Traffic, pops and Mr. Lif

by Ted Holteen

It’s funny when a prediction comes true, especially ones that take awhile. I’m not talking about picking a football or baseball game correctly and then saying “I told you so.” That’s an instant result with a 50/50 chance of being right. Not that impressive. No, the funny ones take a lot longer and are much more difficult to prove. A recent case that illustrates this would be that war-like relief mission in Iraq. Although we were at first told that this whole thing was vital for our national security, revenge for 9/11, and a humanitarian mission to depose a despot, some skeptics thought that maybe there was more to it than that, and it might even be a bad idea. It would seem that those predictions have come true, but the waters have been so muddied in the last three years with so much blame to pass around that the prognosticators can’t even get to say that they were right. But it would be hard to call the Iraq situation anything other than an absolute disaster and waste of life, money and national reputation. Lots to bitch about but hard to take any satisfaction in knowing it couldn’t have turned out any other way.

Of course I bring this up for a reason. Here at home a similar situation has festered for the past 10 years and is now hitting the critical mass stage. For years I’ve heard people say that the real danger in all of this development and “growth” in Durango isn’t just outrageous housing costs, but rather that the town’s roads and other infrastructure can’t support the influx of people pouring in every year. Surely I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that traffic this summer is the worst yet, and even this mild-mannered motorist has found ample opportunity to crank the road rage up to a dangerous level. I should take this chance to apologize to the elderly women this weekend who were on the receiving end of one of my tirades – I’m sure you’re not really cheap sluts, and I have no intention of following through on the throat-cutting thing. As to the words I can’t print, no retraction. You really shouldn’t have f*#%ing licenses. But again, is there any satisfaction in being right about this? We can’t walk into City Council or county commissioner chambers and say “see what happens?” They’ll say they were just following the law and doing their job. Ditto for the planning departments. The builders and developers? People need jobs and houses, right? Just providing a service that someone else would do if they didn’t. Now the Realtors, that’s another story. Most of them are longtime residents who have decided to sell away the future of their little hometown in exchange for commissions that can only be called usurious. But just to be fair, I’ll blame all the others mentioned as well. Nice to know that those we need to count on the most are the ones making deals with the devil. Thanks, folks. At least we can still drive from one City Market to the other in under 30 minutes, so things haven’t bottomed out yet.

Now that I’m all worked up and, quite frankly, violent, let’s talk R&R. Music in the Mountains is in full swing, with four of the most popular performances happening under the big tent at Purgatory this week. Tonight, July 20, is chamber music featuring piano quintets by the Adkins family, five of them in all on the strings, and the non-Adkins Edward Newman accompanying on piano. This weekend brings full orchestra performances in the big tent on Saturday and Sunday, and the probably sold-out Pops Night next Wednesday. The Broadway-laden program is one of the only non-Mozart heavy shows happening during the 250th birthday year of that composer. I direct you again to the festival website for ticket availability. Remember, this ain’t a Knicks game – scalping tickets at Purg is an awkward pursuit at best.

It’s worked for such success stories as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, and now it’s working locally. Name-brand recognition creates its own sustained success, and Fold Roll Productions is on a roll of its own. A string of well-attended, high-quality, hip-hop shows continues next Wednesday at the Abbey Theatre with Mr. Lif and Cage, two up and comers on the Definitive Jux label. For his part, Mr. Lif bears a striking resemblance to the imprisoned Mumia Abu Jamal, and his political and social writing style does nothing to dispel the confusion. The Wednesday night part does no one any favors, but the booking business can be tricky. Don’t use it as an excuse, just don’t go to work on Thursday.

Quick stuff: Also at the Abbey, it’s movie changing time. Replacing one NPR-themed film with another, “Wordplay” opens Friday night. It’s an odd look at NY Times crossword guru Will Shortz, who also does the “Puzzler” feature on NPR’s Weekend Edition on Sunday mornings. Maybe you’ve heard it, maybe you drink too much on Saturdays. Celebrity puzzle-types appearing on screen include Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton, Ken Burns, Bob Dole, Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina and the Indigo Girls. Now you know as much as I do about it … Free Bluegrass at the FLC Concert Hall on July 20 comes from The Hot Strings – 6:30 p.m. … Please try to attend the public meeting at the Rec Center on Monday night. Bresnan Communications is trying to put one over on us and it may mean the end of community-access television if they get their way. Learn more at Please.

What’s your take on the traffic thing? I’ll print only the most absurd responses. 41 days ‘til kickoff. •

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January 26, 2024
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January 11, 2024
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New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows