Drinking games, Fuzzy Killing Machine and Blues & Brews

by Chris Aaland

Aside from a few drives off a friend’s terrace overlooking the Animas on Fourth of July two years ago and a couple of errant slices out of Chuckles’ back yard near Dalton, I haven’t swung the sticks since 1986. Twenty-three years golf-free and damned proud of it, thank you very much.

So last Friday’s Fort Lewis College alumni golf tournament at The Ridge at Castle Pines North near Denver nearly caused me to end my boycott of that Republican sport. Fortunately, the handful of giant divots I left on the driving range brought me back to my senses and spared the other golfers unnecessary agony and certainly saved a few kitchen windows.

Still, I’m tempted to end the drought. I used to think golf was an elegant sport that required patience, nerves, precision and athleticism. How wrong I was. It became crystal clear last Friday that golf is a drinking game. Have a drink before teeing off and another couple back in the clubhouse when the day is done. The beer cart comes by every few holes to cheer you up. Play well, you buy a round. Play poorly, someone else buys a round.

Drinking games of other sorts abound this weekend.

The 16th annual Telluride Blues & Brews takes place Friday through Sunday at Town Park. The lineup is top notch: a collaboration between Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal, plus Buddy Guy, Joe Cocker, Umphrey’s McGee, Jackie Greene, Xavier Rudd, Otis Taylor, Ruthie Foster and many others. For suds aficionados, Saturday’s grand tasting (noon ‘til 3) offers free samples of more than 150 ales from 53 microbreweries. All four Durango brewers will be represented, as well as many other Colorado and Western alehouses.

The Singlespeed World Championships arrived in town Wednesday with dozens of events slated through Sunday. Among the highlights are the championship race at 11 a.m. Saturday, live music at the Derailed Saloon tonight (Thursday) and Friday, and the after-party at Ska on Saturday, various beer drinking events and more. Visit www.sswc09.wordpress.com for a complete schedule.

Following Saturday’s Singlespeed awards dinner and general debauchery at Ska, head to the Summit for the unofficial Worlds after-after party, featuring live music from Fuzzy Killing Machine, Oatie Paste and the Boycotts.

Legendary folk singer Tom Russell returns to the area for a series of shows as part of the Roots on the Rails cowboy train that brings nearly 100 folk music and railroad fanatics to the San Juans for treks on the Durango & Silverton and Cumbres & Toltec railroads, concerts, jam sessions and more. Durango fans were introduced to Russell through DAM, which brought the author of “Gallo del Ciello,” “Navajo Rug” and “St. Olav’s Gate” to town twice this decade. This time he’s joined by Gretchen Peters, Sourdough Slim, Wylie Gustafson and Paul Zarsyski. Roots on the Rails teamed with DAM the past two years to present the likes of Fred Eaglesmith, Corb Lund and Eilen Jewell. Last year, the Roots folks passed the hat to raise money for sound engineer Doug Eagle when he crashed his truck en route to a Pagosa gig. Russell and company play the Hank on Saturday, Silverton on Sunday and Pagosa Springs on Tuesday.

The Fort Lewis College Student Programming Council has launched a free concert series that takes place at 7 p.m. each Thursday at a variety of on-campus locations. This series gives 13 local bands the chance to strut their stuff in front of a largely student audience (although the concerts are open to anyone). Tonight’s show features Jack Ten High in the FLC Amphitheatre. In case of rain, the concert will move indoors to the Student Union solarium.

The Starlight’s slate of music this week includes live jazz on the patio with the Bob Hemenger Trio at 6 p.m. Friday, DJ Wreck at 9 p.m. Saturday and Jonezy’s Club Meds on Wednesday.

The Summit lineup features the hip-hop and pop of DJ Ralphsta tonight and a twin bill with the Formless and History Of Friday.

Steamworks hosts a dub rock band and its Rocky Mountain reggae at 10 p.m. tonight.

Kirk James racks up serious mileage this week, traveling to the Steamworks Bayfield Beer Factory for a solo gig at 5 p.m. tonight, returning to town for a full-band date at the 8th Ave. Tavern at 8 p.m. Friday, heading south to Sutherland Farms in Aztec with his band for the green chile festival at 11 a.m. Saturday, then driving northeast to the Schank House at Vallecito with his band at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Head out to the Billy Goat Saloon in Gem Village to check out the Jelly Belly Boogie Band at 9 p.m. Friday.

Durango DOT Comedy hosts SlamFest, an evening of team improv comedy competition Saturday at the Durango Arts Center. SlamFest teams will go head to head vying for the coveted “Championship Mask,” whatever the hell that is.

Stuff your face with all-you-can-eat pancakes, ham and scrambled eggs at the Kiwanis Club of Durango Annual Pancake Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today in Exhibit Hall at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Tickets cost $8 for adults and children under 12 are free. Get tickets at the catalog counter at J.C. Penney, the service desk at Kroegers Ace Hardware or at the door.

This week’s Top Shelf list recounts some golfing highlights from my brief and unspectacular days on the course:

• Holing a 100-foot birdie chip out of the sand on the old No. 6 at Applewood.

• Working ladies’ day at Applewood as a 16-year-old and duping the hospitality volunteers at the No. 9 tee box that the wine-in-a-boxes were empty and needed to be thrown away. My first hangover occurred the next morning.

• Caddying for comic actor Leslie Nielsen and former Nuggets coach Doug Moe at a celebrity tournament at Plum Creek in ’85. I’m still not sure which guy was funnier.

• Watching my sister, Stephanie, and brother, Billy, compete in the Colorado high school championships in ’87 and ’02, respectively. •

It headed for two but bounced off nine? E-mail me at chrisa@go-brainstorm.net.



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