If it’s so easy, you try it

by Ted Holteen

I don’t know if you people appreciate the editorial decisions that I have to make on a weekly basis. How, you may ask, do I decide what gets in and what is left on the cutting room floor? Aside from the obvious answer that follows the path of least resistance – specifically whatever’s in my inbox – sometimes I have to make sense of a seemingly disparate menu of gatherings and spectacles that range from self-serving to exploitative to just plain silly. Case in point: this week, I’m trying to find a common theme among the following:

• The awarding of the first-ever Durango Community Heritage Award to a man with a street named after him in Bodo Park. Were I a cynic, I would equate such an honor with Springfield doing the same for Monty Burns, but I’m not. Plus the odds are that I may end up working for a Turner someday soon. Don’t laugh – you could too. Chances are they already own your house.

• An on-air DJ competition pitting hair dressers against booksellers and other people who shouldn’t be on the radio.

• The great Ignacio Computer Robot Quest.

• The Great Pumpkin Patch train extravaganza.

• A dramatic rendition of a local author’s memoirs of the formative years of the Atomic Age in the glowing deserts of the Southwest. Having just viewed “The Hills Have Eyes,” I am curious to see if Red Bird’s account jibes with Wes Craven’s.

• Vanilla Pop.

• A homecoming parade followed by a bonfire and a band from San Antonio, which is in Texas.

• I’m going to a wedding on Friday the 13. By the way, it’s Friday the 13th this week.

• My God, I almost forgot – we’re voting on making weed legal!

So put yourself on the ink-spilling side of the newspaper – what would you do with this mess? Write down your answer and compare it with what I do here. First, I’ll leave out the wedding. That’s my business and who cares if a gold-digging ad exec for a small mountain weekly traps a billionaire brewing mogul into a sham marriage by getting herself knocked up anyway? As to the weed, I have a few more weeks to bang that drum. So that leaves six items. Homecoming can be glossed over because most FLC alums have likely received 40 to 45 e-mails from the Chris Aaland Center for Alumni Shakedowns in addition to numerous mailers, so we’ve had ample opportunity to leave town. (See Gulf Coast, 2005. cnn.com probably has it in their archives.) Now I have to run through these last six really quick-like.

Vanilla Pop and special guest

The Community Heritage Award: OK, so Rod Turner is not Montgomery Burns. That’s why the La Plata County Historical Society is honoring him on Friday evening from 6-8 p.m. at Alpine Bank at 11th & Main. The Turners have been in the area since the 1860s, which is the better part of six generations. There’ll be plenty of learning to be done with some new exhibits featuring the family’s own artifacts, food, valet parking (wow), and the one-of-a-kind sounds of Sylvia Zurko on the harp. She’s great, and it’s a freaking harp. You should go to this thing.

The DJ thing: KDUR kicks off another week of shameless solicitation on Friday with the biggest guest DJ competition yet. The idea is that the staffs of some local businesses vie to raise the most money during their shift, we hope by playing quality music and not aping Howard Stern or Paul Harvey like they’ve been wanting to do for years. Participating this year are Maria’s Bookshop, Lemonhead, Southwest Sound, Beads & Beyond, Canyon Music, The Spaaah Shop and Yarn. And the fund-raiser lasts all week, including Monday, when I’ll be on the air begging as well. Thank you.

Robots: When last we checked in with Ignacio Uberteacher Danny Jaques he was zipping off to Alabama with a bunch of students for Space Camp. Now he’s gotten his hands on a bunch of NASA robots he’s using to teach kids how the technology of the future will turn on its masters and take their jobs after fighting their wars for them. What he needs now are laptop computers for the robots to feed off. If you’ve got an old laptop (at least Windows 98 with USB ports), give it to him. As Danny himself says, “The students think it is way cool!” (He really wrote that. But he means well and we like him.) danny_jaques@hotmail.com.

The Pumpkin Patch Express: Too many kids. Had I thought of it earlier, I would’ve taken it off the list. But it’s on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and then again for the next two weekends before Halloween. Have fun.

Red Bird: The former FLC prof received critical acclaim for his novel Folding Paper Cranes: An Atomic Memoir and claims that much of the mutant-fed violence in “The Hills Have Eyes” is exaggerated. On the other hand, he thinks the blond daughter is pretty hot, too. Red really did serve as an Atomic Marine in Nevada while they were testing H-bombs in the ’50s and his book is now a stage production. He’s also pleasingly nonmutated. The play shows at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday afternoon at the Main Stage Theater on campus. Red himself will be on hand for Thursday’s show, but I wouldn’t ask him too much about the movie. I was kind of kidding about that part.

Vanilla Pop: Part Vegas lounge act, part ’80s cover band, part improv troupe. Here’s a question from their own website, and you can keep your answers to yourself. “Always wanted to hear Sinatra sing ‘Walk like an Egyptian,’ John Wayne sing ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’? - well Vanilla Pop is where your favorite artists and songs come together in a match made in Las Vegas heaven.” And you people thought I made this stuff up. It actually sounds rather entertaining, and happens at The Abbey Theatre on Saturday night.

So how did you do? Did you cheat like I did and just make a list or were you able to thread together a mosaic of prose and poetry into something readable? Not so easy, is it? Jerks. And before I forget again, Durango Acoustic Music presents Eliza Gilkyson at the Durango Arts Center on Sunday night. That was close.

One more thing. Please join me in bidding a fond farewell to Kathleen Costello, who is leaving her post at the Abbey Theatre after 42 years. Kathleen was instrumental in the rebirth of this local treasure as both a film and performance venue, and she’ll be missed. It’s not like she died or anything, I think it’s just a really serious drinking problem.

Let’s see those rough drafts – stats say they should be almost illegible as you’re probably functionally illiterate – prove me wrong, children, prove me wrong. egholteen@hotmail.com. I hope I don’t get replaced by a robot. •



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