Another arm of the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center's Red Scare/Black List: McCarthyism and the Arts series gets under way tonight, adding film to a winter-long cauldron already boiling with lectures and an art exhibit. Naming Names: HUAC and Hollywood kicks off at 7 with a screening of director David Halpern's Hollywood on Trial, a documentary detailing the House Un-American Activities Committee's unrelenting attack on alleged Tinseltown communists. Halpern will speak following the Shwayder Theater screening; for tickets, $5, call 303-321-6360. The center is at 350 S. Dahlia St.
In a similar vein, Moises Kaufman's courtroom drama Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde--opening for its regular run tonight at 8 in the Ricketson Theatre, Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex, 14th and Curtis streets--raises issues about censorship and sexual orientation as it tells the story of how a shining literary wit of Victorian England met his downfall, shamed in a court of law. Featuring a cast headed by such Denver Center Theatre Company luminaries as Jamie Horton and John Hutton, the play continues nightly except Mondays through March 4; for tickets, $28 to $34, call 303-893-4100.
Behind the man, there's always another man, and anyone with a sense of history knows quintessential soul/funk saxophonist Maceo Parker as the man behind Godfather of Soul James Brown. And after Parker's driving grooves propelled Brown's frenetic numbers in the '60s, he did the same for George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, working alongside Bootsy Collins, Eddie Hazel, Gary Shider, Bernie Worrell, fellow Brown hornman Fred Wesley and the other funksters back in the '70s. Those days are long gone, but Parker hasn't missed a beat--that'll be evident when he performs his scorching solo act tonight at 9 at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave. Don't bother looking for a seat. Tickets are $20; call 303-329-6353 or 1-800-517-SEAT. Parker then moves to the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder, tomorrow and Sunday at 9--tickets for those shows are $24; call 303-443-3399 or 303-830-TIXS.
One of the most dashing stars to come out of the Chinese action-film racket will be spotlighted starting tonight at the stroke of twelve during the Mayan Theatre's three-weekend Chow Yun-Fat Midnight Series, a retrospective of films starring the charismatic, James Dean-esque martial artist who's a favorite of top-dog kung fu flick director John Woo. Woo's A Better Tomorrow, in which Chow Yun-Fat characteristically plays a hit man, opens the Friday- and Saturday-night series; the Mayan is at 110 Broadway. It'll really be a kick; call 303-744-6796 for information.
Celebrate the season--or seasons to come: Today you can take your pick between outdoor fun at the Aurora Reservoir Fire & Ice Festival or an unseasonable daydream session on opening day at the Colorado Garden & Home Show. The Aurora fest, which commences early this morning with an ice-fishing competition beginning at 6:30 a.m., officially gets started at 9 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m. at the reservoir, located two miles east of Gun Club Road on Quincy Ave. If the weather's reasonable, there'll be hot-air balloon rides in the morning, along with a Chili and Salsa Challenge and a mostly free cornucopia of winter activities--bonfires and heated tents will make cold-hand warmup easy. Call 303-739-7081. Inside at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th St., the home show will explore a whole different indoor-outdoor angle, offering its usual fantastic garden displays today through February 14. Admission is $7 to $8 at the door (children twelve and under free); for information, log on to www.gardeningcolorado.com.
When Texas blues guitarist Johnny Copeland passed away recently, he left behind an unusually vivid and powerful legacy--his daughter, Shemekia Copeland, a full-voiced shouter in the mold of ultimate blueswomen Koko Taylor and Etta James. Copeland carries on the tradition tonight at 9 at the Soiled Dove, 1949 Market St.; for tickets, $18, call 303-830-TIXS.
Another child of famous parents, Guy Davis (the son of actor-couple Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee), is also in town tonight for a show: Part traditional country bluesman and part old-time storyteller, the easygoing Davis has a pleasant act that recalls what it was once like to be a black musician in rural America. Catch Davis tonight at 8 at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 71 E. Yale Ave.; admission is $11 to $13. Call 303-777-1003.
A trio of immaculately trained musicians will be all it takes to bring George Gershwin's music to life tonight at 8 when Gershwin by Request--featuring pianist Leon Bates, soprano Sebronette Barnes and bass baritone Benjamin Matthews --resounds through Macky Auditorium on the CU-Boulder campus. Presented as part of the campus Artist Series, the concert promises a gamut of Gershwin works, from Bates's rendition of "Rhapsody in Blue" to selections from Porgy and Bess; for tickets, ranging from $10 to $30, call 303-492-8008.
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Public television's Black History Month programming swings into full gear tonight with the broadcast premiere of The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords, a fascinating and well-researched account documenting the growth--and decline--of black newspapers in the United States. Held together beautifully by a Ron Carter score, the ninety-minute opus explores how black journalists fought the dehumanizing effects of the mainstream press on an African-American community struggling for rights and public recognition. The program, which comes fresh from a screening at the Sundance Film Festival, airs tonight at 9 on KRMA-TV/Channel 6.
As the widow of late civil-rights champion Medgar Evers, Myrlie Evers-Williams already has ample claim to fame--but her legacy doesn't end there; she's an inspirational and respected figure in her own right. As the NAACP's first full-time chairwoman, in recent years Evers-Williams single-handedly rescued the foundering organization from insolvency. She'll discuss her experiences, which she chronicled in Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be, today at noon at a Denver Press Club luncheon; at 7:30 this evening she'll sign books at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St. Admission to the press club event, which takes place at 1330 Glenarm Pl., is $10 (call 303-733-3613 for reservations); the book signing is free (call 303-436-1070 for details).
Here's the perfect place to do your bidding: The Metro State Center for the Visual Arts, 1701 Wazee St., hosts a Mayer Collection Benefit Auction tonight of twentieth-century works currently on display in the gallery. The impressive catalogue (which already makes for a smart-looking show) goes on the block beginning at 5:30; the fine folks from Christie's will oversee the proceedings, which ultimately benefit the center. Pre-registration is required; for tickets, $15 ($25 per couple), call 303-294-5207, ext. 10.
They're not nearly as extraterrestrial as the title implies--in fact, Boulder's Women From Mars are particularly down-to-earth. The collective of female musicians will get together tonight to prove that point when they throw a free Women From Mars Masquerade Ball with lots of live local music, a visual-art exhibit by the Axis Mundi Gallery, and a benefit raffle for the American Breast Cancer Society. The nicest part? The main event takes place at The Foundry, 1109 Walnut St., Boulder, but impromptu musical performances featuring a whole feast of Martian women will continue for the next three days at Starbucks, 1427 Pearl St. on the Pearl Street Mall. For details call 303-447-1803.