Remember your high-school years? If they were anything like mine, I bet they were chock-full of "comedic" errors -- which is why we should look forward to the Air Academy High School's teenage interpretation of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. The show runs tonight through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Air Academy High School, 6910 Carlton Drive. Tickets are $4 to $5. Call 472-1295.
UCCS/TheatreWorks performs the John Patrick Shanleypenned Italian American Reconciliation. Shanley won an Academy Award for his Moonstruck screenplay, and Reconciliation shares its penchant for cut-to-the-quick humor and striking honesty. The play opens tonight 7:30 p.m. and runs through April 28. Tickets are $15. Call 262-3232 for more.
Break out the bling-bling for Party Arty!, the annual live auction and fund-raiser featuring artwork by 50 regional artists (plus other tempting luxury items) at the Fine Arts Center. Put on your poker face, prepare for the good life and get to 30 W. Dale Street by 6 p.m. tonight. Call 634-5583 for details.
All right, here's the deal. Tear yourself away from whatever you're watching on TV (unless it's that delightful Trading Spaces; I just can't get enough of those interior design scamps!) and get yourself to the Sand Creek Friends of the Library Big Book Sale. Five bucks gets all you can carry. The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and from noon to 4 p.m. tomorrow. The Sand Creek Branch Library is located at 1821 S. Academy Blvd.
George Thorogood plays with Rainville tonight. (Oh, I know what you're waiting for, but you'll just have to insert your own "Bad to the Bone" jokes here.) The show starts at 9 at the Colorado Music Hall, 2475 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Tickets are $25. Call 800/965-4827.
You're a maniac, a maniac on the floor, and you're dancing like you've never danced before -- for the sixth annual Esther Geoffrey Young Dancers Scholarship Competition. The contest will be adjudicated by Lindsay Fischer, a hometown boy who made a name for himself in the big city as the principal dancer in the New York City Ballet. The event will be held in Colorado College's Cossitt Hall from 1 to 5 p.m. Call 630-7434.
RED: A Performance Tribute to Red Skelton by Tom Mullica will pay homage to the late funny man this afternoon at 2 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets to the Fine Arts Center event are $20 to $25. Call 634-5583.
Down in the Valley, a one-act opera written by Kurt Weill and performed by the Colorado Springs Conservatory, will feature vignettes of traditional American folk tales, ballads, games and dances. The show is open to elementary, middle and high schools for educationally-based assemblies. The opera will be performed tonight and tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in the Music Room at the Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St.. Tickets are $10. Call 634-5583 for more info.
Today, Colorado College hosts Shout Now: A Gospel Extravaganza. Find an empty pew and get bowled over by the choirs and vocalists of local churches who'll sing for salvation in Packard Hall, on the southwest corner of Cascade and Cache La Poudre. Admission is free. The performance starts at 3 p.m. Call 389-6607.
Commonwheel Artists gallery presents From the Page to the Stage, an exhibit of drawings, paintings, sculptures and weavings by the students of Manitou Springs Elementary. Join these burgeoning artists for a punch-and-cookies reception from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Everyone is invited and the show is free. Call 685-1008.
Help out our suffering ecosystem over the next few days with a number of Earth Week Activities. Learn about everything from straw bale building to sustainable gardening. Check out page 49 of the Listings for a full schedule of events.
Grab your six-shooters and saddle up for the musical exploits of Annie Get Your Gun. Or you could just dress up real nice for a night on the town. You know, your choice. The show plays tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave. Tickets are $24 to $41.50. Call 520-9090.
Celebrate National Poetry Month tonight with 20 of our city's finest poets. On the roster are luminaries Malcolm McCollum, Sara Bailey and Jack Wallick. Readings commence at 7 p.m. in the East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd., and admission is free. Call 531-6333.
-- Brandon S. Laney
All That Jazz
The Colorado Jazz Party celebrates its 20th year
Underneath this respectable, suburban veneer lies a seething hotbed of decadence; behind a curtain of boring hides an orgiastic cacophony of richness. It's called jazz.
