Thursday, January 17, 2019

Luke Cissell wants to give kids a listening ear, and a little free expression

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Reading and Book Release: The Story of Us – Life After Loss, Noon to 3 p.m., Hooked on Books, 10-12 E. Bijou St., free, tinyurl.com/StoryofUSCOS. - LUKE CISSEL
  • Luke Cissel
  • Reading and Book Release: The Story of Us – Life After Loss, Noon to 3 p.m., Hooked on Books, 10-12 E. Bijou St., free, tinyurl.com/StoryofUSCOS.
Local poet Luke Cissell never enjoyed English classes when he was a teenager. Traditional writing required too much structure, he says, and he found it difficult to access his thoughts and feelings when he spent his energy on spelling and punctuation. So as he has worked with youth poets, first as a part of Hear, Here! Poetry (a local spoken-word poetry organization, to which Cissell no longer belongs) and now with teens serving time in detention facilities, he has encouraged a free expression of thought through poetry. “I think the kids are a lot quicker to tap into themselves and into their stories when they’re able to just creatively write,” Cissell says. “... My goal in this free-flow, free-form style of writing will hopefully open them up to be more free with any art or form of expression that they have. To be less judgmental with it.”

Over the last three years hosting poetry workshops in youth detention facilities, Cissell has helped scores of kids express their stories to a world that consistently refuses to hear what they have to say for themselves. “All these kids are known more by, say, their rap sheets and what’s been on the news than anything else,” Cissell says. “There’s much more to the story than just the charges that they picked up and what happened the night of the crimes that they committed.” In order to increase the reach of those stories, he has put together a book from poems written by the kids who have taken his workshop: The Story of Us – Life After Loss.
At Saturday’s reading and book release, Cissell will read some of these poems, sharing stories and emotions in the teens’ own words, and he will share the insights he has gathered from his work with youths like them. More than 40 kids, between ages 11 and 18, contributed to the book. Cissell says that youths often share their struggles with each other, but important adults like teachers and parents are often left in the dark. Even those with the resources to help seldom know the extent of what kids are going through. He hopes that this book will inspire those living “on the outs” to effect real change, and ensure fewer kids end up in custody. According to Cissell, every teen is in some way an “at-risk” teen, and so many have been detrimentally affected by their environments. These youths’ stories should shed some light on how we can help make the world a little safer for the kids in our communities who most need a listening ear, and a little free expression.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Trocks are proving ballet can be a thoroughly unique experience

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, 7:30-9 p.m., Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, $24-$30, sdc-arts.org. - SASCHA VAUGHAN
  • Sascha Vaughan
  • Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, 7:30-9 p.m., Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, $24-$30, sdc-arts.org.
Ballet doesn’t have to be a stuffy, high-class experience in order to be beautiful and evocative. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo — or the Trocks, as they call themselves — have proved this since 1974 when they first took the stage in New York City. Since then, they have toured to more than 600 cities and more than 40 countries and collected quite the following for their totally unconventional style. Comprised entirely of men, the Trocks perform ballet classics such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Don Quixote, but as parody and en travesti, which means a good portion of the cast cross-dresses, often for comedic effect. But this isn’t going to be your average drag show. While their performances are, for sure, laugh-out-loud funny, these men take their art seriously, and have the training and talent to back it up. Look forward to some incredible dancing, vibrant costumes and, above all, a thoroughly unique experience. The Seattle Times once praised: “The Trocks sit firmly at the intersection of fun and flawless dance.”
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Friday, January 11, 2019

Friends: The Musical Parody brings the goofy sextet back to life

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Friends: The Musical Parody, 7 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $53, pikespeakcenter.com. - THE INDIGO REPUBLIC
  • The Indigo Republic
  • Friends: The Musical Parody, 7 p.m., Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $53, pikespeakcenter.com.
It seems whole generations of Americans have never quite gotten over Friends, the beloved sitcom and cultural phenomenon that aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004. For many of us who grew up with the show, it takes only the sight of Central Perk, the friends’ coffee shop of choice, or the opening chords of Phoebe’s hit song “Smelly Cat” to shoot us full of nostalgia. That might explain why Netflix reportedly paid $100 million to retain its streaming rights to the show through 2019. But if 10 seasons alone aren’t enough to slake your thirst for Friends content, look no further than the Pikes Peak Center on Monday, when a musical parody of the show will make a one-night-only stop on its tour. Capturing some of the most iconic moments from the sitcom’s long run — from Monica dancing with a turkey on her head to Ross and Rachel’s legendary first kiss — Friends: The Musical Parody brings the whole goofy sextet back to life and condenses some of their adventures into a fast-paced jaunt. While gently poking fun at them, of course.
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