Arts

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Stage, silent film, solid metaphors and more recommended events this week

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 1:00 AM

15 Thursday

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The Totalitarians
Politics are scary these days, no doubt about it, but sometimes it’s easiest to take the power out of something by laughing at it. This dark comedy by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb follows a candidate for Nebraska state office, her charismatic speech-writer, and the rippling effects of her dirty campaign. Washingtonian.com says this is “the kind of hilarious but unsettling show in which a character gurgling on his own blood while he’s trying to make a speech gets huge laughs from the audience.” Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., and Sundays, 4 p.m., through March 4, Springs Ensemble Theatre, 1903 Cache La Poudre St., $10-$15, springsensembletheatre.org.

16 Friday

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Silent Film Soirée: Roaring ’20s Costume Party & Kids Night Out
Enjoy a screening of the 1928 classic The Cameraman, starring Buster Keaton and Springs-born Marceline Day, with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. Far from just a screening: The night includes drinks, dessert, a ‘20s-themed costume party, photobooth and more. While parents enjoy the party, kids can attend a screening of their own with crafts, activities and access to the Pioneers Museum’s children’s exhibit. Feb. 16, 6:45-9:30 p.m., Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St., $10-$35, cspm.org.

16 Friday

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Solid Metaphor
Rick Berry, an expressionistic figure artist, got his start in Colorado Springs, working on comic books. He carries sci-fi and fantasy influences into his fine art, and continues to excel in the comic scene. Colorado-based Michael Dowling is a contemporary realist painter whose work includes beautiful and unsettling portraits. Exhibiting together, these artists join in contemplation of “the future of evolution or humanity and idea,” meaning an examination of the future of human experience. Big ideas, solid metaphors. Feb. 16, 5-8 p.m., on display through March 24, G44 Gallery, 1785 S. Eighth St., Suite A, galleryg44.com.

20 Tuesday

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Ailey II
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater began with dancer Alvin Ailey and a group of young black modern dancers in 1958. Ailey II, founded in 1974, is now a world-renowned company in its own right, and presents young dance talent with work by emerging choreographers. The mission of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s education, outreach and performances is to build a cultural community that honors all ages, races and backgrounds. Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $22-$75, uccspresents.org.


Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events here.
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Monday, February 12, 2018

PPLD documents local response to Trump presidency in traveling photo exhibit

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 4:31 PM

COURTESY PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT
  • Courtesy Pikes Peak Library District

Bill Thomas, Special Collections Photo Archivist at Pikes Peak Library District, considers preserving the cultural heritage of the community to be an integral part of the mission of special collections.

And while the term "cultural heritage" typically calls to mind pioneer days and historical figures, in this case it refers to the development of our community day-to-day, especially in these politically tumultuous times.

Following the Women’s March in 2017, Debbie Vitulli, Senior Library Assistant, created The First 100 Days! photo collection with help from Thomas. She had heard of libraries across the country collecting signs from their own local marches, but sadly PPLD didn’t have the room for such an endeavor. A digital collection, however, takes less space, and offers more opportunity for a wider variety of representation. With a digital collection, they could collect images not just from the Women’s March, but from every march, rally and demonstration.

And those first 100 days were vital on both sides of the aisle.

“As PPLD, we’re serving the community. Everybody,” Vitulli says. “We don’t pick a side or specific group. We’re open for everybody’s input. We were open to all the rallies, any kind of demonstration.”

With photos from the Women’s March, the March for Science, an April pro-Trump rally and more, The First 100 Days! contains 420 individual images. Some photos are taken by cell phone, some are screen-grabs from video footage, but all were contributed by members of the community or taken by Vitulli and Thomas themselves.

An exhibit of 40 of the best and most relevant photos in the collection is currently on display at the East Library. Most of them depict the community organizers who led the charge in early 2017, including representatives from Unite Colorado Springs, the NAACP and more.

Thomas says: “The election of President Trump really motivated people. ... We saw natural leaders come to the fore, and we wanted to capture those folks.”

A smaller subset of this exhibit will travel between local libraries for the remainder of 2018, though the East Library will host the largest selection. Those interested in accessing the full collection can do so online for free.

See below for a schedule of where the exhibit will travel for the remainder of the year, and a look at of some of the included images.

The First 100 Days! Exhibition Schedule
February: East Library
March: Fountain Library
April: Rockrimmon Library
May: Old Colorado City Library
August: Monument Library
September: Library 21c
October: Penrose Library
November: Ruth Holley Library
December: Sand Creek Library

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Friday, February 9, 2018

New Fine Arts Center exhibition dismantles Haitian stereotypes

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 10:33 AM

RALPH ALLEN
  • Ralph Allen
On Saturday, Feb. 10, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College will officially open another culturally significant exhibit in a diverse and exciting season. The Art of Haiti: Loas, History and Memory, a title which curator Anthony Bogues calls “deliberate and precise,” features contemporary Haitian artwork, commenting on the cultural memory of Haiti, the Loas (spirits) that embody the Vodou religion, and the history that informs the art and culture of Haiti today.

Bogues says: “What we’re thinking about is the ways in which people in Haiti, and particularly artists, think about history itself. ... Also ways in which people think about questions of the relationship between memory and history.”

