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The Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats give a heady performance.

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The Shangri-La acrobats whirl into town

By Julie Dunn
Combining balance with pretzel-like contortions, formidable kung fu moves and a dash of Chinese comedy, the world-renowned Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats will share their unique brand of entertainment tonight at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 480 South Allison Parkway in Lakewood. "We've never had anything like this here," says center spokeswoman Susan Martin. "It's a show that explores the harmony between mind and body using centuries of tradition."

Directed by members of the Hai family, the sixteen-member multicultural troupe specializes in building human pyramids and spinning multiple plates.

The acrobats -- who at one time opened for Liberace in Las Vegas -- will perform at 7:30 p.m. as part of the cultural center's Potpourri Series. Tickets for the all-ages show are $15 to $25 and can be purchased at 303-987-7845 or

What's in a Name?

Who is Claudia? To hear avant composer/percussionist John Hollenbeck tell the tale (and he probably will), she was a would-be fan of his Refuseniks trio who gushed and charmed at their first gig, vowing to come back, but never made good on the promise. They never saw her again, but she became a mythical object of ongoing speculation for Hollenbeck and friends. Eventually, he named his Claudia Quintet, formed after the Refuseniks went south, after her. Apparently, the spirit of Claudia has been good to Hollenbeck's combo, which features acoustic bassist Drew Gress, vibraphonist Matt Moran, reed player Chris Speed and accordionist (yes!) Ted Reichman: Their imaginative mixture of improvisation and structure is a critical success, and it's coming your way tonight, courtesy of the University of Colorado at Boulder's Coalition for Creative Music. The Claudias perform at 8 p.m. in CU's Old Main Chapel; admission is free. -- Susan Froyd

Horn Tooting

Big Band Boogie benefits kids

By Julie Dunn
Bebop into Dazzle, 930 Lincoln Street, today for ten solid hours of cool music by hot bands at the second annual Big Band Boogie Benefit."The opportunity to hear so many different styles of music in one setting is amazing," says Dazzle owner Donald Rossa. "Last year was extraordinary -- it was busy right from the get-go through to the end of the night."

A fundraiser for the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts, the benefit will feature continuous music on two stages from 1:30 to 11:30 p.m. Both student and professional bands, including Rumbleseat, Pandemonium, the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra and the Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra, will perform.

"Jazz is becoming more and more appreciated here in Denver," says Rossa. "But the real reason that we do this is to support the kids and arts education."

Tickets are $20; for a complete lineup and performance schedule, call 303-839-5100 or go to


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