The rotation of the Earth and the induction of long-missed extra sunshine are changing things. Something's coming over this town. Really cool events are being planned, and the streets are full of murmurs, whispers of a new, fascinating world where your dance card is always full and you never have to drive to Denver. For God's Sake, last week the flippin' Dead Kennedys played the Underground (minus Jello, sure, but a major show nonetheless. Our deadlines didn't allow us to inform you more formally, but you can be sure we oy oyed ourselves silly at the show. The chick who elbowed your liver in the pit? Probably me.)
The big cultural bang is on its way, and it will knock this town's bad rep clear to kingdom come. Mark my words, fearless readers, things are going to markedly improve over this next year in the bubble we refer to as the arts and entertainment scene. Sleep now -- you're going to be partying all year long.
Living after midnight,
Rockin' to the dawn,
Lovin' 'til the morning,
Then I'm gone, I'm gone.
-- Judas Priest
The most famous rock lounge in town, The Gardens, a landmark bar if we ever had one, has been stepping up to their responsibilities -- to make your black leather dreams come true with wine, women and live music. Tonight the club (2945 Galley Road) presents the Jimmy Van Zant Band, following in the deep, swampy Southern rock footsteps of his cousins Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny. Pre-sale tickets are $15; call 597-2900. Of course, you must be 21. Doors open at 7 p.m.
It's all about the eye candy tonight with two new visual art and sculpture exhibitions opening. In Manitou, Commonwheel Artists (102 Cañon Ave.) has a new show titled Nature's Interlude -- oils by Sherry Rogers, metal sculpture by Barry Petri and enhanced photo-painting by Rosemary Scheuering. The show hangs through February 5, but the opening reception happens tonight from 5 to 7. Call 685-1008.
In the Bon neighborhood, local artists Pat Dagnon and Cheryl Jones open their joint show Spirit of the Horse at 6 p.m. at Frameworks. The gallery is located in the Safeway shopping center at 2236 N. Wahsatch Ave. Call 636-2427.
If it's music yer a wantin', here's the barhop rundown:
For rockin' blues you got Stanley Milton's Mean Streak up at the Navajo Hogan. Jazzy funky bluesy Johnny and the Jukes are at the Townhouse in Manitou, and the Marv Smith Quartet does their elegant jazz thing at Genghis Kahn. There's rock in the form of The Riders in Woodland Park at Tres Hombres, Radio London at the Encore! Theater, Gyzunglasus at the Ritz and Mindz Eye at First Draft. Jam rock your brains out with Running with Sally at Utopia and Peace Sign at Jack Quinn's. There're so many other great acts out on the streets tonight, check out Playing Around on page 30 before you make your final cut.
It takes a damn good band to pull off a name like Slightly Stoopid. The San Diego beach-rat punk-metal surf band is good -- good enough to be the darlings of the industry, respected by the major players in their genre and considered to be the "house band" of the snow and skate industry. So they're not frikken famous. Some of the best bands never are. But if you're into skate rap, you'll be missing out if you stay home tonight. Slightly Stoopid plays with B-Side Players at the Colorado Music Hall, 2475 E. Pikes Peak Ave., at 9 p.m. The all-ages show is $7. Call 800/965-4827.
When the Taliban was still the ruling party in Afghanistan, the Revolutionary Association of Women in Afghanistan (RAWA) risked their lives by educating each other in secret and documenting the Taliban's human rights violations on videotape, something almost no Afghani was allowed to possess. While the troubles are nowhere near over, the end of the Taliban's reign has allowed RAWA to focus on more external concerns, such as raising money for the refugees fleeing into Pakistan. Today in Denver, some of the best in regional alt.-country and ska punk bands perform at a RAWA benefit for the Malalai Hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, which specializes in treating victims of land mines. Rock For Afghanistan, featuring The Reals, Sin Desires Marie, the Shackdaddys and more, begins at 7 p.m. at the Zen Center. Tickets are $7. Call 303/455-1500.
Just a reminder: Mime Dan Kamin is planning a major takeover of the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Orchestra this afternoon at the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave. Unless conductor Gary Nicholson can get Kamin inside the impenetrable invisible box, all may be lost. Help save the world as we know it from the Magic of Mime at 2 p.m. Tickets are $6. Call 520-SHOW.
