Jane's addiction: Husband-wife acting duo Linda Manning and Michael Pinney left for the East Coast several years ago after attending CU-Denver's theater program and performing at Denver's long-lived Changing Scene. Their literal scene change resulted in a well-received New York City production of Manning's play Do Something With Yourself! The Life of Charlotte Bronteë, in which Manning plays the title role and quick-change artist Pinney plays all the men in Bronteë's life. That's right, all of 'em--fourteen, to be exact. The couple returns to the Changing Scene, 1527 1/2 Champa St., tonight at 7 for the start of a four-night run of Do Something. For tickets, $6 to $7, call 893-5775. The show moves to the Auraria campus (Arts Building 278) for two 7 p.m. performances on February 17 and 18; admission is $6 to $10. Call 556-8122.
Love is strange: Cupid, schmupid: Some people just hate to have those sappy hearts and flowers jammed down their throats every Valentine's Day, and you're two of them. Don't fret--there are plenty of ways to go against the flow today, some of which might involve swinging your blue-jeaned baby at a barn dance or chaining your nose rings together at a bondage art show.
Aficionados of the jitterbug, polka and schottische can dance the night away to the sounds of Ron Jones and Cowboy Calypso at a Cowboy Cotillion, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Temple Events Center, 1595 Pearl St. And if you don't know a waltz from a Texas two-step, don't be a wallflower--free lessons kick things off at 7. Admission is $10 to $12; call 1-800-444-SEAT.
To help you romance your honey with dance of a loftier sort, the Colorado Ballet offers one-day-only, two-for-one ticket prices for tonight's 7:30 performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Featuring choreography by ballet marvel Christopher Wheeldon, the gorgeous interpretation continues at the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, through February 23. Tickets normally run from $14 to $50 each; call 830-TIXS for reservations.
Offer her the old song and dance, as well as the whole ball of yarn, tonight at Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St., where a trio of verbose folks from the Rocky Mountain Storytellers Guild deliver Love, Sweet Love: A Heart-Warming Evening of Stories and Songs for Adults. The odd mixture of folk tales, flamenco dancing, Bette Midler-esque humor and quilting songs begins at 7:30. To reserve tickets, $5 to $6, call 477-8339.
Promising an opposite effect on your heart is actor Chazz Palminteri's dark stab at playwriting, Faithful, a black comedy in which a husband sends his wife a hitman for their twentieth anniversary. The show opens this evening at 8 at the Avenue Theater, 2119 E. 17th Ave., and continues Fridays and Saturdays, through April 26. Call 321-5925 to reserve tickets; they're $15. In the mood for something darker still? Then dare to visit Planet Off Gallery, 2021 W. 32nd Ave., where an opening reception for Trussed/Trust: Images of Bondage & Release--featuring works, erotic and otherwise, by Lindsey and guest artists--takes place tonight from 7 to midnight. The show continues through March 2; call 480-9781.
Last, but not least, keep in mind that someone, presumably a member of the American Social Health Association, had an utterly brilliant idea, proclaiming today not just Valentine's Day, but also National Condom Day. So have a good time--but remember to cover up when you go out.
Fit as a fiddle: The latest in a long, fortuitous chain of Celtic music events in the area brings two of the genre's brightest stars--Scots Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham--to Cameron Church, 1600 S. Pearl St., tonight at 8. Bain, an astonishing Shetland-style fiddler known for his work with Boys of the Lough, and Cunningham, whose lilting piano accordion has been heard with Silly Wizard and a host of others, join forces for an evening of traditional ditties, waltzes and airs; for tickets, $12 to $14, call 1-800-444-SEAT.
Film clips: Differing views from local independent filmmakers can be sampled tonight at venues in Denver and Boulder. Joel Haertling's experimental 16mm works, composed of images hand-painted and scratched straight onto the film's surface, hit the screen tonight at 8 at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th St., Boulder. Haertling, also an electronic musician and composer, will be joined by the grand old man of experimental film, Boulder resident Stan Brakhage, to introduce a collaborative work, Through Wounded Eyes, as well as a number of eye-catching, impressionistic solo reels; admission is $5 ($3 BMoCA members, $4 students). Call 443-2122.
