Starting today, get your fill of vaudeville, tailored for the MTV generation's eyeblink-long attention span. The Manitou Art Theater presents 10 Minutes Max, a smorgasbord of ten-minute-long acts featuring comedy, music, dance and spoken word. It's taking place tonight, Friday and Saturday, and Feb. 24, 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. at Venue 515 at the Manitou Business of Art Center (515 Manitou Ave. in, duh, Manitou Springs).Tickets for each show are $14, available at the MAT box office or by calling 685-4729.
Tonight, check out the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs at Broadmoor Community Church (315 Lake Ave.), where they'll be knockin' out the world premier of "Ring of Fire," a concerto for handbell choir and orchestra by local composer Kevin McChesney, The concert's program will also include Piston's Sinfonietta and Mozart's Symphony No. 39, K.543 in E Flat Major. The show begins at 8 p.m. Another concert will follow on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at First Christian Church (16 E. Platte Ave.). Admission is $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets will be available at the door or by calling 633-3649. For more information, visit
I don't know about you, but my week is simply not complete without some Dickens-influenced musical theater replete with Cockney slang, workhouses and all the other trappings of mouth-watering period pieces. Bring on those waifs, I say! Let them sing! That said, get down to Pueblo this weekend for Oliver!, the musical adaptation of Dickens' Oliver Twist, playing at the Damon Runyon Repertory (611 N. Main in Pueblo). This tale of the lovable street scamp's misadventures will play tonight and tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. There are a variety of ticket prices (from $8 to $25). To get in on the action, call 719/564-0579.
If you frequent any of the local downtown drinking establishments, you more than likely have caught a gander at Martini Shot, a muy sexy sextet. Independent readers voted The Shot the 2004 Best Local Cover Band, and now the group is ready to prove that they can swing their own style as well. Their second CD, Dry and Dirty, is full of original music, showcasing their ability to rock with their cocksure attitudes on display. Check out the CD release party at Southside Johnny's (528 S. Tejon St.) today starting at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free, but because it's a bar, only those who can prove that they're 21 or older can attend.
I've always said that nothing on earth is sexier than an 11-inch waist, which limits my romantic prospects to either Victorian women or, like, rhesus monkeys. That said, you better bet I'll be at Adobe Walls Antique Mall and Trading Post (2808 W. Colorado Ave.) this morning for "Dressing the Victorian Lady." Historical clothier Denise Nadine will provide insights into the facets of women's fashion in the Victorian era, including the role and construction of the corset (yes!). There's a wee cost of $5 for the event, which will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., and reservations are required. To make yours, call 630-7328.
Also today, shimmy your way over to the Phil Long Expo Center (1515 Auto Mall Loop) for the 5th Annual Chinese New Year Festival. More a proper festival this year than previous years' sit-down lunch affair, the event includes a cranium-'sploding array of activities and exhibitions, including kung-fu demonstrations, Chinese calligraphy presentations, Chinese dances, instrumental performances, eatin' opportunities from local vendors and tons more. The fun begins at 11 a.m. and run until 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children under 12 and military personnel, and free for kids under 5 and tickets can be purchased at select Chinese restaurants throughout town or at the door. For more information, check out the Colorado Springs Chinese Cultural Institute's website at
www.cscci.org or call 201-8373.
You're an utterly uncool stick in the mud if you don't get your butt to Boulder tonight to catch Sage Francis at the Fox Theatre (1135 13th St.). One of the most creative, original and talented up-and-comers in the indie hip-hop scene, Sage Francis rhymes with a conviction that'll blow your spleen straight out of your throat. Just freakin' go, already. Tickets for this one are $21 in advance at $23 at the door for an 8 p.m. show. He'll be performing along with Sol.Illaquists of Sound and Jared Paul. For tickets and more information, head over to
-- Aaron Retka