Artini, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, The Mezzanine and The Mansion, 20 N. Tejon St., free. Must be 21.

Something else: Enjoy the music of the Tejon Street Thieves in front of The Mansion from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m.

Do you miss the wild parties of yesteryear, crowded with artistic types, a rockin' band, cocktails, and delicious food?

Those halcyon days are not over.

To officially kick off Arts Month, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region is once again throwing an eclectic bash, aptly called Artini.

The free community celebration, open to all, will be Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Mansion and The Mezzanine nightclubs in downtown Colorado Springs.

"The whole event is really just about making a big splash to kick off Arts Month," said Andy Vick, COPPeR's executive director. "It's intentionally free - there are no barriers to Artini."

Attendees, however, must be old enough to legally consume a martini. There will be at least seven variations of the classic cocktail, concocted by seven of the city's top bartenders. Vote for your favorite martini in the form of "tips" for its bartender. That money will help defray the cost to put on Artini, Vick said.

The lineup includes cabaret, theater, poetry, hip hop dance, Brazilian Capoirea, aerial performers, music, and food from several eateries participating in the upcoming Colorado Springs Restaurant Week. Clay Carlton will practice the nearly lost art of hand-rolling cigars, which can be purchased for $10 and enjoyed outside.

At 6 and 7 p.m., there will be "Past, Present and Future" fashion shows in the Disco Room with designs by the likes of GalaxyFest, the Fine Arts Center and the Space Foundation. Beauty Bar will be on hand to paint a mini-martini glass on a fingernail.

It's all to encourage people in the community to expand their horizons and try even one new arts experience during Arts Month, said Kathy Guadagnoli, who, with her husband Sam, donated staff and the venue for Artini.

"It's our sixth year with this event," Kathy Guadagnoli said. "We do it because we love the arts. That's our whole life."

Last year's Artini drew about 650 partygoers. This year, Vick is expecting a decidedly more robust turnout of 1,000.

"It only seems fitting to have a big party to kick off Arts Month and help people become more familiar with the arts," said Vick, who noted that partnerships with multiple organizations helped the massive undertaking come together.

Headlining the main stage will be longtime Colorado Springs funk-style band Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors, playing "old school R&B dance music," said band member Keith Stovall. He noted that the dance floor won't get lonely as the eight-member band plays hits from the likes of Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Kool & The Gang and Bruno Mars.

And don't be sad when the party's over: Arts Month fun will continue with multiple events throughout the Pikes Peak region in October.

Editor, Pikes Peak Newspapers

In June 2019, Michelle became editor of the four Pikes Peak Newspapers: Pikes Peak Courier; The Tribune; and the Cheyenne and Woodmen editions. A Penn State journalism graduate, she joined the Gazette staff in 2015.

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