Jubilee, Drag the River and Melodrama

by Ted Holteen

W elcome to "The Society Page," formerly "The Goods," where the beautiful people go to see and be seen. Quality nightlife has thrived in the weeks since the departure of my predecessor, and I trust that readers of "The Goods" have carried on in a way that would make Mike proud. Any barfly worth his or her salted glass can navigate the entertainment scene without a map, but we like to think of this space is a handy reference nonetheless. Perhaps an introduction is in order. I'm an egotistical, opinionated Pisces who always wanted to be in show biz. I ended up in radio and newspapers. No photo enclosed. Let's get to it.

Now that the madness that is Telluride Bluegrass has ended, enlightened festivarians will make their way to Silverton this weekend for the 17th annual Silverton Jubilee. Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys, Donna the Buffalo, Alvin Youngblood Hart and the Badly Bent are some of the acts who will perform beginning Friday and continuing until Sunday night. It's mellow, but it ain't sleepy. At this point I should be telling you that if you've never been to the Jubilee, this is the year to go, or something to that effect. But on second thought, get out and enjoy the summer weather and leave Silverton to the professionals. Oh, and please leave your pets at home. They will not be issued wristbands.

Donna the Buffalo will be one busy band. In addition to its Silverton performance, the band will join the likes of Robert Earl Keen, Shawn Colvin, Bruce Cockburn and others at the Taos Solar Music Festival. That's in Taos. This one's a bit out there for my tastes, what with all the alternative-energy displays and earth-friendly products. You probably don't even have to pay for drinking water! The nerve of some people.

Closer to home (mine, anyway), Storyville welcomes Drag the River on Sunday night. Despite its place on the page, this is my headliner. The Fort Collins band has a sort of alt-country Americanatwang sound. But unlike most bands, they're good. Very good, in fact. I will actually attend this event, the highest praise of which I'm capable.Drag the River

On Friday, the Abbey Theatre offers one of those rare opportunities to see something truly different. Veterans of the Durango music scene may remember the New Mexico based Marimba ensemble Jaka, which used to frequent the ol' San Juan Room. Four members of Jaka are now in a group called Mukwa , and if they're anything like their previous incarnation, it's something to see and hear. The stage will be filled with marimbas xylophone-like instruments made of wood in various shapes and sizes. I'm sure that each instrument probably has its own name, but I'm a simple man. IF YOU GO: Bring adequate eye protection. A flying dreadlock from an errant spinner can feel like a halyard to an exposed cornea. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday night, the Abbey hosts a night of local music. At about 10 o'clock, Freewill Recovery frontman Steve Morris and Coconut Pete will play an acoustic set, then Sol Vista , the hardest working band in Durango, takes the stage around 11:30 p.m. Pay the nominal cover charge, go in and have a good time.

Six nights a week during the summer, a Durango tradition continues unbeknownst to many locals, and that really needs to change. The Diamond Circle Melodrama is corny, hokey and dangerously family-oriented, but it's cool. Those in the theater world use a term called "suspension of disbelief," the ability to remove oneself from reality so as to accept an otherwise absurd premise taking place on stage. Nowhere before or since is such a suspension necessary than on the Melodrama stage at the Strater Hotel. Audiences see a multi-act play followed by an authentic turn of the century vaudeville show. In between there are sing-alongs with ragtime piano accompaniment, booing and cheering on cue by the audience, and beer. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it works. While audience participation is encouraged, obnoxious behavior is frowned upon. A good date night, but better with a large group. And if you love tourists like I love tourists, go on a weeknight.

The Society Page will continue to feature the live music scene each week, but the true bon vivant knows that genuine pomposity can only be achieved through a well-balanced cultural diet. If you've got an event planned, I want to know about it. E-mail me at ted@ksut.org. I do not, however, accept criticism of any kind.

Drive safely and buckle up.




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