Mr. Personality, Cinco de Mayo and waitrons' night out

Mark Stuart and Stacey Earle, coming soon to a venue near you.Welcome back to “The Goods,” the weekly entertainment column on what’s up that, until now, refused to admit that reality television is evidence of the end of civilization. Then I saw “Mr. Personality” on FOX. This is a show where bachelors are forced to wear masks whenever they are around the beautiful woman who is the prize they seek. The woman then picks the “winner” without ever having seen his face. Not only that, but the show is hosted by Monica Lewinsky! I always thought reality TV was simply a mindless diversion for stupid people, but this might be serious. Get out and do the things below before it starts raining frogs and the locusts begin to swarm.

This weekend brings us Cinco de Mayo, and that can only mean one thing: Liquor companies are going to try to convince you that this holiday is about getting loaded on Dos Equis and margaritas instead of your usual Budweiser and Jack Daniel’s. This simply is not so – it’s about Pacifico and margaritas. I mean get real, Dos Equis? If you are interested in enjoying Cinco de Mayo without being attacked by guys handing out Corona key chain bottle-openers, then here are a couple of, um, more cultured ways to celebrate the holiday.

On Saturday, May 3, at Santa Rita ParkA0there will be a Cinco de Mayo celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This annual event, filled with Mexican folk music and dancing, artwork, and food is always a lot of fun. Not only is it a way to be immersed in Mexican culture, but this is one of the first outdoor community gatherings in Durango after the weather warms up, so there is a good chance of bumping into people you haven’t seen since September.

Then, on Sunday, May 4, the Smiley Auditorium is playing host to the musicians, singers and dancers from La Escuela de la Musica Mexicana in Durango, Mexico. This should be the real deal with many different performers providing entertainment. The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are available at Southwest Sound and Canyon Music.

Life in the food-service and hospitality industry is not always pretty. The hours may be long, the wages can stink, and the customers can be downright odious. Plus, you’re on your feet for a whole shift, and with that comes another other set of issues. That is why I just love the Sky Ute Casino, Ska Brewing and Klackers for putting together an appreciation night for those of us who toil in said industry.

On Sunday, May 4, from 6 to 10 p.m., food service and other hospitality workers are invited to Sky Ute for a night of free food, beer and music. The food and beer are courtesy of Ska, and the music will be provided by Durango’s favorite wedding ensemble, The Lawn Chair Kings. There also will be a Klackers tournament with crazy cash and prizes. So, come on my overworked brethren, let’s all get together and complain about how Texans only tip 10 percent – unless, of course, you have to work Sunday night.

This just in, people! Mark your calendars for May 30, when Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart will be in town at the Durango Arts Center. I have seen the Earle/Stuart show twice now, and they are not to be missed. More on this later.

This week’s sign that everything will be just fine: Last week before an NBA playoff game between the Portland Trailblazers and Dallas Mavericks, the teen-age girl who was to sing the national anthem forgot the words. As millions watched, she just stood there, unable to move. It seemed that this girl was about to have a breakdown on national TV when Portland coach Maurice Cheeks appeared at her side and whispered the words in her ear. It was a very classy moment in a sport that suffers from an image problem. As the cynical father of a child who gets older every day, it’s reassuring to know that there are folks like Maurice Cheeks out there.

This week’s album that is probably very good but I’m not saying you should buy it: Fat Possum Records is the label that does for blues music what Bloodshot Records does for country. They provide a somewhat underground alternative to the mostly lame product being sold at Tower Records or Wal-Mart. The blues released by Fat Possum is not slick or overly produced, and is, at the very least, interesting to hear.

The latest release by The Black Keys, “Thickfreakness,” fits the Fat Possum bill perfectly. This guitar, drums and vocals duo produce a sound that is dirty, punk-like and straight from the garage. In fact, “Thickfreakness,” includes a spot-on version of garage rock pioneers The Sonics’ “Have Love Will Travel.”

Fans of this recent trend in the blues may write the group off as just another couple of guys trying to bring punk into blues when Jon Spencer and R.L. Burnside have already done it so well. This album deserves a closer look, though. There’s enough complexity in the songs, especially for a duo, to keep you hitting the play button.

Happy Birthday Sara!





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