Bag-name blues, Swadeshi (?) and more reptiles

by Ted Holteen

Pardon my cynicism, but I dare say that many of our friends here in town responsible for keeping us entertained are getting a bit lazy. During the darker months of autumn and winter, we were blessed with a steady flow, if not an inundation, of big-name talent to keep music lovers off their couches and into paid reserved seating at local venues. It is the arrival, nay, the inundation, of people – lots of people, that is to blame for the aforementioned sloth. Why climb high into a tree and reach for an apple when you can wait for the wind to blow a bushel of them right to your feet? By the way, I’m leaving town again this week. I hate people.

Fortunately, there are still some music lovers out there in whom the Puritan work ethic is still going strong, and we call them the Durango Society for the Cultural & Performing Arts. Kicking off their 16th season tonight (Thursday), the fruits of their labors will be in the form of blues heavyweight Charlie Musselwhite at the Durango Arts Center. For the past 40 years, Musselwhite’s been making records, lots of records, and his name-dropping list is pretty impressive, too: Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Muddy Waters, Mike Bloomfield and John Lee Hooker are just some of the legends who have invited Charlie to sit in with the guitar or harmonica when in need of such a thing. And while hobnobbing around the Memphis scene, he got friendly with Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, which is more than I can say for myself. It’s a treat to be able to see a performer of Charlie’s status in a little box like the DAC, and the price ain’t bad either. After one signature harp solo, you’ll forget you even paid and think you’re stealing music. Show time is 8 p.m. – don’t be late – that’s another thing with those DSCPA folks. They’re punctual.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue, I mean, to leave town. (Sorry, I just watched “Airplane!” on DVD a couple of nights ago. It’s still funny.) Had I opted to stay, I would be treated to no less than two quality performances this weekend. On Saturday, Durango Mountain Resort welcomes the only band in America that is actually beating the heat by visiting our fair city. (I may amend that opinion after a visit to the East Coast this week.) Escaping the hell that is summer in The Big Easy, The Iguanas will play a benefit concert for KSUT public radio at 7 p.m., which temperature-wise might be the coldest show they play this year. As for the music, it should be much hotter. I dig The Igs because, although they play under the umbrella of New Orleans music that is quickly becoming a cliché, their sound is not just another Kermit Ruffins knockoff. There’s the jazz-based undertones, but with a lot more Latin flair. This is a really fun bunch with a sound that is actually unique. You’ll just have to take my word for it and show up. Do it quickly, because you won’t be alone. Last year, this event was hosted by the Crash Test Dummies, and more than 500 people showed up. Just imagine what a good band will draw. And despite last month’s victory on Capitol Hill giving PBS and NPR a temporary stay of execution, it’s not all ermines and pearls in the world of public broadcasting nowadays. KSUT can really use the money. Believe me, I know of what I speak.

I don’t know how it happened, but somehow last year I missed the first annual Swadeshi on the Green Festival in Mayday. It must have been a smash, because they went ahead and scheduled the second one for this weekend, Sunday to be exact. Billed as “A Festival of Local Self-Sufficiency,” which most of us have been practicing for years trying to live in this economic hamster maze of a town, Swadeshi promises to teach us how to grow stuff and make stuff, like beer and biodiesel. After only once mumbling to myself, “what the %*#@ is Swadeshi?” I kept reading and found that it’s a Hindu word roughly meaning “local self-sufficiency” cited frequently by Gandhi. Any time you can invoke Gandhi in your cause, it’s all aces, unless you’re running a paramilitary secessionist camp. Anyway, the driving principal here is to gradually steer communities away from dependence on global economies through more of that damn hard work and cooperation gobbledy-gook. By the time you leave, you should know how to build your own house, raise your own food, brew your own beer, make your own clothes and if you’re really paying attention, grow your own weed. And I think I saw something about making your own soap, so this is not targeted to just the dirty hippies out there. The Swadeshi Festival starts at 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning at the Oakhaven Permaculture Center in La PLata Canyon. I hope they taught people how to make clocks last year.

Missed the Melodrama again this week, and now I’ve gone and left town for another week. Tell me what else I’m missing – Hot enough for ya? •



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows