Reinventing the Human: Shakespeare and the Awakening of the Renaissance Man
Monday, March 10, 7-9 p.m. Central Library, Level B2 Conference Center
Friday, March 14, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Central Library, Level B2 Conference Center
There was a shift in the experience of the medieval humans from being miserable, unquestioning, keep-your-head-down and don’t-make-waves commoners to citizens who entertained aspirations of becoming a Renaissance adventurer, creator, and scientist. Could Shakespeare’s characters have provided fuel for the intellectual fire? Actor John McDonald is our guide on this experiential tour of the 16th century. How can we access Shakespearean wisdom, apply it to our own lives and embody the spirit of adventure, creativity and curiosity to fuel a Renaissance for our time? John explores 16th century social and cultural change with six pieces from three plays: Henry the V, Macbeth, and Richard the II. John returned to his native Denver in 1986 after earning an MBA in Drama at The Catholic University of America. Since then he has taught, acted, and directed in local theatre extensively. John enjoys the language and poetry of Shakespeare and making it accessible to everyone. Two performances only! Free and open to the public. If you’d like to bring a school group to either performance, please call 720-865-1206 or email email@example.com for reservations. Recommended for middle school students and up.
Pardon Me, Shakespeare, But Your Slip Is Showing: Did a Woman Write the Plays and Sonnets of William Shakespeare?
Friday, March 28, 7-9 p.m. Central Library, Level B2 Conference Center
Author Robin P. Williams has been studying and writing about the authorship question for years. Her thorough research and study has led to the conclusion that the likely author of Shakespeare’s body of work is a woman – Mary Sidney. There are a lot of missing pieces in the life and times of William Shakespeare – little formal education, even less knowledge of or access to the royal court and politics, no evidence that he could write at all. Is it possible that William Shakespeare was a front for someone else who was well educated, had unique access to the royal court and was savvy regarding politics of the day? The very idea gives new meaning to the phrase behind every great man, there is a great woman. Williams is the first and only American who holds a Masters degree in Shakespearean Authorship; she is currently finishing her doctoral dissertation in contemporary study and community reading of Shakespeare. Ms. Williams will present a fascinating look at Mary Sidney, who is the focus of Williams' book, Sweet Swan of Avon. Books will be available for purchase and signing. This event is free and open to the public.
Who’s Your Rebel? @ DAM's Untitled #66
Friday, April 25, 6-10 p.m. Denver Art Museum, 13th Avenue at Acoma Plaza
If you’ve got a bit of defiance in you, come to our event at the Denver Art Museum and find out who your rebellious artist guide is. We’ll ask you a few fun questions like ‘Would you be more likely to not make your bed or not vote in the next general election?’ – and your answers will connect you with your rebel artist. Once matched, you will create a mojo pendant using a thumbnail version of art by your rebellion mentor! What you do with your newfound defiant nature is no business of ours. DAMS Untitled is a great Friday night event every month. General admission for Untitled events is $10 and the Fresh City Life offering is free with admission. For more details, please visit the Denver Art Museum website.
Image: Rebel Without a Cause (James Dean) by Andy Warhol
Shakespeare in Space: A Bard’s Birthday Party
Sunday, April 27, 2-4 p.m. Central Library, Level 7 Vida Ellison Gallery
In celebration of William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, join Fresh City Life and Shakespearean scholar Rachael Deagman for an exploration of space: the performance spaces that were the original stage for Shakespeare’s writing. We often think about William Shakespeare’s astonishingly rich and complex use of language and his clever experimentation with genre. But we should also remember that his plays were written to move from page to stage; that is to say, they were meant to be performed by embodied actors in a playing space. To celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday, we’ll learn about the public and private playhouses in London where the bard’s plays were put on. Did we mention there’d be cake? There will be cake. Free and open to the public.
Mommie Dearest Brunch
Featuring Mommie Dearest star Rutanya Alda (“Carol Ann”) In-Person!
