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Falling in love again with ‘The Lady From Shanghai’
Dry January marks its 10th anniversary in 2023
Toxic contamination from black-market cannabis leaches into public waterways
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Jan. 26, 2023
Volume XXX, number 23
As Boulder County's only independently owned newspaper, Boulder Weekly is dedicated to illuminating truth, advancing justice and protecting the First Amendment through ethical, no-holds-barred journalism, and thought-provoking opinion writing. Free every Thursday since 1993, the Weekly also offers the county's most comprehensive arts and entertainment coverage. Read the print version, or visit boulderweekly.com. Boulder Weekly does not accept unsolicited editorial submissions. If you're interested in writing for the paper, please send queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Any materials sent to Boulder Weekly become the property of the newspaper.
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Atmospheric rivers endanger the West by
Moab, Utah, gets just eight inches of rain per year, yet rainwater ooded John Weisheit’s basement last summer. Extremes are common in a desert: Rain and snow are rare, and a deluge can cause ooding.
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Weisheit, 68, co-director of Living Rivers and a former Colorado River guide, has long warned the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation that its two biggest dams on the Colorado River could become useless because of prolonged drought.
Although recently, at a BuRec conference, he also warned that “atmospheric rivers” could overtop both dams, demolishing them and causing widespread ooding.
Weisheit points to BuRec research by Robert Swain in 2004, showing an 1884 spring runo that delivered two
years’ worth of Colorado River ows in just four months. California well knows the damage that long, narrow corridors of water vapor — atmospheric rivers — can do. Starting in December, one atmospheric storm followed another over the state, dumping water and snow on already saturated ground.
e multiple storms moved fast, sometimes over 60 miles per hour, and they quickly dropped their load. Atmospheric rivers can carry water vapor equal to 27 Mississippi Rivers.
ese storms happen every year, but what makes them feel new is their ferocity, which some scientists blame on climate change warming the oceans and heating the air to make more powerful storms.
In California, overwhelmed storm drains sent polluted water to the sea. Roads became waterways, sinkholes opened up to capture cars and their drivers, and houses ooded. At least 22 people died.
Where do these fast-moving storms come from? Mostly north and south of Hawaii, then they barrel directly toward California and into the central West, says F. Martin Ralph, who directs the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
“Forty percent of the snowpack in the upper Colorado in the winter is from atmospheric river storms penetrating that far inland,” he adds.
e real risk is when storms stack up as they did in California. at happened in spades during the winter of 1861-’62, in the middle of a decade-long drought, when the West endured 44 days of rain and wet snow. California Governor-elect Leland Stanford rowed to a soggy oath-of-o ce ceremony in ooded Sacramento, just before eeing with state leaders to San Francisco.
Water covered California’s inland valley for three months, and paddle wheel steamers navigated over submerged farmlands and inland towns. e state went bankrupt, and its economy collapsed as mining and farming operations were bogged down, one-quarter of livestock drowned or starved, and 4,000 people died.
In Utah that winter, John Doyle Lee chronicled the washing away of the town of Santa Clara along the tiny Santa Clara River near St. George. Buildings and farms oated away leaving only a single wall of a rock fort that townspeople had built on high ground.
Weisheit knows this history well because he’s been part of a team of “paleo ood” investigators, a group of scientists and river experts. To document just how high ood waters rose in the past, researchers climb valley walls. e Journal of Hydrology says they seek “ ne grained sediments, mainly sand.”
It’s a peculiar science, searching for sand bars and driftwood perched 60 feet above the river.
e Green River contributes roughly half the water that’s in the Lower Colorado River, and in 2005, Weisheit and other investigators found six ood sites along the Green River near Moab, Utah. Weisheit says several sites showed the river running at 275,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). If the Green River merged with the Colorado River, also at ood, the Colorado River would carry almost ve times more water than the 120,000 cfs that barreled into Glen Canyon Dam, some 160 miles below Moab, in 1984. at epic runo nearly wiped out Glen Canyon Dam.
Now that we’ve remembered the damage that atmospheric river storms can do, Weisheit believes the Bureau of Reclamation must tear down Glen Canyon — now.
He likes to quote Western historian Patty Limerick, who told the Bureau of Reclamation, at a University of Utah conference in 2007, what she really thought: “ e Bureau can only handle little droughts and little oods. When the big ones arrive, the system will fail.”
Dave Marston is the publisher of Writers on the Range, writersontherange.org, an independent nonpro t dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West.
is opinion column does not necessarily re ect the views of Boulder Weekly.
Hand-crafted by Paul Voakes
Afew years ago, just before my retirement, I knew I had achieved true “elder” status on the faculty when I announced, just as I had the previous 46 semesters, that the rst exam of the semester would be conducted in blue books.
“What’s a blue book?” a student asked, for the rst time in my professional career.
“You mean like, get a price on a car?” another young man asked. “For the test? I don’t get it.”
e blue book (academic, not automotive) meant that students would have to create essay-form answers by hand, with pens, inside a small (usually 24-page) booklet.
Just last week I noticed an op-ed piece in the Washington Post about ChatGPT, an arti cial-intelligence program (introduced in November) that can produce remarkably credible pieces of writing. It has caused a good deal of hand-wringing in academic circles, because of its potential to enable plagiarism.
e Post author, Markham Heid, proposed a radical countero ensive: Bring back handwriting.
Since the introduction of word processing programs, handwriting has become an ever-smaller part of daily life for nearly every adult in the United States. We put pen to paper to send the occasional greeting card, perhaps to write
a personal check, maybe a shopping list. (But even most shoppers at the supermarket, I’ve noticed, now consult their phones.) e bene ts of writing with computers are plain. It helps the environment by saving millions of reams of paper each day. And using a word processor is simply more e cient. A keyboarding writer can compose an essay, even making 159 revisions, in a small fraction of the time it would take to write the same essay by hand. And as some of us recall from our school days, misspelling a single word often meant tearing up the sheet and starting again.
Is there value in reading and writing cursive? e education establishment seems to have little appetite for handwriting instruction. Twelve years ago, handwriting was dropped from the nation’s Common Core for grades K-12. Since then, I’m pleased to see, nearly half of the states — but not Colorado — have reinstated the mandate.
were the ndings that handwriting is positively correlated with better processing of concepts, more creation of original work, and better accuracy in comprehending foreign languages.
I would add a certain cultural value. Handwriting is part of each person’s identity. We were taught to copy exact forms for each letter, printing and cursive, but by the time we’re adults we’ve each developed a handwriting style that is uniquely our own. Whenever I would receive a letter or note from a parent or sibling — back when we would write to each other by hand — I knew exactly who had written it after reading the rst three words. We each had a signature, for writing checks, or signing memos or receipts. Nowadays, of course, a scribble quali es as a signature. Do we really want to lose this part of our identity?
My preference for blue book exams goes to the heart of why I still believe in handwriting. Handwriting compels the writer to think through to an entire sentence, and often to an entire paragraph, before writing the rst word. Digitized writing, by contrast, encourages the writer to dump words onto the screen and begin a process of cutting, pasting, deleting and inserting until the verbiage starts to resemble expository writing. When the subject is law or ethics (the courses in which I required blue book exams), crafting a cogent argument before starting to write is a commendable skill. And without a laptop for the exam, all cheating schemes become low-tech and highly risky.
I dug a little deeper and found a small but growing body of research on the e ects of handwriting versus word-processing. Cognitive scientists have found that handwriting, while exasperating for most young students, demands a degree of small-motor and hand-eye coordination that is rarely found in the classroom, yet useful later in life. More surprising to me
Handwriting was a common means of written communication for centuries, before the advent of word processing. Will our grandchildren even be able to read handwritten historical documents from the 19th and 20th centuries? Will they be able to read letters written by their grandparents? A friend of mine recently read a trove of love letters — nearly 700 of them — exchanged between her grandparents from 1900 to 1909. She organized the letters into a loving, historically fascinating book, which was published just last month. Every one of those letters was handwritten. What if my friend had lacked the ability to read cursive?
I’ll continue to write by hand, but, I must concede, only when the situation seems appropriate. After all, this essay took me hours to write in cursive — and I wrote it out only after I’d typed my rough draft on a laptop!
Professor Emeritus and Founding Department Chair Paul Voakes has taught journalism at CU since 2003. is opinion column does not necessarily re ect the views of Boulder Weekly.
PRAISE FOR DAVE ANDERSON
anks, Dave [Anderson]! I suspect you had to be a historian, or anyway teach U.S. history at some level, in some decade, to fully appreciate the passions, struggles and sometimes the pure nuttiness of the discussion of the U.S. Civil War era (Anderson Files, “Fake history of Civil War fuels MAGA,” Jan. 19, 2023). Or you had to have been awake in high school history class even when, as so often, U.S. history fell to the… football coach.
It was increasingly fascinating to me, decades after the 1960s, when major liberal historians, (e.g., Arthur Schlesinger Jr.), unfailingly devoted to Andrew Jackson and other such heroes of the Democratic Party, began to explain that slavery had been really, really awful but never unforgivable, because the U.S. economy could not have been built otherwise, and the U.S. was, after all, the exemplar to the world, the protector of the 20th century world, and so on. By the 1980s, Schlesinger and even such past stalwarts of liberal histories of the South as C. Vann Woodward, raged in the pages of the e New Republic against “revisionism,” “divisive history,” “history without central narratives” of American freedom ever advancing, etc.
e MAGA folks today have taken up the charges, in their nutball way, but they have plenty of backing in the backlash against 1619, liberal to conservative, and a new battle front in the centuries-long confrontation of Europeans and Indigenous folks.Paul Buhle, Providence, Rhode Island
CRITICISM FOR DAVE ANDERSON
As much as I usually love Dave Anderson’s columns, his latest, about the Civil War, could have been better (Anderson Files, “Fake history of Civil War fuels MAGA,” Jan. 19, 2023).
I’d like to o er some facts that Dave at least kind of left out.
In recent years I have frequently gotten the impression that a lot of Americans are confused about the Civil War. People think it was about states’ rights and not slavery and racism. In recent decades many people in the Republican Party who were either closet racists (or had been fooled by them) thought it was ne to have the Confederate ag displayed wherever
people wanted to display it, including as part of state ags.
e Confederacy and its symbols were and are about slavery and racism.
e Confederacy was not about state’s rights as some have claimed. ose who pushed for its creation complained that northern states had anti-slavery laws. At one point, the Confederacy’s leaders brie y considered ending slavery to get military support from Europe — support that probably would have resulted in victory against the Union. ey decided to keep slavery, meaning that slavery was more important to them than independence from Washington D.C. And there was at least one incident where Black Union soldiers captured by the South were executed instead of being taken to POW camps as were the white Union soldiers.
When Donald Trump needed a new Secretary of Veterans A airs in 2018, the position was lled by Robert Wilkie, a man with a history of involvement with the neo-Confederate movement. In 2020, Trump passionately opposed re-naming military bases named after Confederate military leaders, including one responsible for the incident where Black POWs were executed. In 2017, Trump talked about the Civil War and said former President Andrew Jackson would have handled the slavery issue better than Lincoln did and the Civil War would have been avoided. Jackson was a passionate opponent of abolitionists and would have compromised with the South and slavery would have continued with (at most) minor changes to its geographic scope and/ or life time and/or there may have been minor changes in how slaves were treated. Or he may have done absolutely nothing about slavery — if it were up to Donald Trump, slavery might still exist today.
