Thrills for the week

August 15
Kitty got your tongue? You'll be smiling like a Cheshire cat at Cajun's Comedy Night, an evening of funny stuff at the Holiday Inn North, 4849 Bannock St., that benefits the Cat Care Society's cageless, no-kill shelter for cast-off felines. Featuring comic Kevin Fitzgerald--who, in his other life, is a veterinarian--and the Herizon all-woman improv troupe, the 7:30 p.m. show is named for the society's furry and frequently costumed mascot, Cajun, who is rumored to be a presidential candidate on the Rat-Rousters ticket and is scheduled to make an appearance tonight. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted during the evening; call 239-9680 for information.

August 16
Junior achievement: The classical-music superstars of the future are in Boulder today, serving as the Colorado Music Festival's orchestra-in-residence. The Bavarian musicians, ranging in tender age from 17 to 27 and collectively known as the Young Philharmonic Orchestra of Munich, culminate their Boulder visit at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder, during a pair of CMF Encore Concerts, tonight at 8 and Sunday at 7. A different program will be presented each evening; cellist wunderkind Kyrill Kravtzov is the featured soloist for both. For tickets, $20, call 449-2413. The precocious orchestra then wraps up Tuesday, August 20, with a CU-Denver-sponsored performance--punctuated by the world premiere of Wege, an oratorical work by German composer Kalisto, at Teikyo Loretto Heights University Theater, 3001 S. Federal Blvd. Admission to that 8 p.m. concert ranges from $15 to $25; call 556-2279 for reservations.

Sisters in arms: What do Dushanbe, Jalapa, Yamagata and Lhasa have in common? They're all Boulder sister cities (in Tajikistan, Nicaragua, Japan and Tibet, respectively), and they've all joined hands with Boulder artists for Trading Places: Boulder and Her Sister Cities, an exhibit of collaborative installations created in conjunction with the Helander Dance Theater's Hearth to Hearth 1996 cultural exchange. Teams of three local artists each concentrated on the cities, layering media, impressions and ideas to unique ends; the final products can be seen today through September 8 in the Boulder Public Library exhibit space, 1000 Canyon Blvd., Boulder. An opening reception, from 5 to 7 tonight, will be hosted by Mayor Leslie Durgin; call 494-1761.

August 17
Peaceable kingdom: In the best of all cultural worlds, fine artists, actors, dancers and musicians all live in perfect harmony, bouncing off one another and providing colorful backdrops and unexpected collaborations. That's the noble--and fun--premise of Artopia, an arts celebration and revolving showcase for all of the above, being held tonight from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the new Eulipions Center, 18th Ave. and Sherman St. Area restaurants and watering holes provide food and libations, and you--fashionably attired sans denims, please--provide the impetus at this serendipitous event; the all-inclusive admission tab is $20 in advance (at Noodles & Co., Pressto, the Purple Martini, Enoteca LoDo and Deidrich Coffee outlets, through August 16) or $30 at the door. Call 765-2724 for information.

Barking up the right tree: Dogs have their day today during the Pedigree Dog Days of Denver Canine Festival, a friendly frolic, obedience test and "petathlon" all rolled up (or over, Rover) into one. Taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the southwest end of Washington Park, Dog Days will offer expert tips on how to get your mutt to mind, search-and-rescue dog demonstrations, Canine Good Citizen certificates for obedient hounds who pass muster, free bandannas while they last, and a timed obstacle-course competition--not to mention a glaring opportunity for your dog to mingle with his own kind. Fetch Fido and come on down; for details call 1-800-8-PETLINE.

Long, tall Texan: Ever true to his Lone Star State, Lyle Lovett juggles Southwestern-eclectic musical styles with the ease of a circus performer, and his soft-spoken humor and literate way with words lend sweetness to the smoky mix. While some say his latest CD, The Road to Ensenada, has a melancholy, post-Julia cast, it sounds to us like a done-up-right country album, albeit one boasting Lovett's signature urban charm. Like his crafted recordings, Lovett's live work is always impeccably staged, with fine accompaniment and perfect pacing, making tonight's performance at Red Rocks a must for concertgoers. Lisa Loeb opens at 7:30 p.m.; for tickets, $22.50, call 830-TIXS.

August 18
One with everything: Carl Finch's Brave Combo is a group that bases its music on--but doesn't limit it to--a Tex-Mex specialty: accordion-driven polka music. But in a move that's earned it the title of Ultimate Wedding Band, Brave Combo also throws in an ethnomusicological smorgasbord of influences from around the world, from the cha-cha to the hora, all of it fairly irrepressible. Listen and learn--Brave Combo appears tonight at 9 at Herman's Hideaway, 1578 S. Broadway. Tickets are $6; call 777-5840 or 830-TIXS.

