NEW RULES FOR COMPOSTING ON THE FRONT RANGE P. 13
CU CLASSICAL CONCERT GIVES VOICE TO VIVALDI P. 16
NEW RULES FOR COMPOSTING ON THE FRONT RANGE P. 13
CU CLASSICAL CONCERT GIVES VOICE TO VIVALDI P. 16
Illuminating the worst in failed government transparency P. 10
13 NEWS: The rules around composting have changed for the whole Front Range — here’s what that means BY WILL MATUSKA
17 MUSIC: Colorado hardcore heavyweights FAIM seize a second chance at a swan song BYLAUREN HILL
29 GOOD TASTE: Curtis Park Deli opens a new outpost in BoulderBY COLIN WRENN
30 WEED: The ‘Father of Cannabis Research’ dies, leaving a wealth of knowledge and swatch of progress behind himBY WILL BRENDZA
7 THE ANDERSON FILES: Colorado considers a deep look at universal health care
9 LETTERS: Signed, sealed, delivered: your views
10 NEWS: Recognizing the worst in government transparency
15 NEWS ROUNDUP: This week in Boulder County and beyond
16 MUSIC: Jupiter Ensemble gives voice to Vivaldi
19 THEATER: Square Product Theater brings new staging of ‘Celebration, Florida’ to the Dairy Arts Center
20 EVENTS: What to do this week on the Front Range
22 FILM: Restored Iranian classic ‘The Runner’ to play CU Boulder’s International Film Series
23 SAVAGE LOVE: Coming around
25 NIBBLES: How a coffee nerd taught a food expert to craft a better pot
Boulder Wellness Center
The Bud Depot
Eclipse Cannabis Company
The Green Solution
Green Tree Medicinals
The Health Center
Helping Hand Herbals
North Boulder Wellness Center
Options Medical Center
Terrapin Care Station
The Peaceful Choice
Twin Peaks Dispensary
Village Green Society
MARCH 16, 2023
Volume XXX, Number 30
PUBLISHER: Fran Zankowski
CIRCULATION MANAGER: Cal Winn
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Caitlin Rockett
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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Dave Anderson, Emma Athena, Will Brendza, Rob Brezsny, Michael J. Casey, Angela K. Evans, Mark Fearer, Kelly Dean Hansen, Kaylee Harter, Lauren Hill, Nick Hutchinson, Dave Kirby, Ari LeVaux, Adam Perry, Dan Savage, Bart Schaneman, Alan Sculley, Samuel Shaw, Toni Tresca, Gregory Wakeman, Colin Wrenn
SALES AND MARKETING
MARKET DEVELOPMENT MANAGER: Kellie Robinson
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When it comes to healthcare, we are bombarded with misinformation and gaslighting. In 2019, the editors of more than two dozen scientific journals around the planet published an editorial to “sound the alarm that human lives are at stake” because of medical misinformation.
These physicians regularly encountered patients hesitant to take potentially life saving medications based on something they read online or saw on TV or heard from friends.
Then the COVID pandemic happened and a tsunami of BS followed. The anti-vaccination movement (encouraged by the far right) and an
idiotically irresponsible Trump administration gave us much needless sickness and death.
There’s also the profit-driven, badfaith misinformation of the medicalindustrial complex (which includes insurance companies, Big Pharma, hospitals and medical device firms).
Many years ago, former Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) said it was “bigger than the military-industrial complex.” It’s the biggest obstacle to the U.S. instituting a national health care system like all the other developed countries.
Paula Noonan tracks all the bills coming out of our state legislature on her website Colorado Capitol Watch.
She told me she noticed legislators end up proposing good health care reforms that deal with lots of bits and pieces. In her column in Colorado Politics, she notes:
“Some issues never go away. We lack the will to fix them, the issues are too big and complicated, and/or legislators and the Governor will only nibble at the edges rather than take the big bite. Health care in its various forms and impacts falls into each nofix category.”
She surveys several worthy healthcare bills of this kind and then notes the exception that “may provide some clarity on resolving most health care coverage problems.” That would be
HB 1209, Analyze Statewide Publicly Financed Health Care. She concludes:
“Nibbles at health care have produced a chaotic, indescribably complicated system that’s left 300,000 Coloradans without health insurance. Undoubtedly health care will always be on the state’s legislative agenda. But so many bills to ‘fix’ a system that everyone will use at some point probably means the system, as is, is beyond repair.”
Noonan also lists the lobbyists interested in bills. Many lobbyists from the medical-industrial complex (and other business interests) are opposing HB 1209.
Mental Health Colorado and the Cross-Disability Coalition are among the supporters.
Young Invincibles (YI) is another group supporting the bill. They’re a national nonpartisan nonprofit that works to uplift the voices of young adults 18-34 in the political process.
Their name is an ironic comment on an insurance industry term for young people who feel they are immune to sickness and injury. They know they aren’t invincible. YI is also concerned with higher education,
economic security, mental health and civic engagement issues.
HB 1209 asks the Colorado School of Public Health to study the impacts of a universal health care system in Colorado to individual and community health and to the health care workforce.
The bill was introduced by Reps. Andrew Boesenecker (Fort Collins) and Karen McCormick (Longmont) in the House and Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis (Longmont) in the Senate. All are Democrats.
I talked with Boesenecker over the phone as he drove home after lengthy Republican filibustering of bills over an exhausting couple of days. The Democrats have a solid majority in the legislature but the Republicans are hoping to slow things down. Boesenecker is majority co-whip.
Boesenecker is a musician and former public school music teacher. He is also a former Lutheran pastor. He was a chaplain at the Northern Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and saw people in the burn unit, intensive care and pediatrics. He had “countless conversations” with patients who were anxious about the cost of their health care and their ability to pay for essential procedures.
Boesenecker said HB 1209 is an outgrowth of a 91-page study in 2021 by the Colorado School of Public Health which concluded that a publicly financed and privately delivered system could provide health coverage to every resident, increase employment and improve overall population health. At the same time, we would spend billions less than we are spending now on health care. Such a system is called single payer.
The state legislature commissioned the study in 2019 which had a task force with bipartisan membership appointed by the governor and both parties’ leadership. Health care should be a human right and a public good rather than as a commodity. Many millions of people are driven into poverty each year because of health care costs. Time for Big Change.
Fishing, hunting, and trapping — stalking and lying in wait with the intention to kill living, feeling individuals — are crimes against life and should be abolished.
Regarding the subheading,
“Colorado’s river fish are contaminated — but the news isn’t all bad,” the news of PFAS is indeed “all bad” for each and every fish, as well as other living organisms.
In thought, word, and deed, may we, individually and collectively, accord each and every sentient being
equal consideration, respect, and, yes, rights, first and foremost the right to live free from human-inflicted harm and death. Such a paradigm shift offers us the opportunity to, momentby-moment, person-by-person, create a kinder, more just world for all.— Mark Wiesenfeld/Boulder
These days, it seems everyone is finding classified documents in places they shouldn’t be: homes, offices, storage lockers, garages, guitar cases, between the cracks of couches, under some withered celery in the vegetable drawer … OK, we’re exaggerating — but it is getting ridiculous.
While pundits speculate whether President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and President Joe Biden put national security at risk by hoarding secrets, that ultimately might not be the biggest problem.
What we know for sure is that these episodes illustrate overlapping problems for government transparency. It reveals an epidemic of over-aggressive classification of documents that could easily be made public. It means that an untold number of documents that belong to the public went missing — even though we may not get to see them for at least 25 years, when the law requires a mandatory declassification review. And then there’s the big, troubling transparency question: If these officials pocketed national secrets, what other troves of nonsecret but nonetheless important documents did they hold on to, potentially frustrating the public’s ability to ever see them?
