As a last-minute prelude to Valentine's Day, soprano Jana Edwards and pianist Kevin Kennedy will make beautiful music together when the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities' Music With a View Concert Series presents Love Through the Ages. It will feature romantic ditties from the likes of Edward Grieg, Benjamin Britten, Norman Dello Joio and others. Curtain time is 7 p.m. in the Center's lower gallery; admission -- you gotta love it -- is only $9. The Arvada Center is at 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard; call 720-898-7200 or log on to www.arvadacenter.org.
Friday, February 14
From puppy passion to the torrid affair, from sweetly innocent to entrenched in the gutter, the notion of love runs the gamut of expression. So be it: However you choose to celebrate Valentine's Day, you'll have like-minded company. At the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, the annual Love4Sale Auction benefit mixes art buying with racy sideshows. In keeping with this year's theme, Flesh, the event includes a lingerie parade and love potions prepared by the Gemini Tea Emporium, among other things, but the main focus is on affordable art. It will be on the block "red-tulip style," meaning that first bidders have the best chances, so get there early. The auction runs from 6 to 9 at MCA, 1275 19th Street; tickets are $30 to $50. Call 303-298-7554 for reservations.
Also hot and sexy -- or at least as hot and sexy as something can be at Boettcher Concert Hall, 14th and Curtis streets -- is the Colorado Symphony Orchestra's one-night presentation of Spain's Noche Flamenca flamenco company (stamp, stamp, stomp!). Clamp a rose between your teeth! Admission is $15 to $55; call 303-893-4100 or log on to www.coloradosymphony.org.
Does your love life swim with the fishes? That may not be a bad thing at Single and the Sea, a Valentine's Day speed-dating event for the unattached. It's hosted by Denver Date-A-Thon, tonight from 7 to 11:30 at -- believe it or not! -- beleaguered Colorado's Ocean Journey, 700 Water Street. Tickets to the self-proclaimed "Super Bowl of Dating," at which participants are guaranteed ten seven-minute one-on-one "dates," is $75. Reservations are a must; call 303-691-1726 or log on to www.denverdateathon.com.
And finally, for all you laid-back lovers, particularly those who've been at it for a long time with no end in sight, there's Songs for Lovers. The Swallow Hill Music Association's annual couples' fête features romantic tunes from three of the region's most talented acoustic-music pairs: Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore, Nick and Helen Forster, and Pete and Joan Wernick. Always a smash hit with the Swallow Hill crowd, the show begins at 8 in Daniels Hall (Swallow Hill is at 71 East Yale Avenue); for tickets, $12 to $15 in advance, call 303-777-1003. Admission at the door -- assuming any tickets remain, is $15 to $18.
Don't think you're only getting the second string tonight when the CU Artist Series hosts Alvin Ailey II: The troupe features top scholarship students from the renowned Ailey School. They perform under artistic director Sylvia Waters, a Juilliard graduate who studied with Martha Graham and later danced with the Alvin Ailey Dance American Dance Theater before assuming her position with Ailey II. Their work is stunning. The young virtuosos will perform Revelations and other works tonight at 7:30 in Macky Auditorium, CU-Boulder campus; CU dance professor David Capps gives a free, informal pre-concert talk at 6:45 in Macky's Room 102. Admission ranges from $10 to $38; call 303-492-8008 or log on to www.cuconcerts.org.
Saturday, February 15
Be healthy with the one you love. Nothing puts the roses in your cheeks quicker than a jaunt through the snow, and you'll get that and more at Winter Trails 2003: An Introduction to Snowshoeing. The exhilarating annual hands-and-feet-on outdoor-activity day is hosted at twelve sites nationally by the American Hiking Society and SnowSports Industries America, and it's open to all ages. In Colorado, the fun -- including free snowshoe demos, guided hikes and family scavenger hunts -- takes place today from 10 to 3 at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park. Admission is free, but a current national-park pass is required (or bring $15 for a seven-day temporary pass). For details, call 1-800-443-7837 or log on to www.wintertrails.org.
Because it seems as if everybody and her dear old grandmother has done duty on stage for The Vagina Monologues, tonight's one-woman performance of the show by creator Eve Ensler will be something very special. And it's all for a cause: Ensler's appearance -- 7 p.m. at the Paramount Theater, 1631 Glenarm Place -- will benefit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in conjunction with the V-Day Worldwide Campaign, an anti-domestic-violence Valentine's Day movement begun by Ensler in 1998. Tickets for the performance are $35 to $45 ($90 for VIP seating and after-party with the artist). For reservations, call 303-830-TIXS or log on to www.ncadv.org.
Sunday, February 16
One of the West's more distinguished political sons, native Arizonan and stalwart conservationist Stewart Udall served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson in the '60s. He never left the public eye afterward, remaining involved in environmental and regional concerns as a lawyer, author, historian and speaker. His new book, The Forgotten Founders: Rethinking the History of the Old West, forms yet another link in an ongoing legacy: Rather than laying down the history of the West in heroic, yet tired, terms, he focuses on the gritty pioneer families who built communities with their own hands from the dust, out in the middle of nowhere. It's a thoughtful and naturalistic approach that's worth reading in the 21st century; Udall speaks and signs copies of the book today at 2 p.m. at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street, after a short introduction by his nephew, U.S. Representative Mark Udall. Call 303-436-1070.
Monday, February 17
Here it is, another three-day weekend overflowing with out-of-school kids. You'll thank Boulder's Peanut Butter Players Lunch Bunch for getting a head start on its new run of The Secret Garden, a children's musical based on the charming novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The production premieres today at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, with two performances at 11 and 2; the $8 ticket price includes lunch, served at noon following the early show or at 1 preceding the 2 p.m. performance; for reservations, call 303-786-8727.
Tuesday, February 18
Gone Phish-ing: The tasteful solo experiments of guitarist Trey Anastasio and crew are on the back burner, now that the world's premier jam band is on the road once again. The group proves that some jamming artists -- specifically, the talented ones -- are way better than others. Touring in support of a new CD, Round Room, Phish will pack 'em in like sardines tonight at 7:30 at the Pepsi Center. For tickets, $37.50, call 303-830-TIXS or log on to www.ticketmaster.com.
Wednesday, February 19
Also back with a fresh CD: The still-stylish Pretenders, whose jump to the indie label Artemis for their new reggae-charged album Loose Screw could herald rootsy new directions for powerful songwriter and vocalist Chrissie Hynde and her steadfast support group. And if you liked what you heard from her on the record, you couldn't possibly see the sultry, sardonic Hynde in more perfect surroundings: The Pretenders perform tonight at 7:30 at the semi-intimate, beautiful Paramount Theater, 1631 Glenarm Place; for tickets, $40 to $45, call 303-830-TIXS.