Latin Tornado

Leguizamo rolls into town with his razor-sharp wit

SUN, 3/7

John Leguizamo has never been afraid to make audiences squirm. As the Latino comic once said, "That's my philosophy: Offend them all equally. You know we all have something wrong with us!" Leguizamo blasts into town to share his hilarious characters, jarring life commentary and personal anecdotes in a show called An Evening With John Leguizamo.

"John Leguizamo has established a career in comedy, film, theater, television and literature that defies categorization," says Sarah Kaskel, a spokeswoman for the comedian. "With boundless energy, endless creativity and an inimitable visceral style, [he] takes the entertainment world by storm on his own terms."

Born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised in New York City, Leguizamo first made a name for himself as an off-Broadway sensation with his one-man shows Mambo Mouth and Spic-O-Rama; he hit the jackpot in 1998 with Freak,which earned him an Emmy Award and two Tony Award nominations. He last came to Denver in the summer of 2001 with the sold-out John Leguizamo Live! national tour, which was later turned into the Broadway smash Sexaholix...A Love Story.

On film, the versatile Leguizamo has portrayed characters from Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Moulin Rougeto the voice of the lovable Sid the Sloth in the animated Ice Age.Other credits include To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, Carlito's Way, Summer of Sam, Executive Decision and William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet.

Now busier than ever, Leguizamo just completed shooting and starring in his directorial debut, Undefeated, a drama for HBO about a young Latino boxer. He is currently filming the movie Sueño, the story of a Mexican immigrant who finds love and a sense of community by forming a band, as well as an independent feature, Crónicas.

Leguizamo will take the stage tonight at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place; the doors open at 7 p.m and the show begins at 8. Tickets are $32 to $49 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 303-830-8497. Log on to www.hob.com or call 303-892-7016 for details. -- Julie Dunn

Celtic Fiddle Festival honors Johnny Cunningham
SAT, 3/6

The Celtic-music community lost a great one when saucy Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham passed away in December. He was one of the naturals, first as a driving force in the band Silly Wizard, and later as a solo act. His participation in the touring Celtic Fiddle Fest, a 1992 collaboration with fellow fiddlers Kevin Burke and Christian LemaĆ®tre, was so successful that the trio eventually recorded three CDs together and repeatedly toured the world. Cunningham may be gone, but the good news is that the fest is not. It has segued into the Celtic Fiddle Festival: A Tribute to Johnny Cunningham, with French-Canadian fiddler André Brunet and guitarist Ged Foley (a veteran of the Battleship Band, House Band and Patrick Street) paying beautiful homage to the late musician. The new lineup hits the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, Boulder, tonight at 8 p.m. for a tour-de-force evening that includes Burke's Sligo-style Irish virtuosity, LemaĆ®tre's Breton dance music and Brunet's wild and woolly New World jigs and reels. It's a must if you like Celtic music: "The young Quebeçois fiddler is an absolute joy to watch, and Kevin Burke is as silky-smooth as ever," says Green Linnet Records' Judith Joiner of a recent performance. Cunningham, we're sure, would agree.

Tickets are $17 to $20; call 303-786-7030. The group also plays March 5 at the Rialto Theater in Loveland; for more information call Celtic Events, 303-777-0502. -- Susan Froyd

Sweet Harmonies
SAT, 3/6

A cappella isn't what it used to be. While you can still find barbershop quartets warbling a chorus of "Sweet Adeline," vocal harmonizing has grown to embrace every musical genre from jazz to gospel and doo-wop to classical. Nowadays, you're just as likely to come across a quintet rocking out to Led Zeppelin, with one of the members performing a vocal percussion that sounds startlingly like a drum.

"There's a whole a cappella counterculture," says singer/adman John Farmer. "You won't find it on mainstream radio, but there's a very broad audience, and its popularity has been growing."

Aficionados of the instrument-free art form will have the opportunity to check out some of the best vocal stylists from a seven-state region at 7 p.m. tonight, when the Gates Concert Hall (2344 East Iliff Avenue) hosts the 2004 Rocky Mountain Regionals of the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival. Eight groups have been selected to participate; the winners will go on to perform at the national finals in San Francisco.

Tickets, $18 ($14 for students and seniors), are available by calling the University of Denver box office, 303-871-7720, or Ticketmaster, 303-830-TIXS. -- Karen Bowers

Potty Mouth
George Carlin keeps firing comic salvos
SUN, 3/7

Comedian George Carlin pissed off the Federal Communications Commission long before Miss Jackson did, and he used nary a nipple -- though he did say "tits." That was one of the seven dirty words banned by the FCC that Carlin cited in his classic comedy routine, "The Seven Words You Can't Say on TV," decades ago. The saucy septet echoed all the way up to the Supreme Court, which issued a ruling in 1978 on Carlin's freedom-of-speech battle with the FCC. These days, if the tally on Carlin's website can be believed, that naughty list is up to 2,443 words. But the expanded vocabulary just gives the man who once referred to himself as "America's fastest-rising young foole" more ammunition.

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