Go north -- north to the Air Force Academy for the Colorado Springs Jazz Festival, featuring national, regional and local acts, including Miguel Romero. (See our complete coverage last week's Livelong Days.) After the fest, stick around for the Patriotic Laser Light Display. (Better laser lights then the inevitable inferno that would result from a fireworks show.) It's all free (even the parking) and the fun starts at noon. Check out www.coloradospringsjazzfestival.com for more info.
Put a little soul into your Independence Day with The Temptations Review at the Gold Rush Palladium in Cripple Creek. Tickets are $25 to $35, and the show starts at 7 p.m. Call 800/965-4827.
The Colorado Music Fest is back for its ninth year at the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo. It begins today with "Yesterday: A Tribute to the Beatles," a free 8:30 p.m. concert with the Pueblo Symphony, continues tomorrow with a free 7:30 p.m. concert by Native American musician Ronald Roybal at the Riverwalk, and keeps the love alive throughout July with more events. Call 719/549-2126 for details.
Grab the spouse and kids for A Family Fourth at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. There'll be old-fashioned patriotic celebrations, carnival games, readings of the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address, as well as music at noon and 1 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and teens, and $1 for children 6 to 12. Military families are free with proper ID. Rock Ledge Ranch is located at the east entrance of Garden of the Gods at 30th Street, and activities start at 10 a.m.
And now, a riddle: What has a black knight, Ben Stein, and blatant homoerotic undertones? Why it's the Midnight Movies at Tinseltown, where you'll see Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and in the coming weeks Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Fight Club. Holy Grail plays this weekend at, or just after, midnight. Keep an eye on the Independent movie times (page 29 this week) for weekly updates to the schedule.
For my money the bard never wrote anything funnier than King Lear. I mean, come on -- if a chuckle doesn't ripple through you when Lear's chained to that wheel of fire, you don't know comedy! TheatreWorks performs King Lear as Shakespeare intended, under a big blue tent at UCCS, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. show are $16 to $18 for reserved seating, and free seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis starting 15 minutes before the show. The play opens tonight and runs Tuesday through Sunday, until July 21. Call 262-3232 for more.
Mem Shannon & The Membership ramble into Salida tonight to spread their fusion of New Orleans and Memphis blues at the Salida Steam Plant Theater. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 8 p.m. Call 719/539-8514 for more.
The Manitou Art Theater at the Business of Art Center Garage Theater brings you Music for Kids, featuring Eric West on banjo and limber jack. After the 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. shows, there will be free cookies, an open milk bar, and art activities. Tickets are $8. Call 685-1861 for more on the show, and while you're at it, go ahead and ask them what a limber jack is.
The Black Rose Acoustic Society is farm-fresh and barefoot with tonight's Summer Acoustic Showcase at the Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. Mango fan Django, The Sons & Brothers, and The O'Brien Family Band hoe all the way down with gospel, bluegrass and Parisian gypsy jazz at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 to $7, but they're free for kids 12 and under. Call 578-0254.
Free park concerts abound today. First you got your Gettin' Down Downtown Free Summer Concert Series featuring the Mountain Road Ceili Band at Plaza of the Rockies at 6 p.m. Next up is the 2002 Jazz in the Park series with the Time Trombone Quartet in Cottonwood Creek Park -- also at 6 p.m. And last but not least, there's live music in Manitou Springs at the Soda Springs Park pavilion with the Little London Winds at 7 p.m. Check the Listings for more.
-- Brandon S. Laney
In the mid-1990s, a group of Colorado College drama graduates got together to form Buntport Theater Company, a nonprofit theater group dedicated to creating "affordable original works brought about through a collaborative process." The group has staged works ranging from a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus to ...and this is my significant bother, a domestic comedy based on nine James Thurber short stories. Buntport has toured the country in the past few years, charming audiences from New York City to Denver, and now they've landed a home space, a black-box style theater in Denver (see
www.buntport.com for more info). This weekend, from Thursday to Saturday, they'll perform ... and this is my significant bother for Springs audiences as part of the Colorado College Summer Series, at 8 p.m. in Armstrong Hall. Tickets are $4, $2 with a CC ID. Call 389-6607.
-- Kathryn Eastburn
Shock of the Ordinary
Photos from Afghanistan at UCCS
Surprise, not shock or horror, is the most disarming element in photojournalist Jeff Myers' images of Afghanistan now hanging in the University Center lobby at UCCS.
