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

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.

Click HERE for complete event information.

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.

(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.

Click HERE for complete details.

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.

We missed these photos of the rebuilding process in Mountain Shadows that appeared in The Atlantic Monthly this past August, but found the link while dredging through old emails. Thanks to Di for the tip!

Get your 8-bit Byrne on!

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.

Rock to the Greek

Oct 29, 2013

Ancient Greek music played with "100%" accuracy.

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. 

The 26th Annual Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival begins Friday, November 1st and runs through the weekend. The Big Something’s Noel Black sat down with Executive Director Linda Broker and Board Chair Lisa Tessarowicz to talk about some changes in the festival and this year’s films.

Click HERE for tickets and complete details.

Sharpen your pencils, charge up your computers and clear off your desk: November is National Novel Writing Month. Otherwise known to eager scribes across America as NaNoWriMo, a clever web-based arts nonprofit enterprise operating on the belief that within everyone lies at least one great story waiting to be written. And in typical American fashion, why not bang it out in a month? The web site ( offers word count gauges, opportunities to compare notes with other writers racing toward the finish line, and plenty of inspiration like this observation by author Neil Gaiman:

Colorado College Professor Stephen Scott’s Bowed Piano Ensemble is on its way to Jazz and Lincoln Center on October 26 in New York to play one of its final concerts before Scott retires. The Ensemble will play a preview of this concert this Tuesday night in Packard Hall on the CC Campus. I sat down with Scott to look back on his career as he prepares to retire from teaching.

It has to be a cold day. Preferably the first really cold day of the season, when the wind has swept down from the north and left the yellow leaves dangling, threatening to fall all at once; when the still-green summer grass stands stiff and frosted. A gray mid-October day when staying at home is in order.

Comedian and Storyteller Patrick McConnell will present his one man show “Vinylogue” beginning tonight and running through the weekend at the new Millibo Art Theatre at Ivywild. I spoke with McConnell about his autobiographical monologue set to music.

Click HERE for complete details about the show.

Playwright, Poet and Colorado College Professor Idris Goodwin’s new play, “The Girl From Crete Falls, ” will premier tomorrow night and run through the weekend at the Edith Kinney Gaylord Arts Center. I spoke with Goodwin about his new work.

Tickets are $5 and you can get complete information HERE.

Tickets are still available for This American Life creator and host Ira Glass's live performance at the Pikes Peak Center on Saturday, October 12.

A few years back my friends started becoming grandparents. It was fun to watch from a distance, but it was not something I longed to be. It felt as though my youngest kids had just flown the nest and honestly, the last thing I could imagine enjoying was the care and feeding of a newborn or chasing a toddler around. I was ready for some middle-aged autonomy.

Tomorrow night, October 9, 2010, the Palmer Land Trust will celebrate the 2013 Southern Colorado Conservation Awards.I spoke with Executive Director Scott Campbell Stuart P. Dodge Award Winner Walt Hecox about the importance of land trusts and Hecox’s efforts with The State of the Rockies Project.

If you'd like to make a reservation to attend the 2013 Southern Colorado Conservation Awards, call (719) 632-3236 x.2.

As the Colorado Springs Philharmonic begins its  90th season in Colorado Springs, I spoke with Executive Director Nathan Newbrough about the organization’s comeback from bankruptcy 10 years ago and its artistic and economic renaissance during the Recession.

Click HERE for more information about this weekend's performance of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" and more.

For a town that's historically anti-goverment in its political leanings, we certainly depend on it.

Walking the dog yesterday morning, I started calculating the For Sale signs in the neighborhood. They were not the fancy fixed-uppers with new granite counters placed on the market at the height of the season to snatch the highest prices. They were sturdy old survivors in this turn-of-the-last-century neighborhood, well kept and solemn in the flurry of this brilliant early autumn morning.

We were saddened last week to learn of the death of famed local architect Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, who was 91. Her homes in the Pikes Region could very well have defined a regional style if design were valued as highly as affordability. To be inside her homes is to understand the way architecture can be both imminently practical and inspiring all at once, which is to say that a home is not merely the sum of its square footage and furnishings.

Here are three slide shows we produced about Wright Igraham homes in the Pikes Peak region.

Yesterday, the air was so clear you could see the Wet Mountains and the Spanish Peaks from Colorado Springs. Not a distant blur, but a sharp blue line in a stark blue sky. I took the dogs to the park in the afternoon, and as we rounded a turn in the path of Monument Valley Park, where those huge, ragged old cottonwoods stand, a gust of wind rushed through and sent a spray of leaves falling. I froze in my tracks and the dogs froze, standing witness to something glorious we hadn’t experienced in a year, the chilling rush of pending autumn.

This Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. at Ivywild, KRCC and Smokebrush will present the first "dry run" of what we hope will be a monthly live storytelling event broadcast on KRCC. I spoke with Sharon Friedman last month about the evolution of the Story Project.

Click HERE for complete event details.

This Sunday from Noon to 6 p.m., the City Auditorium in downtown Colorado Springs will celebrate its 90th anniversary. I spoke with Judith Rice-Jones, a historian, Geographer, Civic Ecologist and founding member of the Historic Preservation Alliance about the building’s significance to the community.

Click HERE for complete details on the FREE event.