Eric Johnson Goes Acoustic and Gets Real

Widely viewed as one of the most prolific guitarists of his generation, and named “one of the most respected guitarists on the planet” by Guitar Player magazine, Eric Johnson will visit the Fort Collins Lincoln Center for a rare acoustic performance on February 7.

Renowned for his electric guitar prowess and technicality, Johnson is likely best known for his Grammy-winning rock instrumental “Cliffs of Dover.” The electric guitar anthem was voted number 17 on Guitar World magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos — a distinguished list that also includes Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Since the song’s 1990 release, it has been used as a measure for budding guitarists and has been incorporated into video games such as Guitar Hero III and Rocksmith.

The focus of his current tour, Johnson released his first all-acoustic album, titled “EJ” in 2016. This is the six-time Grammy Award nominee’s twelfth album overall and one of his most intimate, featuring him on piano and vocals in addition to guitar.

Though it may surprise his fans to hear him play piano, for Johnson it’s just a natural extension. Raised in a musically inclined family, Johnson learned to play piano at age 5 before learning guitar at 11. “Some of the songs I actually sang and played at the same time — just live in the studio. Recording this way gave it more of an honest realism and organic emotion, ” says Johnson.

Playing acoustically has been therapeutic for Johnson, as it gives him the opportunity to truly connect with himself and his instruments, keeping the songs raw in a sense. In an interview with Guitar World magazine, Johnson said “There’s no mascara to hide behind and nothing to cloak the real value of what’s going on. If you don’t have a good song, you don’t have anything.”

Seats start at $15. Visit for more information.

Fiercely Funny

“Margaret Cho is timid” – said no one ever. The bold comedian is an active advocate for homeless LGBTQ anti-bullying and anti-racism campaigns and she brings her outspoken brand of comedy to the Fort Collins Lincoln Center February 24.

“I’ll be talking a lot about our new president” Cho says of her upcoming show “I think this is the best time for comedy when there’s an administration you don’t necessarily agree with; we always thrive when people we don’t like are in power.”

Cho began her stand-up career during the Reagan years and says that her comedic career took off during the Bush Administration. Her hope for the upcoming show is to offer tips to help people stay safe during the political climate — “for everyone anyone who is afraid of what’s going to happen or afraid of this new world we’re going to be living in” Cho says. She’ll also tackle sexism and Hollywood white-washing.

As an openly bisexual woman who fights against hatred and discrimination Cho was happy to learn that the Lincoln Center’s Art Gallery will be exhibiting “Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate” during her show. The exhibit runs through March 18 and displays 39 artists’ work converting thousands of anti-Semitic racist books into thought-provoking pieces of art.

Aside from Cho’s stand-up comedy she’s explored comedy albums — from live recordings of shows to comedy music like her 2016 album “American Myth” that’s been nominated for a Grammy Award. She’s also an actress recently starring in roles in the six-season series “Drop Dead Diva” and the upcoming sci-fi/fantasy movie “Bright.”

Despite her other pursuits stand-up remains Cho’s prime passion. “It’s powerful it’s adult it’s exciting. I think this is what I do best I’ve been doing comedy for 34 years so I’m really excited to bring it there.”

Tickets start at $20. Visit for more information.

Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate

The Lincoln Center Art Gallery and the Fort Collins Museum of Art invite you to experience the transformational power of art through Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate. This dynamic exhibition, running January 20- March 18, showcases the diverse work of 39 artists who have transformed thousands of anti-Semitic and racist books into a visually powerful, thought-provoking, and ultimately deeply moving exhibition.

In 2004, a defecting leader of the “Creativity Movement” (one of the most virulent white supremacist hate groups in the nation) presented the Montana Human Rights Network with 4, 000 volumes of their “bibles” — books promoting extreme anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, and racist ideologies.

In partnership with the Network, the Holter Museum of Art invited artists across the country to respond to, integrate, or transform the books in provocative ways. The resulting exhibition Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate — which opened at the Holter Museum in Helena, Montana, in 2008 – has been traveling to museums around the country.

