Hollywood portrait pioneer George Hurrell got his big break in 1930 when actress Norma Shearer and her husband, MGM bigwig Irving Thalberg, found him a job as head of the studio's portrait gallery. For two years, Hurrell had free rein with some of the biggest stars of that time -- Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and others; he later hopped to Warner Brothers and Columbia, where he continued to capture Hollywood's film luminaries as no one else could. Some of Hurrell's most enduring works will be included in an exhibit of black-and-white glamour portraits opening tonight with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at Blue Space Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive. The show remains on view through April 9; for details, call 303-571-5404.
Meanwhile, the neighboring Sandra Phillips Gallery, at 744 Santa Fe Drive, will also pay tribute to a legend -- a local one -- with Mel Strawn: Retrospective 1957-2004, 47 Years of Art, a new exhibit celebrating the former DU School of Art director's wonderfully morphing portfolio. The body of work on display segues from Strawn's roots as a painter and printmaker working in a style marked by Asian art and abstract-expressionist influences to the septuagenarian's more recent forays into digital imaging. The show opens with a reception tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. (or drop in between the same hours tomorrow night, during the First Friday gallery walk) and continues through March 30; call 303-573-5969 or visit www.sandraphillipsgallery.com.
Friday, March 4
The Arvada-based PeaceJam Foundation serves up yet another Nobel Peace Prize winner this year as part of its international youth education program, which pairs young people with peacemakers. Nobel laureate José Ramos-Horta, foreign minister of the tiny nation of East Timor, will talk turkey with PeaceJam kids this weekend, speaking with expertise based on years of work defending the rights of the Timorese through decades of brutal Indonesian rule. And just so the rest of us can share some of that hard-earned knowledge, Ramos-Horta will kick off the weekend with a public lecture tonight at 7 p.m. at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, following an introduction by Democracy Now voice Amy Goodman. Admission, which benefits PeaceJam, is $16 to $20; call 303-455-2099 for reservations. For more information, go to www.peacejam.org.
Saturday, March 5
Pianist and composer Chuchito Valdés grew up learning at the feet (or maybe the fingertips) of the greatest teacher possible: his famous father, Cuban jazz giant Chucho Valdés, whose own spirited piano style defines the soul of Afro-Cuban music. The younger Valdés carries on the family tradition while forging into contemporary territory with the Chuchito Valdés Afro-Cuban Ensemble. Get ready to cha-cha when he and his band perform tonight at 8 p.m. at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, Boulder; for tickets, $17 to $24.50, call 303-786-7030 or log on to www.bouldertheater.com.
Sunday, March 6
Progressive women, join your sistahs for an International Women's Day Celebration, an afternoon event hosted by Global Girlfriend, the Rocky Mountain Riveters and the White House Project. Beginning at 1:15 p.m. today at the Oriental Theatre, 4335 West 44th Avenue, you'll be able to peruse a women's non-profit expo featuring information about, and wares created by, such organizations as the Women's Bean Project, the Gathering Place, Girls Inc. and SafeHouse Denver. At 2:15, The Day My God Died, a documentary exploring the child sex trade and narrated by actor Tim Robbins, will be screened. The $5 admission price benefits Maiti Nepal, a group protecting Nepalese women and girls from domestic violence and sex trafficking; for tickets, call 1-800-325-SEAT or go to www.orientaltheatre.net.
Monday, March 7
Contrary to what some would have us believe, anti-war protesters come in all stripes, and some of the most believable are those who've been there and experienced war firsthand. Hear from some of them when Boulder's Present Tense Films and Discussion presents The War in Iraq: Soldiers and Doctors Speak Out, which features a filmed interview with retired Special Forces Master Sergeant Stan Goff, as well as a facilitated panel discussion with neurosurgeon Dr. Gene Bolles, former military psychiatrist Dr. Charles Clark and special guest Ivan Medina, a co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War, whose twin brother died fighting in Iraq. A reception at 5:30 p.m. precedes the program, which starts at 7:30 at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder; for tickets, $7, call 303-938-1132 or 303-786-7030.
Tuesday, March 8
Half the challenge of getting ready for a race is in your head, according to Olympic champion mogul skier Maggie Connor and U.S. national collegiate champion distance cyclist Traci Brown, a dynamic duo who teach techniques for getting your noggin together while in training. What's on your spring agenda? The Cherry Creek Sneak? Bolder Boulder? Get a head start by taking a Train Your Brain Workshop with Connor and Brown tonight at 6 p.m. at the Highlands Ranch Library, 9292 Ridgeline Boulevard; then, when the big event arrives, all systems should be go. The workshop costs $40; register online by March 6 at www.active.com.
Wednesday, March 9
Elvis Cole didn't get slapped with his "World's Greatest Detective" moniker for nothing: The fictional Los Angeles private eye created by best-selling author Robert Crais has a reputation built on his own quirky -- and painfully ethical -- personality. He's a good guy with a chip on his shoulder, a sense of dark humor and a knack for finding himself in the thick of things; of course he's going to have a self-deprecating name for himself. Now Cole fans can rejoice, because he's back -- with tough-guy partner Pike at his side -- in The Forgotten Man. Catch up with the P.I. when Crais reads from his new mystery today at noon at High Crimes, 946 Pearl Street in Boulder (303-443-8346), or tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue in Cherry Creek (303-322-7727).