Friday, April 20, 2018

Captain Kirk in Colorado Springs: A Trekkie's thoughts on William Shatner's UCCS speech

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 1:30 PM

Shatner speaks to a small group of assembled media. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Shatner speaks to a small group of assembled media.

Let’s get this out of the way first thing: Star Trek is my life. Specifically The Original Series. Specifically, Captain James Tiberius Kirk, whom I’ve loved so dearly for so long that I now refer to him in conversation as “Jim Jam,” as if he’s an old friend. Save your snickering. Believe me, I know how ridiculous that sounds.

But hopefully that provides some context, and explains why my drive to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs on the evening of April 19 (stardate -304702.28310502286) felt more like a pilgrimage than the familiar 20-minute trek it usually is.

Because William Shatner, the original Jim Jam, was speaking at the UCCS Bachelor of Innovation program gala, presenting a keynote speech entitled “Hope and Innovation.” I had wondered since his appearance was announced what made him qualified to talk about innovation to these students and faculty. Not to disparage The Shat Man, but he's an actor whose entrepreneurial success arose less through innovation and more through his established fanbase. And while he's done wonderful things for charity and been kind to five decades of fans, I wouldn't necessarily consider him an innovator. But whether he's qualified or not, he was here in my hometown to deliver a speech. Excitement outweighed confusion in the end.

In addition to being a massive Trekkie, I also happen to be a member of the media, meaning I had a built-in excuse to spend a few minutes asking him questions, and to attend the gala without paying the $200/plate fee. Naturally, I jumped at the chance.

There were so few of us in the press pool for his 15-minute media event that before anyone asked any questions, I actually managed to share a moment of awkward eye contact with him. I wondered if he saw the mushroom clouds exploding in my pupils — if he knew that meeting him, even formally like this, was a dream come true. But I’m a professional, dammit, and I didn’t show off my 50th Anniversary Star Trek ring. I didn’t tell him that Jim Kirk is a daily inspiration to me, or ask if he could explain that one line from his 2007 novel Star Trek: Collision Course that I've been thinking about for a decade.

Instead, my fellows and I asked him about science fiction, about inspiration, innovation and immortality. For all his bluster, he came across surprisingly genuine. In discussing the hope that sci-fi can offer people, he said: “We might not be able to recover from what’s going on now. At any moment a bomb could drop and then we certainly won’t recover. At the same time, there is this extraordinary burst of innovation that’s happening, so we must try to be on the side of life.”

My heart glowed. That’s the lesson of Star Trek right there — try to be on the side of life. It was beautiful to hear it straight from my captain's mouth, and I swear I felt a tear threatening to fall out the corner of my eye. And then, you know, he followed that up with. “Innovation is good. Unless it’s bad. And then it’s bad.” Classic Shatner. It's nice to remember he's human.

But when Hannah Harvey, editor in chief of the UCCS student paper The Scribe asked about the $60,000 donation he reportedly gifted the Bachelor of Innovation program, he said simply that he didn’t want to talk about it, and didn’t want to take credit.

I never really think of "humility" and "William Shatner" as belonging in the same sentence. But he was as humble as an icon like him can be — which almost gave me the courage to ask to shake his hand as the questions came to an end. Almost.

Afterwards, I waited at UCCS for three hours for the gala to begin, sent a picture to my friends in our Star Trek group chat, basked in the glory of having such a prestigious stamp on my nerd passport, and considered all the things I wished I’d asked. I wanted to ask about "Kirk Drift," the way Kirk’s character has been so warped by pop culture as to make the popular conception of him unrecognizable from canon. I wanted to ask about Leonard Nimoy — what happened to sever their friendship? What’s it like being Captain Kirk without Spock and Bones? I wanted to ask if he knew how important Star Trek was, and is, to so many people. He has to know, doesn't he?

But he had said “It was actually just a television show,” mere minutes into the press conference, effectively breaking my heart, so I didn’t ask any of those questions, and maybe that's a good thing. It’s certainly not just a television show to the rest of us.

At the gala, UCCS Chancellor Dr. Venkat Reddy gave Shatner a heartfelt introduction, talking about how Star Trek was his favorite weekly show — the only show available in color in India during his childhood — and how he never thought he’d be sharing a table with his hero.

