Oh, those Russians--so romantic, so histrionic. It takes an even hand to navigate an orchestra through all of those ups and downs, and that's what the Colorado Music Festival will get from guest maestro GYnter Neuhold, an Austrian wunderkind who'll lead the festival orchestra--and his wife, piano soloist Emma Schmidt--in an all-Russian program featuring works by Mussorgsky, Schnittke and Prokofiev. Hear the program tonight or tomorrow night at 8 at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder; to reserve tickets, $19 to $35, call 303-449-2413.
These wheels were made for rolling, and that's just what they'll do: With a little help from local trail connoisseur Glen Hanket's new guide, Trails Away Colorado: Quick Escapes for Bikes, Blades & Boots, you'll be able to sample some of the best thoroughfares the state has to offer outdoor recreationists. Hike, don't run, to Barnes & Noble, 960 S. Colorado Blvd., tonight at 7, where Hanket will discuss and sign copies of the book. For details call 303-691-2998.
Though the rhythms of Mali are subtle and varied, none are lost to the keen ear of guitarist Habib Koite, who's synthesized the traditional phrasings of a Malian stringed instrument called the kamale n'goni to fit the modern fretboard of the guitar. The result is a fresh and soothing sound that's all his own, but still unmistakably African--and one no world-music aficionado will want to miss. Together with his band Bamada, Koite lands in Colorado for the first time tonight at 9 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; for tickets, $10.50, call 303-786-7030.
Less known in this country than some of his musical compatriots, Brazilian singer/songwriter Vinicius Cantuaria is anything but a lesser talent. A mover and shaker in Brazil's pop-music scene since the Sixties, Cantuaria's been affiliated with the bossa nova and tropicalia movements, penning tunes over the years for the likes of Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa and Gilberto Gil. Expect a romantic night when he performs al fresco tonight at 7:15 in the Denver Botanic Gardens outdoor amphitheater, 1005 York St. For tickets, $20 ($17 DBG members), call 303-777-3836.
Latin-music trailblazing of another color will also unfurl tonight, when ultra-hot pianist Danilo Perez brings a tight trio to the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder. Perez, who's gone beyond fusing jazz and Latin music to include Indian and Middle-Eastern cadences, as showcased on his recent album Central Avenue, performs tonight at 8; admission is $16.75. Dial 303-786-7030 for tickets.
When's the last time you did First Friday? Contrary to popular belief, all gallery owners do not hibernate during the summer. And even if it is high August, Denver's alternative galleries in particular are still staying cool. Very cool, especially tonight from 7 to 10. So check it out: Over on the north side, Pirate, 3659 Navajo St., opens shows by member Steve Alarid and associate Debra Sanders, while ILK uses its shared space in the Pirate complex to throw a silent auction raising funds for an art exchange with Philadelphia co-op Voxpopuli. For information, call 303-458-6058. And while making the trip to Navajo Street, be sure to cross the road for additional openings at Edge, 3658 Navajo St., featuring works by Kim Knauer, May Chan, Sandy Lane and Terry Lane, 303-477-7173. And Spark, nearby at 1535 Platte St., debuts its annual Art for AIDS project, a display and sale of artwork created by the program's HIV-positive students. After the opening, the show continues through August 15; call 303-455-4435. Across I-25 in the Ballpark Neighborhood, Core New Art Space, 2045 Larimer St., presents a unique generation-hopping show, Five Women--Five Decades (call 303-297-8428), and down along the Broadway Corridor, 8 Oz. Fred, at 26 Broadway, presents a show by a rebel of all rebels--mutiny artist Jack Jensen, an early Pirate member who broke away from the fold, displays recent works there through August 29. Now you can rest. Check this issue's gallery listings for more First Friday receptions.
The music continues to flow this weekend when Hothouse Flowers shows some of the rock-'n'-roll colors of Ireland at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder, tonight at 8--tickets are $17 and can be purchased by dialing 303-443-3399 or 303-830-TIXS. Or jazz lovers can follow a different wavelength with New York guitarist Joshua Breakstone, who plays a slightly underground gig tonight at the old Mackey Gallery space, 2900 W. 25th Ave., where there'll also be food and art on hand for concert-goers. An accomplished ax-handler who's teamed up to record with Barry Harris, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Barron and many others, Breakstone performs with bassist Mark Simon and drummer Mike Whited beginning at 8; tickets are $10 at the
door. Call 303-455-1157.
Find out what makes Jewish folk music Jewish today at the Norwest Jewish Folk Music Festival, featuring kaleidoscopic sounds of a culture in an outdoor, family-style atmosphere. You'll hear liturgical texts set to music, Israeli songs, Middle East-inflected Ladino music and a whole lot of klezmer on the Feiner Family Terrace of the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., where several performers, from guitar-mandolin duo the Borscht Brothers to Hal Aqua's six-man combo, Los Landsmun, will play between 3 and 8. Admission ranges from $12 to $16 (children under twelve free) and food will be available for purchase; call 303-321-6360.
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Women get their due--and their place in the history of the West--today during Working Women of the West, a day-long hands-on experience that includes costumed characters, a fashion show, pioneer-women diary and journal readings, ranch songs with Liz Masterson, a lesson in a single-room schoolhouse of the 1880s, butter-churning demonstrations and more, all taking place at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Park admission is $3 to $5 (children five and under free); call 303-399-1859.
This Stray Cat reinvented himself as a swing band leader without missing a beat, and the result is the Brian Setzer Orchestra, a rockin' ensemble that began to integrate American roots- music forms from rockabilly to jump blues just in time for this era's searing swing-dance revival. Setzer's crew, replete with vintage duds and gear, will play hard and hot tonight at the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., but not before honky-tonk specialists BR5-49 open the show at 8. Don't forget to pomade your hair. And sparkle, for heaven's sake. For tickets, $27.50, call 303-830-TIXS.
In an age when there's a music festival for everyone, the middle-school set seems to be the forgotten entity--and, alas, it wouldn't be the first time. But even that's changing: Nickelodeon's All That Music and More Festival is geared especially for kids, featuring cast members from Nickelodeon's top-rated show and a Festival Kidway, along with a whole roster of artists who pre-teens and young teens can groove to, including 98 Degrees, Monica, B*witched and more. The fest makes its way to Fiddler's Green, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., beginning at 5:30 p.m. today; admission ranges from $20.50 to $40.50. Call 303-830-TIXS.
Colorado Chautauqua is a place brimming with traditions, and here's one of the nicest ones: CU music professor and jazz musician Willie Hill wraps up the Chautauqua Forum Series with his annual free lecture and concert, this year a tribute to none other than the Duke. The Music of Duke Ellington: Celebrating 100 Years begins at 8 tonight in the Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline, Boulder; required tickets are available at the door. For information, call 303-440-7666 or log on to www.chautauqua.bouldernet.com.