If you like your bluegrass slightly slick and not so whiny, the Nashville Bluegrass Band has your number. The Grammy-grabbin' quintet, which includes one small pickin' legend after another, blends the old-time traditions pioneered by the likes of Bill Monroe with more updated interpretations by artists such as Alison Krauss. You won't find a more complete package anywhere in bluegrass. Look for the band tonight at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; as an added treat, blazing locals Charles Sawtelle and the Whippets will open the show with help from acclaimed fiddler Richard Greene. Tickets to the show, the last in Boulder's winter bluegrass series co-produced by Planet Bluegrass, are $15.75; call 449-6007 or 786-7030.
Short and sweet is the rule at Colorado Quickies, the Changing Scene theater's annual brief salute to Colorado playwrights at which no play is more than ten minutes in length. This year's titles, eight in all, cover a gamut of emotions and styles, however fleeting, and feature performances by several Changing Scene veterans. The writer-directed plays premiere tonight at 7 at the theater, one of Denver's oldest independents, located at 1527 1/2 Champa St.; shows continue Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 7 through May 3. Admission is $10; call 893-5775 for reservations.
The suspense won't be killing anyone at this year's Authors Dinner, a benefit for the National Kidney Foundation of Colorado featuring five writers, most of whom lean professionally toward thrillers and chillers. Clive Cussler, Joseph Garber, Melly Kinnard, Phillip Margolin and John Ramsey Miller will talk briefly before signing copies of their page-turners. It all takes place from 5 to 10 at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave.; for tickets, ranging from $75 to $250, call 715-1523, ext. 14.
For every Clapton or Stevie Ray, there are hundreds of lesser-known bluesmen--and blueswomen--waiting in the wings for a shot at recognition. A handful of them will hit the stage this weekend for the Swallow Hill Music Association's second annual Roots of the Blues Festival, which takes place at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow at the ornate Eulipions Cultural Center, 1770 Sherman St. Tonight's bill features traditionalist duo Paul Rishell and Annie Raines, country blues aficionado John Weston and Son House protege John Mooney, whose scathing guitar work perfectly accompanies his own barking vocals. Tomorrow, the spotlight falls on Denver's Blues Divas (Mary Flower, Vicki Taylor and Mollie O'Brien), as well as boogie-woogie pianist Big Joe Duskin and Delta legend David Honeyboy Edwards, a one-time cohort of Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson and Memphis Minnie who hasn't lost any steam even though he's over eighty. Daily admission is $19 to $26 ($33 to $44 for a two-day festival pass); call 777-1003.
You'll get an authentic taste of Indonesia when the members of Gamelan Tunas Mekar, a local Balinese-style percussion orchestra, team up with shadow-puppet master I Nyoman Sumnadhi to perform Wayang Kulit, a classic puppet play. The ensemble plays its mesmerizing rhythms around town from time to time, but this is a rare opportunity to hear the music in a traditional context. They perform at 7:30 at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, 119 Park Ave. West; for tickets, $8 to $12, call 433-3782.
Planting a tree is good place to start if you want to help make the world a better place, and Denver Digs Trees, an annual community beautification program of the Park People, invites you to capitalize on the advent of spring and do that very thing. In addition to divvying up 1,250 pre-ordered trees this morning, the project will sell 450 more on a first-come, first-served basis from 11 to 12:30 today at six distribution sites. Prices are $30 for bare-root trees and $50 for larger balled and burlapped trees; it might be wise to line up early at Denver City Nursery (Smith and Havana), Congress Park, Crestmoor Park, Ruby Hill Park, Sloan Lake Park or the Washington Park boathouse, where the plethora of ashes, oaks and other trees are to be sold. After 12:30, remaining trees will be sent to the Wash Park site, which will be open until everything's gone.
Spring also means Earth Day, officially celebrated on Wednesday but getting a lot of attention today. The public nod to ecology issues will cross paths with Science and Technology Week events at Boulder's National Center for Atmospheric Research, where A Celebration of Earth and Atmosphere takes place today from 9 to 3 at NCAR's Mesa Laboratory, located at the west end of Table Mesa Drive. An all-ages affair featuring a creepy-crawlie arthropod zoo, a mammoth jigsaw puzzle with an Earth-friendly theme, an obstacle course demonstrating the hazards of pollution from a trout's-eye view, nature walks and more; the fest is also free, making it a perfect outing for the family with a conscience. Call 497-1173 or 497-1174.
Events take a somber turn today with the advent of Holocaust Awareness Week, to be observed locally with numerous ceremonies, services and exhibits scheduled throughout the week. Today's highlights include a Joint Holocaust Memorial Service, 10 a.m. at Temple Micah/Park Hill Congregational Church, 2600 Leyden (call 333-7830), and this evening's free Remember for Tomorrow Observance, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, as well as live music by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Yeladim Children's Chorale, 8 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex (call 871-2106). The University of Denver commemorates Holocaust victims tomorrow with a colorful Field of Flags, scheduled to remain flying through April 24 on the campus's GCB lawn; events there culminate Wednesday with Litany of Martyrs, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Driscoll Center, University and Evans. Call 777-2772 or 777-2773. The Governor's Holocaust Remembrance Program, this year featuring speaker Jan Karski, a former member of the Polish underground, also takes place Wednesday from 5 to 7 at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl.; for information on that program call 830-7177. In addition, the City of Denver hosts Show Me, I Remember: Denver and the Holocaust--an exhibit recounting how news of the Holocaust was reported locally--on the second floor of the City and County Building. View the show there through July; admission is free.
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This thing about the Seventies--it's not about to go out of style yet. Case in point: Just listen to Morcheeba, a British trio that somehow blends old and new influences in ways we haven't quite heard before. Guitarist Ross Godfrey contributes old-guard sitar, banjo and pedal-steel licks, while his brother Paul adds modern studio tweaks and grooves; then, breathy vocalist Skye Edwards paints an atmospheric gloss over the whole package, making for a compelling mix. Morcheeba performs tonight at 8 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder; for tickets, $10.50 in advance ($12.50 day of show), call 443-3399 or 830-TIXS.
What sort of novel do you suppose an obstetrician would write if she took the time to delve into fiction? If you guessed a medical thriller about a baby-deliverin' sleuth who uncovers evildoing in the birthing biz, you'd be pretty close to the jackpot. That's the premise, simplified, of Bay Area author Dr. Margaret Cuthbert's The Silent Cradle, a steamy whodunit written with a knowing hand. Cuthbert drops by the Hue-Man Experience Bookstore, 911 Park Ave. West, tonight from 5:30 to 7 to read from and sign copies of the book; for details call 293-2665.
What better way to kick off TV Turnoff Week than by attending today's Health and Fitness Day sponsored by Campus Recreation at Auraria? The campus fest, taking place from 10:30 a.m.to 1:30 p.m. outdoors at Auraria's plaza lawn and flagpole area (in case of rain, everything moves inside the PER Events Center Gym), mixes health screenings, fitness demonstrations, healthy food samples and more. Get off your couch and try out some tai chi and tofu; admission is free.