Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Song of the Day: Nico, "These Days"

Did you know that German singer/model/actress Nico was in Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vida"? Or that she was deaf in one ear? Or that she was the cover model on Bill Evans' 1962 album Moon Beams? All those factoids are pretty interesting, but this 1960s cover of a Jackson Browne tune remains the most compelling part of Nico's biography for me. It's a haunting tune, buoyed by clean fingerpicking and straightforward vocals. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Further Afield Reviews: "The Field," "Cabaret" and "Ruined"

"Cabaret" at the Arvada Center. Photo courtesy of the Arvada Center.

There was a lot happening in the theater scene this weekend, both in Aurora and farther afield. From touring the Dayton Street theater with the Afterthought Theatre Company members to taking in the Shadow's production of "In Search of Eckstine" at the Denver Civic Theatre,  I had my hands full. Look for stories and reviews about those run-ins later this week.
In the meantime, here's a package of reviews from the Denver metro area over the weekend, including a moment that was downright bittersweet. The Denver Vic's stunning production of John Keane's "The Field" is wrapping up as owners and Aurora residents Wade and Lorraine Wood look to sell the century-old theater. The show proved just how much of a loss the sale will prove to be for the local theater community.
Find the reviews after the jump...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Arik Angel wrestling video

Here's some footage captured by the Sentinel's Heather L. Smith during an IWF wrestling match last week featuring Rangeview grad Arik Angel. In case you missed it,  here's a link to last week's feature story.

Josh Blue to appear at PHAMALy fundraiser in June

Photo courtesy of

The Denver metro area’s only theater troupe for handicapped actors, performers and crew members will feature a hometown hero at its annual fundraising gala this summer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Scaling K2 Part II: Revenge of the Iceaxes

Climbing a 12-foot-high wall was never scarier.
In my feature story about the Aurora Fox's production of Patrick Meyers' gritty survival drama "K2," I wrote about the dizzying effect of climbing the central set piece. At that point, the 12-foot-wall that serves as the drama's sole setting hadn't been completed -- no paint had been applied, the wood was still bare, there were still plenty of grips for bare hands.
Today was much different. The ever-patient crew at the Fox let me tackle the "mountain" the same way that actor Jude Moran has to do it every night: with crampons and ice axes. I didn't have to worry about expository dialogue as I made my way up the intimidating set, but the effort still demanded all of my focus and concentration.
I can only imagine how terrified I'd be on the sheer face of a 27,000-plus foot peak.
Look for a review of the terse, two-man drama in this week's home and weekend edition of The Aurora Sentinel. In the meantime, enjoy these photos of me risking my life for the sake of thrills and glory.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shakespeare classes at Martin Luther King Jr. Library

Lisa Mumpton had a few ulterior motives when she helped set up a workshop series devoted to teaching Shakespeare.
Mumpton, the director of education at the Aurora Fox theater, wanted to bring classes to a wider range of students. Working with instructors Seth Maisel and Rebecca Salomonsson, Mumpton organized the five-part class series as a way to attract teachers and older actors who wanted to better understand the language aand poetry of William Shakespeare.
“I thought maybe we could give teachers some skills so they could help decide on Shakespeare pieces,” Mumpton said, “It’s to understand the language and make it active.
Shakespeare is best performed if you have good actors who understand what the text means.”
That being said, Mumpton had her own lessons to learn in the classes, which started March 12.

"Mean" Goldstein interview with Arik Angel

Photo by Heather L. Smith / The Aurora Sentinel

IWF Wrestling villain and Rangeview High School graduate Arik Angel will be the subject of an upcoming feature in the home and weekend editions of The Aurora Sentinel. As a preview, I offer a video clip of the Aurora native threatening cops and courts reporter Brandon Johansson. Enjoy the clip after the jump.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wayne Gilbert: Poet and jazz disciple

Photo courtesy of Wayne Gilbert

This weekend's Home Edition of The Aurora Sentinel features a profile of Wayne Gilbert, a poet and English professor at the Community College of Aurora. With a style informed by the improvisation and freedom of jazz music, Gilbert has developed a poetic style all his own.
A couple of short poems by Gilbert follows after the jump, as well as a taped performance from a Boulder public television program.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shadow's 15th season to feature original work by Shadow veterans, staffers

Shadow Theatre Company Creative Director Hugo Jon Sayles prepares for a performance of "The Life and Times of Ol' Alfred" last year. Sayles will contribute two original pieces to the theater's coming season, titled "Wonders of Original Works." (Heather L. Smith / The Aurora Sentinel.)