Hosted by film critic and writer Walter Chaw
Saturday, May 10, noon-4:30 p.m. Sie Film Center, 2510 E. Colfax, 80206
Enjoy an afternoon with film and stage actress, Rutanya Alda, who played the long suffering maid, Carol Ann, to Faye Dunaway’s Joan Crawford in the camp, cult classic Mommie Dearest. Our friends at Whole Foods Market will be serving up Mom’s Day realness with a brunch fit for Hollywood royalty. Stay after the screening of Mommie Dearest for the most tasty scoop; Ms. Alda will be dishing up stories from her upcoming book, Mommie Dearest Diary, about playing opposite Faye Dunaway in the film that Faye won’t talk about. Host Walter Chaw will guide a post-film discussion and Ms. Alda will meet her fans in the theatre lobby after the film.
It will be a slice of old Hollywood, so grab your Mom (or leave her at home if you haven’t finished your Christmas card list) and enjoy a memorable day at the movies.
Stand up brunch begins at noon. Showtime is 1:15 p.m. Post screening reading and conversation to follow film. Tickets: $15 non-members / $12 members (Denver Film Society & library card holders). Purchase tickets at the box office or online at www.denverfilm.org.
Classic Film Series
Fresh City Life is setting the stage for the Bard’s big birthday. This April will mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare. We’re getting a jump on Bill’s big day and celebrating all this month with films (and other great events) that highlight the contributions of Shakespeare to literature, stage and, well, just being human. See four of the best screen adaptations of Shakespeare plays with our host, classically trained Shakespearean actor and writer, John McDonald.
NOTE: Because of the general run time of these films, showtimes have been moved to 6 p.m. for this series of movies.
Directed by Laurence Olivier. Starring Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke.
“And thus I clothe my naked villainy with odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ; and seem a saint, when most I play the devil.” – William Shakespeare, Richard III. Shakespeare’s insightful look at royal intrigue and corrupt power. “In all of the theatre's repertoire, it's hard to find a more malodorous fellow than Richard III. The character is so convincing that most of us who think of that king at all instantly see the slit-eyed, snaky, deformed embodiment of evil probably best depicted by Laurence Olivier.” – Professor Richard Harrison in Sic Transit Gloria: The Passing of Historical Reputations. 161 minutes. Not Rated.
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Starring Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey.
One of the most popular and financially successful film adaptations of Shakespeare's tale of romance and tragedy, Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet is also one of the most visually stunning presentations of a Shakespeare play on film – winning Academy Awards for both cinematography and costume design. It was popular at the box office partly because it was the first time that age appropriate actors helmed the lead parts of the star-crossed teenagers. In 1968, the youthquake turned out en masse to support the film. It remains a beautiful telling of young, determined love. 138 minutes. Rated PG.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Starring Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves.
“Shakespeare's comedies were always meant for the people. Sure, there was all that timeless, pristine poetry many of us would be force-fed centuries later. But the subject matter was low: sexual politics, power games, nasty betrayals, romantic deceptions and other quintessentially human activities. With Much Ado About Nothing, Kenneth Branagh has, once again, blown away the forbidding academic dust and found a funny retro-essence for the '90s. His spirited take on the Sicily-set comedy is enjoyable, primarily for its all-embracing attitude. It breathes modern life into old expressions like "fare thee well" and "by my troth," and it welcomes nontraditional New Worlders Denzel Washington, Robert Sean Leonard, Michael Keaton and Keanu Reeves into the traditionally British throng.” – Desson Howe, The Washington Post. Rated PG-13. 111 minutes.
Directed by Roman Polanski. Starring Jon Finch, Francesca Annis.
“In this film, Polanski and his collaborator, Kenneth Tynan, place themselves at Macbeth's side and choose to share his point of view, and in their film there's no room at all for detachment. Polanski places us in a visual universe of rain and mist, of gray dawns and clammy dusks, and there is menace in the sound of hoofbeats but no cheer in the cry of trumpets. Even the heroic figure of Macduff has been tempered; now he is no longer the instrument of God's justice, but simply a man bent on workaday revenge. The movie ends with the simple fact that a job has been done: Macbeth got what was coming to him.” – Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com. 140 minutes. Rated R.
Classic Film Series
Sing Out, Sister: Broadway Musicals Through a Hollywood Lens
Filmmakers have always turned to Broadway for inspiration and story ideas. And producing song and dance numbers for film is as old as sound recording on film itself – beginning with the movie The Jazz Singer in 1927. Fresh City Life takes a fresh look at four classic films – all stage hits interpreted by Hollywood for mass film audiences.
Directed by Charles Walters. Starring Debbie Reynolds, Harve Presnell.
