It must be the humidity that makes all those Southern literary types -- folks like Mark Twain, Roy Blount Jr., Flannery O'Connor, and R.S. Gwynn -- so full up of the giggles. Today, Gwynn, author of The Drive-In, The Area Code of God, and most recently, No Word of Farewell, will fill us up with giggles at a poetry reading in Gates Common Room, in Colorado College's Palmer Hall. The chuckling begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. To find out more, call 389-6853.
There ain't nothin' like Carnivale, especially 'round these parts. Artists, dancers, kids, parents, locals and visitors to Manitou Springs put on their masks and dancing shoes, and good feelings flow down Manitou Avenue, energizing the whole town. This year -- before the parade, Gumbo Cookoff and the Party in the Park even begin Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. -- we'll all be treated to a very special event in Memorial Hall over at City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave. Shakedown Street, one of the most proficient and respectful Grateful Dead tribute bands in the Rocky Mountains, celebrates their 14th anniversary by playing the Grande Ball at 6 p.m. The dance is family-friendly, and costs $5 to $7. Call 685-9140 for ticket info, or 685-5089 with questions about other Carnivale festivities.
Don't even try beating your yard into a green patch of sod; Colorado country is just too dry. Personally, I'm a big fan of letting wildflowers take over the lawn, but I'm sure I'll come up with a million other ideas at the 2001 Peak to Prairie Landscape Symposium. This year's title is "Redefining Landscape Traditions," and features Andy Wasowski, author of Requiem for a Lawnmower, as well as other master gardeners from near and far. Today the symposium will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and then tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. Registration is required and costs $45. Call 636-8923.
I want to learn how to weld, not just for practical purposes; I want to make intricate iron and steel sculptures that will still be around when the rest of us are living on Mars. I might ask Don Orr for pointers. The local welder/sculptor will show his steel work at the Bridge Gallery, 218 W. Colorado Ave., until March 18. From 5 to 8 this evening he'll be meeting and greeting at the opening reception, which is free and open to all. For details, call 329-1574.
OK, I have seen Ida Bowers, in costume and out of it, and I'm telling you, the woman looks just like Tina Turner. She could be Tina's sister. She's got the moves, the hair, the fire, and she's one of the performers at the Ol' Skool Revue, a retrospective of gospel and rhythm and blues at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 567 Marquette Drive, in Security. The event, featuring music by the Temptations, Aretha, and, of course, Miss Tina, is a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society and Versatile Productions' upcoming youth production of The Wiz. Tickets are $10; the show starts at 7 p.m. Call 392-7549 for more.
It's hard not to feel connected to Colorado. Once you get to know the roads and towns, the ridges and snowbanks, when you look at that same big blue hulk of a mountain every single day, you know you've grown roots. It's only natural to want to find out the history of such a place, and here's a good way to do it. Sleepy little Palmer Lake is hosting the Local History Film Fest at the Pinecrest Lodge Event Center, 106 Greeley Blvd. Eight films, with topics ranging from religion to train routes to ranching to mining to tourists, will be shown. Films begin on the hour, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $1 to $3, and proceeds benefit the Palmer Lake Library and Lucretia Vaile Museum. To find out more, call 481-2587.
Get your tickets now because Alejandro Dvila always sells out when he plays the Springs. The Argentinean classical guitarist comes back to Smokebrush Center, 235 S. Nevada Ave., tonight and will be joined by the Colorado Guitar Duo during the second set. The concert begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are $15. Call 444-0884.
This is an evening for decadence. There are two wine tastings, one at Gertrude's Restaurant, 2625 W. Colorado Ave., and one at Primitivo, so take your pick. Gertrude's hosts Que Syrah, Sirah, a tasting featuring Syrahs, Petite Sirah and Shiraz, paired with a delectable dinner of the elegant natural fare for which the eatery is known. The 6 p.m. meal and tasting costs $45 per person, and credit card reservations are required. Call 471-0887. Over at Primitivo, 28 S. Tejon St., the menu is sushi with Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. This fine supper begins at 5:30 p.m., and will be served again at 7:30 p.m. To reserve your spot at Primitivo, call Coaltrain Wine and Liquor at 475-9700.
27 Tuesday Don Conoscenti has worked with the best. The guitarist and songwriter has spent his life wandering around the country, picking up influences and playing with the likes of David Wilcox and Shawn Mullins. Conoscenti will appear with local musician Joe Uveges in the most intimate of venues -- somebody's house -- tonight at 7. The concert is hosted by The Society for the Promotion of Live Music in Small Venues. Tickets are $8; call 389-0719 for reservations and directions.
Someday, I will travel to these places and summon the physical strength and will to do the things that these people do. Until then, I can get my rocks off by watching the Best of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which visits the Fine Arts Center today (30 W. Dale St.). The finest of the world's mountain and extreme sports footage will be shown at 7 p.m. Glimpses of insanely gorgeous vistas and nearly inaccessible lands, native cultures and feats of courage are presented with peerless cinematography. For $7, you can't beat it. Call 634-5583 for details.
It never occurred to me until today that my ratty old Indian blanket might actually have some purpose other than cushioning my tent floor. According to Susan Scarberry-Garcia, author and visiting professor at Colorado College, the fabrics and clothing of the women in the West are "symbolic markers of ethnic identity," something like Scottish plaids. Scarberry-Garcia will enlighten us all with her lecture "Wrapped in Shawls and Scarves: Traditional Clothing of Navajo, Pueblo and Khanty Women," at the Women's Educational Society luncheon today in Gaylord Hall, in the Colorado College's Worner Center (northwest corner of Cascade and Cache la Poudre). The luncheon begins at noon, and costs $10.25. Call 389-6649 for reservations.