Join local mystery writer Marne Davis Kellogg at the Highlands Ranch Tattered Cover (Highlands Ranch Parkway and Lucent Boulevard) for a discussion and signing of her new novel, Perfect. The story of an international jewel thief drawn back into the game, Perfect has plenty of that rock 'em, sock 'em thriller action Kellogg fans crave and also contains recipes for delicious mystery pie. Mmm! It's going on this evening at 7:30 and is free and open to the public. For more, call the Tattered Cover at 303/470-7050.
This is truly odd. Bennett Lane Winery, maker of some truly decent California wine, has started a NASCAR team and will be bringing its certifiable schizophrenia to town this weekend. Vintage's Wine & Spirits (9 S. Tejon St.) and the Ritz Grill (15 S. Tejon St.) will be hosting a tasting of Bennett Lane wines this afternoon from 2 to 7. Visitors can sip on samples and ogle the vino-mobile. Other events follow this weekend, with PPIR ticket giveaways, personalized pit tours and other goodies. For more, check out bennettlane.com.
Spend some quality time today with a bunch of instruments you've never heard of. AMUSE, an early-music consort, will be busting out Upon a Summer's Day, a program of English dances performed on viola da gamba, recorder, crumhorn, sackbut, curtal, cittern, nibble, tweak, roscoe, slumgullion, queensryche and more (although to be completely honest, I did make a few of those up). The concert's taking place at 3 p.m. at First Christian Church (16 E. Platte Ave.). A free will offering will be taken, so you best ante up.
Is it worth the to trek to Loveland to catch the Backstreet Boys? Duh! The five-piece teeny-pop sensation is back with a new album, Never Gone, and you can bet the Boys' dance moves, shiny matching outfits and interesting facial hair will rock you straight into the ground. Or straight to the mall, at least. Never Gone apparently is a "mature, more rootsy" album, which I'll believe as soon as I hear a vocal cameo by Leonard Cohen. The show happens tonight at the Budweiser Events Center (adjacent to I-25 at Crossroads Boulevard in Loveland). Tickets are $39.50-$65. To get yours, log onto comcasttix.com or call 877/544-TIXX.
Get to Darkside (2106 E. Platte Ave.) for some punk freakin' rock with the Briefs. Known best for their "1977-and-nothing-but" philosophy, the Briefs shovel more punk purism into their songs than you can shake a Sham 69 disc at. They also wear goofy retro shades and are fans of the tri-tone silkscreen. Punk rock! They'll be joined this evening by the Springs' own ska-o-nauts, the Rightaways, as well as 3 Round Burst and Brain Failure. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $8. Head to sodajerkpresents.com to get yours.
Just so you know, a Google search for "velvet rut" returns some disturbing results, especially if you accidentally type "hott" instead of "velvet" and "coeds" instead of "rut." Huh. That said, get to Murray Street Darts (609 N. Murray St.) to catch local three-piece band Velvet Rut with Stone Flower and Corrupting Celeste. The Rut busts out an interesting mix of pop, jazz and rock, and has a B-flat trumpet, which is pretty cool. Showtime is 9 p.m., and I can find no evidence of a cover charge. For more, call 573-0467 or head to velvetrut.com.
Also this evening at Optical Reverb (3125 Sinton Road at the Paragon Culinary School), you can join in on some gyro-gustatory wackiness with Rafsharqui. Paragon'll be hosting a big ol' belly-dancing jamboree and serving courses of Moroccan food, probably in addition to some other stuff. It's going on at 6; just watch the dancing for free, or eat for $25. For more information, call 210-9799.
-- Aaron Retka