As Dave said, the neo-Confederate view is part of the MAGA movement.Tom Shelley/Boulder
SERIOUSLY... SUPPORT LAB MEAT
A historic legacy is available for any politician who supports increased funding for cultivated-meat research. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, cultivated meat is grown from livestock cells, without killing. It’s better for the environment, public health and animal welfare than slaughtered options.
Jon Hochschartner/Granby, CT
Eagle Heart Wisdom Healing
Dear Community, Wishing you warmth in this Holiday Season!
The origins of Eagle Heart Wisdom Healing began in a Near Death Experience related to a traumatic event. I was carried through a pulsing artery of sparkling blue sound nestled in vast swirling worlds of white light.
Spiritual Beings studied me along the way imbuing gifts of loving mercy. I awoke into a gentle flush of flowing kindness as whirlpool of loving mercy appeared. Its core, a living void, pulsed steady sounds of strengthening harmonies as its outer perimeter lavished thunderous, dynamic waterfalls of sparkling generosity.
LEFT HAND LASER STUDIO
Armene Piper is a Boulder native who grew up on the outskirts of town; she can still remember when Arapahoe and 75th Street were dirt roads. Now she lives in Longmont with her husband, five children and four dogs. She is deeply committed to her clients and takes great pride in providing the best customer experience with unparalleled results.
As I stood in the holy eternal flow of our Creator, I was given a choice to stay or return.
When I chose to return, the Eternal spoke: “Take my Heart and give to Others what I have given You. Be the Direction of Your Own Spirit. “
Thus was born Katy’s ministry as a healer of subtle body trauma, grief and loss: Eagle Heart Wisdom Healing.
Eagle Heart Wisdom Healing 2204 18th Ave Suite 227, Longmont, 80501 720-667-7928 www.eagleheart.life
Armene also works closely with the transgender community to help them feel more authentic in their own body’s. Armene offers Cryoskin slimming and toning, laser hair removal, vein treatments, sun and age spot treatments, toenail fungus treatments, as well as Boleyn stretch mark and scar camouflage. 1446 Hover Street, Longmont 303-551-4701 www.lefthandlaserstudio.com
Locally woman-owned and operated, Wild Birds Unlimited Specializes in bringing people and nature together through the hobby of backyard bird feeding. We offer a wide variety of naturerelated products and expert, local advice. Our store stocks the highest quality items made in the the USA with emphasis on eco-
friendly products and recycled plastics. We source our unique gifts from Fair Trade companies and local artisans. We also have gift cards and last-minute gift ideas. Stop in and let us explain our mission to Save the Songbirds one backyard at a time!
1520 S. Hover Street, Suite D Longmont, CO 720-680-0551 www.wbu.com/longmont
peak press juicery
Sometimes it can be hard to get the recommended 9+ servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Doyle and Stephanie Leach, owners of the new Peak Press Juicery located at 1515 Main St, strive to make it easy and delicious. Every bottle of their 100% organic, coldpressed juice starts with over a pound of produce and provides 3-6 servings of fruit and/or veg per bottle. The juice is
Blue Agave History.
Northern Colorado’s most highly recommended dining attraction.
Blue Agave is familyowned and operated, bringing collectively over five decades of experience in the restaurant business, offering recipes that go back generations that derive specifically from
unpasteurized, so you get all the health-promoting vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, soluble fiber, and live enzymes so important to good health. Visit their store on weekends or place your order online at peakpressjuicery. com for pickup or convenient delivery.
Jalisco, Mexico, and the Pacific coast.
Check out our Happy Hour, MonFriday 10a-5pm.
2030 Ken Pratt Blvd. Longmont 303-776-1747 www.blueagaverestaurant.net
Celebrating 29 years of local, independent journalism IN OUR PRIME
our 20s are a time of hard work and, occasionally, hedonism — we think it’s fair to say Boulder Weekly’s second decade followed that pattern. We’ve covered the boxer-shorts-bearing exploits of local gadﬂies, taken local leaders to task, detailed the nuances of environmental threats, and called out the oil and gas industry’s attempt to extract at the expense of our health.
We’ve celebrated and we’ve skewered, we’ve made mistakes and, we hope, grown from them.
Through it all, for 29 years, the community has supported our mission to produce hyper-local, independent, no-holdsbarred journalism. You’ve helped us ﬁnd the stories, given us your expertise, donated your money and held us accountable.
‘A monolith in the community’
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center turns 40by Will Matuska
On Oct. 15 1983, Betty Ball found herself linked arm-in-arm with 17,000 others surrounding the Rocky Flats Plant, a nuclear weapons facility 10 miles south of Boulder.
“I was thrilled to get to be part of the encirclement. It was the ﬁrst protest on that scale I was ever involved in,” says Ball, who also helped organize food delivery for protestors and sold T-shirts for the event.
“The encirclement” was organized by some of the soon-to-be founders of Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center (RMPJC), a nonproﬁt organization advocating for “radically progressive personal and social change” rooted in nonviolence. One of the org’s key advocacy efforts is pointed toward nuclear disarmament.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of RMPJC and of the protest.
Everything we do is in service to you, our readers, and your support is what has kept Boulder Weekly alive and vibrant for nearly three decades.
That’s why, for the last several years, Boulder Weekly has chosen to celebrate its anniversary by shining a light on the amazing work coming out of our community. This year we’ve focused on a handful of other longstanding institutions celebrating anniversaries, from those preserving our built history to those protecting our musical heritage. We’re grateful to be in a community of brilliant, progressive, dedicated people, and we hope we can continue to support each other as we build an even greater future.
Thank you for your support these past 29 years — we literally couldn’t do it without you.
“There was an air of excitement [at the protest] that really can’t be explained — it was alive with excitement,” Ball says.
The Rocky Flats Plant was formally shut down in 1992 and has since been deemed an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site and cleaned up after hazardous and radioactive materials contaminated the site.
The encirclement and the establishment of RMPJC was only the beginning of Ball’s life of activism. After organizing in California for 13 years, Ball returned to Boulder and
The encirclement brought more than 17,000 peaceful protesters to surround Rocky Flats on Oct. 15, 1983 — some of whom established RMPJC shortly after.
immediately got involved with RMPJC, where she worked for 22 years and is still on the board today. (She retired in 2020.)
Claire O’Brien, administrative director at RMPJC and recent CU Boulder graduate, says Ball’s commitment to the cause is inspiring.
“I think it really speaks to the organization, just that there’s people who have spent their entire lives continuing to support and be a part of the organization,” she says. “I really admire it, and it deﬁnitely makes [RMPJC] seem like quite the monolith in the community.”
RMPJC has used the momentum from its inception to spread advocacy efforts in the community, something O’Brien still sees in her outreach events today.
BUILDING MOMENTUM: Members of RMPJC urging Boulder’s City Council to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on Jan. 19.
“Pretty much every time I’m out doing canvassing or tabling, I talk to people who have some personal connection to that encirclement,” O’Brien says.
Although the nuclear arms race is over, the organization still advocates against nuclear weapons today.
On Jan. 19, the organization presented a petition to the Boulder City Council urging them to sign a proclamation in support of the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
More than 70 municipalities and states have passed resolutions supporting the treaty, including Denver and Longmont; 86 countries have signed the treaty, but none of the nuclear nations have joined, including the U.S.
Ball believes nuclear arms is the greatest threat to our society, saying, “We’re not gonna have to worry about any of those other issues if somebody triggers the bomb.”
To highlight the anniversary and build support for their cause, O’Brien says RMPJC wants to bring activists in the community together “to try to touch on the feelings that were felt 40 years ago [during the encirclement], which was really hope and optimism.” The organization is planning to hold events this summer.
It’s O’Brien’s goal to rebuild that sense of community, support and togetherness despite struggling to get people involved — especially young people.
“Really what I think about the most is trying to get back to that level of community [at the encirclement],” she says. “We’re all so isolated now … and things are pretty separated.”
Ball and O’Brien will turn to the community to continue doing what RMPJC does best: rallying people under a common cause.
“The peace center has gone on for 40 years,” Ball says. “And we need to build now to continue it for another 40.”
In with the old Historic Boulder celebrates 50 years by Will Matuska
What creates community?
To Susan Osborne, it’s buildings.
“I strongly believe that historic preservation has everything to do with making a community feel like a solid, good place,” says Osborne, who’s lived in Boulder since 1964 and worked as a city planner, taught at CU and served on City Council and as mayor. “I think that recalling the past, through the saving of buildings, is part of telling the story about who we were, and how we’ve evolved to the present day.”
Osborne is an active member and a two-time past president of Historic Boulder, a group that has worked to safeguard Boulder’s history by preserving buildings and other physical spaces over the last 50 years.
The organization has been at work in Boulder since March of 1972 — preserving prominent buildings like the Boulder Theater, Glen Huntington Bandshell and the Hotel Boulderado, and hosting historical tours like its Meet the Spirits Cemetery Tour at the Columbia Cemetery, and the Home for the Holidays tour.
In 2022, the organization announced the successful preservation of the Midland Savings Bank/Atrium building, which was designed by the well-known architecture ﬁrm Hobart Wagener and Associates and is one of the ﬁrst mid-century modern structures to achieve landmark status in Boulder.
Executive Director Leonard Segel says Boulder didn’t become one of the most appealing places to live in the country by accident.
“It didn’t just happen. Generations of citizens have envisioned a recipe of innovation, environmentalism, excellence in commerce, enriching culture and higher education,” he says. “In every generation, the physical settings [buildings/neighborhoods] have established a nurturing backdrop that promotes those activities.”
Preserving those properties, Segel says, transmits those values of the past to future generations.
Historic Boulder works to preserve all types of historic sites — from important buildings to smaller pieces of Boulder’s history.
For Dan Corson, longtime member of Historic Boulder and a past president of the organization, it’s the less-obvious buildings that are most important to him — like the one at 1733 Canyon Boulevard called the Woodward-Baird House.
“It’s a working-class house, which would have been right on the railroad tracks, and those are, of course, some of the least desirable in town,” Corson says.
This relic of Boulder’s mining camp days, also known as the Little Grey House, was built around 1870
IN OUR PRIME ■
and was in “a rough neighborhood with trains running by often and subject to regular floods,” Corson says. It was the home to one of Boulder’s early Black families (Albert and Eliza Stephens’ family) and located in the Little Rectangle area (now known as Goss-Grove).
Shortly after the Little Grey House was purchased by Historic Boulder in 1977, Corson decided to join the organization’s board. His ﬁrst project was to plant bushes in front of the home.
“I’m very proud to be part of that legacy,” he says.
Osborne says acknowledging Boulder’s history, especially the treatment of Indigenous and Black people, through the preservation of places like the Little Grey House will help the community move forward.
“It’s all part of our history, and I think knowing about it helps us make better decisions in the present,” says Osborne, who was most involved in the restoration of the Vicorian-era Hannah Barker House (800 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder) in 2007. The house was near destruction until Historic Boulder stepped in — starting with upwards of $10,000 to remove the effects of raccoon urine.
Now, the organization is working on restoring and preserving the roof and stucco on the Boulder Theater, which was nearly torn down in the 1980s before Historic Boulder helped broker a deal to safeguard the building and get it landmarked.
Segel says Historic Boulder will continue to “enrich our mortal lives” through historic preservation.
“Heritage properties that are preserved provide lessons to Boulder residents and visitors about the values of life’s lessons, as manifested in building forms,” Segel says. “Their presence is consciously and unconsciously experienced.”
