Don't be fooled by the blah connotations: Dog Days of Summer, on exhibit at the West Gallery, 303 W. 11th Ave., is anything but, especially if you're a fido fancier. A benefit for the A.L.I.E. Foundation, the show features all manner of dog-inspired works by local artists, through August 31. For information and gallery hours call 573-WEST.
There's music in them thar hills, along with street food vendors and a beer garden, at the Central City SummerFest Music Festival taking place on the gambling haven's Main Street beginning at noon daily today through Sunday. Headlining acts include Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men, Bill and Bonnie Hearne and John McEuen, as well as regional favorites Dotsero, Treehouse and the Kelley Hunt Band. The music is non-stop and free until around 9 p.m. today and tomorrow and 5 p.m. on Sunday, and free shuttle service is provided from municipal parking lots and nearby Black Hawk.
Have mountain bike, will travel: You don't have to be a pro--or even a grownup--to take part in the King of the Rockies Mountain Bike Festival, an all-inclusive collection of downhill and off-road races for all ages and abilities taking place this weekend at Winter Park Resort. A Saturday barbecue rounds out the whole affair by providing finger-lickin' fuel for all competitors; individual race entry fees range from $10 to $40 in advance (a $20 late fee applies on race day). For more information call the Winter Park Competition Center at 1-970-726-1590; for lodging reservations call 1-800-729-5813.
Just when you thought they couldn't top themselves, the green thumbs at the Denver Botanic Gardens have come up with something new. The outdoor paradise debuts its new Romantic Gardens--complete with, among other things, a waterfall, a private courtyard and one plot just for smelling--with a Romantic Evening at the Gardens tonight from 7 to 10. Music, desserts, Colorado wines and candles will set the atmosphere at the gardens, 1005 York St.; admission is $10 ($6 DBG members). For reservations call 370-8187.
A neighborhood tradition comes full-circle tonight with Silent Films at the Bug, an event that harks back to the days when the Bug Performance and Media Art Center's Highland auditorium was a silent-movie house--its original purpose when it was built in 1911. The family-friendly bill, featuring the wordless antics of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, begins at 8 p.m.; admission is $5 to $7. The Bug is at 3654 Navajo St.; call 477-5977.
On the other hand, gross still rules in the animation world, and in no place is that more evident than at Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. Our friends from South Park head up this year's representative and disgusting repertoire, which also includes such delights as Mike Johnson's Claymation spectacular The Devil Went Down to Georgia, featuring Les Claypool of Primus reinterpreting the Charlie Daniels tune, and Sloaches Funhouse, another clay piece guaranteed to make you blow your lunch. Or at least consider doing so. Spike & Mike runs August 14, 15, 21, 22 and 29 at the Aztlan Theatre, 974 Santa Fe Dr., and August 16, 17, 23, 24 and 26 at the Bluebird Theater, 3314 E. Colfax Ave.; admission is $7 at either venue. Call 830-TIXS.
Expect a hoedown of righteous proportions when the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., hosts a Bluegrass Bash tonight at 7 in its cozy outdoor amphitheater. There'll be more kinds of bluegrass represented there than you ever thought existed: Pete Wernick's Live Five features the local banjo whiz and his improvisational "flexigrass" genre (a tuneful mixture of jazz and grass), while Grammy nominee Kate MacKenzie provides the roots music with her patented brand of "swampgrass." And then there are the guys in Southern Exposure, who'll just knock your socks off with garden-variety bluegrass mixed with a dollop of humor. Admission is $12 for lawn seating or $17 for covered seating; call 431-3939.
These days there are more performing Celts out there than you can shake a shillelagh at. But at the top of the heap there's Altan, a group possessing all the right elements for a classic Celtic-music experience--a haunting vocalist in Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, a strong repertoire and a nimble-fingered crew of string specialists, including fiddler Ciaran Tourish, bouzouki player Ciaran Curran, guitarist Daithi Sproule and accordionist Dermot Byrne thrown in for good measure. Tony Furtado opens for Altan tonight at 8 at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline, Boulder; to reserve tickets, $17-$22, call 440-7666 or 830-TIXS.
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You just can't beat free, and that's been the admission charged for concerts sponsored since 1948 by the Musician's Performance Trust Fund, an organization administered locally by the Denver Musicians Association. MPTF-produced events over the years have included Denver Municipal Band performances in city parks, big-name concerts at A Taste of Colorado and downtown brown-bag-lunch shows. An eclectic but representative collection of artists, including the municipal band and its jazz ensemble, the Colorado Honor Band, the Ron Miles Quintet and Manual Molina and Combo Caliente will perform tonight at 6 at the MPTF Gala, taking place, appropriately, in Washington Park, Kentucky and Franklin, a familiar site for evening concerts. Of course, it's free; for more information log on at www.dmamusic.org.
In advance of its coming season, the Sinfonia of Colorado will do its darnedest to get you in the mood by hosting a Mozart Monday tonight at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder. Sinfonia members will tantalize Mo fans with a taste of things to come and author Don Campbell will speak about his book, The Mozart Effect; the evening will be topped off by a screening of Amadeus, the Academy Award-winning film about Mozart and his rival, Salieri. And even sweeter than the music itself is the price--admission is only $3. Call 786-7030.
Although this summer's blues extravaganza with B.B. King surely features the king of the blues himself, the rest of the lineup has a distinctly New Orleans flavor that crosses the boundaries of what we usually think of as the blues. But that doesn't mean it isn't tasty. A roster that includes the Neville Brothers, Dr. John and Storyville promises to be so power-packed it'll take you weeks to come down from the evening's high. The show begins at 6 p.m. at Fiddler's Green, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd.; for tickets, $15-$30, call 830-TIXS.
The fall theater season at the Denver Performing Arts Complex gets a headstart when Broadway's rousing Ragtime rolls into the Buell Theatre for previews beginning tonight at 8. Based on the E.L. Doctorow novel that blended fact and fiction across an early-twentieth-century backdrop, the award-winning musical takes up residency at the Buell for a six-week run. Previews conclude tomorrow at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and the regular run kicks off August 21; shows continue daily except Mondays through September 26. Admission ranges from $25 to $65; to reserve tickets call 893-4100 or 830-TIXS. The Plex is located at 14th and Curtis streets in downtown Denver.