East Idaho Report 

Golden Dragon Acrobats are fun for All Ages

The Golden Dragon Acrobats are a time-honored tradition that began more than 2,500 years ago when it snared the attention of China's most powerful emperors. These acrobats combine artistry, body awareness and amazing acts of athleticism with history, culture and humor while amusing their audiences with daringly dangerous feats. Add powerful music, dynamic choreography, wondrously lavish costumes and contemporary theater to this performance, and this ancient tradition comes alive right before your very eyes.

March 17, 8 p.m., $22, Colonial Theater, 450 A St., Idaho Falls. For information or tickets, contact Idaho Falls Arts Council at 208-522-0471 or visit www.idahofallsarts.org/colonial_theatre.html.

Eastern Idaho Wine Festival Promises a Grand Selection

Whether you prefer a spicy blackberry merlot or a full-bodied chardonnay, the Eastern Idaho Wine Festival is sure to tempt your palate with a tasting of over 400 wines from around the world that promises to please even the most finicky of wine connoisseurs.

All proceeds of the wine tasting benefit the Colonial Theater, which now houses many artistic acts for Eastern Idahoans to enjoy. Despite its recent successes, the theater has had a tumultuous past. It was built in 1919 as a vaudeville theater and had one of the largest stages in the Intermountain West at that time. Although a number of live acts performed on its stage up through WWII, it operated primarily as a movie house until the late 1980s and then closed its doors. The Arts Council successfully completed a $4.2 million capital campaign to renovate the three buildings into a magnificent visual and performing arts center. In March 1999, the 970-seat theater re-opened with Ray Charles performing, and today, it is one of only three large theaters of historical significance that still remain in Idaho.

March 23, 5-9 p.m. $20 advance, $22 door, $5 designated driver. Shilo Inn, 780 Lindsay Blvd., Idaho Falls, 208-523-1818.New Dawn Fine Art Gallery Showcases Local Work

Artists Richard Bingham, Anne Merkley and Don Brown, along with Robert Talbot, opened the New Dawn Gallery last November hoping to offer a venue of the highest quality to the Pocatello area. The gallery's mission is "to exhibit work exemplary of the finest being done in our country today in all genres and media." Opportunities to show work in the gallery will first be given to local professional artists and eventually extended to regionally- and nationally-known artists.

The 1,800 square feet of space affords an exceptional venue. Located in the heart of the Old Town Historic District, it is easily accessible, maintains a north-lighted setting and provides a clear floor space allowing for unobstructed views of three-dimensional works.

Operating as a not-for-profit organization, New Dawn opened with the help of private contributions and is staffed entirely by volunteers. The gallery is offering three programs on the first Thursday of April, May and June. The first workshop, "Oil Painting Techniques: An Overview for Collectors," is facilitated by Bingham and is on April 5. The next lecture is on May 3 and is titled, "Representing Reality," by Linda Leeuwrik of Idaho State University. The third program is an interview of Ray Obermayr, "My Life in Art," on June 7.

Workshop: April 5, 7 p.m.; Lecture: May 3, 7 p.m.; Interview: June 7, 7 p.m. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. New Dawn Fine Art Gallery, 357 W. Center St., Pocatello, 208-232-8568.

Willowtree Gallery Annual MINIATURE Show

Here comes one of Eastern Idaho's favorite art shows again. "Art for Small Places" is a miniature show for those of you who know that great things come in small packages. This exhibit features local and national artists alike, and requires all submissions to be the size of a standard business card: 2 inches by 3-1/2 inches. Now, that's a tiny canvas.

After submissions are received, they are matted, shrink-wrapped and displayed on a rail system, so that they can be viewed in different areas of the gallery throughout the exhibition. There is an invitational "pre-show" at Willowtree Gallery to help raise money for Help Inc., a local charity that deals with child abuse. Donors get the privilege of first choice and though they'll pay a little extra, the additional funds will go to kids who need it. Last year $2,000 were donated to Help, Inc. The patrons and artists demanded that Willowtree do it again and it is now that time of year, so be sure to catch one of the smallest art shows in Idaho.

April 5 through May, 6-8 p.m., FREE. Willowtree Gallery, 210 Cliff St., Idaho Falls. For more information, call 208-524-4464.

SUPERHARP: The James Cotton Blues Band

If you're up for a foot-stomping good time, then you don't want to miss seeing the James Cotton Blues Band live. Known as "Superharp" by blues aficionados and "Cotton" to his friends, this legendary blues man was on the scene at the age of 9.

As a young boy, Cotton's uncle took him to meet harmonica master Sonny Boy Williamson, who taught Cotton everything he knows. After a gig early one morning, Williamson pulled stakes and left for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, leaving his band to Cotton. "He just gave it to me. But I couldn't hold it together 'cause I was too young and crazy in those days an' everybody in the band was grown men, so much older than me."

When Cotton was 19, he was summoned by blues man Muddy Waters and for the next 12 years, was Waters' harp sideman. Cotton got the moniker "Superharp" when his drummer arrived at a gig with a denim jacket adorned with silver studs reading SUPERHARP across the back. The title stuck.

Cotton has received the prestigious Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album and the W.C. Handy Blues Award. Today, at age 63, Cotton brings his superharp, his own blues band and a guaranteed good time.

May 12, 8 p.m., $28. Colonial Theater, 450 A St., Idaho Falls. For information or tickets, contact Idaho Falls Arts Council at 208-522-0471 or visit www.idahofallsarts.org/colonial_theatre.html.

--Gina Sinisi and Vincent Miresse

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