DETAILS: To celebrate its historical and ongoing work, Historic Boulder is hosting a 50th Anniversary Gala on Friday, Feb. 10 at the Hotel Boulderado, 2115 13th St., Boulder. Tickets: historicboulder.org, $150
Starbucks’ Baseline and Broadway location becomes ﬁrst in Boulder to unionize story and photos by Samuel Shaw
It was dusk by the time votes were counted on Tuesday, Jan. 24. A representative for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) tallied the results from inside the Starbucks while a dozen necks bent toward smartphones streaming the results from the parking lot. The federal agency adjudicates labor rights violations and administers union elections across the country. With a mix of guarded excitement and hope, the workers watched on, clearly cold, huddling, but conﬁdent.
Thirteen yes votes, two no votes. Baristas at the Baseline branch (2400 Baseline Road) of the world’s largest coffee chain won the election. They are the latest of nine Starbucks locations in Colorado to join the Workers United labor union and the ﬁrst in Boulder to do so. One employee then another raised a ﬁst before the chill set in. Drinks at a warm bar came next. This was a moment seven months in the making.
“It honestly began with someone telling a joke last summer,” says Holden Sheftel, 31, a shift supervisor at the store who has worked with the company for more than seven years. “We’d seen cuts to our hours and minimal increases in wages, even as the cost of living and inﬂation went up,” Sheftel says. One of his colleagues remarked that they should start a union. “Then we started to speak more seriously about it.”
A burgeoning movement meets a headwind
Six months prior in Buffalo, New York, workers organized the ﬁrst successful union at Starbucks in the company’s history. Their complaints — low pay, cuts to hours and lack of beneﬁts — reverberated through the coffee giant, as did the workers’ victory. By the end of 2022, more than 270 stores had unionized.
These wins underscore a tectonic shift in how labor organizing is viewed in the United States, particularly among younger workers with a heightened sense of ﬁnancial insecurity. Support for unions is at its highest since 1965, according to a Gallup survey published last August. But while cultural tides are changing, labor organizers are still swimming against the current. Those 270-odd Starbucks locations account for roughly 3% of the 9,000-plus stores operated by the brand, and the rate of successful union elections has slowed considerably since last spring.
Organizers, as well as U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, believe Starbucks’ hard-nosed approach to combating unions has frightened many workers from banding together. Sanders cited more than 500 complaints of labor rights violations ﬁled against the company with the NLRB.
Starbucks closed a unionized store in Colorado
Springs last October in a move representatives for Workers United characterized as retaliatory, while in Denver, Colorado Public Radio reported on the circumstances surrounding Monique McGeorge’s termination last May. The Starbucks employee was ostensibly ﬁred for dropping a cake pop on the store counter and then handing it back to a customer, violating company food safety protocols.
Workers United believes McGeorge’s ﬁring was a response to the East Colfax location’s union election. Starbucks denies the allegations.
‘We’re hoping to make a statement’
In spite of the risks, the Starbucks baristas on Broadway and Baseline are undeterred. “We’re looking forward to having more control over what happens in our store,” says Rachel Frey, 22, a shift manager and organizing committee member.
Sheftel explains the appeal of collective bargaining as a matter of survival for him and his coworkers. A living wage in Boulder is $21/hr for a single adult working full-time with no children, according to MIT’s living wage calculator. Current job listings at Boulder County Starbucks list starting wages at $16/hr — $2 less than McDonalds.
“But it’s not just the amount of money people are making,” Sheftel says. “The reduction of hours means less people on the ﬂoor doing the same amount of work. It’s stressful.” Cuts to hours have cascading effects across the store, he adds. Workers who are also enrolled at university found it increasingly difﬁcult to get shifts that accommodate their school schedules. Fewer hours mean less money for groceries and rent, and for older employees, it can mean losing eligibility for beneﬁts like Starbucks’ healthcare plan.
Mostly, Frey says, the decision to unionize came down to exhausting all other options: “We met with our district manager to try and address some of these problems. We were told that they didn’t have a way to address them.”
Starbucks issued a statement on Jan. 23 in response to the impending vote. “From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed,” a company spokesman told Boulder Weekly over email.
ALL SMILES: Employees at the Starbucks on Baseline in Boulder celebrate after a vote conﬁrms they are now part of the Workers United labor union.
The election win is both a beginning and an end. It marks the culmination of dogged organizing and inaugurates a new phase for these coffee shop workers, the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement over wages, hours and store policies, which can take months in some cases.
“We’re hoping to make a statement,” Sheftel says. “We’re hoping to inspire other Starbucks in the area.”
ON THE DOCKET:
Judge John Hodgman: Live Justice. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood. $35
is the sound of a gavel’
Judge John Hodgman dispenses ‘fake internet justice’ at Gothic Theatre podcast live showby Jezy J. Gray
Gilly had beef with her husband Steve. The conﬂict rested on a wrinkle the Denver couple couldn’t quite iron out: Should the city’s historic University Hills neighborhood, where the pair had recently purchased their ﬁrst home, be considered the suburbs?
Steve emphatically said no. The Denver native takes great pride in his hometown and hated the idea of dissolving into what he considered the beige sameness of suburbia. Gilly underscored the fact that University Hills was not part of the city’s original urban grid, submitting photos of the neighborhood’s matching 1950s tract homes as evidence for her case.
Enter the honorable Judge John Hodgman. Over the course of an hour, the author, comedian and actor dutifully heard arguments
from both sides in “Contempt of Carport,” a 2019 episode of his titular faux-courtroom comedy podcast. Per usual, his verdict delicately walked a hilarious and heartfelt line between tongue-in-cheek scolding and genuine insight.
“I can’t help but say this is a suburb. Historically, it’s a suburb. By looks, it’s a suburb,” Hodgman ruled. “But I am glad to say that suburban neighborhoods are not the horror shows [Steve imagines] them to be. … Culturally, the suburbs you hate are more in your mind than the world you live in.”
Such Judge John Hodgman disputes regularly include color commentary and litigant interviews from his trusted bailiff Jesse Thorn, a podcasting legend in his own right, along with occasional wisdom from a celebrity “expert witness.” Together the pair have been dispensing “fake internet justice” since 2010, when the show spun off from its origins as a recurring segment on Thorn’s long-running free-form comedy podcast, Jordan, Jesse, Go! distributed by his artist-owned, listener-supported Maximum Fun network.
“The fundamental qualities of a good Judge John Hodgman dispute are: It has to be real. It has to have stakes. It can't be so intense as to be a bummer,” says Thorn, whose NPR interview show Bullseye was the ﬁrst public radio program west of the Mississippi to podcast. “It has to have real love behind it, real care behind it — and ideally, it involves someone doing something really weird.”
But Hodgman’s bonaﬁdes go beyond fake courtrooms. He’s most recently the co-creator with David Rees of the FXX animated series Dicktown, and the author of half a dozen books — like the satirical almanac More Information Than You Require, and recent memoirs Vacationland and Medallion Status. Readers over the age of 30 might also recognize Hodgman from his regular stint as the
“deranged millionaire” correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, or perhaps his appearances opposite Justin Long in a series of mid-2000s Apple commercials.
Ahead of the pair’s upcoming performance at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood, Boulder Weekly sat down with Hodgman and Thorn over Zoom to talk about the history of the show and what attendees can expect from the Feb. 2 serving of “live justice” — plus Hodgman’s favorite hobby store in Boulder, conspiracy theories surrounding Denver International Airport and more.
• • • •
I spoke with Travis McElroy [of My Brother, My Brother and Me] a couple months back to promote their Denver show [postponed to April 29]. So before we get started, can we establish Boulder Weekly as the ofﬁcial alternative newspaper of the MaxFun podcast network?
Jesse Thorn: Yeah, San Francisco Bay Guardian is out of business. You’re in.
John Hodgman: Absolutely. Eat it, Chicago Reader! Actually, don’t eat it. We need all of you.
Thorn: Oh, I just remembered. I already gave the ofﬁcial alternative newspaper designation to Computer Currents. So unless you have listings for used computer parts in your classiﬁeds …
We lose another one to Computer Currents.
Hodgman: This is all on the record, by the way. Best material you're gonna get out of the whole article.
This is your ﬁrst time bringing the show to Denver. Have either of you spent much time here before?
Thorn: I went to a public radio program directors conference in Denver, and we all went to a Rockies game. If you’ve ever wanted to take in a sporting event with a group of 200 people who have nothing but contempt for sports, I recommend going to a Rockies game with people from the public radio program directors conference.
Hodgman: I was in Denver in spring of last year to talk to Jeff Tweedy [of the band Wilco] on stage, which was a lot of fun. And I also got to go to Convergence Station, the outpost of the Meow Wolf art installation empire, which I loved a lot. I also went to Boulder for the very ﬁrst time last spring as well. I discovered that the Pearl Street Mall is the home of Liberty Puzzles HQ, my favorite jigsaw puzzle maker in the world. I had no idea. I just turned around and there it was. That really made me very excited. And basically right across the street from there is a food hall where I bought an arepa from a young woman who was a big Judge John Hodgman fan, who I hope will come to the show.
And I know you have something of an obsession with Denver International Airport, right?
Hodgman: Well, I'm concerned for our country and our reality. Because the Denver International Airport is obviously up to something, as many people before me have observed. It is a very large airport on a very large parcel of land that is otherwise uninhabited. It has many, many sub basements — more than an airport usually needs — and a lot of very weird and creepy murals depicting a post-apocalyptic environment. So I want to know what's going on down below there. I think above, it’s basically what you would call an airport: welcoming planes that are arriving and saying goodbye to planes that are going to other places on this earth. I think below, transdimensional travel is likely for our interdimensional overlords.
Have you already begun selecting cases for the Denver show on Feb. 2? Any themes emerging?
Thorn: I can tell you right now we have two submissions from two different sets of people about the exact same thing, which is: “Can a dog's paws be considered hands?”
Hodgman: That's from two different sets of people?
It's a hot topic out here.
Hodgman: I mean, this really does conform to my personal stereotype of what a Coloradan is doing all day long, which is obviously eating a lot of edibles and then staring at their dog and coming up with theories.
Speaking of cases: What are you looking for when it comes to disputes, and what kind of stuff do you try to stay away from?
Thorn: It has to be real.
Hodgman: Yeah, it has to be real. There have been a couple times when I've wondered if the disputants had maybe pulled one over on us with a fake dispute just to get on a podcast. But I think for the most part, our listeners and the people who send in disputes understand that it’s a sincere show.
But what I'm looking for is this: Am I interested in it? Do I have something to say about it? Does it make me think about something? If I'm already starting to formulate questions for them in my head, about why they think this or that, then I know I want to be asking these questions in real life.
We do like to have a wide variety of kinds of disputes. Many come in between romantic partners, particularly those who share a house together and are getting on each other's nerves. So we do try to ﬁnd some that are more between roommates or friends — or siblings are always great, or moms and daughters. And some of them are just obvious, like the daughter who wrote in saying, “My mom has a wish that when she dies, she'd like to be cremated and to have me ﬂush her ashes down the toilet at Disney World.”
Thorn: She really did want that. Not fake.
Hodgman: I want to know more about that situation, so that one was obvious. Probably the only ones we have gone over and over and over again are dishwashing disputes. I understand why the dishwasher and/or the handwashing of dishes is a locus of dispute. That is a place where a lot of different styles and beliefs come into conﬂict in a relationship. But we've just heard them all at this point, so we probably don't need them anymore. They're in the archives.
You’ve been doing the show for 13 years now. How has it evolved since those early days?
