Flamenco dancer Miel Castagna had never stomped and twirled in the midst of crème brûlées and rumtinis until she and guitarist Beau Bledsoe started performing at La Bodega for Flamenco Vivo."It was the first time I had ever done a café gig," she says. "Before, I was always in theaters. It's fun -- it's like dancing in the middle of a big party. We have sort of a normal crowd that comes on Thursday nights because there's flamenco." Unconventional setting aside, Castagna's performance is pretty much what you'd get in a Spanish theater. After studying flamenco at the University of New Mexico, she spent two years honing her skills in Spain.
"It was really an eye opener for me," she says of her experience there. "Flamenco's really a way of life, not just an art form. Somebody who's flamenco is somebody who acts on their passions, who is intense and proud and not afraid to let things be as they are."
The duo recently started performing at Shiraz on Saturday nights, too. "It's a totally different ambience," Castagna says. "We have a wooden stage there, so the sound is much better for my feet. The acoustics are really good. La Bodega's kind of like a giant can. It's loud in there!"
The festive Thursday gig at La Bodega (703 Southwest Boulevard) includes shows at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. The quieter performances at Shiraz (320 Southwest Boulevard) begin Saturdays at 8 and 9 p.m. Anyone inspired to take a lesson from Miel can call her at 816-753-1946.-- Gina Kaufmann
All Things Nice
The Burly-Q Girly Crew parades in again, luring us with The Birds, the Bees, the Flowers and the Trees, which includes a racy tree-and-lumberjack encounter as well as a fight to the death between queen bees. Performing in the fairly new venue Spitfire (housed in the lower level of the familiar Fahrenheit, 1717 West Ninth Street in the West Bottoms), the crew this time includes performers from the offshoot burlesque group Rushin' Roulettes and members of Rah! Booty. Don't miss the debut of the band International Hands, providing music while donning costumes fashioned out of musical instruments. The 21-and-older event is $10 at the door. Doors open at 9; show starts at 10.-- Kym Griswold
When musician Mark Stevenson created the nine ink drawings now on display at the Telephone Booth (3319 Troost), all he needed was a box of ballpoint pens and some inspiration from the natural world. "My work kind of explores small wonders," Stevenson says. "The forms I draw are based on natural forms, but they're more referential than depictive. I see them almost as mnemonic devices to remind us what a strange and wonderful world it is." Accompanying Stevenson's oblique odes to the "world of mystery and miracles" is a series of small Sharpie-and-paint-on-plywood pieces by Michael Converse. The works can be seen by appointment; call 816-582-9812.-- Michael Vennard
The staff at KU's student-run radio station knows all about records, free promo stuff and living thrifty, so it makes perfect sense that KJHK 90.7 would sponsor an event that incorporates these elements. Wednesday's 10 p.m. Wax Clash 2003 at Liberty Hall (642 Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, 785-749-1912) showcases the area's thriving hip-hop scene at the very low cost of $3, which attendees will recoup in entertainment value and scores of giveaways and prizes. In addition to the DJ battle, which features previous winners DJ Sku and DJ Proof among others, expect an open-mic rap session and break dancing by the Buggin' Out Crew. (To register as a DJ, e-mail wax firstname.lastname@example.org.) -- Vennard