Magic Spectacular, Chin Music and Workers Playtime

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 of mention.

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 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.

Fish or cut bait?




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