Thorn: I was totally wrong about what the tone of the show should be. I thought it would be funnier the higher the stakes were. I thought you couldn't have funny without stakes. And I think we have found that you do indeed need stakes. It needs to matter to the people involved. But ultimately, we need to have conﬂict that is resolvable. It's not a show about watching a train wreck. It's a show about watching a relationship be repaired.
That's something I learned both from our audience who wanted that, and from the fact that I didn't anticipate how immediately and passionately John would pursue wisdom and sincerity in the content of the show. I was there ready to yell at people or whatever. Then John started offering these verdicts that were really insightful. It immediately became clear to me that this wasn't just like, “Who stole whose dog?” This was really about people's feelings.
Hodgman: I also came in very hot at the beginning, people will remind me. It is true that I was pretty judgmental in the early days. “Mad with power” is perhaps the phrase that comes to mind. But it's very interesting to hear you say that, Jesse, because I had not really known that.
I think I intuited pretty quickly that
even though the dispute might be over something like, “Which of these two friends gets to hang on to a wind-up toy giraffe they bought together once they move across the country from one another?” — that is, in the grand scheme of things, a pretty low-stakes dispute. But it’s one that I, and I think Jesse, instantly understood to have very high stakes for them as their friendship was going through a transition. They were splitting up, and there isn't a lot of conversation in our culture around friend breakups, but they happen all the time. They're a different kind, but it's sad when your best friend leaves. They were pouring a lot of their feelings about that friend breakup into this wind-up toy giraffe.
I thought it was inappropriate and I told them to smash it, as they should smash all feelings. No — I told them to take turns sharing. I never cut the baby in half. Leave that to some other judges.
What can people expect from the upcoming performance in Denver?
Hodgman: We have one very special guest.
Thorn: Probably Colorado's funniest man, David Gborie — one of my favorite human beings on earth, and the voice of Comedy Central. The man who comes out of my Paramount Plus app unexpectedly on a regular basis. He's just an absolute legend of hilarity. But beyond that, what you'll see is regular folks from Colorado up on stage with real disputes, and us acting dumb for a while but then getting disarmingly sincere. John and I both sing in the show … and there's also a PowerPoint presentation that ends with a big local reference.
Hodgman: It'll be our signature mix of sincere and silly plus unexpected guests, or I guess now, expected guests. The surprise of live, in-the-moment dispute resolution, which is a kind of improv comedy all its own. Plus the incredible costuming. I have some very fancy judge's robes from Canada that I wear — and Jesse Thorn has a bailiff costume, or I should say uniform, that is really quite glorious to behold.
Out of the void
As experimental metal band Sunn O))) rumbles back to life in their 25th year, co-founder Stephen O’Malley focuses on the fundamentals by Christopher Piercy
The concept of Shoshin arose from the teachings of 13th-century Buddhist priest and philosopher Dōgen Zenji. Practitioners of the ancient discipline are taught to keep one’s “original mind” — a state of being where your consciousness is empty and ready for all possibilities.
There’s something of this Zen practice in the music of Sunn O))) — pronounced “Sun” — an ever-shifting heavy-music mainstay from Seattle whose feedback-drenched brand of drone metal can induce a sort of meditative state. With each new album or lineup change, the critically lauded outﬁt invites listeners to follow them on new paths to transcendence.
Stripped back to its core of guitarists Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, the latest iteration of the punishingly loud band refers to itself as Sunn O))) Shoshin Duo, playing on this idea of returning to the roots of your beginner’s mind.
“As an American, these concepts can just be more humbling and simpliﬁed. It’s also a nice way to put a twist on describing abstract music, which is what I think Sunn O))) is,” O’Malley says. “So the Shoshin Duo also is Greg and [me] coming back fresh to the purity of those ideas.”
The band’s return to a duo format is a break from their tendency toward collaboration with diverse artists ranging from jazz trombonist Julian Priester to Attila Csihar of the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. In this respect, the band’s upcoming U.S. dates — including a Jan. 31 stop at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood — will serve as a sort of palate cleanser. It’s been nearly three years since their last show, and O’Malley says he’s ready to get back to basics with his longtime collaborator.
“When Greg and I are in sync with this band, this music, this concept, everything else builds on that,” he says. “For me, it’s a bit primordial, because it’s really focused on the purity of the sound we’ve been refining and engineering over all [this] time. We’re sculpting with the big slabs of marble that have just been sliced off the mountain, but it’s not the super refined, end-result sculpture.”
This “purity of sound” has led many critics to label Sunn O))) as minimalist, a designation that doesn’t feel quite right to
O’Malley. He sees this as a response to the band’s rejection of traditional song pillars like verse, chorus and melody in favor of elements like atmosphere and volume. He says many people hang on to the descriptor as a catch-all for music that sounds abstract or unstructured to their ears.
“I think minimalism is used as a kind of bucket people can throw things in, like, ‘I don’t understand this.’ There are 90-minute pieces [where] few changes have complex harmonic structure. They don’t have the instrumentation or sounds that we’re used to. They seem to not move, and they remind [people] of stillness,” O’Malley says. “Or, ‘It’s boring.’ That’s another thing: Minimalism is a kind of chrome plating on the word ‘boring’ for a lot of people.”
The “boring” descriptor is especially at odds with the band’s constant gravitation to new musical ideas and collaborators. The Shoshin nature of Sunn O))) carves a space for openness and experimentation among themselves and with others — including the late groundbreaking composer Alvin Lucier, whose continual push toward the new seems to have left a mark on O’Malley.
“The ﬁrst music we collaborated on was a composition he wrote for [Australian composer and musician] Oren Ambarchi and I to play called ‘Criss Cross.’ To my surprise, it was the ﬁrst piece he had ever written for electric guitar. And he was in his ’80s already,” he says. “[His music is] really sublime and beautiful. Performing the music has also been very challenging and requires a meditative focus.”
But while expanding creative horizons with new collaborators is a major part of what drives Sunn O))), it’s the core duo of O’Malley and Anderson that ultimately move the wheel. The pair
have been able to tap into a creative wellspring with one another for decades, having both been in the death-doom band Thorr’s Hammer and then Burning Witch, before forming Sunn O))) in 1998 after the latter’s dissolution.
“I’m having a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration with Greg Anderson,” O’Malley says. “This has been really central in our lives for a long time. That’s incredible. We built this whole thing up, this whole life around these ideas. And people are more supportive than ever.”
As for what has kept Sunn O))) going over these last 25 years, O’Malley says it all points back to the ritual of the live performance. Taking the stage with his longtime collaborator, the pair cutting berobed silhouettes against a billowing mass of fog and flashing strobes, provides a unique sort of magic for the band and the audiences transfixed by their meditative wall of sound.
“With Sunn O))), our longevity, the real core of it, has been the live performance and that … alchemy of what we’re doing with our sound [and] ideas,” O’Malley says. “And that alchemy turns into a chemistry with the audience in the participatory movement through these spaces and acoustics to create a very meaningful experience.”
ON THE BILL: Sunn O))) with Kali Malone. 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood. $35
Funny in a ‘foreign’ language
World premiere of ‘Laughs in Spanish’ brings Miami to Denver for a poignant and playful exploration of family, identity and comedy byToni Tresca
It’s no great secret that being a woman in a leadership position comes with many unfair challenges — and for women of color, those challenges are often more complicated. Set in the vibrant Wynwood Arts District of Miami, the world premiere of Alexis Scheer’s uproarious new comedy Laughs in Spanish unwinds these complexities with a thoughtful dive into the expectations and barriers faced by women of color looking for a path to success in the art scene.
“I am a Latina, leader, artist and director whose career often requires that I leave my children in Chicago so I can go direct, and that comes with a whole ball of complex emotions,” says director Lisa Portes. “The play is centered around the question of what it means to be a woman of color who is an artist and a mother. I live in that territory all the time.”
Sheer’s play begins on the cusp of Art Basel — an international art fair that began in Switzerland in the 1970s but expanded to include Miami Beach in 2002 — after the exhibition space of gallery director Mariana (Stephanie Machado) has been robbed on the eve of a fancy party for the event. But Mariana isn’t alone. She has her intern Carolina (Danielle Alonzo) and her intern’s boyfriend and police ofﬁcer, Juan (Luis Vega) alongside her TV-star mother, Estella (Maggie Boﬁll) to help her save the gallery.
With Laughs in Spanish, the playwright draws on her real experiences growing up in Miami and offers a touching but light-hearted look at the barriers that have been put up to exclude Latinas from cultural spaces. But despite touching on serious themes of inequality in the art world, the creative team behind the upcoming production at Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) promises the show will be a lot of fun.
“I love how funny the play is,” says actor Danielle Alonzo, who plays Carolina. “It's so well-written, relatable and very conversational; it sounds like how I would talk to my friends. All the exposition is happening, but it's furious and funny out the gate.”
Walking this ﬁne balance between poignant and playful, Laughs in Spanish was written by Scheer as her thesis for Boston University’s MFA playwriting program. The play is the follow-up to her breakout hit, Dear Dead Drug Lord, a dark comedy about young girls attempting to bring Pablo Escobar back to life, which debuted off-Broadway in 2019.
“When I got an audition for this play, I was excited because I had seen Dear Dead Drug Lord in New York City pre-pandemic and loved it,” says actor Luis Vega, who plays Juan. “There are times when you see a playwright who you’ve never heard of and you just get this feeling that they are a once-in-a-generation voice; I had that feeling … so I was excited to work with [Sheer] on whatever she did next.”
Portes had also ﬁrst encountered Scheer through her debut play. She produced a reading of the work at LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work back in 2018. So when Portes received an email in May from DCPA Theater Company Director Chris Coleman asking her to interview to direct Laughs in Spanish, saying "yes" was a no-brainer.
“I knew Alexis was interviewing several people, so after reading [Laughs in Spanish] I wrote her a note entitled ‘Five Reasons Why I Need to Direct the Play.’ Happily, she picked me,” Portes says. “This is my third show with the DCPA. I feel like it's become kind of an artistic home. And so, to do a world premiere of a play by a writer I love at a theater I love is just fabulous.”
Alonzo shares Portes’ enthusiasm for the new work, saying a big part of what made the rehearsal experience special grew from the camaraderie between a cast with a shared cultural framework. “It's a unique experience being surrounded by an entire cast of fellow Latinos,” Alonzo says. “Lisa has created such a safe rehearsal room full of people who have similar
experiences or can relate to things people go through growing up as a Latina. We have our inside jokes and sometimes we just break out and speak in Spanish like we would at home.”
Vega also emphasizes this cultural camaraderie when reﬂecting on her favorite moments in the play. She points to the pivotal scene from which Scheer pulls the title. “We're having a lot of fun ﬁguring out what it means to laugh in Spanish,” Vega says. “How is our experience different than other Americans? And how does that come out in our laughter? The bottom line is, it’s super fun to giggle on stage. It's infectious and I hope the audience responds similarly when they come to see it.”
Beyond these cross-cultural explorations of Latino life in the United States, the play also promises to give Coloradans a reprieve from the cold weather outside. “It’s Miami and the set is just so warm with all these beautiful colors,” Alonzo says. “There's food, there's culture and there are these lovely family and relationship dynamics the characters are going through and everyone can relate to. You'll cry because the play might hit close to home, but then you're gonna laugh and leave happy because it’ll remind you of the love you feel for your family.”
ON STAGE: Laughs in Spanish by Alexis Scheer. Various times Jan. 27-March 12, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 1101 13th St. $35
Words of comfort
Atlantic senior editor John Hendrickson returns to Denver to discuss new book about his stuttering journey by Adam Perry
John Hendrickson lives in New York City, but the Front Range is where his life ﬁrst began to take shape. Currently a senior editor at the Atlantic, the 34-year-old journalist cut his teeth as a cub music reporter at the Denver Post, spending his freshout-of-college days living in the vibrant Baker neighborhood, making “great friends at the paper and great friends in the music scene.”
