If you climbed to the top of the world's highest active volcano, what would you do if it blew? This question and many more will be answered tonight when local mountaineer Bill Houghton presents Climbing in Ecuador, a slide presentation of his 1999 trek to the Cordillera Oriente. Houghton and company summited three high peaks: Ruminahui Sur, Iliniza Norte and Cotopaxi, the volcano. The talk begins at 8 p.m. at Mountain Chalet, 226 N. Tejon St. It's free, but get there a bit early because they lock the doors promptly and no amount of wailing and breast-beating will open them again. Call 633-0732 for more.
The raucous, rowdy and old-fashioned Queen City Jazz Band is back in town to perform that Roaring '20s-style jazz with acclaimed trombonist Bill Allred at First United Methodist Church, 420 N. Nevada Ave. Vocalist Wende Harston -- often compared to the very first lady of the blues, Bessie Smith -- joins the seven-piece band at the 7 p.m. performance. Tickets are $5 to $15, available only at the door. The Band doesn't play here much, so don't miss your chance. For more information, call 632-8719.
You know you wish you had one. ... When you're in traffic, and that idiot in front of you is going a full 20 miles under the speed limit, two wheels riding over the center line, left blinker flashing ... wouldn't it be nice to simply rev up your monster truck and drive directly over them? No passing, no signalling, just fast and efficient obstacle removal. Live vicariously this weekend at the Rolling Thunder Monster Truck Challenge, featuring such behemoths as Monster Patrol, Bear Foot, Maniac, High Anxiety and Jurassic Park. The muddy mayhem takes place at the Penrose Equestrian Center, 1045 W. Rio Grande. Tickets are $8.50 to $13.50, call 576-2626. The challenge begins at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow.
When I was about 7, I got to hang out in a B-17 bomber. My Dad was part of a WWII recreation group, and they got to fly the Flying Fortress, as they called them. It was huge and cold, primitive compared to modern planes, and the bay was so full of bombs that it was terrifying to walk through it, much less imagine them being dropped. The whole thing was metal, and when it got up into the thin air, it was freezing inside. There was no buffering of the engine noise, and your ears rang for hours after standing near the prop for just a few minutes. The men who flew planes like that had to have had nerves of steel. Pay homage to them, and the rest of the personnel doing a damn fine job at the In Their Honor Fly-In celebrating Armed Forces Weekend at the old Colorado Springs Airport, at the end of Fountain Blvd. The airshow features dozens of WWII airplanes, modern fighter planes, helicopters and 20 exotic aircraft. Pilots will be available to share stories, answer questions and otherwise impress. Admission is $2 for children under 12 and $3 for adults. The show is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Sunday.
I just got back from my first outdoor concert of the season, and I cannot tell you how good it felt to get my groove on in the sunshine and fresh air, especially after being cooped up in smoky auditoriums all winter. Be one of the first to get down outside this year at the First Chance Summer Dance, right on the river at the Greenway and Nature Center in Pueblo. Magic 98.9 DJs Howie and Steve will be spinning current hits and modern music on the MTV-esque set -- you'll be able to watch yourself work it on the big screen. Teens and young adults ages 12 to 21 are invited; tickets are $5. Call 719/574-2414 for details. The dance begins at 7 p.m.
Why do they call themselves The Little London Winds? Because Colorado Springs was once called "Little London," due to General Palmer's vision of a cultural center where his wife, Queen, could romp and frolic with other intellectuals at the opera, the theater, the symphony, etc. The Winds try to bring back a little bit of that culture at each performance, so you better act fast if you want it to rub off on you. The performance this afternoon at 3 at First Christian Church, 16 E. Platte Ave., is the last of the winter concert series. Admission is free. For details, call 633-8888.
Prefer an acoustic guitar groove? The Mountain Acoustic Music Association understands, and is doing all it can to provide you with everything you need to get your fix. Tonight they'll cook up a helping of local music by Dan Kirchner and Mirage at the Ute Pass Cultural Center, at Highway 24 and Fairview in Woodland Park. Also on the bill are Smooth Jaspers, Patti Best, Nick Moore and Jody Adams. Admission is $3; kids under 18 are free. Bring your instrument in case of an impromptu jam. The music begins at 6 p.m. To find out more, call 687-9483 or 687-1229.
After a bit of trouble finding a copy of The Third Man, the Colorado Springs Film Society received enough donations to purchase a copy on DVD. Even better, Vanguard Church has allowed them to use the old Academy Station 6 theater on the southwest corner of Academy and Austin Bluffs, for their May meeting. So basically you, I and the rest of the public get to see Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton involved in the ultimate conspiracy theory, on the big screen -- for free! The movie was made in 1949, and is a real treat. The film starts at 7 p.m. Call 389-0039 to find out more.
There's no question what you're doing tonight -- you're going to see Saffire the Uppity Blues Women tonight at the Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. Check out the feature article by Kathryn Eastburn on page 27 to find out more.
Blues not your bag? Rather spend your evening aurally imbibing a snifterful of local intellirock? Look no further than Pikes Perk North, at 5765 N. Academy Blvd. Slow to Speak, a surprisingly talented acoustic trio with a kind of Ben Folds Five-y emotionally melodic take-off-your-shoes-and-have-an-Arizona-Green-Tea-on-the-Persian-rug kind of sound, plays at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free, and it's a good atmosphere. Call 532-0467 for details.
The way he croons, the way he dances, his rabid interest in genealogy ... he's dreamy. You've waited your whole life for just a few minutes with the superstar, and now you're getting an entire Evening with Donny Osmond at the Temple Buell Theater at the Denver Center, 1245 Champa St. He'll be doing what he does best -- charming his way right into your heart via ballads, pop songs and those deep brown eyes. Tickets are $25 to $50 and can be had by calling Ticketmaster at 520-9090. The show begins at 8 p.m.