Run, boys, run. Oakhurst is in the house of the rising ... hippie. Utopia Caf, 116 E. Bijou St., presents the Denver-based acoustirock bluegrass trio with a singer named Juicy Q tonight at 9. Admission is free. Call 633-1080.
The Thursday Night Recital series ends with a beginning ... isn't that special? Tonight is the debut of Pro Musica of the Rockies, a brand-new chamber ensemble whose 18 charter musicians and vocalists are based in southern Colorado. Only nine members will perform tonight, but the new group is so varied in talent that Pro Musica will still be able to present a strong concert of works by Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams, Ravel, Telemann and Starer. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Louisa Performing Arts Center at the Colorado Springs School, 21 Broadmoor Ave. Tickets are $8 for students and seniors, $10 for everyone else. Call 475-9747 Ext. 110.
Who needs a gallery when you've got a living room? D.I.Y. art shows -- a vital part of underground art communities in many cities -- have arrived in Colorado Springs thanks to Brett Andrus, a graduate of Georgia's Savannah College of Art, who has done over 14 of these kind of shows. Home: A Figurative Painting Exhibition will feature Andrus' surreal bible-scapes, Marc Huebert's graffiti-tweaked mindscapes, and Marina Eckler's gouache and line portraits in Andrus' home at 4102 Garret Place near Austin Bluffs and Nevada. The opening reception happens this evening from 4 to 9 p.m. The show will also be open to the public Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 535-2801 for more information and directions.
Ormao Dance Company dares to knock the patriot rock tonight with Debra Mercer's new work, a pompom-whirling, baton-twirling, lighthearted spoof on patriotism. The piece is one of many in tonight's modern dance concert at the Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. Also featured are Janet Johnson's new Rebound, last fall's favorite Beyond Spatial Limits and more. Tickets to the 8 o'clock performance are $13 to $15, and the performance will be held again tomorrow night. Call 634-5583.
Arnold Hall @ the AFA will host 2nite's Denver Theatre production of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare ... Abridged. Tickets to the award-winning comedy are $10; call 333-4497. You'll need a photo ID to get on base. The one-time show begins at 6 p.m.
If you missed him last time, here's your second chance to catch the brilliant avant-weird filmmaker Standish Lawder at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake. Lawder's films, which include Runaway, Necrology, Catfilm for Katy and Cynnie, and Colorfilm, employ cartoon loops, reverse footage of an elevator at Grand Central Station, the filming of film, and other heady art-film tweaks. They're not to be missed. Call 719/481-0475 for reservations and directions. Cost is $5, and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
The Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble has transcended choral music's insider tendancies with Verse, Voice and Vision, a performance piece based on poetry written by local students, ages 10 to 19. Five composers created musical works, and 25 poems were used to inspire pieces of visual art that will be shown during the performance. Tickets to the artplosion are $5 to $10. The concert begins at 3 p.m. at First Christian Church, 16 E. Platte Ave. Call 520-SHOW.
-- Kristen Sherwood
Let Us Pray
Jesus, please save me from your followers
What do you get when you mix Sunday-school stories with Cabaret-inspired dance numbers, and add a dash of Flower Power hippie tunes? No, not Jesus Christ Superstar, but close.
Godspell, the Grammy Awardwinning pop-rock musical, is currently on stage at the PPCC Mainstage Theatre. The musical takes biblical parables and teachings from the last days of Christ's life and puts them in a modern-day setting. Imagine the feel-good Ned Flanders family (the religious zealot neighbors on The Simpsons) joined the Solid Gold Dancers in order to make Biblical tales as slick and hip as an 'N Sync music video. The combination can be tricky to make palatable.
For one thing, the musical takes a simplistic approach to the biblical teachings. Re-enacting tales of Christian prophecy, the characters claim, "If you do this, you will be exalted, but if you do this, you will be damned."
In one particularly oversimplified scene, the kingdom of Heaven is portrayed on high stage by singing angels (white pipe cleaners represent their halos), and Hades is on the lower stage, represented by writhing beings in devil horns, who claw, bite and snarl.
Though these kinds of problems are ones I had with the musical itself, and not this particular production, I have to warn you: If your sense of morality likes more subtle and complex revelations of the human psyche, this religious display, however dramatized, may be hard to take.
According to the program notes, Barbara Graves writes that Godspell has been a theatrical success for over 30 years -- surprisingly, she adds, considering that we live in "a climate that is hostile to most religious sentiment." Calling the ranting, raving, wailing, shouting and singing "religious sentiment," however, is a bit of an understatement.
While the actors all infused the production with fervent energy, the pacing oftentimes felt rushed and chaotic, resulting in sometimes-sloppy technique and poor enunciation.
One particularly memorable moment was the surprise I experienced upon first hearing the deep, resonating lines belt out of actress Kelly Raymond. It was as if she were temporarily possessed by a gospel singer from the Deep South. John Ford, as the "Everyman" Jesus Christ character, gave an eye-opening, over-the-top performance. His enthusiastic head swinging and spasmodic air guitar scene gave Jesus quite an edge.
My only request of the production: Fix the mikes. The individual actors' microphones were all hitting at awkward, uneven levels and there were more than one or two hideous searing clasps of microphone feedback (that had me praying to the Almighty!)
If you're looking for a bizarre experience -- to witness Biblical stories through a modern-day, pop-rock camera lens -- then Godspell is the answer to your prayers.
-- Brooke Robb
Pikes Peak Community College Masquers
PPCC Mainstage Theatre, 5675 S. Academy Blvd.
Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Fridays Saturdays at 8 p.m. through April 20. Matinees on Sun., April 14, 2 p.m. and Fri., April 19, noon.
Tickets: $5, students; $7, seniors/military; $10, general admission. Call 540-7418.
Industrial Nation to give pop and punk pummeling
This weekend Industrial Nation has made it its mission to deliver us from our humdrum existence with two count em, two days of Power pop and punk rock. Why have they taken pity on us? Simply put, because we deserve it. Weve worked hard to be decent human beings and our toil will not go unrewarded.
First up, we get a dual-fisted punk pummeling from special guests The Briefs and local heroes, the Mansfields. The Briefs play the kind of new wave punk that calls to mind skinny ties, safety pins and snotty dispositions all of which are on display in the show. The Briefs talent lies in fusing old-school chops and juvy hall humor with a breakneck backbeat so infectious that youll find yourself singing along to lyrics like, "I got a new case of crabs." Ultimate Fakebook is slightly more high-minded, but no less infectious. Its music is a reminder that the term "pop" doesnt belong to pretty boys and teen tarts. No, pop and when I say pop, I mean the hook-and-chorus variety thats made by people with zits, bills, girl problems, and lifes other little eccentricities belongs to everyone, not just the prepubescent set. Real pop is not meant to be a dirty secret, or a "guilty" pleasure. Youll never have to deny affinity for songs like "Inside Me, Inside You" with its Weezer-esque riffs and radio rally-cry chorus, or the bounce and sing-along catch of "Popscotch Party Rock."
The Briefs and The Mansfields rock you Friday night, and Ultimate Fakebook roll you Saturday night. Both shows are $7 and start at 9. Call 520-0980.
Brandon S. Laney