.
Friday, April 2
Tonight's First Friday event will start with a bang and a puff of smoke at Andenken Gallery, 2110 Market Street, when the fourth annual invitational Kinetic Sculpture and Robot Show opens with a performance/reception from 6 to 10 p.m. The exhibit is spearheaded by local artificial-intelligence maestro and Motoman Project maven Joe Riché; other artists represented in the group show, which continues through May 1, include Denver's own kinetic sculpture pioneer, Robert Mangold, Portland robot-builder Richel Martinez, and Kelly Newcomber of Roswell, New Mexico. Call 303-332-5582 or log on to www.andenken.com.
Another art movement will steal the First Friday spotlight at a pair of northwest Denver galleries dedicated to fair-trade marketing of works by Third World artisans. At local humanitarian Sandra Renteria's Indigena, 4328 West 35th Avenue, Haitian master artist Turgo Bastien, a self-taught yet sophisticated folk artist whose works are exhibited around the world, will appear in person at a reception this evening; additional Haitian works and paintings by local artist Lokken Mills will also be on display. Call 303-618-2268. And Provide-n-ce Gallery, 4325 West 41st Avenue, a small gallery and gift shop where Sister Sen Nguyen sells Vietnamese handcrafts, celebrates its first anniversary with an embroidery show and reception from 6 to 10 p.m. The exhibit continues through April 30; call 303-480-1053.
Saturday, April 3
The Denver Art Museum delved into its extensive Spanish Colonial art collection to help bring Painting a New World: Mexican Art and Life, 1521-1821 to fruition. The largest show of its kind gathered outside of Mexico, New World features approximately fifty works that blend religious and secular Spanish Colonial and native Aztec-inspired images, including seventeen pieces culled from the DAM's vaults. The display opens today and continues through June 25 at the museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Time-specific tickets, which range in price from $4 to $9.50 (members and children ages five and under admitted free, audio tour included in admission price), can be reserved online at www.denverartmuseum.org; for further information, call 720-865-5166. In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum will host a two-day symposium on April 17 and 18; call 720-913-0172 for details.
Go "Around the World in a Day" at the 21st annual Festival of Nations, a University of Denver tradition sparked by that institution's diverse student body and longtime connection with the international community. Today's activities, which take place from noon to 5 p.m. at the Driscoll Center Ballroom, 2055 East Evans Avenue, commence with a colorful flag ceremony and include a multicultural wealth of music, dance and dishes to sample. Festival admission is free; for details, call DU's International House at 303-871-4912.
Sunday, April 4
The cool clouds of abstract color created by one of the original giants of color-field painting will mesmerize when Jules Olitski: Half a Life's Work opens today at the Singer Gallery with a free reception and talk by Olitski's daughter, Lauren Poster, from 3 to 5 p.m. Focusing on Olitski's work of the past thirty years, a body defined both by textural and impasto experimentation and informed by the artist's early stain paintings of the '60s, the show hangs through June 2 at the Singer, in the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 South Dahlia Street. For information, call 303-316-6360 or log on to www.mizelcenter.org.
Two champions of what might be called the alt/hip-hop sound -- N.E.R.D. , an instruments-in-hand, mixing-it-all-up outing of the cutting-edge Neptunes production team, and the socially conscious, street-dancing Black Eyed Peas -- team up tonight at 7 p.m. for a spectacular double bill at the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson Street. Fancy footwork, imaginative beats and straightforward wordplay should be the order of the evening; for tickets, $23.50, call 303-830-TIXS.
Monday, April 5
Everyone's got a gimmick. In the case of Yellowcard, classically trained violinist Sean Mackin's bow work adds just enough of that potent je ne sais quoi to the band's standard, disaffectedly youthful L.A. punk riffs and rejoinders to pull them out of the garbage pail. It's a true evening of fifteen-second glories and fifteen-minute fame, when the well-strung "Ocean Avenue" team shares the stage with pop-rockers Something Corporate and Stereogram, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Ogden Theatre, 935 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets are $19; call 303-831-9448.
Tuesday, April 6
Drop by the Serioz Denver Style Pizzeria, 200 Quebec Street, Unit 109, Lowry Town Center, anytime through June 1 and peruse the pile of Italian-food-themed plates on display. They were created at the nearby Color Me Mine Paint-Your-Own Ceramic Studio by young members of Denver Kids Inc. , an organization that provides services to at-risk students in Denver Public Schools. All plates bear a $10 price tag to benefit Denver Kids programs; you can pick yours up when the show ends. For information about Denver Kids, call 303-405-8266 or log on to www.denverkidsinc.org.
Wednesday, April 7
Conference committee member Jane Butcher calls the University of Colorado at Boulder's sprawling Conference on World Affairs a "mind camp," and that's as good a description as any. There really are no words to explain what goes on each year when 100 or so celebrities, from conference regular Roger Ebert to the likes of Molly Ivins, Andrei Codrescu, Ralph Nader and Arthur Miller, gather for a non-stop compendium of panels, plenaries and performances dealing with every sort of issue, from politics and art to the human condition. This year's revolving think tank, operating under the subtitle "The Power of an Idea," starts today and continues through April 11; admission is free. For a complete schedule and guest list, log on to www.colorado.edu/cwa.