Charity begins at home (really expensive ones)


by Ted Holteen

When an institution like El Rancho burns in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon, it would be hard to call it anything other than the news story of the Summer of 2006. (That’s this summer, by the way.) But as many people learned that day and in the weeks since, much more than a local watering hole was lost to the flames, smoke and a hell of a lot of water. More than 20 people lost their homes, and with it everything that one would keep in a home – for instance, everything they owned. I leave it to a deputized mob of the perpetrator’s victims to castrate the sonofabitch with a blowtorch. Justice will come later, and that’s not my department unless I’m asked. But justice won’t replace anyone’s clothes or give them somewhere to live in a town where housing already tends toward the pricey. The local chapter of the Red Cross stepped up in the first few days to provide necessities and beds, but that can’t last forever. (While I’m thinking of it, give the Red Cross some money.) It’s time again for our community to take care of its own, and we’ve got a great opportunity this afternoon.

And surprise, surprise, the Ska brew crew is taking the lead. Who’d a guessed? Today’s Ska-B-Q is a fund-raiser for the fire victims, and as luck would have it, it’s probably the best lineup of the year, so you can even have fun while you’re doing something nice.

Music: Pinhead, the Lawnchair Kings and The Freeman Social. I’d normally mention something here about Bubba’s hot bass-playing wife, but this is serious. Stay focused. Food: Cuckoo’s. Yum yum. Working as bartenders for the first time in a couple of weeks is the staff of El Rancho, whom you can feel free to tip even though it’s a fund-raiser. They’re the ones who lost their jobs, which if not remedied could lead to a few more people looking for a new place to live. Speaking of which, permit me yet another modest proposal. You know who could really score some points with a vindictive and petty columnist by stepping up and making a real difference here? Realtors. I’d like to see the Wells Group, Coldwell Banker, Triple S, and the other biggies write a real check, something on par with the commission from just one sale in Skyridge. Does that sound Socialist? So be it, but it would be great to see the fire victims get a real fresh start – enough to move into an apartment, furnish it modestly and even have some clothes to wear.

Partying with my new realtor friends at Ska should be great, (I’ll be armed), but Thursday does not a weekend make. For that, you need a full-on street carnival, a festival if you will. Something with arts and crafts, food, beer and lemonade. Or maybe a county fair – that sounds nice too. And if that county fair had an old-fashioned demolition derby, wow. OK, I’ll stop. All that and more is really happening, as I’m sure you’ll find out if you decide to leave your house. The Durango Arts Festival, sponsored by and benefiting the Durango Arts Center, takes over downtown all day Saturday and Sunday. Great stuff for sale and the concessions mentioned above. The La Plata County Fair is a county fair – pigs, rides, food and the beloved Demolition Derby on Saturday afternoon around 1 o’clock. It gets really packed, and unless you want to risk not getting an actual seat, arrive early. It’s fabulous, and I can’t stress enough that if you’ve never been, you must go. Ever see the crowd at the Kentucky Derby? This ain’t it. More the Ruidoso Downs types. But charming in a suburban Albuquerque kind of way.

From the local boy makes good department: Dave Insley, he of Careless Smokers fame, has a new CD in stores now. “Here With You Tonight” is a CD. I don’t usually review CDs, and as I haven’t heard it yet, I will keep that streak going. Truth be told, I’d probably keep the streak alive even if I had heard it, because what the hell do I know anyway? Dave’s style is in the Country & Western vein with an edge mode, and I’ve enjoyed him live. So buy the CD. And you can see him live with The Beautiful Losers at the Dolores Brewing Co. on Saturday night. If you happen to be in Dolores.

Anyone know a good Realtor? No, really, anyone? People born on Aug. 13 are the best. •



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