Thursday, December 28, 2017

Good riddance, 2017: Celebrations around the Springs

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 8:46 AM

For the Fancy

New Year’s Eve
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the city’s
wildly popular professional orchestra, hosts this local favorite New Year’s Eve concert yearly. In addition to the talented orchestra members, enjoy the contribution of guest vocalists Amy Maples (soprano) and Eapen Leubner (tenor). Audiences will delight in familiar tunes ranging from Broadway hits to operatic arias, touching on Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber — all the greats. Dec. 31, 7:30-10 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $24-$68,

For the Felicitous

New Year’s at The Antlers
Headlining band Chilly Willy hails from South Carolina and delivers good, honest and enjoyable blues rock for the perfect evening backdrop. In addition to the music, enjoy magic by Professor Higgins, an award-winning magic man. You can also treat yourself to a pre-party dinner at The Antlers, or just enjoy the party’s light snacks, heavier drinks and champagne toast at midnight.
Dec. 31, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., The Antlers hotel, 4 S. Cascade Ave., $59/person, $99/couple,

For the Foodie

A Voyage Around the World and into 2018
The 365 Grand Club’s alternative to The Antlers party includes upbeat DJ dance tunes going all night; just as fancy but with a bit more to munch on. Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres from all over the world, plus some drink specials and the classic champagne toast to the new year. Packages available if you want to enjoy the luxurious Mining Exchange hotel after the party. Save yourself the Uber and stick around! Dec. 31, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., The Gold Room, 18 S. Nevada Ave., $65/person, $120/couple,

For the Fun-loving

New Year’s Eve Celebration
Not all of us are fit for (or interested in) an elegant and traditional evening out with sophisticated partygoers. Legends Rock Bar has you covered. Live music provided by Colorado Springs-based cover band Blind Monkey will have you dancing. Our advice: Spring for the VIP table. Gets you two pitchers, four appetizers and a bottle of champagne for a table of eight — well worth the $9-or-so per person. Dec. 31, 9 p.m., Legends Rock Bar, 2790 Hancock Expressway, free or $75/VIP table,

For the Folksy

Elephant Revival New Year’s Eve Concert
After such a contentious year, it’s nice to welcome 2018 on the right foot — with a band whose folky focus lies in harmony and unity. Colorado-based Elephant Revival’s multi-talented multi-instrumentalists present a delightful combination of folk, Americana and world influences. Currently touring in promotion of Petals, an intimate 2016 album about life, love and loss. Dec. 31, 9 p.m., Stargazers, 10 S. Parkside Drive, $45-$55,

For the Flashy

New Year’s Eve Costume Party: Mardi Gras Remix
Taking traditions from two festive holidays, this New Year’s Eve party has a special Mardi Gras flair — plus a grand prize New Orleans vacation for a lucky partygoer. A few cool things to look forward to: fire dancers, acrobats, show girls, cocktails, three live bands, four DJs, a Cajun dinner buffet, street performers, poker and gaming tables. We know, it’s pricey, but these overnight packages come complete with a New Year’s Day breakfast and mimosas in the morning, so it’s worth it. Dec. 31, 3 p.m., Hotel Eleganté, 2886 S. Circle Drive, $329/couple,

For the 420 Fan

MountainHigh10Radio LLC NYE Party
MountainHigh10Radio LLC, a new internet radio station based right here in town, promotes local music and cannabis culture. Partnering with the StonerHigh Girls, alternative models with a knack for cannabis promotion, this party will celebrate all things weed. Enjoy performances by local musicians, electronic/hip-hop/dance music from DJ Sean Ryan, and plenty more. BYOB (bring your own bud). Dec. 31, 7 p.m., Speak Easy Vape Lounge, 2508 E. Bijou St., $10,

For the Family

New Year’s Eve with Mr. Guffaw
This annual family event offers three show times for kids and their parents to celebrate New Year’s Eve together, before you adults run off to your own party. Enjoy delightful physical comedy from Mr. Guffaw, the world-class clown portrayed by the Millibo Art Theatre’s co-artistic director Jim Jackson.
In addition to bountiful (and big) bubbles, kids can look forward to a ball drop to welcome in the new year. Dec. 31, 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Millibo Art Theatre, 1626 S. Tejon St., $12/ticket or $40/family four-pack,

Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events here.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

In the gallery, on the stage and out and about: holiday events to celebrate Christmas week

Posted By on Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 3:15 PM


G44 Gallery's Holiday Show - COURTESY G44 GALLERY
  • Courtesy G44 Gallery
  • G44 Gallery's Holiday Show
If you’ve waited to do your holiday shopping, we have some good news for you: Local galleries have your back. Rather than praying Amazon Prime pulls through in time, why not spend your money closer to home? The Modbo and S.P.Q.R. (17C E. Bijou St.) still have a good selection from their annual Small Works show, which contains plenty of affordable small-scale pieces made by nearly 150 local artists. We don’t all have the wall space (or budget) for
something massive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still give the gift of local art.

Those looking for something seasonally inspired might find it in Arati Artists Gallery in Old Colorado City (2425 W. Colorado Ave.). Their Christmas Along the Avenue showcases work by all Arati artists, with ornaments for sale right from the tree. Glass angels and bells, wooden snowmen and deer — all the
holiday faves.

Should you have nixed your tree this year (or don’t celebrate Christmas), you can still enjoy awesome art for sale at G44 Gallery (1785 S. Eighth St., Suite A). G44’s Annual Holiday Show features 25 local artists, whose specialties cover photography, pottery, sculpture and painting, which means there’s something for every taste (and not all of it holiday themed).
And finally there is always something at the

Commonwheel Artists Co-op (102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs) Holiday Market, their popular annual exhibit of art and crafts made by Colorado artists. You’ll branch out from local into regional here, which gives you a nice variety of styles and mediums to choose from. Bonus: Some of us (me) never manage to go into Commonwheel for a gift without coming out with something for ourselves. You might find a stocking stuffer for Number One while you’re there.


TheatreWorks' Santaland Diaries - COURTESY THEATREWORKS
  • Courtesy TheatreWorks
  • TheatreWorks' Santaland Diaries
In my family, we would watch A Christmas Story every year around the holidays, a mandate by my (Jewish) father. Yeah, I thought it was a little weird too. Odds are, you’ve got your own tradition around those old holiday favorite films, and I won’t tell you not to watch them, but why not mix it up a little bit with a new holiday story? Local theaters offer a wealth of seasonal favorites and exciting new shows this month.

Take the TheatreWorks (Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater, 3955 Regent Circle) production of Santaland Diaries, an adults-only, one-man show written by best-selling humorist David Sedaris and starring Sammie Joe Kinnett. This irreverent Christmas favorite follows Sedaris’ experiences as an Elf in the Macy’s Christmas display, with a little less sugar and a little more spice than your typical holiday show.

If spice is your thing, you might also check out the Millibo Art Theatre’s (1626 S. Tejon St.) annual holiday cabaret, Fa~La~La. You want opera? Circus? Dance? You name it, Babette and her “merry-makers” will make it happen. The nice thing about a holiday cabaret? You don’t even have to follow a plot. Just sit back, relax and maybe enjoy some Bailey’s and hot cocoa.

Anyone who still wants to partake in the traditional holiday fare with a bit of a twist might check out A Colorado Nutcracker, a local take on the classic ballet presented by the Colorado Ballet Society (Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.). Locally loved historical figures such as Nikola Tesla make an appearance, which makes this a healthy mix of classic and off-the-beaten-path, without stamping on the toes of the Christmas spirit. Plus, your kids can actually come to this one, which is a definite plus for folks with families.

Any of these shows might prove a nice departure from the usual couch-bound film fest, and may even spark a new holiday tradition.


Millibo Art Theatre's Return of the Christmas Mouse - COURTESY MILLIBO ART THEATRE
  • Courtesy Millibo Art Theatre
  • Millibo Art Theatre's Return of the Christmas Mouse
Since the holiday season is a time for family, we’d be remiss not to include events for kids. A local favorite tradition, even fit for the Scrooge in your clan: the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road) Electric Safari. The zoo impresses plenty year-round with its huge variety of exotic animals and aesthetically exciting environments, but Electric Safari decorates these 50-plus acres with 85 unique light sculptures. Kids will enjoy usual zoo goodies such as the carousel and the animals, of course, but you can also take them to see Santa for any last-minute gift requests.

