Walk in beauty: There's always someone marching to a different drummer, and in the local art community, it's Cherry Creek North, where galleries go against the grain of the "First Friday" arts stroll and throw their own Third Thursday Art Walks. But that's okay--it just gives us more time to cover all the ground in the arts district, extending from Josephine to St. Paul streets between First and Third avenues.
So what's happening in the Creek? For one thing, it's Contemporary Crafts Central, where, if you can't find the right unique handmade accessory, you must be doing something wrong: Show of Hands, Brigitte Schluger Gallery, the Artisan Center and a pair of Pismos, one specializing in glass and the other in furniture, all stock up-to-the-minute tchotchkes and conversation pieces. Fascination Street Gallery specializes in animation cels, while at Angler Art and Gifts, the works focus on fish; other salons feature everything from fine lithographs to museum-quality paintings and sculpture. Tonight's walk lasts from 5 to 9; for additional gallery information and phone numbers, see gallery listings on page 34.
Their back pages: Old books should never die--in the best of all worlds, they simply move from one sagging bookshelf to another. And so it goes when the annual Denver Public Library Friends Foundation Used Book Sale opens for business each summer. Featuring a prodigious and constantly changing selection of used novels, kids' books, art monographs, coffee table opuses and more, from simple paperbacks to fabulous first editions, the sale, which benefits library programs, is a first-class booklover's paradise where prices can range anywhere from 25 cents to 50 bucks. You'll find the bookish extravaganza just south of the Central Library, set up in tents at 13th Avenue and Acoma Street; sale hours are 9:30 to 5:30 today through Saturday and 11 to 4 Sunday. In addition to the main event, the DPL Friends will sponsor book signings with Colorado authors such as mystery master Robert Greer and a hands-on Zome Planet building contest using Zometool toys. Admission is free; for details call 640-6180.
Planet waves: If you can't get enough global vibrations tonight, you're in trouble--the Denver-Boulder region is virtually aglow with world beat:
Screaming-hot Latin jazz comes your way courtesy of conguero Poncho Sanchez, a compatriot of the late Cal Tjader who cut his teeth with the vibraphonist's band back in the late '70s, remaining with Tjader until his death in 1982. Sanchez now carries on in hip-shaking style as a bandleader in his own right, directing one of the top Afro-Cuban salsa bands in the world. The ensemble catches fire tonight at 7:30 at the Arvada Center outdoor amphitheater, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.; this is one case where you may want to opt for the less-expensive general lawn seating rather than the covered reserved section--there's more room to rumba. Tickets range from $10 to $17; call 431-3939.
Few musical acts span the international vocabulary with more fluency and poise than Zap Mama, an all-female quintet led by the silken-voiced Marie Daulne, an Afro-European of Belgian and Zairean extraction who shifts effortlessly from the mesmerizing rhythms of Pygmy chants and reggae music to totally Western hip hop, rap and blues grooves. Zap Mama covers an astonishing range, punctuated by Middle Eastern ululations, vocal percussion and Barry White-style treatments; to call it "world beat" is really much too simple-minded a description. Zap Mama appears tonight at 8 at Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder; for tickets, $15 to $20, call 440-7666 or 830-TIXS.
For an all-American roots fix, few do it better than the Dirty Dozen, a raucous cross between a tuba-driven N'awlins marching ensemble and a brassy jazz big band. The Dozen and Bourbon Street roost tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.; admission is $8 in advance ($9 day of show). Call 322-2308 or 830-TIXS.
The heat is on: Some people like to feel the slow burn, inside and out, when dry, hot August sunshine and peppery pasillas, poblanos, jalapenos and serranos all come of age, more or less at the same time. And nothing celebrates both better than the Chicano Arts and Humanities Council's annual Chile Harvest Festival, which throws a noseful of roast-chile smoke, a mouthful of tasty Mexican cooking, an eyeful of Indo-Hispanic folk art and an earful of mariachi music into the salsa along with the fiery peppers. This year's event, 9 to 5 today and tomorrow at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St., features an art market, demonstrations and lots of song and dance; admission is $2 to $4 (children five and under free). For more information call 571-0440 or 399-1859.
