Save the first Saturday in August for all the Olathe sweet corn you can eat. Last year the Western Slope Vegetable Growers Association donated more than 70,000 ears of the Colorado specialty, which were consumed by an estimated 20,000 attendees, all to benefit nonprofit organizations in the Uncompahgre Valley. It sounds corny, we know, but when they aren't chowing down, festivalgoers can take in continuous live entertainment, contests and games, and more than 150 food, arts and crafts, educational and carnival booths. A downtown parade and pancake breakfast kick off the festivities, and a fireworks show ends them. Come on down and lend an ear.
Her scathing portrayal of an unhappy daughter in last season's The Beauty Queen of Leenane was as hard-edged as they come, but her more recent turn as Beatrice in the Denver Center's Much Ado About Nothing showed that Robin Moseley is an accomplished light-comedy actress as well. She captured perfectly a side of Beatrice that most actresses either ignore or can't locate: the "merry heart" ascribed to her by another character. And when Beatrice remarked that her sense of humor came from being born under a dancing star, Moseley opened a window to the character's soul that is rarely seen in other productions. Though seemingly inconsequential at first, Moseley's astute choices ultimately proved revelatory.

Shortly before he died in late 1997, best-selling author James Michener revealed that he wanted the University of Northern Colorado -- where he'd gotten his master's degree and first started writing -- to become the official repository of his works, a gift he wrapped up with a half-million-dollar donation to establish the archive. Today, the James A. Michener Special Collection fills 400 feet of the library also named after him, a vast expanse consumed not just by notes for his many novels, but also by his false teeth, his typewriter, and a list of all the payments he received for Centennial, his epic novel about Colorado. And the collection is still growing.
Driven by Nils Kiehn's riveting turn as a raconteurish Satan, Don Becker's Lucifer Tonite stimulated playgoing nerves that, for too long locally, have been deadened by the dumbed-down din of floor-show-style musicals and hapless revue sketches. Despite its in-your-face tone, this play felt refreshing and provocative rather than angry or pompous. Never out of control but always poised to explode with rage or humor, Kiehn took us through several fractured versions of familiar Bible stories. His performance didn't quite qualify as a miracle, but it was an encouraging breath.

Located in the old Evergreen Hotel next to the famous Little Bear on the main street that runs through town, the Ice House hosts an open-mike night every Thursday evening from 6 to 10. The "unplugged" musical fare is much better than the usual two guys playing old Eagles covers, with a variety of local talent performing original and customized popular selections and a growing reputation that's attracting top-notch musicians from "down the hill" in Denver. The hors d'oeuvres are free, and the bar specializes in martinis. Come ready to play, sing or just listen till closing, then step next door for the last set of whoever's playing at the Bear.

Francis Scott Key could not have envisioned a time when his "Star-Spangled Banner" might be fused with the state song of, say, Namibia; in those days, it would have been impossible to foresee John Guillot's World Anthem Project. The local producer used a computer system called Experiments in Music Intelligence to sample 192 national anthems and create a compositional whole. The anthem debuted this past New Year's Eve in Denver, providing a sonic backdrop for the rockets-red revelry.
Rocky Mountain News Books editor Patti Thorn likes mysteries and light fiction. She also respects serious literature. And she harbors a profound curiosity about the current publishing scene, from self-published e-books to monolithic houses, the travails of local writers and the struggles -- and victories -- of independent bookstores. For the past several years, she's dished up a Sunday book section that's a delicious blend of humor, insight, gossip, analysis and wisdom, a section that focuses on Colorado while placing the state's literary doings in a national context. But come April 2001, the News will never again publish on Sunday -- and given the current economic climate, we're not willing to make book on what will happen to Thorn's section.
In an effort to come up with a millennium show last fall, Sally Perisho, director of the Metro Center for the Visual Arts, had the idea for a historic exhibit that would survey women artists working in Colorado during the twentieth century. To carry out her plan, she collaborated with freelance curator Katherine Smith-Warren, who also wrote the accompanying catalogue. The result was Time and Place, a riveting look at women's work beginning at the turn of the nineteenth century and ending at the close of the twentieth. Highlights included pots by Anne Van Briggle Ritter from the 1910s, photographs by Laura Gilpin from the 1920s, and an installation by Virginia Folkestad from 2000.
As the Denver Center Theatre Company's principal designer, Bill Curley has fashioned an impressive string of stage settings over the years. There was the Venice Beach storefront set, complete with a flying plane inviting patrons to renew their subscriptions, that served as the backdrop for The Comedy of Errors; the romantic cyclorama and cobblestone walks that enveloped The Beauty Queen of Leenane; and the magical Parisian watering hole that housed Picasso at the Lapin Agile. But Curley's greatest accomplishment occurred last season, when he served as Tantalus designer Dionysis Fotopoulos's assistant while also mounting the incredible exhibit that accompanied the twelve-hour epic (the traveling show's curator publicly acknowledged Curley's contribution on the exhibit's opening night). Clearly, Curley is that rare creative individual -- the kind who quietly gets it done.

Expectations were high for Jeff Wenzel: Painting, but even the highest of those were exceeded by this magnificent show held at Ron Judish Fine Arts in February. Educated as a ceramics artist, Wenzel works his paper surfaces as though they were made of pliable clay. He twists and tears, paints and repaints, guided by his instinctual and on-the-mark aesthetic judgment. Wenzel's always been good, but he's never been better than he was here.

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