Wednesday January 26 Childish pursuits: Author Jonathan Kellerman can say without reservation that it pays to write what you know. He used to be a practicing child psychologist, but now writes full time about the mystery adventures of fictional child psychologist Alex Delaware. Kellerman will be on hand for a suspenseful 7:30 p.m. reading from his book Bad Love tonight at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave. For further information call 322-7727.
Thursday January 27 This week in the blues: They're going to pull a spectacular switch--and blooz fanatics from Denver and Boulder alike can be drenched in their favorite musical medium without having to venture too far from home. Guitarist Bugs Henderson blazes in from Texas with his Shuffle Kings tonight around 9:30 p.m. at Herman's Hideaway, Denver's little club that grew, while The Kinsey Report, the sons sans father combo from Mississippi, send smoke through the room at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, beginning at 9. You get a day to catch your breath, and then the bands trade stages on Saturday, January 29, putting Bugs on at the Fox, 1135 13th St., while the Kinseys cook at Herman's, 1578 S. Broadway. Got that straight? Tickets run comfortably in the $6 to $8.50 range; to get yours for any show at either club, call 290-TIXS.
Sophisticated palette: Muscovite and painter Viatcheslav Kalinin is a long way from home, but since his works are known worldwide and rest in great museums from Russia to New York City, he probably has gotten used to it. Kalinin will be in town at the Sloane Gallery tonight to open his show "My Palette," a ten-work series of paintings rendered on the surfaces of actual palettes and depicting a slightly hallucinatory view of Russian life. Following the opening--6 to 9 this evening--the show will continue to hang through February 17. You'll find the Sloane, which specializes in Russian artists, at 1612 17th St.; for details call 595-4230.
Friday January 28 Let them read books: A genteel yearly event raises its head once again tonight when the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation presents its twelfth annual Rare and Not-So-Rare Book Auction, promising to put a variety of well-turned and hallowed pages on the block. As in other years, the auction takes place in the central library's fourth-floor Western Room, where you can expect a bit of nostalgia to waft through (due to library reconstruction, the room won't be available again). Preview library treasures--including a 1907 J.M. Barrie edition illustrated by Arthur Rackham and items from the library of Colorado poet Thomas Hornsby Ferrill--at 5:30 p.m.; public bidding begins at 6:30, followed by a silent auction at 7:30. Admission, which includes a light buffet, is $30 ($25 Friends members); call 640-8946 or 640-8998 for reservations. The library is at 1357 Broadway.
The very model of a comic operetta: The Gilbert and Sullivan thing may be an old chestnut, but somehow the duo's veddy British operettas continue to delight--especially when well-performed--with their quick pace, clever wordplay and tongue-twisting songs. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, CSO Chorus and Central City Opera are all crossing their fingers and hoping that their collaboration on The Pirates of Penzance continues in that entertaining tradition. Although certainly fluffy, it was never meant to be anything else. You can catch this fully costumed and quality-voiced production at the Boettcher Concert Hall, 13th and Curtis, tonight at 7:30, tomorrow night at 8, or at a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $8 to $33, are available by calling 986-8742.
Saturday January 29 Hillbilly heaven: Setting is everything. Local bluegrass--provided in this case by a Fort Collins-based group, the Bluegrass Patriots--takes on a down-home aura when presented in rustic surroundings. Enter the Left Hand Grange Hall--a family kind of place found at 2nd and Franklin in Niwot, a sleepy little town somewhere between Boulder and Longmont on the Diagonal Highway, Route 119--where a Home on the Grange series of Friday and Saturday night concerts has been offered for some time. Openers Pete and Joan Wernick heat up the crowd for the Patriots beginning at 7 tonight; tickets are $8 ($4 kids under 12) at the door. For concert information call 666-0442.
All Miles: Littleton's Town Hall Arts Center January Jazz Series is already screaming to a halt, but not without a little cream rising to the top of the run. The adventurous yet polished local horn-blower Ron Miles closes the series with style, beginning at 8 this evening. Get your tickets, ten bucks a head, by calling 794-2787. Town Hall is at 2450 W. Main St. in downtown Littleton.
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Sunday January 30 The odds are up: The word is in--Neil Simon tinkered with Oscar and Felix, renamed them Olive and Florence, staged the whole thing, and everyone loves it. The Odd Couple, female version, has racked up a seven-month run at the Avenue Theatre, with talented actresses Pamela Clifton and Deborah Persoff facing off in the yin/yang leading roles. Today is the last chance to see it--they've tacked on a final matinee at 2 p.m. Admission is $12; to make a reservation call 321-5925. A read on the wild side: Whoever had the idea to cross poetry and performance was on the right track, but when they decided to turn it into a gigantic game show, a winner was born. Poetry slams celebrate the word, pitting poet against poet toward a cutting and emotional end. To celebrate a year of such goings-on in Denver, Poetic Intoxication and the Mercury Cafe will present Energy Fields: An Electrical Poetry Slam, a slam-and-birthday-cake kind of affair taking place at the Merc, 2199 California St., beginning at 8 p.m., with a cappella poet Barbara Jensen preceding the 9 p.m. competition. Call 294-9281 for information, or 744-6747 if you're interested in getting involved.
Pistons in the wind: Those weary of the pigskin hoopla--dejected Niners fans and Montana maniacs, folks anxiously counting the days until spring training, ski bums and trainophiles--can still find adventure on a day like this. They can book a ride on the Budweiser Ski Train, the fine old institution that tunnels its way up to Winter Park on weekends. For $30 coach or $45 for the upscale club-car jaunt, you get a round trip up to the slopes, leaving Union Station at 7:15 a.m. and depositing you safely back in town around 6:15 p.m. And if you can't make it today, trips continue every Saturday and Sunday through April 3. Call 296-4754.
Monday January 31 Dust to dust: In response to the upswing of violent crime in Denver, a group of Tibetan monks will create a Wheel of Healing Sand Mandala at the Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., beginning today and continuing through February 6. An intricate mosaic, somewhat akin to a Native American sand painting (similarly constructed of tiny grains of colored sand), the mandala will be blessed upon completion and dumped solemnly into the South Platte--in a ceremony said to further spread its healing power. The museum is normally closed on Monday, but guests will be welcome at a 5:30 p.m. lecture by Barry Bryant, who's written a book about Tibetan mandalas; afterward, you'll be able to tour the Asian Art galleries and view the monks' work-in-progress. Viewing continues all week during regular museum hours; call 640-2793.
Tuesday February 1 Bull wrestling: Want to know the whole book on Michael Jordan--yep, the revered slam-dunking Nike-touter now interested in a career with the Chicago White Sox? Chicago Tribune basketball reporter Sam Smith--author of The Jordan Rules, a less-than-flattering account culled from a season spent tailing the Bulls--will be a luncheon guest at the Denver Press Club, kicking off the first in a series of Sports Beat programs. The fun begins at noon sharp at the club, located at 1330 Glenarm Pl. Lunch is $13 ($9 members); for highly recommended reservations call 571-5260.