- Visit Planet Polka in Soda Springs Park on Thursday.
I don't know about you, but I just can't get enough polka. Actually, I can and did while spending time in Madison, Wis., which had what may have been the country's last (only?) all-polka radio station. It was hard not to become fascinated with a music that bears such resemblance to traditional Mexican Norteo (2/4 rhythms and plenty of accordion). Soon, the song "Polkaholic" was ringing in my head and I'd come to understand the differences between Li'l Wally's Chicago/Polish style and Frankie Yankovic's Cleveland/Slovenian strain. Colorado's Planet Polka favors Chicago polka (as do I), and features a four-piece horn section to keep things bumping. Catch it at 7 p.m. in a free concert at Soda Springs Park (1016 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs). Don't forget to request "No Beer in Heaven," "I Wish I Was Single Again" and, of course, "She Likes Kielbasa." BF
Bike enthusiasts, here's an art event that'll welcome helmet-head. At this month's First Friday ArtWalk, Smokebrush Art Gallery (218 W. Colorado Ave.) will inaugurate several new exhibitions, including the fourth annual ROLL Bike Exhibition. Quadrophenia: Fear of 4 Wheels explores the visual appeal, evolution and societal role of the bicycle. Beyond bikes, also see Timothy C. Flood's From All Sides, an immersive installation built with five miles of twine and an anvil. Tonight's opening reception runs from 5 to 8, and regular hours (Monday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m.) extend through Aug. 27. Call 444-1012 or visit smokebrush.org. MM
- Bears and earring pairs go up for grabs at Woodland Parks arts fest.
Up Highway 24 is where you'll head today, first for the 70th annual Bronc Day between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. in Green Mountain Falls. Think pancake breakfast, a rubber ducky race, pie-eating and nail-driving contests, and much more. Call 684-9811. After turning your teeth (and maybe your thumb) purple, visit day one of the 23rd annual Mountain Arts Festival at the Ute Pass Cultural Center (210 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park). Enjoy goods from vendors and more than 70 artisans between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. today and tomorrow. Call 372-3377. MS
You've had all week, and this is your last chance to see the likes of Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin and the world's other best 50-something golfers at the U.S. Senior Open at Broadmoor Golf Club (1 Lake Ave.). Tickets for the final two days are $45 each, far cheaper than for most major championships, and "Fore Packs" (valid for four people on one day, one person over four days, or any combination in between) run $135. Follow your favorites or just park in one spot and watch the world go by. For tickets, go to usso.broadmoor.com or any King Soopers, or call 877/281-OPEN (6736). RR
What would you do for $4,000? We figure that if you were in a local band, you'd play your bleeding, broken heart out. That's why we also figure the musicians playing the T3 competition (Tejon, Tunes and Tapas) at Nosh (121 S. Tejon St.) are gonna put on inspired shows. Tonight, in the second week of the five-week competition, sit back with some drink specials and catch Captain Attractive at 7 and Ian Gott Music at 8:30. Vote on your favorite, and see the winner again at the final battle on Aug. 24. For more info, call 635-NOSH (6674). KW
Ah, bows and arrows! Although my preferred targets as a rowdy youth were rotting porch-side pumpkins, potted marigolds and my playmate's dog (he was not amiable, I swear), today you can see archery competitors perform in a more civilized manner in Memorial Park (1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave.). The 124th U.S. National Target Championships started yesterday and continue until Aug. 9, with Junior World Trials running in conjunction until Aug. 10. Competition starts at 8 a.m. daily; call 866-4576 or visit usarchery.org for more information. MR
If you've ever heard the word "baby" used in a pop song or exclaimed "Sweet!" after receiving good news, you may be surprised to learn that you owe a debt of gratitude to James Taylor, who invented both words in his 1970 song, "Sweet Baby James." OK, that's not actually true, but he did have a hit with it, as well as (in order of personal preference) "Fire and Rain," "Carolina in My Mind," "You've Got a Friend" and "Shower the People" (which reportedly inspired the musical charity Soap Aid). And, oh yeah, that regrettable "Mockingbird" duet with former spouse Carly Simon. The 8 p.m. show today at Red Rocks Amphitheatre (18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, $45-$85) is sold out, but of course there should be tickets floating around outside. And some remain available for another show Thursday. Expect songs from Taylor's forthcoming album of covers, along with his fan favorites. Except "Mockingbird." Let's leave that one for Carly. Visit redrocksonline.com for more. BF
This week's contributors: Bill Forman, Mandy Moench, Maddie Rogers, Ralph Routon, Matthew Schniper and Kirk Woundy.