One of Hendrickson’s ﬁrst big moments at the Atlantic came in 2019, when he interviewed then-presidential-candidate Joe Biden about his experience with stuttering. The resulting article expressed some disappointment, or at least confusion, over Biden’s refusal to admit he still stutters, despite what experts say are coping mechanisms observed in Biden’s public appearances. “What Joe Biden Can’t Bring Himself to Say,” as the piece was titled, also represented a life-changing moment for Hendrickson, who discussed his own stutter in the article.
Before the Atlantic feature on Biden was published in the magazine’s January-February 2020 issue, Hendrickson’s speech impediment “was very much the elephant in the room” throughout his life. He virtually never discussed it, even with family and friends.
“After writing that article, so many people who stutter from around the world began reaching out to me and telling me their life stories,” Hendrickson says. “That made me feel like I was tapping into something, that there was a desire for more writing about this topic, and that there were layers to explore. But it took me a long time to get there and to become comfortable pursuing it at all, and I don’t know if I ever became 100% comfortable. I think I just reached a point where I was, like, ‘Alright, I guess this is happening,’ and then you’re just sort of moving forward. I think that’s how a lot of life is.”
Hendrickson’s new book about his stuttering journey, Life on Delay: Making Peace with a Stutter, was released Jan. 17 via Penguin Random House. In the wake of his article about President Biden, and the mountain of correspondence it garnered, the longtime reporter ﬁnally engaged the stuttering community.
“A lot of people were encouraging me to check out one of the local chapter meetings of the National Stuttering Association [NSA], and it took me a while to ﬁnd the conﬁdence to go,” Hendrickson says. “Maybe nine or 10 months after that, I went to my ﬁrst meeting of the Brooklyn chapter. It happened over Zoom, but it was kind of crazy to be around all these other adults who stutter, and it kind of rocked my world.”
The following year, he attended the NSA annual
ON THE SHELF: Life on Delay by John Hendrickson is available now via Penguin Random House.
down a little bit in a way that they might not to a more intimidating, fast-talking journalist — and the result is I think that I’ve been able to get more interesting stories out of people some-
Now Hendrickson is embarking on a book tour, and he’s recently spoken about his stuttering journey on PBS, as well as a moving New York Times video about what it’s like to stutter.
conference in Austin, followed the next week by a smaller event hosted outside Denver by a Colorado-based 501(c) (3) nonproﬁt called FRIENDS: The National Association of Young People Who Stutter.
“It was a great reason to go back to my old stomping grounds, and at that conference I actually met Steve Varney [Gregory Alan Isakov guitarist and person who stutters] and had a real great conversation with him, and I met some other wonderful Colorado people who stutter, and I’ve remained close with them ever since.”
Throughout his early career as a writer, Hendrickson attempted to cover up his stutter by leaning on email and in-person interviews, which he says ease his stutter. “Phoners,” as journalists often call phone interviews, presented a “time pressure that just takes you back to childhood.” Now, he’s more at ease telling subjects upfront that he stutters.
“I think I’ve only become comfortable doing that in the past two-to-four years, and I went through so many interviews trying to keep the world’s worst secret, like ‘I hope they don’t ﬁgure it out.’ It was so obvious,” he says. “Disclosing that I stutter before we get started puts the other person at ease, and makes them let their guard
“I’m very honored that some people want to talk to me about it, and that I’m doing some interviews,” he says. “I’m very grateful for that, and I’ll be traveling around the country talking about stuttering, talking about the book. That’s something I’ve never, ever done — something I never, ever dreamed possible. If [someone] had told 10-year-old me, ‘When you’re 34 you will be public-speaking about your problem,’ I think I would’ve laughed in that person’s face. It’s a rare opportunity and I’m grateful to talk to anybody about it, because it’s just so cool to connect with others and trade experiences.”
Stuttering “doesn’t – can’t – deﬁne who you are,” President Biden has said. But anyone who traversed trauma from stuttering — even if they grew up to be a successful writer or even president — knows well the connected feelings of shame and helplessness.
“The cultural perception of stutterers is that they’re fearful, anxious people, or simply dumb, and that stuttering is the result,” Hendrickson wrote in his landmark piece on Biden. As he prepares to return to Denver for a Life on Delay conversation at Tattered Cover on Jan. 26, Hendrickson says he is humbled by the idea of a young person who struggles with a stutter discovering his book.
“It’s aimed at adults, but I in many ways wrote this book for my teenage self,” he says. “This is a book [I wish] I could’ve read when I was 16 or even early college … I think it would’ve just given me comfort. I am totally overwhelmed and honored at the prospect of a teenager who stutters possibly reading this, and I hope it gives them comfort.”
■ ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Various times Friday, Jan. 27 through Sunday, Jan. 29, Broomﬁeld Auditorium, 3 Community Park Road, Broomﬁeld. $15
Danse Etoile Ballet is bringing Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and more of L. Frank Baum’s classic characters to life at the Broomﬁeld Auditorium. With showtimes all weekend, there’s plenty of opportunities to catch this family-friendly ballet.
■ The Goat Experience
2-4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, The Art of Cheese, 505 Weaver Park Road, Suite E., Longmont. $65
The Art of Cheese invites participants to explore the basic art and science behind how to make cheese — speciﬁcally Chevre, the classic goat cheese. Participants will get time to tour the farm, play with goats and meet the local guardian llama.
■ Mini Cornhole Tournament
6:30-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, Spirit Hound Distillers, 4196 Ute Highway, Lyons. Free
Think you’re a cornhole master? Head to Spirit Hound Distillers in Lyons for an evening of spirited competition. The tourney starts promptly at 6:30 p.m. and the winning team will get to take home a bottle from Spirit Hound.
ON STAGE: Longmont couple Graham and Kristina Fuller bring In the Trenches: A Parenting Musical from New York City to the Front Range for its regional premiere. The production wraps its run at the Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton this weekend, with a ﬁnal performance on Sunday, Jan. 29. See listing below for more details.
The Clocktower Follies: Burlesque & Comedy. The Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe St., Lower Level, Denver. Thursdays in January. $35
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story BDT Stage, 5501 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder. Through Jan. 28. $70
In the Trenches: A Parenting Musical. Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton. Through Jan. 29. $30
To Kill a Mockingbird. Buell Theatre, 1350 Curtis St., Denver. Through Feb. 5. $35
Alma Curious Theatre Company, 1080 Acoma St., Denver. Through Feb. 18. $53
The Roommate. Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora. Through Feb. 19. $20
Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies. Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora. Through March 5. $20
Laughs in Spanish. Singleton Theatre, 1400 Curtis St., Denver. Through March 12. $35
■ Teen Movie Night
6-8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, Erie Community Library, 400 Powers St., Erie. Free
Join friends at the Erie Community Library for a night at the movies with beloved Studio Ghibli features like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away in Japanese with English subtitles. This monthly event is for teens grades 6-12, and Japanese snacks and popcorn are provided.
■ Duke Ellington’s ‘Sophisticated Ladies’
Various times Friday, Jan. 27 through March 5, Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora. $20
Vintage Theatre is celebrating the musical legacy of The Duke in this “stylish and brassy retrospective.” The ﬁrst performance is on Friday Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m., with shows continuing on weekends through March 5.
■ Know Your Antiques
10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, Lafayette Public Library, 775 W. Baseline Road. $5
The Lafayette History Museum is hosting an event at the public library to help you identify your inherited or thrifted antique. The museum’s antique experts will tell you all about the item, and how to take care of it if you should keep holding onto it. Participants will get access to free lectures from the experts throughout the day.
ON VIEW: Celebrate more than a century of the Colorado Chautauqua with a new exhibition at the Museum of Boulder Chautauqua: 125 Years at the Heart of Boulder traces the history of this local institution, from its beginnings as a mountain health retreat in 1898 to its current-day status as a community gathering place and celebrated performing arts venue. Read more about the exhibition featuring archival photography, video and local plein-air artwork in the listing below.
Vessel. Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Bouder. Through Jan. 28. Free
Yvens Alex Saintil: Photographs. The New East Window Gallery, 4550 Broadway Suite C, Boulder. Through Jan. 29. Free
Disruption: Works from the Vicki and Kent Logan Collection. Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway. Through Jan. 29. $15
■ Versatility Dance Festival
7-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, Gordon Gamm Theatre, Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder. $15
The Versatility Dance Festival presents “the best in emerging and established dance companies and dance ﬁlmmakers from around the country and beyond.” Now in its ﬁfth year, the event is heading to D.C. after its showing at the Dairy.
The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse. Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, 1485 Delgany St. Through Feb. 5. $10
Erin Hyunhee Kang: A Home In Between BMoCA: Union Works Gallery, 1750 13th St., Boulder. Through Feb. 19. $2
Natascha Seideneck: Outlandish Redux Caruso Lounge, Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder. Through Feb. 23. Free
Her Brush: Japanese Women Artists from the Fong-Johnstone Collection. Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway. Through May 13. $12-$19
Rugged Beauty. Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway. Through May 28. $15
Chautauqua: 125 Years at the Heart of Boulder Museum of Boulder, 2205 Broadway. Through April 2. $10
Jerrie Hurd: Beyond the Male Gaze BMoCA at Macky, 1595 Pleasant St., Boulder. Through May 26.
Lasting Impressions. CU Art Museum, 1085 18th St., Boulder. Through June 2023. Free
Onward and Upward: Shark’s Ink CU Art Museum, 1085 18th St., Boulder. Through July 2023. Free
Celebrate 50 Years of Historic Preservation at the beautiful Boulderado Hotel!
Since 1972, Historic Boulder Inc. has been the voice of advocacy for Boulder’s built past. Join us on February 10th for a fun, golden-themed night featuring acclaimed speakers, compelling presentations, a delicious dinner and silent auction.
■ RetroMania Collectibles Show
10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 and Sunday, Jan. 29, Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont. $12
Head to the Boulder County Fairgrounds and participate in a weekend full of toys, comics and games. From Star Wars and Spiderman to Godzilla and Power Rangers, this homegrown comic-con has it all.
■ Stars & Planets 2:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, Fiske Planetarium, 2412 Regent Drive, Boulder. $12
Curious about the cosmos? The Fiske Planetarium is hosting an introduction to stars and constellations. Participants at the outof-this-world event will get a tour of the solar system and learn all about other planets you can see in the night sky.
■ Thomas Dybdah: ‘When Innocence Is Not Enough’ 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl St. $5
Boulder author Thomas Dybdahl will speak about and sign his book, When Innocence Is Not Enough: Hidden Evidence and the Failed Promise of the Brady Rule, at the Boulder Book Store. Dybdahl’s latest is a work of narrative nonﬁction exploring inequality in the justice system.
ON THE BILL:
Celebrated indie-folk singer-songwriter Will Sheff sheds his former Okkervil River moniker on Nothing Special, the ﬁrst album recorded under his own name. The Austin-based musician will bring more than two decades of songs to eTown Hall in Boulder for an intimate performance on Sunday, Jan. 29. Details below.
