The accidental critic

by Ted Holteen

As a general rule, I try to avoid fulfilling promises that I make in print or otherwise. I keep expectations low that way and allow for the occasional opportunity to pleasantly surprise someone when I actually follow through on something, accidental though it may be. Like, remember last week? Some readers may recall that I vowed to both attend and report on the dinner theater production of “Parallel Lives” by the recently formed Durango Acting Studio. Having no plans at that time to actually do so, I nonetheless found myself seated in the Diamond Circle Theatre on Friday last, and I must say, I’m glad I was. It’s not just that I’m a xenophobic misanthrope – I am – but I was a bit scared by the scant pre-press info with which I was supplied. Here’s a sample: “a comical exploration of life, death, love and balance in a world created by goddesses with a sense of humor.” You see? I shudder to think what I would’ve written if left to my own speculation. But this time anyway, it’s a good thing I didn’t take them at those words, instead seeing firsthand just how misleading one sentence can be. Truth is, I really enjoyed this play. The key to any stage production is its cast, and in this case the three players make it work superbly. Sarah Syverson, Maya Pierce and company founder Theresa Carson are the entire cast, and they weave in and out of numerous sketch-style scenes with aplomb that Lorne Michaels could only dream of for his stable of no talent hacks who have been impersonating comics at Rockefeller Center for the last 20 years. I strongly suggest you make time to attend on this final weekend. The May 11 show comes sans dinner, which is cheaper, but I’ve always thought that dinner theater productions should include dinner. And my salmon was wonderful. Those shows are Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. It’s well worth your time and I foresee good things for the Durango Acting Studio, whose future performances will be in the Smiley Building, where they will also be conducting acting classes and workshops all summer. Call 382-2695 to learn more.

Tonight also brings a performance featuring what must now be considered the official musical instrument of the Four Corners, the mandolin. I can’t say exactly when that became the case, but it’s hard to dispute given the proliferation of those odd boxes at every show from hip-hop to Music in the Mountains. The guys playing them tonight are, by most accounts, among the best in the world at it, which is notable if nothing else. Mike Compton and David Long are touring ahead of their album “Stomp,” which apparently is the official state bluegrass album of the People’s Republic of China. There’s a story behind that asinine statement, but I’ll let Mike tell it tonight. Pundits call Compton, late of the Nashville Bluegrass Band, the world’s best mandolinist (not really a word, but whatever) in the style of Bill Monroe, who kind of invented bluegrass. That’s high praise, but it’s not like I have to back it up or anything. I can just say I read it. I’ve already reviewed one event this year, so I’m off the hook for this show. Compton & Long take the stage at the Durango Arts Center tonight at 7 p.m., and it’s a DAM show, so don’t be surprised if your ticket cost a couple bucks more than the guy standing next to you. Membership has its privileges, so they say.

Ever wonder what life is like in Cleveland’s sewer system? Of course you have, but I bet you never thought you’d actually get the answer here in Durango. The Four Corners Gem & Mineral Club is one of my new favorites, as they are by definition and to a member some of the oddest people in the Southwest. On Monday, they’ve invited Bob Danielson to move past mere gemology and present “Urban Speleology: 400 Miles in the Cleveland Sewers.” Like you, I initially thought that “sewers” was a cute reference to the Indians or Browns, but no, it’s really sewers. Danielson is a spelunking type, and apparently caving in Cleveland is something to be experienced, or at least seen in a slide show. The rock clubbers hold these things behind the Brookside Motel at 2350 Main Ave., and Mondays show starts at 6:30 p.m. with a potluck dinner.

More big-name national talent at the Concert Hall next week, as they welcome country music legend Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives on Wednesday at 7 p.m. He’s got all kinds of top-10 hits and platinum albums and whatnot, but as he is a country artist, I’ve never heard of any of them. As a wise man once said, “If it ain’t Fiona Apple, then I don’t give a rat’s ass.” As always, country fans should not let my ennui dissuade them from attending, but I’m guessing most of those in the seats will be more likely to have learned about the show on KFROG than on this page. In fact, I’m counting on it.

Our final item this week comes in the hopes of me receiving discounted meat at Sunnyside Market. There’s a new band in town, and my expectations are high. This Friday, Rocksalt debuts at the Summit, with special guests The Lawn Chair Kings opening up around 9:30 p.m. Rocksalt incorporates Hotmops keyboardist Jeff Howell, Chris Loftus on bass, Randy Wentworth on the drums, and on table steel guitar a man who can cut a hell of a porterhouse, former Brown Brother Rob Lawrence. As Rob is the only member of the band who can in fact provide me with meat, I’ll call him the star. I also really liked the Brown Brothers, and I’m told that this group is at least reminiscent of that sound. I’ll be back East doing Republican campaign work this weekend, so you’ll have to tell me how it goes.

What’s your favorite sewer system? Yes, I did say Republican campaign work. Long story. •





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