Noel Black

The Big Something, Producer

Noel Black is a Colorado Springs native. He has worked as a print journalist, blogger and radio producer everywhere from San Francisco and New York City, but has always considered the Pikes Peak region home.  Along with Jake Brownell, he is the co-producer of Wish We Were Here, a monthly documentary series from KRCC that features stories and investigations that complicate the city's reputation as one of America's most conservative cities. He is also the author of many chapbooks and two full-length books of poems, including La Goon, (Furniture Press Books, 2014), and Uselysses, (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011).

Ways to Connect

Jeffrey Beall courtesy of Wikipedia

A proposed merger between the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Colorado College that's been quietly talked about since last Fall could be decided as early as mid-June, 2016. In this audio interview, we spoke with Colorado Springs Business Journal columnist and writer John Hazlehurst about the deal and its potential implications for the future of the city's oldest arts institution.

(Full disclosure: Noel Black is a trustee on the Bee Vradenburg Foundations, which gives money to arts organizations in the Pikes Peak region. And Colorado College holds KRCC's license.)

courtesy of Mark Bryant

Mark Bryant was the editor of Outside Magazine in 1996 and sent Jon Krakauer not only to climb Mount Everest, but to write about the dangers of the increasing commercialization and crowding on the world's highest peak. When things went disastrously wrong on the mountain, he worked with Krakauer to edit the story that eventually became the best-seller Into Thin Air. In this audio interview, Bryant discusses the rise of adventure writing and the decision to send Krakauer on an assignment that could easily have claimed his life.

Screen Grab from THE RIDER AND THE WOLF by Grit and Thistle Film Company

UPDATE: On Monday, 4/25/16, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation officially confirmed that the remains found in January in Saguache County were those of Mike Rust. An investigation into Rust's death is ongoing. Stay tuned to KRCC for more information. 

On this special episode of Wish We Were Here: Tales and Investigations from the Shadows of America's Mountain, we worked with Nathan Ward at Grit and Thistle Film Company to produce an audio version of last year's documentary The Rider and the Wolf about the life and disappearance of Hall-of-Fame mountain biker Mike Rust. Rust went missing from his home in Colorado's remote San Luis Valley on March 31, 2009. On January 8, 2016, the remains of a body that may be Mike Rust's were discovered after a tip came in to the Saguache County Sheriff's Department.

Courtesy of Opera Theater of the Rockies

Opera Theater of the Rockies will present Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte (CO-SEE FON TOOTY) this weekend in Colorado Springs. We spoke with Artistic Advisor George Preston and Soprano Jennifer DiDominici about the production in this audio interview.

Courtesy of Nina Elder

Artist Nina Elder, a native of Colorado Springs who now lives in New Mexico, is a part of the new exhibition “Atomic Landscapes” at Colorado College’s IDEA Space.

In this audio interview, she spoke about why she's drawn to do photo-realistic drawings of landscapes that have been manipulated by human industry and the military.

Photo by Jack Chivvis, courtesy of Grit and Thistle Film Company

UPDATE: The remains unearthed in the San Luis Valley has been positively identified as Mike. Here's the press realease from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation: 

Photo copyright Nancy Wood, used with permission from the Nancy Wood Literary Trust

A 12-year-old girl in blue jeans probably isn’t the first thing you picture when you hear the word paleontologist. But in 1979, young India Wood discovered a bone on a ranch in northwest Colorado that would change her life. For the next three years, Wood single-handedly excavated a site that would yield one of the finest Allosaurus fossils ever found. This is her story.

Courtesy of Max Morath via Colorado College

Ragtime pianist, composer, actor, and author Max Morath, a native of Colorado Springs, will be inducted in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 16 at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Morath has been credited with the popular revival of ragtime in the 1970s. He toured and performed for more than 60 years, and logged more than 5,000 performances everywhere from Cripple Creek to New York City.

KRCC’s Noel Black spoke with Morath via phone about his lifelong love of rags.

To learn more of Max Morath's discography, click HERE.

Eliaws - GNU Free Documentation License

Director and Actor Peter Bogdonovich is perhaps most recognizable as Dr. Elliot Kupferberg, therapist to Tony Sopranos therapist Jennifer Melfi on the HBO TV Series “The Sopranos”

Courtesy of Dan Crossey

Most people think of Pikes Peak as a tourist destination – the Fourteener with a highway and a donut shop on top. But for many local mountaineers, climbers and skiers, Pikes Peak is also a wilderness playground. For backcountry skiers Dan Crossey, Mike Houston, Bill Blair, and Nate Porter Pikes Peak was like their backyard. But on April 25, 1995, what should’ve been a routine day of Spring skiing on Pikes Peak quickly turned into a nightmare.

