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A Family Affair

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Amber Waves BandIt has been said that talent runs in the family and that is especially true for the Amber Waves Band. The six-piece band consists of parents, Michael and Cheryl Costello; twins, Alexandra and Kaitlin; son, Sean; and youngest daughter, Mary.

A definite crowd favorite, the local band drew in families and individuals of all ages who stopped to watch and clap along to the music. They engrossed the crowd outside of Cache Bank this Saturday with their alluring strings and haunting melodies.

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Peter and the Wolves Captivate at Ingredient

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Peter and the Wolves

What do you get when you take a two-part harmony, a mandolin, a banjo, a guitar and some drums? The folk-rock band, Peter and the Wolves, that’s what! The local Fort Collins band graced the streets of Old Town this Sunday with their acoustic set in their first show of this Streetmosphere season.

Doing a mix of covers and originals, the group entertained onlookers with their smooth sounds. People sat in the shade provided by the trees of Mountain Avenue to avoid the heat and listen to the soothing music. With a mesmerizing folksy twang, Peter and the Wolves drew people in, causing them to stop and watch the trio. One person even made it a point to stop at tell us how much she enjoyed the performance, stating that the group was “definitely a great choice” for the event.

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Carolyn Lattenbach brings crowds to Oak Street

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Carolyn Lattenbach wows the crowd at Oak Street Plaza

“So, do you think Carolyn Lattenbach is cool?”

This was the question posed to a young boy, about the age of 5, at Oak Street Plaza on Saturday, as people found a seat or a place to dance and listened to the musical stylings of singer/songwriter Carolyn Lattenbach. Hailing from Tampa Bay, Florida, the young artist brought both her guitar and ukulele as well as an impressive voice out on the town. Performing covers as diverse as Gary Jules’ Mad World and Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean, as well as original compositions, she gathered a large crowd that stuck around for most of the afternoon. Easy going and friendly, Lattenbach not only impressed with her music but also her familiarity, actively talking to the audience and cracking jokes during her set. At one point, she told the crowd, “Now this is an original, and it’s not a very nice song. But it’s played on a ukulele, and whatever you play on a ukulele sounds happy!”

So when asked if he thought Lattenbach was cool, the boy’s answer, with a giant smile spread across his face, was a strong and resounding, “Yeah!”

Curious Gage – putting a spin on your favorite classics!

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This past weekend, Streetmosphere welcomed Curious Gage to Old Town Square. Curious Gage is an a cappella group that puts a spin on popular instrumental band pieces. Being an a cappella group, Curious Gage only uses sounds that can be made with the voice. They sing – obviously! – but also use different techniques that one wouldn’t normally think could be in a vocal performance.

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Come Out and Dance!

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This past weekend, the streets were filled with artists, dancers, and musicians, all bringing new sights and sounds to Downtown. They were not, however, the only performers out for the afternoon. Children and adults, those big and small, came out with their dancing shoes on!
The group Viewsic, a piano, drum, and painter trio who work together to create both a visual and auditory experience, drew community members of all ages. While the drummer and pianist played classic favorites, they had their image captured in an imaginative new scene of paints and pastels. Bringing Old Town Square to life, more than one curious bystander felt compelled to stop.
It was more than just standing and watching, however. One little boy could not contain himself as he ran, twirled, jumped and danced to the sounds, while another child stomped his feet. A little girl was fascinated by the painting coming to life before her eyes, and couples sang along with the songs they knew. What a great thing to see, a whole community brought together, participating and sharing, celebrating the arts here in Fort Collins!
Make sure you come out, and see what surprises are in store!  There are no performances next weekend (May 25-27, 2012), but Streetmopshere returns June 1!

Just a couple of friends…

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A member of C.R.O.M.A tap dances while the band plays old-time music.

Beet Street’s second weekend of Streetmosphere performances brought people to the street and dancing to their feet in Old Town Fort Collins.

