Wednesday September 20 A brand-new bag: Few men have the distinction of having worked with two of the most influential funkmeisters of all time, James Brown and George Clinton. Saxman Maceo Parker not only has it, but he wears it well. The oft-sampled Parker, who's also provided propulsive riffs behind everyone from Rod Stewart to De La Soul, has happily embarked on a solo career, working lately with former Meters Leo Nocentelli and George Porter Jr. Parker steps on the gas at 9 tonight and tomorrow at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. Tickets are $14; call 447-0095 or 830-TIXS.
Thursday September 21 Remain seated: PISMO Gallery is branching out--its art-glass venue moved to a new space at 235 Fillmore St. that amply shows off gorgeous works by Marioni, Royal, Hawthorne and Chihuly, while the old location, at 2727 E. 3rd Ave., is now dedicated to one-of-a-kind furnishings and functional artworks. Sit On It!, a new exhibit of chairs, stools and benches created by over twenty furniture craftsmen, draws attention to the switch with an opening during Cherry Creek North's fall Visions Gallery Walk, from 5 to 9 this evening. The show continues through October 15; call 333-7724. And while you're strolling, stop by the craft-packed Show of Hands Gallery, 2610 E. 3rd Ave., for The Dog and Cat Show, also opening tonight and continuing through October, with whimsical works portraying pets in an array of media. For information call Show of Hands at 399-0201.
Facing it: A small book with striking impact, Autobiography of a Face, written by award-winning poet Lucy Grealy, is an intensely personal prose memoir of Grealy's brush with grave illness and ensuing disfigurement. Diagnosed at age nine with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare cancer, Grealy writes with astonishing directness of the endless chemotherapy, reconstructive surgeries and emotional traumas she encountered after half her jaw was removed--sans the hearts and flowers that so often accompany such accounts. She'll read from the unforgettable book tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St.; call 436-1070 for details.
Friday September 22 Top of the line: Traditional jazz never gets any better than it does at Summit Jazz, the state's premier trad raveup with headwaters high in Summit County, where it's been expanded to include internationally famous players. More recently, the fest has moved to the big city, we hope for good: This year's lineup includes the local Alan Frederickson Jazz Ensemble, San Antonio's Jim Cullum Jazz Band, Toronto's Climax Jazz Band and a tony all-star conglomeration featuring such favorites as Milt Hinton, Bob Barnard, Dick Hyman and Frank Capp. Four tootling sessions will take place at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., over the weekend (7 to midnight tonight; 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. tomorrow; and 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday). Admission ranges from $20 to $30 per session (students half-price) or $85 for the entire festival (reserved patron seating $150). For information and tickets call 674-4190 or 670-8471.
Raising a Skink: Crime novelist Carl Hiaasen, who gained his hysterical sense of outrageous grit as a fifteen-year reporter and columnist at the Miami Herald, has a way of pushing himself further out on a limb with each new literary romp. Even Donald Westlake, a darkly funny guy in his own right, says, "Hiaasen is so good he ought to be illegal." Hiaasen--a Florida native and songwriting dabbler (he penned two tunes, "Rottweiler Blues" and "Seminole Bingo," with fellow tongue-in-cheek curmudgeon Warren Zevon)--has already fed unsuspecting tourists to a monster 'gator, set loose a psycho with a weed whacker for an arm, and created the improbable Skink, a recurring, swamp-dwelling, one-eyed, ex-governor hermit, in previous potboilers. He dedicates his sixth, Stormy Weather, with characteristic black humor, to hurricanes "Donna, Camille, Hugo and Andrew." And that's just for starters. Hiaasen digs into the text, with a returning Skink, tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; queue up at 6:30 to get your number for a place in line. Call 322-7727.
Saturday September 23 Go with the flow: You're invited to help celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Platte River Greenway during the Mayor's First Annual Hats Off to the Platte--a day of funny contests (including a team relay event involving three-legged races, leap-frogging, backwards walking and other goofy sports), live music, food vendors, educational displays, trolley rides and rafting held at nifty Confluence Park (what better place?). Attendees also are encouraged to wear creative headgear (you can't take your hat off if you're not wearing one), and prizes will be given for the most stunning entries. The free events, hosted by Mayor Webb, who speaks at noon, will go on between 10 and 3 today; for additional information or to register your team--the team entry fee is $50--call 698-1322.
Fine palettes: A growing group of local artists, many of whom can't afford the medical insurance lots of us take for granted, are banding together to form Artists Helping Artists, an illness-and-healing co-op that raises funds for the ailing. In an inaugural show of solidarity, they're throwing The First AHA! Art Auction & Heart Party tonight at Grant Gallery, 1936 Market St., a benefit for painter Mark Travis, who has Parkinson's Disease and a heart condition. For $5, you can bid on donated artworks and nibble goodies from 7 to 10; call AHA! founders Pat Cronin, 233-6772, or Renna Shesso, 321-1958, for further information about the group.
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Sunday September 24 The Goodwin war: After her memorable contributions to Ken Burns's Baseball, it's hard to remember that Doris Kearns Goodwin is much more than an eloquent, consummate fan. The political analyst and historian is also a fine author of profiles from American history, including her latest, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, a versatile chronicle that explores the war years from both sweeping and intimate points of view. Goodwin will autograph copies of the book today at 1:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St. Call 436-1070.
Rock around the clock: Capturing a genre as vital, changeable and many-armed as the American phenomenon of rock music is no easy task, but a crack PBS team aided by critic/historian Robert Palmer seems to have done it justice. Rock & Roll, a ten-part series to be shown marathon-style in pairs over five consecutive nights on KRMA-TV/Channel 6, starts out with Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and doesn't hesitate to explore every musical side road, all the way to the hip-hop horizon of the '90s. Tonight at 8, parts one and two dive right in, featuring interviews with early studio geniuses Sam Phillips, Dave Bartholomew and Marshall Chess, as well as soul and pop songwriting stars like Leiber and Stoller, Carole King and Brian Wilson. Tune in at the same time nightly, through Thursday, for future installments exploring the disparate, wonderful worlds and progenitors of folk rock, Motown and Stax soul music, English blues rock, acid rock, underground rock, funk, punk and rap. As far as we can tell, it's here to stay.
Monday September 25 Goalie rush: Now that the colors have been chosen (kind of a maroon and blue, it seems), the logo perfected (a big, whooshy snow-wrapped A) and the uniforms unveiled (a combination of the two), Denver will inaugurate its status as a four-sport major-league city when the puckish Colorado Avalanche makes a National Hockey League debut during a test-run faceoff against the St. Louis Blues tonight at McNichols Arena. Cheer for the muckety-mucks: To purchase tickets for the 7 p.m. exhibition game--or for the upcoming season, with home games beginning October 6--call 830-TIXS.
Tuesday September 26 San Francisco treat: Don't be fooled by the name--T.J. Kirk is not a William Shatner tribute band. Rather, the San Francisco quartet draws its title from three musical icons--spacey pianist Thelonius Monk, funky James Brown and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the circular-breathing monster who free-blew two horns at once. T.J. Kirk, which features three guitarists--eight-string phenom Charlie Hunter (who takes care of the high notes and the bass lines at the same time), Will Bernard and John Schott--along with drummer Scott Amendola, will bring jazz-funk hybrid tunes like "Ruby, It's a Man's World, My Dear" to the Bluebird Theater stage, 3317 E. Colfax, tonight at 8. Admission is a mere five bucks. Call 322-2308.