Haiti has a complex history of colonization, despotic dictators, political unrest and natural disasters that influences the world's perception of their culture, and influences the way they think of themselves.

In recent months, alleged derogatory remarks by President Trump have thrust Haiti into the national spotlight once again. And while the exhibit at the FAC is not meant to be a political statement, according to Joy Armstrong, the FAC’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, it does feel prescient.

“I think we do have an opportunity in our country and in other parts of the world right now to learn from what’s being presented here,” Armstrong says, “and to think about the roles that we play, and how we contribute to global society.”

In particular, the FAC and those involved hope that this exhibit may address the stereotypes Americans typically associate with Haiti — in this case, artistic stereotypes that relate to the American (mis)understanding of Haiti as a whole.

Bogues addresses a common misconception surrounding Haitian art — assumptions that all Haitian art is “exotic” or “naive.” This exhibit, he says, displays contemporary schools and styles of art coming out of Haiti today, building on tradition and history while unquestionably creating something new.
Event Details Loas, History and Memory
@ Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
30 W. Dale St.
Downtown
Colorado Springs, CO
When: Through May 20
634-5581
Art Exhibits

The Art of Haiti: Loas, History and Memory
, features three contemporary Haitian artists, Edouard Duval-Carrié, Ralph Allen and Tessa Mars, alongside significant Haitian works from the early and mid-20th century. The exhibition illustrates the ways in which art, artistic expression and interpretations of Haitian culture have evolved within Haitian society.

EDOUARD DUVAL-CARRIÉ
  • Edouard Duval-Carrié
Duval-Carrié undertakes elaborate studies of Haitian history to create his artwork, addressing everything from Haiti’s early colonization to its various regimes to the effects of historical events on present cultural ideals. “We tend in Haiti to start our genesis with the revolution [in 1791, which ousted French colonizers and concluded with the abolishment of slavery],” he says, “forgetting the 200 years of colonization by the French government. That has been a very big problem for me, because I could not understand what was happening post-revolution without really understanding what happened before.”

It is appropriate, then, that Duval-Carrié’s sculptures are the first sight to greet museum-goers upon entering the exhibition. Sparkling as though sculpted from sugar (the resource that originally led to Haiti’s colonization) Duval-Carrié's boats hang from the ceiling, in flight and at-sea simultaneously. The slave and sugar industry, both of which existed long before the revolution that created Haiti as we know it today, set a foundation in place for the entire development of the country. The boats — and truly all of Duval-Carrié's work — serve as a reminder of that fact.

“I’m trying to make people remember these things,” Duval-Carrié says, “and realize how complicated within Haiti it is. ... I wish that my work is read not only internationally but at a local level in Haiti, and in a more complex way.” Through a visual medium, and spiritual symbolism, he hopes to reinvigorate conversations about legacy and history. What traditions are worthwhile, and what should be discarded?

Duval-Carrié’s Memory Windows, five total, each address a different theme, meant to start discussion about how history affects the present — whether specifically addressing the legacy of the people of the Congo who came to Haiti as slaves, or the effect of America on Haitian development. These colorful, brightly lit displays resemble kaleidoscopes, created through layered collage and objects in transparent resin. 

EDOUARD DUVAL-CARRIÉ
  • Edouard Duval-Carrié

Ralph Allen, another exhibiting artist, paints abstracted figures that explore more contemporary Haitian history, specifically the political turmoil of the Duvalier regime. According to Bogues, Allen’s parents were exiled by the Duvalier regime, and some of his family members executed, so much of his work draws on that inherited pain. Both Duval-Carrié’s Memory Windows and Allen’s paintings deliberately layer the present on top of the past, in a very literal sense, drawing connections, if not conclusions.

RALPH ALLEN
  • Ralph Allen
A notable Allen painting depicts musicians in celebration, the colors of the Haitian flag proudly integrated into the piece. This, Bogues says, conveys Allen’s hope for Haiti — his appreciation of its culture. Cultural appreciation shines in his intimate and tender portraits depicting the Loas of the Vodou religion, too. Though Bogues says that Allen is not a believer in Vodou himself, he recognizes the importance of it in Haitian society.

Tessa Mars, the youngest artist on display at age 32, creates very unique mixed-media work, using paper and paint to explore history, gender, body image and the legacy of her ancestors. Bogues says of Mars: “She’s very much a 21st-century young lady, in which the question of the personal is deep. But she’s not just a person in isolation from Haitian society. She’s asking some questions about Haitian society through her understanding of the personal.”

TESSA MARS
  • Tessa Mars
Her work, he says, exists in conversation with a history of Haitian art, and Haitian history as a whole. Two particularly interesting portraits in her installation “Aunts and Uncles” depict the founder of Haitian independence, Jean-Jacques Dessalines. She calls her depictions of him “Tessalines,” integrating herself into her culture’s history, and her culture’s history into herself.

Mars’ work displayed alongside paintings and sculpture of early and mid-20th century artists, conveys the wide variety of Haitian art and its subjects: historical figures and battles, the details of everyday life, Vodou and the Loas. And though each artist on display tackles these subjects differently, one can clearly trace the lines from history to present in their work.

