The Big Something

The Big Something is one amazing/ beautiful/ fascinating/ brilliant/ intelligent thing about or from the Pikes Peak Region delivered to the web and email inboxes around the region every weekday.

The Big Something
The Big Something
Credit D. Utterback

Produced by Noel Black, Craig Richardson and Delaney Utterback at Radio Colorado College, KRCC, the original idea was to expand the station’s programming and content in a web-only format with a “show” that would be a sort of cultural archaeology project for the Pikes Peak Region. Using audio-slideshows, photos, videos, writing, good old-fashioned audio and anything else the web will allow, The Big Something hopes to expand the sense of regional identity and community beyond the old clichés by uncovering, showing and telling stories and ideas that might otherwise go untold with a sense of one-to-one intimacy that radio evokes.


The Big Something
4:49 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

The Big Something Episode 3: Poet Gary Snyder, VSCO's Greg Lutze, and Stoner's Laundry

On this month’s 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; And 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.


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KRCC Newsroom and Wish We Were Here
10:41 am
Thu April 23, 2015

KRCC Wins Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

It's a big day for the KRCC Newsroom and the chaps that sculpt Wish We Were Here.

KRCC learned today that we received two Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for work produced by KRCC News Director Andrea Chalfin and Noel Black and Jake Brownell, producers of KRCC's program Wish We Were Here.  

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The Big Something
12:22 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Don't Buy Your Own Poster: An Interview with Gary Snyder

Credit San Simeon Films

Poet and essayist Gary Snyder is something of a living legend. He first rose to prominence in San Francisco in the 1950s as a central figure in the Beat Movement and San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. He read his poem “A Berry Feast” at the reading at which Allen Ginsberg debuted the poem “Howl,” and he was the inspiration for the character Japhy Ryder in Jack Kerouac’s 1958 novel, The Dharma Bums.

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The Big Something
5:00 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

The State of Surveillance: An Interview with Author and Blogger Cory Doctorow

Credit Jonathan Worth

Activist, author, co-editor of the influential blog, contributor to The Guardian, The New York Times, and many other publications, Cory Doctorow is one of the essential voices of the twenty-first century. The author of numerous books, including Information Doesn't Want To Be Free, a book about earning a living in the Internet age, he’s also the author of the young adult novel Little Brother and its sequel, Homeland, both of which explore civil liberties and social activism in the age of the internet.

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The Big Something
6:33 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

The Big Something Radio Programme, Episode 1: Drop City, Sylvia Nasar, and Senga Nengudi

50 years ago this year, two young artists from Lawrence Kansas, Gene and Jo-ann Bernofsky, joined forces with their friend Clark Rickert, a student at University of Colorado Boulder, and moved to Trinidad Colorado to start one of the most influential communes of the Hippie era, Drop City. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Drop City, arts and archaeology organizations across southern Colorado have planned exhibits and events exploring the history of the Commune.

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-Local Programs
5:32 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

KRCC PRESENTS: Showcasing Locally Produced Content on KRCC

Radio Colorado College is pleased to introduce KRCC PRESENTS, a new weekly time slot dedicated to original programming produced right here in the Pikes Peak Region. Beginning this week, tune every Friday at 7pm and every Sunday at 4pm to catch an episode of one of three new KRCC shows:

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The Middle Distance
5:21 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Middle Distance 1.30.15: That Beckoning Horizon -- A Fond Farewell to The Middle Distance


After more than 200 episodes and nearly five years, Kathryn Eastburn has decided to retire The Middle Distance. It has been a pleasure to work with Kathryn, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors, whatever they may be. If you've enjoyed reading/hearing her column over the years, we hope you'll  join us in thanking her in the comment section below. 

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The Middle Distance
2:54 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

The Middle Distance 1.16.15: Two Full Pints of Pecans


This cold January, Mama keeps the heat cranked up to 73 and only goes outside to put out the mail. She’s down to less than 90 pounds, her weight about the same as her age, but she still glides around on her little cat feet from chore to chore, all day long, every day. By the time I get up in the morning she has already unloaded the dishwasher, brought in the newspaper and read it, made the coffee and warmed up the biscuits.

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The Middle Distance
6:40 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

The Middle Distance, 1.9.15: Migrations

Credit Kathryn Eastburn

The plan was to fly, but at the last minute I decided to drive instead. I’d set aside a month to visit my mother on the Texas Gulf coast over Christmas and into the new year, and I reasoned it would be good to have my car for the month in Galveston, if the mechanic deemed it roadworthy for the 2,500-mile round trip.

