It's a good Thursday to go dancing, with a couple of concert offerings guaranteed to put some oomph in your step. New Orleans's unshakable Funky Meters provide nonstop R&B grooves tonight at 10 at the Aggie Theater, 204 College Ave. in Fort Collins. True classics of their genre, the funky ones include original Meters members Art Neville and George Porter Jr., along with Russell Batiste and Brian Stoltz; a lineup like this is worth the $24 price tag. And the hour's drive. Call 1-970-407-1322. Meanwhile, swing-dance aficionados can make a night of it with Chicago's The Big Swing, a big-band agglomeration that includes former members of the Mighty Blue Kings. Boulder's Dance West provides dance lessons beginning at 8:30 p.m., and the stomping begins at 9:30 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St.; admission is $5 in advance. Call 786-7030.
The annual Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival, now in its fourteenth year, should be congratulated simply for existing; coordinating performances by more than 3,000 students of all ages from metro schools has to be a mind-boggling endeavor. But with much pomp, circumstance and Renaissance-era finery, the show will go on, beginning at 10 this morning with a festival parade from the performing arts complex at 14th and Curtis to Skyline Park, 16th and Arapahoe streets. Opening ceremonies follow the promenade; from there, performances of Shakespearean snippets and Elizabethan music and dance take place from 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on seven stages situated in the area between 14th and 17th and Arapahoe and Larimer streets. Admission is free.
A musical experience unlike any other is in store for you this weekend when the Buzz Band comes out of hiding for a couple of shows in Denver and Boulder. The on-again, off-again aggregate of musicians is the ultimate in eclecticism, but each member has one thing in common: an understanding of the concept of the "buzz," a primal, mesmerizing musical drone present in music forms from around the globe. Led by world-instrument junkie Michael Stanwood, the group, which includes chanters, cellists, percussionists, didgeridoo virtuosos and more, improvises on that theme, with unusually stirring results. They perform tonight at 7:30 at the First Divine Science Church, 1400 Williams St. in Denver, and at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Boulder Unitarian Universalist Church, 5001 Pennsylvania; admission is $10 to $12 at the door.
A chance to help your fellow human is as close as your own mailbox today: The annual Letter Carriers' Food Drive requires little effort on your part. Simply leave non-perishable food items in a plastic bag by the mailbox and your letter carrier will pick it up. It's as simple as that. Donations made today in the metro-Denver area will go to Food Bank of the Rockies for distribution to families and individuals in need.
On the lecture circuit, there's nothing quite like the 11th Hour, an ongoing project of KBDI-TV/Channel 12 that brings dissimilar speakers together on one stage to deliver lasting messages to future generations. This time around, KBDI presents a quadruple whammy of a roster: Green Beret-turned-militia-activist Bo Gritz, Mothers Against Drunk Driving founder Candace Lightner, Promise Keeper chief Bill McCartney and founding Black Panther Party member Bobby Seale will gather tonight at 7 at the Source Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, to have their say. The $28 admission includes a post-taping reception; for tickets, call 296-1212 or 830-TIXS.
Put on your gowns, tuxedos and safety helmets--it's time for the Hard Hat Ball, a benefit for the Historic Denver Guild and a festive kickoff for upcoming Historic Denver Week activities. The gala, featuring hors d'oeuvres, drinks and a swing band, will be held tonight from 6:30 to midnight at the nearly completed Denver Tea Room, located atop the Denver Dry Building, 1555 California St., and destined to be one of the town's ritziest lofty places. Admission is $40 per person ($65 for patrons); call 595-3500 or 296-9887.
Perhaps the tulips and apple blossoms provide the best Mother's Day fanfare, but some moms won't settle for an afternoon on the back porch. Special brunches are everywhere and walks in the park are free, but here are a few more structured events at which you can honor your mater. The Mercury Cafe takes on a feminine cast all day long, starting with a Mother's Day Tea and Her Acting Group theater performance of Herstory 9: Mothers and Daughters at 2; all-inclusive tickets are $13, or you can opt for a show-only admission price of $10 for a 3 p.m. performance. Call 722-7585 for reservations. The Merc also features its regular Sunday brunch from 9 to 3, as well as Argentine tango and swing-dance classes during the afternoon, and at 7:30 tonight, moms can kick up their heels to Jazz West for only $6. The Merc is at 2199 California St.; for details call 294-9281.
Some moms think they've heard all the stories, but they might hear a few new ones at Tales of Mamas and Papas, billed as a Mother's Day concert of song, poetry and stories performed by a quartet of local yarn-spinners. It all begins at 2 at the Washington Park Community Center, 809 S. Washington St.; tickets are $7 ($4 for children twelve and under) at the door.
On the more formal side, the Byers-Evans House Museum, a stately old home located in the shadow of the Denver Art Museum at 1310 Bannock St., offers a Victorian take on the holiday with a very proper Mother's Day Tea and Tour from 1:30 to 3. Space is limited and reservations are a must; admission is $12 ($10 for Colorado Historical Society members). Call 620-4833.
Okay, so your mom is not the typical mom. Here's the ultimate alternative: If flowers won't do the trick, maybe a trip out to Bandimere Speedway for the Hot Rod Power Tour will. From 3 to 8 p.m. today, one of the most awesome parades of classic hot rods in the nation makes a local stop as part of a ten-day road excursion from L.A. to Mount Clemens, Michigan. The safari's cherry shoebox Chevys, Ford coupes and candy-lacquered muscle cars will vroom around the track at Bandimere, 3051 S. Rooney Road, Morrison, before heading off to Goodland, Kansas. Spectator admission is free; closet hot-rodders wanting to make a day of it can register their vehicles on-site for a $50 fee. Call 1-213-782-2341.
Stop mooning around and do something. Head on out to the Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden, Aurora, for one of its monthly Full Moon Walks, starting tonight at 7:30. The May walk, between two and three miles long and dubbed "Grass Moon" to honor new spring growth on the prairie, offers hard-bitten city dwellers a rare look at a starry rural night; an old-fashioned marshmallow roast completes the experience. Admission is $4 ($3 members), and reservations are required; call 693-3621.
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A master of deadpan--and maybe something a bit more arcane--comedian Steven Wright brings his perfectly flat affect to the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl., tonight at 7:30. This sad sack has raised the art of being a stick-in-the-mud to new and inspiring levels; for tickets, $20.65, call 830-TIXS.
LoDo legends delivered in a laid-back atmosphere are the whole point of History at the Hideout!, a gathering of neighborhood raconteurs to benefit the Ballpark Neighborhood Preservation Project. Lore-masters Tom Noel and Dennis Gallagher, developer/preservationist Dana Crawford and Westword editor Patricia Calhoun head the storytelling crew tonight from 5:30 to 9:30 at Herb's Hideout, 2057 Larimer St.; for tickets, $35, call 294-9870.
The Colorado Ballet closes out its season with a proper tribute: An Evening With Mr. B. (for ballet lovers, it goes without saying that the "B" stands for Balanchine) celebrates ballet's foremost choreographer. On the bill are an encore performance of Balanchine's masterpiece "Serenade" and a rousing finale of "Stars and Stripes," set to music by John Philip Sousa and choreographed by the great one. In between, the troupe trots out a dramatic new work by its own ballet master, Sergey Kozadayev, based on Bela Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin. Tonight's performance begins at 7:30 at the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; to reserve tickets, $14 to $50, call 830-TIXS. Additional shows continue May 15 through 17.