Open season, the shuckers and Steve's little sis

The DSCPA brings Mark Stuart and Stacey Earle to the DAC Friday.

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and we Durangoans who lived through the weekend now have a new challenge – tourist season. If this is your first summer as a local, here are a couple words of advice. First, don’t bother trying to cross town via Main Avenue. The back way on College Drive will probably be faster. Second, if you find yourself downtown, feed the meter! Cars with Texas, New Mexico or Oklahoma plates won’t get parking tickets but your Colorado Subaru (or Four Runner or Mobile-Penis, I mean Humvee), with nary a five-minute lapse, will get busted. Have a great summer locals! See you at Falconburgh’s in a couple of months.

Last week, I called the entertainment options in Durango “as dead as Tim Allen’s career.” I stand behind those words. But if that was true, then this week is a total Rosie O’Donnell. No fear, though, there’s enough happening to put off contemplating that move to Farmington for another week. Part of the Big Easy, or at least Louisiana blues rock, comes to Storyville tonight, May 29, in the form of Tyrin Benoit and the Shuckers. Astute Durango music fans will fondly recall brother bandmate Tab Benoit’s performances at Storyville as classics. This show shapes up to be more of the same. This is your chance to bring some of that bayou-fried, Mardi Gras-feeling blues home without having to look out for cops on horses or dealing with some drunk who thinks he’s in a bathroom. All the same, bring some beads in case things get nutty.

The week’s big deal comes on Friday, May 30, when the DSCPA brings Stacey Earle to the Durango Arts Center. The first time I saw Stacey Earle was in Olympia, Wash., when she warmed the crowd up for folk singer/storyteller Greg Brown. Someone had told me she was the sister of country rock superman Steve Earle, so I bought a couple of tickets to see what Steve’s sister could do. Halfway through the first song of her solo set in this enormous theater, I completely forgot about her relations and was drawn wholly into her performance. She filled that gigantic space so keenly with just her voice and guitar that my date laughed and cried several times, and I didn’t need to stick around for Greg Brown.

The second time I saw Earle was at a much more intimate show at the Diamond Circle Theatre, and she didn’t let down the show for the smaller crowd. Stacey Earle is at ease, and as personable in a room full of hundreds as in a saloon. If you only go out once per millennium, go see Stacey Earle and husband, Mark Stuart, play. Call the Durango Arts Center for all the specifics. But remember that this is the show everyone else will be talking about Monday.

This week’s signs the end is near: In Norway, the BBC is broadcasting a TV show that features a family of birds (the birds are called blue tits) living in a birdhouse made to look like a living room.A0Apparently, it’s a hit – there are eggs and feedings and, I assume, bird droppings. As I’ve said before, if Reality TV doesn’t bring the locusts and hell fire, then God (He, She or They) doesn’t exist.

Recently a guy named Jayson Blair, who once worked for the New York Times, got caught faking facts, stealing stories and fabricating interviews and then getting them printed. His biggest crime was writing lies about last winter’s D.C. sniper, things that might have thrown off the investigation. That’s just great, Blair pulls down big bucks making crap up while I bust my onions for a paper that pays me off in kittens...Oh wait, it seems I made that up. Or, I guess I didn’t, I stole it from a MASH episode. Wait, the truth is, I stole that kitten line from a friend who told me about that MASH episode. Damn you, Jayson Blair, damn you and your delicious, truth-bending poison!

This week’s pretty good record: A band’s sophomore album is always the most scrutinized. Fans and critics alike will always compare the old to the new, track for track. Its predecessor will be the benchmark the new album, like the Second Son, can’t (or won’t) live up to. Knowing this, I went into the new release by power pop supergroup The New Pornographers with as open a mind as I could have. Like “Mass Romantic” (the group’s brilliant first release), “Electric Version” finds its home halfway between Cheap Trick and the Canadian version of the B52s. Without a doubt, the New Pornographers are best when Neko Case is left to go wild and belt out the pop music she wanted to sing before she went country. This doesn’t happen enough on “Electric Version” as you might like.

I’ll say this, when a second album lets you down, it may not be that the music is bad, it’s probably that you’ve heard it all before. “Electric Version,” I assume, laid off vocals by the popular Neko Case for a reason, wanting not to be overshadowed by the obvious star, but the record might’ve been better served by more of her presence.

Who’s the bigger fraud: Jayson Blair or the dude who double parks his Humvee?





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