In the running: So you're not Gail Devers or Gwen Torrence--you can still shake a leg, can't you? In the sports year informally dubbed by network Olympics emcees as the "year of the woman," the women-and-girls-only Lady Foot Locker 5K Run/Walk seems to take on new meaning. Be part of the trend: Race-day registration for the annual event, a benefit for the Gateway Battered Women's Shelter, opens today at 6:45 a.m. in Pulaski Park, Steele St. and Cherry Creek Dr. North, followed by an 8:30 start; a free, gender-inclusive Family Fun Run begins at 10. Entry fees are $18-$23 for women and $12-$15 for girls age fourteen and under; register in advance at any Lady Foot Locker location. For details call 863-1633.

Fair weather: The state's most splendid agricultural wares--from Aunt Sue's apricot jam and Granny's deep-dish apple pie to the region's biggest durn hogs, heifers, beefsteak tomatoes and summer squashes--provide a good enough reason to attend the Colorado State Fair, but then there's the live music, the rodeo, the tractor pulls, the racing pigs, the carnival rides and all the food that's probably not very good for you, too. One way or the other, it's one of Colorado's biggest bashes, providing over two weeks of old-fashioned fun at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo. The fair, which began Saturday, comes out of the chute today with a blaring Fiesta Day Mariachi Festival (7 p.m. in the Coors Grandstand; tickets are $14-$18). Upcoming acts of note include Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis and Carlene Carter, teaming up on August 20 (8 p.m., $8-$12); Vince Gill on August 22 (8 p.m., $18-$22); the Mavericks, prepping the crowd for PRCA Rodeo events on August 23 (7:30 p.m., $12-$14); and Bill Cosby on September 1 ($16-$20). In addition, free entertainment--a grab bag of talent ranging from the Fabulous Thunderbirds to Billy Joe Royal--hits the stages daily in the Miller Amphitheatre and Bud Club tent. Gate admission for the fair, which continues through September 2, is $7 ($3.50 children ages six to eleven, $4 seniors, children five and under free); for concert tickets or information call 1-800-444-FAIR or 830-TIXS.

August 19
Nobody does it better: Aural tantrum or music for the ages? AC/DC has such a steely headlock on the universally fourteen-year-old Beavis and Butt-head generation that it may never lose its grip. So we might as well give in to the Aussie headbangers' stranglehold and appreciate it--for what it's worth. Featuring a lineup still powered by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, the hard-rock progenitors continue to crank it out with better-than-average manic gusto, right down to Angus's trademark shriek and knee-panted getup. Rock on and say no more: Tickets to AC/DC's 7:30 show, tonight at McNichols Arena, are $20 to $22.50; call 830-TIXS.

August 20
The perfect Macchio: In his latest guise, Karate Kid Ralph Macchio puts on a three-piece suit for a new touring Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, opening today for a two-week run at the Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Macchio is perfectly at home in his tony new duds, starring as J. Pierrepont Finch, the classic musical-comedy character who climbs the corporate ladder. See How to Succeed tonight at 8; performances continue through September 1. Tickets range from $15 to $50; for showtimes and reservations call 893-4100 or 830-TIXS.

Kaddish industry: The Denver Film Society and Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center collaborate this week to present the city's first Jewish Film Festival, focusing on screen works with Judaic themes. The festival opens tonight at 7 with Polish director Andrzej Wajda's Holy Week, a subtitled offering about a Polish family that shelters a Jewish woman in its Warsaw suburb. After the film, at about 9:15 p.m., comes an opening-night gala. Additional programs and screenings--including a pair of documentaries on Cuban Jewry, a silent, live-accompanied version of the Yiddish tale The Golem, and a Wednesday night forum with local film critics Robert Denerstein and Howie Movshovitz--continue at the JCC, 350 S. Dahlia St., beginning at 3 p.m. tomorrow and 1:30 p.m. Thursday. A wrap party concludes the festival on Thursday night. For tickets, $7 general admission, $30 for a five-ticket punch pass ($5 and $20 for JCC or DFS members), call 399-2660, ext. 337; opening- and closing-night packages are also available.

August 21
Laugh insurance: The first inkling Carlos Mencia had of his new comedy career came to him in a not-so-blinding flash during an employment stint with an insurance company in Los Angeles. What came naturally to him around the water cooler translated beautifully in front of an open mike at the Laugh Factory, and the rest is history. Well, personal history. If you haven't heard Mencia's name yet, get ready--the funny guy's a common sight on HBO comedy shows, and he's bringing his act to Larimer Square's Comedy Works for a four-day stay, tonight through August 25. The Comedy Works is located at 1226 15th St.; for showtimes, information and ticket prices call 595-3637.

Chow, baby: Everybody loves a major pigout. Therefore, this afternoon's Taste of the Tech fundraiser caters to the whole family, with a gamut of tasteables ranging from Blimpie's sandwiches to finer foods from the likes of Sonoda's Japanese Seafood House, Gandhi's Indian Cuisine and the pasta-rific Ciao Baby. The family-oriented Taste, augmented by a silent auction of celebrity memorabilia and other goodies, takes place between 4:30 and 7:30 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, I-25 and Belleview; proceeds benefit the Denver Rescue Mission. To purchase tickets in advance, call 297-1815; you can also pay at the door.


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