Here’s what I remember: My sisters and I are still small enough to fit on our grandfather’s lap as a threesome, one on each of his outstretched thighs, the smallest tucked in the middle between his legs, her back pressed against his broad belly. My grandfather’s body is soft and he wears loose pants worn shiny and thin, as smooth as bed sheets. Those of us propped on a leg lean back against his broad shoulders and together we focus eight eyes on a small cardboard book nestled in his rough hands.
This is the story of an heirloom tomato seed that one family has been growing in Colorado since they came to homestead in the San Luis Valley 125 years ago. Penn Parmenter, an avid seed-saver from Westcliffe, got a hold of the tomato seed just before the man who had been growing it passed away. Over time, Penn was able to reconnect the man's family with the precious heirloom and help them to rekindle their relationship with this extraordinary inheritance.
Gazette Reporter and Colorado Springs native Dave Philipps won the Pulitzer Prize yesterday for his investigative report “Other Than Honorable,” published last May. KRCC’s Noel Black spoke with Philipps about the award, the story and how it affected him.
This is the first installment of A Sense of Place, an 8-week collaboration between The Big Something and The State of the Rockies at Colorado College. The series will explore environmental histories and issues in southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. In this first piece, producer Sarah Stockdale talks to Gary Rapp about the Shooks Run Agro-Forestry Project in Colorado Springs.
Tune in two weeks from now on April 16 at 4:50 p.m. at the same time to hear the next installment.
In the early 1970s, in high school, my boyfriend was in a rock band and I was a groupie. My best friend, Hunter, and I planned our afternoons around band practice in the garage at the red-headed drummer’s house in suburban Memphis. When the band played a gig — at a bar mitzvah, a birthday party, a dance in the Moose Club hall — we came along and carried long spooled cords, microphone stands and portable lighting from the car to the stage.
This time of year I begin wishing for the sight of daffodils in bloom. Where I grew up, they usually began to show their yellow faces in late February or early March, depending on whether they enjoyed full sun or grew in dappled shade beneath a tree. I remember the appealing instructions for naturalizing a lawn with daffodils: Pick up of fistful of the bulbs that look like small onions, and toss them as you’d toss chicken feed or grass seed. Plant them where they land. Plant hundreds of them.
Local artist Bill Cummins was a character, a caricature, and a cartoon all rolled together in a Republican tofu sandwich. He passed away last month at the age of 84. Artist Sean O'Meallie and I remember his cognitive contortions, his art, and his trademark wintergreen odor.
We highly encourage you to come see the closing of his exhibition this Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Manitou Arts Center. There will be an informal rememberance of his life during the closing.
In 1987 I had two best friends, both named Julie. They were new acquaintances who had no connection to my past or my family or to each other, only to me. I’ve been thinking about them during these early spring days when the snow is falling and a particular kind of quiet loneliness envelops the house. Remembering the two Julies makes me think about friendship and what it means at different stages of life. I remember them with the gratitude of a lost traveler coming across a friendly local who’s happy to give directions. I remember them the way a tree’s roots remember water.
We're excited to see that ForeEdge books will publish Manitou Springs-based photographer Brenda Biondo's book, Once Upon a Playground, this May (visit this Blurb book for a preview of her beautiful photography).
Colorado Springs has its own fascinating history with playgrounds--check out this video we produced back in 2010 on Colorado Springs native and artist, Fred Schumm, and his space age creations.
Filmmaker Jennifer Lee will be showing her award-winning documentary, Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation, tonight at 7pm in the Cornerstone Arts Center. The film focuses on the experiences of women who played key roles in the women’s liberation movement during the 1960s. KRCC’s Jake Brownell spoke with Lee about the film. For more information about the screening, click HERE.
Last week I traveled to Seattle for a convention of writers — more than 10,000 of them — in a massive convention center. The event was bustling and hectic and hyper-scheduled from early morning to late at night. Harried conventioneers with plastic nametags lugged heavy totebags, studied maps and diagrams, and rushed up escalators and down long corridors from panels to readings, to absorb wisdom and inspiration for their art.
Lisa Moline and Lane Hall, co-founders of the Overpass Light Brigade, will be speaking tonight at UCCS. Moline and Hall, both of whom are artists based in Milwaukee Wisconsin, began displaying illuminated protest messages on highway overpasses and in public spaces during the campaign to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in 2011. In the years since, the tactic has been employed in support of various causes around the country and around the world. The Big Something’s Noel Black spoke with the duo about their work.
With many apologies for the delay, here are (at last) the official guidelines for submission to the 36 Views of Pikes Peak Project along with dates for exhibition. The biggest change, for those of you who have already submitted, is that we are asksing for phsyical submissions of postcard-size images. So here goes:
36 Views of Pikes Peak Juried Postcard Exhibit at PPLD
A collaboration between KRCC, UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art, PPLD, Colorado College, and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum:
If you drew a line straight up through the middle of a map of the United States, across the fruited plain, that line would come within 100 miles of the shooting locales of two American films currently contending for Oscars in multiple categories: Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, filmed in and outside a number of the state’s eastern plains towns; and August: Osage County, filmed largely in a big old house in Osage County on the border of Oklahoma and Kansas.
Veteran Journalist Katherine Boo will be speaking tonight at Shove Chapel on the Colorado College campus. A staff writer for The New Yorker, and former reporter and editor at the Washington Post, she’s received numerous awards for her work, including a Pulitzer prize for Public Service and a MacArthur Genius grant.
Opera theater of the Rockies opens its production of Lakme this Thursday at Armstrong Hall on the Colorado College campus. We sat down with three of the cast members to talk about its incredibly difficult aria and the fact tha the flower song is better known than the opera itself.
Celebrated novelist Zadie Smith will speak tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. in Armstrong Hall. Winner of numerous awards, Smith is the author of the novels “White Teeth,” “The Autograph Man,” “On Beauty,” and, most recently, “NW.” This event is part of the 2014 MacLean Symposium on Globalization, Culture, and Literature. Colorado College Professor Heidi Lewis spoke with Smith by phone.
In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, countries around the world have moved to slash government spending and reduce national debt. Dr. Mark Blyth, professor of International Political Economy at Brown University, argues that this is exactly the wrong way to approach the problem of slow economic growth. Dr. Blyth is in town to speak at Colorado College, and he sat down with The Big Something’s Noel Black to discuss his latest book, “Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea”.
I will be 60 years old in just a little over a month. I have lied about my age for decades, pretending always to be a year older than I really am, to soften the blow of aging, to get used to the idea. But this year I am claiming 60 because it feels important, an urgent starting line.
On your mark: You have limited time left to get your life’s work done.
Get set: Be clear about what that work is. Don’t kid yourself and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
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.