Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.



From delight to disgust

Dear Editors,

My husband and I moved here to Durango the first week of October. Having previously lived 13 years in Colorado, we were more than excited about coming home. Prior to our return to the glorious West, we had spent five years in the Northeast trying to do the “family thing.” The “family thing” didn’t really pan out; we realized we never really saw our families because everybody was so busy all the time. So there we were in a place we really did not care for, not fulfilling the reason we had gone there in the first place. We found a large majority of the people (not all mind you) to be quite cold and unwelcoming to us “outsiders.” The natural remedy of course for our quandary was to once again head West.

Being of the mindset “never back, always forward,” we did not wish to return to a place we had already lived. We had come to Durango for our one-year anniversary and absolutely loved it! So, it was decided; we would move to Durango. Our very first day in town, we roamed Main Avenue downtown, checking papers for rentals. In less than one half hour, we were approached by two different individuals asking if they could help, jotting down numbers to try, and suggesting areas to cruise for potential for rent signs. Apparently we looked a bit lost; I guess driving across country with nothing but a destination in mind can give one that look. We were immediately thrilled, and realized we were in the right place…hellos from strangers, smiles, offers to help. To put it quite simply, we were purely delighted to be here.

We are now midway through our third month. Christmas is approaching, and the feel of warmth and good cheer is most definitely in the air. As we all know, this is a time for giving, acceptance and love toward all of our fellow creatures. It’s the time of year to buy a blanket for someone in need, or donate a new toy for the child that otherwise might not have a gift under the tree. It is also apparently the time of year for another activity that I was not privy to until yesterday. It is also the time of year it seems to steal another person’s bike.

Much to my disgust, this is exactly what happened to me yesterday. I had gone in to work for a couple of hours to rake in a little overtime. On my way home, my “female demon” abruptly announced her monthly presence necessitating an immediate stop at the library’s public restroom. I have never left my faithful steed unlocked; however, these circumstances required me to do so. I was not in the library for more than eight minutes, tops! I exited through the two big doors that had just welcomed me only to find that my bike was gone. I went directly to the police station to report my loss. I then walked every street, alley and path searching for my lost companion. I even walked up to and all around the college looking for the bike I have depended upon for transportation for 15 long years. After five hours, I walked my tired feet home and cried.

I am determined not to let this incident sour my initial delight for Durango and its wonderful people. One bad peanut doesn’t mean the whole basket should be dumped; I just have to spit that one out and keep eating. I am truly perplexed as to the workings of the4 human mind, and how its mechanisms can go so very wrong as to promote a behavior such as this. I am now trying to convince myself that the individual who committed this crime did so out of great need. That perhaps my only form of transportation will now serve as a wonderful gift for a child who would not have received one. This is the only explanation why something like this would happen at the holidays. If I am somehow wrong in my diagnosis, and the person who did this is actually reading this article right now … what do you say you drop my bike back at the library where you accidentally borrowed it from. Happy holidays to all, and to all a good bike.

– Julie Albina, via e-mail


Merging community and theatre

Dear Editors,

We are writing in response to Judith Reynolds’ review of our recent dance concert, Kinetic Kaleidoscope. While the overall review was favorable, and we were happy with it, there were a few statements that we feel were either misleading or incorrect, and we would like to offer clarification to your readers.

First, Anne Bartlett was listed as the director. She was a choreographer. The director was Anne Berg Pattillo.

Second, Judith implies that allowing community members to participate in the show is somehow doing a disservice to our students. We feel the exact opposite is true. By allowing our students to work directly with community members who have performance experience, our students have very solid role models to help them reach a higher level than if the cast were comprised with only students. In addition, every student who auditioned was included in the performance, regardless of field of study or skill level. Of the 36 dancers in the show, 24 were students and 11 were Fort Lewis College alumni. An additional 20 students worked as part of the crew, costume crew and/or publicity team. As such, over 44 students were involved in the production. There were no professional performers in the show. In the performing arts, professional performers are members of an acting or performing arts union, a fact that would need to be listed in the program.

We feel the addition of community members increased the production value of the performance for both the audience and the performers. It also helps us build on our connection with the community, enhances our recruitment and retention efforts, and elevates the quality of education provided to the students, giving them a larger sense of the professional world that they will encounter after college. All of this is in keeping with our presidential mission and strategic plan. 

Finally, Judith mentions the “Skins” production that appeared at Fort Lewis in 1997 and 2004 and in New York City in 2005. While the original production in 1997 was comprised of all student performers, the New York City production was never intended to be exclusively students. That production started as an invitation from the La MaMa ETC theatre to Kathryn Moller, current department chair, to direct national and international performers at La MaMa. Dr. Moller and the Department of Theatre requested that Ellen Stewart allow the inclusion of Fort Lewis College students as well as Durango community members in the production. All press materials, statements, descriptions and fund-raising proposals submitted for the “Skins” project included the condition that the show would be a collaboration of students, community members and professional international performers.

The “Skins” production received very positive reviews and brought national and international attention to both Fort Lewis College and the Durango community. Since then, other Colorado and liberal arts colleges have looked to Fort Lewis College Theatre as a model to include similar projects in their programming.

As for future productions, we will continue to strive

to make connections between the Department of Theatre, the campus community, and the community. As always, we will stay focused on our mission: “To create opportunities that allow students to reach beyond the college campus, extending regionally, nationally and internationally. We strive to design and maintain a program that gives students the opportunity to fully explore their potential as creative, productive, literate, articulate and humane contributors to society.”

Thank you for your support of Fort Lewis College Theatre and all performing arts in the Durango area.

– Sincerely, Fort Lewis College Department of Theatre

(Judith Reynolds responds: I apologize for the confusion between the two Annes in the review. Ms. Bartlett and Ms. Berg Pattillo are clearly two separate people with distinct responsibilities. As for the FLC Department of Theatre not being clear about the nature of “student” productions, that confusion has a deep history. “Skins” was presented to the public as a vehicle primarily of and for FLC students. And lastly, since La MaMa ETC has worked with many college programs over decades, it is an overstatement to credit Fort Lewis with a pioneering role.)


A thumb in the eye

Dear Editors,

As a local road construction worker, I am always amazed that each winter you give a thumb down to the deterioration of the local roads, and then each summer you give a thumb down to road construction. I guess hypocrisy is not the sole domain of the right wing media. You can’t have it both ways. You make comments that the roads have a distinctly Third World flavor. Then in the next breath, whine like 2-year-olds because construction held you up from your oh-so-important schedule. Road workers have a dangerous and hard job, why don’t you give us a break and get off our back. How would you like cars whipping past your desk at 35-40 MPH 12 hours a day?

Thanks for proving to me that all of the media have lost their integrity. Anybody with an opinion and a pen is called a “reporter” today.

Disgusted with the media,

– Levi Lloyd, via e-mail  


 

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