Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret takes the drag sensation to another level

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 1:00 AM

The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, 8 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $24, uccspresents.org.
  • The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, 8 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $24, uccspresents.org.
Anyone who’s seen a drag show knows the art of drag must always be larger than life. In the sensation lies the appeal, after all. Well, the sensation and the pure delight of watching a queen own her stage, and own the audience while she’s at it. But a Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret takes that sensation to the next level. With her band, Martha Graham Cracker performs a variety of music of all eras and genres, with plentiful classic rock and pop — “familiar songs in unfamiliar ways, or weird mashups,” says Dito van Reigersberg, who portrays Martha Graham Cracker onstage. Performed in a cabaret style, this show offers an opportunity for audience interaction and connection (watch out, front row), and Martha Graham Cracker’s playful personality will undoubtedly shine through. Van Reigersberg described his character in a Q&A with UCCS’ Artists Series in November: “She is the tallest, hairiest drag queen in the world. She is a flirt. She likes to confuse you. She is clumsy. She makes mistakes. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She is quick-witted. She likes polysyllabic words. She is honest. She is outspoken.”
Before the main performance, the audience can attend a prologue lecture at 2:30 p.m., where van Reigersberg will discuss the art of cabaret. Cabaret represents a long-standing tradition, and van Reigersberg says it’s more valuable to audiences now than ever. “I think live performance is still a place and time when you can’t avoid the messy joy of communal human contact — it seems an antidote for the alienating, virtual world we find ourselves living in.”
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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Amahl and the Night Visitors brings opera to all ages

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Nov. 28-29, 7 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $20, coloradospringsconservatory.org. - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS CONSERVATORY
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Conservatory
  • Nov. 28-29, 7 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $20, coloradospringsconservatory.org.
Seldom considered family entertainment, the art of opera has a highbrow reputation, but this 1951 holiday opera by Gian Carlo Menotti makes opera accessible to all ages, and the Colorado Springs Conservatory has presented it annually for nearly 20 years. The story follows a boy and his mother who have become beggars, but a visit by the three Magi changes their lives. This year, the Conservatory has chosen to set the tale during the Great Depression. Its director of design, C.C. Wells, calls it “a profound design.” Most exciting about this performance, however: Its cast includes hundreds of children and adults, including 100 students from the Conservatory, plus members of the Ballet Society of Colorado Springs, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs and the Colorado Springs Chorale. Clocking in at just under an hour, this sweet tale will hold the kids’ attention, and teach some holiday lessons along the way. 
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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Springs Community Arts Festival is the start of something new at Stargazers

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Stargazers Theatre has been on a long, strange trip since its early days as a fancy-pants movie theater — well, as fancy as one could get in 1969. The glittering dome on Pikes Peak Avenue has never been one for sticking to restrictive labels, and its constant adaptability over the decades has resulted in a venue-of-all-trades. My own visits over the last 20 years have included multiple punk and rock shows, a midnight screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show, an awards ceremony and several film festivals. It also enjoyed a brief stint as a church, which was pretty surreal for a building that once hosted rapping clowns spraying gallons of soda into a screaming crowd of other clowns. Since 2008, when it came under the loving care of owners Cindy and John Hooten, Stargazers Theatre has seen more than 1,500 events and never once lost the flexible charm that has kept it going when other venues faded away. So since it’s always up to something, particularly events that support the community, music and the arts, the Hootens have decided that the next something they’ll present is the Colorado Springs Community Arts Festival. It will consist of a free show with many different nonprofit and education musical acts (none specifically named in promotional materials), dance performances and visual arts. It’s the first of a series of events that Stargazers says it’ll host in association with instrument retailer Guitar Center; so get in on the ground floor here.
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Monday, November 26, 2018

