Just do it
By Mandy Moench I've got one friend who started ballet while in college. I know rookies who've performed side-by-side with seasoned musicians or dancers. To be honest, I've seen nothing but success from fellow students who've tried new artistic endeavors.
The best opportunities are passed by word of mouth, and whether you're aiming to learn, perform, showcase or collaborate with whatever it is you do, you might never again be in such close proximity to other artists.
Here are a few suggestions on how to plug into that scene:
Take a class or adjunct: Spend one of your valuable college electives on a class in art, drama, music, writing or dance; you can take it pass/fail and not even worry about your GPA. Or, if you can't spare room in your schedule, take an adjunct in addition to your regular classes. These are usually free and offer a piddly amount of credit.
Take a studio course: These student-taught courses aren't worth any credit and usually cost a small materials fee. But if you always wanted to try throwing pots, making jewelry or typesetting, these provide great outlets.
Try out for something: Into music? Don't let your friends laugh at you for trying out for a choir or a cappella group. Prefer drama? Audition for a student play; at worst, you get a rejection and a good story. Dance? Many colleges put together student workshops and performances annually, with previous experience not required.
Form your own group or club: Last year, out of the remnants of a tight-knit poetry class, a friend formed a creative writing group in his living room. Friends brought friends, and it grew.
Start a band: Guster (pictured left) and Widespread Panic may have formed while in college. Though you will probably never be famous, grab some hall buddies and check to see if your dorm has a practice room or basement you can reserve.
Perform/publish/show off: After starting to put together a portfolio, find someplace to showcase. If you are into studio arts, look for an arts and crafts fair or student exhibition where you can book a table. Writers, photographers and artists, submit to journals and keep an eye out for competitions.
Try an open mic: These are perfect for musicians who've never played for more than a few friends to gain confidence in a small community. Also check out slam poetry, a dynamic art form for any devotee of poetry or rap.
Organize: Most schools have a music planning group that brings artists, sometimes big names, to campus.
Move over, Dobson ...
Colorado Springs has a thriving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender scene. Whether you're looking for a happening club, a low-key bar or open pool tables, you can find it all here. Check out this short list of the hottest alternative nightspots in town:
Bijou Bar and Grill
2510 E. Bijou St., 473-5718, bijoubar.com
Karaoke from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Wednesdays, open pool on Thursdays, and DJs from 9 to 2 on Fridays and Saturdays.
3430 N. Academy Blvd., 570-1429, clubqonline.com
Drag shows at 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays, karaoke at 10 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and exotic male dancers at 11 on Wednesdays.
DJ's Bar and Grill
1110 E. Fillmore St., 473-2425, djsbarandgrill.com
Drag shows at 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and happy hour from 4 to 7 on weekdays.
110 N. Nevada Ave., 578-7771, undergroundbars.com
DJs at 9 p.m. on Fridays and at 6 on Saturdays, drum and bass DJ at 10 on Tuesdays, live music at 7 on Wednesdays, and happy hour from 5 to 7 daily.
High and dry
Perhaps you don't want the punishment of a crippling hangover at high altitude or any embarrassing fallout from those lowered inhibitions. Whatever your rationale, here are some entertaining "drinking games" for sober people. You might be dry, but you sure can drink!
Ever see that episode of Freaks and Geeks where everyone gets drunk on non-alcoholic beer? Throw a mock kegger in your room and let the fake-alcohol-induced buffoonery begin!
Dehydrated? Why not organize an impromptu power hour, not with beer, but with water! Put Reservoir Dogs on and take a shot every time you hear a four-letter word. You'll be hydrated in a jiffy.
Get a copy of Pong Toss: Frat Party Games for your Nintendo Wii. All of the fun of beer pong, with no slimy plastic balls to fish out of your PBR.
Mind-numbingly bored? Challenge a friend or foe to a drinking contest. Take a shot of hot sauce or your own urine. Or see who can drink a gallon of milk the fastest! Everyone in college is eccentric; this will surely prove that you're the zaniest of all.
For English majors: Sip tea or drink warm milk, becoming sleepy. Then, attempt to read Naked Lunch for several hours. Call your parents or friends, and they'll think you're drunk! Hilarious!
