If you're one-tenth as nuts about Celtic music as I am, you'll do yourself a huge favor and scoot down to Alamosa tonight to witness Celtic singer Cathie Ryan along with Tada. Called "a jewel in the Irish musical crown," the Detroit-born Ryan burst onto the scene in the mid-'80s and has been a veritable juggernaut since. She'll be releasing her newest album, The Farthest Wave, in April. The show is at Adams State College Theater Building (on the corner of Main Street and Richardson Avenue) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 for Alamosa Live Music Association members, $20 in advance or $22 at the door. To get yours, hit up www.almaonline.org or call 719/589-9281.
Get over to Liberty High School (8720 Scarborough Drive) this weekend for Wonderland! (The Musical Misadventures of a Girl Named Alice). This shamelessly silly loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll's book will be a blast for the whole family, especially for kids in grades 1-4. Show times are tonight at 6:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. Tickets are $2 for children and $3 for adults. For more, call 234-2200, ext. 8278.
It'll be a stompin' kinda night in Black Forest, where roots-music guru Mike Dowling will be strumming and picking and pretty much kicking ass all over the place. Grammy nominee, guitar instructor and frequent guest on Prairie Home Companion, Dowling has worked with the legendary Jethro Burns and Joe Venuti and has had his originals recorded by Emmylou Harris, Tim O'Brien and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. The show's at the Black Forest Community Center (corner of Black Forest and Shoup roads) at 7:30 p.m. and will run $3 for BRAS members, $5 for nonmembers and free for kids 11 and under. For more, check out www.blackroseacoustic.org.
Haul your pompadour to Denver tonight to catch the oft-copied, never-equaled Social Distortion, who'll be punkin' up the Fillmore (1510 Clarkson St.). They're back with their first studio album in eight years, Sex, Love and Rock N' Roll, which is sure to be full of Mike Ness' signature holler along with hook-tastic rock riffs and riff-tastic rock. Tickets for this one are $25 plus applicable service charges and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Fillmore box office or at www.cc.com.
Did you spend time with a cast of puppets last weekend? No? Rectify that sitch, honey! Take the kids to Art Guffaw at Celebration Place (located in the upper level of the Mervyn's wing at the Citadel Mall). As part of the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration, Mr. Guffaw and his 10-puppet cast will bring fine art alive, entertaining and educating about color, line and tricks of seeing. The cost for the event is only $1, but reservations are required. Call 597-3344 to make yours.
See the sexy side of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road) this weekend with their Animal Affairs tour. Take a date for the adults-only look at the courting habits of animals such as lions, wolves, elephants and gorillas, and be prepared to say things such as, "Oooh!" and "Ungh!" That's what Valentine's weekend is all about. For more information, hit up www.cmzoo.org or call 633-9925 ext. 112 to reserve your spot on the tour.
A one-afternoon-only gallery talk and book signing at Phototroph Gallery (beneath the Colorado Avenue bridge in the Depot Arts District) features fine art and documentary photographer Brian Doan and his new book, The Forgotten Ones, a photographic documentary of the last Vietnamese boat people in the Philippines. Doan, born and raised in Vietnam, moved to Colorado Springs in 2000 and is currently documenting urbanization and change in the American West. He'll talk at 12:30 p.m. and sign books from 2 to 4 p.m. Call 442-6995 or go to
www.phototroph.com for a preview.
How about an intimate evening of bluuuuuuesy piano? Ken Saydak, who has worked with Johnny Winter, Dave Specter, Mighty Joe Young and too many others to count, will tickle the ivories tonight at the Business of Art Center Venue 515 (515 Manitou Ave.), from 8 to 11 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.; tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. Call 685-1861 or visit
www.pikespeakblues.org for more on Seydak and this event as well as a masters' workshop to be given earlier in the day.
Those kooky classical types and their puns! This afternoon, catch the Pikes Peak Philharmonic's If it Ain't Baroque ... program, a showcase of baroque music that's USDA certified delightful. The program will include Bach's "Brandenburg" Concerto No. 2, Handel's "Royal Fireworks Music" and Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," and will take place at 3 p.m. at Radiant Church (4020 Maizeland Road). Tickets are available at the door and are $4 for students and seniors and $6 adults. For more, take a whimsical journey over to www.pikespeakphil.org.
Ah, Valentine's Day. Please accept this metaphorical hug and box of chocolates and know that I don't go past second on the first date.
-- Aaron Retka