It doesn’t do much good to file a Freedom of Information Act request for records that have disappeared.
Misbehavior like this is why we created The Foilies, our annual tongue-incheek “awards” for agencies and officials that thwart the public’s right to government information or otherwise respond outrageously to requests for documents and records. Each year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock News, in partnership with the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, publish this list of ne’erdo-wells to celebrate Sunshine Week (March 12-18) — an annual event to raise the profile of the democratic concept of government transparency.
It may be many years before the public learns what secret and not-sosecret documents weren’t turned over by past administrations to the National Archives. But when we do, we’ll be sure to nominate them for the top prizes. In the meantime, we have no shortage of redaction rascals and right-to-know knaves, from agencies assessing astronomical fees to obtain documents to officials who overtly obstruct openness to protect corporate interests. Read on and get to know the 2023 who’s-who of government opacity.
We are all lucky that the FBI is always on the lookout for “left wing innovations of a political nature,” especially those nasty “subliminal messages.” That’s why, in 1967, it sent an informant to a Monkees concert to report on the band’s anti-war sentiment.
Micky Dolenz, the band’s sole surviving member, is suing for that file under FOIA. As his complaint points out, the FBI spied on many musicians of that era, including Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon.
Dolenz sued after the FBI failed to produce the file beyond the heavily redacted portion that it already published online. The FBI has since provided five more redacted pages, Dolenz’s attorney tell us. Hopefully, this will shed more light on the FBI’s heroic war against Beatles, Monkees, and other subversive members of the animal kingdom.
To the hundreds of pages of colorful paintings and drawings created by Gitmo prisoners, the military added hundreds of little white redactions. FOIA requires redactions to be very particular and to specifically cite applicable exemptions. It seems there were plenty of very particular elements with which the agency took issue, claiming that amid trees of leaves and other scenes were materials that were ineligible for release due to personal privacy concerns and the risk that they would betray law enforcement techniques. When prisoners’ art could potentially disclose military secrets, we’re well through the looking glass.
Illustration courtesy EFF
(Illustrator: Caitlyn Crites)
The U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay regularly serves up both insults and injuries. A number of people still held there have been subjected to torture and other inhumane treatment at U.S. “black sites”; many are imprisoned indefinitely; and the Pentagon considers detainees’ artwork to be property of the U.S. government. The whole thing is a bit surreal, but U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) has more techniques for turning up the dial.
Bloomberg reporter Jason Leopold submitted a FOIA request in 2017 for artwork created by those detained at Guantanamo Bay. SOUTHCOM finally fulfilled the request last spring, and it took its own creative liberties with the release.
“Gitmo, after 20-plus years, is not only a black box of secrecy,” Leopold said, “but it has its own Orwellian rules when it comes to transparency.”
Sometimes agencies will respond to your FOIA request with a stack of documents. Other times, they will reject the request out of hand. But some agencies choose a third route: They tell you they can neither confirm nor deny whether the information exists, because the subject matter is classified, or because a positive or negative response would expose the agency’s hand in whatever intelligence or investigation game they’re playing.
This so-called “Glomar response” is derived from a Cold War-era case, when the CIA refused to confirm or deny to the Los Angeles Times whether it had information about the USNS Hughes Glomar Explorer, a CIA ship that was used to try to salvage a sunken Soviet spy sub.
“The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is studying the prevalence of so-called ‘Glomar’ responses to FOIA requests across the federal government,” RCFP Senior Staff Attorney Adam Marshall told us. “As part of that project, it has submitted FOIA requests (what else)
to every federal agency regarding their Glomar volume over a five-year period.”
So far, RCFP has learned that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sent four Glomars; the U.S. Department of Energy Office of the Inspector General sent 14; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General sent 102.
The NSA came back with an astounding 2,721 Glomar responses over the five-year period. As Marshall noted on Twitter, in fiscal year 2021 alone, Glomars accounted for at least 41% of all the FOIA requests the NSA processed. We honor the NSA for being so transparent about its lack of transparency.
When an agency receives a records request, an official is supposed to conduct a thorough search, not poke around halfheartedly before generating a boilerplate rejection letter. What’s rare is for an agency to send a photo
essay documenting their fruitless hunt for records.
That’s exactly how the city of General Escobedo in Nuevo León, Mexico, responded to a public records request that the EFF filed for documents related to a predictive policing law under Mexico’s national transparency law. The “Inexistencia de Información” letter they sent
included a moment-by-moment photo series of their journey, proving they looked really hard, but couldn’t find any records.
First, the photos showed they were outside the city’s security secretariat building. Then they were standing at the door to the police investigative analysis unit. Then they were sitting at a computer, looking at files, with a few screengrabs. Then they were looking in a filing cabinet.
The next photo almost caused us to do a spit take: They were looking in the drawer where they keep their coffee mugs — just in case there was a print-out jammed between the tea bags and the stevia. See, they looked everywhere.
Except … those screengrabs on the computer they breezed past were exactly the kind of documents we wanted. EFF appealed the case before the state’s transparency board, which eventually forced Escobedo to release a slideshow and receipts showing the city had wasted more than 4 million pesos on the Sistema de Predicción de Delitos (SPRED) project.
The Western United States has been caught in a 20-year megadrought, but when The Oregonian/OregonLive sought records on water usage from the city of The Dalles, the news organization found itself on the wrong side of a lawsuit. The city claimed the data was a trade secret, and filed suit on behalf of Google parent company Alphabet to block the release of records.
Alphabet, like other major tech companies, has increasingly invested in massive data centers that slurp up vast quantities of water to cool off their hardware. How much water, however, was a mystery, and one of pressing concern for locals. One resident told The Associated Press she had
seen her well water continue to drop year after year. “At the end of the day, if there’s not enough water, who’s going to win?” she asked. After a 13-month fight, there was something to savor: The city dropped its fight. Alphabet even tried to spin it as a PR win and declared itself a champion of transparency.
“It is one example of the importance of transparency, which we are aiming to increase ... which includes site-level water usage numbers for all our U.S. data center sites, including The Dalles,” a spokesperson said at the time.
The data was worth fighting for: The data centers’ water usage had tripled in the past five years, to where it consumes more than a quarter of all water used in the city, according to analysis from Mike Rogoway at The Oregonian/OregonLive
This year’s winner for most ludicrous fee assessment takes us to a suburb north of Detroit, where parents were met with a hefty price tag for trying to find out whether the school district was spying on them.
As reported by WXYZ, the parents were part of a Facebook group where they discussed their dissatisfaction with the district’s approach to remote learning. After a local parent sued the district, claiming she was fired because a district official had complained to her employer about her criticism of the district’s COVID-19 policies, these parents began filing public records requests to see if the district was monitoring their social media.
When one parent asked for records to know whether their name was included in any social media monitoring, the district said that to comply with the request, staff would have to search every email ever sent by an employee — a total of 12,115,251 emails. The district told the parent to be prepared to be liable for a whopping $18,641,345 fee, with $9,320,673.73 due in advance. That’s a lot of bake sales.
Steve Klemish winds through Longmont streets looking for the containers with a green lid. He knows exactly where he’s going without a map — he’s driven around the city collecting waste for 15 years. His truck, only three years old, already has 38,000 miles on it.
Klemish sits in a clean cab with a small American flag on the dash. A trio of Little Tree air fresheners and a dream catcher hang from a ceilingmounted radio.