“That’s the richness of [Haiti],” Bogues says. “There’s not just one style of art, one art mind. There are different artists, different schools of doing painting and making sculpture, like everywhere else.”

This is very much, as Bogues and Duval-Carrié point out, a Caribbean exhibition, presented from the inside out.

“How do people see us?” Bogues asks. “What are the stereotypes? But we see ourselves in a certain way; how do we present that?”

This is how.

To see a preview of the art that will be on display, check out the slideshow below:


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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Theater League announces Broadway at Pikes Peak Center 2018-2019 season

Posted By on Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 4:02 PM

COURTESY THEATER LEAGUE
  • Courtesy Theater League
On Feb. 7, Theater League, whose production of Kinky Boots we recently recommended, announced its upcoming season in the Broadway at Pikes Peak Center Series. With A Chorus Line and Let it Be still on the docket for this season, Theater League promises more big titles coming up.

In December, look forward to the Tony Award-winning Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Its unique spin on the classic tale should make it a great show for theater-enthusiasts and families alike. Also in December, the series offers a one-night holiday show, Rat Pack Christmas.

Another popular Rodgers + Hammerstein show, The Sound of Music, will arrive at the Pikes Peak Center in January of 2019. Made popular by the 1965 Julie Andrews film, The Sound of Music tells the story of a governess and the family she falls in love with during the rise of Nazi Germany.

Theater League will present Evita, an unquestionable jewel in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s crown, in February of 2019, bringing the groundbreaking musical about the rise and fall of Eva Perón, Argentinean first lady and icon, to the Pikes Peak Center stage.

Finally, June will see one of the best-loved musicals of all time, Les Misérables, fresh off its two-and-a-half year return to Broadway. This exploration of love and humanity set during the French revolution is revolutionary in its own right, and sure to be an incredible production.

See a detailed schedule of Theater League’s upcoming shows at the Pikes Peak Center below, or see their website for tickets:
A Chorus Line: March 13-14, 2018
Let it Be: March 26, 2018
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella: Dec. 11-12, 2018
Rat Pack Christmas: Dec. 17, 2019
The Sound of Music: Jan. 8-9, 2019
Evita: Feb. 12-13, 2019
Les Misérables: June 5-9, 2019 

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Big ideas, big celebrations and more events to enjoy this week

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 8:34 AM

8 Thursday

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The Big Idea 2018
Hosted by Innovation at CC, which offers opportunities and workshops that teach students to “channel creativity” and connect to community resources. Each year the Big Idea competition gives out $50,000 in startup money to students and their ventures — think Shark Tank, but more supportive. Attend to cheer on these student inventors, movers and shakers, and see what exciting innovations are happening in our own academic communities. Feb. 8, 4-6 p.m., CC’s Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave., free, coloradocollege.edu.

9 Friday

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  • File photo
GalaxyFest 2018
“Comic con, sorta” — a three-day celebration of arts and pop culture that includes interactive activities, nerdy performances, cosplay contests and more. Special guests this year include Police Academy actresses Leslie Easterbrook and Marion Ramsey, plus a special performance by musician Aurelio Voltaire. Check the schedule for an adults-only “AfterDark” event, panels, gaming opportunities, and events specifically for kids and families. Feb. 9-11, times vary, The Antlers hotel, 4 S. Cascade Ave., $18-$50, galaxyfest.org.

9 Friday

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PyeongChang Olympic Downtown Celebration
Celebrate the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics with our Olympic-enthusiast community, and the athletes who live and train right here in the Springs. In the spirit of the Winter Olympics’ location, PyeongChang, there will be performances of Korean dance, music, drumming and more. Also enjoy plentiful sports demonstrations, athlete autographs, kids’ activities, and the lighting of the “Olympic City USA” cauldron by speed skater Eric Heiden, who has five gold medals to his name. Feb. 9, 5-10 p.m., downtown Colorado Springs on Tejon Street and Pikes Peak Avenue, free, facebook.com/thesportscorp.

11 Sunday

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One Nation Film Festival
Host and benefiting organization One Nation Walking Together focuses on providing resources and drawing awareness to indigenous people, helping fill the specific needs of specific communities. Their annual film festival presents all genres of film, including documentaries, narratives, animation and short films, all created by or featuring Native American people. This year, look forward to films about tribal radio stations, environmental issues affecting Native lands, the controversy surrounding racist football mascots and much more. Feb. 11, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Stargazers, 10 S. Parkside Drive, $15-$20, onenationfilmfestival.org.

Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events here.
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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cirque du Soliel's Crystal delights with acrobatics and ice dancing in equal measure

Posted By on Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 11:14 AM

MATT BEARD, 2017
  • Matt Beard, 2017
The Jan. 31 opening of Cirque du Soleil: Crystal presented a cast of impressive acrobats, dancers, clowns, jugglers and figure skaters, and it’s safe to say they knocked another Cirque out of the park.

And yes, I said "figure skaters." Crystal shines as the first Cirque experience on ice, which makes for a diverse, high-stakes performance.

