I like to think I got the most out of my education at Pikes Peak Community College. The classes are cheap, the professors experienced and the students tolerable, at least for the most part. One thing I do regret is not taking a class taught by Independent co-founder Kathryn Eastburn when I had the chance. Make up for my mistakes tonight and see Eastburn read from Simon Says: A True Story of Boys, Guns and Murder. The book, due out in early 2008, explores the arrests and convictions of four Colorado Springs teenagers found to have murdered Carl, Tony and JoAnna Dutcher 6 years ago. The reading starts at 7:30 in CC's Gates Common Room (1025 N. Cascade Ave.). Call 389-6607 for more. AL
If you're like me, the fact that Friday nights seem so few and far between can leave you with the blues. Spend this night lamenting the long week with an expert on the subject. Renowned artist John Hammond has been playing the blues for over 40 years with the likes of Tom Waits, Eric Clapton and even Jimi Hendrix, and that pretty much makes him an expert in my book. He'll be playing old favorites and new tunes from his January release Push Comes to Shove at 7:30 at Jimbo's Take 2 (2427 N. Union Blvd.). Advance tickets are $25. Call 244-1601 for more or visit jimbostake2.com. AG
Tonight, at the City Auditorium (221 E. Kiowa St.), everyone gets laid. And probably by a stranger. Just kidding! But seriously: Tonight, you will get lei'd by a stranger, which is waaaaay better for your already-on-the-ropes marriage (zing!). It'll all happen from 5 to 8:30 at the Polynesian-themed Luau presented by Pacific Pride and Island Hearts. See live, authentic dances from the South Pacific as you indulge in the region's tastiest treats. Tickets cost $10 to $20 in advance, and will go up $5 at the door on the day of the event. Call Charlene at 440-6318 for tickets and information. PF
The first time I saw Ghost, I signed up for a pottery class. Sure, the movie awakened my creative urges, but it was that scene with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze at the potter's wheel (you know the one) that really inspired me. Sadly, no hunky, supernatural men took the class, so I didn't fulfill my clay-covered fantasies. But I did make a couple great ashtrays. Today, release your inner Demi Moore at Clayfest. The free festival runs Friday evening through today, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Soda Springs Park (1016 Manitou Ave.) and includes potter's games, clay play, workshops and more. Visit clayfest.com for details. JT
So this one time at band camp ... if you've ever seen American Pie, then you know how that sentence ends. But none of those shenanigans will be taking place tonight at Douglas Blue Feather's Flute Workshop at Unity Church in the Rockies (1945 Mesa Road). The workshop is $15 and follows last night's concert by Blue Feather, winner of multiple "Nammys" (Native American Music Awards) for "Flutist of the Year." The tutorial will teach basic techniques, scales and creating songs, and will take place from 7 to 9. Flutes will be provided. For more info call 390-9090 or douglasbluefeather.com. KL
The Children of Niger, a 20-piece pastel series by local artist Louise Cutler, opens today at the ARTSpace Gallery at Hillside Community Center (925 S. Institute St.). The show documents Cutler's experience as part of a medical team in the Central African country of Niger, in 1998. Cutler created her series of paintings based on photographs she took at the time. The show, highlighted by vibrant depictions of Nigerian men, women and children, runs through Aug. 31, and gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Call 385-7900 for more information. MS
Today is America's grand birthday, 231 years since our historic "So long!" to Britain. Maybe it's your birthday too, and you have your pick of fireworks shows around the city. At around dusk, head to Manitou Springs to see crackers shot off Red Mountain. Or, scoot on downtown for the big show at Memorial Park (1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave.). It's an evening of family time and picnics, following events during the day. Of course, sometimes the best place to watch the fireworks displays is your backyard just don't be an idiot and try to shoot off your own. Spending the fourth in the ER or in jail is so not cool. KA
This week's 7 Days contributors: Kirsten Akens, Pete Freedman, Angela Grosshans, Kurtis Lee, Amanda Lundgren, Matthew Schniper and Jill Thomas.