“I take such pride in my truck,” Klemish says, describing how he climbs a step ladder to hand-scrub the white exterior with an old t-shirt.
Cleaning is a theme in Klemish’s life.
Klemish has collected both recycling and trash for the City, but jumped on the chance to be a part of Longmont’s residential composting program when it launched six years ago. He’s now the City’s lead compost driver.
Klemish likes his job, but he’s worried about a new policy change from A1 Organics, the state’s largest organic recycler.
In late February, A1 Organics announced it will only accept food scraps, yard and plant trimmings, and three-gallon Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA)-approved compostable bags used to collect food scraps. Starting April 1, the company will no longer take compostable packaging and cutlery, in addition to “non-traditional compostables” like paper towels, napkins, shredded paper or pizza boxes — all things that Klemish picks up regularly.
“Now that we have to change, I don’t know how this is gonna work,” he says. “I just hope it doesn’t get ugly.”
Marti Matsch, deputy director of Boulder-based recycling organization Eco-Cycle, says the new policy
affects the entire Front Range.
“It’s such a big change,” Matsch says, “and it has so many effects on so many different people,” including haulers, municipalities, commercial businesses and residents.
A1 claims to divert more than 425,000 tons of waste yearly from Colorado landfills, producing compost, mulch and other landscaping materials the public can purchase.
In a press release, A1 wrote that the change was made because food scrap material coming in (10% of total material A1 accepts) “is too contaminated [with plastic, glass and non-organic material] to process effectively and meet the quality standards for finished compost.”
Reasons for the change in policy include “certified” compostable items (think: biodegradable plastic packaging) not composting fully or quickly enough and contamination impacting resale quality. Accepting “packaging
cleaning trucks to residents misunderstanding what can be composted. Other streams (like cannabis waste), he says, have more control measures in place.
A1 started charging haulers contamination and reloading fees last August because of problems. Sander told Boulder Weekly last fall that the company saw up to 50% reduction of loads from some waste haulers after the fee implementation.
Because A1 started getting more selective with the materials it would accept last year, Matsch says she wasn’t surprised by the new policy. But, she says EcoCycle is getting “lots of feedback from people who are upset” about the policy change.
“We fully understand this is confusing for people,” she says. “People may perceive [the policy change] as a step backward, but it really isn’t it’s a step forward.”
In Longmont, Klemish is collecting about 800 organic collection bins from residents in the southeast side of the city who opted-in to the composting program. Nearly 9,000 households total are participating.
In 2022, Longmont says its curbside composting pickup program diverted 3,000 tons of organics from the landfill. Most of the material picked up through the program is yard waste like grass clippings, but food scraps make it in too.
The City of Boulder, which mandates composting for property owners and businesses, diverted more than 11,000 tons of organics in 2020, according to the most recently reported data on its website.
For the most part, Klemish says, “My residents behave. They compost the way they’re supposed to.”
and service ware,” like single-use cutlery, also limits the company’s ability to sell compost used to grow crops certified as USDA Organic.
Clinton Sander, marketing manager at A1, says the food scrap stream is “most challenging” because there are many touchpoints where contamination can occur — from haulers not fully
Sander says there’s high potential for creating quality compost and greenhouse gas avoidance from the food scrap stream.
“We have to collect [food scraps] to get these materials out of landfills,” he says, where rotting organic material releases gasses, including methane, that warm the climate, “but not at the cost of contaminating the finished product.”
He knows the residents on his routes and their composting habits whether they are reliable or not. He says “Monday east,” this day’s route, usually doesn’t have problems.
Klemish pulls over and uses the truck’s mechanical arm to collect an organics bin. “These people, they’re elderly. They’ve never pulled a stunt,” he says.
Sometimes people will come out and ask Klemish questions — which has helped him both educate and build relationships with his residents.
The rules around composting have changed for the whole Front Range — here’s what that means
STORY AND PHOTOS BY WILL MATUSKASteve Klemish on his way to pick up 800 organic collection bins on his “Monday east” route.
The following Wednesday he’ll see Jackie, a woman in her mid-90s going through a third round of blood cancer. If he doesn’t see the TV on and the blinds are drawn at the kitchen window, he goes to the door and checks on her.
And there’s Devin, an elementaryaged kid Klemish finds waiting outside every other Wednesday to hear his truck’s impressive horn.
The City is educating residents about the composting changes through a variety of means, including its website, newsletter and an insert in monthly utility bills, says Charles Kamenides, waste services manager at the City of Longmont.
In addition, Kamenides says some of the education will come from “the men and women who drive our compost collection vehicles,” like Klemish.
Klemish voiced concern about taking the brunt of residents’ confusion following the policy change. But the few residents he’s spoken to (nearly a dozen)
have understood the changes — they mainly want to compost yard waste.
Kamenides anticipates the composting program may lose some residents due to the restriction for compostable products, but assumes most customers will stay in the program.
Verity Noble, owner of Nude Foods Market in Boulder, is taking a different approach to cleaning the compost stream — by not offering compostable plastics and packaging in the first place.
Noble opened the “zero-waste” grocery store in September 2021 with the goal of avoiding single-use compostable plastics like the ones A1 is no longer accepting.
The market offers composting for any organic products purchased in the store, especially food that spoils. Noble estimates they compost at least two five gallon buckets a day.
Nearly everything in the market is packaged in glass jars packed on-site by staff. Customers pay a deposit fee per jar, then bring the jar back the next time they shop to be washed and reused.
“One of the biggest things that we need people to change is the way they consume if we’re going to solve our waste problems,” says Noble, who plans on opening five more stores across the Front Range by the end of 2027.
By not including compostable packaging, Noble says she creates a more valuable compost — the kind A1 wants more of with its new policy.
Jamie Harkins, sustainability senior manager of circular economies at the City of Boulder, says the City is shifting to reusables at events like the Boulder Creek Festival to help meet the Universal Zero Waste Ordinance.
“Switching to reusables saves natural resources, energy and money — all
while preventing waste in the first place,” he says.
Matsch at Eco-Cycle is working with stakeholders across the Front Range on the Colorado Clean Compost Campaign — an effort to provide consistent messaging, guidelines and education materials for customers to limit confusion.
She is hopeful that the policy change will create higher-quality compost.
“This is just a growing pain that really pushes us toward a much more accessible, affordable and effective way of collecting organic materials throughout the state,” she says.
Klemish says he doesn’t want to see Longmont’s program fail. When April 1 comes around, residents can trust Klemish will be working to keep the stream clean.
“I don’t care how long or how far behind I get,” he says, “I will be popping lids.”
For the second year in a row, the Colorado women’s basketball team will compete in the 68-team NCAA Tournament. The No. 20 Buffaloes (23-8) enter the tournament as a No. 6 seed, and will play 11-seeded Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Saturday, March 18 in Durham, North Carolina.
The team is led by senior center Quay Miller, whose 13.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game earned her an All-Pac 12 selection. After getting knocked out in the first round by Creighton last year, Miller is looking forward to being back in the tournament.
“It wasn’t a one-time thing for us,” she said to the university on March 12. “I think that it shows that we have the potential to be great and we’re just trying to strive for that every game and every practice.”
The last time the Buffs made backto-back appearances in the tournament was the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. If the team wins on March 18, they play the winner of Duke and Iona on March 20.
Town of Superior is hosting an “unvarnished conversation” with elected representatives about the community’s recovery status, what went right and wrong, and what lies ahead.
