Put down your bongos, you hippies; this is not a jam. Percussionist Gnter Mller and guitarist Taku Sugimoto improvise with their spartan sounds tonight in Colorado College's Packard Hall, on the southwest corner of Cascade and Cache La Poudre. In 1981, the German-born Mller devised an unusual drum kit with a mic system that allows the sounds generated by his hands to be tweaked electronically. Fun fun fun on the Autobahn? Perhaps. Tickets are free but required; call 389-6607. The concert begins at 9 p.m.
Mzee Lasana Okpara, the director of black studies at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and author of three volumes of poetry, will read from his works tonight at Colorado College. Okpara is also co-editor (with CC Professor Jonathan Lee) of I Am Because We Are: Readings in Black Philosophy. The free reading begins at 8 p.m. in Gaylord Hall (on the main floor of Colorado College's Worner Center). Call 389-6607.
Pat Donohue rocks. Not only is he an amazing guitarist with a regular stint as part of The Guys All-Star Shoe Band on NPR's Prairie Home Companion, he's behind all of those whacked-out parody songs. Remember "Icky Yucky Sushi"? That's been stuck in your head at least once. Aside from the comedy, Donohue is the former National Fingerpicking Champion who worked extensively with the late Chet Atkins. Donohue takes a break from Garrison to perform at the Black Rose Acoustic Society, in the log cabin at Shoup and Black Forest roads. Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 495-9654 or visit www.blackroseacoustic.org. Show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Original members of the Broadway show Beatlemania perform the best of the Beatles tonight with the Colorado Springs Symphony. You have to at least go down and take a look at these guys -- the resemblance is uncanny. The Classical Mystery Tour begins at 8 tonight and tomorrow at the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave. Tickets range from $9 to $44. Call 520-SHOW.
All right hippies, you can pick your bongos back up for the Drum Gathering at Hillside Community Center, 925 S. Institute St. The circle celebrates Black History Month, and all are welcome to join. Bring whatever drums or other instruments you've got -- I'd personally like to see somebody get tribal on the harpsichord. To find out more, call 385-7901. The gathering lasts from 1 to 5:30 p.m.
The Jimmie Van Zant Band is back in the area tonight performing a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute up at Tres Hombres, 116 Midland Ave. in Woodland Park. Call 685-0625 for ticket information.
Seven Nations are masters of blending just enough Celtic feel with their American pop-rock sound. Their music has the right lilt in all the right places, without becoming cheesy or tired. The band drags their pipes, piano, fiddles, drums and electric guitars to the Colorado Music Hall tonight, 2475 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Tickets are $10 to $15 and the show is all-ages. Call 800/965-4827.
Heads up for the Bilbo Baggins freaks -- the Ruth Holley Library branch (923 N. Murray Blvd.) hosts a Hobbit Party today for those younger J.R.R. Tolkien aficionados. Kids will can create a scroll with elvish runes, eat Bilbo's birthday cake, listen to a reading from Lord of the Rings, gaze into Galadriel's mirror, and much more. The party's free and runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Call 531-6333.
Sergei Prokofiev's music is dark enough to scare any child into quiet submission, so you won't get many squalling babes at this afternoon's performance of Peter and the Wolf, as told by the Colorado Springs Symphony and the Ballet Society of Colorado Springs. Don't worry -- the ballet is delicate enough to negate the symphony's ominous vibes. Tickets are $7 to $12 and the show runs twice today -- at 2:30 and 4 p.m. -- at the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave. Call 633-6698 for more.
The Pikes Peak Philharmonic embarks on their second Masterworks Concert of the year with works by Dvorak, Brahms, Haydn and Gliere. The classical fix can be had this afternoon at 3 at the Benet Hill Center (2577 N. Chelton Road). Tickets are $3 to $12. Call 442-6853 for details.
The Run Around
With all the arts events going on in the month of February it was hard to choose any one for this feature, so here's a rundown of shows that are opening, and a reminder about a few that have already opened. For space reasons, we can only give you the bare bones here, but you can get all the gory details in Listings, page 31.
Tonight, January 31, the Historic Stagecoach Inn hosts its first ever formal art opening with the lush pastel landscapes of Ann Wardlow Rodgers. The reception runs from 5 to 7 p.m. (Through March 31)
On Friday, Feb. 1, the Bridge Gallery gets wrapped up with its exhibit, Ties. The opening reception kicks off at 5 p.m. (Through Feb. 17)
Down in Pueblo, the John Deaux Gallery will show the acrylic paintings of Ann Yaeger, and the Nemick and Thompson Gallery will show the watercolor paintings of Cassia Zamicki-Cogger. Both galleries will host opening receptions on Friday, Feb. 1, from 5 to 9 p.m. Call 719/545-8933 or 719/545-8407 for more information.
