It's a left! And a right! And a left! And a . . . Does it seem like the body politic is reeling under the assault of the current presidential election? Or does it appear as if some folks are ducking their responsibility to make a choice in November?
Stories on Stage plans to punch things up today with its presentation of Politically Outrageous: Battlebots of the Left and Right, at 2 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. The lineup calls for eight performers to read from eight authors who are evenly divided within the liberal-conservative spectrum. Buntport's Erin Rollman will give voice to fiery columnist Molly Ivins's Bushwhacked, while El Centro Su Teatro's Tony Garcia interprets the words of Fox spinner Bill O'Reilly's The Price of Freedom. A drawing will determine the reading order, so there won't be any predictable point/counterpoint.
"We are determined to get people excited about issues," says Stage executive director Norma Moore.
But it won't be a dry event: With authors such as funny guy Al Franken and gadfly Michael Moore represented, there's bound to be plenty of humor. Still, there will be an attempt to be balanced -- perhaps more so than some of the major networks -- and no attempt to satirize the authors.
"This will be about our values and domestic agendas," Moore notes, adding that a session revolving around international issues is scheduled for August 29. One benefit in these troubled economic times: Attendees can name their own admission price. For details, call 303-494-0523 or visit storiesonstage.org. -- Ernie Tucker
Baez shares the stage with the younger set
The mention of folk legend Joan Baez can bring tears to baby boomers' eyes. After all, Baez's soprano social commentary has provided a soundtrack for their lives for more than four decades. At this year's Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, Baez will share the bill with contemporary notables like Catie Curtis, as well as old-timers like David Bromberg, who's played with Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead.
Festival spokeswoman Emily Voorhees says she thinks a lot of people will come for Baez and Bromberg, only to be "blown away" by the many newcomers also booked to perform.
"The new guys are the voice of our new generation," Voorhees says. "Joan is the voice of our parents' generation. We need a voice."
The three-day festival starts today at noon at the Planet Bluegrass Ranch, 500 West Main Street in Lyons. Tickets range from $40 to $45 per day, or $105 for a three-day pass. Camping is available; call 303-823-0848 or visit www.bluegrass.com for festival and lodging information. -- Caitlin Smith