Celebrate personal freedom at "Banned: A Celebration of the First Amendment," a performance by the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. "We seem to be at a place in history where the First Amendment is somewhat under assault," says DGMC artistic director Sue Coffee. "This is a really good topic for a gay chorus to take on, because I think that gay people really feel the effect of censorship of all forms on their lives."
Along with "A Twisted Medley," which weaves together twelve songs that have been the subject of protest or censorship, "Banned" also features two works commissioned by Colorado composers -- "Sweet Melody," by Terry Schlenker, and "Two Together," by Tim Snyder. The 95-member chorus will pay homage to everyone from the Dixie Chicks to Pete Seeger; an accompanying multimedia presentation will include photos, readings and tap dancing. The evening closes with the timely "Marry Us."
"We wanted the performance to be moving on a lot of different levels," says Coffee. "It's a glorious hodgepodge of different musical styles and themes."
The DGMC takes the stage tonight at 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 Allison Parkway. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at 303-987-7845 or www.lakewood.org; for information, visit www.dgmc.org.
"Preparing for this show has been especially meaningful," says Coffee. "Every day, something in the news makes it even more poignant." -- Julie Dunn
High on Life
The rhythms of Africa return to CU
FRI, 4/2 In the nation of Ghana, the word "highlife" has nothing to do with either weak beer or Steve Winwood. It's a style of popular music that has its roots in big-band jazz, military marches, calypso, soul and the ancestral sounds of West Africa. The musical blend will be front and center when the CU Highlife Ensemble plays its fourth-anniversary show tonight at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The ensemble is led by Kwasi Ampene, professor of ethnomusicology at CU, and incorporates up to thirty musicians -- many in traditional Ghanaian garb -- playing everything from horns, xylophones and electric guitars to bells, rattles and drums. With its polyrhythmic, 4/4 tempo and brassy punctuation, highlife is essentially dance music, a bone-liquefying pulse that accentuates the virtues of ritual, community and participation. In other words, the most vital qualities of music, regardless of genre or nationality.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Macky Auditorium, on the CU campus at 17th Street and University Avenue; tickets, $10, are available in advance at 303-492-8008 or at the door. Come on down and try a slice of the Highlife. -- Jason Heller
Walden Soars With Kitty Hawk
WED, 4/7 The Walden Family Playhouse is taking off. Word is that the distinguished one-year-old theater will be flying the coop, sending productions on the road next year. It's fitting, then, that this season should end on a high note. Walden tops the year with Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brothers Musical, a historical song-and-dance show with a fresh, in-house score. Performances run Wednesdays through Sundays; for tickets, $14 to $16, and showtimes, call 303-590-1475 or log on to www.waldenfamilyplayhouse.com.
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The playhouse is inside the United Artist Theatre Complex at Colorado Mills, 14500 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood. -- Susan Froyd
Bellydance Superstars swivel into town
WED, 4/7 Americans have been mesmerized by the ancient art of the belly dance ever since Little Egypt scandalized the Victorians with her undulating hootchie-cootchie. And no matter how much we've learned since then about the elegance, grace and history of the Middle Eastern dance, it's hard to keep your mind on culture when someone's bare anatomy is bumping and grinding to a sensuous beat. So expect a battle of the brains and libido tonight when the Bellydance Superstars make like Salome and shimmy into the spotlight at 8 p.m. at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton Street. The handpicked troupe includes some of the best dancers in the country, providing the perfect excuse to conduct a little empirical research. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information, call 303-297-1772 or log on to www.bellydancesuperstars.com. -- Karen Bowers