★ FRIDAY, JAN 27
Colorado’s Finest Underground Hip Hop featuring Microphone Militants and more. 8 p.m. Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. $20
Travis McNamara and Madeline Hawthorne. 8 p.m. Roots Music Project, 4747 Pearl Suite V3A, Boulder. $15
Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore. 8 p.m. Swallow Hill Music, 71 E. Yale Ave., Denver. $26
INZO. 8 p.m. Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax, Denver. $25
17th Avenue All Stars. 8 p.m. Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. First Ave., Denver. $20
★ SATURDAY, JAN. 28
Little Moses Jones. 8 p.m. The Louisville Underground, 640 Main St. $15
Adam Melchor. 8 p.m. Gothic Theater, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood. $25
Pat McGee and Friends. 8 p.m. Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. First Ave., Denver. $32
The Desert Furs + Flash Mountain Flood with special guest Toast. 8:45 p.m. Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. $15
James Hype. 9 p.m. Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax, Denver. $35
★ SUNDAY, JAN. 29
Will Sheff / Okkervil River. 7 p.m. eTown Hall, 1535 Spruce St., Boulder. $23
Greg Koch featuring Koch/ Marshall Trio. 7:30 p.m. Muse Performance Space, 200 E. South Boulder Road, Lafayette. $20
Country Folk with Meghan Clarisse. 4 p.m. BOCO Cider, 1501 Lee Hill Drive, Unit 14, Boulder. Free
★ TUESDAY, JAN. 31
Sunn O))) with Kali Malone. 8 p.m. Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood. $35
★ WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1
Jordan Davis. 8:30 p.m. Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St., Denver. $40
★ THURSDAY, FEB. 2
Folk Rock with Piper Davis. 5 p.m. BOCO Cider, 1501 Lee Hill Drive, Unit 14, Boulder. Free
rest is noise’
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 65 years of classical music on the Front Rangeby Jezy J. Gray
When the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra kicked off its 65th season last October, it had the whole world in mind. Ozymandias: To Sell a Planet, the world-premiere collaboration between music director Michael Butterman and composer Drew Hemenger, incorporated U.N. climate reports, Indigenous texts and speeches by activist Greta Thunberg into a stirring evening of music that brought planetary peril into sharp focus across its ﬁve movements.
“We want to make sure we are being responsive to the world around us and speaking to what’s happening now,” says Sara Parkinson, executive director at the Boulder Phil. “So whether the music is old or new, that’s one of the most important parts of keeping orchestral music relevant and vibrant.”
Parkinson says this involvement in the larger conversation is a big part of what has kept the organization a vital part of cultural life in Boulder since 1957. For the former director of education and community engagement who joined the team in 2019, that was underscored during this watershed season’s climate-focused debut by the participation of city and state government ofﬁcials — not always a common sight at local arts events.
“It was so wonderful to start the 65th anniversary season with Governor Polis and City of Boulder leaders, to show how important arts and culture remain in our society,” says Parkinson, a pianist by training. “I have a deep connection with this music, and I know that’s true for [others] in this community.”
But as streaming services and social media algorithms dictate more and more of our listening habits, Parkinson says the work of sparking interest in an artform that’s hundreds of years old is about more than dwelling in the hereand-now. It also requires a forward-fo-
“I’m always looking to the future. I think that’s how the arts remain alive, with leaders of arts organizations keeping the vision moving forward at all times while remaining responsive to the community,” she says. “That is one of my biggest goals in this position. … [it’s] a core of my being, and the center of our mission here at the Boulder Phil.”
The organization’s forward-looking view was tested earlier this month by the death of its beloved concertmaster, Charles “Chas” Wetherbee. But after the sudden loss of the 56-year-old violinist and CU Boulder College of Music professor, whose memory was honored with a Jan. 22 performance by the Boulder Phil, Parkinson says this mission took on a new shade of importance.
ON THE BILL: For more details on Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra’s 65th season, visit boulderphil.org.
“We’re going through a lot right now. There’s a lot of people in our community who are grieving — between the music school, the Boulder Phil and others whose lives he touched,” she says. “In his honor, we’re trying to move forward by making more music.”
To that end, the remainder of Boulder Phil’s 65th anniversary season features a deep and diverse repertoire that’s sure to grab the attention of orchestral music aﬁcionados and outsiders alike. Concerts include superstar violinist Stefan Jackiw (March 25) and Canadian pianist Angela Cheng (April 22), followed by a special May 6 collaboration with beloved Colorado folk-rock band DeVotchKa.
“We want to make sure everyone is seen and heard in our community,” Parkinson says. “[It’s about] providing a space where they have memorable experiences that transcend their daily lives.”
MARCH 21-APRIL 19: Theoretically, you could offer to help a person who doesn’t like you. You could bring a gourmet vegan meal to a meat-eater or pay a compliment to a bigot. I suppose you could even sing beautiful love songs to annoyed passersby or recite passages from great literature to an eight-year-old immersed in his video game. But there are better ways to express your talents and dispense your gifts — especially now, when it’s crucial for your long-term mental health that you offer your blessings to recipients who will use them best and appreciate them most.
APRIL 20-MAY 20: In esoteric astrology, Taurus rules the third eye. Poetically speaking, this is a subtle organ of perception, a sixth sense that sees through mere appearances and discerns the secret or hidden nature of things. Some people are surprised to learn about this theory. Doesn’t traditional astrology say that you Bulls are sober and well-grounded? Here’s the bigger view: The penetrating vision of an evolved Taurus is potent because it peels away superficial truths and uncovers deeper truths. Would you like to tap into more of this potential superpower? The coming weeks will be a good time to do so.
MAY 21-JUNE 20: The ingredient you would need to fulfill the next stage of a fun dream is behind door #1. Behind door #2 is a vision of a creative twist you could do but haven’t managed yet. Behind door #3 is a clue that might help you achieve more disciplined freedom than you’ve known before. Do you think I’m exaggerating? I’m not. Here’s the catch: You may be able to open only one door before the magic spell wears off — unless you enlist the services of a consultant, ally, witch, or guardian angel to help you bargain with fate to provide even more of the luck that may be available.
JUNE 21-JULY 22: I trust you are mostly ready for the educational adventures and experiments that are possible. The uncertainties that accompany them, whether real or imagined, will bring out the best in you. For optimal results, you should apply your nighttime thinking to daytime activities, and vice versa. Wiggle free of responsibilities unless they teach you noble truths. And finally, summon the intuitive powers that will sustain you and guide you through the brilliant shadow initiations. (PS: Take the wildest rides you dare as long as they are safe.)
JULY 23-AUG. 22: Fate has decreed, “Leos must be wanderers for a while.” You are under no obligation to obey this mandate, of course. Theoretically, you could resist it. But if you do indeed rebel, be sure your willpower is very strong. You will get away with outsmarting or revising fate only if your discipline is fierce and your determination is intense. OK? So let’s imagine that you will indeed bend fate’s decree to suit your needs. What would that look like? Here’s one possibility: The “wandering” you undertake can be done in the name of focused exploration rather than aimless meandering.
AUG. 23-SEPT. 22: I wish I could help you understand and manage a situation that has confused you. I’d love to bolster your strength to deal with substitutes that have been dissipating your commitment to the Real Things. In a perfect world, I could emancipate you from yearnings that are out of sync with your highest good. And maybe I’d be able to teach you to dissolve a habit that has weakened your willpower. And why can’t I be of full service to you in these ways? Because, according to my assessment, you have not completely acknowledged your need for this help. So neither I nor anyone else can provide it. But now that you’ve read this horoscope, I’m hoping you will make yourself more receptive to the necessary support and favors and relief.
SEPT. 23-OCT. 22: I can’t definitively predict you will receive an influx of cash in the next three weeks. It’s possible, though. And I’m not able to guarantee you’ll be the beneficiary of
free lunches and unexpected gifts. But who knows? They could very well appear. Torrents of praise and appreciation may flow, too, though trickles are more likely. And there is a small chance of solicitous gestures coming your way from sexy angels and cute maestros. What I can promise you for sure, however, are fresh eruptions of savvy in your brain and sagacity in your heart. Here’s your keynote, as expressed by the Queen of Sheba 700 years ago: “Wisdom is sweeter than honey, brings more joy than wine, illumines more than the sun, is more precious than jewels.”
OCT. 23-NOV. 21: Your assignment, Scorpio, is to cultivate a closer relationship with the cells that comprise your body. They are alive! Speak to them as you would to a beloved child or animal. In your meditations and fantasies, bless them with tender wishes. Let them know how grateful you are for the grand collaboration you have going, and affectionately urge them to do what’s best for all concerned. For you Scorpios, February is Love and Care for Your Inner Creatures Month.
NOV. 22-DEC. 21: Revamped and refurbished things are coming back for another look. Retreads and redemption-seekers are headed in your direction. I think you should consider giving them an audience. They are likely to be more fun or interesting or useful during their second time around. Dear Sagittarius, I suspect that the imminent future may also invite you to consider the possibility of accepting stand-ins and substitutes and imitators. They may turn out to be better than the so-called real things they replace. In conclusion, be receptive to Plan Bs, second choices, and alternate routes. They could lead you to the exact opportunities you didn’t know you needed.
DEC. 22-JAN. 19: Author Neil Gaiman declared, “I’ve never known anyone who was what he or she seemed.” While that may be generally accurate, it will be far less true about you Capricorns in the coming weeks. By my astrological reckoning, you will be very close to what you seem to be. The harmony between your deep inner self and your outer persona will be at record-breaking levels. No one will have to wonder if they must be wary of hidden agendas lurking below your surface. Everyone can be confident that what they see in you is what they will get from you. This is an amazing accomplishment! Congrats!
JAN. 20-FEB. 18: “I want to raise up the magic world all round me and live strongly and quietly there,” wrote Aquarian author Virginia Woolf in her diary. What do you think she meant by “raise up the magic world all round me”? More importantly, how would you raise up the magic world around you? Meditate fiercely and generously on that tantalizing project. The coming weeks will be an ideal time to attend to such a wondrous possibility. You now have extra power to conjure up healing, protection, inspiration, and mojo for yourself.
FEB. 19-MARCH 20: Before going to sleep, I asked my subconscious mind to bring a dream that would be helpful for you. Here’s what it gave me: In my dream, I was reading a comic book titled Zoe Stardust Quells Her Demon . On the first page, Zoe was facing a purple monster whose body was beastly but whose face looked a bit like hers. On page two, the monster chased Zoe down the street, but Zoe escaped. In the third scene, the monster was alone, licking its fur. In the fourth scene, Zoe sneaked up behind the monster and shot it with a blow dart that delivered a sedative, knocking it unconscious. In the final panel, Zoe had arranged for the monster to be transported to a lush uninhabited island where it could enjoy its life without bothering her. Now here’s my dream interpretation, Pisces: Don’t directly confront your inner foe or nagging demon. Approach stealthily and render it inert. Then banish it from your sphere, preferably forever.
Dear Dan: I am a 64-year-old bisexual woman. I contracted HPV about 10 years ago and went through a painful, expensive treatment that dragged on for three months. Since then, I have tested negative for it. My gyno said that I am HPV free. Is that possible? I thought HPV lasted forever. I have a new sex partner, my ﬁrst in a few years. I have to tell him, right? Am I going to get throat cancer giving him blow jobs? Is he going to get esophageal cancer eating my pussy? Do we use condoms forever and plastic wrap on me? It makes me want to stay home and watch Grace and Frankie alone. We used condoms for the ﬁrst couple of months and then agreed that since we were both disease-free to go without. But am I really disease-free?
