This birthday sounds happy

by Ted Holteen

Father Murphy’s. Lori’s. Erdinger Hof. Bayou Doc’s. I could go on, but by now I think you know where I’m going with this. The comings and goings of small businesses in Durango is sort of an ongoing joke among locals and has been for years. I say “sort of” because many of those same locals have lost both fortunes and dreams each time one shuts down, which is only funny in the most cynical of circles. As luck would have it, I often find myself in just such a circle, and so I can and will have a bit of fun at their expense. Sorry. But for every five or six tales of woe and vacant storefronts, someone bucks the odds and hits it big. Like Steamworks.

This weekend, the local brewpub/restaurant/nightclub/freakshow turns 10, and to Kris Oyler, Brian McEachron and a cast of thousands, I say “Bravo and encore!” Not only have they survived, but rather thrived, expanding into the hinterland of Bayfield and distributing their suds in at least four states, I think. I don’t work for their marketing department, so I’m not looking it up, but suffice to say, they done good. Exhibiting the kind of hubris not seen since the Greeks did this naked, to celebrate Steamworks will host the Inaugural Brewers Olympiad and Beer Festival all weekend at their Durango locale. First, in conjunction with the Fall Gallery Walk, Steamworks will actually host a juried art show, which they’re calling Hair of the Dog. I don’t’ know why it’s called that other than a bunch of the money goes to the Humane Society, but for those of us who are unwashed and unwelcome in real galleries during the walk, this sounds like more our speed. See, if you get bored with all the paintings, which can happen, then they have beer. But it really is an art show, which could elicit a better swatch of folk to turn out so behave yourself and don’t giggle if you see a painting with a nude person. That’s on Friday. The real Olympic-style competition gets under way Saturday, when up to 17 teams of two, representing some brewery or another, compete in events like Beer Ball Battle, Redneck Keg Rodeo, the 10-oz. Quickdraw Showdown, Bung Bobbing and a Keg Roll Race. I can’t even speculate as to what each entails, but I’m sure someone will get hurt, so it should be fun. Congratulations guys, and update your insurance policies.

Something I’m not is a country music aficionado, but with no one to bail me out, I’m left to take a stab at it all by myself. Joe Ely, who is really more of a country/rock type


than the Alan Jackson breed of whining suburban cowboy, plays Friday night at the Abbey Theatre. He’s a Texan with a slew of credits spanning the musical universe, seemingly appearing whenever some artist is in need of touch of that country charm. He must do it well, because he counts among his collaborators such diverse luminaries as Bruce Springsteen, The Clash, the Stones, the Beach Boys and John Fogerty, as well as countless big shots in the country world like Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett. Not bad. There are more fans of this music than regular readers of this column may think, so advance tickets are a good idea if you’d like to check out the bright side of country music. Get them at the theater, Southwest Sound or Serious Texas BBQ.

Great stuff, all of it, but compared to my pick of the week, the aforementioned events seem like a weekend at Abu Ghraib. OK, maybe that’s a bit much, but when there’s a Murder Mystery Train running the rails, I must be forgiven my hyperbole. Keeping in mind that I tend to be a dork when it comes to things like Victorian mysteries, I think this is great. It also ain’t cheap, at about $200 a person, but you get to ride on the train, participate in live theater, eat food, and get a night’s stay in Silverton, assuming you’re not the murderer, who has to spend the night in jail. (I made that last part up, but it’s a good idea if anyone would like to pass it on to the train people.) And it’s not just one murder we’re talking about, it’s a series of murders, both on the train and in Silverton – dare I go so far as to say “dastardly?” Yes. It’s not often one gets to call a serial killer dastardly. Those Victorians had a way with understatement. When poor Jack the Ripper victim Mary Ann Kelly was found really, really disemboweled, the local constable was quoted as being “nearly outraged.” Just think what he would have said if Jack had left the door open. Anyway, assuming it’s not sold out, you can get tickets for the Mystery Train at the train station. I’d go, but I don’t have a date, and I think they make single people be murder victims who miss out on the food.

REAL QUICK: Good things abound at the FLC Concert Hall this week. Thursday brings some excellent Celtic music from Scotland in the form of Shooglenifty. Then the legendary Commander Cody, sans Lost Planet Airmen, comes to the Concert Hall on Saturday night. As noted, he’s a legend.

Tell us what to do when all the leaves have fallen – things could get slow. Look for the Broncos next touchdown somewhere around Veterans’ Day. (Look it up). •