Nothing but the blues: One of the best blues lineups you'll experience in these parts will turn all of Boulder into a non-stop boogie parlor this weekend. The three-day Boulder Blues Festival festival comes in with a roar tonight at 8 when Chicago blues veteran Son Seals heads up a stellar bill that also features former New Orleans cabbie Mem Shannon at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. But that's only the beginning. Tomorrow at 8 p.m. the action moves to the Boulder Theater, 2040 14th St., Boulder, where Tiny Town, the new project of onetime Subdudes Tommy Malone and Johnny Ray Allen will join forces with R&B shouter Kelley Hunt. John Mayall, the hardest-working and longest-lived British bluesman around, closes the fest at the Boulder Theater Sunday at 9 p.m., with the current incarnation of his star-incubator of a band, the Bluesbreakers, and opener Corey Harris, a former Denverite who's one of the best of a new crop of young acoustic blues revivalists. Ticket prices are $10 to $15.75 nightly, $22 for two shows or $30 for all three (call 786-7030 for reservations). But if you're caught short on cash, a revolving succession of local and national blues acts will perform free from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Boulder's Central Park, Broadway and Arapahoe. Food, drink and a catch-all bazaar complete the afternoon revelry; for more information call 637-8937.
You're putting me on: Color and texture in clothing enter whole new realms at the fourth annual Wearable Art Extravaganza, opening today from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Art of Craft, 1736 Wazee St. Works include handpainted silks, elegant patchwork and lush woven fabrics fashioned into kimonos, drapey dresses, scarves and neckties; the exhibit continues through November 2, although attending tonight's reception will allow you an opportunity to peruse other fresh shows at some of Art of Craft's fellow LoDo district galleries. Call 292-5564.
Make your moves: The French Revolution might have been avoided if Marie Antoinette had instead said, "Let them dance." The Boulder Dance Alliance, a loose league of area choreographers and their troupes, will aspire to that egalitarian if capricious wish this weekend, when it presents Dance Is for Every Body, a joyful fusion of performance, demonstrations, ethnic dance classes and plain old partying designed to draw attention to the college town's proliferation of dance events. The celebration leaps off the ground tonight at 7 at Boulder's new Space for Dance, relocated in the Steel Building at 2696 30th St., where a grand opening party will include an art exhibit and a formal fundraising dance; admission is $25 in advance ($35 at the door, or $8 to $10 for the party only). A free showcase event at which you can get to know the local companies takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Boulder Public Library, 1000 Canyon Blvd. And from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, you're invited to participate in an entire day of half-hour dance classes back at the Space for Dance, all for one nominal fee. Give dance a chance: To purchase tickets for Friday's gala or Sunday's classes call the Boulder Theater box office, 786-7030.
All in the family: How many Armenians does it take to move an entire audience to tears? According to playwright Leslie Ayvazian, it takes about Nine Armenians--three generations' worth, to be exact. The first visiting production in the Denver Center Theatre Company's national exchange program brings a company from the Mark Taper Forum in L.A. to Denver to perform in Ayvazian's exploration of Armenian heritage and hard times. The play opens tonight at 8 at the Stage Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex; shows continue daily except Sunday, through October 11. Tickets range from $27 to $33; call 893-4100.
Rockin' bones: From the tip of his flashy blonde flattop to his pointy-toed leather boots, rockabilly original Ronnie Dawson is absolutely the real thing, straddling country and straight-out blues with rootsy savoir-faire. Dawson will raise the energy level--and possibly the dead--during a rare Denver appearance tonight and tomorrow at the 9th Avenue West, a hotsy-totsy new swing palace at 99 W. 9th Ave. For more information call 455-8408.
From dust to dust: Ma Nature's bounty comes of age this time of year, making it a good time to take to the road. Oenophiles can make the most of the state's fledgling Western Slope vintners during the Colorado Mountain WineFest, an annual event that combines fall scenery and Indian summer weather with the tasting of local wines. Early risers can pedal between vineyards during an 8 a.m. bike ride, while loafers can wait until 11 a.m. to attend a day-long Festival in the Park, which will continue until 6 p.m. in Palisade Park, thirteen miles east of Grand Junction. Amateur wine judging, live entertainment, arts and crafts and a grape-stomping contest round out the day; gate admission ranges from $5 to $12. The fest wraps up tomorrow with a seminar and luncheon (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., $30) and an afternoon of winery open houses. Call 970-256-4656.