The Central Rockies Old Time Music Association, also known as C.R.O.M.A., played in Oak Street Plaza Saturday evening. With their tent nestled neatly to the side, the group left plenty of room for dancing in the plaza.

The members of C.R.O.M.A. describe themselves as just a couple of friends playing music together. On Saturday, the music of the group’s three fiddles, two banjos, guitar, and cello attracted audiences of all ages to the square. The musicians all tapped their feet in synchronization to the music and to each other, and one of the banjo players occasionally took the stage to do some tap dancing of her own. She invited the audience to join in on all of the foot tapping, and soon enough the plaza was filled with people line dancing and clapping along to the music.

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Come Out and Move Your Feet!

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This past weekend, Downtown was full of music, art, and dance, with the arrival of our Streetmosphere performers! The community also felt the need to be out in the sun, and many people stopped to have a look or a listen. In particular, they stopped to dance! On Saturday, the wonderful group Dance Express lead the charge, pictured here with some of their props. Moving with the music, their joy and dedication spread out towards Old Town Square, where children took to the piano and drum sounds of Viewsic, dancing across the plaza, jumping and twirling, some even singing along. Other groups inspired the dancing of an older generation, who, though they knew more steps than the youngsters, had just as much fun! So, please, make sure you get out this weekend, and come join us for a dance!

Week Number 2: A Sign Of Things To Come!

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People filled the streets of Old Town this weekend, taking in the various acts that Streemosphere had to offer. The second week of the festival was a successful one, complete with sunshine that brought in swarms of people stopping to witness the action.

On Friday, Staci Tomazewski and her marimba were a definite crowd pleaser. People lined the sidewalk on the corner of Mountain and College to listen to her play, a few kids even joined in and learned a thing or two. Staci’s set created a laidback atmosphere that the audience could not help but respond to. The unique sounds and look of the marimba caused even those passing by to turn their heads, completely enthralled by the performance.

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Stories Without Words- Experiencing Life through Art and Ourselves

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Long gone are the days when stories were read aloud to us- now we have Previously on Lost…

Long gone are the days when stories were read aloud to us- now we have "Previously on Lost…"

We typically hear stories nowadays from movies, radio songs or television shows. Long gone are the days when stories were read aloud to us- now we have “Previously on Lost…” As children, stories were everywhere. We made up elaborate imaginary worlds with the help of our friends, or maybe even snuck in a daydream at our desks in class. It seemed that every little thing was a new story, inspired by a stray dog in the street or a cloud in the sky. And while T.V. plots are entertaining, and can be considered art in themselves, they sometimes do not feel real. We may find ourselves jealous of today’s children’s vivid imaginations, and their ability to take common images and turn them into stories that seem so real. Here in Fort Collins, artists are tuning into the connection between what we see and what we experience, creating ways to display stories all around us.

After attending the Center for Fine Art Photography’s exhibition titled “Documentary,” the concept of visual storytelling become better defined. A form of photojournalism, documentary style photography seeks to capture objective, truthful moments with little or no embellishments. The goal of the image is to create the sensation of being a fly on a wall, so that the viewer feels like they were actually present in the moment. On the Center for Fine Art Photography website, you can preview just a few photographs from the exhibit. One picture that reached out to me was a photograph of something so simple- a gun lying on a carpeted floor. You can see how the rug lay just off center in the room, such a typical human error, and the composition of the photo makes it feel like you are glancing down at the object, the only person in the room. All the images from this exhibit may not look like your own home, or even reflect your own experiences, yet they seem so natural that you are automatically transported to that place, and you are part of that experience. In essence, they tell a story that you inherently play a role in, much the same as a book or a movie.

Ed Kashi, a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator who judged the “Documentary” exhibition, notes that to their subjects photographers have “a tremendous sense of responsibility to tell the truth but also to also honor their stories.” It is clear that the artists displayed in this exhibit have fulfilled that obligation. “Documentary” is now closed (online exhibit still available), but look for other opportunities to see forms of visual storytelling at future exhibitions.

