Skins, All-Stars and an Ohioan named Edward

by Ted Holteen


For a brief moment, I considered asking for another deadline extension this week so that I could include the results of that election we had on Tuesday. However, recalling the 2000 fiasco, it occurred to me that this thing may not be decided until Christmas if we're lucky; Inauguration Day if we include Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida; or October of 2008 if Herr Fuhrer decides to just scrap the whole thing and declare himself king. So I'll stick to what they hired me for, and try to provide the best diversions to help us all forget, if only for a moment, that we might see NHL hockey again before we know who our president is.

And there are some damn fine diversions. We begin from the "Gomer Pyle meets the Fine Arts" department. That's how I felt when I first tried to tackle Kathryn Moller's mind-blowing production that is "Skins," now running at the Fort Lewis College Theater. In 1997, FLC Theater Professor Moller transformed the sculpture and poetry of Elizabeth Ingraham into a stage production, incorporating dance, music and stunning visuals. Last fall, Moller was invited to bring "Skins" to New York City by Ellen Stewart of the famous La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. For those of you unfamiliar with this landmark company, I'll keep it short and just say this is where The Blue Man Group got their start. Suffice to say, it is a tremendous honor for Moller and any students and other performers lucky enough to make the trip. I won't waste my time or yours with an attempt to explain the show itself, but I will give it my strongest recommendation. It's like nothing you've probably seen before (unless you're a regular at La MaMa) and I, having seen just the dress rehearsal, am looking forward to seeing the finished product during its two-weekend run.

Now for the realities of the art world under our current administration. These folks need money, and lots of it, to take "Skins" to NYC. For just a fraction of the cost of one Smart Bomb, the entire trip AND New York production could be financed, but oh, well. Moller wants to take as many FLC students as possible on the trip, along with other performers who will audition specifically for the La MaMa run. It goes without saying that this is one of the greatest opportunities in the history of Fort Lewis College arts & entertainment to showcase the talents of its faculty and students on a national stage, and these people should not be handcuffed by a lack of financing. A pricey ($100 per person) event will take place Nov. 12, but for those of us in the Mayberry tax bracket, every penny will help. "Skins" runs Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 4-6, and also Nov. 11, 13 and 14 with the benefit show on Friday, the 12th. Check it out - you'll be glad you did.

Allow me to return to my comfort zone - music venues that serve beer. The Abbey Theatre once again leads the pack this week. On Saturday, Nosotros returns for more of that funky Latin sound that brings the ladies out in droves. A fascinating phenomenon, but one that I hope doesn't change. Then on Tuesday, Nov. 9, it's the Really Big Show, as The Abbey welcomes The North Mississippi All-Stars for their first Durango visit in about two or three years, by my count. It may be a moot point to mention this, as it's entirely possible that the show will sell out by the time you read this article, but you should at least know what you're missing. Seeing the All-Stars live is a must, and especially in an intimate venue like The Abbey, where at times it may feel as though the band is part of the crowd. I've seen them in a few different club/bars, and it's really something else. Get your tickets early. (Shameless plug: The All-Stars will perform live on KSUT at one o'clock Tuesday afternoon. Please tune in.)

It's a busy week for the good people at the Durango Society for the Cultural and Performing Arts. On Sunday, Nov. 7, the DSCPA brings Four Corners Folk Festival favorites Eddie From Ohio to the Diamond Circle Theatre. These people, so they say, love coming to the Four Corners region. A curious fact about Eddie From Ohio. They're not. From Ohio, that is. But what's in a name, anyway? They play good folky rock and should fill every one of the available 250 seats, so hurry on this one as well. The Strater staff will have one day to clean up before the DSCPA takes over again on Tuesday, this time with folksinger/songwriter Cheryl Wheeler . The Diamond Circle is the perfect venue for Cheryl, who does a lot of audience interaction and conversation. As an added bonus, she will play AND sing her own songs live! (I couldn't let the whole Ashlee Simpson thing go unnoted. Was I the only one not surprised by that SNL mess?)

To summarize, there are plenty of things to do to take your mind off the things that you can't control. The powers that be want you to be distracted and even numbed by the time the Supreme Court decides the presidency again, so help them out, OK? We can either go down kicking and screaming or dancing and drunk. More dignity in the latter, wouldn't you agree?

Super Bowl update: You can catch a sneak preview of the big game this Sunday when the noble yet misunderstood Philadelphia Eagles make a trip to the wrong side of the Keystone State to visit the Steelers, assuming The City of Brotherly Love doesn't secede in the meantime.

I'll need material for the post-apocalyptic, I mean post-election, era. I really hope that Packers win last Sunday helps.




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