With 36 literary works and the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize to his name, writer and humanitarian activist Elie Wiesel graces Denver tonight. Wiesel is best known for Night, his memoir of horrifying experiences as a teenager at German concentration camps. Named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People, Wiesel has become an internationally recognized champion of moral responsibility. He'll speak at the Paramount Theatre (1621 Glenarm Place, Denver) at 7:30. Call 520-9090 or visit ticketmaster.com for tickets, which range from $20 to $100. Proceeds from the event will fund Jewish Community Center scholarships. TW
Expect extra pedestrians on Tejon Street today at noon, as prizewinning cattle from Monument's Searle Ranch hit the street for the fourth annual Ride for the Brand Ranch Rodeo cattle drive. As a new part of the weekend festivities, kick back your booted heels at an exhibit of Robb Kendrick's award-winning photography of American cowboys at Smokebrush Gallery (see "The tin type"). The Norris-Penrose Event Center (1045 W. Rio Grande St.) also hosts the rodeo and a trio of events tomorrow, beginning at 10 a.m. Call 635-7776 for more information. TW
If you like the outdoors for the serenity twittering birds, frolicking deer and the soft flapping of butterfly wings then stay away from the Pikes Peak Highway today. At 9 a.m., a variety of vehicles, from super stock cars to vintage motorcycles, race to the top of the mountain in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Engines roar up the 12.4-mile course, racing to beat the record time of 10:04.06 without falling off the high cliffs lining the road. Purchase $40 tickets this morning at the tollgates or in advance at King Soopers locations, World Arena (3185 Venetucci Blvd.) or ticketswest.com. Call 685-4400 for more. JS
A lot of guys resent being dragged to the ballet. But two words might get them to one less grudgingly: equine ballet. Yup, horses that dance (and jump really high, too). The world-famous Lipizzaner Stallions represent more than 400 years of tradition much like a vintage Mr. Ed metal lunchbox, the talented stallions are "preserved as an equestrian work of art." See them at either 2 or 6 p.m. today at World Arena (3185 Venetucci Blvd.). Tickets range from $20.25 to $30.25, and are available by calling 576-2626. For more information, call 477-2121. MS
- DragonForce is undefeated in staring contests; find out why at The Black Sheep.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the debut album that catapulted Petty to the national stage. (Kinda makes you feel old, right?) This year also marks the 15-year anniversary of the release of Ten, the album that did the same for Pearl Jam. (How's that piercing holding up, Gen X-er?) And look at them now: This year's self-titled album has launched Pearl Jam back onto magazine covers, and Highway Companion, to be released by Petty on July 25, will likely remind fans that he's never strayed from some of the best rock 'n roll this side of Mars. Surprisingly, the $40-$90 tickets to catch the two groups together are still available for tonight's show at the Pepsi Center (1000 Chopper Circle, Denver), but you have to get them from Pearl Jam's nemesis: Ticketmaster, at 520-9090 or ticketmaster.com. JJ
I don't think I need to tell you what today is. You'll be smelling grill smoke and hearing concussive explosions soon enough. (No, it's not Columbus Day.) The options for celebrating this Independence Day are just about endless every town with at least two stop signs is having a parade. If you stay in the Springs, check out Rock Ledge Ranch (3202 Chambers Way) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Acacia Park (115 E. Platte Ave.) from noon to 4; the Buffalo Bar-B-Q in Soda Springs Park (1016 Manitou Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; or the US Army Field Band & Chorus and Colorado Springs Philharmonic at 7 p.m. in Memorial Park (1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave.). Read our listings, beginning on page 42, for more options. MS
Valley of the Damned and Inhuman Rampage B-movie titles or British heavy metal albums? Throw in Sonic Rampage and the answer is clear. They're the three discs by DragonForce, a speed metal band from across the pond that recalls the glory days of Iron Maiden. They're fast, they're piercing, and they're not a joke. While the genre has garnered much ridicule since its '80s heyday, DragonForce is serious. They sell out shows across Europe, and as your German car and Swedish mattress attest, Europeans have a superior sense of innovation and style. Check them out tonight at 8:30 at The Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave.). The all-ages show costs $20 to $23, and tickets are available at ticketweb.com. JJ
This week's 7 Days stallions: Josh Johnson, Matthew Schniper, Jeanine Stewart and Taylor Wiles.