Though I have a personal love of figure skating, I seldom buy into the hype of “on ice” experiences, as they can come across as gimmicky. Cirque circumvented that trap through a variety of acts and heartfelt characters that didn’t sacrifice any of the acrobatic flair we expect coming in.

The story follows a young girl named Crystal, who delves into a surreal dreamscape in order to find herself — sometimes literally. The moment in which she encounters her mirror counterpart, they launch into a gorgeous paired dance, and things just get stranger from there, as they tend to do in Cirque du Soleil.

MATT BEARD, 2017
  • Matt Beard, 2017
Colorfully costumed dancers portray Crystal’s schoolmates, or the uniformed businesspeople she’s supposed to grow up to become. They skate in synchronized brilliance, sometimes breaking away to perform flips, spins and loops that dazzle as much as any standard figure skating program. But without being bound by the rules of the ISU (International Skating Union), these skaters blend diverse styles of dance and acrobatics into their skating to great effect. I nearly rose out of my seat at the first set of backflips, an impressive trick that Olympians and their ilk are sadly (but understandably) forbidden from performing.

Don’t think Crystal is all skating, though. Audiences can still expect intense acrobatics — straps, trapeze and contortion among the techniques. During a particularly terrifying performance involving a tower of chairs and a talented contortionist, my companion gripped my arm and hissed: “Where is that boy’s mother?” — a sentiment I found myself echoing after each death-defying stunt. Somehow, with blades strapped to performers’ feet, already-wild Cirque acts get a little scarier for those watching.



I most appreciated Crystal, however, for the performers who displayed diverse and specific talents. The clarinetist, a phenomenal musician, skated along with the physical performers during multiple scenes; and the clown — a staple of all cirque shows — was clearly an accomplished enough skater to fake being bad at it. He stumbled and fumbled his way around the ice, yet delivered on the moments he needed to shine — flying up ramps, for instance.

Crystal provides another exciting, heart-stopping Cirque experience, a playground for the senses that overwhelms as often as it delights. Need some more evidence? Check out the photos below, or see it yourself nightly through Feb. 4 at the Broadmoor World Arena.


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Local and regional events honor Black History Month this February

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

Denver first lady Mary Louise Louis will speak at CSU-Pueblo's dinner dialogue event. - COURTESY CSU-PUEBLO
  • Courtesy CSU-Pueblo
  • Denver first lady Mary Louise Louis will speak at CSU-Pueblo's dinner dialogue event.
In February, the nation celebrates Black History Month, which deserves recognition beyond the few lessons taught in schools and the few Facebook posts that might circulate your feed for the next 28 days.

In order to adequately honor local, national and international black heroes, consider joining the community for various Black History Month events held throughout the region. There’s something for every taste, from lectures to film screenings to open mic nights. Check out a list of events below:



Black History Dinner Dialogue, with a speech by Denver's first lady, Mary Louise Lee, who will address racism and discrimination in 2018. Thurs., Feb. 1, 5 p.m. CSU-Pueblo's General Classroom Building, 2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo, 719/549-2365, csupueblo.edu.

Celebration of Black History Month, a group presentation about black history, appropriate for all ages. Meet in the conference room at Grant Library, Fort Carson. Sat., Feb. 3, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fort Carson, 6001 Wetzel Ave, Fort Carson, CO, 526-2350, facebook.com/carsonmwr.grantlibrary.

BHM Cultural Movie Night: Show Me Democracy, a screening of this film, which documents the efforts of the Scholarship Foundation's Education Policy Internship Program, which empowers students to research education policy issues that affect them. Wed., Feb. 7, 3 p.m. CSU-Pueblo's Occhiato University Center, 2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo, 719/549-2161, csupueblo.edu.

Colorado Black Voices Matter: Black History Celebration, with a workshop by poet Ashley Cornelius, an open mic for black performers, and a feature performance by Rosenna "Rogue Scholar" Bakari and Marlon "The Gift" Powe. Fri., Feb. 9, 7-10 p.m. The Gallery Below, 718B N. Weber St., 347/961-4789, facebook.com/thegallerybelow.

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3rd Annual Celebration of Black History, with the theme: “African Americans in Times of War,” which commemorates the centennial of the end of the First World War in 1918, exploring its struggle and aftermath. Program includes music, poetry, dance, spoken word and more. Sat., Feb. 10, 4 p.m. UCCS University Center, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., uccs.edu.

Black History Month: Art It Up, an opportunity to create a piece of artwork inspired by quotes from Malcom X, Martin Luther King Jr., and other famous African American figures. Thurs., Feb. 15, noon to 3 p.m. CSU-Pueblo's Occhiato University Center, 2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo, 719/549-2161, csupueblo.edu.

5th Annual Black History Program, an annual multi-cultural program, presented by OneBody Ent. Enjoy performances by The ReMINDers, Kayla Rae and Tony Exum Jr. Sat., Feb. 24, 2-4 p.m. The Gold Room, 18 S. Nevada Ave., 634-4653, facebook.com/719Nightlife.

Salute to George Washington Carver for Black History Month, honoring the most famous botanist of the first half of the 20th Century, “The Peanut Man." Hear how a former slave reversed generations of ruinous farming practices. Wed., Feb. 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free Event. Library 21c, 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, 347-1714, jack@crverhallgroup.com, carverhallgroup.com.

