Offbeat Big Top

Sensory Circus seeks to juggle creative circuits

THURS, 5/8

Move over, P.T. Barnum: There's a new show in town. And instead of giant elephants and bearded ladies, tonight's unique Sensory Circus features live music, poetry readings, performance art and more."Your senses will be blown away," promises Alicia Greenberg, co-founder of the Circus. A graphic designer by trade, Greenberg and friend Rick Miller -- artsy New York and Chicago transplants -- decided that Denver needed its own multimedia extravaganza, so they set out this winter to create one.

"The idea stems from both of us really having an intense passion for the arts -- and moving out here, we felt that we really had to dig to find great events," says Greenberg. "Although we found tons of amazing people, we hadn't found anything that was all-encompassing."

Entertain your brain at Sensory Circus.
Entertain your brain at Sensory Circus.
Space is the place for tunes.
Space is the place for tunes.
The Temple Sinai Choir sings for peace.
The Temple Sinai Choir sings for peace.
Rob Ullman

"Denver's art scene isn't quite as prominent as we were used to," agrees Miller. "But there are some really talented people here who want to be a part of creating something."

The Sensory Circus debuts at 7 tonight at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street, with a lecture by author Tama Kieves, spoken-word poetry by KUVO 89.3 DJ Andy O'Leary, visual-art displays by Jerry Simpson, Mark Friday and Steve Spencer, and a performance by Denver's Icedfacade modern dance troupe. The evening will also feature independent film screenings and live music by MindGoFlip, a jazz, funk and techno foursome.

"We wanted to create a cool night for visual artists, filmmakers, musicians to be able to be together and perform," says Miller. "Just organizing the event -- screening twenty different films, listening to lots of local bands -- has been a blast."

Miller and Greenberg hope to make Sensory Circus a bi-monthly event. "It really all hinges on this first time," says Greenberg. "But we're certain everyone is going to be as excited by it as we are."

"Everyone has the ability to tap into their creative side," she adds. "And that is what this evening is all about."

Tickets to the Circus, a 21-and-over event, are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Call 303-359-5964 for further information. -- Julie Dunn

A musical adventure goes into orbit
SAT, 5/10

Jefferson Symphony Orchestra lovers are in for a cosmic treat at this weekend's Adventures in Space concerts."We had already chosen music with a space theme for the program, but then someone said, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we could show images?'" says Jim Conder, general manager of the JSO, which worked in partnership with Lockheed Martin to bring the concept to fruition. "It just kept growing and growing into this really amazing event for us."

A huge screen on the stage behind the orchestra will show intergalactic images ranging from space-shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral to swirling nebulas of gas and dust, all choreographed to Mozart's "Symphony No. 41 'Jupiter,'" Gustav Holst's "The Planets" and Richard Strauss's "Thus Spake Zarathustra" (also known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey).

"This is the first time we've ever really done anything multimedia, and we're really coming out of the chute swinging," says Conder. "The footage is just awesome." The music, it goes without saying, is equally out of this world.

The high-flying event will highlight the Symphony's fiftieth season. The concerts, at 2 p.m. today and 7 p.m. tomorrow, will take place at Green Center at the Colorado School of Mines, 16th and Cheyenne streets in Golden. Tickets, $5-$16, are available at the box office or by calling 303-278-4237. Fasten your seatbelts and get set to blast off into another sensory universe. -- Julie Dunn

Perfect Harmony
TUES, 5/13

Subtle tears in the social fabric and the ruthless holes in international relations can create a world of disharmony.But amid the turmoil, groups of individuals are knitting together diverse cultural strands. For them, it's the only way to further peace.

"The idea that we can all live together without having anything to do with one another is absurd," says Geoffrey Wodell, one of the organizers of tonight's Harmony of Differences Musicale, a benefit for the University of Denver's Interfaith/Intercultural Institute of the Center for Judaic Studies. The 7 p.m. event, which takes place at the First Mennonite Church, 430 West Ninth Avenue, will feature performances by the Lutheran Chorale, Bahai dancers, the Blues Brethren (led by a Mennonite guitar-slingin' minister), the Hindu Mudra Dance Studio and the Temple Sinai Choir. For tickets, $25, call 303-871-3018.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Town Hall Series on Channel 12. But Wodell, a Temple Sinai baritone who will join in singing the 400-year-old "Sim Shalom/Dona Nobis Pacem" ("Give Us Peace") in both Hebrew and Latin, says there is a greater benefit.

"If we know what each other does as faith, as culture, as food," he says, "then we can begin to understand one another." -- Ernie Tucker

Niño Lit
El Centro Su Teatro reaches for young writers
SAT, 5/10

First and foremost, El Centro Su Teatro is a community effort: The long-lived Denver Chicano theater troupe Su Teatro, overseen by artistic director Tony Garcia, has always been there to serve as a voice for its Spanish-speaking constituents, a role long rooted in people-oriented activism born in the '60s and '70s. And that's why, well over a decade ago, Garcia and friends moved into the old Elyria Elementary School building, 4725 High Street, in the first place: They hoped to create a supporting cultural center that would be more than a theater, right in the heart of a downtrodden barrio neighborhood.In this business, it's the little things that count. Garcia knows that kids are where the future begins or ends for a culture. So in their interest, he's throwing the El Centro Su Teatro Literary Festival, a small-scale event aimed directly at kids in the surrounding neighborhood. Taking place today from 10 to 1, the festival will feature a recruiter from Metropolitan State College of Denver, a book table sponsored by the Tattered Cover, homemade burritos and other "homey" touches, as well as community-information performances by El Centro's young Teatro de Juventud and its parent troupe, Su Teatro. Admission is free; call 303-296-0219. -- Susan Froyd

 
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