High treason, eastern bluegrass and the end

by Ted Holteen

Let’s get one thing cleared up straight away. No hurricane jokes this week. I can’t promise that I won’t make one down the road at some point, but right now I’m too disgusted with the whole situation for any emotions outside of pity for the victims and even more blinding anger toward your presidential administration. As if we needed more evidence as to just where our national priorities lie, the quality and quantity of the help that trickled into the South last week erased all doubt. With our top-tier troops (not to mention the next six tiers as well) leased out to Exxon and Conoco 8,000 miles across the world, who did you think would be left to fill the National Guard ranks? Christ, it looked like Mississippi was being invaded by 14,000 bowling leagues. Welcome to Homeland Security, Dubya-style. And you still can’t board an airplane with a corkscrew.

Keeping with the theme of tragic jokes, (I apologize for breaking my word so quickly) on Sunday we commemorate the fourth anniversary of the all-time biggest. More than 3,000 people lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, but don’t worry – about 10 times that number have died in the quest to “avenge” those attacks. Never mind that only about 2,500 of those killed since can be reasonably connected to “global” terror networks, and those are our troops. See, in most civilized countries around the globe, armed foreigners who kill natives of that country during nonwar periods for political, religious or economic reasons are often called “terrorists.” In Iraq, for example, only the forces of the U.S. and our allies could be defined as terrorists using the above criteria, especially considering the number of nonmilitary casualties including women and children and the fact that we’re not at war with them. Enough of the poly/sci lesson, yes? This war was started on 9/11/01, by the Bush Administration, and to prove it I challenge you to show up at the Abbey Theatre on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Scott Rahilly, a local troublemaker and rabble-rouser, has put together some of the most compelling and damning evidence yet seen regarding the events of that day, as well as those leading up to it and what’s happened since. It’s a compilation of documentaries, and I’m pretty sure it’s free. Unfortunately, he never came up with a name for it, but it is information that should be made available to every citizen in the country.

Much as I’d like to, I probably shouldn’t fill my entire column with angry political rants, although it’s not like I’m jeopardizing the Telegraph’s tax-free status. But I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t mention tonight’s (Thursday) bluegrass show at the Abbey. Why would I, a sophisticated man of letters and finery, be concerned with yet another evening of bluegrass in the non-Appalachian bluegrass capital of the world? Because that title could be on the line, as Fragment, the best bluegrass band that the Czech and Slovak Republics have ever seen, takes the Abbey stage at 8 p.m. Locals Rock & Rye open at 7:15 p.m., with what I calculate to be their third performance in the past six years.

Now that the festival season is over, it’s time to enjoy a music festival or two. You can do that for the next two weekends, but you’ve got to hurry on the second. First, our good friends at KBUT in Crested Butte are throwing the town’s first Alpine Jam, which everyone hopes will be an annual event. It’s starting small, just one day, which is perfect for someone like me who hates people and music. But I write for those who still feel, and the lineup was constructed for just those people. Mama’s Cookin’ begins the day at noon, then it’s reggae from Prezident Brown, the Drew Emmitt Band, and Liquid Soul closes the whole thing out. Thirty bucks is a steal for a full day of live music, the money goes to KBUT, and the camping’s free. And Crested Butte is really nice.

By the time you read this, it may be too late to get the last tickets still hanging around for the 12th annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival next week. Headliners Robert Cray, The Black Crowes, Al Green, Alvin Youngblood Hart and a bunch more join 51 microbrewers for what I will always believe is the best of the big fests. A key reason for that is that they limit ticket sales to keep things reasonable and friendly, something that Planet Bluegrass never quite understood. Good luck on finding somewhere to sleep, if you’re into that sort of thing.

And if you’ve forgotten that the NFL season begins tonight, may God have mercy on your soul. Never mind that it starts with the Patriots (my latest nemesis) and the hated Raiders, for you Bronco types. Ignore the pre-game Stones show – hell, ignore the game if you must, but celebrate the onset of the best time of the year. And for the season’s first Super Bowl prediction – Eagles over Colts. This will be updated throughout the year as the situation warrants.

If it’s football, it’s not gambling – who do you like? egholteen@hotmail.com. Go Birds. •