I would like to open “The
Goods” this week by congratulating the folks who push
the cable TV buttons in Durango for finally turning on the Denver
feed of CBS while the Albuquerque feed shows a replay of a meaningless
college basketball game. It may have taken a few weeks but many
of us hard-working cable subscribers are very happy now. I do
not have the ego that allows me to think last week’s missive
on this page had any effect, but with time I can learn to believe
it did. Also, sorry I called you monkeys. My bad.
big buzz this week is all about the Durango Film Festival which
begins Saturday and runs through March 9. If you are like me,
and God help you if you are, you recently decided to watch only
comedies. I know that sounds weird, but with so many cinematic
options in this life, I found I needed a sort of built-in filter.
Life is serious enough and I’d rather laugh than cry during
my off hours. In that spirit, I spoke to Film Festival mucky
mucks Eric Hopper and Michele Malach about where to find the
big yuks this year.
If you want to laugh, check out the feature film “Wild
Bees.” It tours the transformation of the Czech Republic
from communism to Capitalism and the self-important Michael
Jackson impersonators such a change can breed. Also see “On
the Road to Emmaus” where the main character revisits
his past during a two-mile hike to meet a waiting cab.
By no means should you miss what will probably become my festival
favorite – “Scrabylon” visits yet another
competitive society, this time that of touring Scrabble contestants.
Strange as it may seem, people tour the country playing Scrabble
in much the same way tough men do. Now that’s funny.
The short film program is often the most hilarious part of
the Durango Film Festival, and this year is no exception. Look
for instant classics like “Roof Sex,” a stop-time,
animation piece that examines the sex life of patio furniture
or “Burning Passion,” a quickie about an unfortunate
young man who ejaculates fire unless he is in love. Now that’s
really funny. Lastly, do not miss “Cloggers of Putneyville,”
an hourlong “mockumentary” about outdoorsy types
(read Durangoans) who hike and climb while wearing clogs and
the gear-weenie buzz it creates.
In typical fashion, I have glossed over yet another huge going
on. For the real dirt, check out durangofilmfestival.com and/or
pick up a program around town.
Elsewhere it seems a group of Fort Lewis students, staff and
faculty want to climb the 20,000-plus foot peak Denali in Alaska
for some reason. In order to fund this crazy goal they are hosting
a “gear giveaway” at Storyville tonight, Feb. 27.A0The
$8 cover guarantees some sort of door prize from various community
donors and live music by Durango bluegrass upstarts Salty Dogs.
Just think, with only eight bucks you get live tunes and a prize,
and somewhere down the line there are a few less of them college
punks in town. Oh yeah, count me in.
If hanging out in bars with all that smoke, extra-loud music
and drunken kids is too much, but you still like to get down,
then a contra dance may be just the thing for you. This Saturday
night at Park Elementary is your chance to see what it’s
all about. Distilled, a contra dance harkens back to the olden
days of barn/square dancing but nowadays features hippies instead
of farmers. Booze and smoking are not allowed, but a heck of
a lot of foot stomping is. In my day, I danced many a contra
(due to a raging case of turf toe, I can no longer dance) and
know how much fun it can be. If you don’t believe me go
to Park Elementary at 7 p.m. and watch the people spin and smile.
This Week’s Sign That Sanity May Prevail: Bill Maher
was ousted from his late-late night talk show “Politically
Incorrect” after making a few politically incorrect statements
during the jingoistic time that was post 9-11 America.A0The
cable channel now known more for its original programming than
its movies, HBO has boldly given Maher and his combative panelists
a venue to express their views with absolutely no censorship.
I know fewer people will see his show than would’ve when
he was on a major network, but at least some group in the commercial
broadcasting world understands the First Amendment.
Week’s Pathetic Attempt to Prove That my Taste in Music
is Better Than Yours: Jeff Tweedy is the singer and driving
force behind the rock band Wilco and is also a one-time member
of legendary country-punks Uncle Tupelo.Within the last week,
the prolific Tweedy has been involved in two new releases, and
both are worth exploration.“Loose Fur” is a self-titled
collaboration between Wilco bandmates Tweedy, Jim O’Rourke
and Glenn Kotche. It is a rhythmic guitar-drums-studio-noise-based
(dare I say it?) jam session that will leave the casual listener
wondering what the hell is going on. Wilco fans will see this
as yet a further step in Jeff Tweedy’s self-induced movement
from post-punk hero to pop obscurity.
“The Minus 5’s” new release “Down with
Wilco” features ringleader Scott McCauaghey (Young Fresh
Fellows, REM) playing host to Wilco, along with the band’s
regular cast and “a sack of locusts.” Decidedly
more accessible than “Loose Fur,” this is still
an album that will chase away casual fans. I love them both.
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