Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Poet Jodie Hollander hosts local workshops for National Poetry Month

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 12:56 PM

COURTESY JODIE HOLLANDER
  • Courtesy Jodie Hollander
Poet Jodie Hollander, author of The Humane Society and My Dark Horses, has made a mark everywhere she’s touched. From Australia, where she was included in multiple national poetry anthologies, to Italy, where she won a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, to South Africa, where she received a Fullbright Fellowship. Now living in Avon, Colorado, Hollander has made her mark on our state, too.

April, National Poetry Month, always proves to be Hollander's busiest month of the year. She spent the first week of the month in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she was the poet in residence at the Museum of Northern Arizona last year. Now, she’s coming to Colorado Springs to conduct four free workshops for local poets — and the poem-curious.

Hosted by Pikes Peak Library District at libraries across the city on April 12 and 13, Hollander’s workshops include a variety of topics: Poetry of Grief and Healing (East Library, April 12, 10 a.m.), Poetry of Place (Rockrimmon Library, April 12, 3 p.m.), and Poetry of Memory and Childhood (Penrose Library, April 13, 10 a.m. and Ute Pass Library, April 13, 1:30 p.m.)

“It's meaningful for me, not only as a teacher, but also as a poet, and really, as a person to see people able to sort of take things that maybe they've struggled with, or suffered from, and really transform them into something beautiful through poetry. And I think that poetry can serve so many different roles for people, all good,” Hollander says.
COURTESY JODIE HOLLANDER
  • Courtesy Jodie Hollander

These workshops, though taught by an internationally recognized poet, aren’t just for seasoned writers. In fact, Hollander emphasizes that no experience is necessary for any of her classes. “Sometimes I think people get intimidated by the word ‘poetry,’” she says. “And they're, you know, they might be interested in prose writing or fiction writing, and they've never done poetry … But I would just really encourage everyone who might be even just a little bit interested to come and try it out and see what poetry has to offer, because I think it has something for everyone.”

Hollander’s workshop style proves accessible, as well. She’ll start with some examples to learn from, some discussion of technique, and then writing prompts to get people started on creating their own poems. Participants are welcome to share at the end, but there is no obligation to.

More than anything, Hollander just wants people to experience what poetry can do for them. “Sometimes people don't realize how badly that they might need poem until they actually have that private moment with one,” she says, “whether that be reading or writing a poem. And then they realize really how transformative that experience can be for them.”

Celebrate National Poetry Month with Hollander at any of her weekend workshops, details below:
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Friday, March 29, 2019

FAC's 2019-2020 theater season is studded with big titles and regional premieres

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 10:00 AM

The second-to-last mainstage show of the FAC's 2018-2019 season, Hands on a Hardbody, opened March 28 and runs through April 14. - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • The second-to-last mainstage show of the FAC's 2018-2019 season, Hands on a Hardbody, opened March 28 and runs through April 14.

On March 29, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College announced its 2019-2020 theater season, stuffed with big titles, regional premieres, and some special productions we’re looking forward to. Producing artistic director Scott RC Levy says: “There’s a deep well of variety. There’s a lot of different styles of storytelling, something I think everyone will appreciate, and maybe audience members can surprise themselves, and get tickets to something they don’t even know about, and find out it’s their favorite show of the year.”

In putting together the season, Levy noticed that almost every show explored the idea of "home" in its own way — either how one defines home for themselves, or how one creates a home in a place where they’re initially uncomfortable. He mentions Maria finding life and love with the von Trapp family in The Sound of Music, and “Christopher, the autistic teenager in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time going on this journey to discover what happened to his home, and what happened to his mother, who he thinks is dead."

The season actually starts with these two incredible works: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which won the 2015 Tony Award for best play, will open on Sept. 26. Levy says rights to this show were only recently released, so the FAC is “just jumping on that as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, The Sound of Music, one of the most beloved musicals of all time, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and Levy expresses excitement at staging a show that was written six decades ago while continuing to prove its relevance and give audiences a new and unique experience within it. It will function as the FAC’s holiday show, opening Dec. 12.

While it might seem impossible to follow The Sound of Music, the rest of the mainstage season lives up to its beginnings. Beloved musical The Bridges of Madison County (opening Feb. 13, 2020) is followed by Silent Sky (opening April 2, 2020), which tells the story of Henrietta Leavitt, a female scientist in the early 1900s whose passion for her work went unappreciated in her patriarchal field. The season will end with In The Heights (opening May 28, 2020), Lin Manuel Miranda’s first Tony Award-winning musical.

And, hell, that’s just the mainstage shows. The Family & Studio Series has its own surprises in store. Levy says he has been wanting to stage one of them, Lonely Planet, for years, since he saw the original production off-Broadway. This play by Steven Dietz is about 25 years old, written during the height of the AIDS crisis. It captures themes of the time that remain relevant today, and should prove incredibly affective with the FAC’s stellar team behind it.

