On the brink of a new century, Angelique Kidjo is doing her best to fuse an aural deluge of old and new music styles from around the world into a pop genre that's powerfully modern--and you can dance to it. Kidjo blends South African harmonies, synthesized hip-hop grooves, jazz phrasings, West African rhythms and R&B horns, among other things, into her final product, and it all seems to work, whether it's a traditional tune...or Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile." The diva from Benin lets loose her robust voice tonight at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; for tickets, $16.80 ($18.90 day of show), call 303-786-7030.
It's doubtful that any artistic frontiers will be crossed in the Way Cool Pet Art Show, but the annual exhibit at Cosmo's Dog Biscuit Bakery, 1224 E. 6th Ave., is always as much fun as a romp in the park with your master. This year's show features paintings by Lori Fedorowicz and Kathy Wages Dougherty, as well as on-the-spot pet/owner caricatures by James Loshbaugh, who will gladly work from a photograph or the real thing. A reception takes place at the animal-friendly Sixth Avenue shop tonight from 5 to 8, and the show continues through December 3; a portion of all sales will benefit the American Humane Association's Second Chance Fund, a charity for animal victims of violence. Call 303-777-6500 or log on to wwwdogbakery.com/cosmos for details.
Beer here: You won't be wanting for variety at the Great American Beer Festival, returning tonight to Currigan Exhibition Hall, 1324 Champa St., for another three-day celebration of hearty suds in all their frothy glory. True to past-festival form, a jaw-dropping 400 breweries will be represented at this year's fete; what's new is that they'll be grouped by region, so whether your beer sympathies lie in Portland, Oregon, or Portland, Maine, you're sure to find something you like. The Great American opens its doors from 5:30 to 10 nightly, today through Saturday. Admission is $30 at the door, with a special $15 ticket available for noble designated drivers; a program and tasting glass are included in the price. Call 303-447-0126 for information.
Little things can make lasting impressions, and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art's 1998 One Act Festival could be a case in point. Featuring works chosen from nearly 100 submitted plays, the festival will focus on three two-character productions that touch on issues of reluctant fatherhood, long-term relationships and chance meetings. The fest opens tonight at 8 and continues Friday and Saturday nights through October 10; a matinee performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. October 11. The museum and its upstairs theater space are located at 1750 13th St., Boulder; for tickets, $5 to $8, call 303-443-2122.
Everyone's life needs a little spice, which is reason enough to sit in on the Latino Dance Festival, an annual extravaganza of traditional dance styles that begins tonight at 8 at the Denver Civic Theatre, 721 Santa Fe Dr. Regional dance troupes such as El Grupo Folklorico Sabor Latino and La Academia de Artes Folkloricos take choreographic journeys through Chicano and Mexican folk and urban traditions, while the Aztec dance ensemble Grupo Tlaloc amazes with ancient rhythms and splendid feathered headdresses. Dancers from the Moyo Nguvu Cultural Arts Center present an exercise in the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira, and New York ballerina Celeste Ortega caps the shows with a contemporary solo work. Performances continue tomorrow at 8 and Sunday at 2; admission is $15. Call 303-595-3800.
Swallow Hill presents a whole new brand of folk music with a heady double bill consisting of the Nields and Moxy FrYvous, a spirited pair of young bands that appear absolutely fearless in their genre-hopping experimentalism. Quirky lyrics, rock rhythms and delightfully fresh approaches promise to blossom tonight at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 71 E. Yale Ave., beginning at 8. Admission is $13 ($11 Swallow Hill members); to reserve tickets, call 303-777-1003.
Fans of the design arts are guaranteed a field day--or more--when the Denver Art Museum debuts a trio of new shows focusing on modern functional and architectural art forms. Forging a New Century: Modern Metalwork From the Norwest Collection, 1890-1940 features a fabulous array of utilitarian objects--some one-of-a-kind--engineered by a number of great names in American design, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Peter Behrens. 20th Century Design: Breaking All the Rules stretches to incorporate glass, ceramics and other materials marked by the genius of more great design names, from Ray Eames to Mies van der Rohe. Lastly, Paper Architecture: Hand Versus Machine delves into the rarefied and detailed art of architectural rendering, including images from the hands of Wright, Gio Ponti and other prominent draftsmen. The museum is located at 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy.; call 303-640-4433.
Fly me to the moon? That's a tall order, but if walking will do, there's always the Full Moon Hike at the Barr Lake Nature Center, a guided twilight tromp through the country lit mainly by that smiling round of green cheese up in the sky. The monthly nighttime nature trek goes from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and starts at 13401 Picadilly Rd., southeast of Brighton; a $4 park pass is required per vehicle. For hike reservations, call 303-659-6005.
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If it's trendy, it'll be available at the Denver Bartenders' Martini Formal, a swanky black-tie benefit that will feature cocktails, cognac, ci-gars and a casino, with popular bands Opie Gone Bad and Money Plays 8 providing the entertainment. There will also be a delectable spread of goodies from eight area restaurants, with some of Denver's favorite bartenders mixing the drinks. It all takes place tonight from 7:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at the Church, 1160 Lincoln St.; all-inclusive tickets are $100, and proceeds benefit the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Fund and other local nonprofits. Call 1-800-341-1494 or log on to www.colorado.net/epsm/martini for details.
Houston artist David McGee, whose portraits of family and popular heroes draw on techniques of the Old Masters while casting their subjects in a modern light, might be called the Rembrandt of African-American culture. The artist, who's been known to portray the late gangsta rapper Tupak Shakur in a Dutch collar, will talk about his work as part of the CU-Boulder Visiting Artist Program tonight at 8 at the Sibell-Wolle Fine Arts Building Auditorium on the CU-Boulder campus. Admission is free; call 303-492-6504 for information.
Step right up, ladies and gents--the circus is back in town. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus sets up at 7:30 tonight at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St. This year the Ringling spotlight is on that time-honored circus throwback, the sideshow attraction. You'll see Vesuvius the Human Volcano spit fire like the real thing. You'll marvel at Marina, the Lady in the Cube, who gleefully contorts herself to fit in a hatbox-sized Plexiglas cube. But rest assured, there will be plenty of the usual circus fare, too, including acrobatic elephants, honking clown battalions, breezy trapeze artists and intrepid lion tamers. Performances continue daily through October 18, and ticket prices start at $10.50; for showtimes and tickets, call 303-830-TIXS.
Here's the Cherry on top. Eagle-Eye Cherry, the youngest of a talented musical clan that includes jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and sister Neneh Cherry, recently embarked on his own successful career by nailing top-ten honors in Europe and the UK for his single "Save Tonight." Now Eagle-Eye's setting his sights on this country, where he's already made great on-air inroads. Catch the rising star tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.; for tickets, $10 in advance ($12 day of show), call 303-322-2308 or 303-329-6353.