The Colorado Symphony Orchestra bids its season goodbye with style and splash this weekend. Beginning tonight, a grand reading of Mozart's Solemn Vespers of the Confessor, featuring voices of the symphony chorus, will be followed by the evening's centerpiece: Prokofiev's Cinderella, staged in collaboration with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and local author Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Conductor Marin Alsop leads the way at 7:30 nightly at the Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis streets, through Saturday; admission ranges from $12 to $46. There's also a pre- and post-concert Season Finale Gala tonight, commencing with dinner before the show and adjourning afterward with coffee and dessert; tickets, which include the concert, are $150 or $250. For reservations, call 303-830-TIXS; for additional information, log on to www.coloradosymphony.org.
One of the city's more ambitious new art ventures premieres this afternoon at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Celebrate Colorado Artists, a major all-Colorado arts festival touted as a regional alternative to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, features works by more than 150 participants--scattered indoors and out in the complex's sculpture garden, galleria and Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby--as well as a Colorado Bistro serving food and drink. Events, which include artist demonstrations, lectures and children's activities in addition to the varied visual-arts displays, take place from 4 to 8 p.m. today, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The complex is at Speer Blvd. and Arapahoe St.; call 303-831-4181 or log on to www.celebratecoloartists.com for details.
On a smaller scale, an extremely friendly Tactile Art Show opens tonight with a reception from 7 to 9 at the Louisville Arts Center, 801 Grant Ave., Louisville, offering an array of touchable art for your physical inspection. The exhibit, especially fun for children and visually impaired people, continues through Monday, and you can leave the kid gloves at home. Call 303-546-8668.
Jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis seems to be the celebrity of the Marsalis family, veering away from brother Wynton's classical/traditional bent by delving into more modern and popular grooves. But he's no slouch when it comes to playing jazz straight, either, or mixing it up gracefully--something that becomes especially evident on Requiem, his recent CD tribute to the music of Kenny Kirkland. Branford and quartet perform in support of the album tonight at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; for tickets, $28.50 to $31.50, call 303-786-7030.
In the wake of a visiting wagon train that stopped over at its living-history complex last week, Four Mile Historic Park kicks off a whole series of programs with Westward Ho!, a rustic Memorial Day weekend festival demonstrating the ways of pioneer life. Trail food, wagon rides, historical exhibits, and old-fashioned gunnysack races and marbles tournaments are just a few of the specialties you and your family can sample at the park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow, but the highlight may well turn out to be a children's parade scheduled at 2 p.m. each day that features Radio Flyers and other four-wheeled vehicles transformed into covered wagons by the kids. Admission is $3 to $5 (children under six admitted free). Four Mile Park is at 715 S. Forest St.; call 303-399-1859.
Hear the clarion call! Nothing says summer more loudly and clearly than the advent of an outdoor urban flea market. The Ballpark Market, an eclectic folly that debuted successfully last fall at the intersection of 22nd and Larimer streets, is back for its first full season, offering antiques, vintage clothing, folk art, crafts, jewelry, fresh flowers and produce and more, today from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The market returns one Saturday per month through October; for information, call 303-295-7059.
What's on your mind? Professor Krill and Marelli will be on hand to tell you tonight at 7 at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St. Billing themselves as "mental wizards," the local pair performs paranormally, in the manner of the Amazing Kreskin and other so-called psychics. Tickets range from $5 to $7; call 303-294-9281.
American poet Walt Whitman gets his due today when the First Divine Science Church, 1400 Williams St., honors him with a unique Sunday-morning service masquerading as a Walt Whitman Birthday Celebration. But the service won't be the only poseur on hand: White-bearded local actor and poet Wayne Gilbert will be there to impersonate the good gray poet and read some of his forceful works. Music by Harry Tuft and Dee Carstensen tops off the event, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Call 303-322-7738 for details.
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There are a million ways to spend your Memorial Day, but one of the last alternatives you'd expect is an afternoon at the theater. Well, here it is, folks: the US West TheatreFest, an annual selection of works-in-progress chosen for possible development by the Denver Center Theatre Company. This year's 'Fest opens today at 2 p.m. with Nagle Jackson's A Hotel on Marvin Gardens; also on the bill is a 6:30 p.m. workshop performance of Byrd's Boy, by Bruce J. Robinson. Readings continue through June 5 in the Ricketson Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets. Admission is free, but reservations are required; for a complete schedule and reservations, call 303-893-4100.
On a more traditional tangent, there's always the annual Gold Hill Inn Memorial Day Barbecue and Concert, this year featuring the Tony Furtado Band and the Floodplain Gang along with a mountain of barbecued chicken, homemade bread and other accompanying goodies. It all takes place from noon to 5 in bucolic Gold Hill (finding the inn is no problem, since it's practically the only building in town); pay $20 for the whole package, or half that for the music only--but we dare you to ignore the aromas emanating from the grill. For reservations and information, call 303-443-6461 or log on to www.goldhillinn.com.
Although the Children's Museum of Denver is now well out of its own childhood (the museum celebrates its 26th anniversary this month), the venue is still honing its childlike ways. To celebrate, its unique properties will be spotlighted all month with specially themed events. Scheduled daily--in alphabetical order--through June 26, the hoopla begins today with Amazing Animals Day, which focuses on PlanetZoo, the museum's recently renovated science lab. Anniversary activities run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily for the duration of the celebration; admission ranges from $2 to $5 (members and children under age one admitted free). The Children's Museum is at I-25 and 23rd Ave.; call 303-433-7444.
Swallow Hill aficionados have probably been wondering what will become of the music association's hallowed summer picnic concerts, which used to be served up in the backyard at the old Swallow Hill Music Hall on South Pearl Street. Things have changed since its move this year to more spacious digs, but the summer concerts will prevail--in a new location. This season's first Shady Grove Picnic Concert, featuring the sounds of Dakota Blonde, begins tonight at 6:30 in the peaceful surroundings of Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St.--conveniently adjacent to the Cherry Creek bike path. Bring your own basket and all the kids; admission ranges from $1 to $3. For details, call 303-777-1003.