The rest of the season includes special productions of Carrie the Musical and more, so peruse the full lineup below, from a FAC press release:

2019-2020 Mainstage Theatre Season
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Sept. 26-Oct. 20, 2019
The Sound of Music Dec. 12, 2019-Jan. 12, 2020
The Bridges of Madison County Feb. 13-March 1, 2020
Silent Sky April 2-19, 2020
In the Heights May 28-June 21, 2020

2019-2020 Family & Studio Series Theatre Season
Busytown: The Musical Sept. 14-Oct. 13, 2019
Tiny Beautiful Things Nov. 8-Dec. 1, 2019
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane March 6-April 5, 2020
Lonely Planet June 26-July 19, 2020

2019-2020 Special Added Attractions
Carrie the Musical: A Staged Concert Oct. 25-27, 2019
Men on Boats April 24-May 3, 2020
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Monday, March 18, 2019

Peak Arts Prize announces 2019 winners

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 4:16 PM

Thom Phelps' ambitious art exhibit idea, A Farewell to Bees won the public's support in the category of "Individual Artists." - THOM PHELPS
  • Thom Phelps
  • Thom Phelps' ambitious art exhibit idea, A Farewell to Bees won the public's support in the category of "Individual Artists."

After receiving more than 1,800 votes in its public voting period, the Peak Arts Prize has selected its 2019 winners, getting ready to dole out grants equaling $15,000 to support new projects in local art.

Peak Arts Prize, run by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, with funds from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation’s Fund for the Arts, announced the winners of its second-annual contest on March 18. The three categories combined (large arts organization, small arts organization and individual artist) drew 33 applicants this year, and on March 1 the Peak Arts Prize judges selected three finalists for each category before opening up public voting.

In a press release, COPPeR deputy director Angela Seals says: “The community has chosen inspiring winners this year, whose projects will engage people in new ways with local art. Peak Arts Prize is all about community connection. We invite the public to watch for when the Prize winners’ projects unfold this year near you and attend, participate, and support the winners!”

See the winners and a short description of their projects below, from the press release:

LARGE ARTS ORGANIZATIONS
FORGING GENUINE HUMAN CONNECTIONS & EMBRACING EMPATHY
BY BLISS STUDIO & GALLERY

Bliss Studio & Gallery will present welding and iron pour workshops to introduce new local audiences to ironworking and spark conversations about empathy. Participants will collectively create a public art sculpture, led by Jodie Bliss and her team, culminating at the second annual Bliss Studio Iron Pour in Monument, CO.

SMALL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS
CREATIVITY LABS
BY THE UNSTEADY HAND – AN ARTIST COLLECTIVE

The Unsteady Hand will grow its artistic programs for people living with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers. Creativity Labs and an annual art show develop participants’ creative expression, fine motor skills, and community connections. They hope to reach many more Coloradans living with the disease.

INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS
A FAREWELL TO BEES
BY THOM PHELPS

Thom Phelps will sculpt a large dead bee out of steel to be the centerpiece of a local art exhibition engaging the public in discussion about bee extinction. The artist will raise public awareness about pollinator protection by provoking a collective, emotional response about the loss of bees.
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Friday, March 1, 2019

Peak Arts Prize individual artist finalists want to spark conversation and share stories

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 1:00 AM

The Peak Arts Prize, a grant contest run by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation's Fund for the Arts, kicked off public voting for its second year on March 1, open through March 15.


Anyone in the community may take a look at the videos on Peak Arts Prize's page, and vote on the project they most want to fund in three categories: large arts organizations, small arts organizations, and individual artists.

We at the Indy chatted with each of the finalists in the individual artist category to learn more about their projects, what they wanted to do with the funds, and what value they feel their work will bring back to the community that invests in it.


See our print issue on Wednesday, March 6, for a chat with Angela Seals of COPPeR about changes made in the prize's second year.

Kailani Dobson: Atlas.Promisi

COURTESY KAILANI DOBSON
  • Courtesy Kailani Dobson
Local dancer Kailani Dobson proves unique among the finalists in this year’s Peak Arts Prize, as she has been here before. Last year, she and her project partners Robert Stokes and Bailey Wilde made it into the finals for their ambitious photography project. This year, however, Dobson’s proposal proves more personal.

“I lost my grandma last year in November,” Dobson says. “And she was a really big part of, like, why I do art and why I dance. And I was stuck with these weird kind of feelings of what to do with the promises that we had left with each other.” She asked herself whether or not she still had to follow through with the promises she had made, or if any of those promises changed now that her grandma had passed away. “I got interested in what other people would say if I asked them to share a promise with me.”

