What to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do…

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Courtesy Local Theater Company

VIRTUAL EVENTS

A Ladies Virtual Happy Hour — presented by Colorado Mountain School. 6 p.m. Thursday, July 9.

Connect with other women who love the outdoors for a virtual happy hour. Professional mountain guides Mia Tucholke and Sarah Janin will host, giving mini-presentations and answering questions about alpine climbing in the Front Range and desert climbing in Moab before facilitating a discussion about your own experiences and ideas on how to make the community stronger. This event is limited to 100 participants. Please RSVP with a free ticket to confirm your attendance. All women and girls (transgender and cisgender) as well as non-binary people who identify with the women’s community are welcome. 

101st Army Dixieland Band. Longmont Museum Virtual Summer Concert Series. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9.

The 101st Army Dixieland Band’s repertoire features the hits of Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Jelly Roll Morton and many others. Regular favorites at the legendary Sacramento Jazz Jubilee and Monterey Dixieland Band Bash, these soldiers honor their nation through the most original American art form. These concerts are free, streamed lived from Stewart Auditorium. Visit Longmont Museum’s Facebook page at 7:30 p.m. on the night of the concert and click “videos” to join. Learn more at longmontmuseum.org or call 303-651-8374.

Richard Cummings

Strangebyrds — presented by Little Tree House Concert Series. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

Cari Minor and Ray Smith have flown together as Strangebyrds since 2010. They’ve developed a following with songs built on poetic lyrics, penetrating harmonies and approachable personas. Their brand of “blue collar folk,” as they like to call it, weaves together the powerful acoustic traditions of folk-Americana rock and blues. Donations for virtual concert seats are $12 and up on a sliding scale (so pay what you can). Little Tree asks that you donate early — instructions on how to join the concert will be provided after donation. Following the concert will be a Zoom meeting to discuss the show and socialize. 

Yoga and Meditation Classes — presented by Open Space, Open Mind. 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, with a half-hour meditation at noon on Wednesdays.

In this time of uncertainty and self-isolation, you may find healing by engaging in a more traditional form of yoga. Open Space, Open Mind of Louisville offers a slow, contemplative form of classical yoga that not only strengthens the body but heals the soul and calms the mind in this stressful time. Every yoga class concludes with a guided deep relaxation. Classes are ongoing. Yoga classes are $10 and meditation is $5. To reserve your space, email openspaceyoga@hotmail.com or text 303-396-9023. 

LOCAL BOOKS

Four Colorado authors to read now.

‘The Adventure Friends Ski Day,’ by Brian Duhon

Louisville-based author Brian Duhon loves to teach his two sons how to create their own adventures. Duhon’s debut children’s book, The Adventure Friends Ski Day, follows four animal friends who ski on a fun-filled powder day: Gnarwhal, Radypus, Pow Cow and Shreddy Bear. “I wanted to read books to my children about adventure and teach them about the amazing outdoor activities we have around us but couldn’t find many. So I decided to write one,” Duhon said in a press release about the book. Vivid illustrations bring the characters to life in this fun and playful read.

‘The Dog Lady of Mexico,’ by Alison Sawyer Current

The Dog Lady of Mexico is based on the true story of Boulder resident Alison Sawyer Current, whose romantic trip to the beaches of Isla Mujeres in 2001 turned into a lifelong pursuit to save neglected cats and dogs in the area. Readers experience the story through the character Rose, who learns there are endless obstacles to saving stray animals on the island, but never gives up. The Dog Lady of Mexico is a heart-rending journey of love, loss and survival while building an animal rescue on a tiny island in Mexico. 

‘Agnes at the End of the World,’ by Kelly McWilliams

Agnes loves her home of Red Creek. But what she doesn’t understand is that it’s a cult, controlled by a madman who calls himself a prophet. An “Outsider” named Danny begins to unravel Agnes’ notions of what is and isn’t right, and as the Prophet grows more and more dangerous, Agnes realizes she must escape with her younger brother Ezekiel. That won’t be easy, as a viral pandemic is killing people at an alarming rate outside of Red Creek. As a mysterious connection between Agnes and the virus emerges, it seems Agnes may have to choose between saving her family and saving the world. Colorado Springs-based author Kelly McWilliams first conceived of ‘Agnes’ when the image of a woman with a child strapped to her back wandering through the desert visited McWilliams in a dream. What is she running from, McWilliams asked. ‘Agnes’ is her answer.