Artworks from the exhibition will be on view at both The Lincoln Center Art Gallery and the Fort Collins Museum of Art. There will be an opening reception at The Lincoln Center on Thursday, January 19, 5:00-7:00 p.m.  Curator Katie Knight and artist Lisa Jarrett will give a brief introduction to the exhibit at 6:00 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibit, multiple community programs are also being offered – including special guest speaker Nate Phelps, a series of films, panel discussions, a special film and talkback event with DJ Spooky, a story time and a book club meeting. See more details below.

Topics raised by the artworks and community programs are intended to spur community-wide reflection and dialogue on the possibility of transformation from a spirit of hatred and discrimination, toward one of love and justice.

This exhibition is sponsored by Montana Human Rights Network and organized by Curator Katie Knight.


Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate Community Programs

Special Guest Speaker Nate Phelps: Not My Father’s Son
Sunday, February 26 | 2:00 p.m. | Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre | $5 Admission (Tickets available January 13th at LCTIX.COM)
Nate Phelps, son of Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps,  shares his own story of transformation from growing up in an environment of religious indoctrination, hate and homophobia to being an active LGBT advocate with a world-view that is based in reason and science. Tickets available at


Panel Discussions — Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre — Free Admission

Curator’s Talk with “Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate” Curator Katie Knight and artist Lisa Jarett Friday, January 20 | 6:00 p.m.

Racism: What Does it Matter?  Thursday, March 2 | 7:00 p.m.

Civil Discourse: Let’s Make America Talk Again Thursday, March 9 | 7:00 p.m.


Film Series — Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre — Free Admission

Art in the 21st Century: Compassion
Tuesday, January 24 | 7:30 p.m.
Delve into the work of artists William Kentridge, Doris Salcedo, and Carrie Mae Weems as they explore conscience and the possibility of understanding and reconciling past and present, while exposing injustice and expressing tolerance for others.

Art in the 21st Century: History
Tuesday, February 7 | 7:30 p.m.
Artists Marina Abramovic, Glenn Ligon and Mary Reid Kelley discuss how they play with historical events, explore and expose commonly held assumptions about historic ‘truth, ’ and create narratives based on personal experiences.

Wednesday, March 8 | 7:30 p.m.
Produced by Fort Collins residents, Shari Due and Mona Maser, “Desplazado” looks at the impacts of racism and gentrification on the Tres Colonias neighborhoods of Fort Collins.

Art in the 21st Century: Change
Tuesday, March 14 | 7:30 p.m.
Artists Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui and Catherine Opie consider ways in which they act as agents of change and the aesthetic choices they make to respond to and engage with a world in flux.

DJ Spooky’s ReBirth of a Nation
Thursday, January 26 | 7:30 p.m. | Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre | $20 Admission
Through the art of remixing, DJ Spooky transforms the infamously racist film The Birth of a Nation into a powerful expression of civil rights and freedom. Post-film discussion with DJ Spooky. Contains mature themes. Buy Tickets here.

Fort Collins Museum of Art Events

FCMOA’s Storytime
Wednesday, January 25 | 11:30 a.m.
Dr. Renate Justin shares her experience as a child refugee of the Holocaust through the eyes of her doll in her children’s book, “The Long Journey.” Regular admission pricing.

FCMOA Book Club
Thursday, March 16 | 6:00 p.m.
Meet at FCMOA to discuss Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me.” Bring a dish to share for a potluck discussion. Admission is free. Register at This book is available at the FCMOA Museum Shop beginning January 20.

The HillBenders Take on “Tommy”

“Anyone convinced that bluegrass is backwoods music has had their head in the sand of commercial radio these past few years” says Nolan Lawrence The HillBenders mandolinist.

His band is taking an unconventional approach to The Who’s classic rock opera — performing “Tommy” in its entirety with a mix of spot-on musicianship outstanding vocals and a mess of bluegrass passion on January 22 at The Lincoln Center.

