Larry Davidson was a country boy. He wore pressed jeans and a big belt buckle, scuffed cowboy boots, and plaid flannel shirts. We were twelve and in sixth grade at a brand new school on the edge of Nashville, Tennessee, set between half-built subdivisions of split-level houses and rolling farm meadows dotted with grazing horses and cows.
The ReMINDers are a hip hop duo from Colorado Springs. The group consists of Aja Black and Big Samir, a married couple who have gained recognition over the past few years with their records ReCollect (2008) and Born Champions (2012). They’ve toured the country and shared the stage with legendary hip hop acts like Big Boi, Nas, KRS-One, and Mos Def. Mercedes Whitman, intern at the Big Something, talked to Samir about the group’s career, as well about why they’ve chosen to maintain their roots in Colorado Springs.
Tomorrow marks the opening of a new exhibition at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, entitled Strange and Beautiful: American Folk Art from the Willem Volkersz Collection. The show features paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other, less-easily classified, art objects created by self-taught artists from around the country, and collected by Willem Volkersz and his wife Diane. KRCC’s Jake Brownell spoke with the pair about their collection and the broader tradition of folk art in America.
I have spent a month with my mother this winter, her 86th and my 60th, the coldest January she’s seen in years. Every morning at the breakfast table we flip through the flimsy pages of her small town’s local newspaper, sharing a lurid headline here, a recipe there, agreeing that if the paper gets any worse they might as well stop printing it.
Doug Pray is the award-winning director of numerous documentaries, including “Hype”, “Surfwise", “Scratch”, and “Art and Copy”. As a director, he is known for his keen ability to capture the spirit of cultural and artistic movements, as well as his abiding interest in the relationship between people and their passions. KRCC’s Jake Brownell spoke with Pray, who is in town for the screening of his newest film, Levitated Mass.
This January morning, the Gulf of Mexico is dark blue beneath a blanket of fog peeling off to sea. The day begins with a rose sky and balmy air, a reprieve from last week’s wet and windy cold front and the one the weatherman predicts will arrive again by end of week. This morning the people of Galveston celebrate the weather by heading to the seawall.
Much was lost during last summer's flooding in Manitou, including many personal items. This past October, the interns at The Big Something--Colorado College students Mercedes Whitman, Patrick Lofgren, and Sarah Stockdale--went to Fountain Creek to rescue what they could from the banks. In November, the recovered items were displayed in a pop-up show at the Manitou Art Center, and those affected by the floods were invited to claim their belongings and share their stories.
With record wildfires and flooding impacting communities across the state over the past few years, residents of Colorado have gained a unique appreciation for the power of precipitation. But according to Dr. Michael Kerwin, Professor of Geography director of the Environmental Science and Geology Programs at Denver University, the precipitation-related challenges that we’ve recently faced here may pale in comparison to those posed by the decades-long, global-warming enhanced, “Megadrought” that may strike the Front Range during this century. KRCC’s Jake Brownell spoke with Dr.
Legendary underground comix author and artist Art Spiegelman will present “Wordless,” a slide lecture accompanied by live music on Wednesday, January 22 as part of Cornerstone Arts Week at Colorado College. The Big Something’s Noel Black spoke with Spiegelman and musician Phillip Johnston about the event.
Tickets for the Event are sold out, but hopeful attendees may want to wait outside the Richard F. Celeste Theater in the Cornerstone Arts Building to see if seats become available.
Tim Sexton is an Oscar nominated screenwriter, best known for his work with director Alfonso Cuaron on the dystopian sci-fi drama, Children of Men, released in 2006. Sexton's screenplays--which also include the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic "Boycott" and a forthcoming film about labor activist Cesar Chavez--often explore the complicated, human side of heroism. The Big Something's Noel Black spoke with Sexton about his work.
Half a month into the new year and I have lost all sense of time passing. Moving deeply southward across the continent in the dead of winter will do that. It is disorienting to see a rose in bloom in January, but here on the Gulf coast of Texas on the trellis of my mother’s front porch, the yellow climbing rose is loaded with buds.
My son-in-law arrives tired and hungry for his annual holiday visit. Winter storm Hercules, followed closely by a record-setting Arctic vortex of extreme cold, has left thousands stranded in New York City but he managed to get out and fly to Houston following a harrowing day in an airport filled with desperate traveling strangers.
How do communities spark creativity? Social network researcher and Colorado College professor Katherine Giuffre shares what she learned studying what was, at the time, arguably the most creative culture in the world -- on an island in the South Pacific.
When I arrive in Galveston on the next-to-last day of 2013, my mother has made a soup from the bones of the Christmas turkey. Just a few rags of meat on the bones, but the broth is rich and brown and fragrant. She has tossed in the last scraps of vegetables from her refrigerator and a handful of wild rice.
