Local poets Robin Izer and Ron Noel will be at the Smokebrush Foundation and Gallery (218 W. Colorado Ave., in the Depot Arts district, under the bridge) reading selected works from Pulitzer Prize-winning naturalist and poet Mary Oliver to help cap off National Poetry Month (which was April, by the way). The reading is inspired, free and open to the public. Directions can be found at
www.smoke brush.org .
Don't miss the chance to congratulate Manitou Springs photographer Andrea Modica whose work was recently lauded in the New York Times. Modica will sign her new book, Barbara, a monograph of photos taken during the last year of her subject's life before her death at 22 from juvenile diabetes, at the Phototroph Gallery (under the Colorado Avenue bridge). Call 442-6995 for more.
Tonight, bear witness to Aussie foursome Idea of North, descending upon Sunnyside Christian Church (2025 N. Murray Blvd.) to slay our lesser Yankee a cappella harmonies. Compared variously to Manhattan Transfer, Boyz II Men and "ABBA dipped in velvet," Idea of North mixes gospel with vocal jazz and disco, all seamlessly combined. Tickets for this one are $20 or $15 for seniors and students, and the singing starts at 8 p.m. Call 632-2783 to get your ticket, or hit up
www.idea.com.au for more information.
All Souls Unitarian Church (730 N. Tejon St.) and the Colorado Springs Guitar Society present classical git-picker Brenda Buckendahl tonight at 8. Buckendahl will be playing original compositions along with traditional and modern classical guitar favorites. Bet she hates "Classical Gas" requests. Admission for the show is $12 for the general public and $10 for Guitar Society members. For more information, you can call her at 633-4429.
Unless you've become jaded to the world of Dutch clown ballerinas, there's really no reason you shouldn't stuff the kids in the car and head over to Venue 515 at the Manitou Business of Art Center (515 Manitou Ave., in Manitou Springs). As part of the First Saturdays series at the Manitou Art Theater, world-renowned dancer and clown Grindl -- along with her wonder dog, Charlie -- will delight and pass along a truckload of pas de deux giggles. Each of the shows (at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.) includes a hands-on art activity session following the show, complete with milk and cookies. All this can be yours for a mere $8. For more information, steer that PC on over to www.manitouarttheater.com.
Following milk and cookies, scoot over to Ruby's Diner (First and Main Town Center, corner of S. Carefree and Powers), from noon to 3 p.m. for the "May Day Block Party" benefiting the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration. This fabulous nonprofit brings quality, affordable entertainment to children and their families all year long, so give them something back, why don't you. A $5 donation will get you a burger, chips and a soft drink with a substantial portion of sales going directly to KCIC. A big band and swing dancers will be on hand as well as face painters and balloon, er, twisters.
That B.A. not quite working out for you? Try your luck at Ghost Hunter University, presented by the Hearthstone Inn and Ghost Hunter magazine. This two-day seminar on the paranormal includes lectures and lessons on the tools and trade of hunting ghosts along with a ghost hunt of the rumored-to-be-haunted Hearthstone, a historical tour of the Fine Arts Center, a lighthearted murder-mystery dinner, and a one-night stay at the aforementioned inn. For prices and more information, give the Hearthstone a jingle -- a spooky jingle -- at 473-4413.
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic reprises last night's 8 p.m. concert, Mozart and Friends Mini-Festival I, today at 2:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church (420 N. Nevada Ave.). The program features trumpet soloist David Zuercher playing Haydn's Concerto in E-flat major for Trumpet and Orchestra, and also features Mozart's famed "Prague" Symphony.
The Pikes Peak Philharmonic presents "Concerto Concepts," today at 3 p.m. at Benet Hill Center (2577 N. Chelton Road, featuring Youth Concerto Competition winners Rami Foster and Laura Weiner. Foster, of Lewis Palmer High School, will play the second movement of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Weiner, a Cheyenne Mountain High School student, will play the first moment of the Gliere Horn Concerto. Tickets are available at the door, $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and children, $12 for an entire family.
How you doin', Colorado? You all right? Well, if I were so inclined, I could find out today and tomorrow at the Colorado College State of the Rockies Conference. This conference and series of symposia includes the unveiling of the 2004 Rockies Report Card, which assesses demographic, cultural, social, economic and environmental conditions in the region. Speakers will include former Colorado governor Richard Lamm and Ed and Betsy Marston of High Country News, and there will be a panel discussion titled "On the Rockies Front Lines: Community Organizations Confronting Change." The whole shebang is free and open to the public and is taking place at Colorado College (14 E. Cache La Poudre St.). For further information, go to
Give mom a gem of a Mother's Day; head up to the Double Eagle Conference Center, Cripple Creek, for The Emerald Affair, a murder mystery staged by Red Herring Productions, with a buffet and show at 1 p.m., then again at 6 p.m. The person who solves the mystery first wins $100, as do each of the guests seated at her table (tables seat eight). Call 689-5000 for more information and reservations.
-- Aaron Retka