More Santa fun can be found at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center (201 S. Fairview St., Woodland Park). In addition to offering the already awesome museum for your viewing pleasure, RMDRC will have a craft table, a Christmas tree to display your own handmade ornaments, and the big man himself. It’s a good opportunity to sneak in an educational experience with fun for the kiddos.

And even though you won’t be able to take your family to the Millibo Art Theatre’s cabaret, the MAT has a separate offering for kids this week: Return of the Christmas Mouse. Beloved holiday characters from the MAT’s previous kids’ shows will take the stage in this story of a decorating contest taken just a little too far. MAT shows always manage to bridge the gap between what’s fun for kids and what’s fun for their parents, so we promise it won’t be like those teeth-gritting Disney holiday specials.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Colorado Business Committee for the Arts to honor Kate Perdoni

Posted By on Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 8:11 AM

Kate Perdoni will receive the CBCA's EY Next Wave Leadership Award in March. - COURTESY CBCA
  • Courtesy CBCA
  • Kate Perdoni will receive the CBCA's EY Next Wave Leadership Award in March.
When she isn't producing for Rocky Mountain PBS's Arts District program, acting as executive director for the Pikes Peak Arts Council and leading local bands Eros and the Eschaton and Spirettes, Kate Perdoni is probably doing something else to elevate the Springs' arts scene. As a result, the Denver-based Colorado Business Committee for the Arts will honor her during its March 13, 2018, luncheon, presenting her with the EY Next Wave Leadership Award. According to a press release dated December 14, 2017, the award "honors rising professionals who are leading the future of our cultural community."

“We have a few honorees that are statewide in scope, but she’s the only one this year who’s focused in [the Springs]," says CBCA program director Meredith Badler. “For us to be able to spotlight things outside the Denver Metro area is important.”

It's not the first time the CBCA has honored someone from the Springs — it honored arts consulting firm TRG Arts last year — but it's a step towards  plans to increase statewide reach and presence.

"We’re looking for [partnership opportunities] in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region," says Badler. “I think Kate’s going to be a great advocate for that.”

Read the full press release below:
CBCA Announces 2018 Business for the Arts Awards Honorees

Denver - Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) announces 12 honorees for its 2018 Business for the Arts Awards, the only statewide event honoring companies and individuals for their outstanding partnerships and engagement with the arts. CBCA also reveals a new format for these awards, including the addition of two new categories connected to CBCA programs.

All honorees will be celebrated at the Business for the Arts Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Over 700 corporate, cultural and civic leaders will attend this inspiring, arts-infused event.

2018 Business for the Arts Awards Honorees

The Business for the Arts Awards Honorees are exemplary organizations that have gone above and beyond to support the arts and creative industries.

Bellco Credit Union has a strong and sustained commitment to philanthropy in the arts, including Denver Art Museum’s Free for Kids program.
Dazzle, Denver’s premier jazz venue and restaurant, has been supporting musicians, arts education and community causes of all kinds for over 10 years.
Delta Dental of Colorado enhances cultural vitality through sponsorship, programming and employee engagement, bringing art and smiles to faces across the state.
Downtown Artery is a creative hub in Fort Collins that supports a community of creators, including a performance venue, gallery space, classrooms, studios and a café.
Gensler, the international architecture firm, has made a lasting impact on Access Gallery through a decade of steadfast, growing and multi-faceted involvement.
RTD & City of Aurora, in partnership, made an extraordinary and exemplary investment in public art with the creation of the light rail’s R Line.
Stanley Marketplace opened its doors in Aurora with innovative arts partnerships ranging from experimental immersive theater experiences to pop-up art galleries.
Xcel Energy supports outreach and access to arts and cultural organizations across Colorado through philanthropy and an extensive employee volunteer program.

EY Next Wave Leadership Award

The EY Next Wave Leadership Award honors rising professionals who are leading the future of our cultural community.

Kate Perdoni, Producer of Arts District, Rocky Mountain PBS, has spearheaded cultural growth in Colorado Springs through her leadership of the Pikes Peak Arts Council and activation of DIY venues and pop-up events.

