"We knew we wanted to do something around Johnny Cash. We knew we wanted to call it Square of Ice," says Emily Tarquin, the co-curator (with Charlie Miller) of Off-Center@the Jones, and that's pretty much how ideas begin in the offbeat wing of the Denver Performing Arts Complex, which hosts a different kind of hilarity from the usual DPAC fare. "We come up with ideas that interest us, then we go and gather all the creative people to help us take it to the next level." Such is the case with Square of Ice, an Off-Center sort of spoof of the current main-stage production of Ring of Fire, a Johnny Cash homage, around the corner in the Stage Theatre. Also a parody of shows like American Idol and The X Factor, it's a battle of the bands -- and theremin novices, punks, improv comics, Lesbians of Folsom Prison, slam poets, ukulele players, ad infinitum -- focusing on all things man-in-black, whether it be a long-form improv interpretation of "A Boy Named Sue" or just actual music.
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The two-night spectacle, hosted by emcee extraordinaire Jon Jon Lannen, starts tonight at 10 p.m. with performances by all fourteen entrants, followed by a live vote both in the theater and online; tomorrow at the same time, the finalists face off for a $500 cash prize and a party ensues, with music by Rocky Mountain dancegrass band WhiteWater Ramble. Tickets are $10; visit www.denveroffcenter.org to reserve yours, or call 303-893-4100 for information.
March 30-31, 9:30 p.m., 2012