African-American heritage and culture are the overriding themes at today's fifth annual Black History Month Film and Video Festival, an afternoon-long event presented by Davon E. Johnson Filmworks at the East Denver YMCA, 3540 E. 31st Ave. The festival begins at noon with Johnson's own tribute to historian Paul Stewart of the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center and concludes with a world-premiere film, The Final Message, by Brian Charles; also included are bows to black entertainers and Denver's Hue-Man Experience book store and the screening of a flick directed by actor Blair Underwood. The program wraps up with a directors' reception; all-day passes are $5. Call 322-7761 for additional information.
Jungle fever: Here's something to get all hot and steamy about, in preparation for planned renovations at the Denver Botanic Gardens conservatory that will force the closure of the indoor facility to the public beginning February 18 and continuing throughout 1997. A Tropical Escape Weekend, which starts today and ends Monday, should provide a fitting farewell for all. Behind-the-scenes tours, given hourly from 10 to 3, and hands-on craft workshops for kids will turn the whole educational shebang into a pleasant celebration. Activities are included in the regular DBG gate admission, which ranges from $1 to $3 (children five and younger free); call 370-8187.
Stratford-on-Downing: You'll get both the long and short of Shakespearean works today at the Esquire Theatre, 590 Downing St., where Kenneth Branagh's splendid-but-lengthy Hamlet for the common man is running. So where does short come into the picture? Attend this morning's 10 o'clock show and, during the intermission, actors from Denver's Theatre on Broadway will fill the fifteen-minute break with a scene from the troupe's present production, The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged). You can go buy popcorn...or you can participate in Ophelia's nineteenth nervous breakdown; take your pick. TOB performers will continue their appearances Fridays and Saturdays during 7:30 p.m. screenings and Sundays at the 10 a.m. shows. Call 733-5757.
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Easy does it: Author Walter Mosley is known for his evocative Easy Rawlins mysteries, one of which--Devil in a Blue Dress--made it to the big screen with big-bucks heartthrob Denzel Washington wearing the Rawlins fedora. But the reasons for Mosley's popularity lie as much in his simple, literary style and keen characterizations as they do in the tinsel-town flash of his detective doggerel plots. Shifting gears, Mosley now offers readers Gone Fishin', a sort of non-mystery prequel to the Rawlins series, a coming-of-age chronicle in which he explores the protagonist's roots and the development of Easy's relationship with his psychotic sidekick, Mouse. Heavy stuff, perhaps--but it's written with the same panache Mosley's fans have come to love. He'll read from the book tonight at 5 at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St.; call 436-1070 for information.
Dynamic duo: It's simple enough to lump Dave Matthews and his inventive combo with the rest of the jam bands--but like Phish and some of the other better ones of their ilk, the Matthews ensemble distinguishes itself by really being able to play. What a fine idea. If you're one of those hardcore disciples who just can't get enough, Matthews offers a slightly different spin on his material tonight and tomorrow, during two acoustic evenings of jamming only with bang-up guitarist and musical crony Tim Reynolds, known for his guest appearances on Matthews Band recordings as well as for his own eclectic work with TR3. Matthews and Reynolds appear at 7:30 each night at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl.; for tickets, $25, call 830-TIXS.
Greene on the other side: Well, you can die--or you can just get older. Author, columnist and all-around regular, wiser guy Bob Greene explores the vagaries of the latter in his new book, The 50-Year Dash: The Feelings, Foibles and Fears of Being Half-a-Century Old. He'll wax on what it really means to grow long in the tooth tonight at the Cherry Creek Tattered Cover, 2955 E. 1st Ave. Greene reads from and signs the book at 7:30; for details call 322-7727.
Uninhibited sax: You could say Joshua Redman was born with the sound of music in his ears. Not one to turn his back on that kind of aural wealth, the charmed son of avant-garde jazz reedman Dewey Redman has taken his inherited musical sense to unheralded heights, establishing a huge following of fans hungry for a continuing supply of his own fine sax work. In the recording studio and especially on tour, young Redman always seems to surround himself with a hotshot back-up crew sure to draw plenty of whistles and whoops from audiences. Tonight's performance at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder, is no exception: Redman's entourage includes guitarist Peter Bernstein, drummer Brian Blade, bassist Christopher Thomas and pianist Pete Martin. Dig it--tickets to the 8 p.m. concert are $19; call 786-7030.