UCCS Visiting Artists and Critics Series welcomes Dani and Sheilah Restack

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2018 at 10:19 AM

Visiting Artists and Critics Series: Sheilah and Dani Restack at Ent Center for the Arts, 6:30-7:30 p.m., UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., free, uccspresents.org.
  • Visiting Artists and Critics Series: Sheilah and Dani Restack at Ent Center for the Arts, 6:30-7:30 p.m., UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., free, uccspresents.org.
UCCS hasn’t just been growing outward with new buildings and housing, it’s growing from within as well. Every department in the college seems set on cultivating new opportunities for students to learn and experience beyond the classroom, resulting in an impressive roster of guest speakers. This week, the UCCS Visiting Artists and Critics Series welcomes Dani and Sheilah Restack, two artists with an impressive list of accolades in film and the visual arts. In addition to building their lives together with a young daughter, the couple has also melded aspects of their artistic careers, producing new collaborative works that have enhanced and expanded their individual strengths. Their 2017 short film Strangely Ordinary This Devotion received accolades for its raw examination of domestic life blended with jarring imagery and intense moments. Attendees can learn about the artists’ existing collaborations during this event, plus gain insights on their newest project, Future From Inside.
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Friday, November 16, 2018

Ormao Dance Company's best-of-the-best showcase draws on 29 years of history

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Nov. 18, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $21-$26, ormaodance.org. - TMDEXTER PHOTOGRAPHY
  • TMDexter Photography
  • Nov. 18, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $21-$26, ormaodance.org.
On the docket this weekend: a new day, a new venue and a new concept for Ormao Dance Company, which has never put together a “best of the best” showcase of their patrons’ favorite dances. With nearly 29 years of history to draw on, a thousand possible combinations could have gone into this show. Would the tone be too heavy? Too light? Would the pieces work together or feel divergent? Ormao artistic director Janet Johnson says their showcases always present a “mixed bag,” even when based on a loose theme, but this lineup came together perfectly. After soliciting nominations from patrons earlier this year, Ormao has chosen four legacy performances and one premiere to fill out Ovation!, their first performance at the Ent Center for the Arts.

Patrizia Herminjard, the current artist in residence at Colorado College, choreographed the premiere piece of the show: “On the Nature of Daylight.” According to Johnson, this piece represents the cycle of a day, with one dancer, Prentiss Benjamin, performing on an AstroTurf stage in front of a time-lapse video of grass growing. Benjamin, an accomplished Equity actress, has a theatrical approach to her dance that Johnson says makes her “a real force,” and the perfect dancer to tackle Herminjard’s ambitious piece. “It speaks to the passage of time,” says Johnson, “and movement in cycles,” which makes it an appropriate addition to this retrospective.
“Fear Silences,” Johnson’s director’s pick, also speaks to the concept of cycles. Conceptually dealing with J. Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI, and the culture of America during his tenure, “Fear Silences” includes voice-overs of Hoover’s speeches on the soundtrack. The piece mirrors the paranoia he inspired, and his obsession with rooting out radicals — in his department and in America as a whole. “We should be thinking about it,” Johnson says. “Understanding it’s a cycle that repeats in our country.”

Other dances on the docket include “Umbreller,” “Proximity” and “Lapsus,” three pieces with incredibly different tones. The generally uplifting “Umbreller,” choreographed by Hsin-Yu Kao and performed with prop umbrellas, stands in contrast to the emotional depths of “Lapsus.” Choreographed by Mike Tyus, “Lapsus” represents struggle, the fall toward rock bottom. “Proximity” walks a line somewhere between the two, a duet performed on and around boxes that represent “the compartments we find ourselves living in.” Johnson says the choreographer, Tiffany Tinsley Weeks of UCCS, worked with her dancers’ strengths, even altering movements from the original piece to highlight their advantages.

When a dance company has been around as long as Ormao, and seen as many successes, audiences can bet on a good show no matter what they put on. But you can walk into the Ent Center on Sunday knowing that these pieces really are the best of the best. “This is quintessential Ormao,” Johnson says. “Huge variety, and each one is its own journey.”
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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Ladies of Laughter Comedy Show is sure to deliver a much-needed, hilarious ladies night

