The New York-based piano/cello duo Pia*ce will be tearing the roof off of Colorado College's Packard Hall tonight. Joined by tenor Brian Stinar, the precocious pair (Jocelyn Swigger on piano and Kate Spingarn on cello) will be rollicking their way through a program that includes J.S. Bach, Csar Franck, Benjamin Britten and Leonard Bernstein. Plus, they have an asterisk in their name, just like *Nsync. This spells greatness. Tickets are $7 for the public, $3 with student ID and free with CC ID. Get yours at CC's Worner desk at the Worner Center (902 S. Cascade Ave.).
Spend an evening with Colorado's own bluegrass powerhouse supergroup Palmer Divide at the Black Rose Acoustic Society Open Stage (Black Forest and Shoup roads in Black Forest). The quartet, a mandolin/dobro/ guitar affair, features members who've played the White House and Grand Ole Opry, opened for Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs, and rocked the overalls off of bluegrass fans nationwide. The hootenanny gets started at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $2 for Black Rose Acoustic Society Members, $4 for nonmembers and free for kids under 11. Fiddle your way over to www.blackroseacoustic.org for more.
Or take off work early and drive down to Salida for the Steam Plant's show featuring "subversive acoustic traditionalists" The Mammals. The eclectic quintet is headed by Ruth Ungar, daughter of Grammy-winning fiddler/composer Jay Ungar, and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, grandson of Pete Seeger. According to the Boston Globe: "The Mammals play old-time string music the way Jack Kerouac wrote novels." The show starts at 8 p.m.; tickets are $12 and $17. For more information and directions to the Salida Steam Plant, call 719/530-0933.
What better way to spend the weekend than to delight in the birthday of a tourist trap? Nope, it's not Dr. Dobson's sweet 65th. The Royal Gorge Bridge turns 75 this year, and they want you there for the celebration. There will be an appearance by the grandson of bridge designer George Cole, a special viewing of a historic video, vintage cars from the 1920s and 1930s and all the gorge you can handle. The bridge and its fun components (located 12 miles west of Cañon City on Highway 50) are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and admission is $20 for adults, $16 for kids ages 4-11 and for seniors 60-plus, and free for anyone 75 years old.
If the Royal Gorge Bridge ain't edgy enough for you, consider heading over to Bear Creek Park this morning from 10 to 11 a.m. for "Rattlesnakes Alive!" Snake expert Dick Holliday will be present with a collection of live rattlesnakes so that you and yours can learn about the habits and homes of the prairie rattlesnake. Reservations are required for this one, and the cost is $4. Call 520-6387.
Also down south, the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo hosts its fourth annual nationally sanctioned barbeque cook-off, part of Pueblo's Boats, Blues & BBQ festival. Cooking starts at 9 a.m. and food vendors, live music, arts and crafts, and paddle boat rides will continue throughout the day, in anticipation of the announcement of the winners. For more info, call 719/595-0242 or visit www.puebloharp.com.
Hillside Gardens kicks off its summer concert series tonight with legendary singer/songwriter John Stewart, formerly of the Kingston Trio, and opening act Summer Hartbauer. This open-air venue at the bottom of Hillside's acres of gardens is fast becoming a local favorite for weddings, and now for live entertainment events. Beer will be provided by Bristol Brewing Co., and Stewart will provide a stream of classic hits as well as his newest work. A legend in the industry, Stewart penned the Monkee's "Daydream Believer," campaigned with Bobby Kennedy in 1968 and has had songs performed by Rosanne Cash, Joan Baez, Nanci Griffith and countless others. The show starts at 6 p.m.; tickets are $15 prior to the event, $20 at the gate. For more, call 520-9463. Hillside Gardens is located at 1006 S. Institute, one block south of Fountain.
Behold some galloping blues-thunder tonight at Classics (5943 Delmonico Drive), where Bay Area native Tommy Castro and band will play some no-holds-barred blues mania. Throwing some rock and soul into the mix, Castro has been praised by Playboy, Musician Magazine and Blues Review among others for his guitar virtuosity and rockin' live show. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available at Classics or Front Range Barbecue (2330 W. Colorado Ave.). Mosey on over to
www.pikespeakblues.org for more.
It's time to kick off Colorado Springs Bike Week, and you know what that means: The 10th annual Starlight Spectacular pedals its way through town tonight. The night-biking revelry begins at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center (30th Street at the entrance to Garden of the Gods Park) with entertainment at 10 p.m. and the ride starting at midnight. Riders can take their pick of an 11- or 26-mile loop through town, both of which terminate at the Visitor Center with a delightful 2 a.m. breakfast. Entry fees are $30 ($65 for the whole family), which includes entertainment, a T-shirt, prize drawings, refreshments at rest stops and said delicious breakfast. Registration is required, and you can do so at Ted's Bicycles, Old Town Bike Shop, Colorado Springs Bike Shop, REI or online at www.starlightspectacular.org.
-- Aaron Retka