The neuties, Liquid Cheese and the Dinosaur

by Lindsay Nelson

Thanks to the New York Times, we can put a name to the face of the socio-cultural revolution afoot in Durango. We’ve been through the tourist boom, the snowbirds and other second-home interlopers, the post-college drifters and the last remainders of the old family dynasties.

Who are the new influential demographics in town? It’s the “location-neutrals.” A term used to describe those mysterious life forms who come to bucolic Western resort towns and buy homes, up the demand for high-speed Internet, luxury SUVs and restrictive covenants, and actually buy groceries at Guido’s. If you’ve ever asked yourself who is snapping up the $700,000 single family homes, wearing sockless boat shoes and laptopping at Starbucks, you have your answer. They’re coming in droves from all over, mainly the bustling cities of the two coasts, bringing with them not only large chunks of cash from selling out their Boston split-level and downsizing from four cars to two, but they’re still bringing home a captain-of-industry paycheck with their telecommuting investment consulting or systems analyzing firms. Needless to say, the neuties are changing the economic and social realities in many a small Western resort town.

The intrepid cultural observers of the NYT report the trend as one that’s quaintly interesting, and perhaps fodder for the world-weary upper-middle-class reader to dream of a better life. The piece does acknowledge that not everyone welcomes the changes wrought by our neutie neighbors. Not only do the old hangouts give way to upscale wine bars and wireless-hotspot cafe/realty offices; but the newcomers tend to have a bit of an attitude.

Surely you’ve noticed it: These upper-crust educated power people always know better how the local government and school board ought to be run. They’ll take over the neighborhood association or the PTA meetings with their superior, know-it-all attitudes and shame you with their impeccable business-casual wardrobe. But there is a way to fight the nascent destruction of all that made the West nice to begin with: Give it back to the Native people. Let the ski resorts return to solemn, silent alpine tombs; watch trails and tracks overgrow and erode into history; someday the highways and county roads will carry nothing but the hooves and paws of wild creatures. There is no other way, for even having arrived here longer ago than others, we are still and always will be strangers in a strange land.

Or we just sit around with pints of beer and bitch about all the people who are ruining our playground and turning our stomachs with their blatant displays of wealth and carefree privilege. A good place to start on that is the Ska B Q today, Aug. 23, at about 5 p.m. out at Ska Brewing in Bodo Park. Provided no additional raccoons become involved with electrical transformers, there will be loud music from Formula 151 and plenty of suds to wash down the free food. Fort Lewis students are sure to be out in force this weekend, all moved in and ready to start ditching classes and filling up the bars six nights a week. The local purveyors of drink and song know this, and the upcoming events calendar reflects it well. Steamworks hosts a ska/funk/reggae/rock band from Albuquerque known as

The Big Spank. It’s only $3 to get in, leaving plenty of change in hand for braincell obliteration at the bar. Sleep in the peanut barrel and you’re right back inside for the action on Saturday night at Steamworks for ladies night with a performance by Liquid Cheese, an 8-piece band from Las Cruces and El Paso that brings the horn-powered dance music born of influences as diverse as ska, Latin and tribal drumbeats. Wear that deodorant - you’re going to need it.

Reaching out to the younger set is Ralph Dinosaur at the Summit on Friday night. Maybe I’m just out of touch, but I never knew college-aged bar patrons to go for the infamous Ralph as much as the over-40 crowds at Scoot ‘n Blues have done. But perhaps a talented and campy musician in a dress has universal appeal; some of these kids may have known this man’s reputation since just after birth. Heck, some of them might have been conceived during or shortly after one of his shows. OK, that’s a bit off-putting. Anyway, check out the Dinosaur tomorrow night at the Summit and see for yourself.

If you missed them at Steamworks, you can see Big Spank Saturday night at the Summit. Otherwise, we’re into the first day of school at the college and maybe a couple of nights of good student behavior. But by Wednesday night, all bets are off. It’s pint night at Falconburgh’s and then later Topaz plays the Summit. His sound is described as new school dub for late night comedowns, and makes prominent use of a saxophone and trombone to produce both funky dance grooves and some hill country blues infusions straight from Topaz’ homeland in Texas. It’s unexpected and interesting – something we just can’t get enough of these days.

How are you forgetting everything you learned? •



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