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Nov. 17, 8-10 p.m., Gold Camp Brewing Company, 1007 S. Tejon St., free to attend; performers earn a percentage of beer sales, facebook.com/goldcampbrew. - COURTESY MEGHAN DEPONCEAU
  • Courtesy Meghan DePonceau
  • Nov. 17, 8-10 p.m., Gold Camp Brewing Company, 1007 S. Tejon St., free to attend; performers earn a percentage of beer sales, facebook.com/goldcampbrew.
Even in 2018, too much of what we see reflects the Smurfette principle, which refers to the common trope of a single woman included in an ensemble of men — whether in superhero groups (Black Widow, Wonder Woman) or, as it turns out, in local comedy. “The comedy scene is still dominated by males, and a lot of the time the typical audience at showcases is a split of genders,” says local comedian Melody Klema, who has been performing in the Springs for three years. “It is common for bookers to have just one lady on a show and the rest are guys. Thus women don’t get to work with each other as often.” With that in mind, Klema has decided to host some of her favorite local funnywomen at Gold Camp Brewing Company for a much-needed ladies’ night. Comedians Kolleen Conley, Priscilla Spangler, Tracy Kellett, Alyssa Townsend, Meghan DePonceau and Klema herself will each perform a set for the audience. “It is new and exciting for the audience because a lot of them haven’t even seen six female comedians perform ever, let alone in one show.”
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KaPow's planned the perfect Local Comic Shop Day celebration

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Nov. 17, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., KaPow Comics & Coffee, 4239 N. Nevada Ave., facebook.com/kapowcomicsandcoffee. - ROBIN AND CORY CHILDS / MOKO PRESS LLC
  • Robin and Cory Childs / Moko Press LLC
  • Nov. 17, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., KaPow Comics & Coffee, 4239 N. Nevada Ave., facebook.com/kapowcomicsandcoffee.
Gold winners in the Indy’s 2018 Best Of competition for Best Comic Shop, KaPow Comics & Coffee has proven itself a staple of the local comics community. It seems fitting, then, to join them to celebrate Local Comic Shop Day, a national initiative recognizing hometown stores. Show up early for exclusive and limited-edition comics releases, or pop in throughout the day for a demonstration by Undercover Capes Podcast Network, or an opportunity to utilize some awesome pop-up dioramas for action figure photography. A particular highlight: six local artists, as part of KaPow’s monthly artist showcase, will be around to display and sell their work, and some may be taking commissions.
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Ritual skate film is back to showcase local talent

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Nov. 17, 7 p.m., Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave., $5-$8, blacksheeprocks.com. - MIKE BARGAS
  • Mike Bargas
  • Nov. 17, 7 p.m., Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave., $5-$8, blacksheeprocks.com.
Ritual Skateboards owner Ryan Heier, who respects the “old school” staples of skating culture, has made it his mission to keep the art of the skateboard film alive. “‘Cause it’s kind of like a dying media,” Heier explains. “Most people just want to see short Instagram clips. No one has the patience to put some time into something.” In 2016, a couple years after taking over the then-defunct Ritual Skateboards company from local skating pioneer Adam Bauer, Heier produced Ritual 1, a showcase of local skaters’ talents. Since its premiere two years ago, he has poured about 2,000 hours’ worth of editing and many more hours of filming into Ritual 2, a new film to be screened at the Black Sheep this weekend. It’s meant to bring the skateboarding community together and show off the interesting and diverse talents of its subjects. “I just want to be a positive influence, and help inspire other people,” Heier says. “Nothing comes easily, so that’s kind of my whole thing. It’s all about the struggle.” Before and after the 74-minute film, the audience can look forward to live music by Cyineyed, Sore Eyes and Mondo Obscura.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Reckless shows Funky Little Theater Company is stretching its capabilities

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 11:09 AM

Fridays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., through Dec. 1, and Thurs., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m., Funky Little Theater Company, 1367 Pecan St., $15-$19, funkylittletheater.org - CHRIS MEDINA
  • Chris Medina
  • Fridays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., through Dec. 1, and Thurs., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m., Funky Little Theater Company, 1367 Pecan St., $15-$19, funkylittletheater.org
Six months and a few shows after moving to its new space, Funky Little Theater Company has already stretched the limits of their larger theater’s capabilities. With their upcoming play Reckless, they not only stretch the bounds of the space, but also the bounds of the playwright’s “semi-linear” storyline. Craig Lucas’ Reckless, written and set in the mid-’80s, begins with a woman talking to her husband on Christmas Eve, musing about memory and identity. But her husband, clearly at the end of his rope, breaks down and admits that he has hired someone to kill her, and she needs to leave immediately if she wants to live. She climbs out the kitchen window to escape, and the rest is history — her history, to be exact. “From that point, we’re off,” says director Thom Dygert. “We’re off on this kind of journey, and memory is how we found a way to give it some structure. ... As soon as she climbs out that window things kind of go haywire, and we’re playing in a world of memory and confused identity.”
Smooth transitions take the place of scene breaks, and a multi-level set plays with pop-up set pieces and silhouettes to indicate setting, recreating the vague feeling of memory within the set itself. Funky artistic director Chris Medina says: “The set sometimes can be just a set, but in this capacity the set has almost become a character.” It carries our protagonist Rachel through memories of Christmas Eves past, and through gains and losses that contribute to her concept of her own self.