Gov. Jared Polis, Rep. Joe Neguse, Boulder County Commissioner Ashley Stolzmann and other representatives will attend the event on Friday, March 17 at 3 p.m. at the Superior Community Center, 1500 Coalton Road. For more information, visit superiorcolorado.gov
Athletes celebrate their placement in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday. Photo courtesy University of Colorado.
More than a year after the most devastating wildfire in our state’s history, the
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reduced its lifetime drinking water health advisories for two harmful PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) from 70 parts per trillion (ppt) to less than .03 ppt. Now, the EPA has proposed the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) to establish legally enforceable levels for sixBY BOULDER WEEKLY STAFF
PFAS in drinking water, including PFOA and PFOS.
PFAS chemicals are toxic “forever chemicals” with potential health impacts like a weakened immune system and increased risk of cancer. They can be found in everything from water to soil. One study published earlier this year found PFAS in nearly every fish sampled in rivers across Colorado (News, “Swimming with Forever Chemicals,” March 9, 2023).
If implemented, the EPA predicts the March 14-proposed regulation will “prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses.” The regulation could be finalized by the end of 2023.
An informational webinar about the proposed regulation is on March 29, with a public hearing scheduled for May 4. Register for these events at epa.gov
Antonio Vivaldi is the most familiar and unfamiliar of major composers. Classical music enthusiasts may know just a handful of his more than 500 concertos, including the ubiquitous Four Seasons, but the Italian baroque composer is one of the easiest to identify through his stylistic formula. An all-Vivaldi program can therefore become monotonous even if most of the program is unknown.
For Thomas Dunford, lute virtuoso and founder of the Jupiter Ensemble, a sampling of the composer’s muchneglected vocal output is one way to change things up. The ensemble started out with Vivaldi upon its 2018 debut, and an all-Vivaldi program will be featured throughout its current North American tour, including the group’s Front Range debut at Macky Auditorium on March 22 as part of the CU Presents Artist Series.
“I love when programs tell different things,” Dunford says. “I always like to learn from composers.” With Vivaldi, the vocal excerpts give the audience some breathing space that an unbroken parade of concertos — even with a variety of featured instruments — cannot. “It’s like a tasting. If you balance duck liver with ice cream, you won’t get overloaded.”
Jupiter’s vocalist is French-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre, a fixture with the group from its outset. “Lea was our voice at the beginning, and I try to do as many programs with her as I can,” Dunford says. “We try to keep the same team together as much as we can, so that the group can gel together and get all the right reflexes.”
Desandre sings four arias from Vivaldi operas: two from his only surviving oratorio Juditha triumphans, and one from the sacred vocal composition Nisi Dominus. These are interspersed as slow-fast pairs between three con-
certos, two for Dunford’s lute and one for Jupiter’s cellist Bruno Philippe.
Dunford was raised in France, the son of two leading performers on the baroque viola da gamba. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and became, according to BBC Music Magazine, the “Eric Clapton of the lute.” The instrument is often part of the baroque “basso continuo” group, which provides the bass line and fundamental harmonies below the melodic lines.
It was while playing in such continuo groups that Dunford conceived the project that became Jupiter. “After a while, I had the desire to explore some of the repertoire in a way I believed would sound closer to the spirit of what composers were doing at the time, considering how modern and expressive this music would have been to contemporary audiences,” he says.
The idea was to get the best people together in a musical environment where each performer knows the material so well that every moment of a performance seems like improvisation. “I wanted a group of friends that could work deeply on the music for a powerful result,” he says.
Jupiter is one player per part, but Dunford is more concerned about musical expression than numbers. Besides Dunford and Desandre, the group performing at Macky includes two violinists, one violist, one cellist, one double bassist, and a keyboardist on harpsichord and organ.
When it comes to the lute, Vivaldi wrote four solo works featuring the instrument. Dunford plays the most familiar, the D-major concerto, along with a C-major work that is more a “trio sonata” than a concerto proper. With Jupiter’s small numbers, the
adaptation as a concerto was uncomplicated, Dunford said.
“Vivaldi was writing for a small lute, probably tuned an octave higher than what I play,” he says. When the ensemble plays together in the socalled “tutti” passages, the lute largely plays along with either the violin lines or the “basso continuo” part, but then breaks on its own for the solo passages.
But ultimately, whether listeners feel unfamiliar or too familiar with the red-headed Italian at the center of the music, Dunford hopes Jupiter
Ensemble’s upcoming CU Boulder performance is an opportunity for concertgoers to connect through a common language.
“No matter how large or small the audience, it’s all about shared emotions and experience.”
ON THE BILL: Jupiter Ensemble with Lea Desandre.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, Macky Auditorium, 1595 Pleasant St., CU Boulder. $18-$82
In 2020, Denver band FAIM hoped to take what they thought would be their final record to DIY venues all over the United States and Europe. But the year from hell halted parting plans in their tracks.
That year’s Hollow Hope was meant to be the final farewell for the hardcore quintet, but the upheaval spurred by the pandemic and social unrest made the August release feel already too far behind in their evolution to tour with. The opportunity for a last gasp finally came late last year in the form of their new album, Your Life and Nothing Else, which crashed into the world Dec. 16 via Californiabased Safe Inside Records
“Almost begrudgingly, [we] started writing this record, and came to really appreciate the new lease on the band that it gave us,” says guitarist and co-writer Chris Carraway. “Coming into it, we knew this was our last. And, I think that let us shake off a lot of limits we put on ourselves. We just wrote what we liked.”
Though their impassioned sound remains a throughline between projects, the thematic difference between the albums is stark. While Hollow Hope’s rage is often aimed outward, Your Life and Nothing Else signals a period of introspection that can only be catalyzed by a new social reality that offered as much time alone as it did political strife.
In the years since the band’s first demo in 2017, FAIM has carved a reputation as a band that foregrounds time-honored punk political ideologies. They proudly dub their discogra-
phy “the soundtrack to jumping your local Nazi,” and regularly shine a spotlight on sexism and predatory behavior in the hardcore community. But as American life became more overtly political in 2020, FAIM ironically felt less of a drive to prioritize such messaging in their songs, favoring reflective, personal lyrics instead.
“I had a lot of examining of myself to do during [those] two years between when [Hollow Hope] came out, and when we recorded [Your Life], and I changed a lot in a positive way,” says vocalist and cowriter Kathryn Lanzillo. “I had to get rid
“This album is very therapeutic, being able to write lyrics that are angry and sad and show those sides you’re not always allowed to show,” Lanzillo says. “We always have to put on these smiles like we’re fine. It’s nice to have this outlet for when you’re not so positive, and you’re not so sure about yourself.”
“A lot of that change is on the men in hardcore — who they choose to be friends with, and who they choose to start bands with,” says Lanzillo. “It’s exhausting that it’s 2023 and I can look at a lineup for a show, and it’s still all men. That just shouldn’t be happening anymore. It’s not representative of who’s going to shows.”
of negative things in my life, or things that weren’t healthy for me. I really learned to enjoy the simplicity of being at home.”
Hardcore punk might not be the first genre that springs to mind when it comes to this sort of quiet introspection, but the churning animosity of Your Life offers a unique avenue for expressing Lanzillo’s emotion.
Any self-assuredness was hard earned for Lanzillo, thanks in part to her relatively rare status as a woman fronting a hardcore band. And she wastes no opportunity calling out misogyny in the scene, like on Your Life standout “Boys Will Be Boys,” which explores the crippling weight of exclusion in a music community dominated by men. She says she’s seen positive change over her 20 years in hardcore, but progress still needs to happen, especially when it comes to representation on stage.
