The whole Megillah: The main protagonist in the Purim story--Queen Esther--was one tough cookie. It's no wonder she's such a great role model for Jewish women today. Her saga, recounted each spring by Jews everywhere, is the focus this morning at a special women's Megillah Reading taking place at 9:30 at the Hebrew Educational Alliance, 3600 S. Ivanhoe St. Three-cornered hamentaschen pastries will be served after the bilingual service; call 393-6631.
More insights into Jewish sisterhood, these somewhat closer to home, can be explored in Intimate Portraits: Colorado Jewish Women, 1860-1960, opening today at the Mizel Museum of Judaica, 560 S. Monaco Pkwy. Compiled in conjunction with Rocky Mountain Jewish History Week, the exhibit of mementos, photographs, clothing and correspondence pieces together a small but poignant chapter of Colorado history. Also opening at the museum today is Mediums of Remembrance, a three-person exhibit that centers on personal responses to the Holocaust. Works include monumental sculpture and assemblage by Joe Nicastri, architectural reliefs by Francia, and photos by Judy Ellis Glickman. Attend an artists' reception tonight at 7; both shows continue through May 21. Call 333-4156.
Modern times: Photography lovers are in for a big helping of eye candy when The Human Experience: 20th Century Photography opens tonight during a reception from 7 to 8 at the Metro State College Center for the Visual Arts, 1701 Wazee St. An amazing overview reflecting a myriad of photographic aspects and techniques, the exhibit includes both immediately recognizable images, such as Joe Rosenthal's WWII classic of soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima, and more obscure and experimental works. Books and magazines that influence the art of photography will also be displayed. The exhibition hangs through April 22; call 294-5207 for information.
Take a bow: Dazzling Israeli virtuoso Pinchas Zukerman--best known for his bow work on violin and the slightly deeper-toned viola--boasts few, if any, equals in his art, making him one of the hottest names on the classical-music circuit. Zuckerman appears as guest soloist with Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra this weekend at Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, where he'll preside over Bartok's Viola Concerto and Bach's Violin Concerto in A Minor. Performances are at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow and 2:30 Sunday; to reserve tickets, $10 to $40, call 830-TIXS.
Peak experience: For those of us who wouldn't know a piton from a python, the grandeur, majesty--and treachery--of the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest, is nearly unimaginable, regardless of how many times we've encountered it while leafing through National Geographic or watching television. But that's all about to change, once IMAX brings the mountain to the couch potato with Everest, a spanking-new four-story-tall film adventure shot on location by mountaineer/filmmaker David Breashears. Truly an in-the-moment visual adventure, Everest opens today at the IMAX Theater at the Denver Museum of Natural History, 2001 Colorado Blvd., where it will settle in for an extended run with several showtimes daily through October 8. Admission is $4 to $6; call 370-6300.
Ballet ole! As if to prove that ballet is more than tutus on tiptoes, Ballet Hispanico will stamp its hot-blooded way into CU-Boulder's Macky Auditorium as part of the university's ongoing Artist Series. The Manhattan-based troupe, which creates fireworks by stretching Latin rhythms and ethnic dance forms over a balletic framework, sizzles tonight at 8; for tickets, ranging from $10 to $30, call 492-8008.
Back to Basie: If you live by the words "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing," then say hello to Denver's Creative Music Works Orchestra. Led by local saxophonist/jazz scholar Fred Hess, the all-star big-band ensemble goes to work on the broiling riffs of Count Basie and Basie associate Thad Jones, a trumpeter who continued composing and arranging in the Kansas City tradition after leaving the Count to start his own Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in the mid-Sixties. Expect hot chops from orchestra trumpet players Hugh Ragin and Ron Miles, along with the rest of the band, tonight at 8 at the Houston Fine Arts Center, 7111 Montview Blvd.; tickets are $12 at the door ($7 students and seniors). You'll be jumping in your seat--call 759-1797 for information.
Patty's melt: The city's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade (faith and begorra, that was yesterday, folks) is just too green, pompous and Cadillac-strewn for some fun-loving sorts--hence the inaugural Funnin' of the Green, a zanier procession set to embark this morning at 8:45 at 19th and Wazee streets in LoDo. A goofy event with no known agenda--except to make you laugh--the new parade precedes the annual 7K Runnin' of the Green, a time-honored urban jaunt in which thousands of runners hoof it to raise funds for Volunteers of America. Once the parade wraps up, the run begins in front of McCormick's Fish House and Bar at 17th and Wazee at 10:15 a.m.; call 694-2030 for registration information.
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Country cousins: You say nobody did it for you better than the Byrds in their country-rock era, the Flying Burrito Brothers and shit-kicking Gram Parsons, who died way before his time--and nobody's done it that way since? Listen again: Seconds Flat, a peppy, down-home ensemble from South Carolina's Piedmont country, updates that streamlined twang in a nice, folksy way--enhanced on its self-titled CD by the right-on production skills of Brian Ahern, who honed the sound of Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band back in the Seventies. Here's a group to hear before they get too famous--don't miss Anthony Tomlinson's sweet, Chris Hillman-like tenor. Seconds Flat appears tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.; for tickets, $4, call 322-2308 or 830-TIXS.
Give it a whirl: You take your chances on St. Patrick's Day night: The many celebrations taking place in taverns and clubs are dangerously likely to be elbow-to-elbow with decidedly unsprightly--and possibly unsightly--green-beer guzzlers. If that sounds somewhat less than fun, reserve your ticket and head up to the Boulder Theater for a taste of the real thing. A party with step-dancing kicks off the evening at 5:30, followed by traditional Irish music phenoms Dervish, who take the stage at 8. The Boulder, a cool art-deco palace, is located at 2030 14th St., Boulder; tickets are $15.75. Call 786-7030 or 830-TIXS.
On the serious side, you can eschew beer altogether but still get your shot of Celtic culture tonight at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway. University of Montana professor David Emmons gives a slide-illustrated talk, The Irish in America's West, 1850-1950, at 7 as part of the museum's Lure of the West lecture series. Admission is $6.50 ($5 for Colorado Historical Society members); call 866-4686 for reservations.
All that glitters: Though still in the planning stages, Boulder's Women of the West Museum is hard at work establishing a presence in the region by sponsoring a three-part lecture series at the Chautauqua Community House. The first, Gold Rush Women: Unknown and Unsung Tales From Alaska to the Yukon, with authors Clair Rudolph Murphy and Jane Haigh, is based on their book of the same name, a colorful tome that brings to life the resourceful women--madams, merchants, innkeepers, wives and others--who made the dangerous, laborious and frostbitten trek north during the turn-of-the-century gold rush era. Murphy and Haigh will autograph copies of the book after the 7 p.m. presentation; admission is free. The community house is located on Morning Glory Drive, above 9th and Baseline Rd. in Boulder; call 541-1000 for details.