V-Day with Pike and Larkin

by Lindsay Nelson

The Underground” makes an effort to avoid the pitfalls of assuming conventional gender-role assignments and the social expectations that accompany them. But there are times when it seems everyone is in the box, making it hard to ignore what’s really happening. This week past marked the end of football season and the dashing of hopes for the Chicago Bears. Everywhere, from the “food” section of your local paper to the funny pages, the focus for men was on the game and the beer and the buddies, for women on the preparation of food and the obsession with calories, fat and Monday morning weigh-ins.

And on Wednesday comes Valentine’s Day, a bizarre time when men are exhorted to buy flowers, chocolates and diamonds for their womenfolk and women are conditioned to base their self-worth on the degree to which a man provides them with such baubles. God forbid you don’t have a lover on Valentine’s Day; it’s a sad time to be alone. And if you eat chocolates you bought yourself from Target, alone in your bedroom with Beth Orton on the stereo and a bottle of wine by your side, you might end up with unsightly ass-weight that will really shoot your chances at landing a dude. God, it’s tough to be a woman.

At least we have a couple of stellar women performers coming to town this week that may restore a bit of equilibrium. The venue is a bit odd, but the rocking Patrice Pike will appear on Saturday night at Club Uno Mas, formerly known as Solid Muldoon’s. Former lead guitarist and singer in the Austin-based band Sister Seven, Patrice has been recording solo for several years now, making good on her own brand of raw feeling and rollicking rock ‘n’ roll guitar. It’s not often you find a firebrand woman like this, with influences that include both Led Zeppelin and Ani DiFranco, Radiohead and Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett and Linda Ronstadt, Tori Amos and Janis Joplin. She’s touring behind her latest record, “Unraveling,” a collection of kick-ass rock and sultry blues-tinged ballads that may be her best yet. This is a show you ought not miss.

Later on in the week, Patty Larkin, known across the world for her virtuosic guitar playing and songwriting, comes to the Millwood Junction in Mancos for a two-evening engagement, Tuesday and Wednesday. Her 10th solo CD, “Red=Luck,” released in 2003, is a kaleidoscopic collection of short stories and soundscapes, including her signature “slapsteel,” Celtic strains, R & B flirtations and Middle Eastern bazouki. Her Mancos show begins a late-winter/early spring tour of cozy venues from sea to sea. What better way to spend a Valentine’s night than with the queen of “Red,” guitars and deeply felt words? Call the Millwood for more info, 533-7338.

Patrice Pike

Don’t forget tonight’s Silverton Jamboree Benefit, a smokin’ deal down at Steamworks where you can catch local suburban rock and garage country crew The Lawn Chair Kings for a mere $3, all the while helping bring back an early-summer music festival in Silverton. And it’s Thursday, when beer is $1, so it won’t take much scratch to have yourself a grand old time. The action starts early, too, around 6 p.m. And if that’s not enough sockin’ gountry for you, check out LCK the next night at the Billy Goat Saloon in downtown Gem Village.

While we’re on the subject of local products, some of you may be interested in an event at Fort Lewis College. No, the words “home grown” do not mean what you think they do. “Home Grown: A Local Foods Conference” is new this year, and part of the ongoing efforts of regional producers, environmental workers and business leaders to work on building a strong local food system in La Plata County. The Fort Lewis College Environmental Center invites you to join them on Feb. 9 & 10 in the Fort Lewis College Ballroom. Help generate a community action plan for increasing access to affordable, sustainably produced and culturally appropriate food for everyone in the region. Doors open at 6 p.m. on Friday, and the conference continues on Saturday with breakout sessions on community gardens, farm-to-school programs, production, marketing, distribution, and the role of higher education in supporting local food systems. The deal ends at 3 on Saturday with a celebratory reception, fair and seed exchange. There are a limited number of “Local Foods” lunches available on Saturday, made with ingredients from local farmers and ranchers, for $5. Register early at 247-7676 to get one.

Mushiness is best left to the snow (but watch out for the yellow kind). The Mancos Mush and Silverton Slush sled dog races return this weekend starting Friday.

Is it puppy love or true love? Lindsay_damico@yahoo.com

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