Winnie Wenglewick brought more than her furniture with her when she moved to Denver from Orlando two years ago. The improv theater entrepreneur also brought a novel, breakneck idea: the Extreme Playwright's Adventure, a patented concept of her own invention that pits a dauntless crew of playwrights of all skill levels against a 36-hour deadline. The mission? To write a five- to fifteen-minute one-act based on an e-mailed set description and the idea of a single, improvisational prop actor. They could write all the lines they wanted for an unchosen cast without regard for the yet-to-be-spoken, off-the-cuff dialogue. Easy? Most playwrights would probably rather grab a loose bungee cord and leap off a cliff. Wenglewick's Dangerous Theatre Productions will introduce the concept to Denverites tonight at 7 p.m. in a single performance at the Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan Street: With eleven scripts in place and a cast chosen only yesterday -- based mainly on whether or not the actors matched character descriptions -- she'll present The Psychic: An Extreme Playwright¹s Adventure. It will feature Orlando actor Brian Alexander in the prop role of Madame Sabine Matisse, a fortune teller in drag. "There was just one catch," Wenglewick says of the original writing process. "I didn't tell the writers Sabine was going to be a male actor in drag. That way, there could be no intentional gags based on that situation." And that's where the fun really begins: Many lines take on new meaning in the context. Though Wenglewick admits it's a chancy experiment, the funny results can't be predicted, and that's what makes it work.
Admission is $10; call 720-233-4703 for reservations. -- Susan Froyd
Scofield keeps hitting the right chords
Once upon a time, pioneering fusion musicians found ways to merge jazz and rock that frequently amplified the attributes of both genres. But once fusionoids realized they could earn greater airplay if they squeezed most of the improvisational sparks from their creations, the die was cast -- and a deadly die it was. Had Miles Davis known that his innovations might one day lead to the scourge that is smooth jazz, he might never have mixed up Bitches Brew. Fortunately, guitarist John Scofield, a one-time Davis associate whose group plays Boulder's Fox Theatre at 9 p.m. tonight, with Black Frames, understands that fusion can still sound fresh if it's made with the right ingredients -- like, for instance, a modern sensibility and generous supplies of imagination and adventurousness. Up All Night, his latest CD, features tracks such as "Philiopiety," which is jammed with guitar loops alternately recorded forward, backward and sideways; "Watch Out for Po-Po," replete with ultra-funky soloing and intermittent shouts of (naturally) "Po-Po!"; and "Freakin' Disco," an eight-minute scorcher that's groovy without being gauche. You may not hear it on the radio, but I betcha it'll turn the space in front of the Fox's stage into a dance floor. -- Michael Roberts
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Named for the colorful plumage of the quetzal bird, the Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli de Veracruz, will fly north from Mexico to perform a single show tonight in Boulder. The troupe carries with it the vibrant, pulsating culture of the Veracruz region. Traditional dances, characterized by rapid, precise footwork and high energy, are accompanied by live music played on instruments from the area. Everything about Quetzalli, from the costumes to the performers' enthusiasm, is authentic and deeply rooted in Mexican culture. The show is at 8 p.m. tonight at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street. Call 303-786-7030 for tickets, $21.50 to $29.50. -- Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz
Chicano Music fest heats up
Get ready to salsa and merengue at this weekend's Chicano Music Festival & Auction, presented by El Centro Su Teatro. Festival highlights include tonight's La Noche Tradicional and Mariachi Sunday; there's also an art auction. The seventh annual Summer Pachanga, a street party and battle of the bands, will be held on Saturday from 2 to 11 p.m.; it features performances by Next in Line, Tejano Style, Maxine and Company and Group Amor. "This festival is all about listening to the music, enjoying it, dancing to it," says Mica Garcia de Benavidez, spokeswoman for the Latino cultural center. "We find the music of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico to be very important, and we want to provide an arena for people to enjoy it."
It's all happening at El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street. Festival passes are $22 each; individual events cost $4 to $15. Visit www.musicfest.suteatro.org or call 303-296-0219 for a complete lineup. -- Julie Dunn