It was a reminder that I was far from the only person in that room who looked at William Shatner with mushroom clouds in my eyes, and who saw my captain in his smile. Nearly everyone there, about 400 people, probably had a Star Trek story. It's hard to wrap your head around how powerful that is.

Now, if I shed a few tears during Shatner’s speech, it was probably due more to the fact that I was there listening to him talk, rather than what he was actually saying. His speech reminded me of his famous spoken-word song covers — I’m sure you’ve heard “Rocket Man” — as he listed important innovations in science with all the oomph of a slam poem for 10 whole minutes. I don’t know if everyone in the audience was as lost as I was while he hopped topics from Vikings to fusion reactors to dark matter, but, hey, it was soothing to hear him speak if nothing else.

A rare moment looking away from the teleprompter. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • A rare moment looking away from the teleprompter.

Thankfully, the list didn’t last too long, and he edged into sentimental territory. He talked about the unkindness of the world, and the promise he sees in these students of innovation. “If you students take your diploma and scroll it up and look through it, as if it were a telescope, and fixate on points of light, you might see something different. You might see hope.”

Okay, yes, it’s philosophical and needlessly romantic, but that's exactly what I would want and expect in a speech by William Shatner. He went on, saying that technology is moving at a breakneck pace. The world is changing around us all the time. “The one thing that doesn’t seem to change, or at least moves with tectonic slowness, is human nature," he said. "And that’s the final frontier. Human nature needs to change.”

There was a lot going on in that speech — a lot — but the lesson I took from it was one of hope, excitement and possibility. He spoke for nearly 40 minutes with an air of enthusiasm that made me forget that he was 87 years old. Though he graciously reminded me every time he referred to Twitter as “the social media.”

Eighty-seven years old. It’s hard to believe. I had asked him during the media event about something he said recently, after a hoax about his death had circulated on Facebook: “I’m not planning to die.” He laughed at my question about his secret to immortality, but in all seriousness if anyone were to live forever, it would probably be William Shatner. At this point, I’m convinced he will. If nothing else, a part of him will.

And as he wrapped up his speech with a message of hope, it hit me. That is why he is qualified to talk to the Bachelor of Innovation students. It isn’t so much Shatner himself as what he represents — the hope that the future can be better, that it can be wonderful. And that we can make it happen. Any one of us.

Think about it. Jim Kirk was a bookish nerd from Iowa, who survived an incredible ordeal on Tarsus IV, turned that trauma into tenderness, and went on to save the galaxy (multiple times, mind you). William Shatner is just an actor, sure. But he’s Jim Kirk, too. And that means any one of us can be Jim Kirk.

Hopefully, amid Shatner’s rambling, poetic meditations on chimpanzees and war, that message sank in for some of the students in the audience that night. Any one of us, including this guy up on stage, can be Jim Kirk. And what a wonderful, hopeful feeling that is.

The whiteboard I keep next to my desk here at the Indy office, where I rotate inspirational Jim Kirk quotes and doodle the Enterprise. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • The whiteboard I keep next to my desk here at the Indy office, where I rotate inspirational Jim Kirk quotes and doodle the Enterprise.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Poetry, comedy, a dance spotlight and more featured events this week

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 8:39 AM

7 Wednesday

Celtic Nights: Oceans of Hope
While performances of Irish dance and music tour the country frequently, this one is unique for its subject matter. Through narration and performance, Celtic Nights tells the story of Irish immigrants to America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — those fleeing persecution, famine and war. Of course, Celtic Nights celebrates the culture these immigrants came from, while recognizing the effect the Irish diaspora has had on cultures around the world. March 7, 8 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $18-$65, uccspresents.org.

10 Saturday

  • Shutterstock.com
Jo Koy
This Filipino-American comedian’s popularity is growing quickly, though he’s been in the comedy scene since 1989. After self-producing his 2017 Netflix special, Jo Koy: Live from Seattle, and selling it to the online streaming conglomerate, his once-insular fanbase has bloomed. 2018’s headlining tour, Break the Mold, features some all-new stand-up comedy, drawing inspiration from his family, especially his strict Filipino mother and his
quirky son. March 10, 7-9 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $38-$48, pikespeakcenter.com.