Surprise because the photos don't shock, horrify, romanticize or sentimentalize the people of Afghanistan or what might be seen as the desolation and severity of their war-ravaged landscape.
Instead, there's a familiarity, an overriding dignity and several almost-clich photos of urban destruction that's now so ubiquitous as to seem intimate.
These are not the pictures I had conjured in my head after months of reports that made Afghanistan out to be so ideologically and culturally foreign that the whole country still seems shrouded beneath a birka.
And perhaps this was Myers' intent: to present snapshots of the everyday as a way of extending the viewers' depth of field with deliberately unsensational shots that would never make the front page.
There are the landscapes: the adobe cubes of hillside squat settlements, and a panoramic and emotionally distant look at the empty arch at Bamian, and the hundreds of surrounding holes in the cliff face, where the ancient gargantuan Buddha carvings used to be.
There are the portraits: giddy kids crowding to have their pictures taken, a man with a pot of tea and a cross-eyed look of shell-shocked astonishment, a young girl free from her birka who still covers her face with a floral scarf, and young soldiers nonchalantly displaying their landmines.
Many of the shots seem like straight tourist snaps. Elaborately decorated motor carts and quick glances at the bazaars are almost trite. Then there are the alarmingly commonplace photos taken inside an al Qaeda camp.
The most shocking photos in the exhibition only startle when you hear the story behind them. An agitated gathering of men on horses turns out to be a game of "Buz Kashi," a macabre polo-like game in which the ball is a goat's head (they once used the heads of their enemies!).
"Jeff told me a little boy was kicked in the head by a horse when he got too close to the game," said Gerry Riggs, director of the Gallery of Contemporary Art at UCCS, which is sponsoring the show. "All the men apparently laughed at him for being so stupid while he was bleeding."
Myers took all of these photographs while working on assignment with CBS News anchor Dan Rather, and a letter from Rather at the beginning of the show commends Myers for his courage and integrity.
Myers plans to come to UCCS at a still undetermined time between mid-July and mid-August to give a talk about his experiences in Afghanistan. (We'll keep you posted.) He is also selling reprints of any of the photographs to help offset his costs for a mere $20 each, and the framed pieces are available for only $100.
-- Noel Black
The Other End of Ground Zero
Photographs from Afghanistan by Jeff Myers
UCCS University Center, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway; hours: Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Through Aug. 26. Call 262-3450 for more.
Josie Kreuzer cruises into Benny's
There's been a fair share of rockabilly cropping up in the Springs lately, but since BR549's appearance at last year's WestFest, none has been as streamlined and talented as Josie Kreuzer.
A cornfed beauty from Buffalo via New Orleans, the young singer/songwriter has become one of the hottest female acts in the retro music scene. Kreuzer's music is a perfect blend of vintage country and early rock 'n' roll, a rollicking joyride that has been appropriately lacquered with a layer of nostalgic 1950s idealism.
Her lyrics are spartan and blue-collar, simple old-school ditties that showcase the 4/4 chug of dual acoustic guitars -- music to swing to, songs for hug dancing. For example, "Keep Your Change": "Jukin' and jivin', drinkin' and fightin'/ It'll always be your style/ It ain't an attraction, it's just a distraction/ So leave me alone for a while." Or "Gone' Fishin": "While you treat me mean, I'll never know/ you're not a high-class daddy baby, that's for sure/ so I've cast out my bait I've got my rod in my hand/ 'cause I've gone fishin' for another man."
Anchored by a tight band -- Craig Packham's meaty drums, Mark Neill on a twangy, masculine electric guitar, and Jeff Graves, who gives credence to the expression "walking the bass" -- Kreuzer's music evokes romantic images of rambling two-lane highways, drag races, drive-ins and glinting chrome tail fins. Her rich voice, demanding yet feminine, yelps and yowls through songs about love, loss and honky-tonking. Ranging from an even, pillow-talk purr to foot-stamping growl, Kreuzer's voice perfectly fits the image (albeit a stereotypical one) of what a rockabilly performer should sound like.
Josie Kreuzer stops at Benny's on Friday night. Call 634-9309.
-- Kristen Sherwood
Josie Kreuzer with The Mansfields
Benny's Lounge, 517 W. Colorado Ave.
Friday, July 5, 9 p.m.
Tickets: $5. Call 634-9309.