This Christmas/Hanukkah/ Ramadan/Kwanzaa/Solstice season feels sort of strange, doesn't it? Aside from all of the new BS we're having to deal with, the weather is off and we haven't had enough of that thick Christmas snow. I think it's going to take some doing to really get into the spirit this year, so as a reader service, we're presenting the most warm-and-fuzzy holiday events we could find, and hopefully they'll help you and yourn Norman Rockwell out.
It's kitchsy and I think there're singing elves, but the Seven Falls Holiday Lighting is still pretty cool in an atomic sort of way. You can bundle up and hike to the first bridge to view the lights from above or just stay on the ground and watch the ice glow in various hues. The trees and buildings are usually decked out with lights as well. Find the falls at the western end of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard. The lights are on from 5 to 9 p.m., and are up through Dec. 30. Admission is $7. Call 632-0741 for more.
There's an ethereal exhibit up at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts right now called Astral Bodies: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art Glass. It's the first glass-only collection to be exhibited in the region, and it features art from as far away as Australia. Also running is Amy Butowicz's mixed-media installation, In Your House: A People's History. Both exhibits run through Jan. 31 at the Center, 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. Call 481-0475 for details.
The symphony digs special events -- gives them an excuse to bust out of the Mozart box and get a little crazy. This Christmas the Colorado Springs Symphony has recruited the Palmer High School Chamber Singers to help them loosen up at the Holiday Spectacular, tonight at 8 at the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave. The show runs again at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets are $9 to $44. Call 520-SHOW.
You're going to be hard-pressed to find any dance performances that aren't related to Christmas this week. But at least, if you're going to go Yule, you can go all the way with the Colorado Springs Conservatory and the Colorado Jazz Dance Company in Santa's Frosty Follies, a presentation of the Wells Foundation for the Performing Arts at Pikes Peak Community College's Centennial Campus, 5675 S. Academy Blvd. It's a holiday musical and dance review that runs today at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and again at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the college theater. Tickets are $15 to $18. Call 577-4556.
If you're lucky, you've got some time off, so here's to driving down to Cañon City. They've got a new venue there -- an old theater called the Annex Ballroom -- and it deserves a little look-see. Plus Boulder's Johnny O Band plays their poor, blue hearts out tonight at 8. Tickets are $8. Call 719/276-3088 for details.
Shakedown Street wishes you all a heady Christmas with their show tonight at the Encore! Theater (in the old Tajine Alami) at 10 Old Man's Trail in Manitou. The show is all-ages, so bring the whole family down. Shakedown puts on a good show and the crowd is always warmly appreciative. Admission is $7 or a donation of three cans of food. The band plays from (wink wink, nudge nudge) 4:20 p.m. on. Call 471-PLAY for details.
The absolute epitome of the warm fuzzy: collect the fam and gather around the wireless, make some cocoa, dig out a Lionel train set and maybe dress one of your children in a pink bunny suit ... It's time to listen to the KCME Radio Theatre performance of A Christmas Carol. The program begins at 8 p.m. on 88.7-FM.
Colorado Springs is a place of extremes: the mountains jutting up from the plains, freaks butting heads with fundamentalists, Snoop Dogg playing the City Auditorium one night while a moose shows up in Monument Valley Park the next. The provincial and the urban live side by side here, and the contrast always provides the delights of the infinitely unexpected.
Take the Business of Art Center, as another example. They just finished a show of fine local crafts, and beginning this weekend they'll be hosting a 10-day show of international art made with cutting-edge digital technology from the SIGGRAPH 2001 traveling Art and Design exhibition.
Titled N-Space, the show features over 30 artists who were asked to submit works that used both "old and new graphics technologies" that "go beyond the medium and into the realm of ideas."
Though these parameters are obviously loose, all of the work in N-Space successfully uses new technologies conceptually to address the many tensions between the future and the past, computer and nature.
In "Exponential," Eric Heller has created a lovely "electron flow pattern" that looks like a bolt of lightning in a glass of chocolate milk at sunset. "The channeling or branching has implication for small electronic devices of the future," says Heller. "The images exemplify nature emulating herself."
