Ear to the ground

“Wow, we’re not even getting complete washed up ’80s bands anymore.”

– A Durangoan after seeing Colin Hay, of Men at Work, and John Oates, of Hall and Oates, on the Concert Hall’s fall lineup

Celebrating shrooms

“Bountiful shrooms” will draw hordes of fungofiles to Southwest Colorado this weekend. The Telluride Mushroom Festival – “American mushrooming’s Rocky Mountain upstart” – returns Aug. 26-29.

Mushroomers from all over the world will be taking over Telluride during this most banner of mushroom seasons. Visitors can expect four days of immersion in all things fungal, including forays, lectures, workshops, tours, movies and tastings. Fungofiles will also go into the classroom to discuss mushroom identification, growing methods, medicinal uses, drug scapegoating, culinary recipes, biological theory, entheogenic practice and the “way of the psychonaut.” And don’t forget the annual highpoint, the Mushfest Costume Parade on Saturday.

“You have to go to find out that everyone is happy – everyone, every age, every color, every size,” festival first-timer Sue Williamson wrote in the afterglow of last year’s event. “It was like mingling with a very large family, one that actually loves each other. Literally everyone smiled when you met their eyes.”

This year’s featured lecturer will be Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti, a mushroom source and resource in Olympia, Wash. Famed for his encyclopedic knowledge of the genus, Psilocybe, Stamets has bioneered a host of new uses for mycological spores from forest remediation and oil spill cleanup to nontoxic insecticides and cardboard packaging that can be grown. His latest book is Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.

For more information on the 30th Celebration of All Things Fungal, visit www.tellurideinstitute.org.

Big words

A local author has written her way into the national spotlight. Pamela Uschuk, of Bayfield, recently won a 2010 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for her collection of poems,Crazy Love.

Uschuk teaches creative writing at Fort Lewis College and is editor in chief ofCutthroat, A Journal of the Arts, published out of Durango. She is also on a roll in 2010. Uschuk won the 2010 New Millenium Poetry Prize for her work, “Shostakovich: Five Pieces,” dedicated to Durango musician Kasia Sokol. She is also featured in the 2010 Best of the Web and was awarded the prestigious Hodges Chair to be the visiting writer at the University of Tennessee during the spring 2011 semester.