Prince of tomes: Intertwining, lushly written narratives and the theme of families caught in the undertow are among Pat Conroy's novelistic tools, already seen at their best in The Prince of Tides. Conroy, who continues to mine that lyrical vein, will read passages from his latest, Beach Music, tonight at 7, alfresco in Fillmore Plaza, between 1st and 2nd avenues, adjacent to the Tattered Cover Bookstore. Numbers for a place in line will be handed out beginning at 6; call 322-7727.
Thursday July 20 Grimm reaper: Cartoonist Mike Peters may have won a Pulitzer Prize for his editorial satire, but he's also won fans far and wide for his apolitical syndicated horse-laugher of a comic strip, Mother Goose and Grimm. Peters, who's in town for an upcoming exhibit at the Fascination Street Gallery in Cherry Creek North, will speak and John Hancock some posters today at noon as guest of the Denver Press Club's Lunch Beat program. Admission is $10 in advance ($12 at the door); for your required reservations or further information, call 571-5260. The Denver Press Club is located at 1330 Glenarm Pl. in downtown Denver.
Friday July 21 On your mark: Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Michael Jordan,Shaquille O'Neal and Gail Devers are just a few of the superb athletes seen at past Olympic Festivals before hurtling toward international recognition. Now Coloradans can check out the next wave at the U.S. Olympic Festival '95, an intensive sports showcase featuring everything from archery to wrestling and being held at a variety of venues in the Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs areas, beginning today and continuing through July 30. The opening ceremonies--during which the festival's torch run (an event that began over a month ago) comes to a glorious halt at Mile High Stadium--begin at 7, when the athletes march in; a performance by Kenny Loggins and a big fireworks display close out the night's festivities. Admission to the gala runs $10 or $19.95; when competitors get down to business tomorrow, individual event tix will range from $4 to $15. Call 830-TIXS for tickets or 573-1995 for an event guide.
Face to face: The outreach program called P.A.C.T. (which stands for People, Art, Conflict, Theatre) gives at-risk youths a healthier stab at acting out by taking their conflicts to the stage as performers. As part of the endeavor, students create life masks--plaster casts of their faces--to help them get in character. Faces of Denver Youth, an exhibition of the personalized masks, opens tonight at CORE New Art Space, 1412 Wazee St., with a reception from 7 to 10. Shows by P.A.C.T. instructor Marti Lawrence and printmaker Kathleen Frye also open this evening; all three exhibits can be seen at the gallery through July 30. For details call 571-4831.
A piece of heaven: Things are starting to look up at the Denver Museum of Natural History, 2001 Colorado Blvd., where participants in this weekend's Jupiter Watch and Space Day Expo will get together to celebrate heavenly bodies. The museum's Gates Planetarium first focuses its big telescopes on Jupiter; viewers can take a look at the planet between 8:30 and 10:30 tonight. Tomorrow, the kids can get their hands dirty building flying saucers and the like out of recycled junk as part of a creative science workshop; they can also watch water-rocket launches and view the sun up close with the planetarium staff from noon to 5 on the museum's west patio. All events are free; call 322-7009 for additional information.
Saturday July 22 By the people, for the people: Everything's folksy at a pair of annual outdoor affairs today. The Swallow Hill Folkathon returns, offering craft demonstrations, kids' activities and food and drink, but especially serving up hours of acoustic music by more than sixty local acts. Located in the Swallow Hill environs at 1905 S. Pearl St., the fest takes place between 10 and 7, then continues with an 8 p.m. concert by Celeste Krenz, Runaway Express, Charles Sawtelle and Su Teatro at Cameron Church, down the street at 1600 S. Pearl. Admission to daytime events is $4 ($1 for kids eighteen and under); concert tickets are $12, or $10 if you already bought a day pass. For information call 777-1003. And at Fiddler's Green, the Radiators, Wayne Toups, Zachary Richard, Tab Benoit and other members of the contemporary Cajun/zydeco-inspired canon conjure the bayou at the New Orleans Festival, where you can listen, dance or pig out on jambalaya, beginning at 1 p.m. Tickets are $17.50 or $20; call 830-TIXS.
It's curtains for you: Theater, particularly when practiced by the Eulipions, doesn't have to be dull. The local theater group presents a spirited replay of its recent production of Ain't Misbehavin' tonight at 8 under the stars at Civic Center Park, 14th and Acoma streets. And since the performance comes under the auspices of Theater in the Park, admission is free. All you need to bring is yourself--and perhaps a sandwich and soda. Performances end tomorrow; call 770-2106 for information. But then again, if you'd rather sit in a plush seat than on a lawn chair, the ever-professional Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actors League, better known as PHAMALy, revives the popular musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the Space Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Catch tonight's performance at 8; the run continues Fridays through Sundays, through August 6. To purchase tickets, $15 ($12 seniors and students), or to reserve seats at upcoming audio-described or signed interpreted performances, call 575-0005.
Sunday July 23 Standard issue: Under the shaggy hair and behind the nice-guy air, guitarist Pat Metheny has proved over the years that he's no lightweight, in spite of his initial rise on the softer merits of his early ECM recordings. Metheny is an experimenter, crisscrossing between the aforementioned smooth jazz, bouts with the king of harmolodia, Ornette Coleman, bassist Charlie Haden and wunderkind Joshua Redman, a duet with fellow modernist John Scofield, and a solo journey into the highly fed-back realm of educated noise. In the end, this calm individual always lands on his feet: Metheny's recent album We Live Here attests to his growth, showcasing a warm, unshowy technical style with mainstream appeal. He performs tonight at 7:30 at Red Rocks; for tickets, $25, call 830-TIXS.
Monday July 24 Really got a hold on you: Here's a sleeper for ya--members of Los Straitjackets, the freshest four-man tag team this side of the punk-grass group Bad Livers, hail from Nashville, play revved-up surf instrumentals and wear Mexican wrestling masks while getting down. But like Batman and other masked avengers, there's muscle behind the disguise--guitarist Danny Amis warmed up with the Raybeats, and drummer L.J. Lester worked with Webb Wilder before taking to the ring with Los Straitjackets' competent other half. Catch them tonight at 8 at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax. Tickets are $5; call 322-2308.
Tuesday July 25 Cold fusion: Keyboardist Herbie Hancock, whose new album Dis Is Da Drum fuses hip-hop, West African rhythms and jazz in a way Wynton Marsalis would never approve of, and poet/activist Gil Scott-Heron, whose cool, politicized spoken-word recordings foresaw rap, head up this year's version of the Night on the Town All-Stars, performing tonight at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Pl. Also in tow for the road show are vocalist Lalah Hathaway, daughter of Donnie, and various tour vets, including saxman Gerald Albright. Tickets to the 7:30 show are $24.50; call 830-TIXS to reserve yours.