Wednesday July 13 Shelling it out: Native American literature no longer languishes on the cultural back burner--author Paula Gunn Allen now provides a comprehensive overview in Voice of the Turtle, a book containing published works by indigenous peoples dating from 1900 to 1970. Allen will re-create those voices tonight during a reading and book signing at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave. For further information regarding the 7:30 p.m. event call 322-7727.
Thursday July 14 Like father, like son: Don't try to label singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley. Although his original claim to fame is as the son of the late Tim Buckley, who plied the same trade to cultish praise during the Sixties, the younger Buckley crafts and ably delivers his own engaging material, a canon of unique tunes strong enough to place his name on just about everyone's list of up-and-coming artists to watch. Buckley will appear this evening on the intimate stage at the Bug, a performance space located at 3654 Navajo St., with openers Bleecker Street setting the tone. Tickets to the 9 p.m. show are $7.50; call 477-5977 or 290-TIXS.
Friday July 15 Burning down the house: Nashville fiddle virtuoso Mark O'Connor really can't be pinned down to one thing--he's just too good. His musical forays travel well past the boundaries of pat Nashville session work, encompassing jazz, swing, bluegrass and--now--modern classical genres along the way. O'Connor joins maestra Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra tonight at 7:30 for a run-through of his Fiddle Concerto for Violin and Symphony, a work filled with strains of all of the above, during Symphony on the Rocks, an outdoor extravaganza at Red Rocks Amphitheater. And if you're not a true believer after that, the CSO will still come through with more traditional fare by Copland and Tchaikovsky. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $18 reserved; to purchase call 986-8742 or 290-TIXS.
Gospel truth: Back this weekend for its eighth go-around is the award-winning Denver Black Arts Festival, an ambitious outdoor fair in City Park filled with African-American music, art and history, special pavilions for children and their elders, a reproduction of a traditional Nigerian village, a marketplace and, naturally, good eats, soul and otherwise. The fest kicks off at noon today, closing at 8 p.m., and continues Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A parade, An African American Story, will march from 18th Ave. and Logan St. to the park beginning at 11 a.m. tomorrow; other special attractions include celebrity appearances by jazz artist Leslie Drayton, Tichina Arnold of television's Martin and gospel composer Hayward Hobbs. And don't miss the Do Wop Corner, a full-size replica of an urban street scene where you'll hear rhythm and blues, gospel, rap, blues and poetry. Admission to the festival, taking place in the vicinity of 21st Ave. and York St., is free; call 293-2559 for details.
On the road again: There's no better fella around than Ramblin' Jack Elliott to host a celebration of Woody Guthrie's birthday. Elliott, who once traveled and lived with Guthrie and carries on the Guthrie traditions of folksy storytelling and populist humility better than just about anyone else, appears tonight at 8 at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, 1905 S. Pearl St., where he'll wax eloquent and help cut the cake. His own forty-year career entitles him. Admission is $12 ($10 members); call 777-1003.
Saturday July 16 The magic object: An enchanting collection of Latin American folk art organized by the Museum of American Folk Art in New York will stop over in Denver, overflowing into two fine venues. Forty works will be displayed at the Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., but the bulk of the vividly colorful puppets, masks, costumes, religious objects and toys of Visiones del Pueblo will fill the Museo de las Americas, a community-based locale at 861 Santa Fe Dr. that has been quietly open for a while but is celebrating its grand opening with this exceptional exhibit. The show can be viewed at both museums through September 4; for information call the Museo, 571-4401, or the DAM, 640-2793. Admission ranges from $1 to $3 (Saturdays are free at the DAM).
Back in the neighborhood: You can't beat an evening with Los Lobos. Starting with that shamanistic mountain of music David Hidalgo (who sings like an angel, can play anything he picks up and emanates a powerful musical vibration whose intensity rivals religion, the Beatles and soccer), picking up with the gutsy roadhouse influence of guitarist Cesar Rosas and driving it in with the fine songwriting that Hidalgo shares with bandmate Louie Perez, Los Lobos deserve every kudo received. To top things off, the band touted to be the most facile, the wisest, the rockingest and the best is even better live. You'll have two opportunities to witness them--tonight at 9 at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave. (tickets $18.50), or at 8 p.m. July 18, at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd. in Boulder (tickets range from $20 to $25). To purchase tickets call the Ogden, 830-2525, Chautauqua, 440-7666, or dial 290-TIXS. And just say yes.
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Fiesta Cubana: Step in to see Los Munequitos de Matanzas, appearing here as part of the Colorado Dance Festival, and you'll never have a chance to sit down. The traveling troupe, composed of seventeen of Cuba's best drummers, dancers and singers, will engage in an agile, nonstop attack of Afro-Cuban rhythms laced with rumba and Yoruba traditions that will not only raise your heart rate significantly but also simply fascinate and amaze. It all happens tonight at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St. in Boulder; admission ranges between $18 and $27. For reservations call 442-7669.
Sunday July 17 Let's be Frank: You don't have to be French or even remotely Gallic to enjoy a Bastille Day Celebration on the 200 block of Steele St., which becomes a petite rue francaise between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. today. There will be French noshing, courtesy of Le Delice and Le Central restaurants, impromptu street dancing to accordion music, booths peddling French-language courses, French-African goods, books about France and crepes made from a secret recipe (undoubtedly wrested from someone's dear old grand-mere). A drawing will top off the festivities, with the lucky grand-prize winner hopping on a round-trip flight to gay Paree. Admission is free; call the Alliance Francaise, sponsor of the event, at 279-4436 for additional information.
Monday July 18 Go fly a kite: Director Tian Zhuangzhuang's The Blue Kite, an unflattering depiction of social upheaval during Mao's Great Leap Forward campaign, won no prizes in China--in fact, it was banned. The gorgeous film, which follows the history of a single family caught up in turmoil and is based on the stories of people Zhuangzhuang knew, ends a one-week run Thursday at the Mayan Theatre, 1st Ave. and Broadway. For showtimes and other information call 744-6796.
Tuesday July 19 Turning the tables: Deep down inside, we all seek forbidden fruit--something never more evident than during a visit to a gallery or museum, where the objets d'art are rarely touchable. A new exhibit at the Loveland Museum/Gallery changes all that in intriguing style. Please Touch! features life-cast sculptures of celebrities ranging from the Dalai Lama to Dizzy Gillespie to Federico Fellini, all created by Willa Shalit and Dean Ericson and all available for touching to your heart's content. The show opens today and runs through September 25; Shalit will be present for a reception and will give life-casting demonstrations, a lecture and a workshop on July 22 and 23. The museum is at 5th and Lincoln in Loveland; call 1-303-962-2410.