Wednesday February 1 Belly up to the barre: Dancers from twenty colleges converge on Boulder this week to learn, perform and compete at the American College Dance Festival. But before the fledgling hoofers are put to the test, they'll have a chance to see six of Colorado's most accomplished professional companies in action: Tonight at 7:30, CO/6: Dance to the Power of Six spotlights the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, David Taylor Dance Theatre, Colorado Ballet, Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Jan Justis Dance Company and Kim Robards/Dance in a rare summit happily open to the public. Tickets to the performance, held on the Main Stage, University Theatre, CU-Boulder campus, are $12 ($8 students and seniors); call 492-8181. For information about other festival events call 492-7945.
Generation X: Black History Month, which begins today, has inspired a number of public-television programs and local campus events. Channel 6 will air a compelling American Experience documentary, Malcolm X: Make It Plain, tonight at 8, while Channel 12 kicks off at 7 with a full evening of musical footage exploring the blues. Metropolitan State College of Denver hosts a free, all-day Black World Conference tomorrow--taking place between 8:30 and 4 on the Auraria campus--that examines current African-American issues from the grassroots up. Call 556-4004 for details. At CU-Boulder, the entire month will be a kaleidoscopic cultural tour, with a fine slate of music, theater and dance performances, films, lectures, workshops, exhibits, a soul food dinner and more. Third World cinema expert Dr. Edward Guerrero gets the whole month off the ground tonight with a lecture titled "Fantastic Otherness: Race, Representation and Demonization in Hollywood's Sci-Fi and Horror Films," at 6:30 in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. Many activities are free; call 492-6431 for a brochure.
Thursday February 2 Growing pains: When the light is shed on black playwright Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, you know the result will be inspiring. The long-running cross-generational Southside Chicago drama, which first hit Broadway during the glory days of the civil rights movement, proves it still illuminates handily when a local production opens tonight at 8 at the Denver Civic Theatre, 721 Santa Fe Dr. Performances continue through March 5; to reserve tickets, $12 to $15, call 595-3800.
Meow mixer: We never knew a cat that really liked getting dressed up, but Cat Care Society mascot Cajun proved us all wrong by calmly posing for a series of fundraising greeting cards. And while it's not exactly cute, we have to admit that he seems pretty darn at ease in those sailor suits and Easter bonnets. Now--as if Cajun weren't already human enough--he's inviting us all to tea during a mixer introducing the society's new thrift shop and feline boutique, called Cajun's Closet and located at 5785 W. 6th Ave. Share a scone and a cuppa Earl Grey with Cajun, then poke through the merchandise from 10 to 4 daily, today through Saturday. Proceeds from shop sales help feed the bumper kitty crop awaiting adoption at the Cat Care Society shelter. Call 239-9680.
Friday February 3 Sounding off: Vocal genius Bobby McFerrin's talents go far beyond the simplistic tenets of his big hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy." A veritable sound machine, McFerrin works his astonishing pipes like a synthesizer--the kind that imitates anything--and, in the process, redefines vocal improvisation. He'll demonstrate--along with his onomatopoeic trio, Bang! Zoom--when he appears tonight and tomorrow at Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis streets, as a guest of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. These guys make so much extraordinary noise on their own that the CSO players will just sit and twiddle their thumbs during the performance. If you want violins, come back next week. Tickets for either 7:30 performance are $22 or $33; reserve seats by calling 986-8742.
Metals of honor: Call them jewelers, craftsmen or sculptors--whatever they are, the best metalsmiths are surely artists of the beautiful, weaving gold and silver, semiprecious stones, glass and, in some cases, organic objects such as shells, sticks and bones into unique wearable pieces. The work of six artisans, including that of well-known contemporary techno-romantic jeweler Thomas Mann, will be included in the MacLaren/Markowitz Gallery's fifth annual Jewelry Extravaganza, opening tonight and continuing through February 28 at 1011 Pearl St. in Boulder. Meet the artists from 6 to 9 tonight or 1 to 4 tomorrow; for information call 449-6807.
Harmonic convergence: If you hear a strange vibration in the air tonight, don't be alarmed--it's merely the sound of voices intertwining as various ensembles gather to harmonize throughout the area. That exotic trill will be coming from the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, where the Malagasy pop group Tarika entertains with the exuberant music of Madagascar (8 p.m., $13, 322-2308, 777-1003). The mellow hum comes all the way from Boulder, where On a Winter's Night combines the ample singing/songwriting talents of four genre favorites--John Gorka, Patty Larkin, Cheryl Wheeler and Cliff Eberhardt--at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St. (8 p.m., $16.80, 786-7030, 830-TIXS). And that humorous, quirky, showstopping, pristine a cappella buzz? Must be The Bobs, none of whom is really named Bob. Their show goes on tonight at the Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax (9 p.m., $15, 830-2525, 1-800-444-SEAT).
Saturday February 4 Just kidding: Children will love the All About Kids Expo, but parents needn't be nervous about all the fun and games--the expo has plenty of information for them, as well. So while the tykes get their hands on computers, educational toys and interactive exhibits, their folks can check things out before they bring anything home. TV kids Ashley and Haylie Johnson will be shaking hands, and continuous live entertainment will keep everyone happy. Attend the expo from 10 to 6 today and tomorrow at Currigan Hall, 1324 Champa St.; admission is $5 ($3 for kids ages one to twelve). Proceeds benefit the Children's Hospital; call 443-7880.
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Bass hit: There are drums and there are drums--talking drums, snare drums, bongo drums and eardrums--but the King Kong of them all is the taiko drum, which looks like Paul Bunyan's beer barrel with a skin stretched over it. Playing one is something like the action painting of the music world--a remarkable physical process into which the drummer must literally throw all his weight. And Kodo, perhaps the premier Japanese drumming company, has perfected that thundering technique, beating on taikos of various sizes, including one monstrous 900-pound instrument carved from a tree trunk. The troupe will drum, dance and perform on other Japanese instruments at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow at the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets. Tickets range from $17 to $26; to purchase yours, call 777-7372.
Sunday February 5 Chewing the Fat Choy: A meal that serves up dishes with names such as "full of luck," "sweet memory" and "happiness and wishes come true" could only be a traditional Chinese New Year Banquet. But you don't have to be Asian to enjoy all that edible good fortune--Denver restaurateur Johnny Hsu's Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant, 1 Broadway (698-2800), Palace Chinese Restaurant, 6265 E. Evans (782-0300), and Jade Garden, 5120 E. Arapahoe (770-5188), are all setting the table with an eight-course dinner for four costing less than $20 per diner. Tonight's the last night the banquet will be offered; for reservations call your restaurant of choice.
Monday February 6 Rhyme and reason: Former president Jimmy Carter, a reflective sort, is putting his literary cards on the table. Carter will autograph his new and notable book of poetry, Always a Reckoning, this afternoon at 4:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave. You'll have to line up early for this celebrity signing--they'll begin handing out place numbers at 9 a.m. Call 322-7727.
Tuesday February 7 Lassiter tricks: Jake Lassiter isn't the first Florida P.I. to inspire bouts of furious page-turning--Carl Hiassen's various private dicks and Charles Willeford's nebbishy Hoke Moseley have been through that wringer, where dark mysteries seem to teem in the relentless sunshine. Author Paul Levine, a former trial lawyer, based his fifth Lassiter novel, Slashback, on an actual case, incorporating retirees, drug smugglers, wind-surfers and other Miami-style stalwarts into the plot. Levine will read a bit--just to get you curious--tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave. For details call 322-7727.