Since then, Dobson has been collecting written promises by leaving submission boxes at the coffee shop where she works, and asking friends to collect promises from people they know. These promises can be simple, Dobson says, the “tiny contracts we make in a day” like telling someone you’ll call them when you get home. But Dobson has collected promises that delve deeper, too. One promise reads simply, “Me time,” while another says, “I promise to live through you and for you, dad.”

“And after I started collecting them, I realized that it was this weird kind of untapped vulnerability in the community,” Dobson says, “and that people wanted to share these things, but they didn't have a platform.” She has collected more than 100 promises already.
Her project, Atlas.Promisi, aims to combine these hand-written notes into a physical art installation which will provide an environment for Dobson’s culminating performance. She plans to choreograph a dance to a custom soundscape, all inspired by the promises she has received. But that’s far from the last of it. In conjunction with the project, Dobson will host workshops to help people tap into whatever their promises happen to bring up — memories, sadness, joy, guilt — any emotion that needs an outlet. She hosted her first workshop already at Ormao Dance Studio, and encouraged people to explore their promises through journaling and movement. 
KAILANI DOBSON
  • Kailani Dobson


Should Dobson receive the Individual Artists grant from Peak Arts Prize, she hopes to spruce up her submission boxes and place them in more locations throughout town, and to make the workshops more accessible to the wider community by traveling them to different locations. Then, later, she will use some grant money to copy and bind these promises in a book so everyone who anonymously submitted their promise may take home a piece of the project. “They can also see the vulnerability of the entire community … all the other things people are struggling with,” she says.


Thom Phelps: A Farewell to Bees

COURTESY THOM PHELPS
  • Courtesy Thom Phelps

Thom Phelps may have gotten his start in cartooning, and may consider himself a cartoonist at heart, but over the course of his career his artwork has taken plentiful turns. For decades he worked in graphic design, and more recently he has become a prolific sculptor.

His sculptural works can be spotted throughout town, such as the “Giving Tree,” crafted in steel and stone, situated outside Giving Tree Montessori School, or “High Plains Desert Flower,” a sculpture purchased by the city of Colorado Springs in 2017 to occupy a flower planter near Acacia Park on Tejon Street.

Phelps’ most ambitious sculpture project to-date, though, will take on a different kind of design, moving away from his usual abstract works to focus on a poignant image that he hopes will spark conversation. “We love bees,” Phelps says. “I love bees … and they're usually such a sweet image. But then when you see one dead, you know, it kind of hits us viscerally.”
After seeing a great many articles about the slow extinction of Earth’s pollinators, then conducting his own research into the depth and breadth of the problem and its controversies, Phelps was struck by this image of the dead bee as a representation of climate change and our planet’s future. “The conversation needs to be made, and I think it should be a conversation about the image ... And I personally feel very strongly about it, but I wanted to come at it from a sense of 'well, let's look at this objectively.'”

He hopes to recruit other artists for a gallery show, to be titled A Farewell to Bees. Whether contributing artists and visiting community members believe bee extinction is a genuine problem or a natural process whose impact is up for dispute, Phelps simply wants people to talk about what the bee means to us.
THOM PHELPS
  • Thom Phelps
Should Phelps win the Peak Arts Prize this year, he plans to put most of the money into the centerpiece of “A Farewell to Bees,” a massive steel sculpture of a dead bee, legs curled as it lies on its back. With any extra funds, he hopes to compensate other artists contributing to the gallery show, and perhaps offer a cash prize for an opening night “people’s choice” award.

He believes drawing attention to this in Colorado Springs, especially, can be valuable, because this city hosts so many different viewpoints.

“You've got the, you know, the right and the left, right here on … the environment and climate and GMO and all these different topics; this is a great place to have that kind of conversation.” He hopes being confronted with such visceral imagery may encourage people to “be more aware of the images that you are taking in, that are being put in front of your eyes — and not necessarily ‘be wary,’ but be aware.”

Adam Williams: Humanitou 2.0

Xanthe Alexis, photographed for Humanitou - ADAM WILLIAMS
  • Adam Williams
  • Xanthe Alexis, photographed for Humanitou
Three years ago around Christmas, photographer Adam Williams moved from St. Louis with his family to Manitou Springs. Both he and his wife worked from home, and they struggled to find ways to engage meaningfully with their new community. However, with a background in journalism, and with an entire town of creative, fascinating individuals surrounding him, Williams hatched an idea for a project to not only connect him to the community, but to allow him to share that community’s stories with the world.

In 2017, Williams launched Humanitou, a website where he has since collected almost 60 interviews with Manitou Springs locals, especially the town’s artists. But these interviews don’t just scratch the surface of what these people do for a living or how they make their art. Williams doesn’t document small-talk or chit-chat. “I want to get at the heart of how they see life, maybe where they — well, definitely where they've learned that from. That comes from life experiences.” He mentions a 65-year-old man he interviewed recently who lost both of his parents suddenly when he was only 15. “You know, these are things that really have influenced him, of course, through the rest of his life,” Williams says. “And I think when we talk about those things, that can be about resiliency, struggle, can be about love and marriage, or any kind of relationship that people are in.”
Williams has interviewed some of the area’s biggest names, from nationally recognized artist Floyd D. Tunson to prolific illustrator Charles Rockey to drummer and dancer Dallo Fall. But Williams wants to spread the wings of this project, and he wants Peak Arts Prize’s help to do it.

