Extol the virtues of beer and television as much as you like, but I've always thought that there's no better way to kick off the weekend than with some marionettes. Tonight through March 7, the David Simpich Marionettes will perform The Hans Christian Anderson Storybook, a fun puppet exploration of Anderson's stories. Performances will be held on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. at Mt. St. Francis Auditorium (7665 Assisi Heights). Tickets are $10 and are available through Simpich Character Dolls by calling 636-3272.
If puppets kind of creep you out, add a good hard cry to your Friday night. The Castle Rock Players present Steel Magnolias, that timeless salon-centered sob-fest in which a gaggle of Southern belles come together to chat, gossip and comfort one another with results both tragic and slightly less than tragic. The play runs tonight, tomorrow and Sunday as well as March 5-7 at the Phillip S. Miller Library (100 S. Wilcox St. in Castle Rock). Show times are 7:30 each night, and tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Call 303/814-7740 for more.
Also tonight, rock out Celtic-ishly at the Black Forest Community Center (corner of Black Forest and Shoup roads in Black Forest) with the dulcimer/harp/guitar masterminds Willson and McKee. The duo promises lots of yummy Celtic goodness as sweet as Fiona Ritchie's accent. Admission is $2 for Black Rose Acoustic Society members and $4 for nonmembers. Hit up www.blackroseacoustic.org for more.
Today, the Pikes Peak Music Volunteers host A Mountain of a Rummage Sale to benefit the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. This huge assemblage of donated items will be available for the rummagin' at the Youth Outreach Center at the Southern Colorado Expo (1801 N. Union Blvd.). Admission for the sale is $1 for normal admission (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.). If you really want a crack at the good stuff, outfox the normal-admission suckers by getting in an hour early at the pre-admission price of only $5.
Also today, encourage those nascent actors and set-builders in the family by hauling them over to Behind the Scenes with Anne. This look at the costumes, props, lights, makeup, sets and sound that will help out the Anne of Green Gables production is part of the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration and will take place at the aptly named Celebration Place in the upper level of the Mervyn's wing at the Citadel Mall. Call 597-3344 for reservations.
Tonight, the Colorado College Theatre Workshop presents Tape. This dark drama, written by emerging playwright Stephen Belber and directed by CC's Ben Solomon, explores the relationship of three friends as tempered by an incident of date rape. Tickets for this one are free but limited. To get yours, call 389-6607. The show continues next weekend, Friday, March 5 and Saturday, March 6.
This afternoon, as part of the Petticoats and Pistols run at UCCS, assistant professor of anthropology Minette Church will present a lecture titled "Women of the West: An Archaeological Perspective from Southeastern Colorado." Church will explain what archaeological sites in Colorado can tell us about the Native American, Hispanic and Anglo women who have made homes there. The fun will take place at 3 p.m. preceding the play. For more information, head over to
A combination of some of the city's most graceful architecture and glorious sounds can be found at the Taylor Memorial Concerts series with the DaVinci Quartet and the Taylor Memorial Choir, this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 601 N. Tejon St. Admission is free. For more information, call Grace Church at 633-5529.
Start your March with some jazz hands. Les Ballets Jazz de Montral comes to the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center (210 N. Santa Fe Ave. in Pueblo) tonight. Described as "neo-classical dance," Les Ballets draws from a sexy blend of classical ballet styles and other contemporary dance influences. Under the direction of internationally acclaimed dancer Louis Robitaille, the troupe has gained tremendous international renown. Those Quebecois kids can swing! Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 719/295-7222.
Got some extra facial netting lying around? Put that stuff to use at Beekeeping School! This day-and-a-half comprehensive seminar at the Masonic Temple, 455 El Paso Blvd. in Manitou Springs, will drill budding apiarists in the acquisition of and care of bees, bee biology and everything else you always wanted to know about our buzzing, honey-pooping brethren. The cost of the course is $35 for adults and $25 for students. Registration for this insectile jam is required by the first of March. Call 632-0075 to register or to obtain more information.
-- Aaron Retka