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Thrills for the week

February 29
Old-time religion: While the membership of Blind Boys of Alabama has evolved, the gospel-singing group's name has remained intact for nearly sixty years, as has its pious intent.
Best of all, when the boys fire up their voices to praise the Lord--Lord, what God-given, soul-stirring voices they have! Led by fire-and-brimstone baritone Clarence Fountain, who founded the group during the Depression years, the current lineup will harmonize tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax. Tickets are $15; call 1-800-444-SEAT.

March 1
Hoops spring eternal: Lakota Sioux Indian Kevin Locke can balance 28 spinning hoops simultaneously from various parts of his body--without dropping one. Even more remarkable, in performing the traditional hoop dance, Locke eventually twirls the hoops until they interlock perfectly in a circular shape to symbolize unity among men. But Locke's talents don't end there: He's also a whiz on the haunting cedar flute and a top-notch, engaging Native American storyteller. Lakota music and lore will be the focal points tonight when Locke appears at 8 along with guest duo Red Tail Chasing Hawks at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd; for tickets, $15, call 1-800-444-SEAT.

Won't you come back, Bill Bradley?: A Renaissance man and hoop dreamer of another sort, Bill Bradley will be in town today, making the rounds to promote his new memoir, Time Present, Time Past, a tale that should be anything but boring considering the material. Bradley, who was a Rhodes scholar and basketball star before he went on to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, will speak at a noon luncheon at the Denver Press Club (1330 Glenarm Pl., $12, call 571-5260 for reservations) before his evening engagement as the season-opening guest at the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation's Authors on Stage series. The library fete kicks off at 5:30 with a Meet the Author reception at the University Club, 1673 Sherman St., followed by a presentation and question-and-answer session at 7 across the street at Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman St. This is your chance to ask the retiring senator what he plans to do next. Admission to both evening events is $50, or purchase tickets to the talk only for $22; for reservations call 640-6192 or drop by the Library Store at the Central Library, 13th and Broadway.

Clear as a bell: The newly renamed Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is quickly distinguishing itself as a high-class and accessible venue for modern exhibitions. The museum's spring roster of concurrent shows is headlined by a display of works by New Mexican sculptor and installation artist Larry Bell, who was commissioned in 1993 by architect Frank Gehry to create an outdoor installation for a client. SUMER: A Work in Progress includes computer drawings and sculptural mockups detailing Bell's creative process in developing the project, which has yet to be completed. The finished project would be a 24-foot bronze stick figure reminiscent of Sumerian cuneiform script. The show opens with a reception tonight from 6 to 9, along with exhibits by Delanie Jenkins, Russell Beardsley, Yishai Jusidman and Francis AlØs; all the shows continue through May 5. In addition, the museum, located at 1750 13th St., Boulder, offers a monthly music series as well as dance and performance events; for additional information call 443-2122.

March 2
Come on out: Humor has a way of bringing together people of every ilk--perhaps explaining the emergence in this decade of an entire culture of gay and lesbian comedy. Some of the genre's best and brightest comics--Californians Karen Ripley and Scott Silverman and Canadian Elvira Kurt--will unwrap their uncensored, laugh-inducing goods tonight at Comedy Gay-la III, an annual benefit event for KBDI-TV/Channel 12 at the Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Admission is $16; call 830-TIXS.

Body and salsa: Nearly every sect of popular Latin dance music will be reflected at Carnival 1996: Salsa vs. Merengue vs. Cumbia, a hot-and-flashy dance-floor soirŽe celebrating the Caribbean and South American counterpart of Mardi Gras. Featuring Manuel Molina's 15-piece orchestra, the costume ball begins at 8 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, I-70 and Chambers Road. Decorate yourself well: First prize for best costume is a pair of airline tix good anywhere in the United States or Canada. Purchase dance tickets, $15 in advance, by calling 366-5087; or pay $20 at the door.

March 3
Sail of the century: Picture Fabio banished to sailing the seas endlessly, setting foot ashore only once every seven years in search of a woman who will love him resolutely for life. Fab meets Senta, just such a babe, and marries her. But the mistrusting groom suspects her of cheating, hoists his headsails and hits the waves again, driving faithful Senta to leap to her death. Together the lovers rise to the heavens--end of story. That's the gushing premise of Richard Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer, best-known to American audiences as The Flying Dutchman and the patently romantic stuff of passionate arias. Opera Colorado wraps up a run of The Flying Dutchman today at 2 in the Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; catch it now or you'll have to wait until the Harlequin book comes out. Tickets range from $15 to $68; call 986-8742. And don't forget your hankie.

March 4
Hippie-hop: A leading proponent of the fun wing of hip-hop, the Long Island rap trio De La Soul made its name spinning a dense blend of funky rhythms and bohemian wit. Not a bad combination when you're out for a good time, something you're sure to encounter when the group appears tonight at the Fox Theater, 1135 13th St., Boulder. Xavier opens at 7 p.m.; for tickets, $15.75, call 447-0095 or 830-TIXS.

March 5
Blanket statement: In preparation for next month's Earth Day events, the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum turns to images of the birds and the bees (and the flowers and the trees) for its latest show, Celebrate the Environment: Nature Quilts, which opens today and continues through May 5. Featured are intricately hand-appliquŽd, embroidered and embellished textile works related by natural themes such as totem images, the tree of life and denizens of the animal world. The museum, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, is located at 1111 Washington Ave., Golden; for additional information call 277-0377.

Loman on the totem pole: Actor Hal Holbrook is trading in his Mark Twain mustache for a more contemporary role in a national touring production of Arthur Miller's classic drama Death of a Salesman, which stops in town for a run at the Auditorium Theatre beginning tonight at 8. Holbrook, whose award-winning portrayals on the stage, in film and on television include the aforementioned Twain tour de force, has turned his talents to the celebrated role of Willy Loman, Miller's incarnation of the tarnished American dream. Salesman continues at the Auditorium Tuesdays through Sundays until March 24. Admission ranges from $15 to $44; call 893-4100 or 830-TIXS for reservations. The Auditorium Theatre is at 14th and Curtis in the Plex.

March 6
Franken talk: A veteran writer and performer on Saturday Night Live, Al Franken is now the author of a broadly humorous, to-the-left political trashfest unapologetically titled Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. Franken will read from, discuss and autograph copies of the scathing book, in which he takes on Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan and the general foibles of the Republican right 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; call 322-7727.

Bob Marley's ghost: Reggae music master Bob Marley couldn't have left behind a more affecting legacy when he died: His own children have carried on the roots and riddim with able grace. Son Ziggy Marley and his band, the Melody Makers (a lineup that includes siblings Stephen, Cedella and Sharon), take reggae a step into the future, pleasing new and old fans and garnering a pair of Grammy Awards along the way. The young Marley carries on the tradition, tempering it with his own maturing spirit, tonight at 7:30 at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl. Tickets are $20; call 534-8336 or 830-


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