Lovey-Dovey, Holiday in Albuquerque and Circuses

by Mike Sheahan

T hese are truly troubling times, people. As we begin to watch the current presidential election unfold around us, we are all reminded of the last time our country was dragged through the same ordeal. Whether you blamed Jeb Bush or Ralph Nader, the result was the same: The man with the least votes became our leader and then did a couple of really silly things. Some Americans were left with their very belief in democracy shaken to its core and wondering if their voices could ever really be heard.

I am here to offer an emphatic "Hell Yeah, the voice of Joey and Judy Punchclock has been heard loud and clear." You see, because of the work of a few noisy roustabouts and loud mouths, "The Simpsons" is back on TV at 5 p.m. All it took was a slew of vitriolic but well-meant e-mails and phone calls for the brass at KASA Fox to get their collective heads out of their collective booties and the sacred cow that is a 5 p.m. Simpsons breathes again. To all who e-mailed or called, we all say thank you. Your reward shall be received in heaven. Now if a simple e-mail campaign can achieve such greatness, I'm positive that together we can elect someone who can actually pronounce the word "nuclear."

The big deal this week, of course is something called St. Valentine's Day. Apparently on this day it is customary to purchase chocolates and flowers for someone you admire and follow that by asking them to "be yours." If all goes well, an expensive dinner and a little boot knockin' are what ensues. Really, I may never understand you Earth people and your wacky Earth traditions. Those who do understand such things may want to head to the Abbey Theatre on Feb. 14 for an evening with Jeff Solon's Swingin' Big Band . I was able to catch a bit of the Swingin' Big Band's last performance at the Abbey, and the group is impressive. Like all shows at the Abbey, this is a nonsmoking event which bodes well for those who don't smoke. Smokers will deservedly have to freeze their hineys off in the alley while feeding the monkey. The love starts flowing at 7:30 p.m. Single tickets are half that, but if you buy a single ticket be prepared to be depressed or disgusted depending on how you view such things.

If lovey dovey dancing and cuddling aren't your things, here's another idea. Put your wife, sweetheart or dominatrix on a plane to the other side of the country the day before and take a solo trek to Dolores and enjoy a decidedly unromantic Valentine's night with Durango's own Lawn Chair Kings at the Dolores River Brewery. Kings shows at the Dolores Brewery are fast becoming the stuff of beer-fueled legend. Why not make this the time to test the rumor? For a nighttime show the hours are early (7-11 p.m.) so that leaves a solid couple of hours to rock the shuffleboard table at the Hollywood Tavern, thus completing your grand tour of Dolores nightlife.

It seems that, again, I've gotten a bit ahead of myself as Friday, Feb. 13, Valentine's Eve if you will, offers some potential fun as well.

Although I would never personally operate an all-ages venue, I think it is vitally important that every town have several options for its under-age crowd. The VFW hall, located at Main Avenue and the Animas River, is often one of those venues. Friday the all-ages bill features five bands whose style ranges from "hard core" to "metal core." I don't care if the bill features "hard metal core" and "core-ish hardly metal," every minute these kids spend damaging their ear drums is another minute they are not rearranging my neighbors' garden gnomes into bizarre sexual positions. That is why I support all-ages entertainment in all its forms. Oh yeah, the show probably starts around 9 p.m. or so.

If your idea of fun is watching tired and abused animals being paraded around for the enjoyment of slack-jawed yokels and you happen to be headed to Albuquerque, then I have the perfect two-part extended weekend planned for you. First, on Sunday, Feb. 15, visit the New Mexico State Fairgrounds for the annual visit of the Shriner's Circus . Be dazzled by near comatose exotic animals behaving completely contrary to their nature! Be wowed by ponies pooping and elephants holding the tails of other elephants in their trunks as they try not to pass out from exhaustion! All is not lost, maybe some trainer will get mauled and horribly disfigured.

The next day is Presidents' Day. Stay in Albuquerque, but take the day off and reflect on the job your current president is doing. Save your energy, though, because Tuesday, Feb. 17, brings another overworked, barely cognizant circus act to ABQ's Kiva Auditorium. Hard rock fossils Deep Purple will try to breathe life into songs like "Smoke on the Water" yet again. If you are ready to head into the past that is central New Mexico just remember to have enough plutonium to fuel your flux capacitor, hit 88 mph and set the year for 1974.

Website of the Week: If you are against drugged-up, animal-filled circuses then visit There you can get all manner of information about how to keep the touring poop factories out of your town. Best of all, though, you can get these bright stickers that read "canceled" from the site. Say your band has a gig the same night as one of Durango's more popular bands, those little babies might come in real handy, right?

Album of the Week: BR549 is possibly the best barroom honky tonk band working today. After an unsuccessful recorded attempt at mainstream country success followed by a massive lineup shuffle that included the addition of multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs, BR549 is bent on proving that. Purists will demand blood, but I insist the band's newest release "Tangled in the Pines" is its best studio release yet. A band best known for its live show, BR549 has managed, with the new lineup, to capture the magic of the live act and mixed it with just the right amount of studio production to make the album that could bring the band the commercial success it has always deserved. See for yourself on March 30 at Storyville.

My big fat obnoxious fiancee wrote this column.




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