With a new performance space next door begging to be filled, the Business of Art Center in Manitou has thrown quite a to-do over the opening of their latest exhibition, The Blues Project. At the heart of the program is a collection of works by local artists, in all mediums, based on a widely interpreted theme simply described as "the blues."
When the exhibition opens on Friday, Jan. 25, the reception will be complemented by a live blues jam and concert in the new Manitou Art Theater, the renovated carriage house that's now a showpiece of the organization. This jam begins a weekend of music, history and education provided by some of the best blues musicians and educators in the state.
"We want to create a greater awareness and wider appreciation of the American indigenous art form, the blues," says Jim Primock, vice president of the Colorado Blues Society, which will participate in the project by providing a dose of their Blues in the Schools educational program. "The history is important because the blues became all current forms of American pop music, yet some people think that Jimi Hendrix created the blues, and it ended when Stevie Ray Vaughn died. We want to explain where it really came from, and why it still matters."
Funded only by a handful of grants and the generous donations of the Society's 700-plus members, Blues in the Schools has been providing outreach at schools statewide for the past seven years. Offering a number of specialized curriculums ranging from women in the blues to race relations to language arts, the program brings the history and culture of the blues to pupils of all ages, from kindergartners to college students.
On Saturday, musician, speaker and self-proclaimed "Ambassador of the Blues" Dan Treanor will kick off the workshop series with a version of a Blues in the Schools presentation.
"It's a multipurposed introduction to the blues, which is really the heartstone in the fountain from which all American music sprang," says Treanor. "Like America, the music is a melting pot of various types of influences, from West African rhythms to European and Celtic melodies. The history of the blues parallels the history of the country."
Local bassist Walter Chase agrees. "It's not just music; it's a tradition that was brought up from the cotton field when people started to urbanize. Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. White Person, but you did not invent the blues. Stevie Ray did not invent the blues guitar; he resurrected it. People should want to dig further and find out where it came from. This is not a flash in the pan -- the blues are going to last forever and people need to know why and where it came from."
Chase is one of several freakishly skilled local musicians who'll perform on Friday night and then host a workshop on their particular instrument Saturday. Also presenting is guitarist Smokin' Joe Sciallo, slide guitarist Dan Todd, harmonica player Magic Dave Therault and drummer Tim Zahn. The workshops will include instrumentation, tablature and performance fundamentals, as well as the role each musician plays in a band.
Also on the docket is Ron Palmer, a musician who has developed a way to preserve and digitize old player piano roles using infrared technology. Palmer reasons that certain musical instruments were the first computers, a theory he'll explain at 12:15 p.m.
All Blues Project events are free, and the workshops are open to musicians of all levels, as well as anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of the blues. Workshop preregistration is required; call the BAC for a detailed schedule at 685-1861.
The Blues Project, an art exhibition and live performance program
The Business of Art Center, 513-515 Manitou Ave., 685-1861
Friday, Jan. 25: Opening reception, 5 p.m.; live blues jam featuring local musicians, 7:30 p.m. to around midnight.
Saturday, Jan. 26: Blues workshops with the Colorado Blues Society and local musicians, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free but pre-registration requested.
-- Kristen Sherwood
1 + 1 = 12
It's time again for The Bridge Gallery's new year One Plus One show in which the six permanent members of the gallery each invite a friend to exhibit alongside them in their quaint little gallery next to the railroad tracks.
This year's offerings are as diverse in medium as they are in appearance. Cole Bennet's untitled collaged homage to The Rocky Horror Picture Show in a shadow box greets you as you enter with Frank N. Furter kicking out his fishnet legs against an anim-smattered background.
Next to Bennet's theatrical montage is Kathryn Lewis-Salem's more somber photographic meditation on memory and childhood in her untitled black and white of a young girl in steel rollerskates gliding over hop-scotch chalk.
Also noteworthy are Michael Cellan's "Red Bull" and "Black Bull" clay prints, Melanie Audet's playful concept drawings "At Play: 50 in 2.5 hrs." and the piece that wins my nomination for best title: "Unrequited Something or Other" by John Venezia.
-- Noel Black
One Plus One
The Bridge Gallery, 218 W. Colorado Ave.
On exhibit through January 27
Hours: Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 3 p.m.; or by appointment; call 329-1574.