Neanderthals, acrobatics and The Toasters

by Mike Sheahan

D urango is a wonderful town in which to live. Our neighborhoods are neighborly; we are surrounded by unreal natural splendor; and, for a town of Durango's size, we attract great touring entertainment. Earlier this week, Steve Earle dropped a seamless show to a sedate but sold-out crowd at the Abbey Theatre, and in a few weeks, Saint Valentine's Day to be exact, indie-bluegrass legend Danny Barnes will make a second stop at Storyville. Not too shabby for lil' ol' Durango, one must say.

Because of these things I often wonder how, in our idyllic setting, some people could be so frustrated, angry or stupid that they are led to wreak havoc upon their immediate surroundings. For example, a recent trip along Main Avenue revealed two tipped-over trash cans with contents splayed along the street and sidewalk and a harmless box of real estate circulars left disemboweled. While I pretend no support for ubiquitous real estate flyers, it's obvious that only a moron would abuse random sidewalk fixtures in the name of some sort of imbecilic release. Really, it bugs me that we are almost half way through the first decade of the 21st century and some of our townsfolk have not progressed beyond the ritual of breaking stuff. I say if we, as a people, continue to beat up inanimate objects, then the terrorists have truly won. So stop it, please. Quit scraping your knuckles on the ground, walk erect and, for God's sake, leave Durango's trash cans alone. Thank you for allowing this rant, now on to the coming attractions.

Friday, Jan. 16, marks in college-kid terms the return of the new year. A new semester will be in full force, and all students will be dying to obliterate anything inadvertently learned with a night on the town. The boys from Freewill Recovery are there for you and are more than happy to host an impromptu back-to-school special at The Summit. Less and less a band that relies on the jam, and more a group that wants to get the rock out, Freewill Recovery remains one of Durango's top performing musical groups. The music will get going around 9:30 p.m.

Fans of sincere bluegrass will want to attend the fourth annual Bluegrass Jubilee at the Diamond Circle Theater on Saturday, Jan 17. Real, down-to-earth bluegrass will be the order of the day with local groups Badly Bent, Stoney Creek Ramblers and Down the Road performing. Acoustic music fans who love simply presented but deftly performed bluegrass will find a little slice of magic at the Diamond Circle on Saturday. A central microphone and the ensuing musicians dancing around it should be the norm, absent will be the mindless noodling that at some shows passes as music. This is the fourth annual Bluegrass Jubilee and there is no reason to think it won't be the best one yet.

The ancient art of Chinese acrobatics will be on display Monday, Jan. 19, at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. Although billed as a "circus," Homer Simpsons everywhere should beware. This is the other kind of circus; this is the kind filled with amazing acrobats and magicians and not the kind with elephants and bearded women. The Shanghai Circus has won multiple awards for its craft and vision and is sure to not disappoint this time around. Concert hall managing director Gary Penington calls the Chinese circus "the best Chinese acrobats we have enjoyed in Durango." Check for details.

The legendary ska band The Toasters will get busy skanking The Summit on Tuesday, Jan. 20. The Toasters could be our country's longest living ska band, and a visit will be worth your time. Whether you're an old school ska fan or a relative neophyte, The Toasters will make you, if only for a week, want to wear skinny black ties and a black-and-white checkered shirt. And maybe some jack boots.

Maybe pridefully skanking isn't in your Tuesday night cards. No matter, Storyville has other ideas. The Austin-based alternative country act Micky and the Motorcars will handle the stage. Like a dummy, I missed the group's last visit but have heard that the Motorcar experience is one worth experiencing. Spend 10 minutes on the group's online message boards and you'll realize their fans are dedicated and ravenous. Here's our chance to find out why.

Website of the Week: is the ultimate resource for movie fans everywhere. Do you wonder whether critics across the country agree that the new movie "Cheaper by the Dozen" is as bad as the trailer suggests it is, or, for that matter if Steve Martin has made a decent movie since "L.A. Story," rottentomatoes is the place to be. If one avoids all the video game nonsense on the site, one can link to the best, and most gratuitous, film critics at work today. It's not all about new movies as archives abound and, yes, you can become a critic yourself by posting your own well-thought-out criticisms. If that isn't enough, lonely hearts will enjoy the fairly hip singles page.

My name is Shake-zula the mike rula. mpsheahan@




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