TALKING GOURDS … OK, I like reinventing things. Remember that Telluride Institute’s Ideas Festival – Reinventing Politics? I thought it was seminal in expanding my way of thinking about acting globally and locally. The politics of collaboration. Of the radical middle … Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and I have been having a Talking Gourds poetry series at the Wilkinson Library on the first Tuesday of every month for the past year, in collaboration with several local groups – Between the Covers Bookstore, the Telluride and Norwood Writers Guilds, Telluride TV, University Centers of the San Miguel, and the Naturita Library. We’ve had some great visiting poets, filmed interviews and performance and after the filming, held a gourd circle to allow participants to share their own stories & poems. But audiences have been dwindling … We’d like to make poetry worth hearing, and so are going to reinvent our structure, our format and our venue … Instead of the community room of the Wilkinson Library (which will stay an essential partner in this arts collaboration), we’re going to move to the club Arroyo – main street’s uptown wine bar. Poetry and wine? Li Po would approve (Li Bai in the new orthography) … We’ll start on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at a time to be announced. Rosemerry and I will share the work of two poets of our own choosing, doing a back and forth poetry performance. Then we’ll have an all-hands gourds circle sharing and discussion time … For the first one I’m going to be focusing on the work of San Francisco poet Lenore Kandel, author of the celebrated book of erotic poetry that got banned in San Francisco in the Sixties, The Love Book. Rosemerry was leaning towards a new translation of the ecstatic male poet, Rumi. The fun will be in hearing poems from each alternating with the other … As for a new structure, we want to make the group a poetry club. We’ll have memberships – I’m thinking $25 a year. And members will meet at Arroyo’s monthly club meeting (which will also be open to the public by donation), or at other local venues by invitation … For anyone interested in poetry, written and/or performed, as listener, writer or performer, call me at 970/327-4767
LIBRARY … On one hand it’s great to see people so engaged over a change in Wilkinson Library hours. It’s one of those great community services that has become essential to our vision of ourselves. But it’s also disturbing that such a hallowed institution could make such a large change without consulting its deeply involved patrons. We all realize these are hard fiscal times, and cutting back services may become the norm, unless the community wishes to impose new levels of taxation on itself. But in as small and interwoven a community as ours, it makes sense for community nonprofit boards to stay in close touch with those they serve … As a commissioner, I certainly don’t want to be second-guessing what the Library Board does with its declining budgets, but I would urge that community sentiment and preferences be explored.
NUTCRACKER AT THE PALM … All I can say is “wow!” I went to the show because of kind friends and wanting to spend time with my own munchkins after Mary’s passing, and I was amazed. And delighted. As was the visiting mom from back East in the seat next to me. It was dazzling entertainment … I fell in love with the youngsters in their wonderful acting and dancing and singing. The chorus of tiny ballerinas was cute beyond belief. This was superb choreography … Kudos to Valerie Madonia and the Telluride Dance Academy and a marvelous cast of locals.
YARROW & BERRIER … Wonderful to have our old friends back on the Sheridan stage … Berrier did a helluva bang-up local holiday comedy extravaganza with partners Ashley Boling and Buff Hooper. I can tell it’s a success when long-timer Dean Rolley in the row ahead of me was guffawing as loudly as returning-from-college youngster Miles Duffield in my row. Even my 14-year-old gave it a thumbs up (and he’s picky) … It’s also a treat to have Peter Yarrow playing for us again. He’s been such an inspiration for so many years – I think I hummed my way through the Seventies listening to his music.
DEJONG … Greta Belanger deJong has been publishing the alternative Salt Lake City monthly, Catalyst, for 30 years now (w.catalystmagazine.net). And is celebrating her 60th birthday this week. Unable to attend her surprise party, I sent along this ditty.
THE TALKING GOURD
And why wouldn’t you turn 60
in the first few days of the first baktun
of the Izapan Mayan Long Count Calendar?
A Sammish princess by blood
& mama muse for Salt Lake City’s counter-
cultural icon – Catalyst
You continue to provide a way
to keep track in Joseph’s promised land
of dreams unfulfilled, stories proliferating
Yours is a life, star-lit, deep writ
Play hard, party harder, and work
as a way of bringing the tribe together
We need sixty more of you, Greta, my dear
Sixty more arms. Sixty more lives
Hail the goddess! Hug the human!