‘Other People’s Pets,’ by R.L. Maizes

In Niwot-based R.L. Maizes’ debut novel, Other People’s Pets (out July 14 from Celadon Books), Louise “La La” Fine discovers she’s an animal empath — she can physically feel what animals are feeling — after her mother abandons a young La La and her father, Zev. A locksmith-turned-thief, Zev is a devoted but misguided parent who homeschools his daughter so she can join him in a life of daytime home burglaries and backroom-fence-operation haggling. As an adult, La La has divorced herself from crime and almost made it through veterinary school when her father gets arrested for burglary. To make enough money to pay for her father’s lawyer, La La returns to robbing houses of jewelry and silverwear. She justifies her return to crime by only targeting homes where she can feel an animal in distress. Other People’s Pets uses humor, pathos and just a touch of magic to unpack the meaning of family — the family we’re born with and the family we create.

THEATER

Local Theater Company gears up for season 10 with a new virtual series and expanded programming 

by Caitlin Rockett

Courtesy Local Theater Company John Lithgow performing his one-man play, ‘Stories by Heart,’ in 2011 at Chautauqua Auditorium

The pandemic isn’t always a destructive fire; sometimes it’s regenerative, like a wildfire clearing out debris on the forest floor.

For Local Theater Company, disaster has paved the way for growth and expansion. On July 8, the company announced its 10th season, with plans to expand two core programs, Local Lab and LocalWRITES, and launch a virtual series called Living Room Local, which will host artists from various disciplines in interactive discussions.

Local Lab, which traditionally provides developmental support and audience feedback for three new plays per year, will invest in 10 works for the upcoming season, while LocalWRITES, a playwriting program for emerging bilingual students from Casey Middle School, will expand from twice a year to four times a year. The groups will work over the next year to develop plays that will premiere in 2021. 

“All plays start with, ‘What’s possible?’” says founding artistic director Pesha Rudnick. “And it feels appropriate to be revisiting the core of our mission, which is what’s possible for new work, even if it means taking the year to germinate and expand the question.” 

Local Living Room offers patrons a chance to learn from and interact with artists in one-hour-long virtual discussions. The program kicks off on Sept. 27 with John Lithgow, who will perform from his new book of satirical poetry, Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown. It’s a fitting launch for season 10, as Lithgow helmed the maiden production of Local Theater Company with his one-man stage memoir, Stories by Heart, in 2011.

“It’s sort of like a master class where you get to engage and interact with the host,” Rudnick says of Living Room Local, “So John will present, but then he’ll also be available to have an intimate discussion.” 

Local will shift from a subscription model to a membership model that will allow members to access the artist series (both live at the time of presentation and later on through Local’s website). The membership model — just $49 for theater artists experiencing hardship and $79 otherwise — also provides a 25% discount for all of Local’s programming. 

Speaking of which, Local will present a series of writing courses for adults for the first time, Writing for Stage & Screen, each led by a different playwright, one offered in September, another in November and the final in April. The courses will be divided into two parts: a four-class, donation-based lecture series, and a four-class, 10-student workshop, offered at $179. 

Applications are open for Local Lab until Aug. 15. See localtheaterco.org for more information.

HOME VIEWING: ‘The Lady Eve’

by Michael J. Casey

Let us be crooked but never common,” Colonel Harrington urges his daughter, Jean. He’s played by Charles Coburn, grand in every meaning of the word, and she’s played by Barbara Stanwyck, arguably the greatest actor to grace the silver screen. They are a couple of cardsharps looking for a catch, and Jean just hooked a Pike, Charles Pike, heir to the Pike Ale Company (“The ale that won for Yale.”). Pike, or “Hopsie,” as Jean will come to call him, doesn’t give a lick about ale, or beer; the boy’s got snakes on the brain. He’s just returned from the Amazon, and snakes are all he can think about. That is until Jean steps in and sends Pike to the floor, falling top over teakettle in love with a con artist.

So it goes in The Lady Eve, and such is the stuff of screwball comedy, a brief but brilliant subgenre of the romantic comedy that found its heyday in Depression-era America. The rich have always fascinated Americans, and screwballs like It Happened One Night, Bringing Up Baby and, the progenitor of the genre, My Man Godfrey, are all comedies of class and comedies with class. They show how ridiculous the wealthy are, how petty they can be, and take great pleasure in letting commoners get one over. They are farces, but as British critic David Cairns points out in a video essay accompanying The Criterion Collection’s new restoration of The Lady Eve, farces never sell in America. So, screwball it is.