10 Saturday

  • File photo
Kevin C. Mitchell Poetry Book Release
Though local activist Kevin Mitchell has read poetry at various local events, including the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. All People’s Breakfast and the Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission annual meeting, Words From a Field Negro will be his first published book of poetry. Includes appearances by Mitchell’s musical collaborator Lord Damage, local NAACP leader Lisa Villanueva, poet/hip-hop artist Stoney Bertz and “surprise musical guests.” Mitchell is also the executive director of the Empowerment Solidarity Network, a local organization devoted to supporting families of color and addressing “the roots of social inequities.” March 10, 7-9 p.m., Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado Ave., cottonwoodcenterforthearts.com.

11 Sunday

  • Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Don’t let the name fool you. Colorado Ballet Society trains dancers from toddlers to adults in a wide variety of styles, including contemporary, jazz, hip-hop and more. Spotlight! shines, well, a spotlight on their Contemporary Dance Company, a relatively new program of the Ballet Society, celebrating its second season. This performance will feature 35 dancers performing new choreography — both classic and contemporary. The Ballet Society itself is more than 20 years old, founded in 1997. It has since trained some of the region’s best dancers. March 11, 4-5:30 p.m., Louisa Performing Arts Center, Colorado Springs School, 21 Broadmoor Ave., $15, danceinthesprings.com.

Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events here.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

First Friday, film, funny folks and more featured events this week

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 9:26 AM

1 Thursday

A fitting film to kick off Women’s History Month, Dolores captures the work and private life of activist Dolores Huerta, who founded the first farm worker’s union with Cesar Chavez in the 1950s and worked to further women’s rights and combat racism her entire life. The documentary, presented by the Independent Film Society of Southern Colorado, has received multiple awards and nominations, including a Critics’ Choice award for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary in 2017. Huerta, 87, continues to champion women’s rights, walking in the 2017 Women’s March at the Sundance Film Festival and participating as a speaker. March 1, 7-9 p.m., Tim Gill Center for Public Media, 315 E. Costilla St., donations accepted, facebook.com/IFSOC.

2 Friday

Stick Horses in Pants Improv Comedy
Stick Horses in Pants brings short-form improv to audiences who like their comedy off-the-cuff and unexpected. The twice-monthly performances rely on audience suggestions, ensuring the content is always unique. Billed as an all-ages experience, Stick Horses in Pants keeps its hilarity clean and friendly without sacrificing comedic integrity. That means it’s safe for both precocious teens and conservative grandmas, but not at all boring for those who fall in between. The troupe’s current home at Lon Chaney Theatre creates an atmosphere of cozy intimacy that’s perfect for a performance that relies heavily on audience buy-in. First Friday of every month, 8 p.m. and third Friday of every month, 8 p.m.; through April 20, Lon Chaney Theatre, 221 E. Kiowa St., $7-$10, thestickhorses.com.

2 Friday

West Side Story
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic continues its salute to Leonard Bernstein with a full screening of West Side Story accompanied by a live performance of the full musical score, conducted both evenings by Philharmonic music director Josep Caballé-Domenech. The film is a modern interpretation of William Shakespeare’s tragic love story Romeo and Juliet. It won 10 Academy Awards in 1961, securing its position as the most highly awarded musical film in history and one of only 10 musicals to ever win in the Best Picture category. March 2-3, 7:30-10:15 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $24-$78, csphilharmonic.org.

2 Friday

Rule Number 1
Featuring the works of local artists Christine Flores and Riley Bratzler (Indy publisher’s assistant), including drawings and mixed-media pieces that explore the theme of femininity. Flores leverages dry media and paper to explore people, objects and experiences that impact her story of femininity and womanhood. Bratzler’s work comprises mixed media portraiture and print that explores the difficulties of her experiences as an image moderator for a tech company, reviewing and deleting thousands of photos with highly sexual imagery. Opening reception, March 2, 5 p.m. to midnight., on display through March 30, 17C E. Bijou St., themodbo.com.

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

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

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

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

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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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

  • Shutterstock.com
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

  • 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

  • Shutterstock.com
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

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
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
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.

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

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

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

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

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 19, 2018

Pikes Peak Library District offers streaming movies through Kanopy

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 3:13 PM

  • Screenshot
If the "safe place" partnership with Urban Peak, the DIY venue and the makerspace weren't enough to prove the Springs has an amazing library system, the Pikes Peak Library District has added a free streaming film service. It's called Kanopy, and it's been around since 2008 — the company offers a selection of independent films, world cinema, cult classics and documentaries, working primarily with libraries and educational institutions.