Now, after almost a decade seeking to provoke change in the hardcore scene, FAIM’s time as a group is coming to an end. Carraway and Lanzillo don’t know what’s beyond a European summer tour and the band’s final show in October. But they’re itching to live out the full lifespan of Your Life and Nothing Else like they never could for Hollow Hope.
“I look at this last six, seven months of the band as a chance to really celebrate,” says Carraway. “[We want to] celebrate what we’ve put into it, and not take it for granted.”
ON THE BILL: FAIM record release show. 6 p.m. Friday, March 17, Seventh Circle Music Collective, 2935 W. Seventh Ave., Denver.
The journey from Celebration, Florida to Boulder, Colorado, began across the pond. Emily K. Harrison, producing artistic director for the local Square Product Theater, stumbled upon a Soho Theatre production of Greg Wohead’s strange and cerebral play while teaching at Brunel University London in 2018. She had been researching shows to attend with her visiting partner, and this one stuck out.
“It sounded like something different and right up my alley,” Harrison says. “I didn’t know the playwright before seeing the show but approached him in the bar after the performance. I told him that I ran this theater company in Colorado and that I was very interested in doing this show.”
Harrison and Wohead stayed in touch following their introduction, collaborating the following year on the first Colorado production of the piece at Denver’s Buntport Theater and the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder. This staging was the first time Wohead wasn’t involved in running the play’s intricate technical components live from the booth himself.
Those technical concerns are essential to Celebration, Florida, a surrealist show that asks two unrehearsed actors who have never met to perform together. They know nothing other than where to start the performance before donning headsets that allow Wohead to feed individualized instructions to each actor through pre-recorded audio tracks.
“It’s a play about isolation and loneliness, but also connection,” Harrison says. “There is isolation because of the headsets, but they have all these cool moments of engagement. It danc-
es around these ideas of what’s real as the performers serve as surrogates for Greg to explore authenticity.”
The play was inspired by Wohead’s experience of living two different lives while traveling back and forth between the United States and England.
plays, since it’s one of the few shows that can happen without him in the room.
“I love the idea that it is now off and doing its own thing,” Wohead says. “Emily has a good idea of how it works from a production she did a few years ago, so I’m looking forward to Colorado audiences and performers experiencing the show’s vulnerability and openness.”
Celebration, Florida fits with Square Product Theatre’s mission to produce radical plays that leave audiences with just as many questions as answers. Along with allowing the company to experiment with different modes of performance, it also provides them with the unique opportunity to build
GerRee Hinshaw and Elle Hong on March 16, Matthew Austin Combs and Nina Rolle on March 17, Dia Kline and Haley Johnson at the matinée on March 18 and James Brunt and Heather Kelley at the final performance that evening.
“What I do in dance is very improvisational, so I’m curious to see how this plays out,” Hong says. “Emily told me not to rehearse the play [with] the person I am paired with; I’ll just work my normal nine-to-five and then go make a show happen.”
Similarly to Hong, Combs, a newcomer to Colorado, said yes to the show because of his curiosity about the project.
“I don’t know anything about it other than the casting requirements,” Combs says. “Maybe it has something to do with a town; it’s like Almost Maine, but instead it’s Celebration, Florida? I’m not entirely certain, but I am trying this thing where I say yes to different opportunities the universe presents me, to meet new people and get connected to the Colorado theater community.”
Even though there is no rehearsal process, Harrison has been busy before the show’s opening finalizing the cast, promoting the play and ensuring the technical elements are up to speed. But however the final performances shake out, she hopes the show will bring the Boulder community into a deeper dialogue through experimental stagecraft.
“No matter where I was, I felt as though I was always missing out on something,” Wohead says. “I was going through life trying to grab onto things to fill the feeling of missing people or places. I had seen a few other shows use headsets, and I was interested in using this device to create an autobiographical show that I wouldn’t have to perform.”
Although the show is very personal to Wohead, Celebration, Florida, has since taken on a life of its own. That’s a welcome development for the playwright, who performs in most of his
community among a diverse group of artists who have never met.
Finding performers who didn’t know each other proved more challenging for Harrison than it was when she first staged the piece in 2019. However, through a community-wide casting call, she was able to find a mix of Colorado theater legends and newcomers alike.
The show’s five rotating cast members include rita maria aires and Alexander Watson on March 15,
“It brings these two humans together for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s funny and touching,” Harrison says. “During the last run, people were very moved. And I think bringing people together for unique experiences in a room is what live theater is all about.”
ON STAGE: Celebration, Florida by Greg Wohead. 8 p.m. through March 18 (3 p.m. matinée on final day), Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder. $27
MAZURI AOA NATIONAL ALPACA SHOW
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri-Sat, March 17-18 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, March 19, National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St., Denver. Free
A selfie booth, yoga classes and a costume contest are just some of what’s in store at the National Western Complex this weekend. Now add the word “alpaca” to the front of each of those events. That’s right: Due to popular demand, the Alpaca Owners Association is returning to Denver for the 2023 National Alpaca Show. Hordes of the four-legged cult favorite will draw a plethora of alpaca enthusiasts, farmers and vendors from across the country.
UHL’S BREWING COMPANY 3RD ANNIVERSARY
Noon-9 p.m. Saturday, March 18, Uhl’s Brewing Company, 5460 Conestoga Ct., Boulder. Free
Since their founding a few years ago, Aaron Uhl and Uhl’s Brewing Company have staked claim as a staple in the Boulder brewing scene. On Saturday, they’ll be celebrating three years the best way a brewery can — with beer. Live music, food trucks and a release of both popular and limited edition pours will be in the mix.
5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, eTown Hall, 1535 Spruce St., Boulder. Free (advance registration required)
March 22 marks two years since a mass shooting claimed the lives of 10 people at the Table Mesa King Soopers in South Boulder. A number of local partners, including the City of Boulder, will be holding a remembrance event, available in-person or virtually via livestream, “to remember those who are no longer with us.”
FREEWHEEL LIMITED ROLLER SKATING
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri-Sat, March 17-18. Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Rd., Longmont. $10
Freewheel Limited has one goal in mind: to bring the joy of rollerskating back to Longmont. And there’s no better place to get rolling than the Boulder County Fairgrounds Exhibit Building, a space perfect for putting wheels to the ground. This weekend, come out for “tot skate” with the little ones on Friday morning, all ages from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and a Saturday night adult skate to cap off the best weekend on wheels.
ASCENT: BOULDER SOUNDWALK PREMIERE
10 a.m. Saturday, March 18, Scott Carpenter Park, 1505 30th St., Boulder. Free
Composer Divya Maus has worked to turn Boulder’s Scott Carpenter Park into a fullbodied sound installation, and starting this Saturday, you can be among the first to experience the self-guided soundwalk with an “immersive nature concert” that flows with the park in question.
EAST WINDOW PRESENTS: ARTIST TALK WITH KALI SPITZER
7-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, East Window, 4550 Broadway Suite C-3B2, Boulder. Free
Celebrate Month of Photography 2023 with Kali Spitzer, an Indigenous, femme, queer photographer, who is Kaska Dena from Daylu (Lower Post, British Columbia) on her father’s side and Jewish from Transylvania, Romania on her mother’s side. Join Spitzer in person at East Window for a night of stories and representation for BIPOC, queer and trans people, all through the lens of a camera.
ON THE BILL: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong sounds more like a skit than a band, but make no mistake, the Baltimore psych-funk group is a force to be reckoned with. These jammers have played as many as 200 shows in a calendar year, and on Friday and Saturday, they’ll post two to their 2023 tally at the Boulder Theater, alongside local staple Tenth Mountain Division See listings for details.
