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Wednesday November 23 Touchy subject: Modern issues and sexual politics get an incendiary workout during David Mamet's play Oleanna--in previews tonight at 6:30 in the Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. The work, delivered in Mamet's shotgun style, pits a college professor against his faltering student--resulting in a reverberating drama that should inspire heated debates long after the set darkens. Oleanna will be staged Monday through Saturday evenings, with additional matinees Saturdays; previews continue through tomorrow night, with the regular run ending on Christmas Eve. For tickets, $18 (previews) to $28, call 893-4100 or 290-TIXS.

Thursday November 24 Come gather round, people: You've got to hand it to the forefathers--when they invented Thanksgiving, they invented a holiday dedicated to togetherness. Which may be why it's a perennial favorite in which everyone does a little reaching out--and a little pigging out. But before you dig in to the turkey and, perhaps, football, there are a number of ways to celebrate the concept of getting along. To start out the day in contemplative style, attend an Interfaith Community Service--there's one this morning at 10 at Congregational Emanuel, 51 Grape St., where clergymen from nine churches, temples and synagogues will speak. That should get you in the mood to lend a helping hand. Among the many free feasts for the needy is an annual community dinner put on at Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe, 2005 W. 33rd Ave., from 11 to 3. Donations are needed; call 455-0608. And the Volunteers of America mobilize in a big way, offering meals for seniors and those less fortunate at four locations, as well as a home delivery program. For information on how you can help, call 294-0111. Then, if your sense of holiday goodwill extends to the birds and beasts, you can hustle off to a Vegetarian Thanksgiving Potluck, where everyone brings a dish lacking any trace of meat, fish or fowl, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Temple Events Center, 1595 Pearl St. Admission is $1.50 to $5 (and a dish for twelve); don't forget to bring your own table service and utensils, as none will be provided. For reservations (they're required) call 368-8156. Finally, the time-honored four-mile Turkey Trot gets you out of the house and into your Nikes to benefit Mile High United Way. The run/walk events in Washington Park begin at 10:15 and 10:30 this morning, followed by a fun run at 11:45. Race-day registration takes place from 8 to 10 at South High School, Louisiana Ave. and Franklin St.; fees range from $10 to $20. For details call 727-8700. And step on it.

Friday November 25 Kansas City, here I come: The Park Hill Golf Club, 4141 E. 35th Ave., will be jumping with jazz this weekend when another of its all-star Mainstream Jazz Evenings gets under way with a Kansas City mainstay, boogie-woogie pianist Jay "Hootie" McShann, at the helm. McShann, a contemporary of Count Basie who early on gave young Charlie Parker--derided by some of the established musicians of the time--a shot at playing in his band, will be joined by cornetist Warren Vache, tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson, bassist Milt Abel and drummer Panama Francis, astute veterans all, for an evening inspired by the rollicking K.C. sounds of the '30s and '40s. The music begins at 7 today and tomorrow; a bistro menu will be served from 5:30 to 8:30. Call 333-5414 for reservations; tickets are $30.

All in the family: West Virginia-born brother and sister Tim & Mollie O'Brien sing like a choir of angels whenever they get together, and they do--get together, that is--just about every Thanksgiving. Long replanted in the Denver/Boulder area, the accomplished pair has put Colorado on the musical map. Brother Tim, in particular, is a talented composer, vocalist and instrumentalist who's made great strides nationally, both with the bluegrass band Hot Rize and his own O'Boys. The O'Briens will honor the region with an annual concert, also featuring the O'Boys and the extraordinary dobroist Jerry Douglas, tonight at 8 at the Teikyo Loretto Heights Theater, 3001 S. Federal Blvd. Tickets are $11 ($13 day of show); to get yours call 937-4205 or 290-TIXS.

Saturday November 26 The old one-two punch: The holiday weekend continues to roll along with a pair of fine concerts spotlighting both the well-written song and the memorable interpretation of same. At the Temple Events Center, 1595 Pearl St., folk's long-lived statesman, Tom Rush--who's been called "the eclectic's eclectic" and whose thirty-year career is dotted with important songwriting discoveries (he recorded tunes by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and James Taylor before those three became household names in the counterculture)--and the tasteful, pure-voiced Irish chirper Maura O'Connell will appear for the Swallow Hill Music Association's Annual Thanksgiving Concert. It should be a ripe evening of beautiful songs and impeccable singing. Tickets to the 7 p.m. show are $15 ($13 members); the sponsors ask that you bring a canned or nonperishable food donation for a mini food drive. Call 777-1003 for details. Meanwhile, nearby at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, Pennsylvanian singer/songwriter Jeffrey Gaines will be joined by Paula Cole, an emotive East Coast lyricist getting good notices on the acoustic circuit, for an evening that promises to prove that the contemporary song is alive and very well. Tickets are $13 ($14 day of show) and can be purchased by calling 322-2308 or 290-TIXS.

Still in living color: Comedians Tommy Davidson and Chris Rock have experienced a meteoric rise through the endless stand-up ranks. Both have appeared on Fox TV's In Living Color, and Rock--following in the footsteps of his idol and mentor, Eddie Murphy--was a cast member on Saturday Night Live for three years. Each now boasts an avalanche of comedy credits, including television specials and film roles. And that should lend a professional air to tonight's proceedings at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl., where Davidson and Rock will court your belly laughs with the help of fellow comic Kenny King. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $20.50 and $23.50; to reserve yours call 534-8336 or 290-TIXS. Sunday November 27 Mellow drama: Even if you've seen it before, (A Very Merry) Murder Most Fowl--a holiday version of Denver's longest-running play, Murder Most Fowl--is well worth seeing again. The zany murder mystery, which ran for five years straight after premiering in 1988, has had a facelift--it'll be laced with up-to-the-minute satire and improvised asides--but will still require help from the audience, which takes an active part in the nightly denouement, and will still feature the seasoned original cast. Performances, which began Friday, continue at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays, through January 15 at the Avenue Theater, 2119 E. 17th Ave. Call 321-5925 for tickets, $12 to $14, and reservations.

Monday November 28 The gravity of law: The medium is the message in the traveling Art and the Law exhibition, on display at the CU-Colorado Springs Gallery of Contemporary Art. Sponsored by West Publishing, a leading source for legal information, the national invitational show, now in its nineteenth year, contains images both powerful and alarming. Featuring works by 39 nationally recognized artists, the show--which opens today and continues through January 6--provides a provocative commentary on the interaction of law and society, addressing issues ranging from domestic violence and gun control to environmental concerns and animal rights. Visit the gallery, located in the Science Building Annex on the UCCS campus in Colorado Springs, from 10 to 4 Monday through Friday or 1 to 4 Saturday, or attend a reception, to be held from 5 to 7 on December 2. For details call 1-719-593-3567.

Tuesday November 29 Close shave: Author Inge Sargent has lived in Boulder for nearly thirty years; prior to that, she lived through the type of adventure most of us only encounter in books. But it's okay--she has written a book about it. Twilight Over Burma: My Life as a Shan Princess chronicles Sargent's unwitting marriage to a member of Burmese royalty and ensuing events that include the assassination of her husband by Burma's military regime, her own house arrest in Rangoon and, finally, her escape back to Colorado. Sargent will speak and autograph copies of the book tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th St. For additional information call 436-1070.


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