Different strokes: Local musician and composer Geoff Cleveland--who not only plays the gamut of keyboards from garden-variety piano to the uppity clavinet but also plays a strange electronic something called a theremin--is simply the leader of the Emergency Broadcast Players. The rest of the revolving musical collective clearly has a mind of its own. Tonight's version, a stellar group of improvisers that includes Gramavision recording artist Ron Miles on trumpet and Miles compadre Artie Moore on bass, performs tonight at 8 at the Houston Fine Arts Center, Montview and Quebec; tickets are $8 ($5 students). The Creative Music Works sponsors the concert; for details call 759-1797.
Swing time: You can almost imagine Bob Wills wailing, "Take it away, Cindy," when Asleep at the Wheel is in the house--Ray Benson's crack Western swing ensemble has been living and breathing the sophisticated, jazz-licked Texas Playboys spirit for at least a quarter of a century. Benson, an old smoothie who handles vocals and guitar-work for the band, leads a team of professionals that includes dobro virtuoso Cindy Cashdollar and tinkly pianist Tim Alexander tonight at 7:30 at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Tickets range from $14 to $20; call 431-3939 for reservations.
Laissez les bons temps rouler, mates: There are few American cultures more unique than that of the Louisiana bayou, and certainly none that boast a more appealing--or food-fantastic--mystique. No problem, cher, there's room for everyone at the first annual LoDo Fais Do Do, an urban crawfish boil and street party that focuses on food--mountains of it--but includes all the essential Cajun accouterments: Music will be by the Zukes of Zydeco and cuisine by McCormick's chefs Erik Huber and Gary Puetz; Railyard Ale and root beer will be available to wash down the crustaceans, red beans and rice, and pecan pie. It all takes place on 17th Street between Wynkoop and Wazee; admission is free, while food and beverages are priced individually. Call 458-6685.
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Care for some dinkum pies, snaggers, pasties and lamingtons? What the 'ell, never mind what they are--just wash 'em down w' a coldie, like everyone else at the Great Aussie Barbecue 3, taking place today from noon to four at the Adams County Fairgrounds on Henderson Road, Brighton. Joining the fun is Perth butcher John Marchesani, serving those magnificent snaggers in buttered white bread with red lead. Sponsored by the Australian-American Chamber of Commerce, an organization that knows its Down Under, the 'Q will offer a sideshow of didgeridoo music, sack races, root beer and flowing Foster's taps; the all-inclusive gate fee of $30 ($15 children 7 to 15, kids 6 and under free) is your ticket to an afternoon in the outback. Call 297-1200.
Slow Byrne: Samba, calypso, Afro-pop, raga, techno and country-western. They're all kinds of music, but what else might they have in common? Leave it to David Byrne, the whacked-out, big-suited, ectomorphic former leader of the Talking Heads, to make some connection--his recent CD, Feelings, is just such a free-form mess of interglobal quirks. And, of course, somehow it all works. Byrne pulls the strings tonight at 7:30 at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl.; for tickets, $23.50 plus service charges and assorted fees, call 830-TIXS.
Boogie down: Forget HORDE, Lollapalooza, Furthur and all those jive music festivals: The most fun you'll have all summer may just be found at Sinbad's Soul Music Festival, the island-getaway '70s R&B fete you've seen the gargantuan comic Sinbad host on HBO. Tonight at 6:30, Maurice White, Philip Bailey and Earth, Wind and Fire top the bill locally at Fiddler's Green, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd.; soul diva Teena Marie and funky slap-bass progenitor Larry Graham (with Graham Central Station) ably hold up the front end while you shake your hind end. Tickets range from $17.50 to $32.50; call 830-TIXS.
Different view: Step into the world of motoring holidays in Model T Fords when the Denver Public Library and Park People join forces to lead modern-day tourists on a Denver's Historic Mountain Parks Tour that looks at the rustic destinations of yesteryear in a contemporary light. Parks historians Carolyn Etter and Pat Gallavan will provide that light on Front Range destinations such as Lookout Mountain, Genesee Park and Red Rocks that we now take for granted, shading the six-hour tour with the musings of long-ago travelers. Lunch at the Chief Hosa Lodge is included in the $45 fee; for information on the tour, today from 9 to 3, call 722-6262.