Back to Pike: He’s played by Henry Fonda, Hollywood regality if ever there was such a thing. In 1939, Fonda played the Great Emancipator in Young Mister Lincoln. In 1940, he was struggling-everyman Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath. If audiences wanted to idolize anyone, they needn’t look further than Fonda. That only added to the humor of Pike toppling over outstretched legs, slipping in mud puddles and crashing into oversized sofas. “That sofa’s been there for 15 years, and no one ever fell over it before,” Pike’s father says with suspicion.

Father Pike is played by Eugene Pallette, a beach ball of a man with a bullfrog’s croak who looks nothing like Fonda. It’s perfect casting, and writer/director Preston Sturges knew it. Why aim for authenticity when oddball gets the laugh?

When The Lady Eve was released in March 1941, audiences still felt the pangs of the Depression, but a new foe was on the horizon. War was building in the Pacific, and fascism was spreading over Europe like wildfire. Comedy was the escape, and once The Lady Eve got rolling, a dark and scary world slipped away into one of ocean liners, dinner parties and proper people acting like a bunch of damn fools.

It was a beautiful distraction then, and it’s a beautiful distraction now, and Criterion’s 4K restoration of The Lady Eve sparkles. In addition to the film, Criterion’s disc includes thoughts on the film from critics Cairns, Susan King and Kenneth Turan, and filmmakers Peter Bogdanovich, James L. Brooks and Ron Shelton. The booklet features an essay from Geoffrey O’Brien and 1946 LIFE profile of Preston Sturges, and the commentary track from former CU-Boulder film professor Marian Keane is a film class in itself.

The Lady Eve is available on Blu-ray and DVD from The Criterion Collection wherever Blu-rays and DVDs are sold starting July 14.

ART

Playzeum

Museum of Boulder

Following a four-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Museum of Boulder (2205 Broadway) opens its doors again on Sunday, July 12. Masks are required for all visitors, and enhanced sanitation practices, social distancing protocols and capacity limits will be implemented. The museum will be open Wednesdays, Fridays (including evening hours) and Sundays. The full schedule and entrance requirements are available on the museum website (museumofboulder.org). Current exhibits include:

The Boulder Experience, unpacking the roots of Boulder’s reputation and complicating the traditional narrative.

Since March, a community-sourced exhibit, featuring materials from around the county, including artwork from Boulder Community Health, photographs and stories from residents, “day-in-the-life” videos from middle-schoolers, and a film showing the quiet streets of Boulder during the lockdown.

Archive 75, a deep dive into Boulder’s past using artifacts from the Museum’s extensive collection 

Playzeum, with its rainbow forest, cabinet of curiosities, and hands-on building activities, encourages younger visitors to imagine and experiment. 

‘Scraptopia’

‘Scraptopia:’ Live Exhibit of Mixed Media Art by Kit Hernandez. Bricolage Gallery at Art Parts Creative Reuse Center, 2860 Bluff St., Boulder.

Kit Hernandez is a long-time Denver artist and Art Students League of Denver instructor whose art conveys a playful sense of experimentation. Her work combines her talents in drawing, sculpture and assemblage to produce art that is fearless, surprisingly varied and sometimes raw, often referencing social justice issues and her Chicano heritage. This is a free, live exhibit that children and adults will enjoy. Masks are required. Bricolage Gallery is open Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., and Wednesdays noon-7 p.m. 

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art 

BMoCA is now open a limited number of days each week (Wednesdays and Fridays, 1-7 p.m.). This schedule is subject to change, and updates can be found at bmoca.org. Visitors will be limited to 10 every 30 minutes, and masks and social distancing will be required. Cash will not be accepted as a form of payment. For more details please visit bmoca.org/programs/public. Exhibitions on view:


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Stacey Steers, Phantom Canyon (detail of collage used in film).

‘Night Reels’: The Work of Stacey Steers – Exhibition in the West and Union Works galleries extended to July 26

Margaretta Gilboy:‘Flying in the Hands of Time: A Retrospective’ – Exhibition in the East gallery extended to July 26

Steven Frost:‘Helen & Alice at the Museum’ – Exhibition outdoors in the InsideOut exhibition space

Joel Swanson: ‘OPEN’ – Commissioned installation in museum’s entryway