Wednesday September 13 The rite stuff: We all go through changes--author and journalist Gail Sheehy proved that long ago with her book Passages, which chronicles adult life stages. But it doesn't take into account that we all experience those changes differently--and at different times. Her latest, New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time more than compensates, using interviews and survey results to help chart a personal path that works. Sheehy will get you started when she reads tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; numbers for a place in line will be given out at 6:30. For details call 322-7727.
Rock and roll is here to stay: Detractors of retro rock call it tired, but when a band as solid as Scotland's Del Amitri comes along, the genre is transformed into a sinewy animal that's nothing short of classic. The combo does it up like pros--they write songs that straddle the dark side, catching listeners with a pile of dangerous hooks, Justin Currie's gorgeous, tuneful vocals and a helping of sharp guitar work by Iain Harvey. Del Amitri plies its soulful craft (these days, you've got to appreciate a band that can both sing and play live) tonight at 7:30 at CU-Boulder's Glenn Miller Ballroom; for tickets, $15, call 830-TIXS.
Thursday September 14 Micro-blues: Small and sweet, the Boulder Blues Festival, featuring three consecutive evening concerts at the Boulder Theater, gives you just enough and no more. Tonight, Baton Rouge guitarist Tab Benoit gets down to basics, playing his unpretentious version of bare-boned "skinned" blues at 8; tomorrow, the Fabulous Thunderbirds pick up the ball, also at 8, and Junior Wells, a blues harmonica blower of unparalleled virtuosity, finishes up at the same time Saturday. In addition, Colorado blues artists will provide free tunes from noon to 5 on Saturday at Boulder's Court House Lawn on the Pearl Street Mall. Concert tickets range from $12.60 to $15.75 nightly, or purchase a three-day pass for $36; for information and reservations call 830-TIXS or 786-7030. The Boulder Theater is at 2030 14th St.
Friday September 15 A kiss is just a kiss: Some of the most lasting--and universal--photographic images of the century depict the simple act of putting lips together, with results ranging from demure to funny to torrid to just plain romantic. The Art of Kissing, a new exhibit opening this evening from 5:30 to 9:30 at the Camera Obscura Gallery, 1309 Bannock St., is certain to make you feel all squishy inside, with its famous works snapped by a shutterbug's who's who of the world's great photographers. The show continues through October 29; call 623-4059.
All that jazz: This year's batch of Park Hill Golf Club Mainstream Jazz Evenings--a classy, danceable series featuring highly respected names from the traditional, but absolutely grooving, corner of jazz legend--starts off this weekend with a guaranteed toe-tapper: regular Ralph Sutton, powerhouse pianist and the glue that holds this series together, joined by a pair of tenor saxmen--Ben Webster-influenced Scott Hamilton and consistent Downbeat award winner Flip Phillips, guitarist Howard Alden and, providently keeping the beat, sage bassist Milt "The Judge" Hinton and former Basie drummer Butch Miles. Doors at Park Hill, 4141 E. 35th Ave., open tonight and tomorrow at 5, with bistro dining available from 5:30 to 9 and music beginning at 7; tickets are $30. For reservations--they're recommended--call 333-5414 or 333-2940.
Prehistory repeats itself: Any good follower of dinosaur lore knows about Dr. Robert T. Bakker, the bearded dino raconteur, maverick paleontologist, author of The Dinosaur Heresies and oft-filmed and -quoted expert. Bakker has now channeled his ideas (which inspired the book and film Jurassic Park) and theories that dinosaurs were warm-blooded, crafty thinkers into an entertaining novel about just such a creature, Raptor Red. He lectures and signs copies of the book tonight at 7 in Bunker Auditorium at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. Admission to the rare speaking engagement is $17 ($14 students, teachers and kids under twelve); call 1-800-444-SEAT. Bakker's speech should get you ready for something totally primordial but unscientific--The Dinosaurs That Took Hollywood, a two-day film festival that begins tomorrow at the Denver Museum of Natural History's Ricketson Auditorium, 2001 Colorado Blvd. Cartoons (Gertie the Dinosaur and the dino segment from Fantasia), B-movies (One Million B.C., Raquel fans!) and corny Japanese classics (egads, Godzilla!) are the fare here, sandwiched between lectures and a little hands-on museum fun. Sessions run from 8:30 to 5 tomorrow and 10 to 5 Sunday; full two-day admission ranges from $10 to $24 (individual tickets, $4 to $12). Call 322-7009 to reserve a seat. Yabba dabba doo!