Colorado’s first daughter, Margaret Brown, is given the Broadway treatment in this lavish musical. Debbie Reynolds stars in the film that changed ‘Margaret’ from ‘Molly’ and reminded filmgoers that even if the ship is going down, you can sing your troubles away. 128 minutes. Not rated.
Directed by Bob Fosse. Starring Shirley MacLaine, John McMartin, Ricardo Montalban, Chita Rivera.
Sweet Charity was Bob Fosse’s memorable directorial debut; the film is a redux of the Broadway hit that won nine Tony Awards when it debuted in 1966. The original story is lifted from the Fellini film, The Nights of Cabiria. In Fellini’s films, the main character is a prostitute – in Sweet Charity, she is a taxi dancer – a woman who dances with strangers for money. But the story is the same: Sweet Charity is aptly subtitled, “The Adventures of a Girl Who Wanted To Be Loved.” Add in thoughtful Cy Coleman music and choreography by Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, and you have a film/musical experience like no other. 149 minutes. Not rated.
Directed by Stanley Donen. Starring Jane Powell, Howard Keel.
This delightful musical actually worked its way back to Broadway; it was a film musical first and later was translated to the stage for Broadway (1982) and London (1985). Beautifully framed so that it ‘reads’ like a stage musical, the sets and backdrops are presented with such artificial grandeur that it makes a Currier and Ives print look like photo realism. But, that is part of its charm – as is the amazing singing and dancing of the principals. 102 minutes. Unrated.
Directed by Fred Zinneman. Starring Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones.
No American musical has captured the ideals of westward expansion and manifest destiny like Oklahoma! Arguably, the finest stage production created by the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein, it loses nothing in the translation to celluloid. If anything, a huge Oklahoma sky, as big as the dreams of the main characters, fits more perfectly on a movie screen. See this classic musical on the big screen! 145 minutes. Not rated.
Directed by Robert Wise. Starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer.
Do we care if you are pitch perfect? No. Will we fuss if you don’t know all the words? No. But we will have trouble naming all of our favorite things without your help, so join us for a unique opportunity to sing somewhere other than your shower. Central City Opera will be on hand to award some tickets to the summer production of The Sound of Music, too. Relive the classic film with music so memorable that, on one special night in Denver, we’ll all be cast members of this beloved classic. Lyrics will be available for everyone. Costumes encouraged! 174 minutes. Rated G.
Events and social occasions that encourage all of us to get out amongst’em. Come and enjoy great people, opportunities to be involved, and the seriousness of frivolity.
Madame Defarge’s Knitting Salon
Every Monday, 5-7:30 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Fresh City Lounge No Registration Required
Please note: All Denver Public Library locations will be closed on Monday, March 31.
Every Monday evening the Fresh City Lounge is open for freestyle stitchers to come in and enjoy the company of other knitters.
Curious Classes: Beginning Knitting and Crochet
Every Monday, 5-7:30 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Fresh City Lounge No Registration Required Please note: All Denver Public Library locations will be closed on Monday, March 31.
Every Monday night, we'll accept walk-in students who'd like to learn how to knit or crochet. Our teacher will host up to six beginning students in either discipline, first-come, first-served. No materials or tools or registration needed for this introductory workshop and students are welcome to return on successive Monday nights until they are 'freestyling,' too!
The fiber technique that is often referred to as a knit and crochet fusion, Tunisian crochet is making a resurgence with crafters. It is commonly used to create a substantial fabric, perfect for outerwear and décor items; but many fans have discovered it’s more poetic translation into lace and openwork patterns. Explore the revival of this intriguing handwork technique while creating a chic wall hanging in a beautiful, reclaimed yarn of wool and silk that will showcase all the stitches you’ve learned. Materials cost: $25; all yarn and tools included. No beginning students please. Registration is required. Please register online or call 720-865-1206.
Knitting experts Janny Potter and Ann Myhre teach all the steps for creating cozy house slippers in earthy and durable felted knitting. This is a great project for any knitter and an excellent introduction to the technique of knitting oversize and shrinking a project into a thick, warm felt. All materials except needles will be provided; $25 materials fee. Students in this workshop should know basic knitting stitches (knit, purl, cast on, bind off, decrease and increase); no beginning students please. Registration is required. Please register online or call 720-865-1206.
