Getting stacks of junk mail in your mailbox? Don't trash all of your supermarket fliers, credit card applications and restaurant coupons; use them to build the single-family dwelling of your dreams! Learn how to use your fiber-based trash for sustainable construction at an Introduction to Papercrete this evening at 6. Papercrete, also known as fibrous cement, is a versatile building material made of recycled paper and concrete. Papercrete experimenter and sculptor Roni Chernin will present a slide lecture and Q&A session at the Beidleman Environmental Center, 740 W. Caramillo. Admission is free. Call 685-9212 for details.
The National Association of Working Women, 9to5, is presenting a free forum titled How YOU Can Close the Pay Gap. The forum will address the inequalities between men's and women's wages, and teach you how to negotiate a raise, check your employer's pay practices, find out which jobs have a smaller pay gap, and which state and federal public policies initiatives help close the gap. Child care and translation are available upon request and refreshments will be served. The forum will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hillside Community Center, 925 S. Institute. Call 9to5 at 800/522-0925 to reserve your place.
Hopefully, you've gotten your ball dress and binoculars at the ready, because not one but two wonderful plays will be raising their curtains for the first time tonight. The first is The Ballad of Baby Doe, an opera about the rise and sordid fall of Colorado silver queen and wife of Horace Tabor, performed by Opera Theater of the Rockies. Baby Doe begins at 7:30 in Armstrong Hall, 25 E. Cache La Poudre St. Tickets range from $20 to $30; call 520-SHOW.
Also opening tonight is The Woman in Black, a ghost story by Stephen Malatratt based on the book by Susan Hill. The Star Bar Players will perform at 8 p.m. at the Lon Chaney Theater, 221 E. Kiowa St. Admission is $10-$12; call 573-7411 for reservations.
In 1975, a member of a Chinese expedition to Mount Everest reported seeing an "English" body lying on the frozen terrain. This clue inspired Eric Simonson and his team of world-class climbers to find the body of George Mallory -- one of the first people to climb the highest mountain in the world. While it may never be known if Mallory, and his partner Andrew Irvine, actually summitted the 29,035-foot peak, the discovery of Mallory's body on the north face has answered many questions about the 1924 expedition. Simonson will sign Ghost of Everest, an account of his own 1999 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition, and present a slide show from the trek at the Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., at 6:30 p.m. Afterward, 27-year-old Jangbu Sherpa, who has summitted Everest five times, will give a presentation about his adventures on the mountain. Jangbu is the amazing athlete who carried the bulky, heavy IMAX camera on the research expedition. Tickets to Ghosts of Everest are $5, and available at Mountain Chalet, 633-0732. All proceeds benefit El Paso County Search and Rescue.
The artists of the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake have grown hungry for a new kind of art: something functional yet beautiful, graceful yet solid. Hence Richard's Feast, a new show featuring works specifically designed for certain types of food. The dinnerware exhibit will open tonight from 7 to 9 at the Center. Admission is free. Call 481-0475 to find out more.
I'm still not sure what cowboys have to do with the Academy Awards, but if it involves boots and spurs, I'm there! And you should be too, as the Colorado Springs Film Commission presents the Western Celebration of the 72nd Academy Awards at the Sheraton Hotel, 2886 S. Circle Drive. From 5:30 to 6:45 p.m., be entertained at the pre-party with live music, silent auction and munchies. There will be a cash bar. At 7 p.m., watch a live telecast of the Awards Ceremony, with dinner at 7:30. Be sure to dress in Western movie theme or Colorado Western casual attire! Admission is $12; call 635-7506.
Since it was built in 1873, the Cliff House in Manitou Springs has been at times empty and at times overbooked; it has housed trappers, miners, movie stars, royalty, tourists, and apartment renters; it has been remodeled, burnt, flooded, boarded up and partially torn down -- and yet the building still stands, housing guests as you read. This National Historic Place is just as much a part of the small town as the penny arcade or the rock formations. The history of the Cliff House will be discussed as part of the Manitou Springs Speakers History Series at the Manitou Elementary School, 701 Dulco. Admission is free and the talk begins at 3 p.m.
Poet, novelist and film writer Jim Harrison's work is often tinged with a detached kind of loneliness, perhaps a product of the cold northern Michigan lands he's inhabited all his life. Best known for Legends of the Fall and Wolf, Harrison will be reading from his numerous other works on topics such as the Vietnam War and the American West in Colorado College's Armstrong Hall, 25 E. Cache La Poudre St., at 7 p.m. Harrison will receive the Spirit of the West Award from the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association prior to the reading. A book signing will follow. Admission is free. Call 389-6606.
Legendary Brit John Mayall has been credited with being the spark that lit the fire under the butts of British blues musicians, causing them to invade our country in the early '60s. You can thank him for the Rolling Stones, Cream, etc. Mayall, and his band, the Bluesbreakers, will perform tonight in the Colorado Music Hall, 2475 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Opening will be local blues band Rikki Dee Hall and the Voodoo Hawks. Tickets are $13-$14, and the curtain rises at 8 p.m. Call 447-9797 for more.
You know what? It's Wednesday, and let's be realistic folks, nothing happens on Wednesday. Don't look at it as boring -- this is your chance to get something done, be it dishes or sex or dinner or laundry or finally reading War and Peace. Relish your time; you still have to go to work tomorrow.