Wednesday August 16 Burke's lawman: Like Dave Robicheaux, the fictional Cajun detective he created, Edgar Award winner James Lee Burke has an exacting eye for detail. And eight novels into the Robicheaux series, Burke continues to use his gift to not only plot another mystery, but also to conjure time, character and place with a cinematic skill that, in each gripping installment, sets his readers to arguing about who should play the manly swamp cop on screen. Burning Angel, the latest, will have you guessing again--although Alec Baldwin is said to own the role--as Streak encounters the mob-infested underside of New Orleans one more time. Burke will take you there when he reads at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave., tonight at 7:30; for details call 322-7727.
Thursday August 17 Glass act: An ancient medium with a modern sheen, glass-making continues to evolve, serving both functional and decorative ends with liquid grace. Glass: A Fusion of Art and Craft, a new group exhibit at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., celebrates that diversity with forms ranging from colorful vessels to light-catching sculptures. A meet-the-artist reception will be held from 6 to 9 this evening, and a gallery talk will take place at 1 p.m. August 26. The exhibit and two concurrent shows--one displaying imaginative vehicles for children and the other spotlighting painter Trine Bumiller--are available for viewing through mid-October. Call 433-3939 for additional information.
Tongues in Creek: Only those who attend tonight's Cadillac Taste of Cherry Creek will ever know if guesting paint-slinger Denny Dent--the guy who wows 'em annually at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival--inspires a food fight with his gestural, slapdash style. More likely, most of the delicious food served, courtesy of 25 area restaurants, from Bistro Adde Brewster to Mel's Bar and Grill, will end up being eaten between 7 and 10:30 in the Cherry Creek Mall's Grand Court. Meanwhile, as you chew, Dent will create two paintings to be auctioned before your very eyes; proceeds will benefit the AMC Cancer Research Center and eight-year-old cancer patient Cassie Morrison. Tickets are $28 in advance or $30 at the door; for further information and reservations call 388-6022.
Friday August 18 It's the same old song: But, oh, what a song it is. Legends of Motown, coming tonight to Fiddler's Green, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., features some of the biggest names, well-worn but enduring, in the American pop lexicon, including the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Spinners, Mary Wilson and the Supremes, and Junior Walker and the All-Stars--complete with synchronized choreography and attendant glitz. And their collective hits--from "My Girl" to the sax-driven "Shotgun"--will instantly remind you of how good the Motown era really was. Admission to the 6:30 p.m. concert is $17.50 for general-admission lawn seating or $22.50 reserved; call 830-TIXS.
The Lyons share: Music at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, held this weekend in Lyons, comes in all shapes and sizes. Much of it is acoustic; some leans toward the blues, some toward the Tennessee hills, some to Celtic climes and some as far east as Tibet. But all of it reeks of quality, something the Planet Bluegrass people, who put the thing on, are renowned for providing throughout the year. Standouts at this year's fifth annual fest include slide-guitar wunderkind Ben Harper and nose-ringed cult favorite Ani DiFranco, both performing tonight; guitarist Martin Simpson, back-to-basics bluesman Keb' Mo' and ultimate songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and John Hiatt tomorrow; and the chanting Drepung Monks, the fresh-sounding Nields and folk maven Nanci Griffith on Sunday. That's a lot, but the marathon lineups run even deeper than that. Tickets--$20 to $25 daily or $60 for three days--can be purchased in advance by calling 1-800-624-2422.
