Are you a big fan of Flying W Ranch? Do you love "Riders Radio Theater" on NPR? Do you attend cowboy church on Sundays? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this weekend you will be in hog heaven. The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities (6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada) is hosting the 16th annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering today through Sunday. Fifty-four performers ranging from hilarious cowboy poets to yodelers to cowboy musicians take the stage, and a soup-and-sandwich grub line will be available each day. Day passes are $12 and tickets for performances on the main stage are $24. Call 720/898-7200 for info or visit www.arvadacenter.org/cowboy for more.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to tell Shakespeare that you like one of his characters so much that you'd like an entire play based on that character? Queen Elizabeth did just that, asking the bard to write a play based on the character Falstaff from Henry IV, part 2. Come discover why the Queen was so enamored with Falstaff as the Star Bar Players stage the opening gala of The Merry Wives of Windsor tonight. Every Friday night during the play's run, the cast will discuss the play with the audience after the performance. Merry Wives runs Jan. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 and Feb. 4-6. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., the Feb. 6 show is at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for seniors and students and $15 for general admission at the Lon Chaney Theater (221 E. Kiowa St.) Call 573-7411 or visit www.starbarplayers.org for more info.
"Mark Twain meets John Hurt" at the Black Rose Acoustic Society Open Stage concert tonight with Midwestern singer/songwriter Kreg Viesselman, heralded by Taj Mahal. Viesseman, who has worked as a mountain guide, a trapper, a sailor and a farmhand, brings insight into the darkness and hopes of the human experience. Opening acts start at 7:30 p.m. at the Black Forest Community Center (Black Forest and Shoup roads), and the concert will put you back only $5, $3 if you're a BRAS member. Call 633-3660 or visit
www.blackroseacoustic.org for more.
This time of year, many of us prefer to spend our weekends drinking cocoa, curled up on the couch reading a book, covered in a favorite blanket or shawl. Explore the history and beauty of Imported Elegance: Kashmir and European Shawls of Paisley Design at the Pioneers Museum (215 S. Tejon St.), where shawl experts Diane Fabeck and Judy Arndt lead a gallery tour of this log-running exhibit. The tour beings at 2 p.m. and is free. Call 385-5990 for more information.
The Chamber Orchestra of the Springs' concert today features pianist Sara McDaniel playing Bach's "Brandenburg" Concerto No. 3 and Martinu's "Toccata e due canzoni." Soprano Linda Weise and tenor Brian Stinar will round out the program with Menotti's "The Telephone." Join lovers of orchestral music for small orchestras at the First Christian Church (16 E. Platte Ave.) at 2:30 p.m. Visit
www.chamberorchestraofthesprings.org for the complete season's schedule and ticket information.
Sometimes Mondays inspire regression to weekend behavior, if only because the return to work presents such a stark contrast that you just can't handle the grind. Regress and take out your aggressions tonight at the Navajo Hogan Roadhouse (2817 N. Nevada Ave.) where local hard-core idols The Great Redneck Hope, Harrison Bergeron, the Autokinoton and Animal Hospital will make your ears bleed. In a good way. The show is only $6 and it begins at 7:30 p.m. Call Soda Jerk Presents at 303/443-2227 if you need more info.
Sarah Jessica Parker is doing it. Madonna is doing it. Russell Crowe is doing it. It's one of hip culture's latest obsessions. No it's not Kabbalah, it's knitting! Debbie Stoller, author of Stitch and Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook visits Denver's Cherry Creek Tattered Cover Book Store (2955 E. First Ave.) at 7:30 p.m. She will present and sign Stitch and Bitch Nation, the follow-up to her wildly popular foray into knitting literature, which is partially responsible for resurgence in knitting popularity. Call the bookstore at 303/322-7727 for more info.
Closer to home, Buddhist lama Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen will visit Shove Chapel at Colorado College at 7 p.m. and will talk about "Life in Tibet -- Then and Now." Venerable Geshe-la brings knowledge of traditional and monastic life in Tibet as well as current issues. The talk is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Buddhism and Tibetan Culture and is open to the public with a suggested donation of $10.
Odds are the average kid has seen at least one "on ice" performance: Finding Nemo on Ice, Monsters Inc. on Ice, The Wizard of Oz on Ice, Aladdin on Ice, Toy Story 2 on Ice, Muppets on Ice, etc. etc.. But have they ever seen Olympic champion ice skaters in a live performance? There's a chance on Thurs., Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. when Olympic champions Sarah Hughes, Jamie Sale, David Pelletier and many other world-class skaters take the ice at Denver's Pepsi Center (1000 Chopper Circle) for the Smucker's Stars on Ice tour. Tickets run $25-$95 and are available at www.ticketmaster.com or at 303/830-TIXS.
-- Sara Gallagher