Wednesday October 18 The big Chile: Chile encompasses Andean heights, prairie-like pampas, the still-wild bottom of the world at Tierra del Fuego and the cultural mysteries of Easter Island--all co-existing within the lean South American nation's boundaries. Interpreting this kind of diversity is a major task for members of Ballet Folklorico de Chile, who--with help from scientists, musicologists and artists--attempt to express a culture as broad as the country is long. Featuring eighteen dancers and fourteen musicians, the troupe will perform tonight at 8, at Macky Auditorium on the CU-Boulder campus. Tickets range from $10 to $45; call 492-8008 for reservations.
Closer to free: Chemistry is what the BoDeans are all about--harmonizing voices, ringing guitars and not much more. When provided by the supple-piped Sam Llanas and versatile ax slinger Kurt Neumann, the music bubbles right over, sounding as classic as the Everly Brothers but in modern terms. Whatever--the mix is infectious and the BoDeans have rabidly loyal fans who should turn out in droves when the band-backed duo sings tonight at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl. Admission to the 7:30 show is $18; call 830-TIXS.
Thursday October 19 Warble zone: Formerly of Dead Can Dance, Lisa Gerrard now sings her vague ululations solo, gaining critical kudos for doing so on the strength of a new CD. She'll bring her strange vocalizations to the Boulder Theater tonight at 8, accompanied by special guests. Deadheads of a different sort can purchase tickets, $16, by calling 1-800-444-SEAT; the Boulder Theater is located at 2030 14th St. In Boulder, of course.
Friday October 20 Cool hand Lee: A disciple of pianist Lenny Tristano, saxophonist Lee Konitz provided a chilly, inward parallel to Charlie Parker's frenetics as '40s bop surged into the cool jazz of the '50s. Riding the crest of that avant-garde, Konitz never feared experimentation, giving way to his continuing involvement in unusual projects, and his brilliant improvisations never slack off. Denver's jazz community gets a rare treat when Konitz winterizes Vartan Jazz, 231 Milwaukee St. in Cherry Creek North, with shows tonight and tomorrow at 8 and 10 p.m. Admission is $12; call 399-1111.
Breaking through: Women are talking. And the subject of breast cancer, once a taboo topic, is getting their attention. A Distinct Grace: Before, During and After Breast Cancer, an exhibition in progress at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, airs some of those voices by displaying works created by members of either gender who have had breast cancer or been touched by it in some way. In addition, special events--lectures, performances, workshops and gallery walks--will be held throughout the show's run, which ends November 26. Today at noon, Suzanne Foster, an art faculty member at CU-Boulder, gives a free lecture on the ways in which artists communicate about illness and healing through their work; at 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow, choreographer Polly Motley performs new solo works, in collaboration with poet Jack Collum and musician Michael Stanwood, in the museum's Public Theater. Admission to that performance is $7 ($5 BMoCA members); for tickets or information about future events call 443-2122. BMoCA is located at 1750 13th St. in Boulder.
Schuss folks: Some ski areas are open already, possibly catching you with your ski pants down. Get it together: The Rocky Mountain Ski Swap, an annual sale of new and used ski gear at affordable prices, will help you swaddle properly, from head to toe, just in time for fall schussing. Offering skis, poles, boots, snowboards, ice skates, clothing and sound advice from ski experts and Ski Patrol members, the swap takes place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow on the grounds of Arapahoe Community College, 5900 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton. As this is a swap, sellers can begin registering items tonight from 5:30 to 9 and again tomorrow from opening until 10 a.m., also at ACC. Sale admission is $1 (kids under twelve free with paying adult); proceeds raise funds for the Rocky Mountain Division of the National Ski Patrol. Call 430-2924 for information.
