The Colorado Ballet borrowed the costumes and set for its season opener Don Quixote, not from Spain, but from Louisville, Kentucky. "I originally wanted Boston Ballet's," says artistic director and CEO Martin Fredmann, "but it turns out they were doing it at the same time." A harried search led him to the Louisville Ballet, where the opera-house grandness of the scenery impressed him.
"They're a smaller company than we are," says Fredmann, "but the scale is huge."
That grandeur mirrors the ballet itself. Colorado Ballet will perform Marius Petipa's choreography (restaged by Alexander Gorsky), set to Ludwig Minkus's dynamic score.
"It can't be made any better," Fredmann says of the classic staging.
The full-length ballet is based on episodes of Cervantes's masterpiece, and it focuses on Kitri, whom Don Quixote envisions as his perfect Dulcinea, and her love, Basilio. As the action on stage moves from vigorous village dances to the Don's fantasies, comedy and Spanish-style bravura alternate with moments of pristine classicism.
"It's not classical in the sense of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake," says Fredmann."Much of it is a pure romp, with castanets and guitars."
The company hasn't performed Don Quixote since 1993, and those who remember that production will see what looks like a completely different troupe tonight. While Fredmann and some of the dancers have been around at least that long, the Colorado Ballet has grown remarkably since then.
"Ten years is a long time in the life of an arts organization," says Fredmann. "A tremendous amount has changed."
The curtain goes up tonight at 7:30 at the Buell Theatre, 950 13th Street; performances run through October 12. For tickets, $20 to $74, call 303-893-4100 or log on to www.coloradoballet.com. -- Jonelle Wilksinson Seitz
Reading AND Rights in Lights
In 2000, Tattered Cover Book Store owner Joyce Meskis was pitted against the North Metro Drug Task Force and its commander, Lori Moriarty, in a highly publicized court case that questioned whether releasing the book-purchasing records of a suspected criminal is in violation of the First Amendment. Reading Your Rights, a new documentary by Denver's Just Media, dissects the landmark case, with commentary by Meskis, Moriarty and their attorneys. "As you get to know both of these women and hear their viewpoints, they both make sense," says director Daniel Junge. "It depends where you draw the line, and it just so happens that the Colorado Supreme Court agreed with Joyce."
The 26-minute film premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on KRMA-TV/Channel 6. During the last three minutes, a bombshell fact about the case will come to light for the first time. -- Julie Dunn
Please Touch The Art
When local artist Viviane Le Courtois heard "Don't play with your food," she was inspired to create installations out of food materials. Now, as program coordinator at the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts gallery, 1405 Florence Street, Aurora, she's overseeing Playtime, a new exhibit of interactive artworks by DAVA youth and guest artists Joseph Riché, Morgan Price and Dave Seiler. "This is one of the only shows where you play with and touch everything. It's not often you can do that with art," Le Courtois says, and that's the point: Though much of the work on display -- inventive robots, puppets, riddle-solving peek-a-boo boxes, a walk-in papier-mâché dragon and more -- was created by kids ages seven to seventeen, it's not meant to be seen by just kids. Yeah, you get to touch it, too. Playtime opens today with a totally hands-on reception from 3 to 8 p.m. and continues through November 14; call 303-367-5886. -- Susan Froyd
The Blues gets to the roots of music
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Seminal bluesman Willie Dixon once said, "The blues are the roots; everything else is the fruits," thereby voicing the raison d'être for this year's season-opening PBS series, The Blues, a seven-program musical journey overseen by executive producer Martin Scorsese. And unlike the average public-television fall blockbuster, this program brings together the blues-soaked visions of seven diverse directors: Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Richard Pearce, Charles Burnett, Marc Levin, Mike Figgis and Clint Eastwood. The opening segment airs tonight at 8 and 10 p.m. on KRMA-TV/Channel 6. Directed by Scorsese and written by American-music historian Peter Guralnick, it follows neo-blues traditionalist Corey Harris (whose own roots are here in the metro area) from the Mississippi Delta to West African shores as he meets with the late cane-fife player Otha Turner, Alabama bluesman Willie King, Taj Mahal, Keb' Mo,' and Mali musicians Salif Keita, Habib Koité and Ali Farka Touré. Along the way, Scorcese mixes in rare footage of slide-guitar master Son House and references to Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters to create a musical portrait as full and primeval as the Delta itself.
The remaining segments will air nightly through October 4; a concurrent radio series hosted by Keb' Mo' airs at 9 p.m. Saturdays on KUVO radio/89.3-FM. For information, log on to www.pbs.org/theblues. -- Susan Froyd
Jonathan Lethem reads from his Fortress
While life experience surely flits through every work of fiction, inventive writer Jonathan Lethem's new coming-of-age work, The Fortress of Solitude, reads more like the Bizarro World version of the author's life -- a fitting comparison for a book so informed by comic-book lore (the title refers to Superman's secret hideout). Lethem -- who like his protagonist, Dylan Ebdus, grew up on Dean Street in Brooklyn's changing Boerum Hill neighborhood in the '60s and '70s -- says that the book is a well-knit synthesis of personal experience and imagination. Yet it's clearly a concoction, though perhaps one filled with the true grit of his unique urban rite of passage as a white boy fending for himself in a predominantly black world. Whatever it is, Fortress sings with sharply realized characters, manifesting a milieu with an eye -- and ear -- for historical and cultural detail. And that's all we're saying about it. Lethem reads from Fortress tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue; call 303-322-7727 for information. -- Susan Froyd