In the pink, Mofro and the Human Regurgitator

J.J. Grey & Mofro

by Chris Aaland

You gotta be tough to wear pink.Breast cancer has affected all of us. Whether it’s a family member or a dear friend, we all know someone who has battled the disease. For me, it’s my stepmother who has twice beaten breast cancer, although chemotherapy robbed her of energy and spirit.

College basketball lost an icon last month when North Carolina State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow lost her battle with breast cancer. During her career, Yow coached the U.S. women to Olympic gold in Seoul, racked up 737 collegiate wins (fifth all-time in NCAA Division I history), received 20 NCAA tournament bids and reached the Final Four in 1998. She was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

For most people, Yow was best known for battling the disease for 22 years, for raising money for charities such as the V Foundation for Cancer Research (started after the death of her good friend former North Carolina State men’s basketball coach Jim Valvano) and for staying with her team during chemo treatments.

The Fort Lewis College women’s basketball squad — ranked No. 2 in the nation in NCAA Division II — honors Yow this Saturday as part of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Pink Zone campaign. The Skyhawks (20-1 overall, 13-0 in league games) will sport pink jerseys when they host New Mexico Highlands at 6 p.m. Saturday in Whalen Gymnasium. Following the game, the players will autograph their jerseys, which will be auctioned off for a minimum bid of $150. Proceeds will benefit Mercy Regional Medical Center’s efforts to build a breast cancer center. Breast cancer fighters and survivors will be admitted free, and the general public is encouraged to wear pink. Even the referees are getting into the act by blowing pink whistles and donating a portion of their pay from Feb. 8-17 to the cause. NCAA refs raised more than $25,000 for the effort in 2008.

Keep this important cause in mind as you celebrate Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to be present to participate — just visit

A variety of free Valentine’s and President’s Weekend activities take place in Telluride Mountain Village, most notably a free concert by J.J. Grey & Mofro from 3-5 Sunday afternoon in Heritage Plaza. Fronted by vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Grey, Mofro is a Florida sextet steeped in nearly every Southern music type, including George Jones-influenced country, Howlin’ Wolf-charged blues and James Brown-styled hard funk. They’ve opened for the likes of Widespread Panic, Ben Harper, Galactic, B.B. King and Jeff Beck. I saw these guys get the crowd absolutely gyrating at last summer’s Silverton Jamboree. In addition to Mofro, DJ Darrell and friends spin tunes from 1-5 p.m. this and tomorrow afternoons at Mountain Village. There are also free Gravity Play X-Box activities daily through Sunday from 2-6 p.m.

Moe’s Starlight Lounge holds a 5-8 p.m. FAC with The Good Neighbors on Friday. Then, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Starlight hosts speed dating and a kissing booth to benefit Rotoract, with free roses and kisses (of the Hershey’s variety). On Tuesday, Sam & Kat play live music at the Starlight. I’m told ifyou haven’t seen Kat play the fiddle, you’re missing out.

… In a Day brings its ambient rock to the Summit on Friday in a local twin bill that also includes the Freeman Social. The trio, which features vocalist/guitarist Joe Kaltenback, bassist Josh Bensik and drummer George Sears, released their debut recording, “The Motion Picture EP,” last fall.

Whether you’re all alone or with your sweetheart, join The Good Neighbors at the Summit on Saturday for Valentine’s or Singles Awareness Day — your choice.

The Student Programming Council at Fort Lewis College welcomes back Stevie Starr the Human Regurgitator at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Starr, who has more than 60 videos on YouTube, swallows live goldfish, pool balls, numbered coins, even dry sugar, and manages to bring them back up in order, on command (and in the case of the sugar, completely dry!) Stevie’s been to FLC numerous times. On a related note, we once netted one of Jeff Lipschultz’s goldfish in college and tossed it into a beer bong that he was chugging. Come to think of it, Lipschultz, now an ordained rabbi, regurgitated his goldfish too, along with a few tortilla chips, some cheese pizza and most of the Meisterbräu.

Formula 151 performs twice this weekend, first at the Billy Goat Saloon in Gem Village at 8 p.m. Friday, then in a special Valentine’s affair at the Derailed Saloon (formerly Farquahrts) at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The human regurgitator, Stevie Starr

Durango’s own Cosmic Accident plays funk at 10 p.m. Friday at Steamworks.

On the local bragging front, Durango is well represented at a New York City gourmet dinner on March 6. The James Beard House’s “Celebrating Colorado’s Bounty” features, among other things, Steamworks’ craft beers and Desert Sun coffees. Three of Colorado’s top chefs picked fresh foods from throughout the state to be flown to the Big Apple as part of a menu that includes Foxfire Farms sweetbreads with chestnut purée and caramelized Western Slope apples; Monroe Organic Farms beet terrine with Haystack Mountain chèvre, hazelnuts and black truffles; Colorado striped bass steak with Cure Organic Farm fingerling potatoes, artichokes, smoked paprika and bread salsa; poached Western Slope pear-brown butter cake with mascarpone zabaglione and blackberry-cabernet sorbet; and some of the state’s top wines. The James Beard Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to celebrate, preserve and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of culinary excellence. The James Beard House is located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. In case you’re in the neighborhood, tickets cost $165 per person for the general public and are available at

This week’s Top Shelf list honors 10 pop culture divas who died after courageous battles with breast cancer:

• Bella Abzug, lawyer, politician and women’s political leader

• Ingrid Bergman, Oscar-winning actress

• Julia Child, groundbreaking television cook

• Bette Davis, actress

• Skeeter Davis, country music star

• Greta Garbo, actress

• Shirley Horn, jazz legend

• Linda McCartney, wife of Paul McCartney

• Minnie Pearl, Grand Ole Opry star

• Dusty Springfield, British R&B legend

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