John Madden, Jr. Leadership Award

Named for CBCA’s founding chairman, the John Madden, Jr. Leadership Award recognizes a lifetime of extraordinary leadership and a legacy of support for the arts.

Hal Logan, Founder & Director, Basic Materials and Services LLC, has exemplified profound and dedicated cultural leadership at Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Scientific & Cultural Facilities District and more.

Colorado Attorneys for the Arts (CAFTA): Volunteer Attorney of the Year

New in 2018: The Volunteer Attorney of the Year recognizes an outstanding attorney who has provided pro bono legal services to Colorado creatives and advanced CBCA’s Colorado Attorneys for the Arts program.

Caroline R. Kert, Attorney, Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin, has provided pro bono legal services to artists, community outreach for CAFTA and supports the creative vitality of Colorado through her volunteerism.

Leadership Arts Alumni Network (LAAN): Cultural Leadership Award

New in 2018 as part of the Business for the Arts Awards: The Cultural Leadership Award recognizes an outstanding graduate of CBCA's Leadership Arts program who had made an impact on arts and culture in Colorado.

Cecily Cullen, Managing Director & Curator, Center for Visual Art, Metropolitan State University of Denver (Leadership Arts 2011), has been an enthusiastic advocate for the arts through her years of volunteer service, mentorship and community engagement.

The 2018 Business for the Arts Awards Honorees, John Madden, Jr. Leadership Award, and the EY Next Wave Leadership Award were selected by an independent panel of arts, business and community leaders.

Matt Chasansky, Manager, Office of Arts + Culture, City of Boulder
Renny Fagan, President & CEO, Colorado Nonprofit Association
Joe Lear, Principal, Davis Partnership
Clarence Low, President & CEO, Asian Chamber of Commerce
J. Schuyler Madden, Project Director, Museum of Outdoor Arts
Maureen McDonald, Principal, Maureen McDonald, LLC
Allison Scheck, Public Engagement & Operations Manager, City of Lakewood
The Volunteer Attorney of the Year Award was selected by the CAFTA Advisory Committee. The Cultural Leadership Award was selected by the LAAN Award Committee.

CBCA thanks our generous sponsors who make this event possible. Corporate sponsors include EY and John Madden Company. In-kind and media partners are CBS4, ColoradoBiz, Ligature Creative and The Publishing House.

Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) advances Colorado’s creative economy by connecting business and the arts through arts engagement, advocacy, leadership training, research, and volunteerism. CBCA is a nonprofit member organization of leading Colorado companies who recognize the link between cultural vitality and economic success. Learn more at

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Springs' Artspace project speeds up with Downtown Development Authority funding

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 3:56 PM

Claire Swinford of the Downtown Partnership (left) and Kate Perdoni of Pikes Peak Arts Council and the Colorado Springs Creative Collective visited the Loveland Artspace earlier this year. - COURTESY KATE PERDONI
  • Courtesy Kate Perdoni
  • Claire Swinford of the Downtown Partnership (left) and Kate Perdoni of Pikes Peak Arts Council and the Colorado Springs Creative Collective visited the Loveland Artspace earlier this year.
For the last two years, the Colorado Springs Creative Collective, a group of local artists and community stakeholders led by Bob Wolfson, has been working to establish an Artspace development in Colorado Springs. Artspace, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, creates affordable live/work space for artists across the country, with developments in Loveland and Trinidad in Colorado, plus cities in 17 other states. Following a survey to gauge public interest, results of which were released early this fall, the collective planned to move forward with an Artspace development here in town.

Now, that plan has been accelerated by involvement from the Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority, which has taken the reins of the project. The board pledged unanimously to fund the entire next phase of the Artspace project — $750,000 in total.

This marks a monumental investment by a city entity in funding for the arts. Laurel Prud’homme of the Downtown Partnership says: “The [majority of] survey respondents said that their interest in this type of a property — they wanted to see it downtown. We think that makes a lot of sense, too. We know that if the DDA is able to step in with this kind of funding, that gets the ball rolling now.”

Going through a nonprofit or philanthropic funding source, she says, could take years.