On this episode of The Big Something: local comic book artist Langdon Foss discusses his recent 4-short comic The Surface; retired Navy seal and author of the book Navy Seal Shooting, Chris Sajnog, discusses his thoughts on what it means to be a responsible gun owner; Big Something intern Charlie Neaves tells the story of Mission Wolf, an off-the-grid wolf sanctuary in the mountains west of Pueblo; and Jake Brownell sits down with KRCC Music Director Vicky Gregor to look back at the life and work of the late David Bowie. All that today on The Big Something.

If you’ve ever been curious about how the KRCC Radio Show and Podcast Wish We Were Here is produced, where we get our ideas, and what our plans for the future of the show might be, please join us at the Innovation Institute next Thursday, January 21st.

We’ll be sharing clips, talking about the process of putting together a show, and taking questions from  4 p.m. to 5:30 in the Morreale Carriage House.

The event is free and open to the public. Join us at 4 p.m just behind the Morreale House at 1130 North Cascade.

Noel Black

With a national debate raging about the 2nd Amendment, we went to meet a man who epitomizes the right to bear arms: Dragonman. Born Mel Bernstein in Brooklyn, NY in 1945, Dragonman claims to be the most armed citizen in the state of Colorado. Among the five businesses he operates on his 240 acre property at the eastern edge of Colorado Springs, Dragonman is perhaps best known for his gunshop and the shooting range where he hosts an annual machine gun shoot. But there's more to Dragonman than guns and bluster.

On this episode of The Big Something: In-depth Conversation on Culture and Ideas in the Pikes Peak region, we speak with outgoing Museum Director at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Blake Milteer, and his soon-to-be successor, Joy Armstrong; Author Jonathan Marcantoni talks about his new book and the mentorship program that he created for aspiring writers; Author Jeffrey Hobbs speaks with fellow writer Helen Thorpe about his bestselling book, “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace,”; and Big Something intern Madi Howard brings us the story of a new publication devoted to amplifying the voices of the homeless in Colorado Springs.

 

Wikimedia Commons

For many years in the 1990s and 2000s, Colorado Springs was so synonymous with conservative evangelical Christianity that it earned the nickname "The Evangelical Vatican." But in late-2006, Pastor Ted Haggard of New Life Church--then one of the most prominent and influential evangelical churches in the country--was exposed for buying crystal meth and soliciting the services of a male prostitute. The small empire that Haggard and other evangelical leaders, like Focus on the Family's James Dobson, had built in the shadow of Pikes Peak almost immediately crumbled. But the churches, people, and culture that was established during those boom years remained.  Set adrift, this evangelical community was suddenly forced to look inward for direction after a decades-long pursuit of cultural and political power that had come to a screeching halt.

On this episode of Wish We Were Here, we speak to pastors, historians, ex-evangelicals, post-evangelicals, Christ-followers and more in an effort to understand where the Colorado Springs evangelical community has been, and where it's going.

On this episode of The Big Something, author Brett McCracken discusses his book Hipster Chrisitianity, When Church and Cool Collide ; Daniel James Brown shares the incredible story of how a young team of working class American rowers beat the odds--and the Nazis--at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin; Rock Climber Alex Honnold talks about his career climbing some of the most iconic rock walls in the world, with no rope; and we bring you an episode of the show HumaNature from Wyoming Public Radio about a search and rescue mission in the Rocky Mountains.

The Boys in the Boat celebrates the 1936 U.S. men's Olympic eight-oar rowing team and the nine working class boys who transformed the sport, and galvanized the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers from the American West, the boys took on and defeated successive echelons of privilege and power. Colorado College Professor Steven Hayward spoke with New York Times best-selling author Daniel James Brown about the book in advance of his "Journalist-in-Residence" on Wednesday, November 17, 2015.

PPLD Digital Photo Archive, image 001-5305

When you hear the name Ivywild these days, you likely think of the old school turned brewery and market just south of I-25 in Colorado Springs. But Ivywild, a whole neighborhood at the foot of the Broadmoor, was once a small suburb of Colorado Springs with a history as rich and colorful as any city in Colorado. Authors Molly Merry and Linda Johnson recently revived some of that history in a small book titled "Ivywild: A Treasure Filled Neighborhood History".

