As luck would have it, not a bad week

by Ted Holteen

For what it’s worth, tomorrow marks one of only two Friday the 13th’s this year (the other will be in October). I’m not superstitious, but it’s always amusing to hear people who place the blame for flat tires, miscarriages and IRS audits that fall on that day on some black-magic, bad-voodoo nonsense. That being said, I recently found a tidbit from none other than the well-respected British Medical Journal in which some group of experts actually printed the following: “Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended.” As happy as it would make me if nary a one of you people ever ventured onto my roadways again, I am dutifully bound to encourage all to do just the opposite. And people wonder why I’m filled with such self-loathing.

It’s good to see the Abbey Theatre break out of its early winter funk and start utilizing the stage again in addition to the movie screen. Not that there’s anything wrong with movies, but with the sound and light capabilities for onstage performance, it’s sort of a waste to not use it. And use it they will this weekend. On Friday night, local DJ Niko (not to be confused with the weird Swedish chick who sang with the VU before succumbing to a fatal brain hemorrhage – she was Nico) will hold a release party for his new “Electric Itch” CD beginning at 10 p.m. Calling his style “ProgressiveElectroTech” (most likely done so as to confuse me), Niko spins vinyl and CDs, and will give out free copies of his new double CD to the first 100 people in the door. Brian Ess will warm the crowd up from 10 p.m. to midnight, then Niko will take over until close. Dance, dance, dance.

Then on Saturday, the Abbey welcomes The South Austin Jug Band with local openers Rock & Rye. The Jug Band is a regional favorite in bluegrass circles, due in no small part to the fact that they don’t really play jugs. At least not a lot. It’s highly likely that this will sell out, so either get your tickets early or call the Abbey before venturing down from the hills on your horse or Willy’s or however you mountain folk get yourselves to the big city. I’d hate to see you waste a trip. And try not to confuse the two nights, because I’m reasonably certain that The Jug Band won’t be performing ProgressiveElectroTech, and Niko won’t be spinning Bill Monroe standards.

Also getting back into the swing of things after an extended holiday break is the FLC Concert Hall. The first show of 2006 is a winner, as the Concert Hall presents Rodney Crowell & The Outsiders, Sunday night at 7 p.m. Rodney’s one of those clever Texans who has figured out the often untenable balance between song and writing to actually qualify as a songwriter. He’s funny, the songs are good, and the sound will keep your interest from start to finish. And if I remember correctly, he curses a lot, too, which can be entertaining, especially when a Texan does it. Twenty bucks is a steal for a show of this quality, so call the box office and steal your tickets before the best seats get snapped up.

For as long as I’ve lived here, one fine man has represented reggae music in the Four Corners with his energy, tireless promotional efforts and a landmark radio show. With apologies to my friend Zen Ken, of course it is Rasta Stevie to whom I refer. Since filling the void created when Potshake Dubwise left town in the mid ’90s, The Heartbeat of Zion has been a staple in the KDUR lineup and Stevie has produced and promoted countless live shows bringing the reggae sound to Durango and the surrounding area. He will leave us next month to head to the more reggae-friendly confines of Central America, but not before doing one more really big show for the home crowd. The venue is the Summit, the day is Monday, and the guest of honor will be Anthony B., one of the most prolific young performers in his field, with David Martin opening the show. Stevie calls Anthony B. a “fire burn singjay,” which is a cool term that combines DJ and singer into one super monster singjay guy who doesn’t seem to get much rest while on stage. Anthony B’s first visit to Durango was a memorable one, as he performed at the Concert Hall on the original 9/11. Whether that’s a positive or not, isn’t the point. But for a man who plays 100 shows a year, it’s nice to be remembered one way or another. Monday is also the first holiday in weeks that actually means something, as at least three corners out of the four will commemorate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. Thanks, Arizona. For the rest of us, it’s a good night to go out and hear an artist with a message. This also should sell out, so get tickets early at Diorio’s, The Summit, or Southwest Sound. I hope Stevie lets me sleep on his new beach sometime.

One last thing. I like Snowdown, I really do. It’s fun, even when it’s stupid. But I can’t sit idly by and let the Disco thing go unchallenged, especially when my suggestion to the theme committee of purge-era Stalinist Russia fell on deaf ears yet again. So when Snowdown begins Feb. 1, please join me instead in authentically recreating the Disco backlash of the late ’70s by wearing your best punk outfit. That’s what the kids did then, except for the Molly Hatchet crowd that never strayed from their original vision. I’ve chosen a Ramones-esque ensemble, but I think you’ll enjoy Liggett’s Nancy Spungen do-up even more. It’s Snowdown, so be creative in your own right.

I’ve been lost without Ted Koppel – keep me informed. Did I mention I’ve got a bookstore? •