To read more about what the next phase of an Artspace development may entail, and to hear the DDA’s official statement, see the full press release below.

Colorado Springs, CO – The board of directors of the Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority (CSDDA) this week unanimously approved a funding commitment of up to $750,000 to support a three-stage contract to bring an Artspace project to Downtown Colorado Springs. The project, upon completion, would bring approximately 50 to 70 units of affordable housing or live/work spaces for individuals and families working in the creative industries to Downtown.

Artspace is a national nonprofit organization that delivers sustainable, affordable living and working space for individuals and families in the arts and craft industries. Artspace leads the industry with more than 35 properties and nearly 2,000 residential units specifically serving artists and creatives coast to coast, and each property remains affordable in perpetuity.

For the past two years, the effort to bring Artspace to Colorado Springs has been envisioned and led by the Colorado Springs Creative Collaborative, a group of creatives and volunteers helmed by local advocate Bob Wolfson. “The project was borne out of a proactive stance for Colorado Springs to be a community that welcomes creatives with an affordable place to work and live in the face of market changes and growth that often outprice creatives from urban areas, and sometimes from the city overall,” said Wolfson. With this week’s action, the CSDDA now takes the helm of the project.

A typical Artspace project progresses through four phases of development. In the first phase Artspace visits a community and determines the pre-feasibility of the project and whether the community is in a position to lead an effort and eventually absorb the project. The second phase is an Arts Market Survey, which was completed in Colorado Springs earlier this year. A summary of survey results can be found at

The project now enters the third, pre-development phase, which involves obtaining a site, designing the project, and finalizing the financial model to allow the project to obtain competitive Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and other sources common to affordable housing development. This phase of the project is expected to take one-and-a-half to two years, after which, if successful, Artspace will move toward construction and opening.

“We are very excited with the prospect of building a new project in Colorado Springs and are thrilled to be moving into this next stage of development with such robust support and partnership from the CSDDA” said Shannon Joern, Vice President of National Advancement for Artspace.

About Artspace:
Artspace is the nation's nonprofit leader in artist-led community transformation, with more than 46 projects in operation across the country and another dozen in development, representing a unique, $600 million investment in America's arts infrastructure. With headquarters in Minneapolis and offices in Denver, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington D.C., Artspace is America's leading developer of arts facilities and has served as a consultant to hundreds of communities and arts organizations nationwide. To date, Artspace has completed nearly 2,000 affordable residential units and more than 300 creative businesses and working studios. Presence in Colorado includes Artspace Loveland Arts Campus, and projects in planning and development stages in Trinidad, Lakewood, Denver’s RiNo Arts District, Ridgway, and others.

About Downtown Development Authority
The CSDDA builds public and private investment partnerships that promote the physical and economic growth of Downtown Colorado Springs. Downtown property owners voted to establish the CSDDA in November 2006 to provide programs and financial support to encourage downtown development. CSDDA is governed by a board of 11 people appointed by Colorado Springs City Council. For more information visit, or contact Downtown Colorado Springs at 719.886.0088.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Wasteland Express Delivery Service: Trucking for loot on the post-apocalyptic highway

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 10:36 PM

Wanna die historic on the Fury Road?

How about making some scratch (or $crap, as the currency of this world is called) as a nervy driver for the world’s last over-the-road trucking company? That’s the proposition of Wasteland Express Delivery Service (WEDS).


In terms of marrying mechanics to theme, I’ve always found that semi-open-ended game worlds with “pick up and deliver” schemes are incredibly effective. It’s hard not to get sucked in as you invest hard earned money into upgrades for your vehicle and plot the most profitable and least dangerous way to ply the game’s radiation zones on your way to your ultimate goal — to be the first player to complete three first-class priority missions.

The missons are often done at the behest of one of the game’s three organized factions: The Oracles of Ceres (return-to-nature fanatics), The Archivists (return-to-technological-glory fanatics) or the New Republic Army (law-and-order-at-all-costs fanatics). Then there are the raider enclaves, whose roaming trucks can put a dent in your plans.