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The Middle Distance
2:43 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

The Middle Distance, 12.19.14: Doll Baby


The tree lights twinkle silently on Christmas morning in our Kentucky living room. Beneath the lowest limbs, glassy-eyed baby dolls, circa 1960, lounge among piles of soft new pajamas and socks, awaiting the arms of three little girls.

I believe these are the happiest days of my mother’s life, when she sees us with our new dolls. It’s true that we asked for them, but in a roundabout way. 

“What do you want Santa to bring you?” she asks. 

“A football and shoulder pads,” says my older sister.

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5:51 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

The Middle Distance, 12.12.14: The Dark That We Must Blind

Credit Noel Black

It is nearly mid-December and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Lights twinkle on wreathes; shiny red bows crown doorways; cartoon reindeer and snowmen and Santas grin cheerfully from festive store windows.

The darkest day of the year approaches, the winter solstice, and candles in windows flicker against the black night.

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The Middle Distance
9:06 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

The Middle Distance 12.3.14: Remembering Kent Haruf

Kent Haruf

This week Colorado lost one of its finest native sons, but not really. Kent Haruf — born in Pueblo, raised on the eastern plains, schooled in Canon City and most recently a resident of Salida — died at his home last Sunday, but his legacy remains in the books he left behind.

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The Middle Distance
4:46 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

The Middle Distance 11.28.14: All The Light We Used to Have

“McAllister House Interior” by Norman Sams, 1965. Courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District. Image Number: 101-4758.

Nearly every wall of my mother’s house is lined with tables, bookcases, or a chest with drawers. And every time I come for a stay, I go through all of those drawers, one at a time.

Before the sun is up, Mama picks up the morning newspaper from the front porch, then pads down the carpeted hallway and pulls my bedroom door closed so I can sleep a little longer and she can fix her breakfast in peace. She feeds the dog a fried egg and makes a half pot of weak coffee, then reads the Galveston Daily News from front to back, clipping a recipe or a coupon if there’s a good one.

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The Middle Distance
5:24 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

The Middle Distance 11.21.14: Word to the Birdman

There are plenty of good reasons to see the Alejandro Inarritu film Birdman, currently enjoying the kind of pre-Oscar buzz that, once you’ve seen the movie, will make you giggle.

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The Middle Distance
5:43 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

The Middle Distance 11.14.14: Migrants

“Vietnamese Girl” by Alvaro Cardona-Hine, Cardona-Hine Gallery, Truchas, New Mexico (

I was reunited with a friend this week. From the time we last parted ways — the fall of 2007 — until now, she has lived in Denver and I have moved from Colorado to south Texas and back.

She exists as a painting, a portrait made some 30 years ago on the frozen plains outside St. Paul, Minnesota, by an artist born in Costa Rica, relocated to the midwest via Los Angeles. Her face betrays her Asian roots — Vietnamese, relocated to the United States after fleeing her homeland in a boat.

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The Middle Distance
5:52 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

The Middle Distance Celebrates 200 Episodes

This week's Middle Distance marks the 200th episode. Congratulations and thank you, Kathryn, for all you have done, and continue to do in the community! —Noel Black, Producer, and the KRCC Staff

I get irritated with writers who only write about writing. How can someone who doesn’t write essays or memoir or short stories or poems or novels, or even news stories have anything useful to say to someone who wants to tell a story?

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The Middle Distance
4:57 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Youth Documentaries to Premiere at FAC: An Interview with Tom Shepard

Tomorrow night at the Fine Arts Center, the Youth Documentary Academy will premiere films produced by their first class of local high school students. Podcaster Ryan Lowery sat down and spoke Colorado Springs native and Academy founder Tom Shepard, a documentary filmmaker who now resides in San Francisco, about the school and the films.

Click HERE for more information.

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The Middle Distance
6:50 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Middle Distance 10.31.14: In The Heart

Something remarkable happened in Colorado Springs over the last year. It happens all the time but often remains beneath the radar: someone with a dream pursues it with focus and determination and a vision is realized.

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The Middle Distance
5:15 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

The Middle Distance 10.24.14: More Than a Feeling

Credit by Marina Eckler

A tectonic shift occurs with aging. After walking and running and snoozing and gunning through six decades, out here in the middle distance I notice that I finally know how I feel when I’m feeling it.

Those of you self-aware beings who’ve been raising your consciousness since the ‘60s might chuckle at this insight. Where have you been all your life, you might ask, besides in your own skin?

