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Reliable TACAW Summer Review | Arts and Entertainment

The Willits Arts Campus produces an extensive summer lineup. Home to national comedy, regional film screenings and local rock bands, the Performing Arts Center invites the Roaring Fork Valley community to discover its many offerings.

With new collaborations, series and programs, TACAW’s momentum can be experienced in a variety of ways this summer.

One way is through laughter, as the organization was really looking to create a top-notch comedy series,” said executive director Ryan Honey. Stand-up comedian Billy Wayne Davis takes the stage tonight at 8:00 pm. Originally from a small town in Tennessee, Davis currently lives in Los Angeles and is featured on TV shows and countless podcasts. He also worked on the films Who Is America and Borat 2.

Ticket prices for sit-down performances at TACAW range from $22 to $32. Doors open at 7pm.

TACAW’s comedy line-up is being replenished by Colorado-based comedian Sam Tallent, releasing on July 23, followed by Emmy and Grammy-nominated comedian and performer Tig Notaro on August 23. 3 is a national act that Honey says represents TACAW’s growing reputation and a chapter in the future.

“We do comedy at least once a month, we stick with it, and it will definitely become a series here at TACAW,” Hani said. “And I think we have the best comedy room – you have to go pretty far to find the best comedy room.”

The TACAW multi-purpose theater is also very well suited for music, adds Kendall Smith, director of programming for the arts center.

“We have a room that I think is one of the best listening rooms in the valley… the sound is great and it creates a sense of intimacy – you are close to the artist,” Smith said. “And the possibilities change depending on the number of bodies or the type of music content you put in there.”

The space, which can accommodate up to 245 seated and 400 standing people, will facilitate a variety of musical performances this summer.

Just looking at June, TACAW’s musical offerings vary across genres, cultures, and audience engagement—from honky-tonkin on the dance floor with local country band Highway 82, to the return of Salsa Night, rock with The Samples, and an evening out on Latin Jazz with musical group of Josephine Mendez.

A rich selection of music continues throughout July and August, and some of these summer shows are free with RSVP, Smith said. TACAW is also partnering with the City of Basalt to host a free concert at Lion’s Park featuring Eli “The Paperboy” Reid on August 1st. 24. The event serves as a sort of “teaser” of what’s to come, Hani said, explaining how Basalt is building a new shell and TACAW will collaborate on programming a free music series starting in the summer of 2023.

On the cinematic side of programming, TACAW has partnered with 5Point Film to host the 5Point Summer Film Series starting July 7 with Fire of Love. Subsequent three-part events are scheduled for August. September 4th and 8th, and movie titles will be announced soon.

Among the many important discussions TACAW hosts in its space are the Queer Voices Story Project on July 12 and the second Equity Speaker Series with Adriana Alvarez on July 26.

Smith said he is working with other local organizations to include more environmental discussions in TACAW programs, trying to draw attention to issues related to the valley, such as water problems in the Western Slope.

When it comes to collaboration with other local organizations, TACAW has been the central space for entertainment, culture, thought and community in the valley. And as the arts center enters its first summer hosting events in its new, fully completed building, Honey and Smith look forward to exploring the organization’s place in the valley’s cultural ecosystem.

“I’m excited to see how we fit into the summer ecosystem and how people will react to us when all other things are back at full capacity,” Smith said. “And I’m happy to draw the attention of some viewers to come here and perhaps break away from their habits.”

Hani also mentioned that he hopes to change habits this summer with a variety of TACAW offerings.

“We want to encourage our audience to trust various programs and come to artists they may not know,” Hani said. “But we also realized, after a couple of years of being inside and the pandemic, that people’s habits have to be reset. … We want to educate people to go out and discover artistic, musical and comedic discoveries – there are some really great things in the lineup.”

For updates and information on TACAW’s summer lineup, visit tacaw.org or follow “tacaw_org” on Instagram.

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