The short order cook and I had been singing for a while before I noticed the grimace on the cashier’s face. We were harmonizing on “Silver Bells,” the classic Bing Crosby version, and cared little how we sounded as I was the only customer in the diner.
“What’ll we do when it’s not Christmas any more?” the short order cook said as I pulled out my wallet to pay the bill.
“I don’t know,” I said, “but it looks like Mr. Grinch here can’t wait for it to be over.”
The snow has finally stopped falling after four days of constant icy drizzle, but sidewalks are still packed with a three-inch sheet of frozen, thawed and refrozen precipitation. Pedestrians tread carefully, especially along sidewalks that have gone un-shoveled or in shady corridors where the sun rarely reaches the ground. It’s Christmas time in the city.
Poet Tony Hoagland, author of “Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty," will read tonight at 7 p.m. in the Gates Common Room in Palmer Hall on the Colorado College campus as part of the Visiting Writers Series. The Big Something’s Noel Black sat down with Hoagland to talk about the disconnect between poetry, entertainment and comedy.
Tonight at 6 p.m. in the Richard F. Celeste Theatre at the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center here on the Colorado College campus, former Days of Our Lives executive co-producer and director Noel Maxam will discuss disruptive innovation in media from Network Television to Netflix. The Big Something’s Noel Black spoke with Maxam about soap operas ant the future of local media.
There’s a Facebook questionnaire circulating, asking participants to check off how many of 100 chosen worldwide destinations they’ve visited. I haven’t taken the quiz and if I did my score would be modest, even though I’ve visited some pretty exotic locales. But I find the older I get it’s not faraway places I long to see; I’m more drawn to places from the past, even if I have to recreate them strictly from stories passed down by family.
(This column originally ran on December 3, 2010. Kathryn Eastburn will return next week.)
‘Tis the season of contradiction. Bare black tree limbs, frozen earth, and neighborhood houses lighted up like Vegas. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and a constant string of economic forecasts based on how much we might or might not spend on stuff we don’t need in this holiday season.
Meanwhile, 28 million jobless Americans lose their federally funded unemployment benefits, barely raising a peep.
This year, for the second time in my life I won’t be having Thanksgiving dinner at home. Many years I considered going out and letting some wonderful chef at a restaurant feed my crew, but that just never seemed right. What if they served oyster stuffing? What if there were no mashed potatoes? What if there was no pecan pie? Thanksgiving, after all, might be about the Pilgrims and a bountiful harvest and giving thanks for being alive and all that good stuff, but isn’t it really about doing it the way you’ve always done it? About being a kitchen Nazi?
The 13th International Experimental Cinema Exposition comes to the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center beginning tonight and running through the weekend. I spoke spoke with Festival Director and Colorado Springs native Chris May about the history of this prestigious event.
The earliest bedroom is corner-mounted in a brand new post-World War II house built of native Kentucky limestone. Your mother has arranged a maze of chests of drawers and beds for her three little girls — so close in age they seem part of one big whole — to offer them equal amounts of relative privacy. The effect is of a nest, a tiny space barely big enough to turn around in, where you hide the things you don’t want to share. In winter, it is cozy and dark. In summer, a large and very loud electric fan fills the window frame, blowing hot air out by day and sucking cooler air in by night.
Last week, amidst the long parade of trick-or-treaters and Halloween festivities, I consciously tried to invoke my beloved departed. Some friends and I even staged a Dumb Feast, the Celtic ritual of Samhain in which guests partake of a silent meal with an empty place set at the head of the table for the spirits of the dead. That night I was able for the first time to close my eyes and summon a vision of those I love who have died — my son, my nephew, my sister, my former spouse — and picture them well beyond suffering, released.
Pikes Peak United Way recently released its 2013 Quality of Life Indicators Report. At more than 140 pages in length, it offers a thorough and statistically rich analysis of the quality of life in Greater Colorado Springs community. KRCC's Jake Brownell spoke with Carrie Cramm, vice president of Community Impact at Pikes Peak United Way, to discuss some of the findings of this report.
Eldonna Edwards, better known as Ellie, is a lively platinum blonde with streaks of pink dyed into her hair. Ellie radiates that other-worldly southern California vibe of feel-good health, laid-back lifestyle and liberal politics. She is a massage therapist with a functioning claw-foot bathtub in her back yard. Married and divorced several times, her kids all grown up, she has reached a point in life where she’s happy just living with herself.
The Catamount Institute's Annual Colorado Sustainability Conference begins this Thursday and will cover topics ranging from fires and floods to urban farming. I spoke with Catamount board member Alicia Archibald and Marketing and Communications Director Chris Aaby about the conference.
Click HERE for complete conference details and more about Catamount Institute.