The effect of the play should prove almost dreamlike until we catch up to the present. “If it is a memory, when does she catch up to what she’s doing now?” Dygert asks. “She’s kind of unscrambling the memory as she goes.”
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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Experience Vintage Hitchcock in 1940s-style radio

Posted By on Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play, Fridays, Saturdays, 7-10 p.m., and Sundays 3-6 p.m., through Nov. 18, 
Rialto Theater, 209 W. Main St., Florence, $10-$12, historicrialtotheater.org. - LISA STEELE
  • Lisa Steele
  • Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play, Fridays, Saturdays, 7-10 p.m., and Sundays 3-6 p.m., through Nov. 18, 
Rialto Theater, 209 W. Main St., Florence, $10-$12, historicrialtotheater.org.
Though undoubtedly one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t just a visual storyteller. His suspenseful, tense, meaningful and disturbing tales translate well to audio and stage, even without the film techniques that made him famous. A few of these stories — Hitchcock’s early films The Lodger, Sabotage and The 39 Steps — have been combined into a 1940s-style radio play, written by Joe Landry and performed this month by Florence’s Rialto Players. Rialto Players artistic director RC Wilkins says of the show: “[This] is a Readers Theater performance, a dramatic presentation of a written work in script form. ... The experience intends to recreate an old-time radio broadcast. The audience will experience the stories through the magic of sound: the actors’ voices, music and the foley, who creates the sound effects live onstage.” Moreover, audiences can enjoy this show in the recently renovated Rialto Theater, a historic building erected in 1923, which has been painstakingly restored to its original splendor.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Anything's possible when Cirque hits the Springs

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Cirque Italia: Aquatic Spectacular, Nov. 8-10, 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 10-11, 1:30 and 4:30 p.m., Citadel Mall, 
750 Citadel Drive East, $10-$35/child, $20-$40/adult, cirqueitalia.com. - COURTESY CIRQUE ITALIA
  • Courtesy Cirque Italia
  • Cirque Italia: Aquatic Spectacular, Nov. 8-10, 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 10-11, 1:30 and 4:30 p.m., Citadel Mall, 
750 Citadel Drive East, $10-$35/child, $20-$40/adult, cirqueitalia.com.
Cirque Italia represents a true international effort, featuring performers from all over the world, but promising a Las Vegas flair. Performed over a 35,000-
gallon tank of water, Cirque Italia brings together expert acrobats and cirque artists of all varieties, from aerialists to jugglers, hula hoopers and roller skaters. Though this won’t be the cirque’s first foray into Colorado Springs, it will be the first time locals get a chance to see Aquatic Spectacular, a brand new production with plentiful surprises. “It is even possible for a prehistoric dinosaur to make an appearance,” says producer Chanté DeMoustes. “Let your imagination wander, because anything is possible...”
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The Tap is an underdog story, and who doesn't love that

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2018 at 1:00 AM

The Tap, Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m., through Nov. 25, 
Millibo Art Theatre, 1626 S. Tejon St., $18-$25, themat.org. - MILLIBO ART THEATRE
  • Millibo Art Theatre
  • The Tap, Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m., through Nov. 25, 
Millibo Art Theatre, 1626 S. Tejon St., $18-$25, themat.org.
Local playwright and actor Steve Emily, who once made his home in Chicago, has seen many neighborhoods change the way many areas of our own city have begun changing. New businesses turn neglected neighborhoods into trendy hotspots, and local establishments like bars and restaurants either fade away or transform into the next big thing. “And I just kind of thought, well, what happens to those people who have been going there for years and years?” Emily says. “Because they’re not going to feel comfortable in whatever this new place is. So where do they end up going?”