Dallo Fall, photographed for Humanitou - ADAM WILLIAMS
  • Adam Williams
  • Dallo Fall, photographed for Humanitou

“The 'humanness' aspect of [Humanitou] is about inclusivity and diversity in every way that we can think of that,” Williams says. “So I want that in age, and I want in race, and I want it in religion and I want it and sex and gender matters, and just every way that a person, you know, holds their story.” His goal is to expand into Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region at large, and to open up both the audience and the participants in order to better share the region’s stories.

Of his project’s importance, Williams speaks with passion for the people he has met, and those he hopes to meet as Humanitou breaks out into its next phase: “Humanitou is about those connections of humanness especially, and creativity. And I think especially in the current ongoing climate of negativity, division, fear, anger — it's probably fair to even say, hatred — then to have this project be about bringing us together, to learn about each other, to hear from voices we're not necessarily always connecting with, whether that's socially or professionally, I think it's important that there be a project that focuses on the common ground of our humanity.”
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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Art on the Streets sculpture vandalized, Downtown Ventures searching for missing piece

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2019 at 4:26 PM

COURTESY DOWNTOWN VENTURES
  • Courtesy Downtown Ventures

Though Downtown’s Art on the Streets program has seen isolated incidents of vandalism and theft, generally the community has been respectful of the public art on loan to the city from the program's many contributing artists. Unfortunately, the Downtown Partnership announced on Feb. 13 that a piece of the 20th anniversary Art on the Streets exhibit has been stolen.

The sculpture, You, Light as a Cloud, was created by South Korean artist Byeong Doo Moon, and depicts a large cat sitting on a bench beside an unlikely friend, a small snipe. It is the snipe that has fallen victim to thievery, as it is reportedly no longer attached to the sculpture and has gone missing.

You, Light as a Cloud, which can be found at Boulder Crescent Park on Cascade Avenue, is valued at $70,000, but according to a Downtown Partnership press release, “because the bird was stolen, it is considered incomplete and no longer valid for sale. Downtown Ventures, the nonprofit organization that runs the Art on the Streets program, is seeking the public’s help to find the stolen bird.”

According to their Facebook page, the Downtown Partnership has already contacted scrap metal businesses and the Colorado Springs Police Department in their search for the snipe, but they hope to enlist the public’s help in finding the stolen bird.


From the press release:

“In the past, vandals of another public artwork were identified through a public call for information, so we’re hoping someone who knows about this incident will come forward,” said [Urban Engagement Manager Claire] Swinford.

“It is especially disheartening to see this sculpture vandalized. This artist worked with local donors to have another of his sculptures – a stunning wire deer titled I have been dreaming to be a tree – acquired and gifted to the city’s permanent collection of public art,” said Swinford. In fact, the artist so appreciated the beauty and friendliness of our community when he visited that he applied for a visa to move here with his family. Swinford continued, “It is a shame that such a talented person, who so admires our community and who so badly wants to be part of it, would have his generosity repaid in such a selfish, uncaring way.”

If anyone has any information as to the bird’s whereabouts or any information that could lead to a suspect, the Downtown Partnership asks that you call 719/886-0088.

COURTESY DOWNTOWN VENTURES
  • Courtesy Downtown Ventures
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Labor of love: Stargazers celebrates 10 years

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 12:11 PM

Stargazers owners John and Cindy Hooton celebrate 10 years in 2019. - STARGAZERS THEATRE AND EVENT CENTER
  • Stargazers Theatre and Event Center
  • Stargazers owners John and Cindy Hooton celebrate 10 years in 2019.
Attendees stream out the doors and into the Stargazers Theatre and Event Center's foyer, bustling from excitement after the evening's entertainment. One woman makes a bee-line to co-owner Cindy Hooton and her husband John as they greet their guests with flyers of the upcoming shows. "She said she and her husband hadn't been out on a date in years," Cindy recalls, "'Now he wants to know what's happening at Stargazers next week!'"

“People will come up and give us high fives, hugs and tell us what a great time they had,” Cindy says.

It’s easy to get the Hootons to talk about their brainchild as they reflect on a 10-year love affair with music and what the future holds for the venue.

“This has been both the fastest and the longest 10 years of our lives,” says John.
The inside of the building when it first opened as a movie theater. - STARGAZERS THEATRE AND EVENT CENTER
  • Stargazers Theatre and Event Center
  • The inside of the building when it first opened as a movie theater.
The building now known as Stargazers was built in 1969, and has seen life as a movie theater, heavy metal venue, and even a church. John and Cindy purchased the building in April 2008, spending 10 months on extensive renovations before hosting their first event in February 2009. They’ve since racked up over 1,700 shows, averaging between 150 and 170 per year.

