This weekend's solidly sold-out NBA All-Star Game is carrying a panoply of hoopla and special events on its coattails, some private and some judiciously public, including a full-court press of concerts designed to appeal to Denver's b-ball state of mind. The Fillmore Auditorium, for starters, will be jumping with big-name talent all weekend. Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz crunk it up tonight at 8 p.m. ($45), while on Saturday, also at 8 p.m., the Legends of Hip Hop Tour brings a parade of pioneering rappers to the stage, headed up by Public Enemy (led by the always-provocative Chuck D) and featuring Naughty by Nature, the Sugar Hill Gang, Kurtis Blow and Kool Mo Dee ($45 to $50). Pure poetry. And finally, down-and-dirty rapper Ludacris will be the life of the party at 9 p.m. on game night, ready to catch the spillover after the last point is scored ($48.50 to $50). Chicken and beer for everyone! The Fillmore is at 1510 Clarkson Street; for more information, call 303-830-8497 or go to www.fillmoreauditorium.com.
Friday, February 18
Late filmmaker and provocateur Marlon Riggs tore into the roots of black-on-black racism while also celebrating diversity within the culture in Black Is...Black Ain't, a blunt and striking documentary that includes stunning footage of the gay filmmaker, who had AIDS, on his deathbed. Revisit the film or see it for the first time tonight at 7:30 p.m., when Brothas4Ever hosts a screening and discussion at Blackberries Ice Cream and Coffee Lounge, 710 East 26th Avenue. Admission is free; call 303-292-0399 for information.
Are you cross that Carmelo got left off the All-Star squad? You and half the state of Colorado. Melo will at least get to take the court alongside fellow phenom LeBron James and strut some stuff at tonight's got milk? Rookie Challenge, which pits the best of the NBA's road-toughened sophomores against this season's fresh crop -- all in the name of milk, the stuff that helps build strong basketball players. Tickets for the kid-friendly novelty match, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Place, are $40; call 1-800-4NBA-TIX or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Saturday, February 19
Explore the poignancy of the Holocaust this weekend when the Central City Opera, with help from the Colorado Children's Chorale and Colorado Chamber Players, stages Brundib´r, playwright Tony Kushner's translation of a children's opera by Czech Jew Hans Kr´sa. The work was performed countless times during World War II by young concentration-camp inmates at Terezin. Also included in the performances (recommended for families with children ages six and older) are selections from I Never Saw Another Butterfly, based on poems written by Terezin children and a brief talk by camp survivor Ela Stein Weissberger. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. tomorrow in Gates Concert Hall, Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. For tickets, $12 to $24, call 303-871-7720 or go to www.ticketmaster.com.
Another contingent of the Colorado Chamber Players will perform on its own tonight, in a concert that turns the spotlight on a lesser-known flock of living composers worth listening to. Cutting Edge: Music 1985-2000 includes works by Derek Bermel, Jon Deak, Francisco Mignone, GyŲrgy Kurt´g and Javier Alvarez, whose collective contributions include jazzed-up interludes, a Dracula story, a Brazilian waltz, an ode to Kafka and a string quartet written for the opening of a subway station in Mexico City. The pieces will be played by various chamber ensembles tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the King Center, Seventh and Lawrence streets on the Auraria campus; for tickets, $5 to $18, call 303-556-2296.
Sunday, February 20
The Other Side Arts, the brave non-profit artist-studio enclave at 1644 Platte Street that's been a staunch piece of Denver's underground cultural community for the past couple of years, is feeling growing pains that could be remedied by a move across the border into downtown Aurora, where a new and bigger space awaits in a vacant former police substation. To that end, TOSA is accepting contributions of, well, anything you have that could be sold on eBay. Drop off all potentially profitable, easy-to-ship booty today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; if you'd like to participate by bidding on items, TOSA's eBay Fundraising Auction should be up and running in a week. Or simply volunteer: TOSA needs plenty of help with the project. For details, call 720-276-2335 or visit www.theothersidearts.com.
Monday, February 21
CU-Boulder's respected First Person Cinema series, an avant-garde film fixture for more than fifty years (gurus Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage started the series, then called the Experimental Film Program, in the ancient year of 1953), kicks off its spring season of independent-filmmaker screenings with an evening of subjective narrative films by Ohio auteur and artist Jennifer Reeder, whose resumé is studded with big-name biennials and Rockefeller grants. Reeder will present and discuss her work at 7:30 p.m. in Fine Arts N-141 on the CU campus; admission is $3. Call 303-492-7574 or go to www.internationalfilmseries.com/first_person_cinema/index.shtml.
Tuesday, February 22
From the moment we swallow our first spoonful of Campbell's chicken noodle, we begin to recognize soup as the ultimate comfort food: warm, steamy, chunky, snuggly Mom in a bowl. Mmmm. That's a good enough reason -- but not even the best one -- to attend Soup for the Soul, a friendly mid-week soup and appetizer tasting and silent art auction. After all, you deserve a little TLC, as do the folks served by auction beneficiaries Porter Hospice and Hospice of Peace. Slurp to your heart's content beginning at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the Marriott City Center, 1701 California Street; for tickets, $85, call 303-561-5006, 303-475-3233 or 303-972-6275.