The write stuff: So much for the theory that all critics are frustrated artists--modern Latino literature connoisseurs and scholars Graciela Limon and Bruce-Novoa both switched gracefully from criticism to fiction and poetry and back again, each winning acclaim for their efforts from other critics. The pair will speak on the Latino genre they know so well tonight from 7 to 10 in the conference center at the Central Library, 13th and Broadway. Admission is free; call 640-6506 or 640-6235 for details.
Playing for Peanuts: If stride piano a la Fats Waller, R&B piano as practiced by James Booker and Professor Longhair, Hawaiian slack key guitar and the music of Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi sound like wildly dissimilar bedfellows, meet George Winston--the new-age pianist/entrepreneur who puts them all together with a flourish. Winston, who not only plays all of the above but also champions their masters (his Dancing Cat Records released an entire series by various Hawaiian slide guitarists, and his own upcoming solo CD pays tribute to Guaraldi's charming classical-jazz ditties), will perform tonight at 8 at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl. For tickets, $19, call 534-8336 or 830-TIXS.
Mud pack: Step right up and get yer shot of whimsy here. Mixed-media/assemblage artists Marie E.v.B. Gibbons and Gayla Lemke recently made the switch to clay and came up with a lot more than a fridge full of mudpies. The two friends' resulting works are showcased in goddesses... clowns...and fish...oh my!, opening this evening from 7 to 10 in the Back Room at Edge Gallery, 3658 Navajo St. See the exhibit through June 9; for information call 477-7273.
Return of Hong Kong: Hop on the Orient Express with Hong Kong Heroes, this summer's version of the Mayan Theatre's midnight screenings of Chinese action flicks. The series starts off tonight with My Father Is a Hero, the undercover adventures of humble Chinese-government special agent Gong Wei, who gets his kicks as the plot unfolds. Shows are at midnight tonight and tomorrow, with an additional matinee to run on Sunday; call 744-6796 for details. The Mayan is located at First Ave. and Broadway.
Up, up and away: There'll be rock climbing around the clock during the Access for All Climbing Competition, an event designed to benefit and draw attention to Access for All, a nonprofit organization that promotes and protects the ascending sport. Competitors will be divided by age and gender into four skill categories--recreational, intermediate, expert and elite--for matches taking place between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Boulder Rock Club, 2952 Baseline Road, Boulder; an awards party and raffle will be held immediately afterward. Competition registration is $20 (in advance at the club, or at Mountain Sports, 821 Pearl St., Boulder, 443-6770, or from 7:30 to 8 a.m. on event day), and spectators pay a $3 donation at the door to watch; raffle tickets are either included in the entry fee or free with the purchase of a $15 Access Fund membership. For further information call the Boulder Rock Club, 447-2804.
Cause and effect: The Colorado AIDS Project will be the big winner, but you won't do so badly, either, at CAP Concert '96, a benefit headlined by four popular national acts, including Dog's Eye View, Deep Blue Something, Jann Arden and Edwin McCain. A $10.75 donation admits you to the music fest, which begins at 7 at the Denver Auditorium Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; call 830-TIXS for tickets or 370-1445 for information.
Dancing in the street: Some city dwellers just can't seem to drag themselves away from the city, even over Memorial Day weekend, traditionally a head-for-the-hills kind of holiday. Fresh air, however, can be found within urban confines at the annual Old South Gaylord Street Festival, a neighborly affair featuring sidewalk dining, arts and crafts booths, a children's activity area, street performers and live musicians, today through Monday at the junction of Gaylord St. and Mississippi Ave. Festival hours are 10 to 6 daily and admission is free; for information call 919-2419.
Whip it: Good old-fashioned fun never goes out of style at Lakeside Amusement Park, 4601 Sheridan Blvd., where exhilarating terror reigns on stomach-turning rides such as the Cyclone and the Wild Chipmunk. But those seeking a milder form of excitement won't be disappointed by the park's gentle pedal boats, midway games or the rides in Kiddies Playland. Families can celebrate the holiday weekend economically by bringing a picnic; Lakeside keeps the costs down by offering a $10 admission package that includes parking, unlimited rides and a squeeze bottle full of Pepsi. The park opens today and tomorrow at noon; call 477-1621.
Strike up the band: If Memorial Day is the gateway to summer, what better way to observe the long-awaited seasonal trans-formation than outdoors on a grassy knoll, picnicking to the brassy strains of the Denver Concert Band? The ensemble, which plays a comforting and familiar mixture of Broadway show tunes, old favorites, marches and light classics, opens its summer family concert series this afternoon at 4 at Columbine Knolls Park, Coal Mine Road and Pierce Street, Littleton. Concerts are free; for information call 232-5981 or 465-5918.
Blues Monday: What do you mean you've never been to Gold Hill? A little niche in the road up above Boulder and Sunshine Canyon, the town is as pretty and rustic as can be, especially now, when the sky is clear and the wildflowers are on the verge of blooming. Just the right kind of place for a Memorial Day Blues Bar-B-Q, to be held today between noon and 5 at the equally pretty and rustic Gold Hill Inn, a cozy restaurant and lodge that also happens to have one of the nicest public patios in the West. The blues end of the deal will be provided by Hazel Miller & the Caucasians and the Mary Russell Band, while the inn dishes up some tasty barbecue. Admission is $17 in advance ($18 at the door) or $8 for the music only--but we dare you not to eat. Call 443-6461 for reservations and information.
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Across the great divide: What can one say about a rock band so elemental that it's known simply as The Band? Original members Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson still form the rootsy core of the famous combo that backed Bob Dylan during his defiant turnabout from folk artist to rock-and-roller. And despite a bitter break with guitarist Robbie Robertson and the suicide of vocalist Richard Manuel, they still make some of the purest and funkiest music around. The Band plays tonight at 8 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder; to purchase tickets, $21, call 447-0095 or 830-TIXS.
In the name of the father: Author Mary Gordon, best known for her big novels Final Payments and Men and Angels, swapped fiction for autobiography in The Shadow Man, a new work based on the ambiguously loving yet mysterious character of her father, an immigrant to the United States who died when she was seven. Gordon will read from and autograph copies of the insightful, surprising memoir (available in hardback from Random House) tonight at 7:30 at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 E. 1st Ave. Call 322-7727.
And here's the pitch: Now that all of LoDo, with its brewpubs, sports bars and looming Coors Field, has transformed into a bastion of baseball, you'd better brush up on the lingo--or stay uptown. Folks unschooled in the rules of the game are invited to attend Baseball 101, a series of three Wednesday night sessions geared toward novices and emphasizing baseball's history, terms and finer points, beginning tonight at 7 at Jackson's Hole, 1520 20th St. Tuition, $12 per week, benefits the Make-a-Wish Foundation; for information call 752-0117.