That thought formed the basis of The Tap, Emily’s original play, which will premiere at the Millibo Art Theatre this weekend. The Tap follows a bartender named Mike who has inherited the bar from his family and has to weigh its importance to its patrons against his opportunity to change with the times. But more than a story about gentrification, The Tap is a story about Mike’s regulars, three of whom appear at the bar on Christmas Eve, bringing their own baggage with them. “I’ve always been kind of attracted to those people on the outskirts who just kind of live their lives and don’t really make an impression,” Emily says. “It’s an underdog story. And who doesn’t love an underdog?”

These regulars — an older cab driver, a faded beauty queen and a woman suffering in an abusive marriage — are certainly underdogs, but they’re 
relatable in their own ways.
“The issues that [The Tap] touches on are quite relevant to today,” says director Jim Jackson. “There’s a whole spouse abuse thing, there’s a whole drug addiction thing. There’s just a lot of things which everyday people bump up against, some in really big ways.”

But in spite of heavy themes like gentrification and abuse, it isn’t necessarily a dark play. Nor does it promise the kind of cloying, saccharine schmaltz of many stories set around the holidays.

“It’s got a rawness to it,” Jackson says, “and a realness, a grittiness to it, but it’s not cynical.” Both he and Emily compare its effect to that of a Tom Waits song.

After the show each night, to encourage the same sense of community that unites these characters at their neighborhood bar, the MAT encourages attendees to come down to the stage after the show, and enjoy a free beer on the set with the actors (provided by a different local brewery each weekend). It should help us all adhere to Emily’s advice: “Look up every now and then, and notice your neighbors.”
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Friday, November 2, 2018

PPCC to host Women's Hall of Fame portraits exhibit

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2018 at 1:03 PM

Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Portrait Exhibit, On display Nov. 5-9, Pikes Peak Community College Centennial Campus, 
5675 S. Academy Blvd., ppcc.edu.
  • Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Portrait Exhibit, On display Nov. 5-9, Pikes Peak Community College Centennial Campus, 
5675 S. Academy Blvd., ppcc.edu.
Dedicated to honoring the women of Colorado who have made (and currently make) impacts in their communities, the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame boasts 162 inductees, with 10 more honored every two years. Many of these women are unsung heroes of Colorado, like the Springs’ own Fannie Mae Duncan, or Ellis Meredith, a suffragist who was once called the Susan B. Anthony of Colorado. In honor of Pikes Peak Community College’s Veteran’s Day celebration, the Hall of Fame has lent a selection of portraits from its collection to help PPCC students and the public learn more about some extraordinary Colorado women. Each portrait in this selection represents a woman with a military, military-related, aerospace or aviation background. “Our newest member of this exhibit is Lieutenant General (Retired) Susan Helms,” says Nancy Lorentz, portraits chair for the Hall of Fame. “She is part of an elite group of NASA astronauts. She was the first military woman in space and holds the world record for the longest spacewalk [8 hours, 56 minutes].” Her portrait, and portraits of her fellow inductees, will be on display through Nov. 9.
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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Warren Miller Entertainment celebrates the Face of Winter in all of us

Posted By on Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Warren Miller: Face of Winter, Nov. 2-3, 7:30 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $21-$23, pikespeakcenter.com. - JEFF WRIGHT COURTESY WARREN MILLER ENTERTAINMENT
  • Jeff Wright courtesy Warren Miller Entertainment
  • Warren Miller: Face of Winter, Nov. 2-3, 7:30 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $21-$23, pikespeakcenter.com.
In January 2018, filmmaker Warren Miller passed away, leaving a legacy of 68 ski- and snowboard-centric films that followed the world’s best athletes to some of the toughest (and most beautiful) mountains in the world. But these films, always released annually, haven’t ended with Miller’s passing. His company, Warren Miller Entertainment, has taken up the torch to bring Face of Winter to venues across the U.S., including our own Pikes Peak Center. Warren Miller Entertainment managing director Andy Hawk said: “The film is for anyone whose life (whether they realize it or not) was impacted by Warren Miller. We are all the face of winter — from the athletes to the audience to the locals in far-off destinations or even at our home mountain. Warren recognized this, and this year’s film celebrates that.”
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