You may or may not have escorted your toddler to an educational workshop or a nature trail this summer. Continue your good parenting or remedy your negligent parenting at one or more of several local nature-oriented events this month. You'll likely read this too late to make it to "Amazing Ants" from 9 to 10:30 this morning ("Noooo!") at Fountain Creek Nature Center (320 Peppergrass Lane, elpasocountyparks.com), but consider "Hungry Caterpillars" on Sept. 11 at the same site or "Things that Fly" on Sept. 16 at Bear Creek Nature Center (245 Bear Creek Road). Events tend to include craft activities, puppet shows and storytelling, and cost between $3 and $5. — MS
Local artist Tom McElroy, known via his work as Atomic Elroy, vigorously promotes the local art scene, and tonight he and wife Lisa introduce an ambitious undertaking at Watch this Space, the multimedia art and performance venue in the Depot Arts Building (218 W. Colorado Ave., #102, 634-8409). Starting at 7, and adding to the First Friday scene, the McElroys will premiere planned monthly programs — $5 admission covers a "virgin" cocktail, hors d'oeuvres and souvenir — with a show called Obscure Occurrences. It includes Atomic Elroy's video art, dance by Lisa and multiple interactive installation pieces. The series is called VIP Lounge, the "VIP" referring to video installation performance. For more, go to watchthisspacecos.blogspot.com. — RR
Our sympathy goes out to all those people who have to work through Labor Day weekend. And our admiration goes out to those people who choose to volunteer at the Commonwheel Artists Labor Day Arts and Crafts Festival in Manitou Springs. Not only are they helping to make available the juried works of about 100 artists and craftspeople, but they're also aiming to go zero-waste with their free three-day, music-filled event at Memorial Park (Manitou Avenue and El Paso Boulevard, commonwheel.com). If you've got the time and the means, honor their work by dropping in from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a shiny new pot, or a funnel cake, or a flavored maté. — KW
The band Everclear brings to mind 14-year-old me, sitting on my bed devouring some sci fi and jamming to "Father of Mine," the biggest hit off So Much for the Afterglow. Years later, I've still got them in my rotation for when I crave a unique blend of manic and depressed. A band reorganization has left only lead guitarist Art Alexakis as an original member, but they're fortunately still bringing that sound. Catch them at 8 tonight with Bowling for Soup at Fort Carson's Special Events Center (Building 1829, Specker Ave., mwrfortcarson.com). Tickets are $20 at ticketswest.com, $25 at the door and $15 with DOD ID. — BC
Top off your Labor Day celebration with an evening of Americana at the foot of "America's Mountain." Tonight, Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site (3202 Chambers Way, rockledgeranch.com) will host a free concert by bluesman Willie Houston at 5:30, followed by a free outdoor preview screening from Ken Burns' latest PBS series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, at 7:30. The complete six-part series, by the filmmaker known for The War, Jazz, The West and Baseball, will begin airing on Rocky Mountain PBS on Sept. 27. And if that's not enough Americana for you, come at 1 and enjoy hot dogs, popcorn and ice cream while you watch the Ranch's old-time baseball game. — JT
The Twilight Zone's "Time Enough at Last" marks the epitome of delicious, wretched irony. Burgess Meredith's bespectacled character desires only to constantly read. When an atomic bomb levels his city, he is the sole survivor and happily devotes himself to his books. Then his glasses break. For a less morbid but still fascinating look at a human-less planet, attend "The World Without Us," a free lecture from Alan Weisman at 7:30 tonight in CC's Armstrong Hall (14 E. Cache la Poudre St., coloradocollege.edu). Weisman will predict which of our daily accoutrements will last as fossils and which will disintegrate with time. — EA
The Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave., blacksheeprocks.com) isn't exactly known for insurgent country, so it speaks well for Ryan Bingham that he's coming back after playing the club just last May. Though still in his 20s, the Austin singer-songwriter has already managed to rack up accolades from Joe Ely and Terry Allen, fellow Texans who've forgotten more about music than most of us will never know. Bingham's voice sounds a bit like Jeff Tweedy's would, if the Wilco singer were to take up gargling with Sterno, but his music is a lot more rootsy. Jonny Burke, another Austinite, kicks things off at 8; admission is $10, and minors are, as always, admitted, so long as they do their drinking out in the parking lot. — BF
Contributors: Edie Adelstein, Bryce Crawford, Bill Forman, Ralph Routon, Matthew Schniper, Jill Thomas and Kirk Woundy.
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