You’ll have a lot of options as to what kind of missions to take on. In my last test play I invested money from a successful water shipment into a digging modification for my rig that allowed me to unearth dig sites in hopes of finding treasures that one of the settlements was after. LIttle did I know some of the sites are busts — just an empty hole — and some are in irradiated zones which damaged my truck every time I entered them.

WEDS' game play produces an immersion akin to what you’d experience in a role playing game, except much more streamlined and structured. Each of the five available drivers has a backstory, a rig that matches the illustration on your character board, and a particular mix of starting modifications. (You can outfit your rig with improved weaponry, movement ability, escort drivers, radiation shields and more from the "Mod Shop.")

For pure visual design, organization and tactile appeal, I don’t have a title on my shelf that is likely to surpass WEDS: sprawling, minutely orchestrated and thought through down to the last piece (it has stackable sorting trays that neatly fit every one of the game’s hundreds of pieces). It’s a wasteland with a satin finish. I actually giggled when we were setting up our first play and I saw how neatly the food, water and ammo cargo stacked into the beds of the raider trucks that rove around the map.

The game’s incredible production quality also comes with a large helping of thematic personality, from the detailed narrative that undergirds its apocalyptic tableau, to the deadpan humor of the cards and the insanely good illustrations that comic artist Riccardo Burchielli lavished onto every card and board.

My frame of reference for evaluating this from a pure gameplay perspective is the piracy classic, Merchants & Marauders. WEDS’ dynamics are almost entirely inspired by M&M: you have a captain with a name and specific advantages, an upgradeable craft with which to seek the game’s dangers and opportunities and various outposts where you can buy or sell in-demand goods to buy upgrades for your rig. But while WEDS occupies an edgier tableau, its game decisions are decidedly less risky than its forebear: M&M derives a large degree of its voltage from the possibility of having your ship ransacked and sunk (and your captain killed) by other players, pirates or military vessels.

I’m all for not taking it personally when the logic of a game dictates that other players give me an opportune stomping, but I can think of fewer “kicked in the stomach” feelings as acute as raiding a merchant vessel for a big take, then having your ship sunk by another player before you can cash in. It never goes down easy. So the fact that in WEDS players all work for the same company and may not attack each other’s rigs will either be a welcome emotional guardrail or make the game feel “nerfed,” depending on your perspective. (As a matter of fact, you can’t even get your truck destroyed; if you take too many hits, it just shuts down your ability to carry cargo and use your mods until you make a pit stop and pay for repairs; a hindrance, but not the same level of risk as losing a grand ship to the depths.)

Raider trucks shuttle around the wasteland, too, hoping to waylay you — seek them out or run the risk of ambush. If you’re the combative type, you can also go pick a fight at one of the raider enclaves on the board and raid them for cargo to flip on the open market to fuel some of your longer-term goals.

Combat is also much simpler in WEDS — you simply try to surpass a raiders’ defense value with a combination of a single throw of the dice and whatever offensive mods your truck has, while M&M’s more crunchy combat scheme allows for more tactical risk and reward such as boarding and fleeing actions. Lose a squabble with a raider in WEDS and your truck takes a point of damage — then you generally get on with your life, as opposed to your ship sent to the bottom of the sea.

After our trial run, we watched a “how to play” WEDS video on YouTube and discovered we got about 80% of the game right in our first try (standard for learning a designer game, in my experience). The sprawling rulebook and profusion of components make the game look more complex than it actually is, so we’re excited to get this one on the table again soon. Buy this if you love the theme and artwork, and don’t mind investing some time in managing the components — there’s a pretty intuitive, slick and engaging game residing at the core.

Nate Warren is a Colorado Springs-based copywriter who offers both the veteran gamer and the uninitiated a local window into the burgeoning and wildly creative world of hobby and designer board games enjoyed by fanatics and connoisseurs — around the corner and and across the globe.

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Local magician Cosmo Solano opens Cosmo's Magic Theater

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 3:21 PM

  • Cosmo Solano
Not everyone would be willing to store 100 theater seats in their garage like local magician Cosmo Solano — or has a spouse who would let them.

"[She] thought I was out of my mind," Solano says of his wife.

But the seats proved to come in handy, and now have a new place in the Pueblo native's Cosmo’s Magic Theater, where Solano performs his world class sleight of hand, mentalism, and classic magic tricks.