Black History Month Game Night, an opportunity to test your knowledge in a game of Jeopardy full of questions for Black History Month. Wed., Feb. 28, 4 p.m. CSU-Pueblo's Occhiato University Center, 2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo, 719/549-2161, csupueblo.edu.

Are we missing any? Use our online form to submit your event.


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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Cirque on ice, classical covers, multi-cultural dance and more events this week

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 1:00 AM

31 Wednesday

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Cirque du Soleil: Crystal
Cirque du Soleil always does something a little different, but this is a first for them — cirque on ice. Combining the acrobatics, contortion and heart-stopping stunts they’re known for with ice skating and ice dancing, Crystal should provide us plentiful
opportunities to gasp, clutch our companions and fear for an acrobat’s life. The story of the show follows Crystal, a young woman whose surreal dreams help her become strong, free and empowered. Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 3, 3:30 p.m.; Feb. 4, 1 and 5 p.m.; Broadmoor World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., $38-$153, broadmoorworldarena.com.

31 Wednesday

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An Evening With Holly Bowling
Some of us show our love of our favorite bands with tattoos or VIP tickets. Holly Bowling goes above and beyond, making a career out of composing classical Phish covers for piano. Bowling has seen more than 300 Phish shows, composed covers of their hit songs and improvisational jams, and recently branched into the Grateful Dead. Don’t expect a typical cover band experience. Bowling’s been playing piano since age 5, so her pieces stand on their own as unique and artful compositions. Jan. 31, 7 p.m., Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College,
30 W. Dale St., $18-$20, csfineartscenter.org.


1 Thursday

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Living Legends
Celebrate Latin American, Native American and Polynesian culture with students of Brigham Young University, all honoring their own heritage through dance and performance. This show, Seasons, is meant to reflect the “cycle of civilizations” by portraying the changing seasons. Living Legends has toured internationally, and will embark on a tour of Germany and Switzerland in 2018, after its Springs performance, of course. Feb. 1, 7 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $12, uccspresents.org.

2 Friday

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Converge Lecture Series: George Saunders
Converge Lecture Series has an impressive 2018 lineup of speakers, beginning with writer George Saunders, who will speak on the subject of “moral beauty.” Saunders is a New York Times best-selling writer of essays, short stories and a novel: Lincoln in the Bardo, about the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son in 1862. Converge founder Samuel Stephenson says: “I think of him as an author who communicates the wonder and terror at being a human being, and holds that tension as if both were beautiful.” Feb. 2, 7 p.m., The Pinery at the Hill, 777 W. Bijou St., $55-$100, convergelectureseries.org.

Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events here.
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Friday, January 26, 2018

UCCS' Art WithOut Limits Program commissions unique soundart installation for Ent Center for the Arts

Posted By on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 11:28 AM

COURTESY VICIOUS KID PUBLIC RELATIONS
  • Courtesy Vicious Kid Public Relations
UCCS’ Ent Center for the Arts only opened officially to the public on Jan. 16, and will host its opening gala on Feb. 3, but the surprises haven’t stopped rolling in. In addition to the upcoming season offering more than 160 productions in this 92,000-square-foot, multi-venue space, UCCS’ Art WithOut Limits (AWOL) program has brought unique sculpture to the Ent Center grounds.

Daisy McGowan, director of the Galleries of Contemporary Art and curator of the AWOL program, recently spoke to the Indy about bringing Starr Kempf’s kinetic sculptures back to Colorado Springs, but these iconic pieces aren’t the only sculptural draw of the new center.

AWOL has recently acquired artist Craig Colorusso’s fascinating installation, Moon Pod, to remain on the Ent Center grounds through December, 2018. Mood Pod's sleek, modern aesthetic fits the design of the building, but accomplishes much more than that as a standalone piece.

Colorusso, a musician as well as a sculptor, created Moon Pod as the physical manifestation of his experimental musical composition, Moon Phases, which is meant to play within the installation. Musically, Moon Phases builds upon itself as the moon waxes, then tapers off as it wanes, which turns the installation into an experience of light, sound and sculpture.

From the press release:
The music of Moon Phases is calm while it slowly evolves. A perfect setting to sit and listen while occasionally noticing the growth of the shadows. It’s a minimal guitar piece that drones in cycles, as constant and as hauntingly as the moon itself.

Folks are welcome to enter the installation at any point to listen to the music, which can also be found online.

Those who wish to know more about Moon Pod can attend Colorusso’s artist talk with Daisy McGowan on Feb. 2 at the Ent Center for the Arts (5225 N. Nevada Ave.) Pre-registration is recommended. To clue you into the kind of music you'll be hearing, the moon will be in its waning gibbous phase, just coming off the crescendo of the full moon.

Moon Pod will be on display at the center until December, 2018.

Editor's note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that AWOL had "acquired" Moon Pod, when in actuality they commissioned the piece. We regret the error.
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Peak Arts Prize accepting video applications from artists and art organizations

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 7:25 PM

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The Pikes Peak Community Foundation and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region have launched a collaborative grant program, the Peak Arts Prize, which is now accepting applications. Drawing money from PPCF’s Fund for the Arts, and administered by COPPeR, the Peak Arts Prize has opened its doors to not only arts-focused nonprofits, but individual artists and for-profit organizations as well.