—StressEating And Tense
Dear SEAT: “For most people, once HPV is cleared, it goes into an undetectable state and cannot be transmitted to future partners,” said Dr. Ina Park, a professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and Medical Consultant for the Centers for Disease Control Division of STD Prevention. “In rare cases, people who cleared HPV can experience a reappearance — say, if their immune system becomes compromised — but this is NOT the norm. For someone who has been HPV free for 10 years, there’s no need to disclose a remote history of HPV to partners, and no need to use barriers unless both parties wish to do so. So, it’s OK to leave the plastic wrap in the kitchen!”
Worst-case scenario: Let’s say you somehow wound up exposing your new boyfriend to HPV or he exposed you to a different strain. It can take 20 years and sometimes longer for an HPV infection to progress to cancer, which only a small percentage of HPV infections do. And I don’t mean to be callous, SEAT, but by then — 20 years from now — something else will have killed you already or you’ll be ready to go. And whether you’re dying of cancer or something else a few decades from now, SEAT, I doubt you’ll be laying deathbed thinking, “Gee, I wish I’d gotten my pussy eaten less.”
Dr. Ina Park is the author of Strange Bedfellows: Adventures in the Science, History, and Surprising Secrets of STDs Follow her on Twitter @InaParkMd.
Dear Dan: I’m a 31-year-old straight
male from Denver with a general question about ﬁnding dates. I’m 6’ 2”, in shape, have sought therapy, and I have a six-ﬁgure salary — and I can’t get a date to save my life. I primarily use Hinge to ﬁnd people, and I work from home and have a friend group that isn’t big on going out to events and such. What general advice do you have for people who are looking, and just aren’t having any success? Seems like so many people are going on regular dates, ﬁnding relationships, etc., and frankly I’m just struggling to ﬁgure out how they’re all doing it.—Love Eludes Dude
Dear LED: Whatever else you do — this is so important — don’t succumb to bitterness, as bitterness will make you radioactive to any woman you wind up on a date with.
Additionally, LED, you should ask your therapist to level with you about what you might be doing wrong. Do you behave in ways that make women feel uncomfortable, unsafe or uninterested? If your therapist isn’t comfortable telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, then ask them to work with you on identifying the interpersonal skills you might need to work on. Also, seeing as what you’re doing now isn’t working — lurking on Hinge, staying at home — try something else. Get on some other dating apps, LED, and get out of the house more. You don’t have to ditch the friends you already have, but you do need to make additional friends, e.g., meet some people who like going places, seeing things and doing shit. The best way to meet those people, LED, is to go places, see things and do shit on your own. Volunteer somewhere, join some clubs, find an adult sports league. Please note: Following this advice does not guarantee romantic success. But the more shit you’re out there doing and the more people you’re getting to know while you’re out there doing shit — the more you enjoy life — the less miserable you’ll feel. And the less miserable a single person is, LED, the more attractive he becomes to potential romantic partners.
Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. Find columns, podcasts, books, merch and more at savage.love.
Falling in love again with ‘The Lady From Shanghai’by Michael J. Casey
Orson Welles needed money. That’s how this story begins. Back in 1946, Welles was putting the ﬁnishing touches on an ambitious stage production of Around the World in 80 Days — a musical! — and funds were running dry. So he called studio boss Harry Cohen from a drugstore and told him he had an incredible and exciting property he’d turn into a movie for Columbia starring Rita Hayworth, if Cohen would wire him $50,000 immediately. Cohen responded with a reasonable question: What’s the property? It’s, Welles said, grabbing a random book off the rack, Sherwood King’s If I Die Before I Wake
Welles didn’t have the rights to King’s book, nor had he read it. Neither had Cohen, but that didn’t matter. Columbia had just released Gilda, and Hayworth was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. And though Welles was persona non grata as a director, he was still a bankable leading man and married to Hayworth. Any movie starring the famous husband and wife was an easy sell — never mind that Hayworth and Welles were well on their way in the “estranged” category. Fifty thousand was chump change to Cohen. He wired the money, Around the World in 80 Days ﬂopped, and Welles headed back to Hollywood to write, produce, direct and act his obligation. They retitled it: The Lady from Shanghai, a mangled masterpiece from a ﬁlmmaker who presided over a number of mangled masterpieces.
Welles shot enough ﬁlm for a two-hour movie, but Columbia chopped that down to 87 minutes, and Cohen famously offered $1,000 to anyone who could explain just what in the hell the story was. Here’s your answer, Harry: Sex, love, money, loyalty, murder and more double-crosses than the characters can keep up with.
Sure, you have to ﬁll in a lot of holes to get there, and it helps if you’ve seen the movie more than once. Not that it matters; story rarely drives viewers back. Style does, and few movies boast the high style, the dark shadows, the oblique angles and the emotions pitched to the extremes quite like Shanghai
That’s all on display in Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray
release, available Jan. 31. The transfer is gorgeous. It’s so good you’ll want to watch it twice, and KL’s set includes three commentary tracks, an interview with Welles scholar and friend Peter Bogdanovich and “czar of noir” Eddie Muller breaking down three crucial elements. And none of them can make heads or tails of the movie either. Perfect.
Cohen’s cuts might have cost Welles’ ﬁlm dearly
at the box ofﬁce, but it solidiﬁed its place in posterity. Deep is the scholasticism and curiosity for a movie this incoherent, disjointed and, at times, dumb. But then there are those nauseating close-ups of Grisby (Glenn Anders), the way Banister (Everett Slone) says “lover” that make you wonder what’s going on between him and Elsa (Hayworth) and that delirious, bonkers hall-of-mirrors ending that has inspired everyone from Bruce Lee to Jordan Peele.
Ultimately, The Lady from Shanghai is a cautionary tale. From Welles’ phone call forward, everyone involved thought they had a moneymaker. And everyone went home empty-handed. They, and probably anyone who left the theater in 1948, walked out like Welles’ character at the end of the movie: slightly dazed and totally confused. And yet, 76 years later, we’re still watching it, talking about it and trying to ﬁgure out just what in the hell is going on with The Lady from Shanghai.
ON SCREEN: The Lady from Shanghai, available on Blu-ray Jan. 31 from Kino Lorber.
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!
Rx: bread and butterby John Lehndorff
WITH BREAD ALL SORROWS ARE LESS: While healing from spinal fusion surgery, BW food editor John Lehndorff found joy in food again via a baguette from Babette’s Bakery slathered in salted butter.
The Nibbles column has survived some serious ups and downs in various publications since it debuted in 1985, but I have always made sure it got written and published. In early October, Nibbles disappeared from these pages.
The hiatus was caused by a longstanding pain in the, well, lumbar region that turned excruciating. My back story commenced when a neurosurgeon said I needed immediate, four-level spinal fusion surgery. With my pain cranked up to “11,” I said, “Yes.”
My four-month odyssey would feature a surgical hospital stay and a stint in a rehab hospital, followed by two days home and a dangerous sepsis infection then sent me back to the hospital. Eventually, the medical folks sent me back to another rehab spot before I went home again. By then, after experiencing roughly 200 hospital and rehab facility meals and snacks, I was ready to escape.
I deeply appreciate those trying to feed various sick people in institutional settings with tight budgets. I wasn’t there to write a snarky dining critic review of the hospital food, which, to be fair, was signiﬁcantly better than the rehab fare.
For example, take the night the rehab facility special for dinner was “cheese pizza.” I thought: “How bad could rehab cheese pizza be?”
Well, I was delivered a single tiny wedge of white, soft, dough-like material that clearly hadn’t spent any time in an oven. The top was scarcely sprinkled with a few shreds of orange-ish cheese and some dried spices with no toppings. This rehab entrée was the worst-tasting, least satisfying example of anything labeled “pizza” I’ve encountered in my eating life. Equally horrendous was the “beef BBQ,” a single thin, tough slice of overcooked, lukewarm gray beef a knife couldn’t cut, with a glop of sweet sauce.
I stuck to sandwiches after that.
Almost as scary as pain, sepsis and the pizza, I became totally indifferent to food, an afﬂiction I had almost never experienced in my decades as a food writer. I’d order food and, sitting alone in my room, ignore it. Except for visitors, the pandemic has meant that folks in these facilities almost never dine with others.
Enthusiasm for tasting has always been my meal ticket. My talented neurosurgeon told me that many nerves in my lower back had gotten pissed off as she burned through 15 drill bits during the excavation. Some parts of me were disconnected but have come back. I started to wonder if my taste bud nerves had gotten short-circuited, too.
I knew I was starting to recover when I began daydreaming about food, especially baked goods: Visions of buttery French pastries, garlic naan, blueberry cornbread and bagels ﬁlled my head. I wanted some Moxie Bread Co. Seeded Dark Rye — so dense, chewy and astonishing when toasted and buttered. Then, I was crushed to learn that a remarkable friend and bread visionary, owner Andy Clark, had passed away.
As an answer to my need to feed again, a friend dropped by the rehab facility with a Babette’s baguette and some good salted butter. The satisfying chew of the caramelized crust made my palate feel alive. Family and friends brought me real food ranging from homemade dishes to spicy, chewy Thai noodles.
I’ve got nothing but eternal gratitude to the village that has supported me. Some day maybe I’ll work on getting food served at rehab facilities that actually promotes healing and well-being. It’s not rocket science.
Cooking and good food, exercise and a cool bone stimulator rig are helping to build my spine better than ever before. My appetite and taste buds are as sharp as ever and it tastes great to be back.
How real food, family and friends brought me back to lifeJOHN
Taste of the Week: Fleishman is Not in Trouble
It’s always an auspicious day when you ﬁnd a fresh source of bagels, authentic deli foods and an unexpectedly comfy cafe in Boulder, all at the same time and place. Fleishman’s Bagels and Delicatessen is a new food truck set up Wednesday through Saturday outside Full Cycle on 30th Street near Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods Market. Owner Danna Fleishman crafts several ﬂavors of bagels with that authentic chew and ﬂavor. I dug into The Mudgie, a griddled everything bagel layered with bacon, cream cheese, tomato, chives and a sprinkle of smoked salt. Classic New York-style sandwiches, including pastrami, are on the menu, along with a rich, scratch-made chicken and duck broth with carrots and a tender matzo ball. You can sit and enjoy the food at Full Cycle’s surprisingly spacious café, which offers espresso, a full bar, pastries and some savory treats.
Local Food News: New Eateries
It was great to hear that Wayne’s Smoke Shack (406 Center Drive, Superior), closed by the Marshall Fire more than a year ago, has reopened in Superior The Dumpling Deli has opened in the Hilltop Food Court on the Hill (1310 College Ave., Suite 230, Boulder), dishing dumplings with diverse ﬁllings such as cheesesteak, Cuban, Buffalo chicken and apple. … Recent debuts include Stella’s Cucina (1123 Walnut St., Boulder), and Esmeralda’s Tamale House (1801 Hover St., Longmont) … Ginza Sushi-Hibachi (269 N. McCaslin Blvd.) has opened in Louisville in the former Spice China space. … In Denver, kosher dining and cryptocurrency curiously come together at Bitcoin Cafe (970 S. Oneida St., Unit 6), one of the state’s only true kosher restaurants. … Boulder’s Fresh Thymes Bodega has closed on 30th Street. … Coming soon: Postino Wine Café (1468 Pearl St., Boulder), and 99_bar Burgers & Beer (449 Main St., Longmont) … The now-closed Pizzeria Locale will reopen under the name Pizzeria Alberico in February.
Meet Boulder’s Fine Food Finalists
Want to eat really local, ready-to-taste treats? The ﬁnalists for the 2023 Good Food Awards — the Oscars of American
Words to Chew On
IN OUR PRIME ■
‘A part of the legacy and the lineage’
The Sink turns 100 by Colin Wrenn
There’s an annual tradition where new graduates from the University of Colorado line up outside The Sink to ink their signature onto the ceiling. The students, still clad in cap and gown, are there to join the thousands that came before them to capstone their college years with this important inscription. It’s impossible to say exactly when this tradition began, but one thing is for certain: This year, The Sink turned 100.
