Ante Up

Amateur card sharps get their day.
SAT, 1/29

In May 2003, Tennessee amateur Chris Moneymaker won $2.5 million at the championship final event of the World Series of Poker. The victory came as quite a surprise to the poker community, as the World Series was Moneymaker's first actual casino tournament. Until then, he'd been a purely online gambler.

Given the recent resurgence in poker popularity, though, Moneymaker's victory is not such a shock. You can't flip through the channels these days without coming across at least one televised poker game featuring four or five washed-up celebrities playing cards. The Travel Channel's World Poker Tour is the network's top-rated series, and ESPN has launched a new drama about the World Series of Poker, called TILT. In an ironic twist, the show features card sharps played by washed-up actors. Within such a landscape, it seems only natural that an amateur dark horse would emerge.

And now the world awaits its next Moneymaker.

Thanks to today's Inaugural Colorado Poker Series, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Wildlife Experience, 10035 South Peoria Street, the Centennial State has as good a shot as any of producing the next champ. The charity event will feature "Professor of Poker" Howard Lederer, who will offer an instructional seminar for novices. Lederer will explain the basics of No-Limit Hold 'Em and offer helpful tips, such as how to spot an opponent's tells and when to fold. A dinner will follow, after which MC Les Shapiro will initiate the Colorado Winter Poker Championship Tournament, a no-holds-barred competition during which fast learners can practice their recently acquired skills.

For tickets -- $350 for the entire event, $100 for the seminar only -- and additional information, go to -- Adam Cayton-Holland

Cher-ish the Moment
Glitz and glitter lead to Goodbye.
WED, 2/2

The quintessential queen bee is calling it quits again -- or, rather, still. But this time, Cher will round out the bill with the macho, macho men of the Village People. Bare witness tonight at the World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Boulevard in Colorado Springs, as the glitter goddess majestically flings her sequins around the extravagant exodus, which promises a twinkling trek through her fabulous four-decade career. And because she's teamed up with the bawdy boys, there's sure to be more preening, flashy costumes, glitzy choreography and shiny eyeliner than you'd find during rush week at CU. Of course, some admirers may be wondering if the diva is struggling with retiring her crown, as the appropriately titled Farewell "Never Can Say Goodbye" Tour is nudging its fourth calendar year, with more than 250 performances. No matter. As long as the 58-year-old starlet continues to strut across a stage, throngs of faithful fans, including impersonators, are sure to follow.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the Cher affair starts at 7:30. For tickets, $54.50 to $100, call 1-719-576-2626 or visit

Cher-io, ma cherie. -- Kity Ironton

The West Is the Best
THUR, 1/27

Cowboys may be Pam Houston's weakness, but she clearly has a thing for dogs.

And she's got a thing for Denver, where she's lived between stints in Creede -- the East Coast native's adopted home -- and her post as director of the creative-writing program at the University of California at Davis. "This town is getting like Paris," she told an audience last year. And she'll be back here tonight, reading from Sight Hound, her first novel, at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover in Cherry Creek, 2955 East First Avenue. Houston is as entertaining in person as she is in print, and the Tattered Cover is even better than Paris's Shakespeare & Company. For information, call 303-322-7727. -- Patricia Calhoun

A Simian Sensibility
Performance art goes ape.
FRI, 1/28

Monkeys, Mormons and mischief are the themes of University of Colorado professor Michelle Ellsworth's new solo show, The Monkey Saddle, opening tonight at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th Street. On a philosophic journey to discover her place in the universe, Ellsworth communicates through dance and witty monologue while wearing a technologically advanced "monkey suit" that's packed with pick-ups, sensors and sounds programmed by Michael Theodore. Ellsworth is a captivating protagonist who uses manic dialogue and visual imagery to explore purpose, principle and copulation -- much like Molly Shannon's Saturday Night Live character Mary Katherine Gallagher, if she were on ginkgo biloba. The Monkey Saddle is thinking people's theater, full of over-the-top props, abstract movement and highbrow humor.

The show starts at 8 p.m., with encore performances tomorrow and February 4 and 5. Tickets are $16, with discounts for students, seniors and BMoCA members. For more information, call 303-443-2122 or visit -- Kity Ironton

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun
Adam Cayton-Holland
Kity Ironton