Applicants must record a video, clocking in at less than five minutes, explaining the project for which they’re seeking the grant, the audience they hope to reach, and how they plan to accomplish the project. It’s a non-traditional method of grant application that both PPCF and COPPeR hope will widen the playing field.

“We wanted to allow different applicants to shine differently,” says Angela Seals, COPPeR’s deputy director. “For the applicants who are used to writing a traditional grant, it allows them to be more creative. And applicants who have never written a grant before or never qualified for a grant before might be excellent at telling stories through video.”

The grant process will take the form of a community contest. A panel of expert judges will select three finalists in each category (large organizations, small organizations and individual artists, definitions of which can be found on the Peak Arts Prize website), and then a public voting period (March 1-15) will determine the winners.

The grants, which both PPCF and COPPeR hope may grow in the future, will amount to $7,500 for the winner in the large organizations category, $5,000 for the winner of small organizations, and $2,500 for the winner of individual artists.

Seals says that the Peak Arts Prize is meant to invite the community to participate in a grant process with more access and visibility than artists may be used to. “We are inviting people,” she says, “and I hope they meet us there and apply, and send really creative and great applications.”

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 15, and do not need to be professional quality (smart phone videos accepted). See online for further guidelines.
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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Converge Lecture Series partners with Harrison High School for student fellowship program

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 2:37 PM

George Saunders will be Converge's second speaker. - COURTESY CONVERGE LECTURE SERIES
  • Courtesy Converge Lecture Series
  • George Saunders will be Converge's second speaker.
In October of 2016, Converge Lecture Series began with a bang, bringing poet Marie Howe to Colorado Springs to give a lecture on the subject of moral beauty. In February, Converge will host writer George Saunders, with appearances by Richard Blanco, Junot Díaz and Edwige Danticat planned for the rest of the year.

And though the lectures are going to be impressive enough, Converge founder Samuel Stephenson has recently revealed to the Indy (in advance of the official announcement at Saunders’ lecture) the details of a new program that will extend the influence of these speakers as well as the Converge series as a whole.

In partnership with Harrison High School, Converge has created a one-year fellowship program for six lucky junior students, “to engage in intensive programming intended to generate exposure to the life of the mind and action in the public square.”

There will be two fellowship tracks to choose from: politics and social action, or creative writing and the arts. Students will be paired with a mentor from one of the Springs’ higher education institutions, enjoy enriching education, spend some individual time with Converge speakers, and work toward creating a capstone project.

The capstone task is simple: “bring a bit of beauty to Colorado Springs.” When that has been accomplished, and however it is interpreted, each student will receive scholarship money to the school of their choice, though Stephenson couldn’t pin down an exact amount just yet.

In all respects, it should be a fascinating opportunity for these students, and hopefully one that will grow in future years.

“I grew up in the Springs,” Stephenson says, “and literature is where I found myself — so I think this project is a hopeful attempt at that. ... My hope is that this is what we start pushing into in terms of the work of Converge.”

The six fellowship recipients will be decided by a board in May. In the meantime, Harrison will be bringing some of its students to Saunders’ lecture, scheduled for Feb. 2 at the Pinery at the Hill.


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Friday, January 12, 2018

Ent Center for the Arts, UCCS' multi-venue, multi-purpose cultural center in pictures

Posted By on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 3:31 PM

GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, the much-anticipated UCCS Ent Center for the Arts will officially open its doors to the public. The University of Colorado Colorado Springs has focused on every detail of this state-of-the-art, multi-purpose venue, from the ergonomics of new theater seats to the perfect Steinway piano to grace the recital hall.

We took a tour of the new space, exploring all the new opportunities that the center will provide for UCCS and the professional entities attached to it — TheatreWorks and the Galleries of Contemporary Art.

The building itself shines on its perch on North Nevada Avenue, a sweeping silver edifice, with Starr Kempf’s iconic kinetic sculptures spinning in the wind as we drive up.

Inside, floor-to-ceiling windows open up westward to a view of the mountains, with classy, modern furniture punctuating the otherwise white and silver lobby. Above our heads hangs the Ent Center’s permanent art installation, a piece by Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues (Ball-Nogues Studio). Its many threads drape in blues, purples and reds, a delicate and powerful addition to an already powerful space. And, believe it or not, that’s just the lobby.

Ball-Nogues Studio created this piece specifically for Ent Center for the Arts. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Ball-Nogues Studio created this piece specifically for Ent Center for the Arts.

With five major venues, plus music practice rooms, offices, rehearsal space, a café, dance studios, classrooms and more, the Ent Center for the Arts serves a variety of needs both for UCCS and the wider community, and I can admit we’re a little excited about it.

Michelle Winchell, marketing and PR representative for UCCS Presents, says: “There’s a lot of stakeholders [in this building], especially with all the shared spaces, because it’s not just these professional programs; it’s also the academic programs and community partners who will be renting the space.”