The HillBenders consist of Lawrence Mark Cassidy on banjo Gary Rea on bass Chad Graves on Dobro and Jim Rea on guitar. Aside from their genre blending this band stands out by way of stage presence. Shows are high energy with an in-your-face attitude and audiences find themselves clapping stomping dancing and singing along. Purists don’t always agree with their approach — typical bluegrass is fast-paced but due to the complexity of the pieces performers often remain stagnant.

How did a bluegrass band decide to perform a classic rock opera? They were approached by an old friend the late founder of South by Southwest Louis Meyers who was looking for his next big project. He was having dinner with Lawrence when Meyers confided a crazy idea he’d been sitting on for the past 20 years — “Tommy” bluegrass-style. Lawrence laughed aloud and asked who would do such a thing and Meyers looked him square in the eye — the answer was the HillBenders.

In 7½ years of touring Lawrence says that Colorado is one of his favorite places to play and visit. He says it’s always evident when an audience is really engaging with the music and when a concert is just a distraction. “Colorado fans always tend to have that little spark that little piece of magic and it’s a joy and a pleasure to perform in Colorado because of how the people react.”

If you are wondering if you should take a chance on this show you should; but don’t take our word for it. In a feature titled 50 Best Things We Saw at SXSW 2015 Rolling Stone stated this about the HillBenders version of “Tommy” “You haven’t heard ‘Acid Queen’ until you’ve seen it sung by a bearded man with a mandolin. They faithfully replicated the songs even giving short synopses of the plot at key points but embellished them with banjo mandolin and dobro to give the music an extra moonshine kick. The HillBenders a talented five-piece band from Missouri proved to be the perfect group to execute this ‘Whograss’ concept.”

Tickets starting at only $15 are available here.

Come an hour early to the show and enjoy bluegrass from Fort Collins’ own T-Band and drink specials.

One Man Brings 46 Star Wars Characters to Life

What do you do when you grow up only owning three movies on VHS in Northern Canada and one of them is Star Wars? You use your superfandom to develop a play — acted out by only yourself — that retells the classic Star Wars trilogy in 60 madcap minutes with no costumes, props or sets and you title it One Man Star Wars, of course. (It was either that or One Man Blue Lagoon, and I think we can all agree, Star Wars was the better choice.)

Over the 16 years since Charlie Ross put on a 20-minute version in a small comedy club, he has performed One Man Star Wars on nearly every continent. Fans have truly fallen in love with his wacky rendition of the much-beloved trilogy — one couple even asked him to perform the show at their wedding.

But it is not only the fans who applaud One Man Star Wars. Lucas Films also have deemed the show worthy of their coveted registered trademark. When Lucas Films found out about Ross’ show, they asked for video footage and a copy of Ross’ script, which he relinquished. After reviewing it, they adored it so much that they asked him to perform the show at a Star Wars convention. “It was a geeky rock-star moment, ” said Ross in an interview on TVNZ 1’s Good Morning, reflecting on going from shows that had at most 200 people to a stage in front of over 4, 000 hard-core Star Wars fans.

“I had no idea that I’d still be lucky enough to be performing this 16 years later, ” Ross says in an interview with The Lincoln Center. “I think because of the power of the Star Wars brand, and the fact that new generations of fans are continually born, I’ve had some staying power. Star Wars is always relevant, it has the power to inspire kids to dream big — look at me: I’m a big kid and still loving Star Wars.”

From Jabba the Hutt to R2D2, Ross plays about 46 characters in the show. When asked if he still has difficulty keeping in character for so many parts, he says “I have no trouble, especially after all of these years, keeping things straight in my head. However, if I have to perform my Star Wars show in Ohio one night and then my Lord of the Rings show in Florida the next night- that is a different story. I have trouble remembering my own name, which makes me understand Gollum in a whole new way.”

You can see all 46 characters from all three movies performed by one incredibly talented man at The Lincoln Center February 9th, 2017. Tickets, starting at $15, are available here.

May The Cosplay Be With You

Show off your Jedi robes and your best Queen Amidala makeup for our cosplay party before One Man Star Wars Feb. 9 with the Mandolorian Mercs, The 501st, and Fort Collins Comic Con.