Weekend Music Series
Avant-garde Cello: Helen Gillet
Saturday, March 8, 2-3 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall
Fresh City Life is pleased to host Helen Gillet, one of the most talented cellists touring the U.S. and the world. The modern usage of the phrase ‘avant-garde’ may have lost all of its power for being used to describe things that are shocking instead of genuinely new, different and deeply creative. Remind yourself what avant-garde truly means with Helen Gillet’s encore concert at Denver Public Library. Whether she’s performing solo, in intimate new ‘chamber music’ settings, or going full throttle with various jazz-driven ensembles, Helen Gillet has been described as having “a Mingus-like passion both as a player and as a band leader, often coaxing energy and lifting the spirits into dynamic and dazzling displays of artistry.”
Helen Gillet grew up in Belgium, Singapore, Chicago and Wisconsin. She has forged a path for the cello in the New Orleans music scene since her arrival in 2002 and has performed extensively across the United States and Western Europe.
Sweet Song: Hammered Dulcimer with Peter Hebert
Saturday, March 15, 2-3 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall
An expert instrumentalist, Peter Hebert plays the evocative hammered dulcimer and its cousin, the psaltery, with masterful ease – filling the air with the ancient sounds of Medieval Europe. The Graeco-Roman dulcimer (sweet song) derives its name from the Latin dulcis (sweet) and the Greek melos (song). Find out how perfectly named this haunting instrument can be when Peter Hebert makes his dulcimer sing a sweet song.
Renaissance Lute and Guitar with Peter Schimpf
Saturday, March 22, 2-3 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall
Playing a variety of pieces from the 16th and early 17th centuries on a variety of historical instruments, including the four-course Renaissance guitar, seven-course Renaissance lute, and the 14 string theorbo, no one conjures the sound of Shakespeare’s world like talented musician, Peter Schimpf. His repertoire includes intricate and lively pieces from England, France, and Italy between the years 1500 and 1640.
The Kindred Spirits
Saturday, March 29, 2-3 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall
Throw on your best Ren Faire gear and come to the Denver Public Library to enjoy an inspired concert in our great hall – and yes, it’s safe to dance. The Kindred Spirits is a musical ensemble comprised of professional, accomplished and experienced musicians based in Colorado and performing as a group since 1992. Their unique selection of Renaissance and traditional Celtic music, pairs beautifully with their period and eccentric concert dress. And, in the spirit of anachronism, don’t be surprised to hear a modern tune as well. Don’t miss the fun!
Alternate Tunings: Tom Carleno on Guitar
Saturday, April 5, 2-3 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall
Guitarist Tom Carleno blends jazz, folk and pop to create a unique musical experience. He is most known for his distinctive use of a wide variety of alternate tunings, which form the blank canvas for his songs. His recent CD, titled Perfect Imperfection, is receiving rave reviews and radio airplay internationally and climbed to the number two spot on the Zone Music Reporter Radio Chart. Tom has also been nominated by the Zone Music Reporter (New age and instrumental music) for Best New Artist and Best Instrumental album-Acoustic.
Erhoopla Variety Show
Saturday, April 12, 2-3 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall
Brian Mullins and Mike Fitzmaurice play the Chinese erhu, a two-stringed bowed instrument, along with a variety of other Chinese instruments. This lively group has performed at Denver Public Library before and is back by popular demand. Enjoy traditional Chinese tunes mixed with contemporary and American music played on these classical instruments.
Saturday, April 19, 2-3 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall
Experience acoustic world fusion! Perpetual Motion, elegant with an element of adventure, blends the sounds of Central and South American folk, progressive jazz, blues and rock, which informs their original compositions and cover tunes. Featuring violinist Josie Quick and guitarist Tom Carleno.
Manuel Molina, Latin Solo Guitar
Saturday, April 26, 2-3 p.m. Central Library, Level 1 Schlessman Hall
Born in Peru, internationally recognized guitarist Manuel Molina, began his career as a musician at a very young age. At age seventeen, he became the youngest conductor of the Peruvian National Symphony. He travels extensively and plays solo guitar tours all over the world. Denver Public Library is pleased to be hosting Manuel Molina for this afternoon of exceptional Latin solo guitar.
Need more information about a Fresh City Life event? Call 720-865-1206.
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