The Shadow Theatre Company will continue its search for a fresh start next season with a program of original works by local playwrights.
The troupe is set to announce the six selections for its 15th season during a performance of “In Search of Eckstine,” the musical currently running at the Denver Civic Theatre. The season, dubbed “Wonders of Original Works,” will include original pieces written by Shadow’s Creative Director Hugo Jon Sayles, as well as contributions by theater staffers Karon Majeel and Arnold King. Local theater veteran Kenneth Grimes will also contribute an original piece.
Titles include "The Sisters, Sweetwater," "In the Presence of God" and "The Final Mile to Providence."
The coming season, which kicks off in September, will also include an original work by the theater’s youth ensemble, which started as an annual project under the theater’s founder, Jeffrey Nickelson.

Top Five Tadoos in Aurora -- March 11 to March 17

Photo by Heather L. Smith / The Aurora Sentinel

Here comes "K2," along with some music by Ravel and a giant invisible rabbit...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spotlight's production of "Harvey" reviewed

Photo by Heather Smith / The Aurora Sentinel

Before “Harvey” debuted on Broadway in 1944, playwright Mary Chase agonized over the comedy’s title character.
It didn’t matter that the role was a 6-foot-3 rabbit who remained invisible to the audience during the course of the three-hour comedy. Chase rewrote the show at least 50 times, changing Harvey’s species from a giant parakeet to a giant rabbit in the editing process.
Chase’s keen eye for creative detail still shines in the Spotlight Theatre Company’s capable remount of the comedy now running at the John Hand Theatre. At its core, the story of Harvey and his human best friend — the entirely visible Elwood Dowd — remains compelling, despite a good deal of jokes and references that remain rooted in their 1940s-era context.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Famed muralist coming to CCA

Photo courtesy of the Community College of Aurora

The Community College of Aurora’s Lowry campus could be the next physical canvas for an artist whose murals decorate the walls of the Denver International Airport.
Muralist Leo Tanguma has spent nearly 40 years refining his distinctive style, an artistic approach that melds history, social commentary and ancient visual traditions. Tanguma is set to host a slideshow of his work during a special retrospective at CCA’s Lowry Campus on Tuesday, and the artist says he will likely return to the campus this summer teach a set of specialized mural classes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Further Afield Reviews: "Five Course Love"

Photo courtesy of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Even the snobbiest gourmand needs an occasional break from the fancier dishes. You can only take so much filet mignon and lobster bisque before you need relief in the form of a light salad or soup.
Gregg Coffin’s musical “Five Course Love” offers an ideal brand of light theatrical fare, an easily digestible collection of comedic vignettes that are never too cloying or heavy. In five separate stories revolving around themes of love and romance, the three-member cast offers a cartoonish brand of comedy and music that echoes the style of Vaudeville and old Warner Brothers toons.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Top Five ToDos in Aurora — March 3 to March 10

From homespun versions of Irving Berlin's "Putting on the Ritz" to a new exhibit at Red Delicious, there's plenty going on in A-town this coming weekend.

Aurora Police Department investigating $20,000 in missing items at the former Shadow theater

Photo by Heather L. Smith/The Aurora Sentinel

The Shadow Theatre Company's former landlord has reported about $20,000 worth of missing equipment to Aurora police, claiming chairs, computers and other items were gone when the now-bankrupt troupe vacated the Dayton Street building last month.
Cornerstone Equity first moved to oust the troupe from the Aurora theater in January, claiming the company had continually failed to pay its $7,500 monthly rent since early 2010 and citing debt totaling about $200,000. Cornerstone officials say the troupe's departure came after two contentious months - Cornerstone  went to court to forcibly vacate the company after the Shadow filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 2.
In a release dated March 2, Cornerstone Principal Michael Rasser said the company left the Dayton Street theater in February with a "laundry list" of stolen goods, adding that the company reported the missing items to the Aurora Police Department. Rasser said members of the company tried to "re-enter the facility" twice after the eviction, "once with locksmiths who were caught trying to re-key the doors."
APD Spokesman Bob Friel confirmed the department is currently investigating the missing items.