Colorado 2004: A Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St.) will open tonight with a reception. This will be the largest local exhibit of contemporary Colorado art this year, featuring recent work by some of the state's most interesting artists. Colorado resident artists (364 of them) submitted 1,214 works from all media for the show; of those, 65 artists and 78 works were chosen. From 4 to 6 p.m., the reception is for Fine Arts Center members only, with the public reception running from 6-7:30 p.m. Call 634-5581 or go to www.csfineartscenter.org for more information.
Put on your badass and come see the biggest, meanest monster trucks around at the U.S. Hot Rod Monster Jam at the World Arena (3185 Venetucci Blvd.). These trucks dwarf even the largest of SUVs as they race around giant obstacle courses and plow through insane freestyle competitions. You know you won't be leaving until a whole junkyard's worth of cars gets crushed and your ears are ringing from the raw power of the gigantic engines. If you crave twisted metal and the thrill of the crash, don't miss this one. The jamming begins at 8 p.m. For more information, call 477-2121.
Come check out the "Nonviolence: Past, Present and Future" forum at the East Library and Information Center (5550 N. Union Blvd.). The forum is sponsored by the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission and will feature local longtime activists the Rev. Jim White, Rita DeRuntz, Mary Sprunger-Froese, Loring Wirbel and others as speakers. Topics will include historical antecedents to 21st-century peace movements, the necessity of keeping consistent nonviolence visions in modern society, the future of nonviolence, and the peace movement in general. The forum starts at 11 a.m. Call 632-6189 for more information.
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic offers a family concert this afternoon at 2:30. The Family Sportstacular at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave.) features pieces from three different periods of classical music from the late 18th century through the mid-20th century, conducted by Thomas Jensen and accented by rousing sports commentary from local personalities like radio jock Mark Goldberg. It's never too early to turn your kids on to classical music and the Springs treasure of an orchestra. Tickets are $13.50. Call 520-7453 or go to www.pikespeakcenter.org for more information.
Blues guitarist Chris Duarte plays 32 Bleu tonight. Hailing from Austin, Texas, the singer/songwriter started out in clubs when he was only 15 years old. Duarte's promising talent has been compared to the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughn, and with good reason. Throughout his years of playing, he has crafted his own style of jazz and rock-influenced blues. He brings his unique guitar playing to 32 Bleu as part of their Blues Concert Series. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $10 for the general public and $9 for Pikes Peak Blues Community members. For more information, call 955-5664 or log on to www.32bleu.com.
The Chamber Orchestra of the Springs presents "With Jubilant Voice," a concert featuring works by Gustav Holst, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Joseph Haydn. Judith Shay Burns will be the featured soloist. First Christian Church hosts the concert at 16 East Platte Ave. at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door, and season tickets for the Chamber Orchestra are available by calling 633-3649. Visit
www.chamberorchestraofthe springs.org for a complete list of upcoming guest artists and programs.
Later at First Christian, after the sun sets, distinguished organist Paul Leddington Wright plays the big organ. Wright was an organ scholar at Cambridge University and the organist and director of music at Coventry Cathedral in England. Currently, he is music adviser for Coventry Cathedral as well as the conductor for Songs of Praise, a weekly television program on the BBC. The concert is part of a series of three different organists who will perform at First Christian Church over the next two months. Showtime is 7 p.m. A free-will offering will be taken for the benefit of the concert and the series. Call 633-8888 for more information.
Deadline for reservations is today if you want to attend the Broadmoor Garden Club's upcoming workshop and meeting with Ron Morgan, one of world's most renowned floral designers. Morgan's signature "tablescapes" utilize fruits, vegetables and unusual plant materials and have been featured in Harrod's windows in London and across the world. A champagne and dessert reception with an informal floral presentation is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 5 at Daffodils Flower Shop. Then, on Friday, Feb. 6, the Garden of the Gods Club will host a luncheon and presentation. For more information or to reserve a space at either event, call Eve Barrett at 634-0520.
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has revamped its First Thursday gathering, which will be held in the newly redecorated theater lounge each first Thursday of the month. Blind tastings of wine, ale and other beverages will highlight the event, along with nibbles and musical entertainment. Try to match the wine that you taste with the written descriptions. Answer sheets are available for those thick of tongue. A nice way to end the workday, First Thursday starts at 5 p.m. and costs a mere $4 for FAC members, $8 for the uninitiated. Call 634-5581.
-- Grayson Mendenhall