The mid-twentieth-century English directorial team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger created such black-and-white classics as A Matter of Life and Death, with David Niven as a marooned pilot on trial in heaven for the right to a second chance on earth. The visionary filmmakers left behind a highly original cinematic catalogue that still awes audiences. The duo's best films, which blend a meticulous understanding of British culture with moments of pure imagination, are true works of collaborative art. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Powell's birth, the Denver Film Society will celebrate some of those gems with Powell and Pressburger: 100 Years, a four-film miniseries with daily screenings today through Saturday at the Starz FilmCenter, 900 Auraria Parkway. I Know Where I'm Going!, starring Wendy Hiller, sets things reeling tonight at 7 p.m.; A Matter of Life and Death follows at the same time tomorrow, and A Canterbury Tale and Black Narcissus wrap it up on Saturday, at 4 and 7 p.m., respectively. Tickets prices range from $5.50 to $8.50 per screening; call 303-595-FILM or visit www.denverfilm.org.
Friday, January 14
The new year starts today at + Gallery with a solo show by noted Colorado transplant John Hull, whose detailed narrative paintings continue to brush over realism with a glaze of gritty fiction. The new series, Pictures From Sonny's Place, tells its Faulknerian stories in the trailer-trash setting of a salvage yard, inviting viewers to stand before each painting and read it like a book before moving on to the next installment. The show opens with a reception tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the gallery, 2350 Lawrence Street, along with a display of juried selections by five artists from the Boston-based New American Paintings, issue 54. Both exhibits continue through February 19; Hull gives an artist talk at 7 p.m. on Friday February 4. For details, call 303-296-0927 or go to www.plusgallery.com.
Saturday, January 15
Here's an exhibit that's completely for the birds -- but that's not necessarily a bad thing. American Birds: A Flight Through Time, which opens today at the Wildlife Experience Museum, 10035 South Peoria Street in Parker, is an art show, a history lesson and an indoor birding trek all rolled into one. A comprehensive retrospective of American bird artwork from 1754 to the present, the display will take viewers closer to some rare (or extinct) avian species than could ever be possible in the wild, through images rendered to the last feather in drawings, paintings, carvings, sculptures and other media. Catesby, Wilson, Audubon, Bateman and Ullberg are just some of the nature artists represented. American Birds continues through April 10; call 720-488-3300 or go to www.thewildlifeexperience.com.
On the other side of the cultural spectrum, the United States Hot Rod Association brings its enormously popular lowbrow diversion, Monster Jam, to town this weekend for a screeching, smashing round of vehicle-crunching monster-truck competitions featuring, among others, USHRA's 2004 champion truck, Gravedigger, and its amped-up mechanical nemesis, Maximum Destruction. (Keep in mind that while the drivers are important, the trucks -- gargantuan bundles of concentrated horsepower that can fly up to 25 feet in the air -- are the real stars.) And talk about spectacle! No matter where you're seated in the Pepsi Center, you won't need binoculars: At eleven feet tall and weighing in at 9,000 pounds, monster trucks are easy to eyeball as they mash the motor, teeter, roll and auger in (monster-ese for a nosedive -- as if you didn't know). Showtimes are at 8 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Place; that matinee will be preceded, from noon to 1 p.m., by an interactive Party in the Pits for fans. Admission is $20 to $25 ($5 for children); for tickets, call 303-830-TIXS or visit www.ushra.com.
Sunday, January 16
Strange as it seems, there are plenty of folks who actually want to trudge uphill in winter -- using skis, snowshoes, or boots outfitted with special gear -- when everyone else seems to be schussing down. It can be excruciating work and excellent exercise, but that doesn't mean there can't be some fun involved. A lot of intrepid uphillers are discovering the joys of SwissBobbing -- whipping back down the slope on a luge-like portable plastic sled. It's become so popular that Snowmass initiated SwissBob races last year in conjunction with the area's four-day Winterskl celebration. The races are back -- this year at Fanny Hill -- with day-long competitions in downhill, giant slalom and bobcross categories, accompanied by kids' entertainment and a free bluegrass concert with Newcomers Home. Race fees are $10 to $20; call 1-970-925-1663 to pre-register. For details, call 1-800-SNOWMASS or go to www.snowmassvillage.com.
Monday, January 17
Marchers from across the region will meet this morning at 9 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in City Park, 17th Avenue and York Street, for the annual Marade, a true Denver tradition and, with as many as 30,000 participants each year, one of the largest MLK Day gatherings in the nation. After opening remarks, the combined rally and march will leave the park around 10 a.m. and walk to the State Capitol Building and Civic Center Park, where a program with speakers and live music will follow. For details, call 303-331-4113.
Tuesday, January 18
If you think the rodeo is a flatlander's pastime, you've never been to Steamboat's Bud Light Cowboy Downhill, where more than 100 professional rodeo cowboys strap on skis and slide -- one way or another -- down a mountain. The popular event takes place every year around National Western Stock Show time, and today's the day: The whole herd of bronco-busters will slip and slide down the slopes beginning at 1:30 p.m. as part of Steamboat's Western Heritage Festival, a benefit for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. Afterward, everyone can warm up with a concert from country favorite Charlie Daniels, at 8 p.m. in the Steamboat Music Tent. Concert tickets are $24; for reservations and information, call 1-800-922-2722 or visit www.steamboat.com.
Wednesday, January 19
Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook -- a modern spin on an age-old craft taken up in recent years by the young and trendy -- became a hot best-seller when it hit the streets. Now there's a sequel, Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, replete with fifty new patterns, knitting lore and tips sure to energize all those gabby girls in sewing circles across America. Stoller will discuss and sign copies of her new book tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue in Cherry Creek; call 303-322-7727 for details.