How much do you know about Urban Peak Colorado Springs? If the answer is "not much," it's time for enlightenment. Urban Peak is a low-key, admirable nonprofit that helps turn things around for young people facing various challenges, including homelessness. The organization's annual fundraiser, "Building Futures, Building Lives," goes from 6 to 8:30 tonight at Bigg City Event Center (5825 Mark Dabling Blvd.). Tickets are $65 each for heavy hors d'oeuvres, entertainment, teen testimonies and awards, with Indy columnist Rich Tosches as emcee. It's not too late to attend if you're reading this on the same day as the event. For information, call 630-3223. RR
It's a Friday night, and what are the possibilities of going somewhere for free? Good, actually. Two art shows open tonight that are gratis and open to the public. The first show at the Business of Art Center (513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs), Convergence: Ways of Seeing, opens from 5 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are also free from noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Call 685-1861 or visit thebac.org for info. Also, Pikes Peak Community College opens a show tonight at the Downtown Studio Gallery (100 W. Pikes Peak Ave.). A Reality of the Same Intensity features three local artists, including Don Green. The reception runs from 5 to 7:30. Call 502-4040 for gallery hours and more. EA
Apparently, the "time-honored" tradition of acrobatics has been around for more than 25 centuries. That's even older than your mom and our CEO. (Ouch.) The Golden Dragon Acrobats are China's premier touring acrobats, incorporating traditional dance, vivid costuming and ancient and contemporary music into their busy stage show. Now in their 29th consecutive year of U.S. touring, they'll be performing at 7:30 tonight at the Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center (210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo). The acrobats' shows tend to sell out, so call 719/295-7222 to check for $20 tickets before driving. MS
You've got to wonder if ventriloquist comedian Jeff Dunham feels at least a little bit conflicted about his puppet character, the old, balding, curmudgeonly Walter. I mean, Walter's at least as famous as Dunham, right? And when they perform, Walter gets all the punch lines Dunham's just the straight man in their oddball comedy duo. How is Dunham OK with that? Wait maybe because they're the same person? Either way, it's pretty damn funny. Check out Dunham, Walter and Dunham's other characters at 7 tonight at the Pikes Peak Center (190 S. Cascade Ave.). Tickets are $29 to $35; visit pikespeakcenter.com or call the box office at 520-7469. PF
Maria the llama has relocated from South America to Colorado. At first, Maria misses the Andes, but then she discovers our state's beauty during a trip with legendary nature photographer John Fielder. And voil she suddenly loves her new home! Aside from being a perfect holiday gift for the son you're sending to boarding school, Maria's Mysterious Mission features some super-cool imagery: Anna-Maria Crum illustrations fused with Fielder photographs. Buy your copy (written by Claudia Cangilla McAdam) and have Fielder sign it at 7 tonight at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church (730 N. Tejon St.). Call 520-5381 for more. Oh, there'll be a slide show, too. KW
What does it take to be an esteemed poet? Does you consider yourself a Shakespeare for the modern generation and insist that people bow to you? Or do you choose to educate young minds while sharing your poetic genius with the world? Kate Northrop esteemed poet whose works include Things are Disappearing Here and Back Through Interruption takes the latter path, and at 7 tonight is coming to CC's McHugh Student Commons (1090 N. Cascade Ave.) for a free poetry reading, sponsored by CC's Visiting Writers Series. Call 389-6607 for more. SH
I'll admit that I had no clue who Ryan Bingham was before I saw his name on the The Black Sheep (2106 E. Platte Ave.) schedule. But this Austin, Texas-based, Americana singer/songwriter is legit. Imagine Lucero's Ben Nichols, with a voice not quite so abused, singing to the more folk-like E Street Band outputs and soulfully, like to the point where you can feel his pain. Tickets to the 8 o'clock gig tonight are $8; visit ticketweb.com. Also catch the folk stylings of local openers Jeremy Facknitz and the inappropriately named Punk Rock Gods. PF
This week's 7 Days contributors: Edie Adelstein, Pete Freedman, Sydney Hamilton, Ralph Routon, Matthew Schniper and Kirk Woundy.