Out and about on the arts scene 

The City Auditorium Task Force held its first meeting this past Monday at the City Auditorium. With Judy Noyes and Colorado Springs Police Commander Robert Ownbey in attendance, along with most of the appointed members, the meeting was focused primarily on the oh-so-governmental task of going over the purpose of the committee and discussing what particular information members will need to help them to make decisions about the future of the auditorium. By the end of the meeting, several committee members stated that they'd like to start off by creating an "ideal mission statement" and then work backward through the certain labyrinth of legal and technical issues to a more realistic mission statement. When it's all said and done, I predict this realistic mission statement will be a paragraph summarizing exactly what the City Auditorium is already doing: providing a venue for any organization that can pay and provide adequate security and medical staff.

Ownbey, representing the Police Department, noted that the City Auditorium had 17 calls for service to the 911 dispatcher last year as compared with only 1 from the comparable World Arena. Few details were given, but Commander Ownbey said afterward that he is concerned for the safety of young children taking drugs at raves and for the "image of the City" were there to be any deaths. More details about these calls for service and how they are used to judge potential safety concerns will, hopefully, come out at future meetings.

Also of grave concern is the fact that there are only two people below the age of 35 on the committee, which seems to be composed of about 25 people. Both Candice Trujillo and Daniel Michaelson, from two local teen councils, said they both think more events for teens should be held at the auditorium where youth can be supervised and given immediate medical attention, if necessary.

The next meeting is tentatively set for Monday, May 3, at 3:30 p.m. at the City Auditorium. It is open to the public with time set aside before and after for comments. Call Paul Butcher at 385-6501.

If you missed the opening of Mosaic at the Business of Art Center this Saturday before the blowout Blues Diva night, I most highly recommend going by to check out the gorgeous "diaspora" of works by African-American artists from up and down the Front Range, curated by Maxine Stores. Wallace Conway's gorgeous heroic painting "Young Gladiator" of Mohammed Ali and his monumental pencil portrait "Jessie" are two of the finest figuratively rendered pieces I've seen in recent memory. Also stunning are the beautifully painted, yet unsentimental historical reminders of slavery's price in Dawn A. Williams Boyd's "Ft. Lauderdale, FL 1935" and "Okema, OK 1911."

In some spectacular news for local film fanatics, Christopher May has just recently moved The International Experimental Cinema Exposition (TIE) from Telluride to the Pikes Peak Region. May, the executive director of TIE, noticed that about 60 percent of the festival's attendees were from Colorado Springs, and decided to move his operation here. Instead of a single, four-day festival, however, May has decided to spread the screenings of experimental and avant-garde films throughout the year at different venues. Look forward to screenings by film giants and pioneers Hans Richter, Stan Brakhage and many more.

Get ready for Colorado Springs' premier summer music and Western culture event as Michael Martin Murphey finalizes the lineup for WestFest, June 27-30 at the Penrose Stadium and Pikes Peak Center grounds. In its 16th year in Colorado, and its second year in Colorado Springs, Murphey has just added singer Darryl Worley, country/rock act Poco, and bluegrass jam man Tony Furtado to the lineup. Though some star power was lost when Hank Williams III and Shawn Colvin cancelled, the festival is still rife with the MVP musicianship of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Hiatt, Hot Club of Cowtown, Chely Wright, Eddie Three Eagles, Pin Monkey, Riders in the Sky, and Real West Recording Artists: Cowboy Nation, Joni Harms, RW Hampton, Joanne Shennandoah and Brenn Hill. And if you haven't had much luck at the bars, come down to WestFest to meet some real beaver trappers, learn how to become a mountain man, then bust some mutton out of your honey with some bona fide cowboy poetry! For more information, go to

www.westfest.net. Tickets are now on sale through Ticketmaster, 520-9090.

Local soap-box-and-monkey-wrench anti-artist Atomic Elroy announced that his multimedia presentation, "The Kafkamachine," was accepted as part of the Sixth New York Fringe Festival to be held August 9t-25. Tack $12 admission price onto your accommodations and plane fare, and you can see Elroy anti-matter his adaptation of several Franz Kafka stories onto the world's greatest stage in the year's hottest month. Go, Elroy!

-- nblack@csindy.com


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