No doubt about it: These ladies make lovely music together. The members of the Colorado Springs-based da Vinci Quartet have the chops to play wherever they like, but they choose to serve as artists-in-residence both in the Springs and here in Denver at the Lamont School of Music. The da Vincis give Lamont's annual subscription concert series -- and their own 24th season -- a strong kickoff tonight with Harmonic Inventions, a program of works by Haydn, Bartók and Dohn´nyi. Tickets to the concert, 7:30 p.m. in the Hamilton Recital Hall, Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue, are $13 to $15 (free for students with valid ID); call 303-871-7720 or log on to www.ticketmaster.com. For more information, call 303-871-6412 or go to www.du.edu/lamont.
Friday, September 17
Got that wild, pagan urge to dance under the moonlight and dig the changing season? The Festival of the Mabon, inspired by the Celtic harvest festival named or a Welsh deity born on the autumnal equinox, will easily supply the proper rhythms and atmosphere. Its rustic outdoor setting in a riverside Lyons meadow helps, as does music by an eclectic blend of entertainers that includes modern Celtic rockers Solas, traditionalists John Doyle and Liz Carroll, singer-songwriter David Wilcox and a couple of local bands, the Wayfarers and Slipstream. But the inclusion of sword-fighting exhibitions, music and magic workshops, strolling pipers, impromptu dancers and even (the promoter promises) a fairy or two seals the deal. Go ahead, exorcise your demons! A pre-event ceili starts things off properly tonight at 6 p.m. (free to ticket-holders, $5 for all others). The festival itself takes place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Planet Bluegrass Ranch, 500 West Main Street, Lyons; for tickets, $10 to $24, call 303-823-0848 or visit www.bluegrass.com.
A less concentrated, but no less potent, dose of Celtic soul music is available indoors and closer to home tonight, when the Swallow Hill Music Association presents Scotland's Battlefield Band, a bagpipe- and guitar-driven ensemble renowned for knowing how to handle traditional and original melodies -- and an entire collection of old and new instruments -- with timeless aplomb. Battlefield performs at 8 p.m. in Swallow Hill's Daniels Hall; admission is $18 to $21. Call 303-777-1003 or log on to www.swallowhill.com.
The late Transylvanian photographer Andre de Dienes knew how to pick 'em: He's often credited with creating Marilyn Monroe's public persona, and his most famous images are ones he shot of the young, fresh nineteen-year-old Norma Jean Baker. During a whirlwind road trip through California and the Southwest in 1945, the artist fell madly in love with the young starlet. He continued to photograph her throughout her career; many of those images will be included in Andre de Dienes Retrospective: 1934-1974, opening tonight at the Camera Obscura Gallery, 1309 Bannock Street, with a reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The exhibit continues through October 31; call 303-623-4059.
Saturday, September 18
Does your cute, cuddly, wet-nosed face-lapper have what it takes to share that devotion with folks healing in hospitals? Bundle up Fido and bring him down to one of two Caring for Both Ends of the Leash Canine Cheerleaders 2004 recruitment events taking place in the metro area this weekend to find out. Evaluators from Denver Pet Partners will consider whether genial hounds ages twelve months or older are fit to pursue volunteer work in animal-assisted therapy. They'll peruse the pooches today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pet Palace, 4082 South Parker Road, Aurora (303-699-4554) and tomorrow from noon to 4 p.m. at Petco, 6735 West 88th Avenue, Westminster (303-432-9230). Hugging, petting, sitting, walking and maneuvering an obstacle course are all part of the testing process. Admission is free; call 1-800-255-4286 or go to www.breeders-choice.com for information.
Some 10,000 maps and map-related items will be offered up for public scrutiny today at the fourth annual Rocky Mountain Antique Map Fair, the local be-all and end-all display of geographic documents. Chart your course for the Denver Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, where the Rocky Mountain Map Society will host more than twenty international map dealers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the lower-level B2 Conference Center. Admission is $5 at the door; for more information, log on to www.rmmaps.org.
Sunday, September 19
It just wouldn't be fall without a new multi-disciplinary exhibit at the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture. This autumn, it's centered around the photography show Muscovites: Ilya Ilf and Mark Markov-Grinberg, Photographs 1930-1940, which opened September 9 in the center's Singer Gallery. The mood of the photos, darkly overcast in their depictions of Stalin-era Russia, will be reflected today in a satellite event featuring three films: the documentary Dziga Vertov and His Brothers at 3 p.m.; Seekers of Happiness, a 1934 propaganda film urging Jews to move to Siberia, at 4 p.m.; and, after a dinner break, The Twelve Chairs, the uproarious Mel Brooks comedy based on a story co-written by photographer Ilf, at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 per film, or $12 for the series; screenings are in the Shwayder Theater, Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 South Dahlia Street. For tickets, call 303-316-6360 or go to www.mizelcenter.org.
Monday, September 20
It's ladies' night at the Comedy Works. Inspired by the success of Super Bowl Sunday comedy events geared toward football-eschewing women, a new monthly series dubbed Comedy Couture debuts tonight with a fashion show by Hub along with fem-friendly comedy routines. The shows, featuring a changing roster of fashionistas and comics, culminate in February with a brand-new anti-Bowl blowout. Admission is $15 per night or $40 for a season pass. The Comedy Works is at 1226 15th Street in Larimer Square; call 303-595-3637 or log on to www.comedyworks.com.
Tuesday, September 21
What does it take to become a household name in America? Local mountain man Aron Ralston had to cut off his own arm to do so. But the act, a last resort that allowed the outdoorsy Coloradan to save his own life, hasn't just made Ralston famous; it's also proven inspirational to nearly all who hear his story. Ralston now shares the tale in a book that's written with the same open attitude we've come to expect from the author, who's already back to climbing mountains, assisted by a high-tech mechanical arm. He'll discuss and sign copies of Between a Rock and a Hard Place tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue. For details, call 303-322-7727.
Wednesday, September 22
There's nothing wrong with using belly laughs to support something serious. Boulder County Safehouse is always the winner at Bringing Down the House: Comedy for a Cause, the annual non-stop benefit yukfest for the organization's Progressive Alliance for Non-Violence. This year's bash presents funny folks Bryan Kellen, Heidi Zeis and emcee Ginger Havlat, along with lively auctions and a grazer's buffet that includes an array of desserts. It all happens tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, Boulder. Tickets are $28; call 303-786-7030.