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Thrills for the week

March 20
Every picture tells a story: LoDo's Robischon Gallery just seems to roll out one good show after another, making it a regular must-visit on the local gallery circuit.
Its latest exhibition, The Marriage of History and Fiction, features works based on historical imagery by Jack Balas along with Wes Hempel's cultural-metaphor-mixing surreal oils. Attend an opening reception from 5 to 8 tonight, or see the show through May 3. For details call 298-7788.

In another vein, Denver painter Joyce Coco does the most amazing things with a house. The geometric forms that float through her "House Series," featured in a new show opening tonight at the Brigitte Schluger Gallery, 265 Detroit St., glow vividly from within, suggesting warmth, safety and lives being lived. Knock on Coco's softly colored doors tonight from 5 to 9; the show continues through April 19. Call 329-3150.

You might be wise, after visiting these shows, to save yourself for one last wacky exhibit tomorrow night--when Brad K. Evans, who happens to be Coco's neighbor, hosts an opening from 7 to 10 at Zip 37 Gallery, 3644 Navajo St. His show, Itty Doo Da, blends cartoonish style and found objects on canvases that might make you laugh out loud. Find out why Coco calls Evans "the startled ostrich." His works remain on display through April 6; call 477-4525.

Wear your love like heaven: Ya gotta love him. Or not. But if you count yourself among the legions of Donovan fans who've been carrying a torch for the halo-haired Mr. Leitch since he was being touted as the "next Bob Dylan," you wouldn't miss him for the world. The Scottish troubadour, best remembered for such '60s hits as "Season of the Witch," "Sunshine Superman" and "Mellow Yellow," recently resurrected himself with a new Rick Rubin-produced album, Sutras, and has hit the road in support of the same. Hear the new Donovan--said to be much like the old Donovan--tonight at 8 at the Boulder Theater, 2030 14th St., Boulder; for tickets, $20, call 786-7030.

Gotta dance: Ever since Shirley Temple tippity-tapped her way across the celluloid with her fine teacher, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, we've all had a love affair with tap dance, the workingman's ballet. Even now, tap is old hat to us and highly visible thanks to hit stage shows such as Stomp, Riverdance and Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk. The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, a tap ensemble that's been at it since before any of those shows clacked their way into our hearts, will demonstrate the reason for its longevity when it performs tonight and Saturday at 7:30 at a Colorado Symphony Orchestra pops concert. Led by Lane Alexander, a respected choreographer and one of the group's co-founders, Project dancers will tap their way around Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis in the Plex, to tunes by favorite composers from Gershwin to Berlin. Tickets range in price from $5 to $38; call 830-TIXS.

March 21
How'd they do that? Filmdom's King Kong gets the full-sized treatment by the King Kong of filmdom when the IMAX Theater at the Denver Museum of Natural History premieres Special Effects, a giant-screen offering combining behind-the-scenes footage from George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic studios with four-story-high examples of the heart-stopping effects created there. Featuring scenes from several modern special-effects wonders, including Star Wars, Independence Day, Jumanji and more, the new film opens with an entrance by the precursor to all of your favorite cinema monsters and makers of mayhem: none other than the mighty Kong. Special Effects opens today and continues daily through October at the theater, 2001 Colorado Blvd.; tickets are $6 ($4 children ages 3-12 and seniors). Call 370-6300 for showtimes, or 322-7009 to reserve tickets.

Native dancers: Light-footed Native Americans from across the United States and Canada will gather this weekend to try their luck at the Denver March Pow Wow, a major dance competition and arts festival held annually at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St. The dancing is the main attraction here, featuring hoofers of all ages in astonishingly detailed hand-stitched costumery, drummers and primordial pageantry. But the profusion of Indian handmades, storytelling sessions and booths selling fry bread make a day at the Pow Wow doubly interesting. Doors open today at 9:30 a.m. and at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday; Grand Entries are scheduled daily at noon and at 7 p.m. today and tomorrow only. Admission is $5 daily or $10 for a three-day pass; children under six and elders over sixty will be admitted free. Call 455-4575 for additional information.

