It's been a good summer for Red Rocks, and the next few weeks are only gettin' better: Willie Nelson, Tori Amos, Tom Petty and the Black Crowes all are gracing the hill in the next few weeks. But tonight, legendary R&B-sters Earth, Wind and Fire join rock ber-band Chicago. And the planet will tremble. With about a thousand Grammys between them, numerous gold and platinum discs, stars on the Walk of Fame and an apparently Ivy League-educated publicist who uses the phrase curriculum vitae, these two groups are music royalty that will rock you right out of your pants. Tickets for this one start at $45.50. Get to redrocksonline.com to get yours.
Score some pot (ha!) at Commonwheel Artists Co-op Gallery tonight. This evening marks the opening reception for Prima Materia/Quinta Essentia, a new exhibit by potters Paul Rogers and Kerstin Eriksson. Eriksson has said her work is her response to critical issues facing the world today, and I'll be interested to see what she can say with, you know, mud. The reception is taking place from 5 to 8 and is free and open to the public. For more, head to commonwheel.com.
Did you get tickets to see the Rev. Al Sharpton tonight? If not, you're probably too late to catch the internationally respected, distinctively coiffed civil- and human-rights activist, former Democratic presidential candidate and Pentecostal minister. Sharpton is in town for the 2005 Democratic Summit, going on this evening at the Springs Sheraton (2886 S. Circle Drive), and he will be preaching tomorrow morning at 10:45 at Colorado Springs Emmanuel Baptist Church (1 S. Walnut St.). You could try your luck at getting tickets by visiting peakdems.org or calling 473-8713, but don't count on it.
Does your summer swing, you think? No? Just a little bit? Give the season a shot in the arm and get to the Summer Swings Dinner, going on at the Shrine Club (6 S. 33rd St.) tonight at 5. Festivities include dinner by The Melting Pot and dancing and live music by Bill Emery and the New Century Big Band, which features vocal styling by Michelle and Randy Rodriguez. Enjoy some cocktails, have some dinner, get a soft-shoe in and get to bed early -- the events end at 10. Tickets are $25 per person or $160 for a table of eight. Get yours at the door or any King Soopers location, or through TicketsWest at 576-2626.
Sure, Chihuly's gone, but this week, make it a point to visit the Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St.), where the Ron Brasch Collection of post-World War II art treasures will be on display until Oct. 16. This collection includes pieces by Ren Magritte, Joan Mir, Roy Lichtenstein and Larry Rivers, among many others, and is meant to provide a context and an introduction for the FAC's Andy Warhol exhibit, arriving in September. Plus, everybody loves silkscreen. Just try and prove me wrong. Gallery hours and more information can be found at csfineartscenter.org.
If you missed Eyes Caught Fire at Hoopla, or were just unable to see them because of all the drinkin', you probably will want to consider catching them, Abracastabya, The Goodbye Kiss and the Brobecks tonight at Darkside (2106 E. Platte Ave.) for a night of local rock and/or roll. After all, they are just adorable and crank out some highly listenable, saucy jams. Doors are at 7, and the cost is $6 to $8. For more, give Darkside a jingle at 231-9701.
Catch the First Lady of Crunk tonight at the Fillmore (1510 Clarkson St. in Denver). Lil Jon's protg, Ciara, will be hip-hoppin' up a storm, fresh off the success of her eponymous debut and hit single "Goodies." With her tonight is Common (formerly Common Sense), a rapper whose literate tendencies and political conscience have garnered him a rabid underground base since the mid-'90s. Tickets are $29.75. To get yours, check out fillmoreauditorium.com.
-- Aaron Retka