DAVE ABEAR 6 p.m. Wibby Brewing, 209 Emery St., Longmont. $10
BATTERHEAD 6 p.m. BOCO Cider, 1501 Lee Hill Drive, Unit 14, Boulder. Free
GEORGE NELSON 7 p.m. R Gallery + Wine Bar, 2027 Broadway, Boulder. Free
SONGWRITER SERIES: CLAY ROSE WITH BONNIE SIMS 7 p.m. Roots Music Project, 4747 Pearl, Suite V3A, Boulder. $25
CITY AND COLOUR WITH MMEADOWS 7 p.m. eTown Hall, 1534 Spruce St., Boulder. $60
NESSA BARRETT 8 p.m. Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St., Denver. $48
MATT FLAHERTY DUO 9:30 p.m. Velvet Elk Lounge, 2037 13th St., Boulder. Free
WEYES BLOOD WITH VAGABOND 8 p.m. Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood. $28
SIPPY WITH BWRZ, PLANET BLOOP 9 p.m. Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. $18
PIGEONS PLAYING PING PONG WITH TENTH MOUNTAIN DIVISION (NIGHT 1). 8 p.m. Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St. $40
Performance Space, 200 E. South Boulder Road., Lafayette. $15
FAIM RECORD RELEASE SHOW. 6 p.m. Seventh Circle Music Collective, 2935 W. Seventh Ave., Denver. Story on pg. 17.
THE ELEGANT PLUMS WITH DIREVILLE: ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARTY 9 p.m. Velvet Elk Lounge, 2037 13th St., Boulder. $12
THAT 1 GUY WITH HYZENBORG 8 p.m. Aggie Theatre, 204 S College Ave., Fort Collins. $22
TRIVECTA WITH MIDNIGHT KIDS AND TSU NAMI 9 p.m. Ogden Theater, 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver. $87
BIG GIGANTIC WITH COLORADO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 7:30 p.m. Boettcher Hall, 1000 14th St., Denver. $130
THE STEWS WITH BAREFOOT IN THE BATHROOM AND BLEAK MYSTIQUE.
9 p.m. Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. $25
PIGEONS PLAYING PING PONG WITH TENTH MOUNTAIN DIVISION (NIGHT 2) 8 p.m. Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St. $40
SIDEPIECE WITH WESTEND, CLOVERDALE AND TARUHH.
9 p.m. Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St., Denver. $48
UNWRITTEN LAW WITH AUTHORITY ZERO AND MERCY MUSIC 8 p.m. Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver. $36
KIMBRA WITH TEI SHI 8 p.m. Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood. $36
BONNIE & TAYLOR SIMS BAND WITH JAKE LEG 9 p.m. Velvet Elk Lounge, 2037 13th St., Boulder. $14
HA$H 7 p.m. Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer St., Denver. $20
SUNDAY, MARCH 19
DJ MATTY SCHELLING. 7 p.m. Velvet Elk Lounge, 2037 13th St., Boulder. Free
PLYWOOD CLYDE. 4 p.m. BOCO Cider, 1501 Lee Hill Drive, Unit 14, Boulder. Free
CRADLE OF FILTH WITH DEVILDRIVER. 6 p.m. Summit, 1902 Blake St., Denver. $35
THOMPSON LATIN JAZZ ENSEMBLE 7:30 p.m. Grusin Music Hall (C112)CU Boulder, 1020 18th Street. Free
NNAMDÏ. 7 p.m. Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer St., Denver. $16
THE CHURCH 8 p.m. Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood. $48
EMOTIONAL ORANGES WITH AAYANNA 8 p.m. Ogden Theater, 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver. $25
THE RESIDENTS 8 p.m. Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver. $48
RAYLAND BAXTER WITH LIZ COOPER, FRIKO 8 p.m. Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood. $36
WYLIE 9 p.m. Velvet Elk Lounge, 2037 13th St., Boulder. Free
POWERWOLF 8 p.m. Ogden Theater, 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver. $85
JUPITER ENSEMBLE WITH LEA DESANDRE 7:30 p.m. Macky Auditorium, 1595 Pleasant St., CU Boulder. $18-$82. Story on pg. 16.
Want more Boulder County events? Check out the complete listings online by scanning this QR code.
The child has no parents, no siblings, no relatives to speak of. He’s 11 years old, and what happened before the movie starts is of little concern. Ditto for what happens after the credits roll. If that makes The Runner sound like a movie existing in some amorphous space detached from reality, know this: Nothing could be further from the truth. This is one of the most authentic portraits you’re likely to encounter.
Filmed in Iran, directed by Amir Naderi and released in 1984, The Runner has been called one of the first masterpieces from post-revolutionary Iran. Now the film has been restored and re-subtitled and is currently making the art-house cinema rounds thanks to Rialto Pictures. And on Saturday, March 18, The Runner lands at CU Boulder’s International Film Series for a screening you don’t want to miss.
Set in the port city of Abadan and based on Naderi’s youth, The Runner is a movie in constant motion with a protagonist, Amiro (Madjid Niroumand), who thrives on movement. Amiro lives by himself, finds his own food, washes his own clothes and makes his own way. For money, he collects glass bottles littered in the surf and then sells them to a recycler. When an incident over who saw a bottle first turns into a skirmish, Amiro starts selling ice water out of a bucket on the street. Then he starts shining shoes at a military base café. It’s Amiro’s best job until a customer accuses him of stealing a lighter.
The character of Amiro paired with Niroumand’s unguarded performance makes The Runner compelling, but it’s what director Naderi and cinema-
tographer Firooz Malekzadeh accomplish with the visuals that make it magnificent. The film is rich with symbolism, but none of it feels forced or academic. Rare are movies this effortless. Take the shot of Amiro on his bicycle racing against a plane on the runway. You could read a lot into the image — and its placement in the narrative — or you could just absorb the beauty of the composition and the power of Niroumand’s performance.
It’s worth wondering why Naderi chose to find such beauty in a story that could have wallowed in the gutter. Maybe this was his way of rescuing Amiro from the harshness of life. Or maybe this beauty is Amiro’s way of saving himself from the harshness surrounding him. Amiro is no delusional child. He knows what he’s up against. He knows the world is just waiting to cheat him out of everything he has. Yet, he is almost always seen with a smile. And when The Runner comes to its triumphant and ecstatic conclusion, Amiro’s smile is so big it practically has wings.
DEAR DAN: I’m a straight cis woman who could never orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. But suddenly I am able to come just from vaginal penetration now that I’ve reached middle-aged! This was never the case for me before — I could never come from PIV all by itself — and I’ve never heard another cis woman talk about suddenly being able to come during PIV after hitting her late 30s. Is this common?
— Suddenly Having Intensely Felt Tremors
DEAR SHIFT: “We too often think about orgasms as stable or unchanging,” said Dr. Debby Herbenick, a professor at the Indiana University of Public Health, a prolific and widely published-and-cited sex researcher, pundit, and author, and director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion.
“In fact, orgasms sometimes shift over time or in response to certain life stages or body experiences — experiences such as pregnancy, the postpartum period, or menopause.”
While Dr. Herbenick couldn’t say for sure why you’re so suddenly able to come from just PIV alone — something most women can’t do — she did share some possible explanations.
“First, it may just be learning over time, especially if SHIFT has a new partner, is exploring in new ways with a long-term partner, or is paying attention to vaginal sensation in ways SHIFT perhaps didn’t before,” said Dr. Herbenick. “Or maybe SHIFT’s just open to the experience now in ways she wasn’t earlier.”
