Some people just have to be the first to do everything. If you fit that profile, grab your tickets for tonight's Historic Denver 35th Anniversary Gala. The swanky fundraiser doubles as a sneak peek at the renovated Quigg Newton Auditorium Theatre -- home of the elegant new Ellie Caulkins Opera House, which otherwise remains under wraps until its official September 10 debut (with an all-star Opera Colorado event that's already sold out). View the rehabilitated room's unsullied splendor beginning at 6 p.m. inside the theater, 14th and Curtis streets. There will be a spread of hors d'oeuvre, a silent auction and dancing to live music. Tickets are $100 to $150; for reservations, call 303-534-5288, ext. 14, or visit www.historicdenver.org.
Friday, August 19
A pair of homegrown jazz trumpet players -- Nate Birkey and Ron Miles -- will join forces on stage tonight and tomorrow, when both brassmen perform with their bands at 7 and 9 p.m. at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln Street. It's an interesting pairing, in that Evergreen native Birkey, who now lives in New York City, represents those players who leave town, make it big and never look back, while Miles is the epitome of the fine musician who likes to work from a more relaxed home base, wandering in and out of the bigtime. The two played together for the first time earlier this year, during a February gig of Birkey's at Dazzle; tonight's shows are a direct result of that fortuitous meeting. Admission is a $12 cover charge at the door; call 303-839-5100 or go to www.dazzlejazz.com.
Saturday, August 20
Hundreds of metro-area kids, many of them at risk, hone pastoral skills, ride horses and talk to the animals year-round at The Urban Farm, a non-profit outpost at the edge of the old Stapleton Airport. Partly as a celebration of TUF's programs and partly as a fundraiser, the farm folks are inviting the public to a Family Fun Day today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring a wide sampling of farm-related activities, including goat milking, horse grooming, hayrides, pony rides and more. Admission is $3 (children under two admitted free); The Urban Farm is at 10200 Smith Road. Call 303-307-9332 or log on to www.theurbanfarm.org.
How will you adorn yourself this fall? While the coming season's key fashion statements seem buried under a heap of end-of-summer sale merchandise, there's a sense of anticipation in the air along with that nearly imperceptible nip. Get a head start tonight at Fall Forward a fall preview fashion show presented by local clothiers Lucid Designs, Your Mom Designs and Onion Skin, to benefit The Other Side Arts community art center. Models sashay onto the runway at TOSA, 1644 Platte Street, at 8:30 p.m.; admission is $7. Call 303-561-3000 or visit www.theothersidearts.org.
There's nothing like whizzing along on your bike in the cool evening breeze, except maybe doing it with a zillion of your closest friends. That's what's really made the annual U.S. Bank Moonlight Classic night ride an ongoing summertime winner for thirteen years -- although all the fun on the sidelines hasn't hurt. That would include a costume contest and the 180 After Hours Cycling Bash, in addition to eight- and fifteen-mile urban courses that begin and end at the State Capitol Building, 200 East Colfax Avenue. The partying leads off this year at an earlier time (8 p.m.) followed by a series of ride waves leaving between 10 and 11.; registration fees, $20 to $40, benefit Seniors Inc.! For information and registration, call 303-282-9020 or log on to www.moonlight-classic.com.
Sunday, August 21
Where do you sit at a Bike-In Movie? On your handlebars, perhaps Öor you might want to cart in a lawn chair when you pedal over to the back parking lot at Breakdown Book Collective and Community Space, 1409 Ogden Street, for tonight's on-the-wall screening. An unusual choice, The Journey of Natty Gann, a 1985 Disney children's sleeper about a twelve-year-old girl who takes up the hobo life and meets an abused wolf (as well as fellow boxcar-hopper John Cusack), begins at 9 p.m. Before you know it, you might start thinking about giving up your wheels to ride the rails like Natty and her Depression-era friends. So hip. Admission is a $5 donation; for details, call 303-832-7952 or go to www.breakdowncollective.org.
Monday, August 22
The seminal rock band of the 21st century? Many would agree that it's the White Stripes, the duo of guitarist Jack White and drummer Meg White, who first turned the music world upside down with their weird, rootsy minimalism and continue to direct their stark attack up new avenues. Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Stripes hit the cutting edge at a run, after an opening set by guitar-driven retro-rockers the Greenhornes, al fresco at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison. For tickets, $38.50, call 303-830-TIXS or log on to www.ticketmaster.com.
Tuesday, August 23
Musically, it's a night for the guys and the dolls. On the yang side, you've got the ultimate '90s boy group, maturing teen idols the Backstreet Boys, on the comeback trail tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Budweiser Events Center, Crossroads Boulevard and I-25 in Loveland, and hawking their first CD in five years, Never Gone. Eeek! Wear only waterproof mascara. Tickets range from $39.50 to $65; call 1-877-544-8499 or go to www.budweisereventscenter.com. And there's nothing more yin than Destiny's Child, the girl group of modern times, whose vivacious, histrionic-voiced Barbie-doll centerpiece, Beyoncé, will lead the way into the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Place, tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets are $41 to $71; call 303-830-TIXS.
Wednesday, August 24
In the wake of last fall's upgrade of Southern Colorado's Great Sand Dunes to national-park status, a book celebrating the natural treasure couldn't be more timely. With that in mind, Golden's Fulcrum Publishing has released a beauty that would look fine on anybody's coffee table: Valley of the Dunes: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The book features text by Colorado naturalist Audrey DeLella Benedict; breathtaking images by Denver-based, internationally known photography team Wendy Shattil and Bob Rozinski; and a foreword by Senator Ken Salazar, a San Luis Valley native. They'll all appear today at a 4 p.m. book signing at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street; for details, call 303-436-1070 or visit www.tatteredcover.com.