Further stressing these themes, Kenneth Huff used a computer to break up digital objects in a "one horizontal, two vertical" pattern to create images inspired by aerial views of the landscape, while Anna Ursyn has created computer-generated pieces that look like paintings to "link the beauty of man-made products and the aesthetics of painting."
Despite the blunt differences in surface aesthetics, the high-tech/low-tech dichotomy courses through piece after piece.
Blending craft and technology, Hiroki Uchiyama transfers images created on the computer onto fabrics which are then further manipulated into textured patterns. Kimberly Burleigh uses "sophisticated technology to emulate low-tech photograms." Instead of everyday objects like leaves and paper clips, however, Burleigh uses shapes and forms from equipment used in terrorist attacks to invite speculation upon surveillance and X-ray technology. Her works are terrifyingly relevant and prophetic in the wake of September 11.
Also gorgeous and well conceived are: Yelena Ilkanayev's "Chelovechki" or "Little People," a surreal digital painting that looks like a petrified lollipop on a Martian landscape that she describes simply as "emotions, thought and feelings"; Robert Krawczyk's "Curving Spirolaterals," algorithmically created designs that could be tribal tattoos in the year 3000; Melissa Harshman's feminist uses of computer collage; Lyn Bishop's computer-enhanced erotic black-and-white photos; and Steven Ramsey's digital Freak Show paintings of "Octoboy" and "Gatorman."
What is so compelling about this exhibit is the sheer variety of work that's only possible in a show offering such a broad international scope. It could very well be Colorado Springs' version of New York's 1913 Armory Show if enough folks are inspired to come out and see the new technological landscape that awaits us here in our wee little 21st-century mountain town.
-- Noel Black
International art made with cutting-edge digital technology from the SIGGRAPH 2001 travelling Art and Design exhibition
Business of Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs
Opening reception: Fri., Dec. 21, 5-8 p.m.
Closing reception: Tues., Jan. 1, 1-4 p.m.
Call 685-1861 for hours.
Admission: $4.00 for adults, $2.00 for students, and children are free.
When the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble performs on this Friday, neither the music nor the presentation will be "typical" holiday fare. The CVAE, celebrating its 10th season as the Springs' pre-eminent small choral ensemble, has planned a seasonal concert in which both the music and the musicians themselves will be "all over the place."
"Bird of Dawning: Songs for the Season" is billed as a concert featuring music of many different ages and sources, from traditional carols and American spirituals to Native American and Aboriginal music, with "a little Bach thrown in for good measure." Presented in Shove Chapel on the Colorado College campus, the evening's presentations will take advantage of the acoustic splendor of the space by positioning ensemble members throughout the chapel.
"The ensemble will be using every nook and cranny of Shove Chapel. This unique approach will make the most of Shove's acoustics, and will literally surround the audience with music, creating an almost physical experience," says Deborah Jenkins Teske, artistic director for the group. "We're going for atmosphere -- all of this music celebrates the spirit of this special time of year. In its variety, we find expressions of hope and joy and the strength of the human spirit." In addition to musical selections, the concert will offer selected readings.
Joining the CVAE in this performance will be flutist James Pellerite, who will perform two works from a collection titled Windsongs; "Phantom Breeze," a solo work for Native American flute, and "It Was the Wind," a duet with Terri Parker for flute and mezzo soprano. Mr. Pellerite, now living in Colorado Springs, has impressive classical flute credentials, having served both as principal flutist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Professor of Flute at Indiana University. Since leaving academia, he has pursued a new career: performing contemporary music on the Native American flute. His most recent CD, Echoes and Boundaries, features Mr. Pellerite as soloist on the Native American flute with a program that includes refreshingly new compositions especially written for this instrument.
"Bird of Dawning: Songs for the Season"
Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble
with flutist James Pellerite
Colorado College's Shove Chapel
Fri., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Free. Call 577-4192 for more.