Thrills for the week
High notes: The area's outdoor concert series season is hitting its summer peak, but few of the venues afford more striking surroundings for a better price than Classics by the Cliff, which features the Littleton String Quartet, with friends, tonight in the Visitor Center courtyard at Roxborough State Park. A state parks pass ($3 daily fee or $30 annual fee per car) is required at the park gate, 4751 Roxborough Dr., but admission to the 6:30 p.m. concert is free--donations, which go to the Roxborough Land Fund and the Littleton Symphony, will be accepted. For details call 973-3959. Meanwhile, urban sounds in a city setting are the focal--and aural--point of Music With a View, a free rooftop music series hosted by The Shops at Tabor Center, 16th and Larimer streets. Adventurous programming by the Creative Music Works has the rock/fusion group Windowpane scheduled to perform tonight from 6 to 9; enter the rooftop area from the downtown shopping center's third-level food court. Call 572-6865 for additional information.
Rock around the clock: Rockabilly, hillbilly boogie, Western swing, R&B and plain, simple, straightahead rock and roll--ya gotta love the fundamentals. That's what the Denver Rock n' Rhythm-Billy Weekend, an international gathering taking place today and tomorrow at the Regency Hotel, 3900 Elati St., is all about. Featuring nonstop music courtesy of DJs Tracy Dick and Tom Ingram and a wild roster of live bands, from locals the Dalhart Imperials to such far-flung acts as Finland's Barnshakers, Sweden's Wildfire Willie and the Ramblers, Chicago's Mighty Blue Kings and L.A.'s Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, the party promises to provide a temporary home to more sideburns, ducktails, bobby socks and poodle skirts than have been seen in these parts since 1960 or so. The music commences tonight at 6; a hotrod display kicks things off tomorrow from 11 to 4, followed by a vintage fashion show at 4:30 and more music beginning at 5. Admission is $20 daily; call 455-8408 for registration information.
Ax handler: Santa Monica boy and onetime drummer Coco Montoya fell in love with the blues at a rock concert--that's where he saw Albert King play, sandwiched between sets by Creedence Clearwater and Iron Butterfly. Later, Montoya met up with another Albert--Collins--who took the kid under his wing. The rest is history: Collins hired Montoya as a drummer but ended up with a guitar protege who eventually caught the ear of Bluesbreaker John Mayall. Montoya then cut his blues-guitar teeth under Mayall's tutelage, following in the footsteps of Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor. Now he wows 'em as a solo act, which is how he's packaged tonight for an 8 o'clock show at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave. Admission is $11; for information or tickets call 322-2308.
The oater limits: Film and the Old West have tangled throughout the century in beautiful symbiosis, each feeding the other with mythical images of black hats and white hats, unstudied heroics, tumbling tumbleweeds and trusty steeds and sidekicks. It's a marriage made in heaven--or at least in Hollywood--and a fitting inspiration for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Film Fest, a weekend fete sponsored by the Buffalo Bill Museum. Events begin today at 10 with a Red Ryder flick and other classic oaters on screen, a Western costume contest, a memorabilia showcase and live music at the museum, 987 1/2 Lookout Mountain Rd., Golden. At 7:30 this evening, the fest moves to the Boulder Public Library Auditorium, 1000 Canyon Blvd., where actor Harry Carey Jr., author of a book recounting his experiences as a member of director John Ford's stable, appears at a 7:30 screening of Ford's Wagonmaster, in which Carey worked alongside John Wayne. More films, games, stories and entertainment wrap it up back at the museum tomorrow beginning at noon; limited seating is also available for a dinner with Carey at the Fort restaurant in Morrison. Festival passes range from $6 to $10 (family pass $25); separate tickets will also be available for single events. For information or dinner reservations call 526-0744.
Where it's atlatl: Give in to those prehistoric instincts, cavepeople. At the Aurora History Museum's Spear Sling Fling Thing, you'll be chucking spears with the best of them. Centered around the atlatl, an ancient grooved stick with a curved end used for hunting by early man, the free event, taking place from 9 to noon at DeLaney Farm, 170 S. Chambers Rd., features lessons, a throwing contest with separate divisions for men, women and children, and flint-knapping demonstrations. Animal skins are optional; for more information call 739-6660.
Alternative route: Them artists and us folks get to mingle communally this weekend at the Left Bank Arts Festival, a kind of miniature People's Fair and street party sponsored by the Alternative Arts Alliance and held at Denver's alternative-gallery ground zero--the North Denver Highland Arts District, at 37th Ave. and Navajo St. Today from noon to 5, participants can sample family workshops, covering everything from block printing to African percussion to bookbinding; stop in at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St., for free film screenings; or tour the neighborhood (a historical walking tour begins at 1 and a 20th Street mural tour at 3). Three bucks gets you into an 8 p.m. concert featuring local bands Spell, Zoon Politikon and Saw, also at the Bug. The festival continues tomorrow from noon to 7 with artist booths, sidewalk art, a lowrider bike parade, music and much more; for information call 433-9359.
Reubens sandwich: Remember when dirty old man Paul Reubens was still the innocent human confection known as Pee-wee Herman? His silver-screen debut, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, directed in properly idiosyncratic form by Tim Burton, who went on to craft such cinematic quirks as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Batman, will be shown tonight at 7 and 9:30 in the comfy, cushy Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, one of the only places in town where you can quaff a microbrew while munching your popcorn. Admission is only three bucks; call 322-2308.
Snider comments: This guy got our attention with his "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues," a Dylanesque talking blues that good-naturedly ripped plaid flannel shirts to shreds on his first CD, Songs for the Daily Planet. Now Todd Snider, who looks like a California surfer dude but plays music that's closer in tone to Jerry Jeff Walker's tasty, rowdy country rock circa Viva Terlingua, is touring in support of a follow-up album, Step Right Up, that seems to continue in the right direction. The enthusiastic, unstudied Snider, along with his band, the Nervous Wrecks (featuring the delectable picking of guitarist Will Kimbrough), co-headline a show with the Gibb Droll Band tonight at 9 at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. For tickets, $6.30, call 447-0095 or 830-TIXS.
In flower: It's time you made a visit to the Colorado Music Festival, musical director Giora Bernstein's world-class classical series housed each summer at the Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd., Boulder. Tonight at 8, the Amaryllis Quartet--a stunning all-woman string ensemble--performs works by Mendelssohn, Turina and Shostakovich as part of the ongoing Tuesday night chamber series. The young women in the group, Fischoff Competition winners who've also performed with cellist Yo Yo Ma, have yet to finish high school. Now's when to see them--tickets range in price from $6 to $27; call 449-1397.
Frankly speaking: The Bug Performance and Media Art Center, 3654 Navajo St., is hosting Jean Renoir in July, a lovely screen tribute to the works of the son of French impressionist Auguste Renoir. A master of both the human storytelling plane and the black-and-white cinematic palette of filmmaking, Jean Renoir is considered one of the century's finest film directors. Tonight at 7:30, see a pair of Renoir's early silent pieces, Catherine/A Life Without Joy and Charleston; the series continues next Wednesday with the slapstick comedy Tire-Au-Flanc, also silent, and concludes July 31 with Grand Illusion, the tour de force about World War I for which Renoir is perhaps best known. Admission is $5 ($3 Bug members); call 477-5977.
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.