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click to enlarge Mask Charades -  Get weird at Manitou's Carnivale
  • Mask Charades - Get weird at Manitou's Carnivale

I was listening to This American Life last weekend and they had a story about a man whose Plan A -- acting -- fell through, and so he became a "professional partier." Being a very funny drunk, he was actually hired by the Jose Cuervo people to go around to metropolitan bars giving free tequila shots off of his bald head and encouraging young women to snatch Cuervo T-shirts out of his Speedo with their teeth. "Yeah! Do it like you mean it! Do it do it do it you're a cave woman!"

To think that there are actually jobs out there that pay people to jump around like they've run out of Ritalin, purely for the sake of those not willing to stuff prizes in their underwear on their own, gives me hope. This industry could end unemployment. Think about it: Everybody knows how to party on some base level -- you, me, the police department -- and when money and booze are involved, most of us can manage to come up with something relatively amusing (look at Carrottop). Which brings me to this week's events.

07 Thursday

Speaking of mildly amusing comedians basking in the red red glow of their setting suns, the Blue Collar Comedy Tour comes to the World Arena tonight, 3185 Venetucci Blvd. Featuring Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall, billed as the "You might be a redneck if ..." guy and the "Here's your sign" guy, respectively, the show starts at 7:30 and tickets are $32. Call 576-2626.

Poet, radio host, critic, literary celebrity and all-around-good-guy Jack Foley performs with his poet wife Adele Foley in the appropriately character-rich confines of Colorado College's Bemis Hall this evening at 8 p.m. Almost a household word with the Bay Area V-Neck set, Foley's gained notoriety as a performance theorist and author. The free reading will be followed by a book signing.

08 Friday

Also at CC this weekend is the 1998 Tony Awardwinning French comedy ART, performed by the Drama and Dance Department in Armstrong Theater (Cascade and Cache La Poudre). The show runs through Saturday, and starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $2 to $5. Call 389-6607 for details on both events.

click to enlarge I'm just an excitable boy - Cabaret comes to the Pikes Peak Center
  • I'm just an excitable boy - Cabaret comes to the Pikes Peak Center

Friday brings the beginning of Manitou Springs' Carnivale celebration, the yearly bacchanal of giant puppet heads and cheap plastic beads. The Carnivale Ball begins tonight at 8 at Encore! Theater in the old Tajine Alami (10 Old Man's Trail). Music shall be provided by Shakedown Street and tickets are $8 to $15. Call 471-PLAY.

Also opening tonight in Manitou Springs is the new show at Commonwheel Artists Co-op, 102 Cañon Ave. Kathy Beekman and Juanita Canzoneri have a joint show in pastel drawings and glass tile mosaics through Feb. 26. The free reception begins at 6 p.m. Call 685-1008.

09 Saturday

Today's Bob Marley Birthday Celebration and Reggae Party features Michael Rose, former front man for Black Uhuru, the first reggae group to win a Grammy. In the early '90s, Rose parted ways with the band, which still is the best-known act since Bob and Peter Tosh. Tonight he performs with Lion Souljah and Jamaican Eclipse at the City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa St. Tickets are $13.50 in advance at any Independent Records location or $15 at the door. For details, visit

www.sweetsounds.org. Show starts at 7 p.m.

Manitou welcomes you and wishes you the best of luck in finding a parking place that is not up a wretchedly steep hill for today's street festival. (Might as well park at Safeway on 31st and ride the free trolley.) The heart of Carnivale, the parade, begins this afternoon at 1 p.m. and heads west along Manitou Avenue from Memorial Park to the Soda Springs bandstand. Call 685-5089 for details.

El Cinco de Mayo, Inc. hosts a Valentine's Dance for you and yourn at the VFW Post 4051, 430 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Amistad and Sangre Chicana de Jose Angel Moreno provide the music from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets in advance can be purchased for $8 at Rico's Barber Shop, Music Man and the North Circle branch of Western National Bank. They'll be $10 at the door. For more, call Carmen Abeyta at 450-0863 or Chris Martinez at 520-2416.

13 Wednesday

click to enlarge 9fa9_livelong-5044.gif

Get your knickers in a twist at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave.) as Cabaret comes mincing in in its racy underthings and award-winning musical numbers. Tickets to see the decadently Teutonic performance -- oh so Berlin -- range from $24 to $41.50; call 520-9090. The show begins at 8 tonight and tomorrow.

-- Kristen Sherwood

Culture Vulture

Like the abrupt contrast between that endless apron of plains to the east into which our fair Little London continues to spew and the looming hulk of Pikes Peak that defies it to the west, the Colorado Springs cultural landscape is a place of spectacular highs and tediously dull lows.

Take the music scene, for example. Though there's far from a shortage of talent, Colorado Springs continues to wallow in a kind of cover-band, freedom-rock jam nostalgia. Then, every once in a blue moon or two, a Bob Dylan or a Snoop Dogg comes through town and we're all left to ponder (a) Why were they here? and (b) Why didn't the show sell out? Last week's Cypress Hill, Linkin Park and Adema show (which apparently did sell out at the World Arena) is another example of this strange blockbuster-or-bust phenomenon. Aside from the leftovers from the mid-'90s punk scene and the sometimes-brilliant acts at the Acoustic Coffee Lounge, where's the everything-in-between?