At home, in my own environment, I can see the objects scattered about my house, like my dog’s tattered lounge bed or my favorite DVD sitting on a shelf in my entertainment center. There are already so many memories associated with these things, and I have many more to create as I move forward in the future. Storytelling comes in the most commonplace images, as well as the most complex ones. If something can be said for storytelling, it should not neglect the stories that can be seen all around us. Whether a story starts as a visual adventure, or through spoken word, we can all find ways to see ourselves through the interpretation of art and experience.

Here are some other ways to experience visual storytelling in Fort Collins this week:
Andy Warhol Exhibit
Start your Lunch with an Art Break
Art in Public Places Initiative

Creativity and Scientific Community

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” all our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions.” Leonardo da Vinci.

Creative people, be they focused in arts, science or both, are grounded in synesthesia or a synergy of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting and sensing things. To create is to extend knowledge, rough up the edges of a form, send practices in new and divergent directions. Creativity, creating minds and creative people remind us to focus on how we relate to each other, carry out our work and contribute as citizens. It’s about the process. Like scientists who conduct many experiments around a single problem, artists often work in series, completing variations around a theme until the artists feels she has exhausted the idea for a while. Revisiting, revising and rethinking are part of an authentic creative experience, as is generating many ideas then choosing among competing priorities.

These processes of revisiting, revising and rethinking are community processes. Like artists who form studios and collectives such as those involved with CoCOA, scientists form research teams and laboratories. The creation of scientific knowledge as laid out by Thoman Kuhn, is dependent on the culture and historical circumstances of groups of scientists rather than on their adherence to a specific, definable method. In describing scientific knowledge this way, Kuhn argued for a blurring of the boundaries between what was considered science and what was not, arguing that there was no such thing as the idealized scientific method. His position was contentious and ignited the scientific community in fierce debates over the nature of their collective enterprise, but also hinted at what a lot of modern and postmodern philosophers now argue, that our creative products like our creative selves, are deeply infused with the contexts and the communities in which we exist.

Over the last few months we have discussed the importance of art in public life, from its ability to communicate place, to its ability to transcend our individual differences and touch the divine human spirit in all of us. Yet it is rare for us to talk about science in the same way. In many ways, ‘art’ and ‘science’ have become separated in our imagination, set against each other as opposite competing poles in ourselves, our minds, our schools, our occupations and our communities. Our capacity to institutionally encapsulate both of them however, (with different intents — one to preserve access and the other to reserve access), lies in common. We create art museums and natural science museums in the interests of educating and serving the public but what if we were to take an ‘art in public places’ approach to science? What would that begin to look like? Moreover, what if we were to recognize the science that lies behind the artist’s ability in terms of technique and the artistry that lies in the scientific life, in terms of creative possibilities? How might our ways of understanding these immensely consequential realms of human activity change?

Here in Colorado, we are lucky enough to have monthly gatherings where we can explore these issues of science, creativity and community process. Science cafés or ‘Cafés Scientifiques’ meet regularly in Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder and right here in Fort Collins. The first Cafés were held in Leeds, England in 1998. From there, the idea spread to other parts of Europe, North Africa, North and South America, South Asia, Australia, and the Pacific (http://www.cafescientifique.org/world-links.htm). In all these places across the globe, diverse audiences regularly gather to join scientists and writers in discussions that are designed as forums for debating science issues, promoting public engagement with science and making science accountable. Participants meet in cafes, bars, restaurants and other public locations to make scientific discussions accessible and lively. If you’re thinking that a science discussion requires an academic science background, that’s not the point. Many questions and ideas are entertained at the Café Scientifique and people who are not specialists often provide thoughtful perspectives and insight. Gatherings take place to foster an atmosphere where “no question is considered stupid” and science is brought out of the lab and into the public arena for deliberation.

It’s about the creative process!

Thanks for the photos fernandoprats, Wid-78 and jvnunag

Deborah Lombard