A promotion for the grand opening of Cinema 150, now Stargazers Theatre and Event Center. - STARGAZERS THEATRE AND EVENT CENTER
  • Stargazers Theatre and Event Center
  • A promotion for the grand opening of Cinema 150, now Stargazers Theatre and Event Center.
The space hosts events of all moods, from quiet reflections to raucous celebrations with a 200-person conga line lead by Cindy. The flexibility of the building allows the Hootons to use the floor space for a variety of uses, too, like table seating or a dance floor (occasionally activating what Cindy calls Stargazers' "honky-tonk mode”).

The goal is to have a warm and welcoming venue no matter the event, as well as featuring great artists — and audiences — of all genres. The Hootons find value in the venue's central location and easy parking in addition to the variety of events they put on. And they strive to make shows accessible to everyone — sometimes even free of charge — and showcase local talent and international touring artists.

By intentionally blending local, regional, national and international acts, John and Cindy have approached Stargazers as not just a music venue, but an incubator to grow the local music scene. John describes the venue-band relationships they've built as atypical, creating something mutually beneficial for both sides. The Hootons even go as far as finding artists for tribute shows and pairing local bands with international talent as openers.
The Long Run: Colorado's Tribute to the Eagles takes a photo with the crowd at Stargazers in 2017. - STARGAZERS THEATRE AND EVENT CENTER
  • Stargazers Theatre and Event Center
  • The Long Run: Colorado's Tribute to the Eagles takes a photo with the crowd at Stargazers in 2017.

“We like bands who pay their dues,” John says. “We see them work hard, and then we work hard for them.”

But live music is only part of the Stargazers story — the Hootons saw an opportunity to leverage their performance space and give it back to the community. The venue is known to host film festivals including the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Institute Shorts Night each April, and benefits like Pikes Peak Blues Community and other nonprofit events every year.

“We saw that there was a need for this in the community, so we said ‘let’s run with it,’” John says. “It’s not always about the money, sometimes it’s about doing the right thing.”

John and Cindy Hooton, owners of Stargazers Theatre and Event Center, in their natural habitat - on stage introducing the next act. - STARGAZERS THEATRE AND EVENT CENTER
  • Stargazers Theatre and Event Center
  • John and Cindy Hooton, owners of Stargazers Theatre and Event Center, in their natural habitat - on stage introducing the next act.
The couple has called Colorado Springs home since 1988, and are thrilled with the growth of local talent, venues and potential in the area.

“Anything that gets people off the couch and to a live venue is good for everyone,” John says. “You’re starting to see the scene simmer, and it’s getting ready to boil. This can be a huge music town if the current momentum keeps going.”

As for the future, Stargazers' centers around the building itself — upgrading the sound system, floors, and anything else that needs revamping. That, plus continuing the high energy passion the Hootons bring to their work everyday.

“It’s a work in progress, there’s a lot more to be done to get Stargazers fully blossomed,” John says. “It’s fun and rewarding to do this.”

Check out Peak Radar's conversation with John and Cindy:

Jonathan Toman serves as the Peak Radar Manager for the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. PeakRadar.com connects you to over 4,500 local events, 450 creative groups, & 350 artists — all in one beautiful website for the Pikes Peak region. Jonathan can be reached at jonathan@culturaloffice.org.

To sign up for the weekly Peak Radar Picks email, which includes 8-10 great local events, click here.
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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Eat your heart out with Kelly Gileran's Birthday Suit

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Birthday Suit, On display through Feb. 22, The Modbo, 17C E. Bijou St., free, themodbo.com. - KELLY GILLERAN
  • Kelly Gilleran
  • Birthday Suit, On display through Feb. 22, The Modbo, 17C E. Bijou St., free, themodbo.com.
Food has never been quite so sexy as in artist Kelly Gilleran’s new exhibit for The Modbo. In Birthday Suit, Gilleran draws on her influences — vintage, mid-century advertisements, pin-up art and traditional media techniques — to create striking paintings of flirtatious food items that will undoubtedly make you hungry. Among... other things. These long-legged confections come in all kinds of flavors, and you’ll see everything from cakes to cheeseburgers — true Americana. Norman Rockwell, eat your heart out.
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There's a lot going on with Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche, Feb. 7-9, 7:30 p.m., Impossible Playhouse, 1201 N. Main St., Pueblo, $5-$15, impossibleplayers.com. - COURTESY IMPOSSIBLE PLAYERS
  • Courtesy Impossible Players
  • Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche, Feb. 7-9, 7:30 p.m., Impossible Playhouse, 1201 N. Main St., Pueblo, $5-$15, impossibleplayers.com.
If the title of this play alone isn’t enough to convince you to go, you’re not entirely a lost cause; there is so much more going on here than what’s on the tin. Granted, five self-described “widows” (sure, Jan) do get together to eat a few quiches, but consider: It’s Cold War 1956, and breakfast may be served with a nice big helping of nuclear winter. This absurdist play about the five board members of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein goes off the rails fast, and what begins as an annual quiche competition turns into a clusterf*ck of confessed feelings and discovered secrets that might be more explosive than the literal bomb the Communists may drop outside the club’s community center. 
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Anna in the Tropics offers a thoroughly unique theatrical experience