“It’s a wonderful, diverse collection of films," says selection librarian Tammy Ross. "A lot of their content is hard to find elsewhere.”

And for library cardholders, it's free — Kanopy will charge the library on a per use basis, which Ross described as an attractive model for the budget-conscious institution. Patrons can check out up to six movies a month, with checkouts lasting three days. That checkout does include public performance rights, so patrons can do public screenings of any films available. Ross hopes community programs and schools in particular will find the service useful.

Kanopy runs in a web browser, and there's an app for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku, but not Amazon Fire TV. Check out the selection here.
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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

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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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Spend the first weekend of the new year with music, art, beer and more

Posted By on Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 11:13 AM

5 Friday

United States International Duo Piano Competition
See 200 talented pianists of all ages, from 6-year-old students to seasoned professionals, performing in duos and quartets. This unique event has been held here in the Springs since it was founded by a Colorado piano teacher in 1999. Another treat: Performers come from all over the U.S., plus Canada, China, Romania and Japan. Jan. 5-7, see the website for performance times, The Broadmoor, 1 Lake Ave., free, usidpc.org.

5 Friday

Michele Renée Ledoux, an Evergreen, Colorado-based artist, has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Working in the ancient art of encaustic (hot wax painting), Ledoux finds her influences in Abstract Impressionism, Minimalism and Arte Povera, which uses everyday materials. This particular exhibit explores the nature of encaustic, and the lack of perfection that results from the pieces’ cuts, nicks and scratches. Opening reception, Jan. 5, 5-9 p.m., on display through Feb. 10, G44 Gallery, 1785 S. Eighth St., galleryg44.com.

6 Saturday

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Colorado Springs Fitness Expo
Yes, the new year is upon us. Odds are your list of resolutions includes getting healthy and fit, which is a good way to start 2018. Take advantage of free classes in Zumba, strength-focused yoga, Pilates, Hula and other specialized workout techniques. Plus, enjoy a ton of vendors covering the health-and-fitness spectrum, including chiropractors, exercise clubs, essential-oil vendors and more. Jan. 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Colorado Springs City Auditorium, free, coloradospringsfitnessexpo.com.

6 Saturday

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Gold Camp Brewing Anniversary Party
Everyone loves Gold Camp. In addition to great beer, the place hosts a hip atmosphere, friendly crew and plentiful events. Celebrate the brewery’s third birthday with beer releases, live music by Travis
Duncan and Roma Ransom, and a special Locals Till Last Call comedy/open mic event. Beers on tap: Margarita Blonde, Butterbeer, Dynamite Dan, Kettle-Sour Hibiscus Saison, Cognac Barrel Porter and more.
Jan. 6, noon to midnight, Gold Camp Brewing Company, 1007 S. Tejon St., facebook.com/goldcampbrew.

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

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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, csphilharmonic.org.

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, 365grandclub.com.

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, 365grandclub.com.

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, legendsrocksco.com.

For the Folksy

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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, stargazerstheatre.com.

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, hotelelegante.com/new-years-party.html.

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, facebook.com/MountainHigh10Radio.

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, themat.org.

Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events 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, csfineartscenter.org.

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., facebook.com/Art111ColoradoSprings.

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, cottonwoodcenterforthearts.com.

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.,

Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events here.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Enjoy music, art, literature and the great outdoors with events this week

Posted By on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 1:00 AM

22 Wednesday

Hungry Farmer Bands’ Annual Thanksgiving Reunion
The Hungry Farmer was a popular restaurant on Garden of the Gods Road in the ‘70s and ‘80s, known for live country music and hearty food. Keeping up the tradition of the owner’s Thanksgiving Eve meal, which gave musicians a place to go for the holiday, Hungry-Farmer regulars present a special concert annually. Tonight's bands include Fall River Road, Buffalo Dreams, Radford Lewis Band, Range Rockets and Phantom Hooters. Nov. 22, 7 p.m., Stargazers Theatre, 10 S. Parkside Drive, admission: two non-perishable food items or small cash donation for Care & Share, stargazerstheatre.com.

