Arabian Arts

SUN 5/4

Give peace a chance. With the conflict in Iraq almost over, The Nightingale & The Rose Performing Arts Company wants to promote peace. They'll do it artistically, too, with Middle Eastern Cultural Awareness Week, which starts today at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder."With everything going on in the world right now, we thought it would be the perfect time to raise some awareness," says Jeff Richards, one of the event's organizers. "We're not taking a political stance; we're just trying to help educate, entertain and perhaps enlighten people on some different issues."

The week kicks off with a musical workshop, "From the American Dream to the Global Dream," led by Cameron Powers. Tuesday's events range from the panel discussion "Living in America: Viewpoints From the Middle East," accompanied by traditional Middle Eastern music by Sultana, to the Barefoot Boogie for Peace, a community dance party held that evening at the Solstice Institute, 302 Pearl Street, with worldbeat music by DJ Luke. On Wednesday, former "Bellydancer of the Universe" Dondi Dahlin offers a Bellydance Drum Solo workshop.

"The events are all really interactive," says Richards. "We want to get people thinking." Even younger people: Renaissance Adventures, a local theater troupe, will hold three "Adventure Quest: Gilgamesh & Enkidu" sessions, complete with games designed to develop self-esteem and creative problem-solving skills for children ages six to sixteen.

And finally, next Thursday through Saturday, dancer Titanya Monique Dahlin and the Bedouin Moon Dance Theatre will perform their version of Scheherazade: The Veil Behind the Blade. "It's the real story of 1001 Arabian Nights," says Richards, who cautions that the show is inappropriate for kids younger than age twelve. "It's really a love story, so it deals with some adult themes."

A complete schedule of events is available at or at the Dairy Center, 2590 Walnut Street. Advanced tickets can be purchased at either of those sites, or at Mataam Fez, 2226 Pearl Street. Several events are free, and prices for others vary; a percentage of the proceeds from the week's events will be donated to the International Rescue Committee. For more information, call 303-530-9419 or 303-530-5439. All of the activities are in Boulder. -- Julie Dunn

What's Shakespearin'?
FRI 5/2

All the world will become a stage in downtown Denver today, when the Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival -- n which 3,000 kids representing some seventy schools participate -- returns to the 16th Street Mall. The fest kicks off at 10 a.m. with a colorful "rout," or parade, led by the old Bard himself and his Queen; they ride in a horse-drawn carriage from the Denver Performing Arts Complex to a temporary Olde Globe Theatre at Skyline Park. Then the fun begins in earnest on nine stages spread along the mall's lower end, where groups will strut their Shakespearean stuff continuously until 3:45.Highlights? Perennial festival honcho Joe Craft says Debbie Guerrero's ELA class from North High School is known for its annual bilingual performances, with students emoting beautifully -- both in their native Spanish and perfect Elizabethan English. Other performances stray from the Bard's repertoire but remain evocative of the Elizabethan era: Kids from Centennial Elementary School are slated to kick up their heels for a North Skelton Five Sword Dance, for instance, while a group from Godsman Elementary will serve up a bit of seventeenth-century froth called Kathie's Chaos. There'll be swordplay and comedy and hundreds of winged forest sprites with flowers and streamers in their hair, as well as a goodly number of miniature melancholy princes, Pucks, kilted Macbeths and bold Iagos. You just can't beat it for free entertainment. Where there's a Will, there's a way. -- Susan Froyd

The Cowpoke Spoke
SUN 5/4

Curious Theatre Company's artistic director Chip Walton has probably read about a million plays, but Sarah Ruhl's Late: A Cowboy Song -- to be presented by the troupe as a staged reading today as the second in its three-play New Play Development Program -- is one of the few that threw him for a loop. Sent to Walton by playwright Paula Vogel, another Curious collaborator, Ruhl's self-described "inkblot of a play" engaged him in thought long after he'd put down the script."I read it, and I was blown away," Walton says. "I didn't know what to make of it." And he can hardly wait to see how an audience will react to the play, an enigmatic three-character drama that deals with multiple myths on multiple levels while avoiding a pat -- or really any -- kind of conclusion. What it means is for the viewer to decide. That means you.

Walton says the story is so personal that Ruhl has avoided shopping it heavily in the theater world. CTC reads the thought-provoking Late today at 4:30 at the Acoma Center, 1080 Acoma Street; admission is free. Call 303-623-0524 or log on to -- Susan Froyd

Piping Up
Women's works see daylight
SUN 5/4

Think of famous chefs, flutist Elizabeth McNutt suggests, when considering the inequities of the art world."At one level, most of the cooking is done by women," says the Lafayette artist. "But at the highest levels, most of the famous chefs are men."

There's a similar gender bias that lingers in other arts. Take the cello or flute: "A hundred years ago, it was considered improper for a woman to play them," McNutt says. Too suggestive, bluenoses claimed. Those days are gone, but barriers still exist.

Yet women have at least an equal claim to artistic accomplishment, and that's why the Rocky Mountain Women's Institute is staging Deeply Rooted and Dancing Still to showcase the work of eight artists who have worked on RMWI projects during the past year. McNutt will perform at 5:45 tonight at the University of Denver's Driscoll Hall Ballroom, 2050 East Evans Avenue. Her concert will be followed by a three-author panel discussing their work. Visual artists will also display their creations. Admission is free for man, woman or chef. -- Ernie Tucker