Tonight, head over to the Rock Ledge Ranch (off of 30th Street next to Garden of the Gods Park) and catch the period-costumed and be-musketed professor David Sandoval from CSU in Pueblo in his talk on "Defending the Empire: Spanish Presidial Soldiers in Colorado and Northern New Mexico." This event, part of Rock Ledge Ranch's popular summer evening programs, will explore the role of the presidio in history and the more prominent Spanish expeditions into the area. The event is free and open to the public; however, reservations are required. Please call 578-6777.
Tonight and tomorrow, blues-rock trio Hotfoot rocks out at Classics (5943 Delmonico Drive). The Denver-based boys cite influences like Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy and those sultans of sass, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Blueshammer? Perhaps. They're wailin' up the place at 9 p.m. Call 260-7057 for more information.
Beginning today, the Commonwheel Artists Co-op Gallery (102 Canon Ave. in Manitou Springs) presents Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground, an exhibition of environment and habitat paintings by Mary Helsaple. Helsaple, whose career has been peppered with Emmys, Canon camera ads in National Geographic, and artist-in-residence positions at national parks, will show off simplified and spontaneous plein-air paintings inspired by her travels in Colorado. Call 685-1008 for more information. This exhibit runs through July 15.
Like drawing? Hey, me too. We should get to know each other better -- perhaps at the Environmental Landscape Drawing event, which takes place today at the Catamount Institute in Woodland Park (3168 County Road 28). I hear that Steve Wood will be showing participants to use natural materials to capture and develop a connection to the surrounding environment. I'll see you there from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and you can call 471-0910 for more information.
Huzzah! The Colorado Renaissance Festival opens today in Larkspur (just 15 minutes north of Colorado Springs on I-25)! This is truly the time of year when those of you disposed to oversized turkey legs, chain mail, juggling and tights can be among your own. Highlighting the Fest this year are the Wacky Chicken Show, the pre-South Park antics of Puke and Snot, and The Washing Well Wenches. (The latter is billed as "good clean fun from wet dirty women." In a word: hot.) Adult admission is $15.95 with discount tickets available through King Soopers, Diamond Shamrock and Wendy's locations. Visit www.coloradorenaissance.com or call 303/688-6010 for more.
Also today, the Pioneers Museum presents It's Only Fun and Games: Toys for All Ages, an exhibit showcasing toys from the last century. Everyone likes toys, except for old grumps. You can catch the exhibit today through Aug. 17 at the Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon, or get more information by calling 385-5990.
This evening, ask yourself: What would George Harrison do (if he weren't dead, that is)? And the answer: Ranjanaa Devi, one of the top American scholars of classical and folk dances of India, performs tonight at Colorado College, the main event of a benefit for the college's Woman's Educational Society. "An Evening in Magical India" will also include a dinner reception of fine Indian cuisine, live tabla and sitar music, and Indian handicrafts. The cost of the evening is $60. Reservations can be made at the college's Worner Center at 902 N. Cascade or by calling 389-6174.
I suggest you slap a Sierra Club sticker on the old SUV this afternoon and head over to the Fine Arts Center for a panel discussion on Moving Toward a Sustainable Colorado Springs. Panelists will include Vice Mayor Richard Skorman, UCCS economics professor Daphne Greenwood, architect Bill Beard, consultant Bob Powell, artist Sharon Carvell and a moderator from the Catamount Institute. You can expect varying opinions about sustainability, untamed growth and a slew of other subjects. The event will take place in the FAC Music Room from 4 to 6 p.m. and goes hand in hand with the aptly titled Moving Toward a Sustainable Colorado Springs: 2003 art exhibit at the Gallery of Contemporary Art at UCCS. Call 475-2444 Ext. 318 for more information, or just lie back and wallow in your own nonsustainable consumerist crapulence. Your choice.