Saturday October 21 Repeat performance: Swallow Hill loves Geoff Muldaur, a career folkie bluesman who's been picking and singing ever since Ian and Sylvia warbled over his licks back in the '60s. And the love is mutual--Muldaur switches gears every time the music association brings him here, surprising the faithful with a chamber quintet at one gig and a hand-picked back-up band the next, and the crowds go crazy for it. This year, it's a trio, with legendary Canadian guitarist Amos Garrett and bassist Bill Rich, that'll wow old and new fans at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St. Showtime is 8 p.m.; tix are $14 ($12 Swallow Hill members). Call 1-800-444-SEAT or 777-1003.
Ex-X: In fact, X--the band that defined Los Angeles punk--keeps returning from the dead pretty regularly. But that doesn't stop its members from indulging in individual projects, including those of John Doe, whose steadfast, rootsy populism (hard to imagine in a punk band, but it was there) always holds X's music together. Doe's latest diversion is the John Doe Thing, featuring an update of the guitar-pumped folkish songwriting seen on his last solo effort. The Thing, which includes X drummer D.J. Bonebrake, performs tonight at 10 at the Lion's Lair, a true people's venue, 2022 E. Colfax Ave. For tickets call 320-9200 or 1-800-444-SEAT; they're $12.
Leave it to Cheever: The straitjacketed New England family men, adulterers and alcoholics indigenous to the works of John Cheever are treated, one after the other, in A.R. Gurney's off-Broadway success A Cheever Evening. Based on 25 of the American author's short stories, the play is in previews tonight at 8 and tomorrow at 7 (tickets are a mere $8) at Germinal Stage Denver, the well-ensconced little theater at 2450 W. 44th Ave. A regular run begins next week, with shows staged Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through December 17. Admission ranges from $10.75 to $12.75; call 455-7108 for reservations.
Sunday October 22 Dem bones, dem bones: Those rumblings from the bowels of the Denver Museum of Natural History over the past six years or so have merely been the sound of the world re-creating itself. And now, visitors will finally be able to step out of the smog and traffic and into another time: The new permanent exhibit, Prehistoric Journey--featuring lifelike dioramas depicting ancient environments in the same minute detail utilized in other DMNH displays of modern-day life and the museum's beloved collection of dinosaur bones reconfigured in active poses--opens to the public today. Hang on to your kids--they're gonna love it, right down to the battling dino skeletons and the rip-snortin' Dinohyus, a kind of bygone warthog, hungering after a herd of camel-things. The exhibit is included in museum admission--$4.50 for adults, $2.50 for children and seniors--but timed entry is required, and reservations, at least in the early going, are recommended. For information call the museum, 2001 Colorado Blvd., at 322-7009.
Monday October 23 Scream and scream again: Jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson is not subtle. Maybe it's because way back when, while doing time in Stan Kenton's revolving camp for musicians, Ferguson had to blow shrilly in the higher registers just to be heard above the din. Has the apoplectic swinger--now leaning toward seventy--mellowed out with age? Nah. He's still blowing valves. Wheee-oooh-aaah! Ferguson's supersonic squeals can be heard at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder, where he'll appear leading his Big Bop Nouveau Band tonight at 8. For tickets, $17 in advance ($19 day of show), call 786-7030 or 443-3399. And leave the dog at home.
Tuesday October 24 Glass act: Composer Philip Glass, he of the undulating curtains of sound heard in the film Koyaanisqatsi, will appear with his Philip Glass Ensemble and Singers in a performance of his latest project--a live score to Jean Cocteau's enduring and gorgeous film La Belle et la Bete (Beauty and the Beast)--tonight at Macky Auditorium, CU-Boulder campus. Touted as Glass's best effort in years, the work, actually an opera using the film's screenplay as a libretto, is the second in the composer's Cocteau trilogy. And even those who think opera beastly should find this one a shimmering beauty. The program begins at 8; tickets are $19, $21 or $25. Call 830-TIXS to reserve a seat.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly guide to events in Denver, and never be bored again. With suggestions for every day of the week, our recommendations will keep you busy on any budget.