Teams and committees throughout the process took a variety of needs and perspectives into account. For instance, the size of the Shockley-Zalabak Theater (the largest Ent Center venue, with up to 792 seats) was decided based in part on a report by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, which indicated a community need for larger venues that weren’t quite the overwhelming size of the Pikes Peak Center (which boasts 2,000 seats). “People who used to rent a high school auditorium — they won’t be able to fill the Pikes Peak Center, but they might fill this space. It’s a lot nicer [than an auditorium], and it’s actually made for performing arts.”

The Shockley-Zalabak Theater - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Shockley-Zalabak Theater
In fact, every venue in the Ent Center has been made for the performing arts in one way or another. Acousticians worked in each of them, even GOCA’s new space (the Marie Walsh Sharpe Galleries of Contemporary Art), to ensure that the needs of all sizes and sorts of performances could be met. The attention to detail and customization is also evident in TheatreWorks’ new performance venue — the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater.

Dusty Loo is marginally larger in size than its former location, and can now seat up to 300 people, but what’s truly exciting isn’t so much the capacity as the new opportunity to expand the quality and variety of performance. Not only does TheatreWorks now have high ceilings to encourage multi-level sets, but the late Murray Ross, founder of TheatreWorks, was adamant about installing a trap door, which the organization already plans to use in its upcoming production of Oklahoma! (opening Feb. 15).

The Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theatre - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theatre
Lynne Hastings, Artistic Producer of TheatreWorks, says that the technical aspects of the theater (including rolling gantries to assist in light and set work) are most exciting to her, and not just for the production possibilities. “Another thing I love with this whole space,” she says, “is that the students get the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment. And everything’s the same in every theater... That gives them flexibility for all the programming going on here, and it gives the students a chance to work on these professional-level productions.”

Many of the behind-the-scenes amenities were designed with students in mind, as the Ent Center remains, at its core, an integral part of UCCS’ academics. A new dance studio, which Winchell calls “the beauty room” provides a gorgeous view of the mountains, a marked step above the converted loading dock currently used by dance students. Plus, the catwalk in the Shockley-Zalabak Theater feels stable underfoot, not nearly as frightening to walk on as this acrophobic expected.

During the tour, we happened to stumble upon artist Floyd Tunson, putting the finishing touches on an installation that will hang outside the Marie Walsh Sharpe GOCA for a year — his Haitian Dream Boats. GOCA artistic director Daisy McGowan says that the installation will “amplify” Tunson’s upcoming exhibit, Janus, which will open Feb. 1.

Floyd Tunson's Haitian Dream Boats - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Floyd Tunson's Haitian Dream Boats
The gallery space itself boasts a variety of new goodies about which McGowan was happy to share her excitement. For one, the team was intentional about acoustics, which are a necessary consideration for a gallery that does so much multi-media art. In addition to that, GOCA can now take advantage of plywood-backed walls (to better hang artwork), customizable lighting, and museum-certified humidity control, which will enable them to exhibit artwork from collections that they may not have had the opportunity to exhibit before.

Taking it all in, the Ent Center exudes “possibility” — possibility for more dynamic performances, better-sounding concerts, more artwork, more customization, more community collaboration and more collaboration between UCCS departments. While UCCS has fared well within its spaces before, including notable exhibits at GOCA and award-winning shows at TheatreWorks, the freedom provided by this extensive, specialized and customized space will provide a wealth of new opportunities, and we are excited to see what they do with them.

As TheatreWorks’ Lynne Hastings says: “There’s no boundaries anymore.”

See below for more photos from our tour.


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Independence Center seeks artists with disabilities for unique art showcase

Posted By on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:54 PM

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Now, more than ever, we as a culture recognize the importance and the value in sharing diverse voices. The more people who express their thoughts, opinions and experiences, the harder it will be for those in power to generalize, underserve or ignore whole communities. Times like these, art steps in as an avenue of self-expression that allows those diverse voices to shine. We’ve seen this happening here in our own community with Artists in Action, Women’s Voices and other exhibitions and projects meant to send a message.

Now, the Independence Center is sending its own message. The IC, which Community Organizing Coordinator Jamie Muth calls “the local home of civil rights for people with disabilities,” will be participating in February’s First Friday Artwalk with a new exhibit: Art of Accessibility.

To fill the walls, the IC is calling for artists with disabilities and those artists’ communities to submit artwork to be exhibited in this powerful showcase.

Muth says: “We hope to highlight the impact that disability and access can have on a person’s artistic voice, and how each person can make unique contributions to the diversity of the art we see in Colorado Springs. We believe that artistic expression empowers people to express themselves when their normal voice may not be heard, and [we] hope for the community to engage and value the unique perspectives which are being shared.”

Interested artists should send three to five photos of their artwork, a bio and headshot, a short proposal describing their art, and information on necessary accommodations to Nina Kamekona (NKamekona@theindependencecenter.org). Submissions must be in by 5 p.m. on Jan. 19.
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Monday, January 8, 2018

Pueblo artist uses 'Kindness Rocks' as form of public protest

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 3:53 PM

metoo1.jpg
The Kindness Rocks Project made a local splash last year, with the group 719 Rocks inspiring the public to spread brightly colored stones throughout the area code. The goal was to get people to paint rocks with beautiful pictures or inspirational sayings, and to spread a little kindness by placing them randomly in public places.