Saturday September 16 All dolled up: To call this a doll show doesn't do it justice--this weekend's Show and Sale of Miniatures and Dolls, sponsored by the Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, will not only overflow with the elegant precursors to Betsy Wetsy, G.I. Joe and Barbie, but also will feature miniature baby carriages and period furniture, a matchstick cathedral, teddy bears galore, dime-sized paintings, Indian artifacts and much more. The show, open from 10 to 5 today and 11 to 5 tomorrow at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, I-70 and Chambers Road, costs $5 ($4 seniors, $3 kids under twelve; tickets good for both days). For additional information call 322-1053. And meanwhile, back at the museum, located at 1880 Gaylord St. near City Park, don't miss Toys and Dolls of the Native Americans, a new exhibit that opened last Tuesday and continues through next year. Admission is $3 ($2 seniors and kids); for museum hours call 322-3704.
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Sunday September 17 Eat and repeat: Anyone who's lived in Colorado for more than two minutes has heard the story of the state's most famous cannibal, Alfred Packer, convicted of chowing down on his companions while lost in the snow on a barren mountaintop. Is it true? Packer gets a second chance during the Alfred Packer Re-Trial, a staged trial featuring various Colorado notables and history buffs and taking place near the clouds, at 1, in Leadville's Tabor Opera House. Paul H. Gantt's The Case of Alfred Packer the Man-Eater: An Unsolved Mystery of the West is suggested pretrial reading for the truly serious; admission to the four-hour event (this is a trial, after all, so it's safe to expect much long-winded, eloquent pontificating) is $7 ($5 students) or $10 at the door. For reservations call 556-4830.
Independence thinking: If good things come in pairs, this weekend's a jackpot: Mexican Independence Day can be celebrated two ways today. The Ballpark Neighborhood kicks up its heels with Fiesta! Fiesta!, a distinctly Mexican-flavored outdoor celebration near Coors Field on old Larimer, between 20th and 22nd streets, and along 21st St. between Lawrence and Market. From 10 to 7, you can sample authentic dishes--menudo, carnitas, taquitos, south-of-the-border fruit drinks and more--listen to music ranging from mariachi to norteno to rap, enjoy a low-rider bike show, stroll among folk art and artisan booths, tour the ballpark neighborhood in pedicabs and, if you're a kid, bang on a giant pinata. There will be similar goings-on in the heart of the barrio, on Santa Fe Drive between 9th and 11th avenues, during El Grito de la Independencia, an annual culturefest that kicks off this morning with a Mariachi Mass at 10. Music continues through 7, along with a children's carnival, petting zoo and pony rides, craft and food booths, and a temporary art gallery featuring works by local artists.
Monday September 18 Re-Imagining Argentina: It would be difficult for novelist Lawrence Thornton to top his beautifully image-laden, lyrical and politicized book Imagining Argentina. Still, Thornton has now written a sequel, Naming the Spirits, which opens with words of the dead--twelve dissidents buried in a mass grave--and then chronicles the personal journey of a young survivor as she heals and grows to adulthood. The author reads tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover, 2955 E. 1st Ave.; call 322-7727.
Tuesday September 19 A Legg up: British guitarist Adrian Legg deserves a category of his own. Legg music--instrumentals strummed effortlessly on his banjo-tuned Ovation--has a shadow of bluegrass twang, an ageless Celtic hint and highly evident wit. Yet when heard in concert, it causes other guitarists' jaws to drop audibly on the tabletops. How does he do that? Ace picker Legg's not telling, but the natural storyteller will spin the drollest yarns this side of a Leo Kottke concert in between tunes when he plays tonight at 7 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax. Tickets are $10 in advance ($11 day of show); call 322-2308 to reserve yours.