If you'd rather motor to flatter climes but still long for a hot old time, try the Pueblo Chile and Frijole Festival, an earthy annual fiesta dedicated to the typically southwestern crops of capsicums and beans. Pungent green chile smoke will hang tantalizingly over the festival grounds in downtown Pueblo as the celebrated peppers roast, setting the mood for two days of events, including cooking competitions, a jalapeno eating contest, a Silly Chili Kid Fest and an old-style Mexican mercado. The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and tomorrow (admission is free); call 719-542-1704 for details.
Closer to home, Wild Oats Community Market, 2584 Baseline Road, Boulder, presents a good old-fashioned Organic Harvest Fair, featuring a mouth-watering stockpile of pesticide-free tastables from local growers, live entertainment and information about ecologically correct products from the region. The free fair takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (just about the time you'll be hungry); call 499-7636.
On the flip side is an event that celebrates all that returns to the earth, rather than that which comes out of it. Cemetosium, the Colorado History Group's autumn rendezvous, presents us with a grave situation: The weekend symposium in Gilpin County, which begins today at 9:30 a.m. at Black Hawk's Black Forest Inn, focuses on the area's historical boneyards, with storytelling sessions and spooky talks among the headstones. Registration fees range from $10 to $25 daily ($20 to $35 for both days); for information call 355-0211.
Aria ready for this? There's no better way to learn how to hit all the high notes than through practice, practice, practice, and that's the whole point of the Denver Opera Company Apprentice Artist Program, a summer workshop during which students train for and perform fully staged operas. You'll get to enjoy the fruits of their efforts tonight at 7:30 when the troupe stages Puccini's Suor Angelica and an updated version of Mozart's The Impresario at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St. Opera lovers will also love the $10 ticket tariff; call 320-3780 for reservations.
Reach for the sky: Up, up and away! If you're sitting at home climbing the walls, perhaps you'd like to try it outside for a change. Where there's a piton, there's a way: Today's Front Range Climbers Rendezvous and Climbing Competition in Golden, sponsored by the Access Fund, is for anyone and everyone who cares to try. The Peery Pulldown, a day-long climbing event encompassing a variety of routes (whoever climbs the most wins) begins at 8 a.m. at the North Table Mountain Trailhead and continues until 4 p.m., while non-climbers and pooped-out competitors can participate in a volunteer cleanup outing from 2 to 4 p.m. Then it's dinner and awards for all at the Buffalo Rose, 1119 Washington St., Golden, beginning at 5:30; the party's free for volunteers and competitors, or $7 for all others. Call 545-6772 for more information.
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Club Mead: So you've been back from vacation for a month, and you're already dreaming again of absconding with the company's funds (and, what the heck, the boss's wife) to some tropical island paradise. The Margaret Mead Traveling Film and Video Festival, a regular fall feature of the Boulder Public Library Film Program, can give you a taste of what you crave without wrecking your career. Tonight's program, beginning at 7, includes a look at the Mask Dance of Birap Village of Papua New Guinea, a portrait of the Pacific island of Palau and an account of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Admission is free; the series is screened in the BPL auditorium, 1000 Canyon Blvd., Boulder. Call 441-3197.
Trial and error: There's nothing like a courtroom drama to enthrall an audience--the whole potent mixture of human dynamics, speechifying and the presentation of evidence serves to keep us on the edge of our seats, sometimes for longer than we would have thought possible. The only thing better is a cheap detective novel, preferably one with a well-worn spine. With that in mind, the DU College of Law invites the public to curl up with some good drama for its Lawyers in the Movies seminar, in which a lawyerly panel will dissect the action in three law flicks: ...And Justice for All, My Cousin Vinny and Primal Fear. Get ready for some finger-wagging laughs; for tickets to the event, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Westin Tabor Center, 1672 Lawrence St., call 871-6398.
Free speech: The best thing about talking to animals is this: They don't talk back. Today you can experience that pleasure--and the sights and sounds of Primate Panorama, Tropical Discovery and other wild attractions--for free from 9 to 5 at the Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St., provided you're a Colorado resident. Three more free days remain this year, but this one might promise the most sunshine. Call 331-4100.