Now, a Pueblo artist who preferred to remain anonymous has built on the concept, turning these rocks into a form of protest.

They have decorated a series of stones with the phrase: “If true for you, shout it out — #metoo,” or sometimes simply “#metoo,” using the popular hashtag meant to raise awareness of sexual assault and harassment.

“Here’s what I envision just in my artist imagination,” they said, “somebody looks at it, and it is true for them, and they say it out loud — because it says ‘shout it out’ — they shout ‘hashtag me, too!” ... That’s my idea of a participation art piece.”

Right now, the artist is unsure if they will create more of these rocks, but they hope others may participate in the project. “What I’m doing is putting [a rock] out there that says this is a public forum. You’re welcome to shout it out, talk to the person next to you, [or] acknowledge it to yourself for the first time ever...”

See some of the rocks below:


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Friday, January 5, 2018

Pro-choice art project addresses men's role in abortion

Posted By on Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 11:09 AM

Each piece of Lazzarini's new project will have only the man's name, and the year in which the abortion took place. - LINDA LAZZARINI
  • Linda Lazzarini
  • Each piece of Lazzarini's new project will have only the man's name, and the year in which the abortion took place.

I’ll admit, when I first saw local artist Linda Lazzarini’s newest call for entries, I felt off-put, and more than a little confused. It struck me as going against the spirit of her last project, which I personally found powerful and insightful. Last year, Lazzarini collected the stories of those who had faced sexual assault or harassment, and displayed them in an origami installation called Women’s Voices, which will be on display in Sangre De Cristo Arts Center’s Representing the West exhibit, starting Feb. 2. I saw a section of Women’s Voices at Planned Parenthood’s recent exhibition at The Gallery Below, and thought it was a solid concept, and a good, anonymous way to share the stories of women who may have been reluctant to share them on their Facebook pages during the height of the “#metoo” movement.

This latest project, then, threw me for a bit of a loop.

Lazzarini’s first email about it says, in part: “See, it seems to me that it's totally overlooked that for every woman who has an abortion, the man who impregnated her had one, too. That's what this project is about: men who had abortions.” She then asks that folks on her mailing list send her the name (or pseudonym) of a man who has “had an abortion” and the year in which that abortion took place. Once she receives enough responses, she will create a cut-paper representation of each man’s name, to come together in an installation similar to Women’s Voices.

Immediately after reading this, I felt reactively defensive of women who have had abortions, and the fight for reproductive health care in general. I thought of women who didn’t know who the man involved in their pregnancy might be, and women whose partners had left them when they became pregnant. I thought of rape victims, whose attackers had no right to claim the woman’s choice to have an abortion as their own. I read this call for submissions as suggesting that men had an equal emotional investment in a woman’s abortion as she did. My thinking: the only men who can claim to have had abortions are trans men who did, literally, undergo the procedure.

I asked Lazzarini to clarify the project for me, so I might understand where she was coming from, as I suspected from her last project that she wouldn’t have inferred any of my assumptions intentionally.

“I don’t know that I’m trying to assign an equal emotional weight,” she explained when I raised my concerns, “because I don’t know that it ever could be [equal]. But I do think that it’s time that men were assigned half the equation of what happened. It’s not as if the woman did it by herself.”

Lazzarini’s point, then, isn’t that men (even men in committed heterosexual relationships) can claim to have been affected by a woman’s abortion the way she was, but that men should take part of the responsibility for a woman’s abortion. “If a baby’s born it gets the man’s name, but if a woman has an abortion, it’s hers. Things like that just aren’t right,” Lazzarini says

In a society that often stigmatizes women for having an abortion, Lazzarini has a point that it seldom stigmatizes the men who took equal part in the initial pregnancy. She says she sees men with “right to life” signs picketing health centers, and knows that if asked, they’ll say they have never had an abortion. But, according to Lazzarini, they can’t be sure of that. Women they have been with may have had an abortion without their knowledge, and she believes men should take responsibility for that.

“I don’t want to assign guilt or shame or anything to anybody. I just want to bring awareness to the fact that it’s not totally a woman’s issue,” she says. She adds that she has been “a pro-choicer” all her life.

What I took away from this, then, was that if women are going to be shamed for their abortions, Lazzarini believes it’s only fair that men realize their part in the process. The goal, then, would be to lessen the stigma against women who make that oftentimes difficult choice.

While I am personally still unsure how that message may come across in the installation, and unsure of my own feelings on the matter (as Lazzarini and I agreed, these are sticky subjects), I was gratified to know that my initial interpretation of the spirit of the project was wrong.

Lazzarini says she hopes to clarify her message as the project comes together, both for herself and for those who might contribute. “I think as it progresses it will get clearer and clearer to me how to do it. That’s what happened with Women’s Voices; it kept changing over time because I realized what people were thinking and what I wanted to say.”

If nothing else, the message behind this project got us talking, which is the point of art in the long run.

Those who wish to contribute to this project may contact Lazzarini at egoettes@hotmail.com, or submit through an online anonymous survey.

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