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Anna in the Tropics, Wednesdays-Sundays through Feb. 24, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, 30 W. Dale St., tickets start at $20, csfineartscenter.org. - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • Anna in the Tropics, Wednesdays-Sundays through Feb. 24, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, 30 W. Dale St., tickets start at $20, csfineartscenter.org.
Back in the day, workers didn’t have the luxury of podcasts or custom Spotify playlists to make their days go by faster. Cuba, and the Cuban diaspora in Florida, solved the problem of workforce boredom by introducing lectors into their cigar factories in the early 1900s. A lector would read to, entertain and educate the factory workers as they rolled cigars — an otherwise mind-numbing task. Needless to say, the arrival of a new lector at a factory would often be cause for celebration. For the family in Anna in the Tropics, that is precisely how they treat the arrival of Juan Julian, their factory’s new lector. But Julian chooses quite a story to introduce to the factory workers: the characteristically depressive masterwork of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina. As he reads, the audience learns that the drama in this factory extends far beyond the book’s pages. Affairs, nefarious plots, massive debts and more will be revealed in this poignant, poetic and thoroughly unique theatrical experience.
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Karen Russell kicks off Converge Lecture Series' new era

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 1:00 AM

A Conversation with Karen Russell, 7-9 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $15-$65.99, - convergelectureseries.org. - MICHAEL LIONSTAR
  • Michael Lionstar
  • A Conversation with Karen Russell, 7-9 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $15-$65.99, convergelectureseries.org.
Near the end of 2018, the Converge Lecture Series hosted its last event at the Pinery at the Hill, where it has brought prominent and diverse authors and poets to speak on the subject of “moral beauty” since October of 2017. Now, they’ve moved to an ambitious new venue, the Ent Center for the Arts’ Shockley-Zalabak Theater, an auditorium with almost 800 seats serving to expand the program’s reach to students and more. “We kind of want to blow it out a little bit and see if we can make it more accessible to the Springs community,” Converge founder Samuel Stephenson told the Indy last September. Celebrated author Karen Russell will give the first Converge lecture in this new space, kicking off a year of lectures by prominent women writers. Russell, whose debut novel Swamplandia! was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, has written short stories and novels to great critical acclaim, even winning the National Magazine Award and a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. Her works tend to contain elements of the uncanny, verging into magical realism and horror, but always with a uniquely outrageous spin that keeps the reader engaged. She should prove an appropriate choice to begin Converge’s new, even more accessible, era. 
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The Ruth Holley Library Rededication and Open Mic has us remembering a real community hero

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Ruth Holley Library Rededication with Open Mic, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ruth Holley Branch Library, 685 N. Murray Blvd., free, facebook.com/Poetry719.
  • Ruth Holley Library Rededication with Open Mic, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ruth Holley Branch Library, 685 N. Murray Blvd., free, facebook.com/Poetry719.
When librarian Ruth Holley passed away in 1986, the community lost a real hero. Holley, who managed the East Library for 10 years, was known for her kind heart and dedication to her patrons, and Pikes Peak Library District honored her by dedicating the Ruth Holley Library in her name in 1987. Now, PPLD and Poetry 719 will honor Holley’s memory with a rededication ceremony, plus a full roster of festivities. Accomplished poet Ashley Cornelius will host a “celebrating womxn” writing workshop open to all who want to honor the women in their lives. Following that, stick around for or participate in an open mic for black women poets, “dedicated to the memory and impact of Ruth Holley.” Poetry 719 has asked that attendees bring books to donate to the library, or cash to purchase books from the Friends of Ruth Holley Library store. 
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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Abigail Kreuser's moving onward and upward the only way she knows how