Basically, SHIFT, if you ran out of fucks to give — something most women eventually do — and consequently became more vocal and assertive about your pleasure and the positions, speeds, depths of penetra-
tion, etc., that work best for you, you could be experiencing PIV very differently now.
“Another option is anatomical change,” said Dr. Herbenick.
“While the changes are slow-moving, cisgender women do experience anatomical shifts — the angle of vagina in the body can change over time. I’ve always found this fascinating, and this may be contributing to how intercourse feels for SHIFT. Because along with changes in vaginal angle come changes in how the vagina and cervix may be stimulated during intercourse.”
If the angle of your vagina has shifted even slightly, SHIFT, the angle or angles of penetration that work best for you now — new angles that hit you just right — could be stimulating your clit, internally or externally or both, in ways PIV didn’t use to.
“Another possibility could be shifts related to hormones and the brain,” said Dr. Herbenick. “If SHIFT is around perimenopause or menopause, no doubt she’s noticed a range of ways that hormonal changes are affecting ways that her body feels. Orgasm is not just about the clitoris or vagina; these are stimulating points but they’re only one part of what contributes to orgasm. How we sense and perceive those sensations are influenced by our brain, which is also influenced by hormones.”
Finally, SHIFT, assuming you can still come from oral, manual, and vibrational stimulation, I think we can safely file your question — suddenly being able to come from another kind of stimulation — in the “good problem to have” drawer. Enjoy!
Follow Dr. Herbenick on Twitter @ DebbyHerbenick and on Instagram @ DrDebbyHerbenick.
Whether the sun is shining or snow is falling, our little corner of Pearl Street is the perfect place to soak up winter in beautiful Boulder! Feast alongside the jellyfish, sink into a lounge or take a seat at one of our lively bars.
Prefer the great outdoors? Our fireside patios are the coziest place to savor those mild winter days.
When your own couch is calling, all of your favorites are available for curbside pickup too.
No matter how you choose to dine don’t miss our ever-evolving specials, delicious seasonal cocktails, and latest rare whiskey!
Ihave to confess something kind of embarrassing. I’m a skilled cook, a food expert, a former dining critic and culinary radio host. You would think I could make a decent cup of coffee since I get to practice almost every morning. Yet, despite grinding quality beans fresh for every pot, my drip coffee ends up too weak, too muddy or with grounds floating in it.
After another miffed morning, I called on one of Boulder’s most notable coffee nerds, Justin Hoffman. Usually, coffee lovers quiz the founder and owner of Ozo Coffee about espresso technique or the latest and greatest pour over device. He was intrigued because I wanted help with the device that most people use in their home kitchens: a standard drip coffee maker. (We shall not speak of the great environmental devil using those little plastic coffee capsules.)
Hoffman invited me over for a little tutoring in the coffee training lab at Ozo’s Boulder roastery. I brought my coffee maker, filter and grinder to find out what I was doing wrong … and right.
Hoffman broke down the critical factors that make or break a pot of coffee.
A clean machine: When was the last time you cleaned your maker?
Remember: Cleanliness is next to tastiness, according to Hoffman. Never use soap, which can leave a residue, but rather diluted white vinegar or a special coffee maker-cleaning solution. Be sure to run a couple of pots of water through it afterwards to rinse it out.
In hot water: The water in your brewer should pour over the grounds at 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. My maker tested at the right temperature and chances are yours is also correct. However, if you have an older drip maker, it is worth testing to assure the water is hot enough to brew properly.
No nuking: Hoffman is not in favor of microwaving coffee. He recommends brewing the coffee into a preheated (with hot water) insulated carafe and then into a preheated mug.
Blade versus burr: Buying preground coffee absolutely guarantees you will get less flavor and bang for your coffee buck. Even in a sealed bag the flavor starts deteriorating, Hoffman says. It only takes seconds to grind it fresh.
“Start with a blade grinder,” Hoffman says. “One thing that helps is to shake
the grinder as it works to get a more uniform grind. The next step up is a gravity-fed burr grinder, which is much more precise. That’s one of the best things you can do to make better coffee at home.”
He made his point by brewing two batches of coffee, one using my blade grinder and one using his burr grinder. Tasted side by side, the burr batch was substantially more flavorful than my blade brew.
“Ultimately, you want a uniform grind,” he says. “If your coffee tastes a little weak, your grind is probably a little rough. If it tastes ashy or muddy, the grind may be too fine.”
Don’t overstock beans: When you pick up freshly roasted beans, don’t buy more than you can use fairly soon. “We like to keep beans 20 or 30 days after roasting — that’s optimal for flavor,” Hoffman says.
Whatever you do, don’t refrigerate or freeze coffee beans. “They need to be sealed tightly in a dark, dry spot,” he says. “A Mason jar with a tight top is ideal. Exposure to air is what you want to avoid.”
Get filtered: I’ve been using permanent plastic or metal coffee filters for a while to cut down on paper waste, but Hoffman insists paper filters can be useful. “Using paper filters does cut down on the smaller particles and remove some of the oil in the beans,” he explains. “Some people say that it makes it easier to taste the nuances in the coffee.”
While looking at my filter he discovered a hole, which explained the grounds in my morning brew. I bought a new filter on the way home.
Water with flavor: Clean water necessarily makes better tasting coffee, but not too clean. Hoffman recom-
How a coffee nerd taught a food expert how to craft a much better pot of coffee at home
mends using filtered water but not distilled or reverse-osmosis water. You want some of those tasty minerals to stay in the water so the brew doesn’t taste flat.
Measure for measure: Chances are that you, like me, are not using the right amount of coffee per pot. “One of the most important things is the bean-to-water ratio. The ideal is 1-to-16: One ounce (by weight) of beans or ground coffee to 16 ounces of water,” he says.
If that sounds too fussy, you really only have to weigh and measure once. Weigh the beans and then pour them into a scoop or container you use every day and remember the level.
Measure the water to see if those lines on the side of your coffee maker’s reservoir are accurate. Hoffman recommends using Ball canning jars to measure water because the marked measurements are very precise.
Right-sizing your batch: Right away, Hoffman eyed the capacity of my filter and how the water saturated the grounds. He recommends opening up the top and watching. “Your coffee filter can only handle about 60 grams of coffee, which
means about 40 ounces of water,” he says. “Your filter may not be big enough to handle enough ground coffee to make an entire pot. You may be better off making half a pot of coffee at the right strength.”
What about roast?: Once you find a local coffee roaster you like, try small quantities of medium and darker roasted varieties to see which tastes best to you. “Medium to darker roasts are going to be a little more forgiving because they are a little more soluble. That means it is easier to extract the flavor if you’re having water temperature issues or the grind isn’t quite right,” he says.
Hoffman promises the effort is worthwhile: “The more precise you are at brewing at home, the more different these coffees will taste. You find that the Sumatra has a little more body and a little more oomph than that Guatemala, which is a little fruitier,” Hoffman says. Discerning those subtle local flavor distinctions is what drove him to become a coffee nerd in the first place, he says.
I took my equipment home and in the days that have followed, I’ve been pleased by the new improved flavor and my newfound drip ability.
Left Hand Brewing Co. has gone where no brewer has gone before … into the 25th century. A sticker from the Longmont brewery is clearly visible on a recent episode of Star Trek: Picard in a scene where Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) eats lunch at a San Francisco restaurant.
Boulder’s Peak State Coffee — the first whole bean coffee infused with functional mushrooms, that is, mushrooms that have medicinal properties — won Naturally Boulder’s recent 2023 Pitch Slam as the most promising Colorado natural foods company.