24 Friday

Own Your Own Art Show & Sale
This annual exhibition offers the work of more than 60 artists, including big regional names like Doug Candelaria and Sharon Orman. With competitive prices, find holiday gifts in the form of paintings, jewelry, wood sculptures, photography and any other medium you can imagine. A Black Friday weekend sale (with deep discounts) will christen the opening; this is the weekend to attend. Sales will be Nov. 24-25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on display until Dec. 31, Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, sdc-arts.org.

24 Friday

Fresh Air Friday
Cheyenne Mountain State Park, a local favorite recreation spot, boasts 2,701 acres and 21 miles of trails, among other amenities. Friday, enter the park for free and take advantage of events to help you “get to know your park,” including archery and family-focused activities. Another option: Strike out on your own to hike, bike, ride horses or take
advantage of the great outdoors. It’s Colorado, so don’t be afraid of a little cold. Nov. 24, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Cheyenne Mountain State Park, 410 JL Ranch Heights, cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/cheyennemountain.

25 Saturday

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Small Business Saturday Book Signing Event
Held in honor of Small Business Saturday and Indies First Day, which celebrates independent publications.
Includes a signing by Colorado author Diane Sawatzki (Once Upon Another Time and Manyhorses Traveling) and Dave Philipps (Wild Horse Country: The History, Myth, and Future of the Mustang). Philipps won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism while working for the local Gazette, and is now a national correspondent with The New York Times. Nov. 25, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Covered Treasures, 105 Second St., Monument, coveredtreasures.com.

Find even more weekly listings in each Wednesday issue of the Indy, and submit your own events here.
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Celebrate, listen, learn and play with these local events

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 8:30 AM

8 Wednesday

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Front Range Barbeque 17th Birthday Bash
Tonight, celebrate some excellent barbecue, consistent and consistently fantastic live music from blues to bluegrass, and a 17-year-old staple of Old Colorado City. Enjoy a firkin of Left Hand Brewing Co. beer, plus specials on tap: Extrovert IPA, Fade to Black Export Stout and Sawtooth Ale. Live music will be provided by Woodshed Red, and you can look forward to great food and friends, and a ticket giveaway for Longmont’s Nitro Fest. Nov. 8, 6-10 p.m., Front Range Barbeque, 2330 W. Colorado Ave., frbbq.com.

8 Wednesday

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Connecting Things with Chef Brother Luck
The Connecting Things series promises: “the ideas, collaborations and knowledge that make us creatives and doers great.” Tonight, hear from Chef Brother Luck, owner of Four by Brother Luck, who has made a name for himself on the Food Network by participating in Chopped and Top Chef, as well as rising to the challenge in Beat Bobby Flay. Our Indy food writers will tell you he knows a lot about his presentation's topic: “Creating Boldly and Risking.” Nov. 8, 6-7 p.m., Welcome Fellow, 616 N. Tejon St., connectingthings.co.

10 Friday

Written by Colorado College professor/playwright/poet/renaissance man Idris Goodwin, and directed by local stage designer extraordinaire Roy Ballard. In this play, two African-American academic women “vie for a seat at the table” at an exclusive café (with only one table), but their banter turns into an all-out battle. Blackademics sets up an absurdist and intelligent commentary on “post-racial America.”
Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m., through Nov. 19, UCCS Osborne Theater, 3955 Regent Circle, $5, free for students, uccs.edu.

10 Friday

  • Courtesy Ormao Dance Company
Fall Salon Showings
Ormao Dance Company is a perennial winner of the Indy’s annual Best Of in the “Best Dance Company” category. At tonight's performance, enjoy original choreography by New Yorkers Loni Landon and Alex Betka; Virginia native Ila Conoley Paladino; and Ormao founder/artistic director Janet Johnson. Founded 27 years ago, Ormao hasn’t slowed down: Keep an eye on their social media for unique classes and performances. Nov. 10-11, 7 p.m., Nov. 11, 4 p.m. and Nov. 12, 2 p.m., Ormao Dance Company, 10 S. Spruce St., $10-$20, ormaodance.org.

11 Saturday

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GameCon IX
Proof teachers can be just as nerdy as their students — public school teachers offer this tabletop gaming convention to kids and teens bi-annually. Expect Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Yu Gi Oh! and more traditional games such as chess, if monsters aren’t your thing. Also enjoy vendors, professional cosplayers, comic book artists and other special guests, plus 400-500 excited youth. Nov. 11, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Rampart High School, 8250 Lexington Drive, $10, gamebewithyou.org.

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