On this episode of The Big Something: filmmaker Nathan Ward discusses The Rider and the Wolf, his new documentary about the disappearance of Colorado Mountain Bike pioneer, Mike Rust; Representatives of the Colorado Springs Public Market talk about the past, present, and future of the Public Market project; Local author Molly Merry recounts colorful stories from Colorado Springs’ Ivywild Neighborhood; and we revisit an interview with Senga Nengudi in advance of her upcoming appearance at the Gallery of Contemporary Art.
 

In 2009, Hall-of-Fame mountain biker Mike Rust disappeared from his land in the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado . Aside from some motorcycle tracks, his vest and the broken handle of one of his guns, there were no clues. And six years later, Rust’s body still hasn’t been found. In the new documentary The Rider and the Wolf, filmmaker Nathan Ward tells Rust’s story, which isn’t just a murder mystery, but also a neglected chapter in the history of mountain biking.

On this episode of Wish We Were Here, we bring you three stories from three current or former Colorado springs residents, completely unknown to one another. All three of these stories are  tied together by one man: Lorne Greene.

Tom Ross

Colorado Springs musician Tom Ross has dedicated much of his life to studying the music of different cultures around the globe and integrating those global influences into his own work as a composer. Ross was raised in Colorado Springs, where he trained with the legendary jazz guitarist Johnny Smith as a young man. He eventually made his way to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he earned a PhD in Ethnomusicology.

 

On this episode of The Big Something Radio Programme, sociologist and author Kathy Giuffre discusses her first novel, The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato; food writer and reporter Bryce Crawford talks dining in the Pikes Peak region; and local musician Tom Ross takes us on a tour of his global musical influences. 

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Kathy Giuffre, Professor of Sociology at Colorado College, is the author of the newly published novel The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato, a coming of age love story that follows a tomboyish young woman named Josie on  philosophical romp through love and community in a bar called The Cave. 

On Episode 7 of The Big Something Radio Programme we hear from the soon-to-be newest member of the Colorado state Supreme Court, Richard Gabriel; we bring you an interview with Artist Rodney wood, about Artocade: Trinidad’s Art Car Parade; Eliot Gray Fisher of Austin Based ARCOS dance discusses The Warriors: A Love Story, a multimedia performance coming to colorado springs; And lastly, we check in with members of

On this episode of Wish We Were Here, we bring you the story of Ron Stallworth. In the 1970s, he became the first black detective ever to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. He's also the author of Black Klansman, a memoir about one of his most memorable investigations, which you'll hear about in this episode.

Music in this episode is mostly from the amazing Free Music Archive. You'll hear pieces by Lee Rosevere, Sarin, Podington Bear, Deadly Combo, Chris Zabriski, Kevin McLeod, Antony Raijekov, and All Shall Be Well. You'll also hear music by the Budos Band.

In this episode of The Big Something we talk to a Greg Lutze, a Manitou Springs native who co-founded a digital photography company that aspires to be the Kodak of the 21st century; Legendary poet and environmental activist Gary Snyder speaks with us about his long and storied career; Writer Mia Alvarado takes us on a field trip to Stoner's Laundry, a laundromat that’s been a gathering place for a small neighborhood at the edge of downtown Colorado Springs for decades; And fathers Jason Belcher and Greg Wickherst discuss their relationships with their daughters in a conversation recorded b

Born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830, Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson attended the same primary school, and received similar educational instruction in Philosophy, History, Botany and Latin. Later in life, Jackson, residing in Colorado Springs, would begin a correspondence with Dickinson after being introduced to her work by Atlantic Monthly Editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson. In this correspondence, Jackson would implore the reclusive Dickinson to share her work. With the exception of getting one poem of Dickinson's published anonymously, Jackson was largely unsuccessful.

On any summer weekend, a visit to one of the Pikes Peak region's many open spaces proves just how popular and valuable Colorado Springs' natural recourses are. In last week's episode of The Big Something, Susan Davies, Executive Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition, and "Hiking" Bob Falcone, President of the Friends of Cheyenne Canyon sat down with Noel Black to discuss trail work, future projects, and what makes Colorado Springs' access to the outdoors so special. 

On Episode #6 of The Big Something, Susan Davies and Bob Falcone and open space coalition discuss trails and open space in Colorado Springs; Poet Robin Izer tells us about the fateful correspondence between Emily Dickinson and Colorado Springs transplant Helen Hunt Jackson; GOCA Director Daisy McGowen talks front range art in honor of the 2nd biennial Bright Young Things Exhibit; And Deepa Daya tells her amazing story of gaining physical sight at the age of 30.

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