Gender Follies

A revived Parallel Lives still tackles cultural issues.

SAT, 5/21

Madeline and Sylvia, two New York senior citizens enjoying the challenges of continuing education, are on a field trip with their junior college's Women's Studies class. They walk into Las Hermanas, a feminist-lesbian health-food restaurant.

"Oh, Mad, look at this floral watercolor. It's so vibrant," says Sylvia.

"I love art. Oh, it's beautiful. No, Syvvie, no. It's not a floral watercolor. That's a vagina on a plate."

So speak the bubbly bubbes, two of the characters created by comics Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy in their cult-classic Parallel Lives (aka The Kathy and Mo Show). First performed in 1980 at a San Diego benefit as an improvised sketch, the two-woman show grew into an award-winning Off-Broadway smash and an HBO special. Tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Avenue Theatre, Denver thespians Beth Flynn and Pamela Clifton step into the creators' formidable shoes (and high heels and Doc Martens) to take on 25 female and male characters. But has Parallel Lives' examination of the personal and political from the '80s become outdated for anyone living outside of Boulder?

"So much of this stuff is pertinent today in America," says Flynn. "Aspects of it could, in 2005, possibly be considered 'delicate' sensitive material, controversial even, and that's why I'm especially glad we're doing it. It should be done, given the current climate we're in. In our country, the trend toward further censorship must be met and challenged even in seemingly insignificant ways. It's important."

Director Robert Wells agrees. "The fact is, after twenty years, the female/male/human issues are still not 'fixed.' Sexual communication, gender respect and treatment, religion, family, body image, roles and rules... It's quite amazing how far we haven't come."

Parallel Lives will be reincarnated on weekends through July 3 at the Avenue Theater, 417 East 17th Avenue. Call 303-534-4440 or "cluck" on www.chickenlips.com for tickets, $15 to $20 ($10 for preview performances). -- Debra A. Myers

Bobbin' Along
Locals worship at the Dylan altar.
TUES, 5/24

Ever since Bob Dylan assumed the throne as the folk-rock-genius laureate of the 1960s, other artists have clamored to cover his songs. Jimi Hendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower" is one of the guitar god's most enduring hits, more famous than the original. From Peter, Paul and Mary to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, everybody has paid homage to Dylan. An eclectic sampling of Denver-area artists will take their turn at the Bob altar with On a Night Like This: An All-Star Tribute to Bob Dylan, which hunkers down at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street in Boulder, on May 24. Rockers Rose Hill Drive lead Shanti Groove, Runaway Truck Ramp, Hit & Run Bluegrass and Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams through a celebratory jam that will dig deep into the Dylan catalogue. The audience can even give it a go in a Dylan sound-alike contest. The show, a benefit for the Oral Cancer Foundation, starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call 303-786-7030 for information.

 
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