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Gratitude, Opening reception, 5-9 p.m., on display through Feb. 22, Kreuser Gallery’s new location, 125 E. Boulder St., free, abigailkreusergallery.com. - RAMON AGUIRRE
  • Ramon Aguirre
  • Gratitude, Opening reception, 5-9 p.m., on display through Feb. 22, Kreuser Gallery’s new location, 125 E. Boulder St., free, abigailkreusergallery.com.
Almost eight years ago, local photographer Abigail Kreuser first opened the doors of her Colorado Avenue art gallery, drawing the Springs arts scene under the bridge to enjoy a diverse array of art by local creatives. She has provided a venue for art of all mediums, modes and meanings, and built up the Depot Arts District (which also includes The Bridge Gallery and the new Under the Bridge Collective) into a must-visit First Friday destination. Now, it’s time for her to move onward and upward, and — in true Kreuser fashion — she plans to thank everyone who has helped her along the way.
Opening just in time for February’s First Friday, Kreuser’s new location at 125 E. Boulder St. should prove bigger and better than ever, stocked full of artwork by more than 100 local artists. The show, Gratitude, reflects styles across the spectrum, including paintings by Shannon Dunn and Steve Weed, sculpture by Sean O’Meallie, photography by Brian Tryon and plenty more. The exhibit’s opening reception will include live music by local Americana band Phosphene Eyes, and at 7 p.m. Jasmine Dillavou will present a performance art piece: Reclamation of Sif. Drawing on the Norse story of Sif, a goddess whose power Loki stripped away by cutting her hair, Dillavou will perform a “spiritual bath,” a ritual used in Yoruba Santeria that is meant “to help women find their power, be healed, take control.”

Should you miss the opening reception, stop by the new space throughout the month anyway. It’s rare to see this many local artists represented on a gallery’s walls.
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You have no reason not to go to GalaxyFest

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 1:00 AM

GalaxyFest, Feb. 1-3, times vary, The Antlers hotel, 4 S. Cascade Ave., free-$199, galaxyfest.org. - COURTESY GALAXYFEST
  • Courtesy GalaxyFest
  • GalaxyFest, Feb. 1-3, times vary, The Antlers hotel, 4 S. Cascade Ave., free-$199, galaxyfest.org.
Each year, GalaxyFest gathers the city’s geeks and hosts a jam-packed weekend of events. With authors, artists, celebrities, cosplay contests, mermaid demonstrations, panels, workshops and more, it’s well worth its ticket price and the inevitable emptiness you’re bound to feel once the convention doors close. This year, look forward to appearances by special guests Noah Hathaway (The NeverEnding Story) and Sainty Nelsen (The Bay), as well as GalaxyFest alumni Tracee Lee Cocco (Star Trek) and Michael Copon (Power Rangers Time Force). Plus, for those over the age of 18, this year’s AfterDark party includes burlesque, kilt bowling and a special performance by Japanese rock band Kazha. Looking for something a little less adult? Sunday is family day, with activities and kid-friendly exhibitors, and kids under 12 get in free with a paid adult.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Rialto Theater Players bring a family favorite to an inspiring old venue

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Little Women, Fridays, Saturdays, 7 p.m., Sundays, 3 p.m., through Feb. 10, Rialto Theater, 209 W. Main St., Florence, $10-$12, historicrialtotheater.org. - RIALTO THEATER FACEBOOK
  • Rialto Theater Facebook
  • Little Women, Fridays, Saturdays, 7 p.m., Sundays, 3 p.m., through Feb. 10, Rialto Theater, 209 W. Main St., Florence, $10-$12, historicrialtotheater.org.
It’s hard to go wrong with a play like Little Women, the story of a family facing all the struggles of the Civil War, from an absent father to the threat of scarlet fever. And the Rialto Theater Players are poised to go very, very right for their production of this classic tale. While the Rialto Theater space is still in the process of a long renovation, the hard work hasn’t stopped them from putting on successful quarterly plays in an area of Fremont County that could do with some more theater. With a set furnished through loans from local antique stores (which, in Florence, have a heck of a selection) and a cast enriched by local teens playing the parts of the four March sisters, this should prove an effective and easy family favorite at a truly inspiring old venue.
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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Anniversary exhibits showcase dynamic history of Fine Arts Center

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 3:26 PM

Anniversaries can mean different things — joy, remembrance, even sorrow. For the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, their year-long 100th anniversary celebration seeks to honor the rich cultural history of the region, and the people and events that shaped its growth from the Broadmoor Art Academy in 1919 to the FAC in 1936, and beyond.


For curator of modern and contemporary art, Joy Armstrong, this means crafting a series of four museum exhibits that tell a story of always-evolving artistic ideals across a century.

O Beautiful! Shifting Landscapes of the Pikes Peak Region follows a timeline from around 1870-1970, examining the earliest artists in the region, why they came and how their artistic ideals started to coalesce. In those early years, tracing the artists is fairly equivalent to tracing the history of the academy and FAC. They were founding personalities, board members and key figures in the transition from the academy to FAC, helping develop the region’s art identity.
Another component of the exhibit is “shifting perspectives,” sidebars that provoke attendees to be critical of historical truth, reexamine the art from our modern perspective and explore their own alternative viewpoints.

The second exhibit opening of the year, Scenes from Life: Drawings by Bernard Arnest, is a series of 51 large drawings that showcase his reactions to a world he decided was essentially tragic.

