Comparisons to Terry McMillan are inevitable, but novelist Lolita Files says she's her own woman and her characters--sassy, sexy, professional buppies looking for love (and other stuff)--an extension of her own life. McMillan simply opened the door for talented women authors with a knack for turning out clever girlfriend dialogue, and Files took advantage of the trend. Files (Lolita, by the way, is her given name) signs Scenes From a Sistah, her first novel and a laugh-out-loud look at life on the prowl as seen through the eyes of two best friends, tonight at 5:30 at the Hue-Man Experience Bookstore, 911 Park Ave. West. Call 293-2665.
Jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater was born, it seems, with a silver song in her throat: Her dad played the trumpet, her mom loved listening to Ella Fitzgerald discs, and Dee Dee herself can't remember a time when she didn't sing along. Bridgewater's fans and followers will tell you that she still plays her voice like a kid on a jungle gym, scat-singing like nobody's business on whatever material she sets her sights on. She'll bring her vocal acrobatics, heard recently on Dear Ella, a Fitzgerald tribute album, tonight at 7:15 at the Denver Botanic Gardens outdoor amphitheater, 1005 York. Tickets are $19 ($16 DBG members); call 777-3836 for reservations.
Some of us who aren't quite old enough to remember the golden age of radio have at least been around Denver long enough to remember Old-Time Radio, a departed Sunday program with local archivist John Dunning dedicated to reviving the tinny voices of Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, The Shadow and the rest of radio's nearly forgotten stars. And then there are the rest of you, who don't remember anything. Cheer up. Dunning, a collector's collector with a sweeping knowledge of the genre, now holds forth in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, a comprehensive tome that leaves no program or personality untouched. Dunning signs copies of the book tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; for details call 322-7727.
This is the weekend to give your local artists a boost--something that won't be hard to do, because dozens of them will be opening up their studios to the public from 11 to 6 today and tomorrow for the annual Alternative Arts Alliance Studio Tour. In a slight change of format, the alliance is offering a comprehensive guidebook for $10; inside you'll find a complete listing of participating artists, sample photos of artwork and easy-to-read tour maps to help you plot your art-world journeys. The books are available at the Art Students League, Rule Modern and Contemporary, Zip 37, Core New Art Space, Coffee on the Z and the Central YMCA; call 433-9359 for more information. And during your studio wanderings, be sure to stop at the Art Students League of Denver Summer Art Market. Featuring over sixty booths, live jazz and welcome refreshments, the free market takes place from 10 to 5 today and tomorrow at 200 Grant St. Call 778-6990.
Some of the best things in life will be on tap at the ever-growing LoDo Beer, Wine, Food and Fun Fest, which runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow at 19th and Wazee streets. This year's do features the usual smorgasbord of microbrewed beers, Colorado wines and fine dining, but there's more of everything and some additions, too, such as a single-malt Scotch arena for sipping and instruction by the experts. And, of course, there'll be entertainment, culminating Saturday night with bluesman Steve Crenshaw and Sunday with party band Opie Gone Bad. Admission is $3 in advance ($5 at the gate); brews are $1 for a six-ounce taste (other beverages priced separately). Call 893-LODO for tickets and information.
Eat, eat--it's good for you! You'll have an opportunity to nosh on culture today at the Boulder Jewish Festival, taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Boulder Courthouse Lawn, located on the Pearl Street Mall. Ethnic food and dance, arts and crafts, kids' activities and information tables will all be offered, along with music by Jewish-rock band Mah Tovu, the swinging Klezmopolitans and folkie rabbi Ya'akov Gabriel. Admission is free; call 650-8858.
It's always a cause for celebration when Hot Rize comes around to play. The powerhouse all-star bluegrass band featuring Tim O'Brien, Charles Sawtelle, Pete Wernick and Nick Forster is simply one of the best in the biz. And if the members of companion band Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers look a tad familiar, it's because they really are the same guys, but in the duded-up and electrified guise of time-warped Buck Owens clones. The Rize/Knuckles play it both ways tonight at 8 at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder. Tickets are $19 for general admission or $22 to $25 for reserved seating; call 440-7666 or 830-TIXS.
June gay-pride celebrations across the nation get a nod on public television tonight with a special airing of the gay and lesbian newsmagazine In the Life. The program's second annual "American as Apple Pie" episode features a treasury of non-stereotypical portraits of gay and gay-friendly figures seeking acceptance along more traditional societal avenues. Among those profiled are Gair Bridges and Ron Travis, Iowa's 1996 Foster Parents of the Year, and San Francisco's Reverend Cecil Williams, who's been performing gay marriage ceremonies for years; tune in at 10 p.m. on KBDI-TV/Channel 12.
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Old-fashioned entertainment with a historical perspective will go on the air during the Acoma Center's monthly Radio Theatre--Live! This month's program, Denver Dialogues and Diaries, features local actors reading from a well-mixed collection of celebrity writing, including the work of Molly Brown, Baby Doe Tabor, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The pros will be joined by modern-day celebrity reader John Hickenlooper of Wynkoop Brewing Company fame tonight at 7 at the center, 1080 Acoma St.; admission is $10. In keeping with the program's theme, a portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit Historic Denver, Inc. Call 623-0524 for reservations.
The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which begins Thursday up on top of the San Juan Mountains, has grown into such a big deal that tickets have become a hot item, not to mention a place to pitch your tent. To ease some of the congestion, the fest's mothership organization, Planet Bluegrass, has put together Telluride on the Rocks, a compressed version of the musical weekend that's full of talent but a little closer to home. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the David Grisman Quintet, Leftover Salmon, Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Sam Bush Band with John Cowan, and Tim O'Brien and Jerry Douglas all perform tonight beginning at 5 at Red Rocks amphitheater, Morrison, a venue nearly as beautiful as the Telluride one; for tickets, $30.80, call 830-TIXS.
Here's some more Telluride fallout, no doubt, but what a sweet bill: Seasoned country-rock canary Emmylou Harris brings her haunting way with a song to Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd. in Boulder, for a special mid-week E-Town radio taping. Usually, that in itself would be enough to generate a memorable show, but the E-Town folks have tacked on what's anything but an afterthought: Experimental eclectic guitarist Bill Frisell also appears with virtuoso dobroist Jerry Douglas for a tiny reprise of his Nashville CD, a shining work that paired inventive improviser Frisell with Douglas and other newgrass greats. Showtime is 8 p.m.; for tickets, $11 in advance ($13 day of show), call 440-7666 or 786-7030.
Everyone who loves mysteries has his or her favorite fictional detectives, and the name Dave Robicheaux shows up in many a Top 10 list. The timeworn, atmospheric Cajun creation of bestselling author James Lee Burke, Robicheaux is a natural--macho but sensitive, mature, visited by demons and followed by a cloud of unique characters, beautiful women and loaded Louisiana lore. Burke took a break from the swamp fox in his last fictional outing, Cimarron Rose, but he's returned to the fold with Sunset Limited, a move no doubt welcomed by his fans. We dare you to keep your nose out of this page-turner. Burke reads from and signs copies of the new book tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave. Call 322-7727.