Solano fell in love with magic at an early age. For him, the reactions to his magic was amplified with a powerful need to see more.

“I was really interested in how and why (magic) worked,” Solano says. “I was fascinated with the method behind it.”

After high school Solano took his talents to Los Angels, working as a movie extra and making connections in the entertainment industry. At 21, he became a member of the world-famous Hollywood Magic Castle and found himself learning from and hobnobbing with legends of the trade. Solano also spent time performing in Las Vegas before returning to Colorado.

“I’ve always been a bit of a tinkerer,” Solano, who also creates his own tricks, says.

His creations have been performed around the globe, including by Chris Angel and making an appearance on "America’s Got Talent."

“I’m a big advocate for elevating magic as an art form,” he says.

Most recently, Solano has been hosting performances in a small theater in his home called The Close Up Room, with seating for about 15 people, and building a dedicated following. He always wanted to open a permanent theater, though, and finally got the chance when a business partner emerged.

"I told him that [opening a venue] had always been a goal of mine," says Solano of his unnamed business partner. "Next thing I knew, we were doing it."

Cosmo's Magic Theater — and its fresh-out-of-storage seats — hosted its first audience in early October, with only a handful of subsequent performances (Solano's still working through existing bookings). Future plans include weekly performances and hopes of featuring acts from around the world once a month, in addition to Solano's shows.

Solano performs during one of his Close Up Room events. - CLOSEUPROOM.COM
  • Solano performs during one of his Close Up Room events.

Attendees will see a little bit of everything in Solano's performances as he showcases his background in mentalism and sleight of hand, with storytelling woven in — never cheesy or cliché.

"This fun but heavy duty magic,” he says.

The next show at Cosmo’s Magic Theater is Dec. 9. Tickets start at $22.

Jonathan Toman serves as the Peak Radar Manager for the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. connects you to over 4,000 local events, 450 creative groups, & 350 artists — all in one beautiful website for the Pikes Peak region. Jonathan can be reached at

Click here for this month’s events. To sign up for the Peak Radar weekly e-blast, click here.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Open mics, opening receptions and more events to keep you busy this week

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 1:00 AM

7 Thursday

Winner of seven Tony Awards, Annie stands as one of the most iconic musicals of all time,
suitable and generally enjoyable for all ages. The musical was originally based on the daily comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, which ran (with varying levels of success) between 1924 and 2010. If you need another reason to go, you should know that Annie’s dog will be played onstage by a foster pup from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, a graduate of the organization’s “wallflower program” to socialize shy dogs. Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., select Saturday and Sunday matinées, 2 p.m., and other select dates through Jan. 7, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, 30 W. Dale St., $20-$45,

8 Friday

Mi Barrio
Brandon A. Miera, aka BAM, is a local artist best known for his movie and rock music posters. This is Miera’s first show with his 16-year-old son Rodan “Read” Miera, who follows in his old man’s rock ’n’ roll footsteps with unique graffiti art. Opening reception includes refreshments and live music by DJ Gravity, plus plenty of art for sale and a meet-and-greet with the Mieras. Opening reception, Dec. 8, 6-10 p.m., on display through Jan. 5, Art 111, 111 E. Bijou St.,

9 Saturday

Holiday Party & Ornament Auction
This inaugural event, hosted by Cottonwood and the Colorado chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, supports local artists and crafters. Each ornament in this juried silent auction was created and donated by a local artist, and proceeds from the auction will help fund
Cottonwood’s 2018 events. More than an auction, this is a full-on party: look forward to live music, giveaways, food and more. Dec. 9, 4-8 p.m., Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado Ave., $15-$20,

11 Monday

Hear, Here! Speaking of Faith Open Mic
Poets, musicians and storytellers are welcome to share their interfaith work, anything that addresses the concept of faith or spirituality. This marks another of Hear, Here!’s themed open mics, which have included opportunities for queer, black and differently abled folks to share their work. Hear, Here! is participating in this year’s Give! campaign, hoping to support their youth and adult slam poetry teams. Dec. 11, 7-10 p.m., donations accepted,
Wild Goose Meeting House, 401 N. Tejon St.,

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