“[Scenes] is really a demonstration of his thoughtfulness as an artist,” Armstrong says. “They are difficult works to be with — he was responding to the global events of the '70s — but they feel contemporary.”

Arnest served as both the head of the FAC Art School (which became the Colorado College Art Department) and professor of art at Colorado College.

Bernard Arnest instructs a class, circa 1950-60s. - COURTESY OF THE COLORADO COLLEGE SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
  • Courtesy of the Colorado College Special Collections
  • Bernard Arnest instructs a class, circa 1950-60s.

Notes from the Musick Collection will open Aug. 3. Archie Musick was a student at the academy, and had relationships with many of the founding characters. He even published a book — Musick Medley: Intimate Memories of a Rocky Mountain Art Colony, which looks at his experiences and local contemporaries in an entertaining tabloid format.

In concert with his daughter Pat, the exhibit will focus on the family collection Archie accumulated through the years, which includes art but also historical FAC artifacts, including diaries, announcements and postcards.

The Broadmoor Art Academy and Its Legacy, 1919-1970 will premiere in the middle of Arts Month this October, focusing on how the artists that studied and worked in the area influenced each other, and how that influence spread throughout the country and across time. It’ll include private and public works, with pieces from the Smithsonian and Denver Art Museum.

“This will really demonstrate the influence of the academy,” Armstrong says. “It’ll look at the art artists brought with them to the region and what they learned and experienced while they were here, and what they did when they moved on. There was a really powerful impact on the development of American art identity.”

A class of the Broadmoor Art Academy out and about. - LAURA GILPIN, ©AMON CARTER MUSEUM, COURTESY OF THE FINE ARTS CENTER
  • Laura Gilpin, ©Amon Carter Museum, Courtesy of the Fine Arts Center
  • A class of the Broadmoor Art Academy out and about.

This exhibit will also explore how artistic approaches that are now widely accepted may have been reviled and misunderstood in their time.

“We can look to the past to come to terms with the styles,” Armstrong says. “There is this continuity in the continuum of art history — if we can understand where things come from, then hopefully we can at least appreciate them.”

Part of Armstrong’s work is to look forward, to where she sees the FAC in the future, both through these exhibits and beyond.


“We are product of what has come before. [These shows] allow us an opportunity to see what they are as part of the era gone by, though they may be offensive or shocking now. We don’t condone them, but we can dig into them and attempt to understand where they come from and where they’ve gone,” Armstrong says.

One of the growing challenges for cultural institutions Armstrong sees is growing competition for time, attention and dollars.

“We can no longer expect that when we do something we feel is important, that people will come to us,” Armstrong says. “We have to ask questions of ourselves and be open to criticism.”

The Fine Arts Center lobby in the 1930s. - COURTESY OF THE COLORADO COLLEGE SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
  • Courtesy of the Colorado College Special Collections
  • The Fine Arts Center lobby in the 1930s.

Beyond preserving the existing collection and remembering their core values, Armstrong hopes the FAC seeks out new opportunities — to intentionally reach new audiences and serve the whole community, take risks with challenging and provocative work, and utilize technology to evolve the role of the museum. And, fight the notion that a museum is full of dusty objects that you possibly can’t relate to. It is a place for learning, connecting, experiencing and growing.

“There are different ways to view what a museum does. It’s a shift from museum as temple, playground of the elite, and exclusive to museum as classroom, community center,” she says.

“I’ll be disappointed if, in 100 years, we are what we are today.”

But why, now, come to the FAC?

“People from any background can develop a relationship with something that will leave an impact," Armstrong says. "You won’t like everything, but there will be something you fall in love with.”

Exhibit Schedule
Through 2019 | O Beautiful! Shifting Landscapes of the Pikes Peak Region
Through June 9 | Scenes from Life: Drawings by Bernard Arnest
Opening Aug. 3 | Notes from the Musick Collection
Opening Oct. 12 | The Broadmoor Art Academy and Its Legacy, 1919-1970

Public Open House & Museum Free Day - 100th Anniversary Kick-Off Event
Saturday, January 26

  • Guided tours of featured exhibitions O Beautiful! Shifting Landscapes of the Pikes Peak Region and Scenes of Everyday Life: Drawings by Bernard Arnest at 12 and 12:30 p.m.
  • One-act play reading of the first play performed by the Academy Players in 1919, Suppressed Desires, in the galleries at 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Hands-on art activities and demonstrations 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Complimentary hot beverages and sweet treats 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Taste open for lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jonathan Toman serves as the Peak Radar Manager for the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. PeakRadar.com connects you to over 4,500 local events, 450 creative groups, & 350 artists — all in one beautiful website for the Pikes Peak region. Jonathan can be reached at jonathan@culturaloffice.org.

To sign up for the weekly Peak Radar Picks email, which includes 8-10 great local events, click here.
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