Fun without mimes, disorderly conduct, and patriotic doodies

by Ted Holteen

Every time the city shuts down Main Avenue for a festival or other such event, it raises again the argument to permanently convert a section of downtown into a pedestrian mall (Which, for the record, is better than paving a park.) Viewing cars as a necessary evil at best, I think it's a great idea. I spent a summer in Burlington, Vt., where a main thoroughfare is so designated, and I'm here to tell you it works. See for yourself this weekend.

It's the Main Avenue Arts Festival , going on all day Saturday and Sunday. These things are great. Arts and crafts (if you're into that sort of thing), food, no cars, pretty girls (if you're into that sort of thing), music and a general atmosphere of good will and community spirit. And the best part? No mimes! Get out and mingle with your fellow townspeople and spend a bunch of money. I know you get paid on Friday, so no excuses.

With so much camaraderie and so many positive vibes developed during the days this weekend, I expect the nightlife to be downright electric. (Did I just use the phrase "positive vibes?" What's happening to me?) Anyway, the usual suspects have some good offerings to behold. On Friday night, Storyville presents the funk/jam stylings of Lunar Gravy . The Mount Shasta, California-based foursome bills themselves as "Psychadelic Rock for Your Soul." So be it. Then, on Saturday, the best band in Durango takes the stage. That's The Brown Brothers , if you didn't know. If you haven't seen them, see them. Simple enough.

Moving south, Scoot 'n Blues offers The Todd Tijerina Band on Friday and Saturday nights. It's original, blues-based guitar rock played in the classic roadhouse style. To keep it authentic, I recommend calling the waitresses "sweetie" and "toots," and I hear they like it when fat guys in leather grab their asses as well. The Summit should be SRO on Friday, when Moses Guest returns to town. They're one of those can't-miss bands that local club owners rely on to pay the bills, and a good crowd is just about a sure bet. Add to that the fact that most of those present will have been drinking all day at the Arts Festival, and it equals fun for the whole family. Bring the kids!

Next on the stumbling tour is the Abbey Theatre. On Friday, New Mexico Music Industry Award-winning Nosotros crosses the border smuggling their hot Latin dance rhythms with them. I think Nosotros means "us" or "we" or "our" in Spanish, but that's not important. What is important, is that these Latin dance nights always compel the ladies of our town to dress to the nines and really let their hair down. Unless they wear it in one of those tight bun things, which I don't particularly care for. The ethnic theme continues next Tuesday the 17th, when the Durango Society for the Cultural and Performing Arts brings Cajun specialists BeauSoleil to the Abbey. It will sell out, so get on it. Wear your dancing shoes to this one as well, as about a third of the seats will be removed to free up plenty of space for reelin' and stompin' and whatnot.

By the way, The Abbey is also a movie theater, and I had the opportunity to catch the latest offering before my ever-morphing deadline. "Control Room" is a behind-the-scenes look at the Al Jazeera network in the Middle East, and it gives us yet another opportunity to see how much the rest of the world really hates us, thereby fostering our own self-hate. Like with "Fahrenheit 9/11," we are reminded that, despite what we see on our TVs, people do die in wars. And Al Jazeera actually had the gall to show casualties and other realities of war. But filmmaker Jehane Noujaim presents a more balanced and less confrontational view than Michael Moore, showing the interaction between Arab and American news and military outfits with equal time given to both sides. As luck would have it however, the good ol' USA still comes out looking like a hybrid of the Roman Empire and the Third Reich. And no filmmaker since Leni Riefenstahl could make Donald Rumsfeld look like anything but the unequivocal asshole that he is. You can put all the lipstick you want on a pig, but it's still a pig. I'm probably in violation of the Patriot Act by saying so, but if I may further incriminate myself, we all know that thing's not worth the Charmin it's printed on. The schedule of show times for this worthy film is very confusing, so either call the Abbey or check their website and figure it out.

Turn me in. . Power to the people, but just the good ones.




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