Beyond the Black Sheep
It's common knowledge that the Rocket Room and the Black Sheep are hot spots for live music in the Springs, especially on weekends. But, say it's Sunday night, you've just finished a paper and you're looking to hear some tunes and have a few beers. Or say it's Thursday, you've got a date, and you want to go somewhere you can actually have a conversation. Or maybe you live with your parents, and Monday is the night that mom files her bunions. Where do you go?
Good news: Pretty much every night of the week, you can find happening live music. From bars to restaurants to coffee shops, there are tons of great places to hear talented local artists. We've picked a few of our favorites; for more see "Playing Around," p. 44.
Front Range Barbeque
2330 W. Colorado Ave., 632-2596
Front Range is a great place for a pulled pork sandwich. It's also a great spot to hear some local bluegrass tunes. Located in Old Colorado City, Front Range hosts Grass It Up starting at 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday night. Get there early for a table and enjoy the draughts of New Belgium and Bristol beers that alternate on tap.
Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse and Pub
21 S. Tejon St., 385-0766
In addition to having lots of beers on tap and a killer Shepherd's Pie, this traditional Irish alehouse also has live music almost every night. Check out Tuesday nights starting at 8 p.m., when the Mountain Road Ceili Band plays three hours of traditional Irish music. The band is replete with odd instruments, such as the bodhran and the concertina. If you feel like singing, go at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays when Brian Clancy plays traditional Irish tunes and provides songbooks for joining in.
Dale Street Caf
115 E. Dale St., 578-9898
Normally a quiet bistro with tasty French toast and good coffee, Dale Street is transformed every other Sunday night into a college student's dream. Located just two blocks from Colorado College, the caf features live music (with many sing-alongs) starting at 8 p.m., with a jam session that goes into the wee hours. Plus, you can't beat the six-dollar pitchers of PBR and Miller High Life and five-dollar margarita specials.
950 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-4433
Kinfolks, in downtown Manitou, has a little bit of everything. It's an outdoor outfitter, it's a bar, and on the weekends the stage in the back is occupied by local acts. Most Friday and Saturday nights the live music starts at 8 p.m., normally in the indie/folk/altcountry range. There's also a great patio out back where you can sit next to the stream. Relaxed yet?
702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412
John-Alex Mason is one of the jewels of Colorado Springs. You can catch his deep-country blues starting at 6 p.m. every Wednesday night at Shuga's. Located just south of downtown, Shuga's also features world-class mojitos and great bruschetta. At 8 (or 9) p.m. every Monday, it also hosts a different local band.
Shaken and spurred
Colorado Springs is certainly not known for its nightlife. However, when you and some friends tire of campus parties and get an itching to get out and dance with the townies, viable options do exist.
Whether you want a traditional nightclub to let loose or someplace to try something new such as salsa or swing, it's worth the effort to shake it somewhere new. Here are a few of our recommendations:
25 N. Tejon St.
A covered wagon and mounted horns greet you in Colorado Springs' premier country western dance club, which moved downtown earlier this year. Live music and DJs attract varying crowd sizes to the large hardwood dance floor. Line dance lessons happen from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Sundays, and traditional partner dance lessons from 6:30 to 8:30 Sundays.
When there's a cover, it can climb to $10, but also tends to include a perk or two: free wine and cocktails, $2 burgers, 2-for-1 drinks, free pool. Ladies' Night is Thursday, Family Night is Sunday.
Latin Quarters Nightclub
1865 N. Academy Blvd.
If you haven't partied Latin-style, bring your feet and your hips to salsa beneath the neon sign proclaiming "Latin Quarters." Come along for free lessons from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays, and check in every now and then to keep tabs on the occasional live band.
Fridays: $5 for men, free for women; Saturdays: $7 for everyone. 21-plus, 10 minors (18-plus) permitted per night.
20 N. Tejon St.
If you change your musical inklings easily or want to lose a date in a labyrinth of themed enclaves, Rum Bay's eight-room dance club might suit your fancy. Here amid tropical dcor, you'll find live DJs, a variety of music genres and lots of rum specialty drinks.
Before midnight, $5; after midnight, $10. 21-plus, must dress presentably.
528 S. Tejon St.
Southside Johnny's is proudly advertised as bar first, then restaurant (though the food is actually pretty good). Spread out on its huge dance floor or catch your breath in the leather couches by the fireplace. Monday nights include free swing lessons from 8 to 11:30 p.m.
No cover. 21-plus after sunset.