Colorado, despite its cultural bum rap, has been a bastion for the greats of jazz, jump and swing -- from Denver's Rossonian Hotel to our own Cotton Club. Another legendary venue, the Trocadero Ballroom at the old Elitch Gardens, played host to some of the world's greatest jazz bands, and it was here during the summer of 1966 that the Broadmoor Jazz Club was formed.
Citing the need for a first-rate club for jazz patrons along the Front Range, the group convened over brandy and cigars after a show. Eventually the current name was settled upon, as so many members lived in the Broadmoor area. In the years since, places like the Cotton Club and the Trocodero have been torn down, but the BJC is still going strong and next weekend presents its 20th Colorado Jazz Party. In honor of the event, the City has proclaimed April Jazz Month, and some of the most talented musicians in the jazz world are scheduled to perform.
The weekend event -- not a festival, but a collection of clinics and concerts, ranging from gospel to swing standards to Benny Goodman tributes -- is crammed every which way with music. Some of the program's highlights include performances by Lynn Roberts, a vocalist who began working with Charlie Spivak at 15. She spent five years with Tommy Dorsey, sang with the Benny Goodman band for 10 years and Harry James for four. Roberts plans to throw out convention for love of improvisation when she plays with Paul Smith this weekend. Hired for the perfect match he will make with Roberts, the 70-year-old musician is touted as the "most inventive pianist alive."
Returning for his 10th jazz party is Bill Allred, a trombone-playing son of a riverboat jazzman whose entire family is dripping with musical talent. Most comfortable in the traditional vein, Allred is a favorite at the Party for his clean, direct melodies.
Also on the bill is Chicago old-timer Johnny Frigo. An Emmy Awardwinning lyricist, Marx Brothers movie actor, poet, comedian, and visual artist, Frigo's warm jazz bass fiddle playing brings him to the Party for several collaborations.
No jazz weekend would be worth its salt without a vibraphonist, so the BJC went out and brought back the world's best -- Peter Appleyard. The charming Brit has been playing the weekend party since 1985, and each time has been a crowd favorite. According to the BJC, he fits the party like a "Singapore suit."
Nine other musicians round out the lineup, including Johnny Varro, Allan Vach, Randy Reinhart, Ed Polcer, Colin Gieg, Jim Galloway, Phil Flanigan, Fast Eddie Erickson and Joe Ascione.
The Colorado Jazz Party XX
The Briarhurst Manor, Manitou Springs
Fri.-Sun., April 26-28
Tickets: $75 per day or $225 for the full session, includes refreshments; call Richard Donahue, BJC chairman, at 635-4690.
-- Kristen Sherwood
Professional Bull Riders come home
The 45 best bull riders in the world gather here this weekend to participate in one of the most exciting -- and dangerous -- sports in the world. These cowboy legends, including Ty Murray, Justin McBride, Ross Coleman and 2001 world champion Adriano Moraes, will be judged on their grace, strength and control while being bucked around on a pure ton of snorting, spinning, bad-tempered bull. You can only hold on with one hand, and if you lose it, you better run. Combined with PBR's extravagant music and pyrotechnics, bull riding makes the Smackdown look like a love tap.
Over the weekend, several riders will be meeting and greeting:
On Thursday, April 18, from 4 to 6 p.m., Justin McBride and Rob Smets will be autographing at the Lone Star Steakhouse, 2550 Montebello Drive.
Cowboy's (3910 Palmer Park) hosts the official PBR after-party on Friday night at 11 p.m. Tony Mendes, Chad Denton, Justin McBride, Gary Richards, Brent Vincent and whoever else can manage to limp in will mingle and sign autographs until 1 a.m.
Saturday morning at 10, Tony Mendes, Spud Whitman, Justin McKee, Cody Lambert, Dusty LaBeth, Pete Hessman, Royd Doyal, Jesse Schellhammer, Cody Whitney, Owen Washburn and Jay Daugherty are playing basketball (whatever gets you ready for the chute) at the downtown YMCA, and will hang around to sign more autographs afterward.
For more, visit www.pbrnow.com.
-- Kristen Sherwood
Professional Bull Riders Bud Light Cup
World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd.
Fri.-Sat., April 19-20, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $12-$77. Call 576-2626. Also available at the World Arena, King Soopers and Independent Records.