On February 8, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts will host the opening celebration for the Colorado Arts Educator Association's annual exhibit. Artists include Ann Bunn, Kevin Thayer and Tracy Dean. (Through February 15)
The following night, February 9, Tri-Lakes will host a rare opportunity to see the internationally famed avant-abstract films of Standish Lawder, director of the Denver Darkroom. Make your reservation by calling 719-481-0475.
On February 19, photographer and CC alumnus Brian Arnolds' "alchemical" show, Where Am I Calling From, will open at the Coburn Gallery. (Through March 12)
Though it doesn't officially kick off until February 22, the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center's new exhibit Say What You Like: Word, Text and Story will be installed in its entirety by February 9. With a lineup of artists that includes Ed Ruscha, Mary Chenoweth, Pat Musick, Nicholas Herrera, Lisa Chicoyne and others, it looks to be a spectacular cross-section of word/art crossovers.
If you haven't caught it already, make sure to check out Shark's Ink: 1976-2001 at UCCS's Gallery of Contemporary Art. It's a gorgeous retrospective of Master Printer Bud Shark's collaborations with artists like Laurie Anderson, Enrique Chagoya and Red Grooms. (Through February 15.)
This past weekend's opening of Colorado 2002: A Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the Fine Art Center demonstrates again what Colorado keeps learning about itself: There are great artists in these here hills, and they all seem to be in hiding. Scott Snyder, the FAC's new curator, did a great job of outing these hidden, forward-looking talents. With their new commie-lovin' red square logo and new young curator, perhaps the FAC will again take its place as the champion of young Colorado artists. Don't miss Tsehai Johnson's elegantly sculpted porcelain "Implements" (dildos!), Catherine Porter-Brown's freaky (as if they weren't already) greyhounds in "Dogs with Eggs" and Peter Wilson's drunk and huggable "Sock Monkey with Bottle." (Through April 14.)
If Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D., boo-hoo) has got you down, why not wallow on down to the Business of Art Center and love your miserable company at The Blues Project art show. As with all BAC shows, there's something blue for everyone -- from pots and Styrofoam totem assemblages to a gorgeous Courbet take-off and jazzy blues paintings -- to get you through the goo. (Through March 2)
To celebrate Black History Month, the Hillside Community Center presents I Got a Story to Tell ... Want to Hear It?, with works by Lisa Villanueva, Propecia Leigh and Sanza Pyatt Fittz. (Through February 28)
Currently showing at The Downtown Studio Gallery at Pikes Peak Community College is the Annual Student Art Show with everything from stone sculpture to jewelry. Check out the young talent. (Through March 1)
The Edge of the Seat
Erika Warmbrunn is one of those people with more nerve than caution. In the mid-'90s Warmbrunn (a New York City stagehand, performer and translator) set off from Russia where a theater job had taken her and crossed Mongolia, China and Vietnam by bicycle -- alone.
Gifted at picking up languages and equipped with little more than a map and a knapsack filled with trinkets to be handed out as gifts, the intrepid biker found joy, beauty and no shortage of challenges on roads where the pavement frequently ended, sending her off on an impromptu route through relatively untrammeled territory. In Mongolia she discovered that it was acceptable to show up at a stranger's house unannounced and quickly found families more than willing to share their meager shelter with her. In China, in spite of great deprivation and difficulty communicating, Warmbrunn found unequaled, mythical beauty; and in Vietnam, she found a people more than willing to forgive her for being American.
Altogether, Warmbrunn traveled some 4,000 kilometers in eight months, enjoying a rare adventure of body and soul. Her account of the journey, Where the Pavement Ends: One Woman's Bicycle Trip Through Mongolia, China and Vietnam, has now been published by Mountaineers Books of Seattle and has been awarded the Barbara Savage Miles From Nowhere Award. It's a lively, well-written book that sings with detail and resonates with the author's courage.
Tonight, Warmbrunn brings the slide show of her bike journey to downtown Colorado Springs. Don't miss it.
Kathryn Eastburn capsule
Erika Warmbrunn presenting a slide show based on Where the Pavement Ends, followed by Q&A and book signing
Mountain Chalet, 226 N. Tejon St.
Thursday, Jan. 31, 8 p.m.
Free admission. Call 633-0732 for more.