by Mike Sheahan
Thanksgiving is one of the best of all holidays. The only
obligation one has is to sit on his or her arse with a bunch
of friends and family, eat and drink way too much, and watch
football. Really, improving on that would be pretty hard. Well,
there are a few ways, but as this is a family paper there is
no need to discuss them here. Thanksgiving is a wonderful day
that not only encourages excess, but practically demands it.
However, when you finally come to from your food-, booze- and
television-induced coma, remember that this week officially
begins the holiday shopping season. Sure some retail outlets
were starting to stock holiday related goods around Labor Day,
but this week is the real start of shopping season. This season
it’s especially important that you shop incessantly, as
our president is counting on us to revive our waning economy.
His economic recovery plan is two tiered. First, he gives massive
tax breaks to the wealthy then we, the regular Joes, the Johnny
six-packs of the world, blow all our savings on X-Boxes and
Tickle Me Elmos. The result? Complete recovery. It’s pure
genius, I tells ya.
The pickins are a bit slim regarding ways to keep Durango’s
economy vibrant by spending your hard-earned dollars on the
town this week. There are, however, a couple of happenings worthy
The Abbey Theatre is not slowing down for the holiday at all.
Friday, Nov. 28, the Abbey hosts “Mysto’s Magic
Spectacular” an evening of magic and comedy featuring
Durango’s own prestidigitator, Mysto the Magi. Also on
hand will be Michael, the “catch-it-quick” juggler.
Even most shut-ins have come across one or both of these gentlemen
in their travels and, thus, have a pretty good idea of what
to expect. It should be an entertaining evening that is fun
for the kids as well as the adults. Add to the mix the fact
that the Abbey has beer from the Dolores River Brewery on tap,
and the night becomes a lock for good fun.
The next night, Saturday, Nov. 29, the Abbey features a night
of folksy, country music featuring the Wild Blooms and The Lindells.
The Lindells is a locally based band that roots itself in the
alternative country world but also branches out into folk and
bluegrass. The Wild Blooms is an Austin, Texas-based band that
plays mostly acoustic folk-like music. The Wild Blooms is recording
the show for inclusion on an upcoming live album, so this is
your chance to be a live album’s voice in the crowd. Doors
open at 7 p.m.; the show starts at 8:30 p.m.
Folk music icon Greg Brown will make a stop at the Fort Lewis
Concert Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Brown probably doesn’t
need much of an introduction, his reputation as a masterful
singer-songwriter should only just precede his rep as a storyteller.
The guy can command a stage. The sleeper reason to attend the
show, however, is Brown’s musical sidekick, Bo Ramsey.
Unassuming and vocally quiet, Ramsey is happy to surrender the
spotlight in exchnage for the chance to turn in some great guitar
work. Brown puts on a great show, but Ramsey’s understated
sidework is worth the price of admission alone.
Website of the Week: Anyone who knows me knows that my two
big loves in life are baseball and rock music. If you, too,
share these loves, you’ll want to give www.chinmusic.net
a visit. Chin Music is an online magazine full of baseball news,
album reviews and interviews. Sometimes there is an interview
of a ball player done by a musician and vice versa. Chin Music
is published infrequently with only five issues in around six
years, but each carries a wealth of information, and a sixth
issue is right around the corner. Published in the Bay Area,
Chin Music does have a West Coast bend, but it is still a ton
of fun for anyone who loves America’s two pastimes.
This Week’s Album: Recently a retrospective was released
highlighting the career of the English folk musician Billy Bragg.
I considered buying it as Bragg has had a career worthy of such
a set but instead decided on re-purchasing a copy of his now
15-year-old release “Workers Playtime.” I did the
right thing. Not to take anything away from Bragg’s larger
body of work, but “Workers Playtime” captures everything
that makes him great all wrapped up in a $12 package.
This record is intensely personal (“Must I Paint You
a Picture,” “The Short Answer”) and political
(“Rotting on Demand,” “Tender Comrade”)
and captures brilliantly the Billy Bragg experience. Armed with
only a guitar and spare accompaniment – a steel guitar
here, a piano there – Bragg conveys more feeling in such
simple fashion than 100 Michael Boltons or Madonnas ever could.
If you love Billy Bragg, you probably already own the new release.
If you’re new to the Bragg experience, “Workers
Playtime” is the perfect primer.
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