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The Middle Distance
3:06 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

The Middle Distance 10.17.14: How The Gilmore Girls Saved My Life

Gilmore Girls


A student talked to me recently about his storytelling style. Film is his medium, and though he resists it, he tends naturally toward tightly constructed romantic comedies with snappy dialogue and happy endings. “I think I should just embrace my clichéd self,” he said. I told him that during my newspapering days, my co-workers, hard-nosed reporters, often teased that I covered the tearjerker beat. Sometimes, I said, we just have to admit what we’re good at whether we like it or not. 

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The Middle Distance
4:47 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

The Middle Distance 10.10.14: The Secret of Great Stories

Book Sale -- Myron Wood
Credit PPLD Image Number: 002-5818.jpg


  In her masterpiece, The God of Small Things, Indian novelist Arundhati Roy says this about stories: “The secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen.” 

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The Middle Distance
6:03 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

The Middle Distance 10.3.14: Goodnight Garden

Credit by Benjamin Vierling,

Goodnight garden.

Goodnight tomato vines, gnarly and black, pulled and piled to rot. Goodnight mutilated squash, shriveled eggplant and peppers and beans. It was great while it lasted.

Goodnight lonely beds, stripped and turned, tossed and raked. Quiet now, isn’t it, after all that nourishing? Just relax and let me feed you. I promise a feast of manure and leaves and compost. Your work is done. For now.

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The Middle Distance
4:43 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

The Middle Distance 9.26.14: Into Late September Shadows

"Myron Stratton Home" -- PPLD Image 013-4804.jpg
Credit Stewarts Commercial Photographers

It’s the day before the September equinox. Black clouds pile up to the north of Denver and a stiff breeze whips the tablecloths on the patio of a streetside sandwich shop. Diners clutch their newspapers and napkins, and their eyes dart across the busy street toward the approaching storm.

High school students on lunch break wander the sidewalks, deep in a dream of themselves.

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The Middle Distance
4:24 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

The Middle Distance 9.20.14: A Grand Market?

When my son died in the summer of 2007, his brother was scheduled to head off to Budapest, Hungary that fall to study math. The idea of him, so far away and on his own in a foreign place so shortly after this family trauma, caused both of his parents enough anxiety that, even though we had been divorced for many years, we decided to make a family visit to Budapest that October.

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The Middle Distance
5:44 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

The Middle Distance 9.12.14: How Well You Walk Through Fire

“Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.” In his posthumous collection, What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, poet Charles Bukowski encapsulated an all too familiar manifesto for growing old.

What nearly kills us strengthens us. What we lose brings into clear focus what we have. Clichés for living through the middle distance that, like all clichés, have become worn and ubiquitous because they are true.

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The Middle Distance
5:44 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

The Middle Distance 9.5.14: My People's Words

The most memorable exchange in the movie Sling Blade is between Karl, a mentally challenged man just released from the state mental hospital, and Frank, a young boy who’s his new friend.

Frank says: “I like the way you talk.”

“I like the way you talk,” says Karl.

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The Middle Distance
6:44 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

The Middle Distance 8.29.14: Legacy

It’s not unusual out here in the Middle Distance to begin wondering what we will leave behind when we’re gone. I’m not planning on going anywhere any time soon, but if middle age has taught me anything it’s that lives can end gracefully and naturally with time for reflection, or they can end suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving black holes in their wake.

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The Middle Distance
4:52 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

The Middle Distance 8.22.14: The Long, Slow Crawl of Baseball

When we were kids, the long, slow crawl of baseball colored our summer afternoons. Red clay dirt. Freshly drawn baselines of powdered white chalk. Little League Cardinals in red and white; Orioles in orange Pirates in green. Fingers stained by Pixi-Stix from the concession stand.

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The Middle Distance
5:12 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

The Middle Distance 8.15.14: How Much Is Enough?


This mid-August morning, the cool air already begins to hint at fall. The light is soft and gray. The only sound is the crunch of gravel as I walk down the alley, green bucket in hand, to the garden I tend, about a block away from where I now live.

Until just a month ago, I lived in the tall house that shades the garden. Now I’m a daily visitor there, slipping through the back gate while everyone in the house is still sleeping, a venture that makes me feel secretive, like a kid spying on her parents. 

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The Middle Distance
8:05 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

The Middle Distance, 8.8.14: The Soundtrack of Their Lives

If aging is letting go of adulthood and entering a whole new phase of life, a visit from an adult child can bring that reality into focus. Last week my daughter and her husband visited, and I experienced another in a long series of identity tweaks out here in the middle distance. I hadn’t yet let go of the mothering role I served with my kids for nearly 40 years, organizing their days and meals together, deciding what we would eat and when. As I watched my daughter, her brother and their significant others arrange their days and their meals, I felt part of myself quietly floating away.

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