Saturday August 19 Broadcast news: Denver's little multicultural public radio station, KUVO, quietly celebrates its tenth anniversary this week, but the celebration party will be anything but sedate: KUVO's Shades of Paradise shindig--a buffet dinner, casino night and concert combo beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Shrine Auditorium, 50th Ave. and Tennyson St.--will feature a windfall of talent that complements the station's eclectic mix of jazz, blues, salsa and conjunto. First on the bill, at 7:30, is oft-overlooked pianist Gene Harris, who starts things off with a tasty, blues-infused set. Another pianist, salsa's wildman Eddie Palmieri--who pioneered the trombone-and-flute-dominated sound his brother Charlie dubbed "trombanga" and later married tradition with the modal reworkings of Miles Davis--heats up the evening at 9:15. Finally, the party-down atmosphere comes to a head at 11, when the Tejano ensemble Ruben Ramos & the Texas Revolution takes over the stage. Tickets are $75, which includes everything, or $50 if you forgo dinner; for reservations call 480-9272.
Mardi Gras Mambo: It'll be a night in N'awlins, for sure, when the Arvada Center presents a double dose of Crescent City fare in its nifty outdoor amphitheater. Performing tonight at 7:30 will be the Rebirth Brass Band, a youthful re-creation of bands traditionally accompanying New Orleans funeral processions, and Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias, a bona fide Mardi Gras "Indian tribe" featuring leader Dollis in wildly elaborate costume--all in all, a musical bill destined to get people on their feet and dancing. The Arvada Center is located at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.; for tickets, $8 lawn or $16 reserved, call 431-3939 or 830-TIXS.
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Riding high: Cowboys of color were more common in the Wild West than you might think--some historians say as many as one in three range riders was black. Their spirit will be revived at the Original Coors Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, returning to Denver with an entourage of the nation's best African-American bull riders and bronc busters. Admission to the rodeo, which takes place at 7:30 tonight and 3:30 tomorrow afternoon at the National Western Events Center, I-70 and Brighton Blvd., is $10 in advance or $12 at the gate ($7 kids); call 830-TIXS or 373-1246.
Sunday August 20 Jam-packed excitement: Jelly contests, racing pigs, carnival rides, bull riding and country music--now does that ring a bell, or what? That's just a start at the Colorado State Fair, where one can wander from art exhibits to livestock exhibits, see an ice show, rodeo or an auctioneers' competition, pet a goat or hop on a merry-go-round--and still not run out of things to do and see. Today at the fair, which began Saturday and continues through Labor Day at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, special activities include a Fiesta Day Parade, Mariachi Festival and performances by Little Joe y la Familia, along with the usual llama demonstrations, horticulture judging and milking matches; on future dates, entertainers, including Earth, Wind and Fire (tomorrow), Pam Tillis (August 25), the Spin Doctors (August 25) and John Michael Montgomery or Tom Jones (both September 4) will perform at the spanking-new Events Center and the dependable rerun, the Coors Grandstand. State Fair gate tickets, $5 ($2.50 youth, $3.50 seniors), can be purchased in advance at Safeway stores; for information and special-event tickets call 1-800-444-FAIR or 830-TIXS.
Monday August 21 Hey! Ho! Let's Go!: The buzz on the Ramones is that they're ready to hang up their black hightops and leather jackets forever, or at least once they've completed one last tour. It's cause for a moment of silence--and then, a prolonged (let's hope at least an hour) rush of unadulterated noise. After all, the group--which long ago buzz-sawed its way through Manhattan's Lower East Side, abroad and across the country, instigating a wave of punk rock around the world--deserves a modicum of enshrinement before being forever sedated. Stand in awe of the wall of sound tonight at 8 at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax; for tickets, $16.50, call 830-2525 or 830-TIXS.
Tuesday August 22 Little kings of everything: How a bunch of amigos from East L.A. became one of the most highly regarded rock bands of their time is no mystery--not when you hear Los Lobos play. Balancing roadhouse grit and rural sweetness, the band is a walking exhibition of musical Americana and doesn't disappoint in live performance. See for yourself tonight at 8 when the group makes its annual stop at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder. Admission ranges from $19 to $24; call 440-7666 or 830-TIXS. And if a drive to Boulder doesn't fit into your schedule, the world is a better place: Los Lobos are also slated to perform tomorrow at the ListenUptown Concert Series in the Plex; for tix, $18, and information, call 777-7372.