Wednesday October 5 American flyers: Sometime between the early Seventies and today, Boston rockers Aerosmith rose from the status of fourteen-year-old boys' cult favorites to their current berth as grand old band of the decade. Behind Steve Tyler's fiery, acrobatic vocals and Joe Perry's smart guitar work, the group's arrangements conjure up all the best of the genre--from Beatle-esque psychedelia to the down-and-dirty Stones, it's all there. And it's all become distinctively Aerosmith. The voice of the Nineties' underbelly will attack McNichols Arena tonight at 7:30 with a barrage of spandex, black leather, leopard prints and possibly something diaphanous, after an opening set by Collective Soul. Purchase tickets, $18.50 to $22.50, by calling 290-TIXS.
Thursday October 6 Two tons of fun: Kids never fail to be astounded, and most grown-ups who go still want to run away and join up when it's over. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is a perennial, awe-inspiring favorite, brimming with acrobats, daring bareback riders, performing animals and honking clowns. This year's version of the recurring spectacle spotlights baby elephants Romeo and Juliette, both cute as buttons and smart as whips. See the petite pachyderms and their pals beginning this evening with a 7 p.m. family-night show (all tickets discounted $4) at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St. Performances continue through October 16. Admission ranges from $9.50 to $14.50; call 296-SHOW for times and ticket reservations.
Boarding pass: There's an erudite way to enter Denver's brave new transit world--before the masses begin to pile on RTD's light-rail cars for free rides at tomorrow's grand opening. Patrons of the Art at the Stations Progressive Dinner, a benefit to raise funds for the creation of commissioned artworks for the LRT car stops, will be ferried to several destinations on pristine vehicles tonight from 5 to 10:30. They'll be whisked to the Buckhorn Exchange and Tosh's Hacienda, then on to the Denver Marriott City Center, where they'll sit down to dinner and a musical show presented by the Eulipions Theater Group. They'll then be returned to their cars, parked at the I-25 and Broadway station. The whole evening costs $100, which includes all of the above, as well as the ticketholder's name engraved on a station plaque. Call 299-2401.
Friday October 7 Massive art attack: Enjoyment of art doesn't have to be snooty--the area's alternative galleries and co-ops have long proven that it can be fun as well. Possibly the best example, though, would be the annual Alternative Arts Alliance Open Show, a sprawling, anything-goes, nonjuried exhibition featuring works by literally hundreds of artists. This year's display can be viewed through October 16 at 12 Broadway--a huge, 24,000-square-foot space--from noon to 5 daily. The good times are extended on weekend evenings, with live entertainment, performance art and poetry readings from 7 until midnight. In addition, there will be a free children's festival between 10 and 5 tomorrow. Exhibit admission is free; special events cost $5. For a schedule call 433-9359.
Bluebird of happiness: There's always a thankful sigh when another music venue opens its doors in Denver; now it's time to welcome the Bluebird Theater, a newly refurbished room at 3317 E. Colfax Ave. boasting microbrews on tap, an espresso bar and an impressive roster of live music and second-run films promised for the future. Richie Havens, an original Woodstocker who showed up at number two this summer, will help get this fledgling venture off the ground when he appears tonight at 9; tickets are $15 to $17. Timbuk 3 hits the Bluebird stage tomorrow night, and the film Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? screens Sunday through Wednesday. For information and tickets call 333-7749.
Saturday October 8 Meeting of the minds: Collaborations are the grist for guitarist Bill Frisell, an unassuming musical adventurer whose career has lit on so many shores it would be impossible to keep count. Defying categorization, Frisell permeates his music with a secret ingredient--the sweetest, most sardonic helping of idiosyncratic humor and heart. It makes you admire the man, not just the textural technician. He's staked out tunes by Madonna, Dylan and Aaron Copland, gone straight ahead (in a delightfully wacked-out way) on Monk and Bill Evans works with Paul Motian, accompanied somber avant-folkie Robin Holcomb, taken part in John Zorn's improvisational free-for-alls, soloed with a tape loop machine and scored a passel of Buster Keaton laughers. Considering the changes evident in that synopsis, it's no surprise that tonight's 7:30 gig at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave., promises a set of all-new music--with an all-new cast. Frisell, a former Denverite, is now collaborating with local trumpeter Ron Miles--a pairing making its performing debut. And the icing on the cake will be an unprecedented duet with Frisell's onetime teacher, Denver guitarist Dale Bruning. Tickets are $17.50; call 830-2525.
Seeing stars: Look up. That's where everything will be happening on Colorado Astronomy Day, celebrated today from 10 to 3 at the Gates Planetarium, in the Denver Museum of Natural History, 2001 Colorado Blvd., and continuing tonight from 6 to 10 at the University of Denver's Chamberlin Observatory, 2930 E. Warren Ave. Daytime observers will get to spy on the sun, using special filters; nighthawks can peek at the planets through the hundred-year-old observatory telescope and get lessons on using binoculars to search the skies for constellations. Cameras are welcome, day or night. It's all free; for additional information call Gates Planetarium at 370-6317 or Chamberlin Observatory at 871-5172.
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Sunday October 9 Justis will be served: A serious subject will get members of the Jan Justis Dance Company on their feet tonight, as they tackle the experiences of Holocaust survivors in a full-length work, Mir Zeinen Doh. Dancing to a score by local composers/sound designers Mike Vargas and Jesse Manos, the troupe will conjure up stories, as well as letters of victims and survivors, all carefully researched and distilled by Justis into a powerful statement on what it means to be displaced. The company closes up a run this evening at 7 at the Shwayder Theater, 4800 E. Alameda Ave. To reserve a $12 ticket, call 321-8297.
Put it on ice: If you haven't yet ventured to Boettcher Concert Hall for a taste of this year's Colorado Symphony Orchestra season, you still have a chance to catch this week's unusual offering today at 2:30. Led by Maestra Marin Alsop, who will also narrate and act, the orchestra will perform composer-in-residence Jon Deak's The Snow Queen, a work based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Then they'll be joined by the outstanding cellist Carter Brey for a stellar run-through of Robert Schumann's Cello Concerto in A minor, Opus 29. Rounding out the bill are lush works by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. Tickets range from $8 to $33; call 986-8742 for reservations. Boettcher Hall is located in the Plex, at 14th and Curtis.
Monday October 10 Lovett or leave it: Despite all the gossip about Julia, an acting career and many an entertaining tramp on the road, quirky Lyle Lovett just keeps on gaining momentum, tossing off agile albums of music that slip serenely between country and R&B into a land peopled by romantic cynics and stained characters. Lovett takes the personal approach on his latest, and he's sure to bring it right on stage tonight--and tomorrow--when he cooks with his stylish big band at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl. Tickets for either 7:30 performance are $27.50; to purchase yours, call 290-TIXS.
Tuesday October 11 Repo man: Detective writer Joe Gores is an expert PI who tramped his own San Francisco beat for twelve years before settling down to write. The twist in Gores's approach lies with his cast of characters--rather than sticking with one heroic gumshoe protagonist, his Daniel Kearny Associates is a multicultural crew of Bay Area investigators and skip tracers who go out on simple repossessions and always seem to end up with a dead body or two. He'll read some seamy passages from his tenth and latest installment, Menaced Assassins, tonight at 7 at the Little Bookshop of Horrors, 10380 Ralston Rd. in Arvada. Call 425-1975 for details.