San Francisco-based sound-art superstar Pamela Z, a long-ago graduate of the CU-Boulder College of Music, returns tonight for a concert drawn from her extraordinary repertoire of avant-garde performance/compositions, many of which have been heard around the globe. Already gifted with a set of trained soprano operatic pipes, Z enhances her instrument with multimedia and her own dramatic appearance while restructuring it with electronics and a motion-operated BodySynth MIDI controller; the resulting performances are nothing less than spellbinding. Hear and see Pamela Z tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th Street in Boulder; for tickets, $8 to $10, call 303-443-2122 or visit www.bmoca.com.
Friday, August 12
Back in 1974, journalist/author Studs Terkel's Working, a comprehensive oral history based on hundreds of interviews with working people across the nation, charmed Americans with its stunning insights. It's since been made into an equally charming Broadway musical. But the nature of work in the U.S. has surely morphed into a different animal in the past quarter-century, and Denver photographer Christine Hauber had the bright idea of revisiting the subject for a coffee-table tome that would visually update Terkel's well-covered territory. So in 2001, she took off to roam America in a darkroom-equipped RV with her camera, cat and dog. Four years later, Working in the USA, a new take on an old story, is hitting bookstore shelves. Hauber will sign copies tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. at Photographers' Gallery, 2424 East 3rd Avenue (call 303-780-9317), and again from 6:30 to 8 p.m. August 18 at the Art Institute of Colorado, 1200 Lincoln Street (303-837-0825). For information about the book, go to www.workingintheusa.com.
Saturday, August 13
Ever wonder why they call it folk music? The answer's made perfectly clear every year at the Swallow Hill Folk Festival, an egalitarian and participatory affair that makes music accessible to everyone. And it's not just music on stage: Though the day-long fest does offer that all day on four stages, including headliners Eddie From Ohio, the real heart of the event is in its slate of workshops, competitions and open jams, in which attendees get to make music, too. A play area for kids, plus food and arts-and-crafts vendors, add extra dimensions to the day, which extends from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today in Four Mile Historic Park, 715 South Forest Street, a neat, old-fashioned venue with a ready-made folksy ambience. Admission for the entire day ranges from $12 to $15; call 303-777-1003 or log on to www.swallowhill.com.
Sunday, August 14
Chukker up: Minxes with mallets will jump on their ponies and fly today at the Chicks With Sticks polo match and luncheon, a benefit for the Urban Farm, a nonprofit on the edge of the old Stapleton Airport that teaches horsemanship and other rural skills to uninitiated city kids. The gals-only gallop, which includes two competitions -- the 2005 United States Polo Association Regional Challenge Cup and the Rocky Mountain Polo Ladies Challenge Cup -- kicks off at 11 a.m.; a silent auction, white-tablecloth champagne brunch and Mad Hatter Parade (with prizes for the best hat) fill out the day, which ends at 3 p.m. with a trophy ceremony. It all takes place at the Columbine Polo Club, 4401 West Mineral Avenue in Littleton; for tickets, $50, call 303-517-9438 or 303-307-9332, or visit www.columbinepoloclub.com.
'Shrooms with a view: If you can't get up to Telluride for next week's time-honored Mushroom Festival, the next best thing is a foray to the Denver Botanic Gardens today. The annual Colorado Mycological Society Mushroom Fair includes a display of more than 200 wild-mushroom species, tips on cooking mushrooms, mushroom arts and crafts, a kids' corner, and a crew of experts who will gladly identify that weird thing that keeps poking up in your back yard after it rains. Attend the fair from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the gardens, 1005 York Street; admission is free with the regular DBG gate admission of $5 to $8.50. Call 720-865-3500 or go to www.botanicgardens.org.
Monday, August 15
Boulder County Parks and Open Space invites casual hikers of all ages to enjoy a naturalist-led tramp through the foothills at dusk during its Boulder County Sunset Hikes series, offered weekly throughout the summer at a variety of public parks. All hikes begin at 6:30 p.m. and conclude at sunset; no reservations are needed. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring their own binocs and nature guidebooks, but no pets. Tonight, a friendly jaunt explores the trails of Walker Ranch Open Space; meet at the Meyers Homestead Trailhead, on the south side of Flagstaff Road, 7-1/2 miles west of Baseline Road in Boulder. Call 303-441-3899 or go to www.co.boulder.co.us/openspace.
Tuesday, August 16
If the blockbuster summer exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has whetted your appetite for all things Lewis & Clark, there's more in store: The Denver Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, is presenting Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, a traveling show from Lewis and Clark College that features a trove of expedition journals, manuscripts, newspaper articles and other artifacts from or about the historic trek. The display, located in the library's Western History and Genealogy Department, continues through September 30; call 720-865-1821 or visit www.denver publiclibrary.org/whg/lewisandclark.html for details.