Afghan Sound

MON, 2/21

The war in Afghanistan introduced Americans to a dirt-poor country peopled by fundamentalist mullahs, warlords, persecuted women hidden head to foot in the folds of heavy burkas -- and little more. Even in the media spotlight, the country came across in glaring 2-D, with little insight offered into the nation's everyday people and their rich culture-in-hiding, suppressed by years of strict Taliban rule.

As that lost culture picks up its pieces under a new regime, a number of expatriate Afghan musicians living in the United States have continued to preserve their nation's traditional music, a blend of Indian, Persian and Arabic influences. Master vocalist Ustad (or "Maestra") Farida Mahwash will bring an acclaimed troupe of musicians and their exotic instruments with her to the University of Colorado's Boulder campus tonight for Radio Kabul: Music and Songs From Afghan People, a concert presented by the CU Artist Series.

Joining Maestra Mahwash on stage will be lute specialist Aziz Herawi (a descendant of mullahs who mastered the stringed dutar in secret as a young man and later lived in exile in the Afghan mountains during Soviet occupation before fleeing to Pakistan and the United States) on sitar and rabab, along with other accompanists on harmonium, tablas and flute.

The world-class ensemble performs at 7 p.m. in Macky Auditorium. Pre-concert events include a free student workshop, open to the public for observation, at 1 p.m. in Imig Music Building C199; a panel discussion, "From Boulder to Kabul: The Reconstruction of Afghanistan," at 3:30 p.m. in Old Main Chapel; and a conversation with CU ethnomusicology prof Brenda Romero at 6:45 p.m. in Macky 102.

Concert tickets are $10 to $45; call 303-492-8008 or go to -- Susan Froyd

Gender Benders
3 Guys in Drag is all in fun.
THURS, 2/17

"Think of this show as The Golden Girls on steroids," laughs Edd Wells. "I originally wrote this as women playing themselves. It's about three older women having a yard sale, but I ended up needing a longer piece. I rewrote it as 3 Guys in Drag Selling Their Stuff. You see, these are not serious drag queens playing drag queens; these drag queens are really playing women."

Wells has written more than a dozen off-off-Broadway plays. 3 Guys earned him the Stage Theater Award for Best Play in 2001. Since then, it's been produced by several New York theater companies and a group in Idaho, even landing on the stage of a church basement in Nebraska. "This show is for anyone who likes the theater," says Wells. "It's for anyone who likes cabaret, and it's definitely for anyone who needs a laugh."

The play, which stars Gregg Geis, Stuart Goldstein and Tom Borrillo, runs tonight at 8 p.m. at the Playwright Theater (formerly the Rhino Room), 2119 East 17th Avenue, and continues through March. For showtimes and tickets, $25, call 303-499-0383 or go to -- Jerri Theil

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd
Jerri Theil

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