The contemporary visual art scene has exploded in the recent years. With a number of new local art champions at the helms of Colorado Springs' galleries, our forward-looking, Kokopelli-and-landscape spurning talent is finally crawling out of their hobbit holes to see and influence one another. A young Scott Snyder just recently rode into town on the back of a red square logo and became the Fine Arts Center's new sheriff with the Colorado 2002 show, and Daniel Breckenridge triumphantly christened the huge new Garage space at the Business of Art Center with the recent Blues blowout.

On the architecture front, the Depot Arts District Association (DADA) announced the winner of their design competition -- LKA Partners' "Design #8," which includes boxcar-style modular housing, suspension foot bridges, and a kind of "gridded matrix" that would allow quick and easy redesign of the common areas closer to the Colorado Avenue bridge for farmer's markets and other outdoor events. What remains to be seen is if the housing will be truly affordable, and how the artists will be chosen. Planned arts communities are almost always the darlings of gentrification loophole scavengers. Not to mention: Show me the money.

David Turner has announced that the FAC has chosen Gwathmey, Siegel & Gensler Worldwide to begin design work on their new addition (location yet unknown). The question remains: Why don't they sell the building to Colorado College before CC needlessly spends $17 million on the new "Cornerstone" building at the corner of Cascade and Dale? The FAC's gorgeous deco building would be in good hands with its next-door neighbor, and the FAC could take the money and the funds set aside for the addition and start a new architectural legacy by building a much-needed new art museum. Nostalgia is always a trap. We need a lot more square footage and new blood for a town that will be pushing a million before you can say megalopolis.

click to enlarge Proposed Modular box-car housing at DADA
  • Proposed Modular box-car housing at DADA

By the way, if you skipped MOMA architecture curator Terence Riley's lecture at the Fine Arts Center to watch President "pretzel of evil" Bush or smoke trees with Cypress Hill this past Tuesday, you missed a gorgeous slide presentation of some of the hundreds of design ideas for the WTC site that have poured into Riley's office since 9-11. Among the ideas are everything from rebuilding the towers exactly as they were to conceptual ideas based on the shadows cast by the towers at the times of impact and collapse, and strange and impossibly complex Swiss cheeselike monoliths. Almost all of the ideas are now a hybrid of memorial and reconstruction.

Former poet-laureate Robert Pinsky stopped by Packard Hall last Friday night, proving in person what anyone might have suspected from yet another white male government-bred bard -- that he's a vapid egomaniac riding a hobbyhorse of generic poetic populism to his own ends. About as comically enthralling as Francisco's "Pas de Deux," a marble farce that looks like Robert Patrick reaching for his young partner's exquisitely chiseled panties in the lobby of the Adam's Mark hotel. Take heart that Krispy Kreme donuts is breaking ground on their new location near the Citadel (as I write this!).

Not to miss this week: Dr. Standish Lawder's abstract films screening at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake on Feb. 9, I Got A Story to Tell ... Want to Heart It? at the Hillside Community Center on Feb. 10 (see opposite page), and Psycho at the FAC on Feb. 12.

---Noel Black

Voice-Over

Kicking off Black History month this Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Hillside Community Center is I Got A Story to Tell... Want to Hear It?, an art show featuring the works of Lisa Villanueva, Propecia Leigh and her son, Sanza Pyatt Fittz.

Villanueva's "Urban Voices" and "Village Voices" are a collection of colorful figurine characters Villanueva began making 10 years ago when her son was 1 year old. Among the "Urban Voices": a tongue-pierced diva with a black veil; a soul sistah with fanned hair, red sunglasses, pursed lips and a red heart tattoo; a young dreadlocked man in handcuffs; and several Puerto Rican papis and mamis. The "Village Voices" are more ancestral busts glowing with yellows, blacks, browns, blues and greens.

Further emphasizing the African-American everyman/woman quality of the tiny busts, Villanueva made them all without eyes. "When you leave the eyes out," says Villanueva, "people see what they want to see. I want the characters to resemble anyone that person feels."

click to enlarge An "Urban Voice" by Lisa Villanueva - SUNNIE SACKS

Propecia Leigh's photographs seem to document the real people who've sprung from Villanueva's voices. In one of her untitled pieces, her son does a handstand on a bag of sand, playfully mocking life's mundane, everyday burdens. In another, Leigh frames a stack of old Jet magazine covers with a haunting feature titled "What's Ahead for Wounded Vietnam Veterans" and a young black man's face in sweaty agony. In another photo, Leigh looks directly into calm and steely eyes of a Jamaican street vendor in the shadows of Anywhere, New York.

Sanza Pyatt Fitzz's hip-hopped pencil-and-ink sketches put a stylized, heroic face onto the young black community. Refreshingly free of the often overdrawn graffiti style, Sanza's sketches are light and airy possibilities and hopes keenly stretched from the faces of reality.

Together, the three artists address the past, present and future of their community.


---Noel Black

capsule

I Got A Story to Tell ... Want to Hear It?

Hillside Community Center Art Gallery

925 S. Institute St.

Opening reception: Sunday, Feb. 10, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily

On exhibit through Feb. 28th.

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