A decree: This weekend you will dedicate your time to sexy flowers. More specifically, you will attend the Denver Orchid Society's Fall Orchid Show, taking place at the Four Points by Sheraton Denver Southeast hotel (at the northeast corner of I-25 and Hampden in Denver), running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, tomorrow and Sunday. For a mere $5 admission, you can chat orchids, buy orchids and orchid-related stuff, get orchid advice, tune into orchid lectures and so orchid on. Orchid, orchid, orchid! For more info, check out www.denverorchidsociety.org.
If sexy flowers make you a wee bit uncomfortable, you might try communing with your inner Bavarian instead. Hillside Gardens (1006 S. Institute) presents its first annual Oktoberfest tonight from 5 to 10 p.m. Get your schnitzel- and sptzle-shoveling on, drink some beer and enjoy some feel-good Bayrisch jams while you enjoy delectable mountain views from inside the gardens' heated pavilion. Admission for the event is $5, and you can learn more at www.hillsidegardens.net.
Tonight at the Black Rose Society Open Stage, check out singer-songwriter Johnsmith, winner of the New Folk title at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Fellow folkie Tom Kimmel said of JS's songs, "... what drew me in was his heart. It's clear that he's lived the pain in his songs and that his optimism is hope born of wisdom ... a rare thing and a gift to all who hear him." Hear the generically named and curiously spelled troubadour at the Black Forest Community Center (corner Black Forest and Shoup Roads) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $2-$4. Call 633-3660 or visit www.blackroseacoustic.org for more.
Check out a Rock Odyssey completely bereft of sizzling guitar solos or tousle-headed frontmen but chock-full of sweet geological goodness. The Western Museum of Mining and Industry (off I-25 at the Gleneagle exit, just across from the north entrance to the Air Force Academy) offers up a day full of gold today, with scads of hands-on activities, demonstrations and experiments on that delightful prized metal. You'll also learn to recognize real gold from pyrite so that you'll never be taken for a sucker ever again. Admission is $3, and reservations are requested for the 1 p.m. event. Make yours by calling 488-0880.
I know absolutely nothing about sculpture, but I would imagine that carving shapes out of stone is probably pretty difficult. Like, it's rock. Hard, unyielding rock. For that reason, I suggest you go pay your respects to local sculptor Larry Terrafranca, who has a show opening this evening at L.I.W. Cargo Fine Arts Gallery (713 Manitou Ave., in Manitou Springs). He'll be exhibiting stone and marble carvings as well as bronze and terra cotta sculpture. The opening reception takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Delectable refreshments will be served. Give a call over to the Cargo for more information at 685-0452.
Get the scoop on "Trails and Open Spaces in the Colorado Springs Area" straight from trails guru Dan Cleveland, Executive Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), tonight at the monthly meeting of the Pikes Peak Group of the Sierra Club, 7 p.m., at the Colorado Division of Wildlife office, 4255 Sinton Rd. (one block souh of Garden of the Gods Rd., just east of I-25. It's free and all ages are invited to hear about the coalition's history and plans for the future, and to see a slideshow of local trails and open spaces. For more, call 226-1474.
Break those chains of prose that bind you. National Book Award finalist and renowned poet B.H. Fairchild will read tonight at Colorado College's Packard Hall (southwest corner of Cache La Poudre Street and Cascade Avenue). Fairchild's newest book, Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the poet has won Guggenheim and NEA fellowships as well as numerous other awards. The reading begins at 7 p.m. For more information, call 389-6853.
Also tonight, catch impressionistic jazz pianist and composer Bryant Jones at the Colorado Springs School (21 Broadmoor Ave.). This show, the season opener for the Colorado Springs School's Thursday Night Recital Series, will feature M'sieur Jones, a Manitou resident, previewing material from his upcoming album. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, and they are available before the show or by calling 475-9747, ext. 100.
Pile on the two-tone tonight and get on down to 32 Bleu (32 S. Tejon St.) for a night of ska, ska, ska! Third-wave godfathers The Toasters will be skanking up a storm tonight along with Atlantic Records artist New Blood Revival and local horn blowers The Right Aways. Things will get a-goin' at 9 p.m., and tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the show. Hit up www.32bleu.com for more.
Plan now to attend this once -only performance by the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats, sponsored by the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration, at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade). Chinese acrobats have been entertaining audiences for 27 centuries, making this one of the oldest folk art forms on earth. The Golden Dragon Acrobats are rigorously trained from early childhood and represent the best of the form. Tickets are $22 for adults and $12 for children, and the show starts at 7 p.m. Call 520-SHOW for tickets and visit www.imaginationcelebration.org for more.
-- Aaron Retka