- The Wine Festival: straight from the vineyard and down your gullet.
If I were you, a foaming-at-the-mouth blues aficionado, I wouldn't waste another evening in the Sea Quest chat rooms tonight. No sirree, I'd be at Southside Johnny's (528 S. Tejon St.) to catch the Todd Tijerina Band spewing massive musical chunks of cutting-edge blues. Tijerina, an artist somehow both from the Southwest and Chicago, is known for his genre-piercing guitar style and is touring on his band's newest CD, Welcome Home. Woo! To learn more about ol' Todd, scamper over to www.toddtijerina.com.
I've Googled 'til I can Google no more, but I still know very little about Velvet Jesi, playing tonight at the Navajo Hogan (2817 N. Nevada Ave.). I do know they're a cover band with a wide range of mostly harder music styles; I know they're supposed to be entertaining; and I know their name is fun. Tonight marks their reunion gig after a few years of Jesi-lessness, so you ought to check out whatever new surprises they've got to offer. The show starts at 9 p.m., and there's a wee $5 cover.
Poor Conor Oberst. He's just so sad -- although the legions of fans, thousands upon thousands of records he's sold and scores of emo chicks willing to cheer him up (with you know what) must help a bit. You can also give this sad sack a lift by going to see his band, Bright Eyes, tonight at the Ogden (935 E. Colfax Ave., in Denver). Bright Eyes is touring on their newest release, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, and is rockin' with co-Nebraskans The Faint, whose live shows are legendary multimedia affairs, so don't miss this sucker. To buy tickets, head to the Ogden box office or hit up www.ticketweb.com.
Embrace that grape geek inside of you and head to the first night of the 14th annual Wine Festival of Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor Hotel. Tonight is the Grand Tasting and Wine Market Auction, where participants can taste over 300 wines by featured wineries like Byron, Eberle, Qup and Talley, nosh on food by 30 local restaurants and bid on silent auction items. Events are taking place throughout the weekend all over town, and proceeds benefit the Pikes Peak Community Foundation's Fund for the Arts. Tonight's event costs $60. For more information or to register, log on to www.ppcf.org or call 389-1253.
Truck on down to Pueblo this evening to catch Neil Simon's Broadway Bound as done by the Impossible Players. Broadway Bound is the third installment of Simon's autobiographical trilogy, beginning where Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues leave off, and features the foibles of two brothers trying to break into comedic writing. It's going down at the Impossible Playhouse (1201 N. Main St., in Pueblo) through May 7. Curtain rises at 8 p.m., and tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for students. For more, call 719/542-6969 or check out www.impossibleplayers.org.
- Bright Eyes Conor Oberst is too sensitive to bother with shoelaces.
The Commonwheel Artists Co-op Gallery (102 Cañon Ave., in Manitou Springs) is kicking off its Manitou Springs Elementary School Art Exhibit with an opening reception from 1 to 4 p.m. This exhibit features the work of kids from preschool through fifth grade who've studied Mondrian, Chagall, Klee, Picasso, Van Gogh and lots more. The reception is free and open to the public, and the show runs until May 10. For more, head to www.commonwheel.com or call 685-1008.
Get your butt over to Colorado College's Bemis Great Hall (920 N. Cascade Ave.) tonight to catch Fritz Paulus' talk, "Buy That Fish a Drink: Putting Water Back into Streams and Rivers." Paulus is the executive director of the Oregon Water Trust, so no Johnny-come-lately, him. This free and open-to-the-public discussion is part of the Green Market series and begins at 7:30 p.m.
If you're into fairy tales about crazy-talking mice and beautiful young scullery maids who become princesses, I've got just the thing for you: The Chronicles of Riddick. No, just kidding go see Cinderella at the Lon Chaney Theater (221 E. Kiowa Ave.). This performance by Alleycat Theatrics is taking place today only, at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., and is probably a kids-friendly show, but don't blame me if it turns out to be some sort of Cinderella-themed bacchanal instead. Tickets are $8-$9. Find out more by calling 964-2906.
It just might be worth a trip to Denver to check out Storyhill at Swallow Hill's Daniels Hall (71 E. Yale Ave., in Denver). Billboard called the acoustic duo a blend of Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens and the Indigo Girls. Reunited in 2001 after five years of pursuing solo efforts, Chris Cunningham and John Hermanson have 11 albums and 15 years of touring under their belts, along with scads of adoring fans known as "Hill-heads," which I think is adorable. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $15 in advance or $18 at the door. Get yours by heading to www.swallowhill.com.
-- Aaron Retka