Like many of its neighbors, the building that would eventually become The Sink was built in 1908 as a house for the Sigma Nu fraternity. In 1923, it was converted into a European-style restaurant by the name of Somer’s Sunken Gardens. It was quickly and affectionately dubbed The Sink due to the large sunken fountain that acted as the dining room’s centerpiece. In 1949, new owners John and Pauli Pudlik ofﬁcially renamed the place to its current title. Over the course of the century, The Sink has had six different owners, and is currently run by brothers Mark and Chris Heinritz and managing partner Tell Jones.
Over the years, The Sink has built a reputation around legends, tall tales and often harder-to-believe, well-documented truths. “Stories are literally on its walls. It’s a palpable history that you feel,” says Mark. Robert Redford worked as a janitor there in 1955, and future CEO of AEG Live Chuck Morris got his start as general manager in 1968, when he would book acts for the upstairs room. Many of the tables are still inlaid with images of famous guests, with others being devoted to the locals who are the heart and soul of the place. One table is full of photos from Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert’s visit, another one devoted to the famed visit by former President Barack Obama in 2012. Guy Fieri also has a spot, with plenty of high-energy images from the ﬁlming of an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
With its low ceilings and psychedelic art by beat poet Llloyd Kavich (“with three Ls just for the L of it”), The Sink has cultivated an air of exuberance and debauchery. But since the addition of chef Chris Cunningham in 2015, Jones and the Heinritz brothers have been trying to shift the place’s culture to be more food-focused. “We’ve been trying to change the reputation since day one,” says Mark, who took ownership in 1992. “With the
growth of the culinary scene, food is entertainment. And what’s more entertaining than The Sink?”
While standards like The Sink Burger, with house-made hickory barbecue sauce, remain a constant, Mark says the menu will usually see the addition of four to six new items per year. This year, to celebrate the arrival of Deion Sanders as coach of the CU Buffs football team, Cunningham added the Prime Time Burger Bowl, that sees a bed of spring mix topped with a grass-fed burger patty, melted American cheese, julienned red onion, avocado, seasoned cherry tomatoes, house pickles and cajun-seasoned French fries. The whole thing is then covered with a healthy drizzle of chipotle aioli. There’s also The Recruiter, which sees a standard burger topped with pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, bacon and shredded lettuce. Throughout the course of 2023, The Sink will be hosting a wide array of events celebrating the milestone. In February, it will revive its Friday Afternoon Clubs, originally created by Morris during his time there in the 1960s. The modern version will take place on the last Friday of each month and will feature drink specials, live music, guest hosts and a range of throwbacks commemorating the eatery’s rich history. At the Feb. 24 debut, the function will feature the tapping of 1924, a collaborative beer made with Avery Brewing that will only be available at The Sink and at Avery’s taproom. Other events will include the release of a mini-documentary by local ﬁlm agency Pixel Mills Studio in the spring and the opening of the 100 Years of The Sink exhibit at the Museum of Boulder in September.
In a town where new restaurants can come and go before we even have a chance to taste the food, a surprising roster of restaurants have thrived in Boulder for decades and survived wars, culinary fads, riots, recessions, generations of CU students and a pandemic.
Many are owned and operated by local folks and families.
Go ahead and wish a happy 35th birthday to Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant, now in Lafayette, and formerly in Boulder and Eldorado Springs. It’s been 40 years since the original Walnut Cafe dished its ﬁrst omelet and 30 years of soft shell crab at Chez Thuy. Two decades ago, Sherpa’s Adventure Restaurant and Bar began steaming momos.
Boulder’s honor roll of tough culinary veterans also features The Gondolier (1960), Greenbriar Inn (1967), Flagstaff House (1971), Mustard’s Last Stand (1978), Falafel King (1980), Lucile’s Creole Cafe (1980), Sushi Zanmai (1987) and Dot’s Diner (1988).
These days, on any given afternoon, the place will be ﬁlled with an odd mix of thirsty college students, families with children fascinated by the artwork, long-time regulars and burger enthusiasts. The air continues to be thick with decades of experience, which have indelibly left marks nearly as tangibly as the more intentional memorabilia. Over the years, The Sink has certainly taken on a life of its own, one Mark says he’s glad to be a part of but doesn’t feel ownership over. “I envision it a little like a snowball. The older you get, the more established you become,” Mark says. “Being a part of the legacy and the lineage is a place of honor.”
Perhaps the only eatery that has been open longer than The Sink’s century are the variously named restaurants that have served in the Hotel Boulderado. Another candidate: Chautauqua Dining Hall opened 125 years ago, but for most of that time was only serving seasonally.
Boulder’s longest-serving eateries have dished everything from hot dogs to foie gras by John Lehndorff
In January of 2013, Emily Robinson decided to give up drinking for the ﬁrst month of the year in hopes it would give her a lift for a half-marathon she was slated to run the following month. As part of her overall training for the event, the Briton speculated that 31 days of sobriety would give her an overall health advantage. Her month-long stint allegedly improved her sleep and energy level, and aided in weight loss. Since then, Robinson has been practicing what she, along with the organization Alcohol Change UK, eventually dubbed “dry January.”
Temperance in the new year dates back to Finland, which launched a shortlived “Sober January” campaign in 1942 as part of the war effort. Many decades later, these annual month-long abstentions from alcohol appear to have made a serious impact around the globe, with many thousands of people opting to join the public health campaigns. Robinson was a social drinker who simply wanted to perform better as a runner; yet the result of her decision to take a month off the sauce unexpectedly morphed into world-wide awareness.NICK HUTCHINSON
was ﬂoating in the drink and temporarily forgetting about the lack of alcohol therein. I told the server, who was also the restaurant’s owner, that I was practicing dry January. She mentioned that her past experience with the campaign had turned into what she now refers to as a “dry life.” She says she hasn’t looked back since.
Surveys of those who have embarked on month-long cessations from alcohol consumption reveal a general reduction, or slow-down, of overall alcohol consumption during the months that follow. Perhaps a month of restraint demonstrates to people that they can have the self-control to say “yes” or “no” to alcohol consumption during the rest of their year. From a medical point of view, studies suggest a break from alcohol promotes weight loss and positively alters liver fat and levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. Dry January has also spurred bars and restaurants to offer a variety of non-alcoholic beers along with some very intriguing cocktail alternatives.
As a regular drink columnist, I thought I’d give a dry month a go. I’m not missing my regular intake of beer and tequila too much. On a recent visit to Comida, at the Stanley Marketplace in Denver, I forwent my usual margarita and ordered a non-alcoholic housemade grapefruit and ginger beverage. Somewhat to my surprise, the tequila-free drink went down very nicely with my tacos and salad. I even found myself chewing on the fresh ginger that
Appealing booze-free options include HopTeas and hop-infused sparkling waters from Boulder’s own Hoplark beverage company, as well as a variety of creative mocktails offered by local watering holes. Kombuchas, which can contain small amounts of alcohol, and regular teas, caffeinated or herbal, are always a good go-to as well. Mindfulness surrounding our alcohol consumption certainly can’t hurt. Another selling point for dry January is that it also saves money. Sometimes, water is even free.
The illegal grow operations John Nores with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Marijuana Enforcement Team would break up were all different. Sometimes the cartel members would be heavily armed, and the fish and game warden would have to exchange gunfire with the growers to subdue them (Weed Between the Lines, “Fighting the dark side of cannabis,” Dec. 23, 2021). Sometimes they would throw their hands up in surrender as soon as they saw the officers, decked out in special-ops gear, holding loaded AR-15s. Other times, the grows would be abandoned by the time the CDFW enforcement team got there.
But the one thing they all had in common, according to Nores, was the aftermath. The environmental destruction was horriﬁc. There would be tons of trash, human waste, animal traps, and, worst of all, remnants of toxic pesticides, many of which had been banned by the Environmental Protection Agency for decades.
“You look at the toxicity of that type of product and know that it’s being used at every grow site that these cartel growers have and the environmental impacts are so pervasive ... it’s affecting our wildlife and our wetlands and waterways at their most sensitive spots: the source,” Nores, who founded the CDFW Marijuana Enforcement Team, says. “It’s really not a cannabis issue. It’s an environmental crime.”
An environmental crime Ivan Medel didn’t think scientists were exploring enough. One that, as an assistant ecologist with the Integral Ecology Research Center (IERC), he was well positioned and motivated to shed some light on.
“These sites are all over the place throughout the western U.S., in deserts, on top of mountains and everywhere in between,” Medel says. “And we know pesticides are being used or applied in large volumes and in high concentrations.”
So he and several other researchers set out to determine how far those pesticides might be traveling, and how long they stay in the environment. They used polar organic chemical integrative samplers to monitor the contamination
both upstream and downstream of the kinds of illegal grow operations the CDFW enforcement team breaks up all the time.
“These are not your mom-and-pop private grow sites,” Medel says, these are illegal public land cannabis cultivation complexes.
And it’s very disheartening. There are hundreds of these grows on public lands just in California, according to Nores; 80% of the illegal cannabis sold in the U.S. is grown on California land that belongs to American citizens — in national forests, national monuments, state parks, and throughout BLM land.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, in the ﬁvestate Rocky Mountain Region there were 71,000 plants eradicated from public land in 2017. That’s 26,000 more than they eradicated in 2016, and 68,000 more than they eradicated in 2015.
In 2019, just in Fremont County, Colorado, ofﬁcers seized 4,200 cannabis plants they found growing in San Isabel National Forest. The same year, in the White River National Forest near Carbondale, Colorado, another 2,700 plants were discovered and destroyed.
And as in California, most of those sites are using highly toxic pesticides that leached into waterways, killing aquatic life, and damaging creeks and streams.
Medel hopes the information their study exposed can be useful for land managers, and will make a difference across the state, and the western U.S. He says, now that they’ve established the contamination is not a localized issue, the next step for them is to examine the extent to which it’s affecting the ecology of our watersheds.
We know it’s out there, he says, now the question is: How bad is it?
When Medel and his team embarked on this study, he says their expectation was that the contamination was not being carried off site. He says they had been hopeful that it was a highly localized issue that wasn’t affecting tributaries and downstream watersheds.
But that was not what they discovered. According to their paper, published in the Water Quality Research Journal, “We conﬁrmed that trespass cannabis cultivation complexes are water pollution point sources for both organophosphate and carbamate pesticides.”
Medel says the contamination was present for as far as 11 miles downstream from the sources for a full year after the last application.
“It was very, very surprising,” he says.
While Medel continues down that path of research, the CDFW Marijuana Enforcement Team will continue to raid and break up illegal grow operations responsible for contamination. And, importantly, they will continue to clean them up. Nores says environmental remediation is the most important aspect of their job.
However, this contamination wouldn’t be such a pervasive issue on public lands at all if it weren’t for the federal prohibition of cannabis. If it weren’t for cannabis’ status as a schedule I narcotic, the black market demand for it would disappear — along with most of these trespass grow sites.
Nores sums the problem up succinctly.
“If cherry tomatoes were on the black market for $4,000 a pound, and it was illegal to grow them and sell them, we’d be having gunﬁghts over cherry tomatoes,” he says.
New research shows toxic contamination from black-market cannabis is leaching into public waterways by Will BrendzaCOURTESY IVAN MEDEL