When the Denver School of the Arts opened its new facility in 2003, administrators decided that what they had was too impressive to keep to themselves. They also recognized that the state-of-the-art campus offered a unique opportunity to connect with the community.
"We realized that the DSA could provide a great arts alternative," says assistant principal Rory Pullens. "We have professional-level venues and put on nearly 200 shows a year -- right here in the neighborhood, not downtown, and for far less money. We wanted to hold events that were more geared toward the community, that promoted other backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities and that didn't just necessarily involve DSA students. We wanted to become more diverse."
Thus was born the Community Partnership Performance Series, which kicked off last September with a show that drew nearly 300 people.
This evening, the second event of the series gets under way with Viva La Fiesta, an evening of traditional Mexican music and dance at the Schomp Theatre, 7111 Montview Boulevard. The school has teamed up with Ramiro Loera, dance and artistic director for the Viva Mexico dance company, to make the night as authentic as possible.
"It's going to be exciting," Loera says, "full of color, music and entertainment. It will be a night that will be hard to forget."
In addition to the Viva Mexico dancers -- a traditional Mexican folkloric dance troupe comprised mainly of DPS students, which won national championships in 2003 and 2004 -- Viva will feature a mariachi band made up of students from Bryant-Webster elementary school, as well as the Ballet Folklorico de Pueblo, which will perform selections from Zoot Suit Riots. Ramiro has also snagged a professional dance troupe from Monterrey, Mexico, that will bring along a children's dance company from Texas.
"This will mark the first time that the DSA has hosted a traditional Mexican music and dance event," comments Loera. "Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a long line of performances."
Tickets to the show -- $10 general admission, $5 for DPS employees, students and senior citizens -- are available at the door or by calling 720-934-8482. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Canine Art Romps
DOGmata fetches for the Dumb Friends League
Denver and dogs go together, which is why a few local wags are staging an art show featuring both.
"Denver loves dogs, and Denver loves Denver," says painter Mario Acevedo. "We love dogs, and we love Denver." So Acevedo and fellow artists Tadd Moskal, Eric Matelski and Russ Wright combined to unleash DOGmataDenver, an exhibition of canine portraits and paintings of the Queen City.
Each member of the artistic foursome created a piece based on one pooch's photograph. The results are a mixed breed: Acevedo's oil is realistic, while Moskal's crayon drawing is cartoonish. ("That's what I wanted," Acevedo notes. "It was a good surprise.") The donated portraits were then mounted in a single frame; the resulting piece will be sold through a silent auction in conjunction with the show. Also on display are the four artists' depictions of familiar Denver places, such as Pete's Kitchen, along with more canine-inspired art.
Bidding for the silent auction starts at DOGmata's opening reception, tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. at Lapis Gallery, 3971 Tennyson Street. All proceeds from the auction, which closes November 31, as well as a portion of art sales, will go directly to the Denver Dumb Friends League.
The show is a natural for the space, says Lapis co-owner Jon Rieger, especially given the increasing popularity of the Tennyson Street First Friday Art Walk. "We get lots of families with dogs coming in," he says, adding that the gallery will provide biscuits and water for four-legged patrons. For information, call 303-898-4350 or visit www.dogmatadenver.com. -- Ernie Tucker
Salute to Saravia
Man-about-town Mauricio Saravia is one in a million, but it's not because he has a rare, incurable condition with a long name: McCune Albright's Syndrome with Polyostotic Fibrous Dysplasia. Rather, it's all about what he's done in spite of the ailment, which affects thyroid function and bone structure, among other things. An artist, poet and co-founder of the Denver-based, nationally distributed Artist Interviews magazine, Saravia is a creative powerhouse, well received both here and in his homeland of Uruguay, where he co-hosted a television interview program in Montevideo.
But as his condition worsens, Saravia hopes to relocate to Los Angeles for medical treatment at UCLA. To help him on his way, friends Regas Cristou and Jen Fiechek of Truest Entertainment are throwing a bona fide benefit par-tay at 9 p.m. tonight at Cristou's Vinyl Nightclub, 1082 Broadway, to raise funds for the move. Topping the entertainment list will be L.A. DJ Simply Jeff, but this night to remember will also include a barrage of fashion shows, break-dancers, live hip-hop performances and an entire regiment of local DJs.
Admission is a minimum donation of $10 (partyers shelling out $50 or more are eligible for an escalating list of VIP treats); for details, call 303-753-2735. -- Susan Froyd
Ladies and Gentlemen
Girls Inc. is an equal-opportunity entertainer
According to its website, Girls Incorporated of Metro Denver "is a non-profit organization and affiliate of National Girls Incorporated, which is dedicated to assisting girls and young women to become knowledgeable, resourceful and responsible citizens." Their unofficial slogan is "Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold." And who better to hammer home all those positive traits than Garth?