March 22
Circle of friends: Just don't call it "women's music." Though the Washington Sisters do follow a feminist bent, their well-harmonized composite of original tunes and traditional repertoire steeped in gospel and spiritual traditions comes off as honest and true to anyone who hears it. They'll perform tonight with Boulder's Sound Circle, a twenty-voice, all-woman a cappella ensemble, at the Boulder High School Auditorium, 1604 Arapahoe. Tickets for the program, which promises to be anything but stodgy, are $10; call 473-4525 for more information.

March 23
Perennial favorites: Spring is so close...and yet so far away. Stop casting those melancholy looks at your garden plot. Instead, head over to Hudson Gardens, 6303 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton, for Author's Day, featuring five Colorado pensmiths who've written books about gardens and gardening. Between 1 and 3:30 this afternoon, you can meet and mingle with authors Angela Overy (Sex in Your Garden); Marcia Tatroe (Perennials for Dummies); Westword's Robin Chotzinoff (People With Dirty Hands); Justin Matott (My Garden Visits); and, for the kids, Caroline Stutson (Prairie Primer A to Z). That oughta satisfy your rootsy cravings. Now, buy a book, go home and curl up in front of the fireplace. For more information, call 797-8565.

March 24
Hooray for Hollywood: Truth be told, there are almost as many awards shows televised now as there are commercials--and they're beginning to be a drag. But the annual Academy Awards program never loses its golden, glittery sheen: Year after year, a kind of hush comes over us on the night when the Oscars are dished out with pomp, circumstance and long-winded, tear-laden acceptance speeches.

As the stars and starlets sashay up to the podium in their dresses up to here and down to there, you can glam it up, too, at Oscar Night America, a gala party with a light buffet, a Predict the Oscars contest and the piece de resistance, the awards program itself, projected onto large screens and monitors. The event, one of 23 being held in cities across the country that were chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, begins tonight at 6 at the Metropolitan Club, 7800 E. Orchard Rd., Greenwood Village. Proceeds benefit the Denver Film Society. Admission is $45 ($35 DFS members); call 595-FILM for reservations.

You say you prefer to take your awards shows with a grain of salt? Or perhaps a rimful of salt on a margarita? Less formal viewers can stick to their blue jeans and beer--without cocooning at home around the demon tube--at a slightly more laid-back version of Oscar Night Out at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave. The 7 p.m. giant-screen telecast of the awards is sponsored by KHOW radio; tickets are $5 at the door. For information call 322-2308.

March 25
Diamond in the rough: Folk music never dies; it simply evolves with every new generation. The latest gem of the genre is alternative persona Jewel, who impresses the critics--and her young fans--with her many facets. She appears tonight at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl.; the Rugburns open the show at 7:30. Tickets are $19.50; call 830-TIXS for yours.

March 26
At the crossroads: Virtuosos of traditional music styles come in all shapes--some of them paint their pictures with a swath of furious notes and some work with a palette of words, while others take you to a simpler, more introspective state of consciousness. Tonight you can take your pick: Choose from contemporary bluegrass with rich traditional roots, country-tinged singer-songwriter stuff and gentle, round-the-fireplace musings.

Modern bluegrass champion Peter Rowan holds court at the Wildflower Theatre, 500 West Main St., Lyons, a venue booked by Planet Bluegrass, the same folks who bring bluegrass to Telluride every summer. Rowan, a respected multi-instrumentalist who appreciates roots but isn't afraid to dabble elsewhere, performs tonight and tomorrow at 8; for tickets, $10, call 449-6007.

And here in town at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., there's a wonderful double bill with headlining solo act Vic Chesnutt, the wheelchair-bound subject of a recent tribute album, and the laconic Scud Mountain Boys. That show also begins at 8; tickets are $5. For additional information, call 322-2308.


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