“As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move, similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.” — Honoré de Balzac (1799-1859)
John Lehndorff hosts Radio Nibbles Thursday mornings on KGNU. Comments: Nibbles@BoulderWeekly.com
When Curtis Park Deli first opened in the neighborhood that would become RiNo in Denver, the place was a food desert. That was a big reason Michael Reif and his original business partner, Joe Walker, created the place.
Inspired by Marczyk Fine Foods, the duo opened what was formerly a fish shop as a high-end local grocery. There were already cases for meat and cheese and just enough space to stock goods the pair figured would be a nice addition to the area.
They also started making sandwiches. Both Reif and Walker had spent a decent part of their grown lives working in restaurants. Reif largely focused on the front-of-house, having previously worked at several of Denver’s old haunts including Alto, an Italian joint, and Twelve, Jeff Osaka’s former finedining establishment that brought the chef plenty of clout before he turned his attention to Osaka Ramen and Sushi-Rama.
“Let’s stop working for the man and do our own thing,” the pair agreed. Walker, a New Zealand native who
has since returned home, developed much of the menu that can still be found at all three Curtis Park Deli locations.
“He was the food guy, I was the stuff guy,” says Reif.
The menu is still a compact list of largely classic combinations.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just trying to do it correctly. Make sure it’s very round,” says Reif. “There’s a reason the Manhattan [cocktail] has never changed,” he continues, noting that while the sandwiches may look simple on paper, they were carefully designed with balanced flavors in mind.
Reif and Walker ran the original location by themselves for the first several years. And what started as 80% of sales being sandwiches didn’t take long to become the entire business. By the time the second location opened, the grocery had become a full-fledged sandwich shop. “Good product and word of mouth made it a destination,” Reif says.
On March 3, Curtis Park Deli debuted its third location on the corner
of 30th and Pearl in Boulder. Reif and his newer business partner, Dash Harrison, had been looking for another spot since before COVID. The duo had opened the second Cherry Creek deli together in April 2018, hoping to tap into the neighborhood’s sizable need for lunch catering.
“We already had brand recognition. People were waiting for us to open,” Reif says.
Even though Walker returned to New Zealand in 2015, the menu has been consistent under Reif and Harrison’s direction.
“We made some evolutions in Cherry Creek and those followed us here,” Reif says. When Reif bought out Walker, the split was amicable. In fact, Walker owns a couple of sister restaurants on the other side of the globe, two locations of The Hokitika Sandwich Shop, which share the same horse-drawn carriage logo and many of the same sandos as Curtis Street.
Each morning, all three locations receive a shipment of loaves from Denver’s City Bakery. There’s a limited allotment, so when the bread runs out, the staff packs up for the day and heads home.
“It adds to the allure of fresh food. Fresh food is not infinite,” says Reif, likening the concept to famous Texas barbecue spots.
At the two Denver locations, the sandwiches often do sell out before closing
time. And for good reason. Each of the nine available items is a powerfully good sandwich.
“People ordering don’t need a cereal aisle of items,” Reif says.
It helps that the condiments, including aioli, pesto, mustard and Thousand Island, are made fresh everyday. The Boulder location is also the first of the three that Reif and Harrison designed from scratch, building out an ideal line for proper sandwich construction.
As far as the sandwiches themselves, there’s not a single wrong option. The American, with ovenroasted turkey, tomato, red onion, aioli, mixed greens and smoked gouda is a house favorite. The Curtis comes with corned beef, swiss cheese, Thousand Island and caraway-laced sauerkraut that was made to emulate rye bread. And for vegetarians and omnivores alike there’s The Veggie, with portobello mushroom, red pepper, zucchini, red onion, goat cheese and pesto.
While the hours are currently meant for lunch crowds, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day but Sunday, Reif says the team may extend the Boulder location’s hours into the evening and even late night if the demand is there. And while street parking is nonexistent, there is a free two-hour window in the REVE Appartment’s garage that connects to Curtis Park’s back entrance.
Curtis Park has been slinging sandwiches for over a decade. It’s about time Boulder diners can join in and delight in the gourmet.
The world lost a beacon of cannabis science this month. At 92, Raphael Mechoulam died on Thursday, March 9, leaving behind a legacy of research that has progressed our understanding of cannabis further, perhaps, than any person in history.
Often referred to as the “Father of Cannabis Research,” Mechaulam was a Holocaust survivor and trained as a chemist in post-Nazi Bulgaria. He focused his career on pharmaceutical and medical sciences — specifically, cannabis chemistry. He published more than 450 papers in his life, many of them exploring the chemical and pharmaceutical potentials of the cannabis plant.
And whether you know it or not, if you’re a cannabis user, aficionado, or just a fan of the plant, you’ve probably encountered his research. If you’re familiar with the endocannabinoid system, or “the entourage effect” (Weed Between the Lines, “All about those terpenes” May 27, 2021) then you’ve been touched by Mechoulam’s work. If you’ve ever used a product that contains isolated THC, CBG, or CBD, you
can thank Mechoulam. He was studying this plant on a molecular level long before cannabis was destigmatized, back when the scientific community turned its nose up at anything concerning marijuana — before it was cool to study weed.
But Mechoulam saw the potential in this strange flower. And he saw an opportunity to explore its chemistry and medicinal effects.
In a 2014 interview with CNN, Mechoulam said, “Morphine had been isolated from opium in the 19th century, early 19th century, and cocaine had been isolated from coca leaves [in the] mid-19th century. And here we were, mid-20th century, and yet the chemistry of cannabis was not known. So it looked like [an] interesting project.”
So, in the 1960s he and a team of researchers at Hebrew University in Israel started doing rigorous scientific research on what, at the time, was one of the most persecuted drugs on the planet. He had to strike a deal with Israeli police to score the bud he and his colleagues wanted to study.
According to The Jerusalem Post, Mechoulam had to carry five kilos of
“superb, smuggled Lebanese hashish” on a bus from Tel Aviv to Rehovot, hoping he wouldn’t be stopped, arrested, and thrown in jail.
Then he got to work unraveling the mysteries surrounding the cannabis plant.
By 1964, Mechoulam had isolated the very molecule that makes cannabis psychoactive — he’d discovered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). He then went on to discover and isolate cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabidiol (CBD).
In 1992, Mechoulam discovered anandamide (named after the Sanskrit word ananda, meaning “bliss”). That fatty acid neuro-transmitter was the first endocannabinoid ever discovered. He then detailed how these molecules fit into the body’s internal cannabinoid receptors in his 1993 paper “Molecular characterization of a peripheral receptor for cannabinoids.” It was the first scientific description of the human endocannabinoid system.
Then, in 1999, he and Dr. Shimon Ben-Shabat published a paper that
coined a term most cannabis users are familiar with today: the entourage effect. The two researchers proposed that the body receives different combinations of cannabinoids differently, suggesting that these molecules could interact and enhance medicinally specific effects of cannabis. Their idea has been touted — and debated (Weed Between the Lines, “The entourage illusion” February 24, 2022) — by growers, budtenders, cannabis doctors, enthusiasts, and advocates ever since.
Mechoulam’s work not only propelled our understanding of this outlawed plant and its chemical and medicinal properties; it helped move the needle on cannabis legalization in a very big way. Anecdotal evidence is great. But it doesn’t make a difference to lawmakers who’ve been supporting a drug war and cannabis prohibition for decades. Only real science can leverage them from their positions and that’s exactly what Dr. Raphael Mechoulam gave us.
The ‘Father of Cannabis Research’ dies, leaving a wealth of knowledge and swath of progress behind him